We tend to think of being relaxed as only a physical state, whereas it clearly has mental and spiritual aspects which are equally important to our overall health.
Our bodies need about eight hours sleep a day during which our muscle and organ functions can slow down and recuperate. The information we have taken in during our time awake (from our environment, our work, our interactions, emotions with others etc.) are processed and integrated into all our body systems and cells. During an uninterrupted eight hour sleep period around one and a half hours is spent in dreaming. The periods of dreaming sleep appear cyclically during the night, about every ninety minutes and they become longer in duration as the night continues. Some of the longest dream periods occur just before awakening. If we miss the last forty five minutes of our eight hour sleep requirement we may well be cutting down our dreaming period by fifty percent. Research has shown that when humans and other animals are deprived of dream sleep we become agitated and anxious. This clearly adversely affects not only the physical but also our mental and spiritual bodies. The regular loss of dream time will reduce the overall quality of our lives.
In addition to ensuring that we have a sufficient amount of dream sleep we can practise regular relaxation techniques, regular general exercise, meditation, affirmations, breathing exercises, reading inspirational literature which can direct our thought processes towards enhancing life, joy and confidence.
Some experts maintain that an hour of body treatment such as shiatsu, massage, osteopathy etc. is equivalent to four hours of normal sleep or rest.
Every single cell in our body, to work effectively, should be able to receive adequate nutrients and effectively release all its wastes and toxins. This includes not only that we take in the proper nutrients and fluids, but also that these facilitate the assimilation processes.
It is well known that our attitudes and emotions affect the biochemistry of our bodily processes. A positive and cheerful attitude at mealtimes aids the proper assimilation (digestion and absorption) of food and fluid, whereas anxiety, anger, stress and other negative attitudes impede it.
Proper assimilation is aided by adequate fluid intake of water preferable before or after meals (Nutritionists recommend about 2 litres per day on average). Alcohol or sugar based drinks are not suitable substitutes as they are absorbed quickly into the blood system, give each cell extra work to do, increase the waste and toxin output and put extra work load on the liver and kidneys. If you take these drinks, try to maintain and if possible increase your daily pure water intake.
Digestion starts in the mouth where enzymes in saliva breakdown starches. The starches, if not fully broken down in the mouth can lead to fermentation in other parts of the digestive system and give rise to irritation, inflammation, pain and or gases and interfere with proper assimilation.
Our bodies where designed to process whole foods which, if in their natural state, contain all the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins we need. In our modern day society we can find it is often difficult to eat only whole foods but we should strive to this end. At times we may need to take food supplements, vitamins or minerals to get back to a healthy state but these should not be taken on regular or indefinite bases as our bodies can lose the ability to extract or produce these from what we eat.
There are many other aspects in regard to types and combinations of food that can effect the proper assimilation of nutrients but if we can pay attention to just the above points in our own lives we should see a marked difference in our well-being.
Optimum physical health depends on how we CARE for ourselves, particularly in regard to: – Circulation, Assimilation, Relaxation, and Eliminations in our physical bodies. Each week over the next four weeks in the blog we will discuss one of these topics and see how we can maximise these in our daily lives. Each depends on the other and when all are working efficiently together we can experience optimum health and the joy of the life force living through us.
It is the circulation of the blood and lymph that carry nutrients to and takes all waste products (toxins) away from cells and tissues. To be optimally effective they need to reach every single cell in the body. Blood and lymph circulation depends on the state of our heart and the vessels which transport them. These systems also transport white cells and hormones which regulate our immune systems and our emotions which have an important impact on the quality of our lives.
Circulation in this case means constant movement to and fro between the heart and every cell in the body.
Exercise is clearly one way to help our circulation but we need to be careful that we don’t overdo it. Strong exercise can tear muscle fibres and cause micro scar tissue, bruise muscles, impact joints, all of which can obstruct good circulation. Regular walking or swimming is generally recognised as very safe and good for stimulating the circulation.
Regular stretching exercises to release tense muscles and open the joints where the majority of obstructions tend to occur are also highly recommended. In addition;
Regular bodywork such as shiatsu, massage, osteopathy etc., stimulates circulation and allows us to relax and at the same time gives our tissues space to rejuvenate from the feel-good factor of endorphins and the increased flow of blood and lymph.
“In the summer time when the winter has gone, we can reach right up and touch the sky”. These are words from a song I remember each summer.
When I feel good on a summer´s day I find myself almost spontaneously singing these words ( the only ones I remember from the song) and humming the catchy tune and I really feel that I can reach into the sky and touch it. It´s a feeling of expansion, a feeling of being united and in contact with all around me – total wellbeing.
When I´m feeling down or perhaps the weather´s not so good I try to recall the warmth, feelings and emotions that vibrate through me when I feel good on a summers day and … Ole I can often change the course of my day.
About three months ago, a person came to us for consultation. She was suffering from numbness and pins and needles in her arms and back. For some time, she had received conventional medical treatment without success. After several Shiatsu sessions, her problems disappeared and she seems to have completely recovered: Alternative Medicine.
Both types of Medicine are effective. Each one is more or less appropriate depending on the circumstances. Choosing one or the other is our choice.
Today with all the pressures confronting us, we frequently end up with aches and pains and to feel better and get rid of the pain we take over the counter analgesics .
There is no such thing as a safe drug. All medications have side effects. They can vary from mild and short duration to strong long term adverse reactions and permanent damage. How one reacts to a drug depends on many factors including your age and whether you are taking any other drugs. Drugs which you can tolerate on their own can become lethal when taken with other drugs or food combinations. Many of these drugs will accumulate in our bodies creating secondary effects building up toxic levels which manifest as new problems.
Among the many possible conditions that may arise from taking common pain killers ( analgesics ) like aspirin, paracetamol, and the non-steroid- anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ) such as ibuprofen, include:-
internal bleeding, allergies, swellings, drops in blood pressure, breathing problems, diarrhoea, hives, nausea, depression, fevers, insomnia, blurred vision, chest pains, fluid retention, kidney damage and even death.
Medication is necessary and helpful when we have sharp or intense pain but should only be used when absolutely necessary and never on a regular basis..
So what can we do to sort out everyday aches and pains? :-
Well! – our bodies have their own pain killers, opiate peptides produced in the brain (called endorphins) which are stimulated by *exercise,* pleasant thoughts and *bodywork.
You have to do your own exercise and think your own pleasant thoughts but you can receive bodywork and start to get your own body’s analgesics (endorphins) stimulated – Feel better and more relaxed, get the pleasant thoughts going and then you can get on to doing and enjoying more exercise.
Working on acupuncture points is known to stimulate the production of endorphins. A Shiatsu or “On-Site” Massage treatment works directly on many of these points and can profoundly relax and leave you with a wonderful sense of wellbeing.
lGIVE IT A TRY.
As we are coming up to another of our one day cooking courses on 23 rd February, we would like to share one of the cake recipes that people, who have attended the course, tell us they really enjoy . Here it is:-
Barry’s Carrot Cake:
2 x 250 ml cups* – wholemeal flour ( Spelt flour if you can get it )
1 heaped tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 heaped tsps. Cinnamon
1 handful mixed crushed walnuts and sultanas or currants
Mix all above dry ingredients together
2 heaped Tbsps. Panela (or Brown sugar)
¾ cup* light olive oil
Mix and beat the above ingredients to a smooth consistency
2 x 250 ml cups* grated carrot
Mix A, B and C together – Keep the mixture light – do not over mix.
Put in a baking tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for +/- 50 minutes (depending on your oven).
This recipe is low in sugar and high in nutrients and taste – ENJOY!!
Catherine Scanlon, a colleague Shiatsu therapist (www.shiatsuhealth.com) recently published the following article in her blog. It is reproduced with her permission.
So, I broke my right clavicle on a beach (horse) ride 6 weeks ago. What a pain – meaning I have had to cancel my shiatsu treatments to give, as well as participating in tennis for at least 10 weeks during the summer season, just when it was getting going. I am writing this piece, because as a patient/ client/ service user I gain new insights into the experience of health care, which can inform understanding for all – practitioners, whether orthodox or complementary and patients. This is part of an attempt to consider what an integrated approach could mean.
1. Initial orthodoxy – so, once it was worked out that I had injured myself, I was shipped off to A&E by ambulance, which all sounds pretty efficient. (I don’t remember anything in fact from the beginning of the ride, to later in the day). I seem to have received an X ray, which diagnosed the clavicle break, and a CT scan, which ascertained that my head/ brain was/ were broadly speaking OK, though the amnesia and odd behaviour indicated severe concussion.
I was kept in hospital overnight to observe for further problematic symptoms from the concussion, but discharged thankfully the following day. I was told to go to the local fracture clinic, which I did two weeks later, but not especially advised to have any other treatment, such as physiotherapy. I found myself intuitively adopting the ‘neutral’ Alexander position, with my eyes firmly closed, to allow the healing clavicle as much chance as possible to get back in the right position, and also to allow the shock to disperse. I found myself yearning for some kind of healing compress, both for my head and for my shoulder, but was unable to manifest one; I had thought this might be something medical herbalists might do, but they seem keener to administer herbs as ?pills.
2. As it happened, I had a physiotherapy treatment booked for the following week, and attended it. I kept attending weekly (really from my own impetus rather than recommendation), and received very helpful treatment to help relieve muscle tension around the shoulder – by the spine, along the pectoral muscles and upper ribs, and perhaps other things that I don’t remember, or which weren’t explained to me. I don’t feel like the physiotherapist gave me an overview of the recovery process, though they did help encourage me to reduce movement, such as not bicycling which might have jarred the healing bone.
3. I also had some shiatsu treatment. I am a shiatsu practitioner, and my holidaying friend is too – having nobly driven me home, he gave me a brief treatment (just 10 minutes) to relieve shock (eg working on Heart 7 on the wrist – a well-known shock treatment point) – I felt my body shifting into a better space as he worked, and there was some hara movement, I think. I was very impressed.
I asked my regular shiatsu practitioner if she would advise bringing my booked treatment forward, but she seemed to think I would benefit from healing by myself until the bruising went down. I found myself craving a gentle shiatsu treatment to help settle down, but didn’t manage to manifest that. When I did have shiatsu treatment, I was enormously impressed with the work. Focus was given to the joints as each end of the clavicle; again, there was significant hara adjustment, and the shoulder felt more complete at the end of it; plus I felt shock had released in the process.
To conclude, I am enormously grateful to all these healers who have helped me in this process. I do think there could be more advice on how this kind of injury could be supported, because what I have received has beeen to some extent accidental, but so very helpful.
Feel free to add your thoughts to this blog.
For those of us who do bodywork (Shiatsu, Massage, etc.), there are basic techniques in common and our success in the profession depends on how we apply them.
We are talking, for instance, about the ability to adopt correct body postures in a treatment and vary them according to our needs. In addition, we include the ability to use hands, fingers, elbows, etc., in a sensible and effortless way, to avoid the risks of unnecessary tiredness and injuries.
In Shiatsu y bienestar, we have come to value through experience the importance of the therapists preparation and personal care. Actually, this is at the core of our Courses which, we can say with satisfaction, are attended not only by beginners, but also by advanced students and professionals who want to improve their technique and have a more successful and a longer professional life.
If you are, or you want to be, a bodyworker, check our Course calendar for years 2013/2014