Author: Daciana

Balance Your Earth Element

According to the Chinese metaphysical arts, each of the Five Elements – Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth – have a corresponding season. “How can that be?” you’re probably wondering.

The months of August and September are considered a separate season, called Late Summer. If you look at many of the ancient and pagan traditions, many harvest festivals begin in August. August and September are the months when many celebrated Earth festivals, a time of gathering of the crops, giving thanks to Mother Earth for the plentiful gifts and enjoying the fruits of the Earth.

In my Transylvanian homeland, 6th of August is celebrated as a Christian Orthodox religious day, however, the church actually “borrowed” the day from the pagan traditions of the land. It is called “the day when the face changes”. In the religious context it is related to Jesus Christ, in the pagan one, the face is the face of nature. The Sun still shines over the land, yet its rays do not scorch the land as it did in July. The pagan tradition says that nothing grows anymore in August, but everything that has grown already ripens and matures.

In the Chinese arts, late summer is the season of the Earth element.

In Chinese medicine, Earth governs our digestive system and all its components. Its Official name is The Granary.

The main two organs of the system are the Spleen (Yin) and the Stomach (Yang)

The main responsibilities of the Earth system in the human body:

  • Transformation: digestion makes nutrients for the Blood by transforming the food intake
  • Transformation: by combining nutritive Qi with the Qi from the Lungs (air), it produces the nutrients for all the internal organs and the Blood
  • Transportation: Spleen moves Qi upwards so that the nutrients reach the Lung Qi and the organs
  • Keeps everything in its place: just like Earth holds everything in place, Spleen holds the internal organs in their proper place inside the chest cavity, the muscles on the bones and the Blood in the vessels

Given its responsibilities, the Earth system governs over the following areas:

  • Production and quality of Blood
  • Muscle mass and limbs
  • The mouth, the tongue and the sense of taste
  • Intellectual activities, reasoning processes, memorising, logic and critical thinking

At a mental and emotional level, the Earth is affected by:

  • Worry. “Worry knots the Qi”
  • Overthinking
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Excessive intellectual activities, reasoning, problem solving and memorising

The Stomach, the Yang partner of the Spleen, gives the Spleen its ability to discern between what is important and what is not, both in the case of digestion and in case of mental processes.

Common Earth disorders in the body

At a physical level:

  • gastritis (the digestive system chewing on its own parts),
  • nutrient excesses and accumulations: obesity, fatty liver, gallstones, kidney stones
  • nutrient deficiencies: lack of vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium
  • lack of appetite and energy, ME, CFS
  • overeating
  • organ prolapses, heavy bleeding: haemorrhages, heavy menstruation
  • lack of menstruation, scanty menstruation
  • metabolic diseases, such as diabetes
  • muscular dystrophy
  • any lumps, cysts and phlegm accumulations

At a mental and emotional level:

  • overthinking, worry, anxiety, OCD
  • mental fatigue, lack of focus, inability to memorise or think logically
  • brain fog

People with the Earth blocked by worry fail to nurture themselves, by neglecting their needs and putting everyone else first, or they will overeat in an unconscious attempt to become bigger than their worries.

Also, by trying to do everything themselves, they will try to control the odds of the outcome, but also deplete their energy resources: “If I do this instead of waiting for my partner to do it, I don’t have to worry that it won’t be done properly or on time”, or “I cannot take a day off from work because they won’t manage without me”.

Sadly, a lot of our modern life has made us believe we have to be present and in control of everything at all times and many of us we feel guilty about taking breaks or “me” time in order to nurture ourselves.

How to Balance your Earth Element

Balancing one Element must address both the Element itself, but also the Elements that constitute its family.

For the Earth itself, nutrition and mindfulness are paramount. Too much sugar, sweet, pleasant tasting and processed foods destroy the digestive system, rendering it unable to extract the nutrients from genuine, nurturing foods. Nutrition therapy will teach us to consume foods that are nutritive for the whole body. Mindfulness helps settle the mind and help it find other coping mechanisms instead of reaching for comfort food to reduce the anxiety and worry. It also nourishes us to a very deep level and teaches us to let go of everything that is out of our control.

The Earth Element in the body depends on Fire, as it’s Parent and Wood, as its Grandparent. Fire governs over our ability to love and take pleasure from life. When unbalanced, Fire will lead to too much passion or appetite in life or a lack thereof. Wood is responsible for the free flow of all the substances and activities in the body. When Wood becomes too strong, it will crush the Earth with its roots, if too weak, Wood will fail to control it and Earth will not be able to “hold its ground”.

Fire benefits from mindfulness to learn to temper its tendency towards excesses and art therapy to learn to love life without agenda.

Wood benefits from fresh, green vegetables in the diet, but also from physical movement. Exercise is vital for the balance of Wood, and if this form of exercise combines gentle moves with breathing and meditation, Wood is a very happy camper.

The virtue governing over Earth is Trust. This virtue heals the system at all levels. We trust our instincts to choose nourishing food for the entire body. We trust our worries to a friend. We trust that the world will still be out there when we take “me” time to nourish ourselves. We trust our partners to do their best, we trust our children will be fine, even when we are no longer around. We trust we will still have our jobs by the time we come back from our sick leave. We trust the Universe will provide the best for us no matter what.

Balance Your Earth Element package contains:

  • Qigong
  • Nutrition recommendations
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Acupressure & self-massage
  • Written lessons

Chinese massage therapy: what is it and why you should try it

Some years ago, long before I was even considering becoming a TCM practitioner myself, I was receiving acupuncture treatments for PMDD. Apart from the regular sessions with my very own Vlad the Impaler aka Transylvanian acupuncturist, he sent me a list of things I could do myself to speed up the recovery process. Amongst them was one that read: “Treat yourself to a massage every week or every fortnight.” I thought: “Massage? No thanks!”

Truth was the only form of massage I knew was the kind of hard kneading and poking my now ex-husband insisted of giving my shoulders and upper back and I hated every minute of it.

A year later, life decided to take a different turn for me and here I was, in another country, mending my broken heart and picking up the pieces of my life with the loving help of my new partner. I had been passionate about traditional Chinese medicine ever since I was a child, so he encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a TCM practitioner.  I enrolled to study TCM and acupuncture. An inner voice kept pushing me towards Tui Na massage. I discovered a world I never knew existed. I understood why I was screaming in pain when my ex tried his best to relax my neck and shoulders. I became enthralled even more with traditional Chinese medicine for creating this wonderful therapy!

So, what is this Chinese massage therapy?

There are many terms that describe massage therapy in Chinese language. Two of them are: An Mo 按摩, which means “press and rub” and Tui Na 推拿, which means “push and grab”. These terms encapsulate most of what we now in the West know as Chinese massage. Its techniques may seem simplistic, and, most of the times, the Westerners are surprised how these simple, natural gestures can have such a tremendous effect. 

When we hit our head, our first reaction is to put our hand over the area and rub it to make the pain go away. When we have tummy pain or toothache, we press the area with our palms. When someone is upset, we rub and tap their back gently. We instinctively use certain gestures to alleviate pain or provide comfort. We try to calm or befriend a dog or a cat by stroking their heads. Plants grow better when their leaves are touched gently. Stones become shinier and warmer when rubbed. All creatures respond to touch, and touch can both soothe and nurture, energise and invigorate. 

What are the benefits of Chinese massage?

The main purpose of the Chinese metaphysical arts is to preserve balance in all forms and, when the balance is lost, to find means for that balance to be regained.

As part of the great and wonderful family of the Chinese metaphysical arts that stem from the Tao, the Chinese massage fulfils three essential roles, all equally important:    

  • cultivation and preservation of health
  • beautification
  • therapy or restoration of health

Health is a measure of balance: when we get ill, a sign of good health is when the balance is restored in due time and without significant consequences. In other words, health is not a static concept, but the fragile and beautiful dance we perform every instance on this planet in our eternal quest for balance.

Chinese massage as a tool for cultivation and preservation of health

In China, a timely death is regarded as one of the five blessings. Ageing is a natural process that cannot be controlled. How we age is something we can control. By adapting our lifestyle to our age, sex and needs, we can enjoy a good health up to the day we die.

One of the therapies that can assist cultivation and preservation of health is massage.  A good Chinese massage course will not only teach people how to become Tui Na practitioners, but will also teach them on how to cultivate and preserve their own health by using self-massage and QiGong techniques. Cultivation of health starts with ourselves.

By working on the pathways of the meridians, acupoints and sinew channels, Tui Na

  • improves the function of the internal organs
  • lubricates the joints and tendons
  • fortifies the muscles
  • improves immunity  
  • balances the mind  

We do not have to wait to get ill to enjoy the benefits of a regular Tui Na session. In fact, people who have regular massages and self-massages are less prone to health deterioration, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional health.

Health as beauty

According to the ancient Chinese principles, beauty is a sign of good health. A relaxed face and a supple body, combined with a positive attitude, are all signs of good health. This, according to the principles of Chinese metaphysics, attracts wealth and prosperity, even a suitable partner. Beauty is regarded as free, natural flow of the Qi, it means a firm and lush skin, bright eyes that see beauty everywhere, a clear voice that sings and laughs like a clear jade bell, a content heart and a relaxed body.

Chinese massage as beauty therapy

  • improves the tone of the skin
  • helps the skin perform its essential functions of respiration and toxin removal
  • improves muscle tone  
  • accelerates metabolism
  • reduces fat tissues
  • optimises digestion

Tui Na as a medical therapy

Tui Na uses bodily manipulation techniques to fight against the number one enemy of health: stagnation.

The principle of free flow is one of the fundamental principles in traditional Chinese medicine and the rest of the Chinese metaphysical arts. The Qi must be allowed to flow freely to perform its functions and keep everything in balance. If the free flow of Qi is impaired, stagnation occurs.

Stagnation is the main culprit of any disease (dis-ease, lack of ease) and one of its main symptoms is pain: physical, mental, emotional.

By releasing the stagnation in the joints and muscles, Tui Na can improve the overall health of people suffering from a multitude of complaints:

  • arthritis
  • sports or repetitive injuries
  • muscular skeletal conditions
  • digestive disorders
  • gynaecological complaints
  • emotional distress

How does Tui Na work?

Traditional Chinese medicine operates with both matter and energy.

As a physical therapy, Tui Na uses a series of techniques to manipulate the physical body by means of acupressure, massage and stretching techniques. Physical manipulation aims to move the Qi and Blood so that the muscles, joints and tendons are warmed, lubricated and tonified.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our physical bodies are vulnerable not only to the weather conditions or to other internal illnesses, but they can also store and become affected by our emotions and traumas.

At an energy level, the Tui Na practitioner guides the Qi using their hands and fingers into the acupoints and along the meridians to release and disperse stagnation or bring more energy into a specific area. In this respect, the practitioner’s fingers and palms act as acupuncture needles, guiding the Qi in order to supplement, reduce, or disperse the Qi in the affected areas. 

What to expect during and after a session?

Chinese massage sessions are versatile in many ways.

Because it was created to meet the needs of rich and poor alike, TuiNa can be performed with the person lying down on a plain blanket on the floor or in the field, seated on a stool or lying down on a nice and soft massage table.

Tui Na can be done with the person fully clothed, partly clothed or with no clothes on. Traditionally, the practitioner will use a white cotton sheet as a medium between them and the clients treated. TuiNa doesn’t necessarily need oils as mediums, they are rather used as aromatherapy, to increase the warming or the cooling effect of a treatment or to address a certain condition.

Depending on the aim of the sessions, the TCM practitioner will take a brief medical history of the client.

Because the techniques are designed to move Qi and Blood, TuiNa sessions may take only a few minutes in length, thus being much shorter than regular massage sessions. The sessions may last between 30 and 45 minutes.

Medical Tui Na

Medical Tui Na will take a full medical history and assess the best course of treatment for the specific situation. Most likely, the treatment sessions will also include cupping or moxibustion and therapeutic oil formulas.

The manipulations are performed exclusively within your range of mobility and comfort. While some areas might feel tender initially, you should not feel any major discomfort and the tenderness should subside.  

Expect a healing crisis after the first few sessions! This can be in the form of aches and pains becoming worse, emotional issues surfacing or feeling more tired than usual.  

It is essential that you communicate with your practitioner during and in between the sessions, even if you may think some of the symptoms and signs are irrelevant or embarrassing.

For optimum results, medical Tui Na should be performed once a week or every fortnight, with a course of treatment of 8 – 10 sessions, depending on the medical condition to be treated.  

Cautions and contraindications

As with other therapies, women who are pregnant or actively trying to conceive will receive special treatment.

Always inform the practitioner if you plan on donating blood before or after the session

Treatment will be denied to people who are

  • under the influence of alcohol, sleep inducing medication or recreational drugs
  • weak
  • very ill
  • with high fever
  • very tired
  • very hungry or fasting
  • very full (have just eaten a large meal)

Other cautions and contraindications are to be discussed with the practitioner, based on the full medical history and the type of medication and other forms of treatment received from medical professionals or holistic therapists.

It is advisable to allow the body to rest and work through the healing process before taking any other form of holistic or alternative treatments at least 24 hours before undertaking another session of any kind, including Reiki or spa treatments.

Mind full or Mindful?

The choice is yours

The human mind can be a wonderful servant or a terrible master. As a servant, it can turn you into the most accomplished warrior. As a master, it can turn you into the most accomplished worrier.

One of the most successful people in the world are the ones who made their minds work for themselves instead of allowing their minds to control their pain, thoughts or emotions. If we look at their lifestyle habits, they all seem to have one thing in common: they meditate.

Are you looking to improve your life? Would you like to enjoy better health and more wealth?

The practice of mindfulness, developed by the ancient cultures, such as the Buddhist and Zen practitioners, is now available at Purple Jade Holistics. All you have to do is choose whatever suits your needs from the offers at the end of this post.  

Yes, it’s all in your head!

Scientific studies have demonstrated that mindfulness and meditation do actually change the brain chemistry and how we react to stimuli.

Did you know?

The corporations in Japan have interior gardens built within the premises so that all their employees can spend time in contemplation every day. Many of them will also spend at least one week in Buddhist or Zen retreats, because they believe that mindfulness not only helps maintain good health, emotional balance and general well-being, but it also makes them more successful in their professions, leading to wealth and prosperity.

This art of contemplating the present moment, as it is, without trying to change anything about it, without judging or trying to quantify it in any way, has many benefits.

The act of gently guiding the mind to the present moment is not only grounding, but it also helps deal with an overactive mind, stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness relaxes the mind and helps it become open and aware, which improves the memory and focus.

A relaxed mind is also better equipped to handle pain. Mindfulness can be a very important instrument for people who struggle with chronic pain and inflammation, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Also, by releasing stress, mindfulness can help with strengthening the immunity and lowering the blood pressure.

One of the first effects people notice when they start practising mindfulness is a significant improvement in their sleep patterns. Mindfulness not only helps them fall asleep faster, it also helps them stay asleep, and the quality of the sleep is much improved as it assists in the reduction of nightmares.

One of the fundamental principles of mindfulness is to explore everything with new and curious eyes. This helps develop creativity and problem solving skills. This is why people who meditate and practice mindfulness tend to be more relaxed, creative and more successful.

Another interesting side-effect of mindfulness is that people practising staying present in the now seem to feel less lonely. Being present and aware of the surroundings and looking at everything with new eyes and a vivid curiosity renders one feeling connected not only with themselves, but to the world at large. Plus, by attending mindfulness group sessions, one is prone to meet like-minded people and make new friends.

Mindfulness is able to regulate the moods and the responses one has towards external and internal stimuli. A regular daily practice of mindfulness, even just for a few minutes, will prevent the stress build-up.

In a nutshell, it puts YOU in control of how YOU choose to respond to the events inside or around you.

Mindfulness can become an empowering tool by putting YOU in control of your mind and your life.

Can you afford NOT to give mindfulness a try?

Please note all sessions are online, via Skype, Google Meet or Hangouts, Facebook Room or Messenger, WhatsApp or any other platform at your convenience

MIND 1 – Crash Courses

You can choose one, two or three 120 minutes crash courses on how mindfulness could help you according to your needs:

  1. Mindfulness for emotional wellness and stress management. This session is especially designed to provide you with simple yet effective means of managing stress, anxiety and overthinking, as well as coping strategies for mood swings and emotional roller-coaster
  2. Mindfulness for pain management and full body relaxation. Physical pain can be amplified by mental distress. During this session, we look at how mindfulness can help settle the mind and the emotions, by assisting the body go into a state of deep relaxation at the same time
  3. Mindfulness for health and wealth. Do you know what the wealthiest and most successful people on this planet have in common? They meditate and practice mindfulness. This special session will tap into how mindfulness can lead to an increase in creativity and problem solving skills

Each session contains

  • a lecture giving information on the topic of the month
  • needs assessment
  • practical exercises and guided meditations especially designed for the topic of choice

Duration of one session: 120 min

Your investment: £20 per session or £50 as a trio bundle

MIND 2 – Crash Courses + Off With Your Head Self-Massage

Purchasing the Mind 1 trio bundle, entitles you to a significant discount for an online one to one session of the Off With Your Head Self-Massage (which means only £5 instead of £10), or if you want to purchase a copy of the self-massage instructions (which means only £20 instead of £35)

You choose how much pampering you deserve

MIND 3 – Tailor-made sessions

Personalised, one-to-one online sessions which include

  • a complete TCM consultation and follow-up
  • guided mindfulness meditation based on your needs
  • guided self-massage and acupressure based on your medical needs
  • crystal therapy recommendations
  • lifestyle recommendations, based on your natal chart

Only £30/session

These sessions may be a combination of written information and online chats. For optimal results, one session every week or every fortnight is the usual recommendation, for a period of minimum 5 weeks

YOU decide how much your peace of mind is worth to YOU

The Ancient Art of Meridian Manipulation

I made the decision to give acupuncture a break and put the needles away.    

Some of my colleagues were surprised, many of my clients were relieved.

The truth is that there are at least a few dozens ways of manipulating the Qi along the meridian pathways and acupoints, some using physical instruments or body parts, others using the power of the mind.

In addition to these Qi meridians, there are also other pathways by means of which the Qi travels in the body. We are in fact an intricate network of pathways of Qi, blood vessels, lymph nodes and vessels, not to mention the rest of the body parts.

The acupuncture needles are but mere instruments, one of the most recent ones created, and, while we find far more scientific studies on acupuncture and its benefits, other means of manipulating the Qi can be just as effective and have their own range of benefits and tools of the trade that should be explored and researched.   

Acupressure

finger acupressure
Performing acupressure on Hegu in a case of migraine and emotional distress (please do not try to replicate at home)

Long before inventing the modern needles, the ancient art of traditional Chinese medicine recognised that applying pressure on certain points of the body could have a positive result on health. So the first tools ever used were the fingers, hands, arms and elbows. By using various pressure techniques on certain points along the meridians, they noticed that the Qi can be increased, decreased or released, thus reducing or eliminating physical and mental pain. And that’s how acupressure and massage were born as part of the Chinese medicine.

A good Chinese medicine practitioner will feel, gather and guide the Qi via the meridians into the acupoints, through their own fingers, palms or by means of other tools. Depending on the nature of these tools and the aim of the treatment, the instruments act as relays for the Qi, as amplifiers or modifiers. However, nothing can replace the practitioner’s skill and even intuition and flair.

Each human body is unique, which means that the Qi pathways and the acupoints are specific to that unique individual. a practitioner’s TCM training insists a lot on learning the Qi pathways and acupoints but also on how to locate them on each individual. A good practitioner will know how to determine the location of these points, paying attention to the special and unique map that the individual bodies display. If trained in the healing arts, the practitioner may also feel the quality of these meridians and points just by passing their hands over the body.

Tools of the trade

In addition to the practitioner’s fingers, there’s an array of tools and mediums that can be used when working on the acupoints.

Bian stone (black), rose quartz (pink) and aventurine (green)

The oldest one is a meteorite stone that fell 65 million years ago in Shandong, China. Also known as the needle stone, the Bian stone is an excellent heat conductor, containing traces of more than 40 minerals and having anti-oxidant properties. In TCM, the stone is used to stimulate the flow of Qi, Blood and Bodily Fluids, thus relaxing the muscles and the joints and helping with lymph drainage, nurturing the skin at the same time, due to its high content in minerals.  No wonder the Bian Stone is still in use today to make acupressure, massage and gua sha tools.

The Chinese metaphysical arts were fully aware of the healing properties various crystals and semi-precious stones possessed and they used them accordingly. There is an entire materia medica in Chinese medicine that describes the healing properties of stones and crystals. For acupressure and massage, the most popular ones are rose quartz, aventurine, agate, jade or obsidian.

The mugwort herb used in moxibustion can be rolled into very fine threads that are placed on the acupoints and lit up. This technique combines the benefits of moxibustion with manipulating the Qi at various acupoints.

Just like crystals and stones, essential oils have properties that can influence the nature of the Qi. Special oil formulas, designed for various medical conditions can be applied on the acupoints, thus manipulating the Qi in a certain way.

Electricity is another means to enhance the point stimulation by means of special manufactured devices or the T.E.N.S machines. This is a more modern tool, very effective and useful nonetheless.

Press pellets

Press pellets are yet another way to stimulate the acupoints, especially in between the regular sessions. The pellets can be made from plant seeds, stone or from magnets, and their size vary according to their purpose.

Benefits and advantages of not using needles

First of all, it takes away the stress of needles for people who are needle phobic.

Also, it can be used in a safer manner in people suffering from type 1 diabetes, people who take anticoagulant medication or suffer from other blood disorders where acupuncture is contraindicated or can only be performed with caution.

It is also an alternative for people who donate blood.

Acupressure is safer and can be performed in areas of the body where the use of needles might be forbidden or it requires special cautions, such as the rib cage area and the torso, where there is a higher risk of puncturing the lungs.

Acupressure can be done through the clothes, which means it can also be done mobile, in the case of people with low or no mobility, or in less strict environments, outside a conventional treatment room.

The practitioner can train the client to perform safe self-acupressure in between the treatment sessions, thus maximising the results of the treatment and also empowering the client to become their own healers.

In terms of the benefits, acupressure has pretty much the same indications as acupuncture: physical pain, mental disorders and illnesses, sleep disorders, digestive issues and syndromes, infertility, male and female dysfunctions, hypertension, etc.

Personally, I think acupuncture can be a bit cold and impersonal. Some practitioners just place the needles and leave the client alone in the room to either tend to another client in another room or to do something else.  With acupressure and massage I get to spend more time palpating the acupoints and I get to collect far more valuable information based on the client’s reactions and responses during the actual treatment than I get during an acupuncture session. This helps me to adjust the treatment accordingly.

Cautions and contraindications of acupressure

The cautions and contraindications are pretty much the same in the case of acupressure as in the case of acupuncture. While it is safer to practice acupressure on certain acupoints, unless one is properly trained in locating the acupoints and is familiarised with their actions, cautions and contraindications, acupressure can do a lot of damage. So, please, do not trust every bit of information you find online about such and such a point being a miracle cure for everything.

Also, if the practitioner recommends you to perform acupressure or massage over certain areas, those recommendations have been made exclusively for your medical complaints and should by no means be transmitted to other people, just because “I learned this from my therapist, so it must be ok”.

Meridian and acupoint manipulation sessions cost £40 and they must be preceded by a full TCM consultation

Tai Chi for Health and Well-being

2 Comments

Please be advised that it is always recommended that you consult with your GP and other healthcare specialists before starting ANY Tai Chi programs

Tai Chi belongs to the great family of physical exercises designed with the purpose of cultivating and preserving the life force Qi.

With roots in martial arts, developed by the Chinese monks in order to counterattack the long time spent immobile in meditation and mindfulness, Tai Chi, alongside QiGong and other forms of Qi cultivation and preservation, presents many forms and styles, all created with the same principles in mind: the integration of body and mind by controlling the movement of the body and the breathing, thus cultivating the life force and rendering the human being in total harmony with themselves and with the Universe. 

The slow, soft moves were created to build and reinforce fitness, agility and balance, both in body and mind. The mind is present and aware of every move the body makes.

Benefits of Tai Chi:

  1. Reduces pain. From the Chinese medicine point of view, Tai Chi enables the free flow of Qi, Blood and Body Fluids. The moves are especially designed to follow the natural flow of Qi along the meridians and collaterals, thus restoring the healthy flow of Qi and the elimination of stagnant energy and pain. A good flow of Qi also leads to a good flow of Blood and Body Fluids which nourish the muscles and the joints, which means less pain and stiffness and more mobility.
  2. Promotes mindfulness. Because the mind is present and aware of every move the body makes and it focuses on the breathing at the same time, Tai Chi is in fact moving mindfulness. It makes you aware of your body and breathing in the present moment, helping you control the mind from wandering off. This calms the mind and helps you think more clearly.
  3. Reduces stress. The classes do not measure progress in any way. All the participants are there to enjoy themselves while moving within their own range of mobility and comfort. This contributes to a very a relaxed state of mind.

Tai Chi for Health programs developed by Dr Paul Lam combine Western medical science with Oriental wisdom. The programs are designed especially for medical conditions, such as: arthritis and fall prevention, diabetes, rehabilitation and so on.

It is a known fact that people in pain and elderly people are more prone to accidents due to lack of balance.

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention contains twelve simple and easy to follow moves that have been chosen for their ability to increase muscle strength, balance and confidence in people suffering from:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • MS
  • Post-stroke rehabilitation
  • Asthma

Benefits of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention:

  • Increases strength and flexibility
  • Decreases pain in joints
  • Decreases stress
  • Helps reduce high blood pressure
  • Increases a sense of well-being
  • Improves balance
  • Improves lung capacity

The program is endorsed and recommended by many international health organisations, such as CDC in America and Arthritis Care in UK.

If you are interested in joining any of the classes I teach in Tameside, please drop me a line 🙂

Your Transylvanian Tai Chi instructor and TCM coach,

Daciana

The troubles of the Mind – the Shen disorders

[…] we won’t establish peace of mind just by praying for it. Dalai Lama

 

The principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore balance in the being by restoring the free flow of Qi, Blood, Bodily Fluids and Shen (Spirit).

Stagnation in the body can manifest itself on several levels and can have multiple symptoms. The most important symptom is pain. This pain can be physical pain or it can be emotional distress.

When we suffer from mental issues, this pain comes in a multitude of forms, because each individual copes with emotional distress in their own unique way.

According to Chinese medicine, there are many complaints that belong to this category of disorders of the Spirit (Shen). Some of them are:

  • Sleep disorders: insomnia, restless, interrupted sleep, dream disturbed sleep, sleepiness
  • Disruptive mental episodes: lack of focus, overthinking, lack of vision, memory lapses, inability to make decisions, procrastination, lack of creativity, OCD, psychotic episodes
  • Emotional distress: anxiety, anger, jealousy, panic attacks, traumatic events, flashbacks (PTSD), depression, unjustified sadness, hyperactivity, inappropriate language and manners, phobias, inability to form meaningful relationships, low self-esteem, lack of trust
  • Female disorders: PMDD, post-partum depression, hormonal fluctuations, menstruation complaints, infertility (some cases)
  • Addictions: alcohol, nicotine, drug abuse, over-medication, gambling, eating disorders

However, it is not just in your mind. The Shen disorders can even be felt as physical pain. This pain can be in the form of a headache, backache, stiff neck, TMJ, chest pain, tight throat, eye strain, coarse voice, vertigo and dizziness, IBS and other digestive issues, to name but a few. If the physical ailments do not seem to be confirmed by scan or test results, one can almost safely assume they are of emotional or mental origin. At the same time, certain confirmed physical ailments can be improved once the mental state of the individual is improved.

So, if just praying for a peaceful mind won’t cut it, what can we do to improve our mental balance and restore mental health?

It is always recommended to combine alternative therapies with medication and professional therapy and counselling, especially in the case of severe manifestations. Once the critical stage has been dealt with and the mind has settled, the treatment can be extended to alternative medicine, art therapy and other forms of therapy designed to help maintain an optimal level of mental balance.

Acupressure or acupuncture, combined with mindfulness and massage therapy can be a very effective combination in restoring and maintaining a healthy mental state, provided the treatment is backed up by dietary and other lifestyle changes.

You cannot copy content of this page