In the last issue of the British Shiatsu Society Journal appeared an article by Marianna Lazana, head of a team of Shiatsu therapists in the Pain Management Clinic of the University Hospital of Athens, one of the principle health centres in the Greek capital.
Marianna and her team are offering free treatments to patients with chronic problems, as they wouldn’t be able to pay for them given the serious social crisis in Greece. In addition, they are working hand in hand with doctors who refer patients to Shiatsu and other Complementary therapies such as Acupuncture and Reflexology.
The Shiatsu team since 2008 have treated 400 patients (80 men and 320 women). Most of them suffered from musculoskeletal pain (back, knees, shoulder joint). Other conditions treated were fibromyalgia and headaches.
The average number of treatments received by each patient was 12.
Results reported by patients in pain reduction were considered to be excellent: 23% were free of pain after treatments. The majority of others had a 50% reduction in the intensity of their pain. Other conditions improved, such as having a better sleep.
Marianne notices that the patients problems were as much physical as they were emotional and psycho-social, considering the difficult life conditions in Greece at the moment. As a consequence, therapists had to be good listeners and show empathy to the people.
We congratulate Marianna and her team for the great work they are doing, another example of Integrated Medicine, the one that takes the best from Traditional Medicine and Complementary therapy.
An article in “ El Pais Semanal “ (29/3/2015) tells us about recent studies at Loughborough University by professor Jim Horne of the Sleep Investigations Unit. His investigations show that a siesta is the most natural way to recuperate ones energy in the early afternoon, when our capacity to concentrate falls. This official finding is receiving encouragement from the British press who reveal that such famous people as John F. Kennedy, Leonardo de Vinci, Bill Clinton and Winston Churchill were in the habit of having a siesta in the afternoons. It appears that in the U.K. there are indications that in some areas, labour productivity is alarmingly low and the humble siesta may well be the answer to the problem.
With an On-Site chair massage you can have a power siesta and recuperate your energy and concentration in just 20 minutes.
According to the World Health Organisation, we can only say we have hypertension after repeated b/p readings over 12/8 have been recorded over a 6 month period. This is because our blood pressure can vary considerably throughout the day depending on many factors such as our nervous state at any given time, if we have exercised strongly, been smoking or drinking etc. Because of this, tension readings should only be taken when we are in a calm and tranquil state and over a relatively long period of time.
What are the causes of hypertension?
In 90% of the cases the causes are likely to be:
* An inadequate diet, i.e., rich in animal fats and poor in fibre often combined with an excess of salt and/or sugar.
* A lack of physical exercise.
* A continuous state of stress.
If we continue to consume alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco we can complicate the situation, as well as if we use birth control medication, anti-depressives, anti- inflammatories and hydrocortisone.
In the remaining 10% of cases hypertension may be due to organic causes such as mal-functioning kidneys / adrenal glands or a congenital mal-functioning /deformed heart.
What can we do if we have hypertension?
In relation to what has been said above, the solution to the problem can be found in a change of lifestyle:
1) Nutrition: At least 80% of the diet should consist of vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and legumes (fibre, minerals, vitamins).
Reduce or eliminate the consumption of milk and milk products (fats), red meat (fats), cured meat products, sausages etc., (fats, additives and salt), cakes and pastries, carbonated drinks and jams (additives, sugar). The same consideration should be given to the consumption of coffee, alcohol and tobacco and in consultation with your doctor, the previously mentioned medications.
2) Physical exercise: Physical exercise improves the functioning of the heart, eliminates toxins and reduces stress…all these factors are essential for efficient circulation of the blood and the health of our arteries. It’s ideal to combine strenuous exercise such as aerobics, running, gymnasium, swimming …with meditation or the practise of Yoga, Tai Chi or Chi-kung.
3) Stress: After identifying the cause/s (too much/too little work, family frictions, emotional upsets etc.) we need to eliminate the problem or at least change the way we see and feel about it.
Shiatsu and Acupressure, can help us recover our balance in all respects (physical, mental and emotional), and can contribute to maintaining our blood pressure at it’s correct level.
The external injuring condition affecting these energies is wind, which is prevalent in these months and we need to take adequate precautions if we want to avoid adversely being affected by it.
The body areas related to these energies are the muscles, ligaments and joints and the negative emotions, anger and impatience. The body sense and sense organs corresponding to wood are sight and the eyes.
Wood energy is directed upward and outward and can be very powerful as we can see in the attached photo*, where wood in nature has the ability to break through and split solid rock in its quest to go upward and outward. During the spring time, when this energy is out of balance people tend to suffer with muscle and joint problems, often with wandering pains in different joints / muscles. Anger and impatience as the result of the strong upward movement of energy can also result in violent headaches and eye problems, along with high blood pressure and its consequences.
In a Shiatsu treatment, to help these problems we would treat the relevant energy meridian / s along with others which would nurture or help unblock stuck and contracted energy (e.g. Water and Earth energies). Stretches, joint mobilisations and other dispersion techniques might also be used. Advice on suitable stretches and exercises to open and free contracted energies would be given, along with suggestions to guard against wind and drafts, plus suitable nutritional advice.
*We want to thank our friend Paco Frontiñán for the attached photo.
The more time we spend seated in the office the more sustained is the weight load we put on our hips and buttocks and if in addition, our seated posture is poor we are building up problems for the future.
For the greater part of the day, the heaviest part of our body, the head, arms and trunk are pushing their combined weight onto the lumbar vertebra, hips and sacral bones at the base of the spine. While seated the legs are idle giving virtually no support to the rest of the body – Wham! Congestion, pressure is created on the lower body organs, bones and vertebra and the sacral nerve plexus. – fluid, fuel and waste flow all slow down and/or stagnate in the lumbar/pelvic area, in cells, organs, muscles, blood and lymph vessels.
It is not surprising that one of the most common areas which cause problems in office workers is lower back pain (lumbago) and pain down the leg (sciatica).
Correct sitting posture while working at a desk will distribute the upper body weight evenly down the spine and into the hips and will go a long way to preventing future problems as will daily exercise, working the lower back and hips.
Regular acupressure chair treatments help to loosen up and increase the flow of blood and fluids in the lumbar/sacral area and can reduce these problems.
Throughout the day and night our head (brain) is giving us orders and instructions and our shoulders bear the brunt of the responsibility of the decisions we take. Between the two is our neck, the bridge over or through which all the traffic passes carrying fuel, messages and waste products to the respective parts of our body where it has to be used, processed and/or disposed of. All this moves through a myriad of muscles, tendons, nerve plexuses, blood and lymph vessels and around and through tricky bone structures in the neck.
It is not surprising that these areas particularly tend to get congested with waste toxins, stress and tension. Many of our clients come for us to deal with stress and tension in these areas. Acupressure and shiatsu are very effective in relieving tension aches and pains in head, neck and shoulders.
Have a look at our video on U-Tube showing part of the acupressure sequence on the neck. Try a treatment and you could feel head and shoulders above the rest, at least for the rest of the day.
Our hands and fingers are working more than ever before. I- phones and computers along with all their new applications (Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter…), they all need our hands and fingers to rapidly touch the little keys or the screen so that we can be up to date and in touch with the world around us!!!
Our hands are made up of a multitude of small bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. They all also get tired and stressed but we seldom give them much personal attention. They are now in some people probably one of the most worked areas of our muscular / skeletal system and need a bit of extra attention so they can work efficiently for us for the duration of our lives.
In the acupressure chair massage sequence,( which was originally designed for office workers), we give a robust treatment to the wrist, hands and fingers with friction, pressure, and stretching techniques which help to relax, disperse and release tension.
People regularly comment on how good the work on the hands feels and on the sensation of release they get from it.
Now you know! Get some Happy Hands.