Tag Archives: wellbeing

It’s Time to Benefit From Tai Chi

In the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Tai Chi and the impact that it had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.

Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, were that Tai Chi could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of the heart and it was also stated  that Tai Chi also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.

This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise.

Tai Chi has wonderful health benefits

Tai Chi amalgamates abdominal (Dan Tien, or Hara) breathing, relaxation and fluid, graceful, movement throughout the set of movements, known as the “form”.  In doing so it can produce changes the brain wave pattern (lowering to Alpha waves), also producing a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slowing respiration and producing a profound feeling of wellbeing.

Tai Chi players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.

Tai Ch in Beijing

The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Centre, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.

Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.

“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Tai Chi practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.

Tai Chi helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.

Importantly, they also recognise that Tai Chi also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”

Tai Chi has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery.  It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors.  Not so now!  Now we see Tai Chi being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise.  Not only that but many doctors are also practicing this art to benefit their own health.

Tai Chi is a wonderful art to learn……………………. It’s never too early and it’s never too late!  There is bound to be a Tai Chi class in your neighborhood……………….. go find it now!

A, simple, guided meditation

A, simple, guided meditation

I have used this guided meditation with many of my clients who, like many of us, suffer from the daily stress that life can bring.  It is not always possible to take time out (holidays) in order to get away from these stresses but respite can be found, along with increased energy, through simple meditation.

Initially used as a guided meditation,  it is an easy path to follow and soon the guide is no longer required.  A simple exercise that takes up little time yet has amazing results.  It is a real treasure.

  • It is a warm summer day, a perfect day.
  • You are in the terraced garden of large country house where there are people sitting, sunbathing or strolling.
  • It is peaceful and quiet – everyone here has come for a rest and are quietly appreciating the beautiful surroundings and you, like them, are listening to the bird song.
  • As you walk across the lawn you can feel the grass under your bare feet.  It is a comforting feeling.
  • Ahead of you, you see a broad stairway that leads down to the next terrace. There are seven stairs.
  • As you descend each of them you become more relaxed and your breathing becomes deeper and effortless.
  • This terrace is quieter, with fewer people.
  • As you walk across the grass, you become aware of a high wall that has ivy and honeysuckle growing on it.
  • You know this wall well.  It surrounds a secret garden and you have the only key.  It is your garden, your secret place, where you can sit in peace while you relax and recharge your batteries.
  • As you get closer, you can see your secret door.
  • Unlocking and opening the door, you enter a magical space with trees and plants of every kind.
  • The trees provide a canopy of shade with dappled sunlight beaming through.
  • You see your favourite tree and walk over to it, sitting down and resting your back against it.  It is like an old friend who brings feelings of warmth, comfort, and safety.
  • Sitting here, you feel the gentle spots of sunlight that have slipped through between the leaves, gently resting on your skin.
  • Can you feel these small areas of heat?
  • Each of these spots of sunshine contains a smile for you.  A smile that radiates through your whole body.
  • Allow yourself to spend some time here.
  • Feeling rested, you decide to walk deeper into the garden
  • With each step you feel lighter, more at home
  • You become more aware of the scent of the flowers, the colours, the shapes.
  • You hear the birds singing clearer than you have ever heard before.
  • You hear a buzzing and look over to see a honey bee moving from flower to flower.  We often think about busy bees and how they move from plant to plant, working away.  And often we think of ourselves moving through life in the same way, creating aims/goals and struggling to achieve them.  But, look again at the bee.  It is not frantic.  It looks almost aimless as it goes about its work.  It meanders through life but still reaches its goal – it makes honey and honey makes it content………….happy.  The flowers, in themselves, are not goals.  There are points that the bee passes through to achieve its happiness.
  • You hear yourself.  You hear your positive, happy inner thoughts.  Each of these is a treasure to be held on to, to be nurtured.
  • Take your time to explore the garden, yourself and your thoughts.  Feel the energy entering your body, mind and spirit.  Enjoy!
  • It is time to leave your secret garden now.  But it is always here for you and always easy to reach.  Remember, just across the lawn, down the seven steps to the quieter terrace and then a short walk to the door that only has one key.  Your key.
  • You are now leaving the garden, shutting the door behind you, and slowly walking back up the seven stairs that will bring you back into this room.

As you come back into the room, I want you to bring some movement back into your hands and feet by wiggling your fingers and toes.  Then, slowly, open your eyes.

Shiatsu Bodywork

Shiatsu Bodywork

Shiatsu has its roots in the Chinese healing systems. It was later adopted and developed by the Japanese after the introduction of Chen (Zen) Buddhism, aspects of Chinese philosophy and culture, and Chinese medicine into Japan in the Sixth Century.  It incorporates a meditative approach to the healing process where the practitioner, through experience and with the proper training cultivates sensitivity to the movement of Ki by increasing his/her listening skill.

Zen Shiatsu bodywork is used to treat chronic ailments as well as promoting health, wellbeing and the ability to fight off illness.  Treatment consists of two main tools, sedation and tonification of the meridians and points. With sedation the object is to prepare the Ki for movement, and this is done through a series of joint rotations, stretches, rubbing and palming. tonification is the attraction of the mobilised Ki by using pressure on the meridians and points (tsubos), with this pressure being applied using the thumbs, fingers, elbows and the knees.  Shiatsu therapy is usually given at floor level on a futon. Unlike some other forms of body therapy, Shiatsu is carried out with the client fully clothed and without the application of oils, etc.

Shiatsu for health and wellbeing

Shiatsu for health and wellbeing

Shiatsu (pronounced shee-at-soo) is a Japanese word meaning finger pressure and is the name created early in the 20th century for this gentle, efficient, healing technique. The Japanese Government recognised Shiatsu as a valuable part of their health system over 60 years ago.  Here, in the West, we have only recently started to appreciate Shiatsu and it has now been recognised by the European Parliament and included in the European Register of Non-Conventional Medical Disciplines.

Shiatsu has some of its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is a blend of Chinese acupuncture and the Japanese system of Anma (massage).  It is sometimes referred to as “Acupressure” but this is an inaccurate description as Shiatsu has so much more to offer. The practitioner may use fingers, thumbs, elbows and even knees to apply pressure on the tsubos (acupuncture points) as well as incorporating gentle stretches and manipulations.

These stretches, combined with the use of the tsubos, has the effect of stimulating the circulatory system and the lymphatic system, it works on both divisions of the autonomic nervous system, helps to release tension in the muscles, and can also stimulate the hormonal system. Shiatsu usually leaves a feeling of well-being and calmness, of being more in touch with one’s body and self.
Findings from the European Shiatsu Federation research study carried out by Professor Andrew Long at the University of Leeds.

 

The Experience and Effects of Shiatsu: A Cross-European Study.

  • 89% of Shiatsu receivers felt calmer and more relaxed.
  • Up to 60% of regular shiatsu receivers slept better.
  • Receivers rated their symptoms as significantly reduced throughout the 6 month study.
  • 86% said that shiatsu was effective in treating stress and tension, structural and postural problems, low energy and fatigue.
  • Overall, Shiatsu receivers adopted a more relaxed, healthier and balanced approach to life.
  • Reduced use of conventional medicine.

Treatment for Whiplash – your options

whiplash injuryTreatment for Whiplash

There are a number of natural and holistic methods used in the treatment for whiplash.

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu
Shiatsu has been found to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of whiplash, usually bringing about a prompt, positive, response.  Shiatsu creates a feeling of wellbeing and the receiver usually experiences it as deeply relaxing.
Shiatsu practitioners can work with conditions of both acute and chronic
natures.

Allopathic Treatment Options

Medication, physiotherapy, and supportive measures are used to treat whiplash.  Where symptoms are severe, the patient may need to wear a padded collar until the pain diminishes.

When pressure on the root of the nerve causes loss of strength or sensation in a hand or arm, a cervical traction apparatus may be used.

Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Here are some:

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu
Shiatsu is highly recommended for the treatment of IBS. As it is a holistic system, it treats cause and effect, benefiting the organs concerned while creating a feeling of wellbeing that reduces stress.

Peppermint oil capsules – Known to treat diarrhoea by blocking the movement of calcium into the muscle cells of the intestines, easing excessive muscle contractions.

Probiotics – These are the healthy bacteria found growing inside your large intestine that can help block the growth of harmful bacteria in your intestines, helping to reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Soluble fibre powders are recommended for aiding in the treatment of constipation.

Allopathic Treatment Options

Be careful with food combinations: especially avoid starch, sugar, protein combination.  Avoid eating too many types of foods at one time. Stick to one type of starch per meal. Eat steamed vegetables rather than raw ones. Emphasis should be on a high complex carbohydrate, high fibre diet and food should be eaten slowly.

Treatment for Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Treatment for Hypertension

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Hypertension (High Blood Pressure). Here are some:

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu
Shiatsu has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) as it creates a feeling of calmness and wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing the efficiency of the circulatory system by decreasing muscle tension. Shiatsu is usually experienced as deeply relaxing, although there can also be emotional releases, there is a cumulative effect with each session in the feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Shiatsu practitioners can work with conditions of both acute and chronic natures.

LIFESTYLE

  • Daily Taiji and/or Qigong exercises.
  • Daily Meditation.
  • Regular aerobic activity (55% to 70% of maximal heart rate) for 30 minutes and light resistance training at least 3-4 times a week.
  • Eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fibre.
  • Reduce the intake of fats and high cholesterol food.
  • Avoid excessive salt intake.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee.
  • Reduce stress (through stress management, etc).
  • Reduce weight (if necessary).

Allopathic Treatment Options

The term “high blood pressure” is used to describe a blood pressure that remains at 140/90 mmHg or above each time it is taken. However, the
“high” can be the systolic, diastolic, or both: –

  • 170/70 mmHg – a high systolic pressure.
  • 120/104 mmHg – a high diastolic pressure.
  • 170/110 mmHg – both systolic and diastolic pressures are high.

This, however, is an over-simplification as there are always other health factors to be taken into consideration before any medication is prescribed and medication can vary from case to case.

Change of lifestyle (where necessary) that can include; weight loss, exercise, improved diet, and decrease in alcohol intake.

Drug therapy for people with: –

  • B.P. of 160/100 mmHg or above.
  • B.P. that remains at 140/90 mmHg or above after lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc), where relevant AND who have: diabetes, or an existing cardiovascular disease, or a 2 in 10 risk (or more) of developing a cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years).
  • B.P. of 130/80 mmHg or more and who have: certain complications from diabetes, had a recent heart attack, stroke or transient ischaemic attack, with some chronic kidney diseases.

Treatment for Depression

Treatment for Depression

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Depression. Here are some of them:

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu

Shiatsu has been found to be a beneficial complementary therapy in the treatment of depression, creating a feeling of wellbeing.

Shiatsu can improve vitality and stamina……….. physically and emotionally.  During a Shiatsu treatment, the receiver becomes more relaxed and achieves that “feelgood factor” as the stimulation of the acupuncture points helps release endorphins (natural pain relievers, released by the body, and can induce a natural high).  During a course of treatment, this feelgood factor becomes cumulative and can extend further into daily life.

That first step away from depression can be an extremely difficult one, not knowing where to go or what to do.  With Shiatsu you can, once again, recognise what relaxation and wellbeing feels like and, in that space, you can start to prioritise and make positive decisions about your journey towards health.

Shiatsu is usually experienced as deeply relaxing and practitioners can work with conditions of both acute and chronic natures.

Herbal

  • Gentian (Gentiana lutea) – used for cases of mild depression.
  • Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) – an excellent tonic where nevous exhaustion
    has led to depression.

Vitamin

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – Large doses appear to energise depressedpeople.
  • Pantothenic acid – Has a tension-relieving effect.
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) – combats stress.
  • Magnesium – Known as the stress mineral, it is necessary for thefunctioning of the nerves.
  • Calcium – Makes you more relaxed.

 

Allopathic Treatment Options

Drug therapy, using anti-depressant drugs, is used for people who have predominantly physical symptoms.

Psychotherapy is used, either individually or in group therapy, where it is most useful for people where personality and their life experiences are the cause of the depression. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), although rarely used for decades, is once again being used by some hospitals to treat the more severe cases. Electroconvulsive therapy is usually used on the very severe cases of depression, especially if the person is delusional or has failed to respond to other treatments.

Treatment for Anxiety

Treatment for Anxiety

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Anxiety. Here are some of them:

Complementary Treatment Options

Shiatsu

Shiatsu creates a feeling of wellbeing and comfort.  It can improve vitality and stamina……….. both physical and emotional.  During a Shiatsu treatment, the receiver becomes more relaxed and achieves that “feelgood factor” as the stimulation of the acupuncture points helps release endorphins (natural pain relievers, released by the body, that can induce a natural high).  During a course of treatment, this feelgood factor becomes cumulative and can extend further into daily life.

It can be difficult to take that first step away from anxiety, not knowing what direction to step.  With Shiatsu you can, once again, recognise what relaxation and wellbeing feels like.  Through this recognition you have taken the first step and your direction is set.

Nutritional

  • Taking calcium (1,000 mg a day) and magnesium (500 mg a day) as a supplement to
    your diet.
  • B complex (50 to 100 mg a day, best in the morning) to decrease stress effects.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, processed foods and alcohol.
  • Increase consumption of fresh vegetables and whole grains.
  • St. John’s Wort helps with both depression and anxiety.

 

Allopathic Treatment Options

A number of medications that were originally developed for treating depression have been found to be effective for anxiety disorders. Some of the newest of these antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other anti-anxiety medications include groups of drugs called benzodiazepines and beta-blockers.

Two clinically-proven effective forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders are behavioural therapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy. In behavioural therapy, the focus is on changing specific actions and uses several techniques to stop unwanted behaviours. In addition to the behavioural therapy techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy teaches patients to understand and change their thinking patterns so they
can react differently to any of the situations that trigger anxiety.