A platform to CONNECT, LEARN & ENGAGE about HEALTH
When you start receiving Shiatsu, you take on a transformational journey that will lead you to an increased awareness of your body and mind. You will start identifying what is good for you as oppose to what is bad and becoming more assertive in your life style choices.
Personally I took on this transformational journey from the day I started my Shiatsu Course and it never stopped. I connected not only with Shiatsu Therapist but also other Complementary Health professionals. I learned that I respond positively to different types of therapeutic approaches and these responses have changed over the years as my body and mind constantly evolve. I engaged with people who had experienced healthier life changes and realised that we as a community detain a breadth of knowledge that may be worth sharing with others so they can become more responsible for their own health.
So alongside my Shiatsu practice, I decided to create a platform that will make your life easier should you decide to take on this health transformational journey. It includes blog articles about Health and how Shiatsu can help you on this health transformational journey, links to two different communities one dedicated to individuals with Chronic Stress - Anxiety - Depression and the other dedicated to families affected by Dementia, events and workshops you may be interested to attend.
THE HOLISTIC HEALTHPLORERS is an online community who pursues a holistic, mindful and sustainable way of life and wants to explore new avenues for making their health the pillar of this wellbeing journey. Joining this group is a chance to meet like-minded people with the objective of getting on that discovery journey, exploring complementary and alternative avenues that will improve your health as a whole, making your own health prevention and maintenance a responsible yet educated choice.
This group is yours if you want to:
November 2017 - How to approach Christmas with serenity?
The most vibrant period of the year has arrived, Christmas!
Shopping fever, Christmas parties, workload and time pressure at work, shorter daylight, these leading to a very if not hyper active life style at a time of the year we need to slow down, Winter.
Although we are officially in Autumn still, this past week the weather got colder and damper, an early start of the Winter season. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, living in harmony with seasons in a key principle. “In WINTER all is hidden. Winter is the season of retirement into depth, because of the cold outside. At this time, you must not disturb or disperse the yang (Fire, active) energy so that you can allow the yin reserves to be re-established within you.” (source: Ancient text The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine)
So what can you do to preserve this precious YIN energy that will help you revitalize your body, strengthen your immune system, relax your mind, calm your emotions and raise your spirit?
1- KEEP YOUR BODY WARM WITH FOOD
One of the key principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine is healing through diet. Doesn’t matter whether you follow an all-meat, vegan or vegetarian diet; the most important is about balance. Balance in the nutrients you absorb both by eating and drinking, balance in the way you eat food and drink fluids, balance in the way you prepare meals.
Black and kidney beans, broths cooked with bone of lamb and chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds, dark leafy green, small amount of unrefined sea salt, barley, rye, oat, quinoa, seaweeds, miso, soy, sardines, squashes, root vegetables
Ginger, Cardamom, orange, cinnamon, calendula, sage, basil or thyme
2- REST ENOUGH
From the ancient Eastern wisdom, the Mind is the most subtle and non-material type of Energy. “The Mind derives from the refined essence of water and food” and reversely, “the state of the Mind affects Qi and Essence if disturbed by emotional stress”. The functions of the Mind are: Consciousness, Thinking, Memory, Insight, Cognition, Sleep, Intelligence, Wisdom, Ideas, Affections, Feelings and Senses. Resting the Mind is therefore crucial.
3- EXERCISE GENTLY
A Quarter of adults in the UK don’t exercise for even 30 minutes a week and this is obviously a key challenge for the public welfare.
Some of us train relentlessly with the objective of improving their fitness endlessly and releasing their stress, others choose to dream about it. The truth is none of these two extremes is obviously the right answer to our health and well-being and intensity of exercises should vary with the seasons.
Walking, jogging or biking to prevent stagnation but stop before sweating too much, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga to nourish your Yin energy
4- ADJUST WORKING BEHAVIOUR
Working long and late hours leads to Qi Stagnation – enhancing mental depression, irritability and mood swings; and to Dampness – setting up the scene for chronic illnesses and fatigue, lack of drive and motivation in life.
Wishing you a fabulous Festive Season!
September 2017 - Why is an Autumn Gentle Cleansing of our body beneficial?
Often when we refer to body cleansing, we think about the Spring Detox to clean the body of heavy, fatty, and salty food accumulated during the winter and get the body ready for a more active life style. However, the Autumn Cleansing aims to gently eliminate deposits from excess sweet and cooling foods from the summer period and strengthen our immune system for the winter. In both cases, it is a way of optimising the natural function of our body’s elimination systems with the nutrients it needs to function properly. The main organs involved in the natural function of our body’s cleansing systems are the Liver and Large Intestine; however the Kidneys, Lungs, Lymphatic systems and skin are also involved in this process.
From the Traditional Chinese Medicine and more specifically the Five Elements Theory, autumn is associated to the Metal Element which relates to the Lungs and Large Intestine functions. In autumn a congested Liver can injure the Metal Element as a whole, obstructing the Lungs and the Large Intestine’s ability to function smoothly and discharge toxins. This is why the Autumn Cleansing tends to focus on the Lungs, Large Intestine as well as the Liver.
How does our modern and urban lifestyle inhibit our Lungs, Large Intestine and Liver to function efficiently?
• Insufficient physical activity encourages poor respiration and imbalanced bowel movement.
• Poor eating habit aggravates our Lungs and Large Intestine by causing mucus to be dumped in the Lungs and potentially creating an opportunity for colds, allergies, sinus problems, bronchitis, and asthma to occur.
• Too much fat, chemicals, and denatured food disrupt the natural biochemical process of our Liver, hence distressing the smooth and soothing flow of Qi (body energy); resulting in physical problems such as abdominal distension, inflamed tendons, menstrual problems or chronic indigestion – and emotional problems such as anger, frustration, resentment or poor judgement.
What is a gentle Autumn Cleansing?
Inspired by the principles of the Traditional Chinese Medicine and based on my own experience, I would suggest the following 2-week cleansing process with a gradual change of life style.
• Introduce or sustain gentle physical exercise like a 30-minute walk twice a day accompanied by a mindful focus on your breath.
• Drink sufficient room temperature filtered water (average 1L to 1½L per day).
• Remove inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined and fatty foods, processed or junk foods and carbonated drinks and alcohol.
• Reduce consumption of dairy products: for instance remove cheese, replace cow milk by almond or oat milk.
• Introduce or sustain the consumption of the following food groups:
Pungent food for both its cleansing and protective functions affecting the Lungs and Large Intestine – such as white onion, garlic, turnip, ginger, horseradish.
Mucilaginous food for supporting the renewal of the mucous membrane of our Lungs and Large Intestine – such as seaweed, flaxseed.
Dark green and golden orange vegetables for strengthening the peripheral immune activity of Qi (body energy) – such as carrot, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, kale.
Fibre for encouraging a healthful bacterial growth in the Large Intestine, which support the assimilation of nutrients – such as oat, apple.
Continue week #1 and add a 7-day Lemon and Olive Oil Drink every day in an empty stomach; ideally just before going to bed or first thing in the morning when you wake up.
This drink supports the Liver and Gall Bladder functions. You will need the following organic ingredients:
• ½ a lemon juice with pulp but without seed
• 2 tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Blend them energetically and drink it. If you take it first thing in the morning, allow 30 minutes to 1h before you have a glass of room temperature filtered water and start your breakfast.
Be gentle with yourself, carry on the good eating habits you introduced, keep exercising gently every day and make sure you introduce or sustain good sleeping habits.
What benefits this gentle autumn cleansing process can bring?
Based on my personal experience, I observed the following benefits:
• Improved bowel movements
• More physical energy and calmer mind
• Reduced joint pain and improved muscle elasticity
• Reduced abdomen distention
• Reduced breast tenderness before periods
• Reduced symptoms of eczema
• Reduced risk of getting a cold
These benefits can vary from one individual to another. If you are unsure about starting a gentle autumn cleansing process and have doubt about the potential benefits, please consult your General Practitioner for further advice.
April 2017 - The Key to understand Holistic Therapy and its benefits
You may have or currently experiencing Chronic Back Pain and you want to address seriously this health issue. What would you do spontaneously?
The obvious first step you would take is to proceed with a medical screening to check that your bone structure is not affected, and that you are not at risk of more serious health issue; then may be take some pain killer if the pain is unbearable, until the point that you may consider doing some exercises that will alleviate further symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Another approach would be to identify the reason(s) why you have been experiencing Chronic Back Pain. Is it because you usually expose your body to unhealthy postures – driving or seating long hours – or is it because you have been facing emotional distress that create unconscious muscular contraction?
We know that our body is the physical manifestation of who we are and how we feel by prompting signs, symptoms – such as pain, inflammation, or even distorted body – whenever there is a physical, physiological and emotional imbalance. So, the question is how to understand these signs?
The first step of this journey is to face that pain or discomfort.
We (human beings) naturally and constantly attempt to avoid what is unpleasant in life, who wouldn’t do this? Hence, absorbing regularly pain killers is an attempt to alleviate the pain as quick as possible. The consequence of this action is that you may generate additional imbalance such as digestive issues for intense or long term absorption of chemicals. It is like pushing a button down and another button is popping up somewhere else. You are not resolving the cause of the problem, only the symptom.
By staying with this pain – meaning consciously accepting it and recognizing it that there is most likely a cause to it – you we will identify what makes the pain lesser and when. For instance, you may well find that you have experienced traumatic circumstances at the same time that your back pain started rising and by surrounding yourself with a more peaceful environment your pain lessens. Or you may well find that you have started new job with long commute not long before your back pain started and when you are at rest during the weekend your pain lessens.
The second step is to take appropriate actions that will address the trigger(s) of your pain
If your Chronic Back Pain is caused by a traumatic situation, the action could be to identify the associated emotions, understand what triggered them; so next time you face similar situation your will be healthier.
If your Chronic Back Pain is caused by long-hour commute, the action could be to include appropriate stretches and physical activities during the breaks of your working day; so it counter-balance the sedentary physical position of the commute.
This two-step process described above is obviously a longer process, almost a journey of discovering yourself for the benefit of a sustainable recovery. It requires patience as well, commitment and the belief that you are responsible for your health and you can take the appropriate preventive action in addition to your medical supervision.
In our modern society, taking time for getting on a self-development journey is often perceived as a constraint because life is at high speed; we want to be at the forefront of everything at the same time; we don’t allow or some time don’t believe that we disserve this time for self-reflection.
Therefore, and depending on the level and the cause of the pain, my recommendation is a combination of different therapeutic approaches, whereby you would take advantage of the modern science to understand exactly what is wrong with your back; If there is nothing wrong with your back but the pain is too much to bear and it creates more issues in your daily life, of course pain killers are helpful.
However, you wouldn’t stop here because at this stage you haven’t resolved that much; you would integrate a complementary approach that could help you understand your body better, raise your body awareness, be mindful of your emotions and mental triggers. On a longer term, you will gain the ability to take preventive actions and adjust your life-style before your health issue becomes a real ailment. If unfortunately, there is a confirmed ailment by your medical supervision, what you would have learnt from the complementary therapy journey will be of a great help to maximise comfort and well-being as you go through a difficult time.
Every time you have a health issue such as Chronic Back Pain, it is about pausing for a moment, reflecting and creating your own plan for a sustainable recovery that is not a quick and short term fix. The question for you is therefore, how prepared am I to get on that sustainable recovery journey? Am I prepared to self-reflect and accept there may be something I can change in my life-style that would benefit my health overall?
This is very much what Shiatsu does.
Shiatsu is a eastern body therapy; but because we work at different levels of energy which are physical, emotional, mental and sometimes spiritual, we look at individuals holistically. We give these individuals a chance to understand different aspect of themselves while we help releasing pain, increasing vitality, improving mobility and clearing mind; so they can take ownership of their life-style and take preventive actions for a more sustainable health and well-being.