Happy New Year! I hope you've had a good break this Christmas time and you feel you have rested and rejuvenated and raring to go this year.... or not?
As you ease into the New Year you may be thinking about taking better care of you, ways of reducing stress and anxiety or pain in the body or a wish to improve energy levels and better sleep.
Struggling to get going after Christmas?
Christmas is a time where there is so much pressure on us to be perfect and for some of us it’s always a relief when it’s over. We feel pressure to buy the perfect Christmas tree and decorate it perfectly, find the perfect presents, cook the perfect meal etc… then on the day it gives us pleasure to see others enjoying themselves but you’re too exhausted and stressed to enjoy the day yourself. Are you the one who is running around doing all of this? Maybe it’s time to allow yourself some slack and not worry about getting it right to please others.
Many of my clients that come to me for Shiatsu find it hard to completely relax because they’re holding tension in the body either due to taking on too much responsibility, fear of letting go, holding it all together, holding on to the past, fear of failure, striving to be perfect and doing more and more instead of saying I am enough. These can be patterns learnt in childhood, a need to please a parent for example to get validation or praise.
If you’re feeling any of the above symptoms of stress or anxiety, pain or overwhelm, book in for a Shiatsu massage to help ease you back into the New Year and give your body and mind time to relax and unburden yourself of these pressures in a safe and supported space.
In the Five Element cycle the Earth phase is Late Summer, it represents support, holding, nurturing, nourishment, receiving and abundance. It gives us the ability to nurture ourselves and others. The Earth element comprises the Stomach and Spleen meridians and share the role of digestion. Just as the stomach accepts food and drink on a physical level, the same process is reflected on a mental and emotional level. The stomach also helps us decide what is good for us to consume and discerns what should be digested and what should be rejected.
Symptoms such as a dry mouth, stress and tension in the jaw muscles causing clenching and teeth grinding at night, bleeding gums, bad breath, indigestion can be due to a stomach imbalance. Other symptoms can be nausea, vomiting, headaches, hiccups and excessive burping caused by rebellious Qi or Qi flowing upwards. Healthy Stomach Qi needs to flow downwards but sometimes Stomach Qi can become rebellious when it starts to flow in the opposite direction and rejects the nourishment it needs.
Trust enough to receive…
On an emotional level, when we lack trust in the earth or in our ability to be nurtured, it can cause anxiety and worry. Due to this lack of trust it becomes difficult for us to receive and as a result we try to exert control or take care of everything on our own. It can affect those who didn't receive the nurturing they needed during childhood. The rejection of food or nurturing can also lead to eating disorders such as anorexia.
Try to reduce worry
The emotion of worry is associated with the Earth element, it tends to knot the Qi in the stomach. When we worry about things in the future, it changes your body chemistry. When you worry, your body sees you worrying and thinks this is the mode you're most comfortable in. The body co-operates with your thoughts so for example if you're worried or thinking about about a disease, that disease will come see you. If you worry about the worst things that might happen in the future, they're the things that often happen.
Try to reframe into positive affirmations by trusting that all is well and will work out in the best positive way works best for your body, health and wellbeing.
Helping your Stomach Qi
If you’re struggling with digestive issues or any of the symptoms above, Shiatsu is a wonderful treatment to receive and feel nurtured, supported and cared for to bring back balance in the Stomach and Spleen energies.
Book in with Sarah and get your digestion back into balance
When sleep disorders happen, many aspects of our life are affected. We feel stressed or angry with ourselves because we cannot rest and relax properly. When we sleep, our body is able to repair and restore itself so time asleep is so important.
Why is insomnia a very common problem in our society?
Poor diet, excessive worries, sedentary life, pressing deadlines, anxiety and stress are all factors that bring tension in our bodies. And when it’s under pressure, our mind becomes incapable to relax and we start overthinking or worry about everything.
Is Insomnia the main problem?
I believe that insomnia and sleep disorders are just symptoms that bring other problems to the surface that need attention, but don’t worry because every problem has a solution!
How does Shiatsu and energy healing help with insomnia and sleep disorders?
Shiatsu stimulates the circulation of body fluids and improves the dilation of blood vessels, helping with toxin elimination. Shiatsu sessions also calm and relax the nervous system that is connected to our rest/activity balance.
Working together with you to resolve your issues
There can be a number of issues causing your insomnia and I work with you by tuning in and listening to your body and also discussing your current life situation if there are any stresses that you are currently experiencing. There may be issues or traumas from the past (childhood) you are holding on to that is still affecting you emotionally or physically in adulthood normally on a sub conscious level or a level we're not aware of. By working together in this way we can release and let go of what is causing your sleep problem by relaxing the mind and body and learning some techniques on how to help yourself, see below for self shiatsu acupressure points.
Try using these acupressure points located on the inside of the wrists on both hands. (see image for location)
Heart Protector 6 is for "balance in an unsteady world"
Heart 7 is the spirit gate helping release any tensions and excess emotions that may prevent sleep
Lung 9 helps open the chest and relieve the weight of sadness and grief.
Use all 3 together - press, massage and hold for anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. Focus on nothing else except massaging while applying slow, deep pressure. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Repeat the acupressure as often as you would like. For me it calms the mind and brings a great sense of peace and wellbeing, knowing I am able to trust the flow of life.
Remember you are not pressing a button. You are connecting with your body’s innate energy. Does it feel low or does it need energy? Is it racing or does it need calming? Press, connect and engage. Heart 7 is especially good if you wake in the night. Press, breathe and find yourself falling back to sleep.
Insomnia from Physical pain
If the main causes are muscular tensions and stiffness, the Shiatsu sessions will be focused on relaxing the muscles using techniques that bring the individual toward a major awareness of her/his body.
If you have tension or pain in the areas of shoulders, nape, neck and jaws, the Gall Bladder, Triple Heater and Bladder meridians may be worked on to release and relax the area.
Insomnia from Menopause symptoms
Menopause can cause many symptoms such as hot flash interference, sleep quality, physical symptoms, memory symptoms, and anxiety. Shiatsu can help reduce these symptoms by calming the mind and bringing balance to the heart and kidney meridians. (see menopause for more information)
Insomnia from Digestive issues
If you are having digestive issues, I focus on strengthening the digestive system of the Stomach, Spleen/Pancreas or Liver channels. Letting go of worry, anxiety or feeling not in control of your life or future happenings can cause tension in the stomach region. Some diet recommendations may also be given.
Insomnia due to feeling Anxious or Nervous
When insomnia is due to emotional problems as anxiety or nervousness, I work on the Heart, Kidney or Spleen meridians, supporting you to relieve the tensions in those channels. After your first session I can teach you a breathing exercise, grounding techniques and acupressure points to calm the mind and emotions.
Insomnia from overthinking
The mind is always thinking but sometimes it's hard to switch off at night. We spend hours churning over the days happenings, trying to analyse or question 'did I do enough or work hard enough'. We work on balancing the Spleen/Pancreas channels to help ground and let go of any trust issues or self esteem issue that you have about yourself of not being good enough.
Insomnia from stress
When the main cause of insomnia is stress, usually the channels involved are the Kidneys and the Bladder that is connected with the body-mind’s stress response activity via adrenals and the Heart channel that is the centre of our emotional response. In such cases the Shiatsu treatments will support the client at all levels, focusing on the restoration of healthy and balanced stress response through the bodywork with some breathing techniques to relieve stress.
If this resonates with you and you are ready to find calm and relaxation to your life, book in with me to help you find peace and tranquility you have been searching for and get the results you need.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common generalised pain disorders with symptoms of muscle pain and tenderness in multiple joints or areas of the body, accompanied by fatigue, poor sleep, poor memory and mood swings. Over 85% of fibromyalgia clients are women, and most suffer from chronic fatigue, IBS, anxiety and or depression, an accumulation of stress and a diet lacking in nutrients.
Research shows fibromyalgia can either be genetic or due to an emotional or physical trauma. This correlates with Traditional Chinese Medicine which defines the causes as emotions, weak Essence/Jing, trauma and stress!
How Shiatsu and Energy work helps alleviate symptoms
In my personal experience of working with fibromyalgia clients, I've noticed there is a link to those working in a caring profession such as nursing, social work etc or are taking care of family members. There is a natural wanting to help and give of themselves and do everything for everyone but this depletes their own energy, which leads to increased fatigue and can lead to burn out.
In our sessions, I work with clients to bring back a balance of giving and receiving by letting go of the patterns causing the imbalance and teaching techniques of self care and how to look after their own energy. Also learning more serving ways of helping others without draining themselves.
How many treatments are needed
The general recommendation for shiatsu begins with one treatment per week for 6 weeks. Shiatsu is cumulative, so the idea is that the client should feel a little bit better, for a little bit longer, after each treatment. Then we can start spacing the treatments out (for example, 2 or 3 weeks between treatments) to see if the client still feels good.
Ultimately, I recommend a maintenance treatment once a month for fibromyalgia clients, because it’s a chronic condition. Regular treatments help manage symptoms and prevent flares much more effectively than waiting for a flare up to come in for treatment.
Diet and fibromyalgia symptoms
When we feel depleted or have no energy, we eat or drink foods that will give us an energy boost such as highly processed foods, sugar, carbohydrates, sugary drinks etc. In a recent report researchers revealed that people with fibromyalgia are significantly more likely to struggle with insulin and glucose control and you may be suffering with 'insulin resistance'.
Insulin resistance is such a big subject to talk about here but you can learn more about it below.
Another useful study about insulin resistance associated with central pain in patients with fibromyalgia
A personal case study and success story
My partner had been experiencing low energy, fatigue, was overweight and in pain for many years. He was told by doctors he had a fatty liver and that he should stop drinking alcohol even though he hadn’t had a drink in 6 months. He suffered with sleep deprivation and eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, grains, energy drinks and sugar.
During lockdown, he had time to research liver and insulin resistance and realised most of his symptoms could be reversed by going on a low carb, no sugar diet but eating more protein and fat (the opposite to what we are told to do to lose weight). Within 6 months he had lost half his body weight, had more energy, no pain, didn’t crave sugar or carbs. He is able to exercise again and can work more days. It has made a huge difference to his life and of course needing a new wardrobe of clothes!
This is a wonderful example of how changing the food you eat and combining shiatsu and energy work can make a big difference to your energy levels, mood, health and well-being. By Learning how to take charge of your own health is empowering knowing that you can change your life for the better.
If you're fed up with being in pain then I am here to support you through your journey back to good health and happiness in your life that you deserve.
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.