Shiatsu helps your Mental Health






We are slowly coming out of knockdown and experiencing several changes. You may be still working from home, back at work or on vacation. In these current times, it’s especially important to attend to our physical and mental health. Shiatsu can play a vital roll in this.
 
Research shows that stress and anger can cause heart disease. It reminds us of why mental health should be taken seriously. Stress is a risk and is equated to high blood pressure or smoking. Emotional agitation causes inflammation of the arteries that can set off a stroke or heart attack.  A study by Harvard Medical School released in The Lancet highlights this sense of the phase, ‘anger makes my blood boil’. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31714-7/fulltext
 
The study lines up Western Science based Medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the latter of which is the underlying theory of Shiatsu. In Eastern therapies unexpressed emotions like anger or worry are major causes of physical dis-ease. They look at body and mind as one and see a direct link between the condition of blood and arteries with the quietness and clarity of the mind. The mind in Chinese medicine is identified as “Shen” and resides in the blood.
 
Shiatsu is gradually more valued in mainstream mental health services because of its benefit on reducing stress and difficult emotions. London and South Maudsley NHS Trust have said of a Shiatsu project set up in 2010, it is one of its most “valued” in the campaign. The head of occupational therapy at the Trust, said: “Service users, carers and staff alike have spoken highly of the impact this has made on their sense of well being. Particular reference has been made to renewed energy, improved motivation, reduction of side effects, as well as reduced tension, improved healing and increased hope.”
 
 
Tools Shiatsu uses to enhance mental health:
 
Acupuncture Points located in the head, neck, chest, arm and leg alleviate pressure away from the chest, cool the blood and calm the mind. These points lift physical and mental signs simultaneously.
 
Touch is the essence of Shiatsu. Human touch is the tool of Shiatsu working with thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows and knees to exploit, stretch the body from head to toe. The connection through touch with another person is a powerful tool for treating mental health problems. It assists in reconnecting body and mind to the outside environment.
 
Muscle release is used in Shiatsu to deepen and lengthen the breath which stimulates the function of the parasympathetic nervous system. One example is the psoas muscle, linking the back to the legs, which can get chronically tightened by stress as it prepares the body to run from danger. Stretching the psoas muscle allows a deep release which can be extremely satisfying for body and mind.
 
Shiatsu gives a therapeutic, nurturing space where a person can take time out and take comfort with oneself.
 
Receiving Shiatsu is an immensely enjoyable opportunity to be pampered while on a journey to self awareness. Sessions are a chance for self-discovery because they are a mirror to ourselves. They give receivers insight into habitual and often unintentional habits that add to an unpleasant mental outlook. Hunched shoulders, clenched teeth, arms and fists braced for action and a shallow breath will extend feelings of stress, even after the stressful situation has passed.

Easy Ways to Boost your Immune System

We are going though uncharted waters at the present time. I think that the best we can do is to follow the guidelines of public health messages and on our own we need to strengthen our immune systems. Shiatsu is a great way to support your immunity coupled with the following recommendations.

The importance of washing our hands has been reported from all corners of the world. Use plenty of warm water over your hands whilst rubbing them together. More water than usual is more important than the amount of soap used. If you use gels, look for 60% alcohol, as this will have antibacterial and antivirucidal activity. By the way they don’t work if your hands are greasy or heavily dirty.

Diet

Eat a colourful low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet, rich in various coloured vegetables and fruits. This will give you the best option for receiving antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients needed to fight infections. The more and the deeper colours you include, the more nutrients you receive. Eat the vegetables and fruits whole and with the skins as they contain fibre that feeds healthy bugs in your gut, essential to combat infection.

If you get ill, increase intake on vitamin C

It does not prevent infection but once a cold has hit, vitamin C can shorten the duration of symptoms. The immune cells need lots of vitamin C when they are working to fight infection. Take in more vitamin C at that time. A good source of vitamin C is in kiwi, orange, red peppers, spinach, grapefruit, cauliflower and Brussels’ sprouts, or take a good quality supplement.

Sleep

Good quality sleep is the foundation of your whole immune system. During sleep the hormone melatonin stimulates new immune cells. Not sleeping well compromises our immune system.

Exercise

Regular exercise is the key for a healthy immune system. Movement is essential for the lymphatic system which counts on movement for stimulation.

Drink plenty of Water

Hydration is really important. Many metabolic functions rely on it. If you get dehydrated, it can change the mucus layer in your respiratory tract and digestive tract that has antibodies traps and stop germs getting into your cells. By the way, coffee and tea are diuretic, they don’t count.

Echinacea, Grapefruit seed extract, Goldenseal, etc…

Natural remedies and herbs have been used throughout history by native people to overcome infections. Recently we see more scientific research and evidence that they work in particular studies.

Vitamin D and Zinc

Not enough vitamin D weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to disease. Called the sunshine vitamin because your body makes all it needs with enough sunlight. Most of us need to supplement particular during the winter months. Fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms are rich in this vitamin.

Zinc is another important mineral we have to get in from our diet. One of its many roles is to fight infection. Food sources include red meat, shellfish, seeds, legumes and dark chocolate.

Microbiome

Your gut bacteria are essential to immunity. They break down your food in the digestive tract and produce post biotics that are beneficial for our immune system. It means eating more fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir, sources of good bacteria. Equally important is eating fibre foods that feed those healthy bugs and help them grow. Eating sourdough is one of the healthiest foods you can take for your microbiome and an excellent source of fermented fibre. Try to find slow-fermented breads from artisan bakers preferably made with more ancient grains such as spelt, or einkorn. Also fruit and vegetables, whole grain and legumes have gut-friendly fibres.

Garlic

For thousands of years garlic has been valued for its therapeutic power. Those delicious, white bulbs contain allicin a compound well studied for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial result. It is only released when the garlic has been broken and left to sit for a while and eaten uncooked. 

2020

Happy 2020, New Decade, New Year…..

In eastern philosophy winter is the Yin time of the year. Certain animals hibernate and plants withdraw to replenish and regenerate their potential during winter, preparing for growth in spring. It is a time for deep rest and healing.

In the past when humans lived closely to nature they followed this natural rhythm. In modern society most of us miss this chance to replenish our inner reserves. The festive season can be demanding and then in January we’re bombarded with messages to make goals, be more and do more ect. It is no surprise that we can feel we’re running on empty, overwhelmed and depressed.

In traditional Chinese medicine winter is associated with Kidney and Bladder organ and the Water element. The Kidneys hold our reserves of energy and potential, a bit like our internal batteries and need careful nurturing.

Often Kidney imbalance symptoms show up this time of the year – lower back pain, anxiety and fear, fatigue, joint problems, chest congestion, kidney problems, hormonal and reproductive issues and hearing difficulties.

Pay attention to your body, it knows what it needs and will communicate to you through sensations. Tune in to how you feel! Move your body gently in ways that feel supportive. Stretch, move and twist into the back and spine to nourish and activate stagnant energy in the Kidney and Bladder meridian. Meridian stretches; moving meditation, yoga and Chi Kung are beneficial for this.

Dress up warm and go for walks in nature and take in the rays of natural daylight. Select what feels good for your body and soul.

Avoid rushing, get rest, go to bed earlier and get more sleep whenever possible.

The anatomical location of the kidneys is in your lower back, just below the back ribs on the right and left side. Rubbing this area to generate warmth moves stagnant blood and energy. Traditionally kidney warmer was worn to protect the organs. Wearing a vest is great and does the job. Hot water bottle can help to keep the kidneys warm. Ginger Compress is a traditional remedy to harness the warming, energising nature of ginger and nourish the Kidneys.

Eat more warming stews and soups. Use Kidney nourishing root vegetables like carrots, butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potato. Add in some ginger and seaweed for an extra boost. Use dark vegetables and pulses like kidney beans. Nuts, seeds and sea food is also beneficial. Drink warm fluids such as herbal teas and ginger tea.

Sugar in foods and drinks, caffeine and alcohol deplete our vital energy and give rise to fatigue, unstable emotions and weakens our immune system.

It is a good time of the year to receive shiatsu to strengthen and balance your energy. If you experiencing symptoms or need support to see you through the winter as a preventative measure.

Taking care of yourself?

Most of you already know that if you take care of your body – like you would with your car – the healthier you will feel physically and emotionally. So here are some easy key points to help your motor run more smoothly.

Of course, no bias, regular Shiatsu treatment for balance, reduction of stress and relaxation to ensure you continue in good health. After a period of time, as your car requires a regular MOT, you should do the same for your body. See your GP and dentist for a regular health check. Even if you do not have any issues or pain it is best to be preventive and not wait until problems arrive. Take care of your health.

Eat a well balanced nourishing diet. Just as fuel matters for your car, so does the food you put into your body. It is important to eat a good, quality variety of fruit and vegetables and healthy fats, which you can find in nuts, seeds and oils such as flaxseed and virgin coconut oil.

Get moving: Cars that aren’t driven regularly have an increased chance of breaking down. Also, if your body stays sedentary for long periods, it can lose its function and can become creaky, tied up and slow like an unused engine. Make sure you spin the wheels for at least 30-60 minutes a day. Be motivated by the big city – there’s no lack of choices with people walking, running or cycling, use an exercise app and lots of exercise studios on every high street!

Change your car: I am not suggesting changing your body, although it would be a great thought! What I am saying is change your mindset. Change can be simple and occur in many forms: those I’ve suggested already, introduce a supplement to your diet, start a new exercise or sport, listening to inspiring music, or even just take ten minutes out of your day to be still and meditate. 

Don’t start to do everything at once, start small, step by step and over time those small ‘tune-ups’ became your normal, everyday life. Make a small change today that’ll kick-start your machine for the journey to come!

Digestive Balance

Shiatsu is great in helping digestive issues. You can also help and support your digestive system, by eating slowly. A diet rich in fibre, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables can be helpful. It is important to chew your food well so it is in a liquid form before it enters your stomach. Digestion begins in the mouth. As a suggestion, try to drink between meals rather than with your food. Our digestive system works best in the first half of the day and gets more sluggish in the second part.
The Stomach and Spleen energy channels are associated with the function of ingestion and digestion of food and information for mental, emotional and physical nourishment. In traditional Shiatsu as in traditional Chinese medicine, the Stomach corresponds to the entire digestive tract and is a vital organ for the production of Ki energy in the body.
Shiatsu treatment is ideal for treating symptoms such as indigestion, a bloated stomach and abdominal cramps or pain due to stress.

Fascia and Shiatsu

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In November, I took part in a fascia release seminar with Gabriella Poli, an experienced Shiatsu Practitioner, teacher and one of the founders of the European Shiatsu Society. It was impressive and I learnt new techniques which compliments very well with Shiatsu, in realizing releases of old and recent injuries and traumas. It was a comprehensive group of 28 experienced Shiatsu Practitioners from the UK, Sweden, Portugal, France, Greece and Italy.

What is Fascia?
Fascia is a general term for connective tissue. It is also called “extracellular matrix”. Fascia is a band or sheet that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to toe. It covers all structures of our body: it separates, supports, connects and protects. Energetically, fascia is crucial as it is deeply connected and interwoven within our denser structures: bones, muscles, ligaments and organs. Fascia records all physical, emotional and mental activity. Energy that connects with trauma that has not been resolved gets trapped in the fascia tissue. Fascia influences the energy flow in the meridians.
Have a look at this youtube clip ‘Fascia magnified 25 x’.

Fascia restriction
Fascia restriction causes pain, contractions, limitations in the range of motion, dysfunction of organs and body systems and misalignment of body structures.
Fascia reacts to stress and trauma by contracting to protect the body. Collagen fibers thicken in order to provide additional support to the tissue that is undergoing stress. Because fascia is a unique sheath and an interconnected web, restriction of fascia in one part of the body will transfer, through time, into other parts of the body itself.

Fascia Release
In order to release fascia I use no pressure techniques, but instead a light touch. As we do not use pressure, we can therefore treat clients with:
Acute pain
Inflammation
Bones fragility
Varicose veins
Injuries
Fibromyalgia
Rheumatoid arthritis
Etc…..

Fascia releases are performed all over the body, depending on where the restriction is located. Fascia release allows the return of denser structures to their normal physiological adaptive range, relieving pain and improving the quantity and quality of motion and function.

Metal Element

We had the hottest summer since records began and the new academic year has started. September 23rd is the official start of autumn. When summer moves into autumn it is important to take time to relax and rest. Shiatsu is the perfect way to help the transition.
The Five Elements are a fantastic model for discovering the cycles of life and nature and their part in our life.
The five elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.
Each element has its strengths, qualities and propensity in nature, so they can be cultivated in us as human beings – to run like water, bend like wood, ascend like fire, ground like earth and demarcate like metal. These elements and their qualities can be stimulated by the right quality of touch on the body.
Autumn is the season of the metal element which is related to our lungs and large intestine, the element of clarity, value identity and character. This gives the gift of boundaries, focus, leadership and clear authority. The metal element also brings healthy self-confidence, knowing who you are and your worth in the world. Each breath is appreciated and brings us in to the living moment, the certainty of our mortality while we are actively alive! When metal is dreary, life can turn lonely. We sense the isolation of our unique selves, existential and solo, the borders are too clear, rigid and frail. This is a situation of profound grief but a grief not mourned, withered and broken inside, all alone. It represents our basic sense of solitude and loneliness, encircled by autumn leaves and stripped trees. The breath of life is diminished and with it can arrive respiratory difficulties and bowel problems as letting go is tough and hurting. Skin problems show up since it reflects our boundaries and with it a loss of self image. The sharp edge of life is in need of re-modelling and defining to notice our uniqueness and the paradox of being alone and belonging.
Shiatsu aims to recharge the elements, different parts of the body hold these potent energies and shiatsu can wake them up with the right touch and intention. Often the body is waiting to be held in a certain way in a particular place. When we are met in an appropriate way a deep change can take place.
Shiatsu is not something that is DONE to you, but with you, paying attention to both you and your body’s deep needs and wishes and replying to and meeting them in the moment, with your full participation. Shiatsu is a dance, following a pulse of an unfolding process of awareness and a celebration.

Why should I have Shiatsu?

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This is one of the frequently asked questions I receive. I have been practising Shiatsu for 16 years and I have observed the impact and change in a person over time.

Shiatsu is a form of massage/bodywork, applied through the clothes and incorporates simple release points, stretching techniques and holding positions. Its essence is simple and effective and oftentimes promotes self-realisation and wellness. Shiatsu gives an awareness of body posture, breathing and exercise. Shiatsu moves the body’s vital and necessary energy (known as Qi or Ki) and is relaxing, yet remarkable in its results. The body starts to re-adjust itself and healing occurs. The receiver in Shiatsu is assisted by me to become more sensitive to one’s own body and mind as a complete whole, on both conscious and subconscious levels. One notices areas of tension or fragility on a physical or emotional basis and through this process ease and release takes place.

In Shiatsu we focus on the whole person, rather than conditions. Most people, healthy or ill, and of all ages from babies to the elderly can benefit from it. Shiatsu helps to enhance health and zest and clients use it as a preventative health care programme, self care or part of stress management. Further, Shiatsu is brilliant if you are feeling unwell without a known medical condition. Nevertheless, if you do have an illness or injury which you may or may not need orthodox medical treatment, Shiatsu can still support you. It may well be relaxation or stress reduction, or creating a space where you are being listened to.
People come to Shiatsu for all kinds of reasons. Some come with specific conditions varying from the acute to chronic from physical to the more emotional. They might present structural problems such as stiff necks, bad backs or poor posture, as well as menstrual problems, digestive difficulties, headaches and migraines or psychological issues such as stress and depression. Often I see people during major changes in their lives, such as, loss of someone, a move, divorce, trauma, puberty, infertility, pregnancy and menopause.
Shiatsu is complementary health care and seen as an addition to western medicine. Shiatsu works with the energy of the body: so there are limitations. This is also the reason why it is “safe”.

As you’re probably already aware, new regulations around data protection are coming into force in Europe on 25th of May. If you like to receive my newsletter you don’t have to do anything. If you no longer like to hear from me, please send me an unsubscribe email.
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If the subject posed any questions for you, do not hesitate to contact me. If you like to forward this newsletter to friends or family, I welcome it.

See you soon.

Best wishes,

Doris

Headache & Migraine

Welcome to the latest Shiatsu London Newsletter. It is a time where Zephyrus has blown with the renewal of spring time. We’ve had a cold spell, though and we are all looking forward to warmer weather.

Almost all of us endure headaches at some time. It is a common symptom associated with many illnesses, for example, flu, the common cold, toothache, allergies, hay fever, sinus problem, nose and eye diseases and menstrual irregularities. It comes without specific causes, as well. Headaches alter the circulation of blood in the head due to physical, emotional and dietary causes. About 90% of headaches are caused by tension. A migraine is an extreme, throbbing pain that usually begins on one side of the head but may strike the whole head. The pain can last for hours or days and often doesn’t respond to common painkillers such as aspirin.

From a Shiatsu point of view (which is based on Oriental medicine), digestive imbalances are the cause of headaches and imbalances in the liver and gall bladder channels are the source of migraines. The role of Shiatsu therapy for these conditions is to disperse stagnant Ki (i.e. blocked energy) in the neck and head, particularly on the gall bladder channel to the side of the head, which would be the initial treatment to ease symptoms. Specifically, concentrating on a point at the back of the skull (Gall Bladder 20) would have a strong movement in clearing stagnant Ki from the head.

Gentle fingertip pressure applied to the space between the eyebrows (Yin Tan point) also transfers stagnant Ki and will raise a cloudy mind accompanying a headache.

Overall if headaches are very severe I would recommend to see your GP.

Shiatsu clients can expect to receive relief from headaches and migraines. Shiatsu given at a deeper rooted level provides long term improvements.

What you can do:

Identify and eliminate your headache or migraine triggers.

Try relaxation training to cope with stress.

Make sure you are well hydrated.

Practice deep breathing, which increases oxygen supply to the brain.

Eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Did you know?

Treating headaches with painkillers can, in time, interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight pain.

Wishing you good health this spring!

Doris                    www.shiatsulondon.com            mob: 07941 171725

Stress

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Stress

Dear Shiatsu Friends,

I hope you are in good health and enjoying snowy and sunny days we are experiencing.

With the pace of our modern life, stress and stress related conditions seem to be markedly increasing. Stress in the work environment give rise to more sick days off work than the common cold. The BBC Healthwatch programme identified that 80% of all GP’s appointments are stress related.
Stress arises when demands on an individual surpasses one’s potential to manage and feel in control. An inordinate amount of negative pressure exerted on a particular person could lead to breaking point and an inability to cope overall.

Stress for one human being at a particular time may not be stress for another human being at the same time. Equally, at a different moment in time it may not be stressful to the first person. Stress is often caused from a perception of a situation, rather than the situation itself. It is better to resolve stress when it arises than left until it becomes chronic.

Almost all stresses in contemporary life causing fear and ‘fight or flight’ response are not set free by physical means as they should be, instead there is a propensity to build up tension in body and mind. Most people have no strong family or community support as in the past, so have no one to lean on and may feel lonely.
The accumulation of stress and tension within oneself creates ‘overload’ and at this moment stress begins to diminish health. The chemical and hormonal alternations which can affect every organ when the body and mind are stressed have not adapted with modern civilisation and the system designed to protect us from external danger is now a contributory factor in cancer, heart disease, mental illness and many degenerative diseases.
The stress may be external – from the environment, adapting to constant change, information overload or work and family pressures from others which are accepted.

Or the tension may be internally generated through not releasing feelings appropriately, inactive lifestyle, self-inflicted expectations or any mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual struggle.
Stress can influence heart rate, breathing, muscle function, hormonal balance, memory, the immune system, acid production in the stomach and many other bodily functions. In addition, it can cause anxiety and depression or panic attacks.
The person who needs aid is invariably ‘stuck’, whatever the reason for stress overload and unfit to move forward without some structure for help and intervention.
Rest and a break are required.

Shiatsu gives supportive, positive touch, necessary for healthy human development and especially helpful in stress related conditions.
Shiatsu offers a clear process for working with and managing change. It looks at the person holistically and their interaction with nature, taking into consideration both internal and external influences.
Shiatsu treatments can advance people from a stuck position. Breathing exercises assist in letting go of physical and emotional stresses and tension, stretching and gentle holding techniques help muscles relax, heart rate reduces, anxiety diminishes and the mood gets a lift.
Shiatsu helps looking at stressful situations from a different angle and guiding the individual towards attitudinal or lifestyle changes. Stressors are not going to disappear, so help is provided in focusing on what can truly be changed.
Shiatsu is very helpful where there is a deep emotional cause for stress as the relevant meridian can be worked on.
Shiatsu can be particularly beneficial in depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It provides a safe place to be listened to, a sense of connectedness and the chance for peace and quiet. Shiatsu gives physical touch without invasion, building a trusting relationship and acceptance of where the client is at that moment. Shiatsu can provide a different view on illness which the client can make sense of and nourishes physical calming and relaxation of the nervous system without any side effects.
Shiatsu treatments offer clarity of thought and creativity aiding in decision making, especially important in times of stress or adjustment.

If the subject posed any questions for you, do not hesitate to contact me. If you would like to forward this news letter to friends or family, I welcome it.

See you soon.

Best wishes,

Doris www.shiatsulondon.com mob: 07941 171725