Tag Archives: tension

Rolfing, developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf


Rolfing - Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D

The name “Rolfing” was derived from the founder of the therapy Dr. Ida P. Rolf (1896-1979) of New York. Dr. Rolf had a Ph.D in biological chemistry and, while still young, she became an Associate at the Rockefeller Institute, studying mathematics and atomic physics in Zurich, and homeopathic medicine in Geneva.


Fundamentally, Rolfing consists of some basic concepts about human structure:

  • Most human beings are significantly out of alignment with gravity.
  • People function better when they are lined up with the gravitational field of the earth.
  • The human body is so plastic that its alignment can be brought into harmony with gravity at practically any time of life.

Structural Integration is the key to Rolfing as it breaks down a build up of unwanted tissue/facia that is developed by the body to compensate for posture that is out of the natural line of gravity, creating support for the resulting unnatural posture. In time, the neuromuscular system recognises this un-natural position as normal and natural. The aim of Rolfing is to re-educate the body in order for it to regain its natural/proper alignment in relation to gravity, in other words regaining its structural integration.


What Structural Integration does:

  • Releases the body from lifelong patterns of tension.
  • Relieves chronic strain and allows the muscles to be more efficient.
  • Relieves back, neck and joint pain.
  • Realigns and balances the body in gravity.
  • Improves posture.
  • Increasea vitality.

As a result of Rolfing, the thickened and toughened tissues become soft, re-hydrated and more pliable. This enables structural integration, changes the body’s patterns, organising the imbalances in the tissue and shifts the weight and balance of the body more evenly. This gives the muscles the ability to relax and loosen, creating a more upright and balanced posture with greater flexibility, range of motion and ease in movement.

Dr. Rolf developed many different techniques to release immobilized joints increasing mobility and stability. Rolfing works with the deep myofascial structures. These structures are loose connective strong tissue that often contain fat and covers all muscles. Rolfing use gentle hands-on techniques but often, due to the build up of different types of fascia, some people may experience some discomfort during the treatment.

The aim of Rolfing is to educate each patient about their body, making them aware of their responsibility to maintain optimal function. The key to optimal function is alignment and once the patient starts to understand the structural integrity of the human body and experience the health benefits that result it is harder to return to old habits.


Therapist info

Rolfing method being applied.

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Ian Edwards, Stonehaven, Scotland

The Rolfing Space, London & Brighton



Further information on Rolfing including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Rolfing please contact us with the details.


Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.



Arthritis relief through Qigong

About Arthritis

Arthritis means “joint inflammation” and there are over 100 types including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Inflammation is one of the body’s natural reactions to disease or injury, and includes swelling, pain and stiffness. Prolonged, chronic, inflammation can lead to tissue damage.

Where two or more bones come together, such as the knee or hip they are covered with a smooth, spongy material called articular cartilage.  This cartilage cushions the bones and allows the joint to move, as it has no nerve supply, without pain. The joint is encapsulated by a thin film of tissue called the synovium and the synovium lining produces a slippery fluid called synovial fluid that reduces friction, acts as a shock absorber, nourishes the joint (supplies oxygen and nutrients) and allows the body’s waste management system to remove carbon dioxide and metabolic waste from the chondrocytes within the surrounding cartilage . The articulating bones are stabilised and held together by strong bands of tissue, called ligaments. Muscles and tendons also support the joints enabling movement.

With arthritis, an area in or around a joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness and, sometimes, difficulty moving. Some types of arthritis also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and internal organs.

About Qigong

Qigong can help in the relief of arthritis pain.

Although the exercises that are now termed Qigong are estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, Qigong is a relatively new term to describe them (first used in the early 20th Century).  The type of Qigong that this article relates to is health giving, beneficial to Mind, Body and Spirit. Qigong combines graceful, flowing, movements with focus and breathing to increase and balance your vital energy (in Qigong speak this is the Mind – the Yi guiding the Qi). In “Active Qigong” there is movement of the body that gently utilize the full range of motion in your joints. Because Qigong is low-impact it has minimal impact on your joints and can be performed by almost anyone and although it is normally practiced in a standing position many of the exercises can be adapted for a seated posture.

There are numerous studies for the effect of Qigong on arthritis.  Here are a couple: –


Benefits of Qigong

Qigong can be done while moving, lying down, sitting or standing, making it an ideal exercise for arthritis patients. With part of the focus being on correct posture, Qigong reduces the load/strain on joints.  Incorrect posture can lead to injuries and joint strain and blocks Qi flow.  The relaxed, deep, abdominal breathing increases oxygenation, benefits the cellular processes and can reduce stress and tension.  Not all Qigong is beneficial for arthritis so it is best to talk to an experienced qigong instructor about which exercises are right for you.

Here is one example of a simple Qigong exercise that can help.

This is good for regulating the breathing allowing the lowering of the breathing rate.  It is also good for maintaining the balance of the blood pressure, it strengthens the function of the Kidney meridian, calms the nerves (Shen), and it has a therapeutic action in the alleviation of arthritis.


Standing with the feet shoulder width apart, the knees unlocked (very slightly bent), the feet parallel, the shoulders relaxed and the tailbone (coccyx) tucked under.  Breathing should be relaxed, through the nose and into the abdomen (deep abdominal breathing using the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm).  The breath should be silent (with no tension in the throat) and the tip of the tongue should rest against the palate.
The movement should follow the pace of respiration…………. If you breath fast you move fast, breathe slow you move slow.  As you become more familiar with the movement you will notice that you start to relax more and your respiration slows down.  This bio-feedback will continue until your movement and breath are harmonious, relaxed and slow.

  1. Inhalation – With the palms facing downward, slowly raise the arms so that the hands are slightly higher than the shoulders, and extend the fingers.
  2. Exhalation – Keeping the spine erect, simultaneously lower the hands gently to waist level with the palms facing downward whilst bending the knees.  When bending the knees, the movement should not be excessive, and the knees should not extend beyond the toes (i.e. when looking down, with the back erect, you should just be able to see your toes).

N.B.  Make sure that the shoulders are relaxed and that the elbows are pointed down, with a “rounded” rather than angular feel/look to the arms.  There should be a harmonious co-ordination between the raising and lowering of the arms and stance.

This is the first of the Shibashi Qigong exercises and would normally be repeated six times if it was being done as part of the full Shibashi set.  However, as a solo exercise it can be repeated to your own comfortable limit……………… Take your time to build this up.


When giving Shiatsu head massage, the giver sits/kneels at the head of the receiver.

  1. With the receiver lying in the supine position (face upwards), place both hands at the base of the skull and draw gently towards you (chin should tuck in slightly).
  2. Using the flat of your fingers, gently press in to GB20, noting the rate and depth of breathing and any other subtle movement in the musculature of the neck.
  3. Using your fingertips, start at the base of the neck and work up to the occiput making small circles at the level of each vertebra. Repeat three times noting any areas of tension and any difference between the left and right sides.
  4. With your fingers work on the Bladder meridian (one pair of acupoints at a time), 1 cun out from the spine, up as far as BL10 (just to the outside of the insertion point of trapezius muscle, under the occiput).
  5. Lift the head in both hands and rotate gently within their range of movement, taking note of any resistance or tension. Repeat in both directions.
  6. Cradling the head in one hand, turn it to one side and use finger/thumb pressure from GB20 (between trapezius & sternocleidomastoid under occiput) down the side of the neck to GB21 (top of trapezius). Repeat three times, staying longer on any tender or stiff points.
  7. Keeping the head anchored gently push the shoulder away to create a stretch on the neck.
  8. Squeeze down either side of the SCM muscle, again feeling the points and getting feedback about any referred pain. If such a point is found squeeze for five seconds then release.  Repeat until the pain lessens and then stretch the muscle.
  9. Turn the head to the other side and repeat steps 6-8.
  10. Centre the head and, using the thumb, stimulate the Governing Vessel points from between the eyebrows to the crown.
  11. With fingertips work Bladder meridian from BL2 (in the notch at the inside upper edge of the eye socket) 1 cun out from the mid-line.
  12. With flat of thumbs work along the forehead from centre to the temples, repeat three times, then stimulate TH23 at the outer edge of the eyebrow, and GB1 level with the outer corner of the eye just on the temple area. Both points good for headaches and tension.
  13. Work around the eye socket using finger pressure on the upper orbit and finger/thumb pressure on the lower orbit, making sure not to drag the skin.
  14. Massage in small circular movements at the temples.  The direction of the circles can be alternated.
  15. Using thumbs work down the sides of the nose, three times, and then stimulate LI 20 at the outside corner of the nostril.
  16. Using fingertips work along the underside of the cheekbone. Stimulate ST3 which is under the cheekbone and in line with the pupil of the eye (you need to hook your fingers slightly and pull back towards you).
  17. Work around the upper gum area, again being careful not to drag the skin, then squeezing top and bottom of the jaw from centre to outside edge.
  18. Make circular massage movements on the masseter muscle and press in on any tight parts.  This area holds a lot of tension and is involved in head pain and migraine.
  19. Gently take hold of the ears and pull up and down, backwards and forwards. Finish by pulling down on the ear lobes.
  20. The giver moves to kneel at the side of the receiver.  Then places one thumb or finger at the point between the eyebrows (the “Third Eye”) and the other at the Tandien (3 fingers width below the navel).  These points are held lightly for 10 seconds and then gently lifted off.


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.

Shiatsu Therapy

Shiatsu Therapy

SHIATSU (meaning “finger pressure”) – is a Japanese therapy whose roots can be traced back to Chinese medical traditions and the Japanese massage know as Amna. Shiatsu combines Western knowledge of anatomy and physiology with the wisdom of, ancient, Eastern philosophy, employing techniques of manual pressure (using  the fingers, thumbs & elbows) while also employing stretching to release muscular tension and stress.
There are a number of conditions that Shiatsu can benefit.  These include: arthritic pain, menstrual irregularities, insomnia, muscular tension, muscular pain, digestive problems, anxiety, stress, and headaches.

By using sensitive, yet deep, pressure, applied to the tsubos (acupuncture points) along the meridians (the body’s energy pathways) Shiatsu induces a state of deep relaxation that allows the body’s natural healing mechanisms function more efficiently.  It is well documented that stress & tension are detrimental to health and the operation of the immune system.
Shiatsu is, traditionally, given at floor level, on a futon.  However, there are new techniques that allow for treatment to be carried out on a therapy chair or couch.  The client is normally fully clothed during treatment and no oils, etc. are used.
Shiatsu can be used to treat people with specific ailments but the real beauty of this healing system is that it is most efficacious when received on a regular to keep the receiver in a good state of health and wellbeing.
Shiatsu can help with:

  • Stiff neck and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Digestion
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Menstrual/menopausal imbalances
  • Insomnia
  • Back pain
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation

“This is the kind of massage I have always dreamed of and now I know it has a name, Shiatsu!” Billie Piper

Shiatsu Therapy – Natural and holistic

Shiatsu Therapy

Shiatsu has a good reputation for reducing stress and relieving nausea and vomiting. Shiatsu is also believed to improve circulation and boost the immune system. Some people use it to treat diarrhoea, indigestion, constipation, and other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. For menstrual and menopausal problems, chronic pain, migraine, arthritis, and; toothache. Shiatsu can be used to relieve muscular pain or tension, especially neck and back pain. It also appears to have sedative effects and may alleviate insomnia. In a broader sense, shiatsu is believed to enhance physical vitality and emotional well being.

Shiatsu is a Complementary form of therapy that was developed in Japan from a blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Japanese massage system of Amna.  Shiatsu can also be used as a form of a self-treatment.  However, the best benefits are received when treatment is carried out by a fully qualified and experienced practitioner.

It, possibly through its ability to assist the receiver to relax, has the reputation of being able to improve circulation and boost the immune system.  Many people now use Shiatsu to help treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal tract disorders.  It is also used to treat  chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, tension, anxiety and depression.  Sports injuries also react well to Shiatsu treatment and it is excellent when dealing with muscular pain or tension, especially neck and back pain.  Shiatsu enhances physical vitality and emotional well being.

Shiatsu is usually given, at floor level, on a flat mat called a futon.  It is applied by massaging certain points (acupuncture points), that may be associated with the symptoms or cause of the underlying ailment, using pressure that is applied by the fingers, elbows, or even the knees.  The literal translation of Shiatsu is “finger pressure“.  Through this stimulation, the flow of energy (ki) is restored and balanced.

Indian Head Massage (Champissage)

Indian Head Massage

Indian head massageIndian head massage, also known as Champissage, is a technique of manipulating soft tissues in the Scalp, neck & shoulders with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The therapist uses a range of different massage pressures and rhythms to stimulate the head and neck area. The aim is to clear any blocks in these energy channels that could cause ailments/illness. The belief is when the energy does not flow properly, negative energy builds up, causing common ailments, including stress and pain.  Champissage, which is practiced all over Europe, was brought to the west by Narendra Mehta in the 1970s.

Benefits of Indian Head Massage: –

  • stimulates arterial circulation, and increases venous and lymphatic flow
  • aids the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems
  • stimulates the skin and underlying nerve endings
  • frees knots of muscular tension and relaxes connective tissue
  • reduces stress and can induce a feeling of euphoria
  • aids in the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products

It is particularly effective in addressing the effects of tension & stress.

A typical massage lasts about 20 minutes.

The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique was developed, more than a century ago by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955).  After losing his voice he attended physicians who were unable to diagnose the source of the problem.  Alexander developed his own theory as to the cause of the hoarseness, deciding that misuse and misalignment of the body was to blame.  From his observations, he created an approach to solving his own physical problem by focusing on correcting postural alignment.  He then went on to further develop his technique and pass his knowledge and experience onto the next generation of practitioners/teachers.

The Alexander Technique is usually taught on a one to one basis using specific instructions and assisted (using hand contact) realignment of the posture.  It involves the re-education of what Alexander called “The use of the self” (the re-education of the student’s reactions to internal and external stimuli, rather than something “done to” the student).  The resulting postural realignment leads to a reduction in postural and movement dysfunction, improving the student’s effectiveness in all areas of life.  Through this re-education of the muscular system, the body learns to eliminate poor posture and eliminates excess strain from the body’s structure.  In a series of one-on-one lessons with an Alexander teacher, a student can develop the skills to execute any physical action with minimal strain, resulting in more mobility, less muscular tension, and decreased pain.
Alexander Technique has been found to significantly

  • reduce pain
  • enhance breathing coordination
  • improve overall functional strength and mobility
  • modify stress responses

The Technique is recognised as being beneficial in treating a broad spectrum of neurological and musculoskeletal problems.

Treatment for Lumbar Pain

Treatment for Lumbar Pain

There are a number of holistic, natural, treatments available for Lumbar Pain. Here are some:

Complementary Treatment Options


Shiatsu has been found to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of lumbar pain, releasing muscle tension, alleviating pain, and creating a feeling of wellbeing. Shiatsu is usually experienced as deeply relaxing and practitioners can work with conditions of both acute and chronic natures.

Allopathic Treatment Options

Acute lumbar pain: –

  • Painkillers NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen).
  • Advice to stay active.
  • Spinal manipulation.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • TENS (trans electrical nerve stimulation).
  • Epidural steroid injections. Traction.

Chronic lumbar pain: –

  • Physiotherapy (back exercises).
  • Painkillers such as Analgesics or NSAIDs.
  • Triggerpoint and ligament injection.
  • Spinal manipulation.
  • TENS (trans electrical nerve stimulation).
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Epidural injections.
  • Lumbar supports.
  • Advice to stay mobile and active.



In Western medicine you can use the analogy of the doctor as a repairman…. The repairman fixes things, waiting until he finds something wrong before acting. Here, in the West, our medical system developed in such a way that we, the patients, wait until something is wrong before asking the doctor to repair it. In the East, the analogy could be that of a gardener who constantly digs over the ground, removing weeds, adding nutrients and generally tending to his garden. It is through this constant care that he ensures healthy growth. Shiatsu covers both of these aspects – healing and promoting health.

Shiatsu (pronounced shee-at-soo) is a Japanese word meaning “finger pressure” and is the name coined early in the 20th century to describe this form of healing therapy. It has been recognised as a healing system by the Japanese Government since the 1950’s and now, in the 21st century, it has been recognised by the European Parliament and included as only one of six named Complementary Therapies in the European Register of Non-Conventional Medical Disciplines.

Shiatsu, sometimes referred to as Acupressure, developed from a blend of Chinese acupuncture and the Japanese system of Anma (massage). The Shiatsu therapist uses fingers, thumbs, elbows and knees to apply pressure to the acupoints, also incorporating gentle stretches and manipulations. This has the effect of stimulating the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, helping to release toxins and deep seated tension in the muscles. Shiatsu works on both divisions of the autonomic nervous system and can stimulate the hormonal system. For the recipient, treatment can create a feeling of well-being and calmness.

Shiatsu can be used to treat a wide range of ailments including the following: –

• Sports injuries
• Frozen shoulder
• Tennis elbow & Golfer’s elbow
• Whiplash
• Neck/shoulder pain
• Sciatica
• Lumbar pain
• Leg cramps.
• Headaches
• Migraine
• Tinnitus
• Dizziness
• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Tension
• Stress.
• Palpitations and panic attacks.
• Facial pain
• Sinusitis pain
• Catarrh
• Trigeminal neuralgia
• Bell’s palsy.
• Arthritic/rheumatic pain.
• Lethargy
• Depression
• Breathlessness
• Asthma
• Bronchitis.
• Constipation
• Diarrhoea
• Bloating
• Indigestion
• Nausea.
• Oedema/water retention.
• Menstrual problems.

1. It is best not to drink alcohol on the day of the treatment; have a light meal at least one hour before your treatment.
2. Do not take a long hot bath on the day of the treatment.
3. For treatment wear loose clothing (tracksuit, etc). You will usually remain fully clothed during Shiatsu treatment, which usually takes place on a futon, at floor level.

Response to treatment

After Shiatsu most recipients feel invigorated yet relaxed. The duration and the frequency of treatment will vary from person to person, as will the total number of treatments.

While patients generally experience increased well-being, there may be temporary “healing reactions” as the lymphatic system starts to clear out any waste (toxins) and, occasionally, negative emotions are released. Shiatsu affects all levels of our being, the physical, emotional and spiritual; treatment is attuned and tailored to the individual’s needs. The practitioner may also give advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, encouraging self-understanding and greater independence on health matters.

When looking for a Shiatsu Therapist, as with any other therapists, it is important that you check that they are qualified. The letters MRSS (Member of the Register of the Shiatsu Society) show that the therapist has passed the appropriate examinations and criteria. The therapist should also display a certificate of Registration with the Shiatsu Society as well as displaying a current certificate of insurance.