Intuition is key to being a truly holistic aromatherapist. Gill Farrer-Halls discusses the importance of intuition in aromatherapy practice in this extract from her latest book ‘The Spirit in Aromatherapy’
In this chapter, Ged Sumner offers up a fascinating account of how the human body works in relation to the skin, and other collagen constructs of the body. He provides us with a meditation that allows us to feel every inch of our skin wrapped around our body and feel the wholeness of the organ.
This meditation is taken from Body Intelligence Meditation: Finding presence through embodiment by Ged Sumner. The book is available to purchase from the Singing Dragon website.
Preface. 1. What is Real? 2. Felt Sense Awareness. 3. Dynamic Stillness. 4. Peace and Autonomic Order. 5. The Amazing Connective Tissue System. 6. Diaphragmatic Wholeness. 7. Breath and Life. 8. Inner Volume and Depth. 9. Fluid Body and Bliss. 10. Being Centred. 11. Embryonic Mind. 12. Internal and External Circulation. 13. Inner Cell. 14. Hormonal Space. 15. Brain Balancing. 16. Life Continuum. 17. Integration.
Click here to listen to this meditation online
Shōnishin is a non-invasive form of acupuncture developed specifically to respond to the needs of children. Instead of needles gentle stimulation all over the body is performed with a tool, which is rather like a nail, by different stroking techniques. In addition to the stroking techniques, different tapping techniques are used in certain areas and vibration techniques on acupuncture points.
In the past few years a steadily increasing interest in Shōnishin has become noticeable outside its home country of Japan, especially in Europe, Britain, and the United States.
So what makes Shōnishin so popular with therapists, parents and children? There are many reasons:
- Therapists see Shōnishin as a way of developing as a practitioner
- The treatment is simple and effective, and the successes speak for themselves
- Children love this treatment as it has a pleasant feel to them
- Parents are very accepting of the treatment as it is gentle and non-invasive.
Another reason for the spreading of Shōnishin is that this treatment method can be used field-specifically. Depending on the therapist’s professional background, as a doctor, alternative practitioner, Shiatsu-practitioner, physiotherapist or midwife, the patient collective, and thereby the indications, are different.
By way of example, approximately 70-80% of all midwifes in Germany have an acupuncture education – and thereby are qualified to practice Shōnishin. For them, Shōnishin offers great opportunities to support newborn babies suffering from feeding difficulties, abdominal pain, developmental problems or even excessive crying. In the event of a needle phobia, Shōnishin is an alternative for pregnant women while preparing for birth or as a supporting treatment for women who have recently given birth and suffer from involutional problems or blocked milk ducts.
The area of application of Shōnishin for orthopedics is completely different from that of midwives. Their focus is mainly on children with problems related to posture and the musculoskeletal system. On the other hand pediatricians apply Shōnishin with infants suffering from problems of the digestive system, the respiratory system or developmental disorders, whereas allergies and neurodermatitis are in the foreground with older children.
General practitioners are finding the technique useful for children or adolescents with concentration problems in school, ADHD or enuresis.
Shiatsu practitioners often apply Shōnishin in combination with baby-shiatsu or children-shiatsu, in order to support them in their development. Physiotherapists can show better successes in the treatment of hemiparetic children, as the usually increased tonicity can be decreased by additional treatment with Shōnishin and thereby the children become more treatable.
For acupuncturists, especially for those who focus on treating children, a new field of action comes in appearance with Shōnishin, respectively an existing one can be widened. Furthermore, Shōnishin is an interesting supplement – or even an alternative for any therapist with acupuncture knowledge using manual methods.
Shōnishin is being used as an alternative to acupuncture in women’s shelters, mother-child facilities and nurseries. In this case women and children who are in difficult social or monetary situations, abandoned, without any obvious way out, are supported. These include traumatised women and children (for instance victims of rape), who are only able to permit touching due to the “interposed” Shōnishin instrument which means no dermal contact with the skin takes place.
Another field of application for Shōnishin will be in the treatment of the elderly. Particular parameters like skin conditions and mental conditions seem to show retrogression into childhood. First experiences with Shōnishin in residential care homes show promising treatment approaches. Even here it becomes obvious, that treatment with a Shōnishin instrument is advantageous: seniors often suffer from a shortage of physical contact. With Shōnishin the contact doesn’t take place directly, but indirectly with an instrument. For that reason seniors have no fear of contact and are willing to allow the treatment. Another advantage of treating elderly people with Shōnishin is that many of them have to take blood-thinning medicines. Due to the non-invasive and gentle treatment technique with Shōnishin, there is no contraindication.
Shōnishin is about to play an important role in the treatment of children. Shōnishin finds its application in doctor’s or acupuncturist’s surgeries, midwife work and increasingly in clinics. During the last years we can observe in the framework of congresses (TCM, acupuncture, pediatrics) an increasing demand for Shōnishin lectures and events. An increasing number of doctors and non-doctors (alternative practitioner, physiotherapists, midwives, Shiatsu-practitioners) are discovering this exceptionally gentle and effective type of treatment.
Thomas Wernicke is a licensed General Practitioner with qualifications in complementary medicine, Chinese and Japanese acupuncture. He has been the Training Manager for Daishi Hari Shōnishin in Europe since 2004. His new book: Shōnishin: The Art of Non-Invasive Paediatric Acupuncture is now available from Singing Dragon. This complete and user-friendly guide provides everything practitioners should know about Shōnishin and how this therapy can be used with different age ranges, especially young children.
This fully interactive brochure has all of the new Singing Dragon titles for the spring and summer of 2014 as well as our complete backlist. In here you will find books on Chinese medicine, complementary therapies, martial arts, nutrition, yoga, ayurveda, qigong, Daoism, aromatherapy, and many more alternative therapies and ancient wisdom traditions.
Click on the covers or titles to be taken to the book’s page on the Singing Dragon website. If you would like to request hard copies please email email@example.com with your details and the number of copies you would like.
Many years ago when I first met Susan Findlay, owner/director at NLSSM school of massage in London, she told me she would like me to offer a course on knees. I responded that I didn’t feel I did good work with knees, but focused on getting better hips and ankles; then knees seemed to get better on their own. Her response: “If you’re not comfortable with knees, that’s the course you need to teach!” At the time I wasn’t pleased with her response but I’ve come to see the value in it since.
I’ve recently given myself an opportunity to test my theories about bodywork much more strongly than I might have liked. A few days ago I severely injured my right knee… working for several hours on a friend’s cold concrete floor, with lots of kneeling and twisting. After several hours with just the right twist, I heard a loud ‘pop’ and felt that my knee was very unhappy. As far as I could self-diagnose, it seemed I’d either damaged my lateral collateral ligament or torn the lateral aspect of the meniscus. Either way I couldn’t put weight into the knee, couldn’t bend or flex, and couldn’t get comfortable for quite some time.
Anyway, what an amazing opportunity to self-rehabilitate! And I’m pleased to say it’s working: 48 hours after the initial shock, I was back to about 75% function in that knee, and continuing to feel stronger by the hour. I think the ‘formula’ that’s working for me gives us all something to think about. While I can now negotiate lifting myself up a step through that leg and knee, I can’t yet sink through the knee without a great deal of pain, and I don’t see the value of too much pain.
So what’s working? Why am I getting better, without MRI’s and surgery? Can we all get better with a bit of self care? I think we can, but we’ve got to do a bit of work instead of expecting the work to happen to us.
1. I’ve not pushed myself too fast or too far… there’s very little twisting involved, and precious little bending and flexing yet. On day three there’s finally a bit of flexing and extending the foot on a stair step. Only gradually should we trust ourselves to give a bit of flexion while still doing most of the lifting work through your arms, if your toes, knees or hips are complaining. You’ll have a pretty good sense of what’s too much and what’s just right in terms of the paces to put yourself through. The big toe pushups from my book Meet Your Body remain the single most important piece of work I can recommend to rehabilitate one’s entire deep line, but especially the knee.
2. I’m always interested in breathing, or at least in staying relaxed while I work to rehabilitate, and I invite you to look at the same. Current Heart Rate Variability studies suggest that a great deal of basic health is predicated on remembering to breathe in and out, regularly, approximately 6 times per minute. This causes a greater HRV which facilitates heart function, strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation among other wonderful features. When we push too far and too fast, we stop breathing. It’s that simple.
3. I tend to want to look for longer lines of transmission in my body. We’ll rehab ourselves faster if we’re as interested in what’s happening in that big toe on that same side foot, and how it relates to what’s going on in our low back, as we are in what the knee itself has to say. While stretching the big toe hinge by holding onto a table and lifting into the toes, can you also keep your low back back, while stretching your head to the opposite side and looking behind you? Can you see the value of trying to find lines of holding and getting breath through them to help find that most important holding spot and release and resolve it?
4. Finally, I do subscribe to the ‘use it or lose it’ school of thought. I’ve seen too many frozen shoulders or creaky knees where patrons told me that it hurt if they moved, so they’d simply quit moving. Well, how does one expect to get better if one hides from the challenge? While I can understand the thought process, I can’t condone it. We must move through pain and fear to get to the other side! For too many of us too much of what we call debilitating pain is simply fear-based lack of movement into and through a problem spot. Consider that movement can be seen as oiling rusted hinges throughout the body; they won’t start moving freely right away! It will take a bit of time and energy to make them work smoothly again.
And so far, this experience of rehabbing a very scary knee injury is bearing me out on these thoughts. I believe my experience could be duplicated by most of us…those who are serious about getting better, first need to decide to get themselves better. It seems we’ve become a generation of people who expect others to fix us and take responsibility for us. A surgery might be easier, but more likely a 4—6 week recovery from a surgery just isn’t as efficient as a 2—3 week recovery from the work one does for oneself… can more of us begin to think this way? Can we use the simple principle “Use it or lose it” more of the time? Can we decide to first assess what’s going on in our body, second, remember to keep breath flowing through it, third, slowly ask the body to come back to balance, and last, to keep on keeping on without overdoing? Such, I think, defines the ability to heal self.
So, the good news: another learning experience, another healing, another opportunity for me, and possibly you, to practice what I preach. While I wish we didn’t find ourselves in these situations, I truly believe we can still find our way out of them. By slowly returning to a regular climbing of stairs, full range of movement through the knee hinge, and general attentiveness to the way we ask our bodies to work, we can heal. I believe all of us could be inspired to slowly but with purpose, move into and through the pain and fear, and return to function and joy.
Noah Karrasch is a certified Rolfer and licensed massage therapist, and holds a teaching degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He teaches core bodywork skills throughout the midwest and also works with the Wren Clinic in East London. Noah has written two books on bodywork: Meet Your Body and Freeing Emotions and Energy Through Myofascial Release.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, pains in the shoulder and lower back are usually caused by qi stagnation and blood stasis in the meridians and collaterals, which result in the invasion of wind-cold into the affected areas. The four patting steps described in this extract from Qigong and Chinese Self-Massage for Everyday Health Care are designed to promote blood flow and counteract the cold syndromes with heat.
For more simple exercises to treat everyday health issues such as insomnia, stiff neck, headache, joint pain, and even grey hair, read Qigong and Chinese Self-Massage for Everyday Health Care.
Zeng Qingnan is a well-known health professional based in China who has many years’ experience of teaching Qigong and Chinese massage for maintaining good health.
The Singing Dragon new titles catalogue is available to view online and download. It features our complete range of titles coming to you over the next few months. There is plenty to look out for including new books on acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Qigong, Daoism, yoga, and complementary therapies.
All the titles, author names, and covers are interactive; just click on them to be taken to the book or author page on the Singing Dragon website.
In this extract from Complementary Therapies for Older People in Care, Sharon Tay gives practical advice on how therapists can adapt treatments to suit older people with age-related medical conditions, such as Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease and Cardiovascular Disease.
Sharon demonstrates how the role of a beauty and natural therapist is valuable in providing care and attention to frail and elderly people who can no longer cater for their own needs. Simple treatments such as an application of make-up, a session of reflexology or a manicure can greatly restore dignity and confidence to help these clients face the challenges in their physical and mental well-being that ageing brings.
Sharon Tay is a beauty therapist and natural therapist who has worked in the industry for eighteen years. She specialises in health and beauty care for women of all age groups, particularly with older women residing in both nursing homes and private residences. Complementary Therapies for Older People in Care is available to purchase from the Singing Dragon website.
Click on the box below to browse through our online Bodywork catalogue. Including titles on massage, reflexology, shiatsu, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, and aromatherapy, this is an indispensable resource for anyone who cares for the human body.
All the titles, author names, and covers are interactive; just click on them to be taken to the book or author page on the Singing Dragon website.
Place a cork or something of a similar suitable size between your teeth to keep your lower jaw down. Hold the position and simultaneously pull the corners of mouth straight sideways.
Repeat 10 times. Close your mouth and rest for a few seconds. Place the cork again and repeat another 10 times.
IMPACT ON APPEARANCE: Tones the lower cheek.
IMPACT ON HEALTH: Relaxes and lengthens jaw-closing chewing muscles.
Facial Exercises and Massage for Health and Beauty
This is a fully-illustrated guide to stretching and massage techniques to relax the facial, neck and shoulder muscles. The exercises address health issues such as teeth clenching and grinding, pain in the face, jaw, head or neck, and can improve the effects of Bell’s Palsy. They also help reduce facial lines and leave the skin healthy and glowing.
– Perform all the stretches slowly and gently
– Concentrate on the stretch
– Stretch the chewing muscles carefully to a point of mild discomfort and hold the stretch for a while. The discomfort should begin to fade during the stretch, when the stretch gradually relieves tension and loosens your chewing muscles.
– Keep the muscles you are stretching relaxed. Breathing deliberately during the stretching helps you relax and control the stretches. Enjoy the relaxing feeling of stretches.
– If a stretch feels too uncomfortable and tenses your muscles, decrease the force or the range of movement or both.
– The feeling of the stretch should not be painful. It should not produce pain in the muscles or in the joints. Distinguish the feeling of a healthy muscle stretch from the sensation of pain.
– Hold each stretch for the recommended time and repeat each stretch the recommended number of times. You can increase the duration of a stretch as well as the number of repetitions if you like and as long as it feels comfortable.
– Application of moist heat or cold is sometimes a helpful relaxing procedure before the stretching of the chewing muscles.
Caution: Never perform sudden and forceful movements during stretching or try to force your jaw beyond its physiological limits. Those with a history of a jaw dislocation must be careful not to perform jaw movements that are too wide.