Monthly Archives: January 2010

Not Keen on Needles?

Neither am I. The idea of acupuncture makes me shiver with fear – probably not the best reaction when you’re having needles stuck into your flesh.
So I’ve been finding out about modern alternatives to traditional needle-based acupuncture that work on the same principles of manipulating the body’s energy meridians to balance chi (or life energy) – the foundation of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Shiatsu and tui na are massage therapies that use stimulation techniques based on acupressure. Shiatsu involves pressing and holding certain points for  a couple of minutes each. Tui na, meaning ‘push and grasp’, primarily uses the back of the hand to quickly roll back and forth over the acupoints.
Polarity therapy uses a combination of three levels of touch (soft, medium and firm), verbal interaction, exercise and nutrition, depending on the needs of the patient, to balance and restore the natural flow of energy in the body.

Emotional freedom technique, sometimes called tapping for health, uses gentle touch to stimulate chi. It involves tapping key points along the meridians in conjunction with other neurologically stimulating actions to free blockages.

Reiki also employs very gentle touch, minimising hands-on manipulation. The practitioner allows energy to flow through the hands to the recipient while placing hands at various points on the body to energise, clear and strengthen chi.

It isn’t even necessary for practitioners to touch specific acupoints in order to restore balance. Reflexology massage accesses the body through specific points on the feet or hands. When the points are stimulated, the resultant flow of energy removes blockages, aids detoxification, improves circulation and digestion, and helps relieve stress.

Reconnective healing is a completely hands-free technique where the practitioner scans the body for energy blocks. With hands held above the patient, the healer sends high frequency waves through the patient’s body to aid the healing process.

So you don’t have to become a pin cushion to get your energy back in balance. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of these techniques.

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The Big Sleep

I’m so tired at the moment. Melbourne’s weird weather has knocked me about and I’ve been having a run of disturbed nights. I’m fed up with blaming the moon or the poor unborn nipper I’m carrying about. I’m going to give him/her a complex.
Lack of sleep affects our ability to concentrate and make decisions – not ideal with things picking up at work after the holiday season. According to Sleep Disorders Australia, insomnia costs the Australian community over half a billion dollars each year in direct medical costs and up to 10 times that much in indirect costs such as lost productivity or sick days.

We all know that we need the elusive 8 hours a night, but what measures can we take to beat insomnia and get back on track to sweet dreams?

  1. Only use your bedroom for sleeping – it’s hard to relax when you’re trying to kip in your office.
  2. Try and get up and go to bed at the same time every day to help your body form a routine.
  3. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol, as these are all stimulants.
  4. Try and get a bit of exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block after dinner.
  5. Get into twilight. No, I’m not talking about Edward or Jacob – creating a twilight state for at least an hour before bed will help your natural body rhythms tune in with the fact that it’s bedtime and wind down accordingly.
  6. Meditation before sleep can help your mind and body relax.
  7. Use warm milk, chamomile tea and valerian as natural alternatives to sleeping tablets.
  8. Perhaps an old wives’ tale but worth a go – soak your feet in cold water for 15-10 minutes before bed to draw the blood to the feet and away from your over-active mind.

For more information on good ‘sleep hygiene’, download a factsheet from Sleep Disorders Australia.