What digestive conditions can Shiatsu help?
A successful result for one of my clients suffering with chronic IBS.
“My IBS symptoms have gone as I don’t need to take the medication I was on anymore, thank you”. Lynn
Tips to reduce digestive symptoms
1. Don’t rush while you are eating
Stress can affect your digestion so eating in a relaxing and calm atmosphere activates the parasympathetic nervous system which releases the digestive enzymes and activates absorption. Eating on the go or regularly eat while doing other things at the same time activates the sympathetic nervous system, which inhibits the digestive functions.
2. Chew each mouthful thoroughly.
Chewing your food slowly helps to mix the food with saliva, activates digestive secretions and prepares the stomach for the next stage of the process. It also prevents feeling bloated and you will find that you actually eat less if you chew well.
3. Give your solar plexus a massage or receive a shiatsu massage
Massages are highly effective when dealing with digestive problems. The solar plexus is the energetic centre of the middle organs and upper digestive organs. Bad eating habits can cause the organs around the solar plexus to get clogged up by fats and toxins over time which can weaken the whole digestive system. The massage helps to activate the digestive energy.
How to massage your belly: Using your finger tips, do a circular massage in the solar plexus area directly below the centre of the rib cage. Progressively penetrate deeper as you rotate 10-12 times. Repeat, rotating the massaging motion in the opposite direction. Try this circular massage after you wake up and before and after each meal.
My own journey
I know what it's like to experience anxiety and panic attacks and how it interferes with daily living. My own experience of panic attacks started in my early 20's, I was busy working full time and had split up from a relationship. I noticed changes after my father died when I was 18, feelings of not being able to cope. I was very close to him and always felt supported and protected.
I looked for a replacement relationship that could support and protect me in the same way my father had. Of course this doesn't really happen and I ended up giving my power away to someone I thought would or could support me just for the sake of being in a relationship. This lead to unhappiness and a continual searching for someone to help me feel safe and needed. I wasn't happy being on my own and this affected my sleep at night, I was always in 'alert mode'.
My panic attacks usually started if I didn't feel comfortable or safe in an environment or company of others, in other words not being my true self. This also stems from not being able to express my feelings when I was young, which lead to the need to please others (needing approval from my father) to take the focus off myself.
Low self-esteem and approval seeking.
In some cases sufferers of anxiety and depression also struggle with low self-esteem and approval seeking like myself. If this is you then your well-being is probably being affected by your level of confidence, how much you value yourself and what you think of yourself. Low self-esteem is associated with self-criticism, self-doubt, suppressed anger, and shame and social isolation. It can also lead to self-punishment or self-harm and in my case the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.
What I have learned along the way in my journey is it's not about fixing anxiety, because anxiety is there to protect us; it is about your relationship with anxiety. I understand now that I wasn't able to support myself when I was young and needed others to do this for me, I had very low self-esteem and was always looking for approval from my father because I lacked confidence. Through lots of self healing and learning Shiatsu it has helped me take back my power, feel confident and believe in myself.
My steps of overcoming anxiety
I have helped many clients overcome anxiety in my treatments and I can help you
If you have had enough of anxiety, stress or depression controlling your life, it's time to take action. Shiatsu uses gentle “listening” touch and respectful dialogue and presence to help you reconnect with feelings and emotions that have been held back and locked away in our bodies. As you become more aware of the roots of your problems, the barriers that have been created can begin to dissolve, the muscles can relax and let go leading to more physical ease; liberating your potential to live a life you really care about.
If this resonates with you, please contact me to arrange a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and how I can help.
Many people are suffering with various symptoms after contracting coronavirus and some of my clients have mentioned brain fog, depression, insomnia, inflammation, exhaustion and ‘not feeling quite here’. One minute you can feel fine, attempt a small task but then feel drained of energy almost like a flattened battery. The symptoms are very similar to chronic fatigue syndrome and viral fatigue (think about the recovery of getting over the flu). It can take time to recover but there are ways to help yourself. Being proactive with your health now can help your immune system in the long term.
How does Shiatsu help?
Shiatsu is a holistic treatment, treating the whole body. Receiving Shiatsu is replenishing, supportive, calming and nurturing. Throughout your treatment I help you let go of tension, stress and pain and any emotional feelings such as grief or sadness generally linked to the lungs. I also teach you some breathing techniques or Qigong exercises to strengthen the lungs.
In Chinese medicine or TCM terms, it can be seen as a build up of phlegm or dampness in the body preventing the energy flowing smoothly through the meridians or energy lines. My aim is to restore and strengthen the Spleen function to move and clear out dampness. I also recommend making some dietary changes by eating simple wholesome cooked foods, either baked or roasted, choosing fresh vegetables and meat, fish, soups, casseroles for example. Avoid processed, cold or raw foods as this puts more pressure on Spleen function to break down and digest.
Q. How can I build up my energy so my body can defend itself
A. Qigong can help...
Tai Chi Qigong helps PREVENT sickness and disease before they begin by building up your energy. Just like western medicine which talks about our Immune system – Chinese Medicine talks about Wei Chi - our natural defence mechanism we all have. It’s the energy that forms a powerful boundary around your body, defending you against invading virus’s and pathogens.
How Does Qigong Help to Build Protective Wei Chi?
Qigong builds Wei Chi by strengthening and balancing the energy body. It creates new synapses and nerve pathways, makes the senses keen, strong, and flexible at the same time. Qigong tunes the energy systems, awakens the body intelligence. Thus Qigong practice can increase both sensitivity and strength. The result is to build vitality, prevent disease, prolong vital life, and cultivate the spirit.
Create your personal health everyday by choosing a healthy diet, drinking water, removing excess stress, reducing thoughts of fear and worry and getting plenty of rest and exercise. All this will build up your Wei Chi. Taking vitamin C can help strengthen your immune system as well.
Go to my Qigong website for more information and classes near you or book a Shiatsu now to get yourself back on track. Or call for more information 07515 684306.
Understanding Chinese Medicine: Spring is the time of year that our Liver energy begins to rise up and expand outwards. We start to feel more active, motivated and energetic and might even feel the need to give the house a spring clean! But, for those with imbalances in our Liver energy, this can be the time of year where Liver symptoms rise up! If Liver energy rises or we have too much energy in our heads then Migraine headaches, Vertigo, Dizziness, Nausea, Mood swings and PMS symptoms can all get worse. You may also notice yourself feeling a little more short tempered than usual or having sudden bursts of anger.
When Liver Qi gets “stuck” or blocked, we can feel stuck or blocked in many ways. This can manifest as emotional “stuckness”, inability to move forward, frustration and irritability. Other symptoms can manifest such as Joint Pain or Arthritis, Depression, Eye problems, tight muscles for example.
Shiatsu moves the energy: If any of this sounds familiar, receiving a Shiatsu treatment has a profound effect on calming the nervous system, releasing stagnation and stuck emotions and reducing stress. By giving Shiatsu around the head, neck and feet moves the Liver Qi down away from the head with gentle stretches of the body to release any stagnation.
In the meantime, these are some recommendations you can do yourself to help balance your Liver Qi.
Express your creativity: Start activities like singing, painting, dancing, sport, gardening, writing, cooking, learning to play an instrument, any group activity or interest you have a passion for that makes you smile. All these help keep your Liver energy flowing as they are a form of self-expression and enjoyment. I've started learning to play the piano which I'm really enjoying.
Move your body: Liver energy likes movement, if you have symptoms of Liver Qi stagnation this causes stiffness in the muscles and joints and problems with flexibility. Stretching exercises like yoga or practising a gentle form of moving meditation like Tai Chi or Qigong helps bring your focus back to your body and releases tension. Going out for regular walks or outdoor pursuits is one of the best ways to help your Liver.
Rest and Sleep: Resting properly at night allows our Liver to do its job better - to keep our energy and blood flowing smoothly throughout the body.
Diet recommendations: Eating dark green vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach etc) are full of vitamins and minerals and nourish the Blood. It’s a good time to eat foods that are cooked more lightly and for less time. Reduce intake of coffee and hot, spicy foods as these can affect the Liver by stagnating Qi. Reduce intake of fatty or greasy foods if you find these hard to digest.
What's your vision: Wood energy (Liver and Gallbladder) is about your vision, creativity, decision making and planning in life. First it is felt in the heart as your passion of what you want to create and once the choice has been made, Liver energy gives us the energy to carry it through. In other words we are setting in motion our creative self expression of what we want to manifest in our lives.
Tip: Ask yourself what areas in your life you feel stuck and unhappy about and want to change, this is a great way to start to help you take your power back, move forward and feel happier.
Manage stress: We are emotional beings and anger is felt in the Liver. Sometimes we feel unable to express ourselves fully which causes longstanding feelings of repressed anger, such as resentment, frustration and irritability.
We do this either because we were taught at a young age that expressing yourself is bad or selfish and we should keep quiet or others know what’s best for us and make the decisions for us for example, all this is very disempowering but know you can change this, you have the power within you to make the changes. Shiatsu helps support you to make these changes.
The opposite of repressing emotions is to have outbursts of anger, rage and shouting aimed at others, that's why people who are really angry go red in the face. It's another way of expressing underlying or unresolved frustration and sadness.
Tip: Talking to a friend, journaling, and meditating are all ways to manage daily stresses so that they don’t build up and create bigger problems.
Other factors affecting Liver: If our emotions haven’t been expressed or addressed, a common coping mechanism could be excessive alcohol consumption or taking recreational drugs as a way for some people to feel relief from emotional symptoms. It’s used as a way of numbing out our unhappiness of how we feel inside.
The relief, however, is temporary. Instead of strengthening the body’s weaknesses so that the body learns to rebalance the energy on its own, these extreme substances cause further damage and leave the body feeling dependent on more of them to get the same feeling of relief. And remember, any extreme substance will set up further imbalance in the body, often covering up the original problem and leading eventually to more complicated physical and emotional health issues.
If you relate to or have any of the symptoms listed above or a feeling stuck and struggling to find a way forward in life, book a Shiatsu treatment and get your Liver energy moving and restore your love for life.
In the Five Element theory, an emotion corresponds to a certain internal organ. How does each emotion affect our health and wellbeing?
Learning to let go and live in the moment is the key
We hold our life in our body; everything we learn and all our emotional reactions to life's experiences are carried within us. Our emotional journey empowers us to move forward but sometimes we forget when it's time to let go and make space for new learning.
Sometimes we move on from difficult times but feel we are still reliving them. Shiatsu and Energy healing helps you release old emotions stuck in your body so you can live at your highest potential in the present.
Spring is a time for birth, new growth, regeneration and cleansing as in nature. In the Chinese Five Elements Spring is the season of the Wood element and the Liver organ system and Gall Bladder. When our Liver and Gall Bladder energy is flowing well within us we are able to make plans, organise, create, express and communicate our needs and be flexible to change in our lives. This movement is much like the branches of a tree - hence the association with Wood.
However, an imbalance in Wood energy can lead to outbursts of anger and feelings of frustration with ourselves or others that we think are holding us back which can lead to depression. A tendency to over-working, excessive responses or suppression of emotions and addictions are usually caused by a stagnation of Liver Ki.
Other symptoms may include:-
Help to move your liver energy
Movement and creativity is to be encouraged, finding an exercise that you enjoy like a yoga or dance class or join a sports team like football or badminton is a good outlet for letting go of stress or frustration. If you suffer with joint pain then Tai Chi Qigong is recommended as the movements are gentle and slow. Painting or any creative outlet will help express your individuality which is both relaxing and enjoyable to do.
What to eat
Eating fresh, new green vegetables will help support your body’s natural ability to cleanse and rebalance. Cut down on fatty foods, alcohol and coffee.
Shiatsu can help relieve symptoms
In a Shiatsu treatment, I can help you let go of the issues that are causing you to feel stuck which could be related to life choices and decisions, and my aim is to bring back balance and flow of your energy by relaxing and letting go of any emotional frustrations or pain in the body.
If you would like to book a Shiatsu session to help balance your Liver and Gall Bladder meridians and put a healthier spring in your step, then contact me today.
Some of the causes can be due to too much heat in the blood. As we age, our blood declines, our vision and memory declines and our skin and muscles dry up. So it is important to keep our body systems cooler. When we have good blood reserves this keeps the heat under control as blood cools the fire in the body.
Inflammatory disorders may also start to appear as latent heat begins to surface on the skin causing dark skin pigmentations, liver spots and moles. They are all symptoms of heat that has been trapped in the body now being released.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pigmentation issues are linked to a deficiency in the Liver, Kidneys and Spleen energies.
Emotional trauma, hereditary factors, diet and exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides can penetrate the deepest aspect of the body (the Kidney system) causing heat.
Increase your Vitamin C
Liver spots can also be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C protects the skin from the sun. As we age, plus an accumulation of sun over the years, plus a Vitamin C deficiency all contribute to aging spots.
Cutting back on processed foods, bad fats such as hydrogenated oils, sugar and hot, spicy foods such as caffeine and alcohol will help.
Consume foods that are high in Vitamin C and eat organic as much as possible. Salads, parsley, green vegetables, apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, swiss chard, celery, soybeans, sesame oil, chicken, peppermint tea, mushrooms for example.
Understanding temperatures of food in TCM
The warming and cooling properties of a food have less to do with actual temperature, cooking temperature or spiciness, it has more to do with the foods balance and contrast among ingredients and the effect of these on the body when the food is ingested. Yin is related to cold foods and yang to hot foods.
How can Shiatsu help?
Emotional issues are detrimental to our organs, and can affect our career, relationships and health. Through the supporting and nurturing nature of Shiatsu, I can help you let go of emotional issues that may be affecting your health and wellbeing and strengthen the Yin energies in the body.
Tiredness, exhaustion and insomnia are some of the most common stress-related symptoms that affect our health, causing nervous fatigue brought on by continued stress. Our bodies naturally cope with short periods of anxiety or worry as long as we’re able to rest and recover afterwards - but how many of us have time to rest and fully recover?
Our adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. They secrete a number of hormones that help regulate the body including adrenaline which rapidly prepares our body to spring into action in stressful situations. When they become overworked they produce excess levels of cortisol as a reaction to the body’s fight or flight response. This prevents the adrenal glands from producing other hormones we need to live.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), adrenal fatigue is seen as a deficiency in the Kidney energy. Kidney energy or Kidney Chi gives us the impetus, willpower, stamina and strength needed to carry out our everyday activities. It is the catalyst for every energetic reaction in our body, when our Kidney Chi is low our whole body is starved of energy.
How we store and use our energy
Our kidneys are like a rechargeable battery... when a battery is being recharged it builds up a store of energy to be used later when needed. Similar to a battery, the stored energy in our kidneys is used throughout our everyday activities and recharged when we relax, rest and sleep.
When we feel tired but continue to push ourselves, we may have a coffee or other energy drink in the hope that it will give us more energy. This is only a temporary energy boost and instead depletes our energy stores even more. If we don’t take time out to restore and replenish our energy levels, over time our batteries become drained to the point where our body struggles to sustain us.
Exhaustion can cause difficulty sleeping as our internal battery has become so drained it has lost its storage capacity. It can’t hold an energy charge anymore, ending up with us feeling tired and unable to relax. The ability to relax and the ability to feel energised go together.
Recharge your batteries with rest and relaxation
When we hold tension in the body this is a sign of fatigue, while relaxation is a sign of good energy reserves. There are a few changes we can do to help ourselves in lowering our stress levels:
• Give yourself permission to rest more by taking time out in the day especially if you work long hours.
• Reduce the intake of stimulants such as coffee especially in the afternoon and sugar intake.
• Take the pressure off yourself to get things done in the day, there is always tomorrow.
• Ask for help and share chores at home.
• Practice moving meditation techniques such as Qigong or Tai Chi which is a series of slow movements working with the breath and helps cultivate and strengthen your own internal energy store.
• Gentle walking in nature helps decrease stress levels and helps ground us. When we allow our body to connect with the earth, we enhance our mental, physical and emotional well-being and create a more sound, clear way of thinking.
Balance and moderation in everything.
Listen to your body, if you feel tired... rest.
How Shiatsu can help
The causes of exhaustion and insomnia is different for each of us, receiving a Shiatsu treatment where emotions and symptoms can be explored in a safe and supportive way enables us to relax and allows the body to heal and let go of tension, blocked, stagnant and imbalanced energies.
I offer the time and space to explore what’s going on and bring healing to the mind, body and soul, allowing you to take control of your life and bring yourself into peace, ease and balance.