Asian Medicine

How Shiatsu Can Positively Enhance Your Life About Shiatsu & A Case Study Explored

lindy1Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure,” is the practice of applying thumbs, fingers, palms or feet to pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in ancient Asian medicine. Aside from the pressing, this type of treatment also focuses on stretching limbs and opening joints. As a type of healing therapy, it produces an effect of deep relaxation, increases energy levels and brings a state of balance to the body, among many other things. As several clients say, it helps them feel more “grounded, centered and self-aware.”

Shiatsu is a practice based on the traditions of ancient Asian medicine. The theory behind Shiatsu is that our bodies are made up of energy, called Qi, and this energy can get blocked and cause suffering within the body and mind. Shiatsu helps to remove blockages by clearing channels and acupoints, which balances the Qi and eases the body and mind. When Qi is balanced, healing occurs. The applied pressure stimulates both the nervous and immune systems, providing relief, while also restoring the circulatory system, improving blood flow.

lindy2A current client, named Christina G., has been receiving Shiatsu for approximately 18 months, at a rate of once every two to four weeks. At the start of her treatments, Christina was seeking the following:

  • Regularity in her menstrual cycle,
  • An increase in energy and stamina,
  • A decrease in daily anxiety and stress, and
  • An improved awareness and connection to her intuition.

Here are the results she experienced over the course of the first few months working together and then ongoing over the last 18 months:

  • Menstrual Cycle: Christina experienced better regularity and less blood clotting in the first few months of treatment. Within four months, she experienced a brighter, healthier color of blood and better flow in general, which she hadn’t experienced in years.
  • Energy and Stamina: Christina experienced more energy immediately following each treatment along with a “sense of calm and strength” that would endure for several days following treatment. In conjunction with her bi-weekly meditation and daily supplementation, she has experienced an increase in energy and stamina over the last 18 months and “it continues to improve everyday.”
  • Anxiety and Stress: Within the first few treatments, Christina experienced less anxiety and stress in her daily life. She also worked to manage her anxiety and stress on her own based on suggested exercises and regular reassessments, including identifying areas for
  • Intuition: After the first year of treatment, Christina wanted to connect to and be more aware of her intuition. In each session we reviewed progress she made, and feedback in the form of exercises was given for further improvement. She now says she “feels more connected to her intuition and is now able to look inside for answers to questions and for direction.”

lindy6Christina G. experienced the benefits of Shiatsu in every area that she was seeking assistance and vitality. It is through client experiences like these that Shiatsu proves time and time again to be a viable and effective treatment for those experiencing many types of mental or physical suffering. What once began as a treatment for simple muscular tension when it was first introduced to Western medicine has become something much more integrative. The benefits of Shiatsu have become more apparent, and it is now used for treating a variety of ailments and issues. These include the following:

  • Overall Weakness & Fatigue: Shiatsu can restore and maintain the body’s energy, helping those who suffer from overall weakness and fatigue.
  • Muscle Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Shiatsu is frequently used to alleviate the muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis.
  • Injury Recovery: Shiatsu can aid in the recovery from sprains, fractures and other injuries.
  • Migraine Headaches: Shiatsu helps relieve headaches and migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout.
  • A Stiff Neck & Back: Shiatsu can reduce problems with the neck, shoulders and back, including sciatica.
  • Stress: Shiatsu can do wonders for a body and mind that is stressed. It can reduce stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression.
  • Reproductive Issues: Shiatsu can be used to aid women during their monthly cycles, especially to alleviate menstrual cramps and regulate blood flow.
  • Pregnancy: Shiatsu has been known to help women in labor and also to help babies turn in the womb. It can also help ease morning sickness and swelling.
  • Circulatory System: Shiatsu can help to improve circulation throughout the body, improving blood flow.
  • Digestive Disorders: By allowing food to digest more easily and aid in the elimination of waste, Shiatsu can benefit and improve your digestive system.
  • Skin: Shiatsu can stimulate circulation in the soft tissues of the skin, helping to keep skin soft and moist. This can in turn can give the skin a glow and prevent wrinkling.
  • Immune Support: Shiatsu can reduce the severity and frequency of coughs and colds, along with other sinus and respiratory problems.
  • Combines with other treatments: Shiatsu works well with other treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, chemotherapy, herbs and supplements.

lindy4A shiatsu treatment can last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. It can be administered on a padded mat on the floor or on a massage table. Typically, the treatment begins with gentle stretching and pressing to relax the muscles and stimulate the flow of energy. Depending on the needs of the person receiving the massage, it can be very gentle and calming or used with high pressure. However, it should never be painful. For more information regarding Shiatsu and to receive a treatment, contact Lindy Ferrigno here.

Do You Have the Personality of the FIRE ELEMENT?

polar bear flowersSummer is the time of the Fire Element. It is a time of celebrating and rejoicing in the beauty, fullness and fruition of life. The climate is hot and dry and the Earth is abundant in this season of maturity when plants blossom and bear fruit. It is a time when we relax and enjoy the bounty.

In Asian Medicine, Heart is the main organ of the Fire Element. It goes not only to the ability of the muscle in our chest to circulate blood, but also to the quality of our mind that finds joy in being calm and quiet. When it is in harmony, Heart displays an active body and a peaceful mind.

volleyballFire is very active by nature. Likewise, summer is naturally a season of peak outdoor activity. Hiking and swimming are great cardiovascular exercises. Asian medicine considers exercise to be as good for anxiety and depression as it is for circulation.

Fire represents a joyful and content spirit able to regulate and balance our emotions. When the Fire Element is balanced in us, we feel content. Even when our joy escalates to exuberance, we can act appropriately, always remembering to honor and respect our Mother Earth and fellow human beings. The Fire Element corresponds to the emotion translated as “Joy.” The concept of joy once was quite different from what we think of in these current American times. In ancient Asia it meant a sense of inner peace, which included harmonious relationships with family, friends, community, ancestors, nature, spirit, etc. A healthy Fire Element produces a powerful, yet gentle, inner strength that delights in being “spiritually fit.” Spiritual fitness means that we have enough heart, enough spirit, to develop and engage our whole self. That is why the recommended activity for tonifying the Fire Element is meditation.

girl meditating

Meditation makes it possible to perform the general functions of the Fire Element, namely, receiving, responding and adapting to life’s stimuli from the center of our core of peace. When we understand the Fire Element in this light, a more appropriate translation than “joy” might be “contentment.” This contented kind of joy arises from an inner awareness and appreciation of the beauty of our true Self. joyful meditating

The Fire-type Person – In balance, the Fire Element creates a person with a pretty good sense of who he is, and a personality that is generally compassionate and friendly. People with strong Fire energy dominant in their personalities may be quite charismatic. They are energetic and expressive, and excel at commanding others to action. They may love talking and socializing. They don’t like to be alone and they seek out the admiration and attention of others. Many are artistic. Fire personalities are also polite and easily able to reach out to others. They love pleasing others and are good at giving compliments.

Out of balance, you may find someone who is self-involved, tossed to and fro by the emotional ups and downs of life’s dramas (big or small, real or imagined), unable to find a moment’s peace of mind. The negative qualities associated with an excess of Fire in the personality include mood swings, restlessness and manipulative behavior.

heart, hands, sunsetOf course, anyone who endeavors to live up to his/her fullness will probably exhibit moods, at times, that are difficult for the people around them. At these times, we may have to ask: “Is this a situation where it is more appropriate to inhibit my response, or is this a time when I should ‘go for it’ and risk the consequences?” The answers need to come from a deep place of self-awareness – a place full of heart. That’s why meditation is considered the appropriate tonifying activity for Fire.

Common Fire Element complaints are: neck and shoulder pain, morning stiffness in the neck or low back, certain kinds of headaches, insomnia, easily overwhelmed, lack of concentration, obsessive thinking, anxiety, palpitations, poor digestion, poor circulation, and tingling in the fingers.

Common illnesses include: palpitations, hypertension, heart problems, and sores on the mouth and tongue.

When the Fire Element is weak in a person, they may stutter, talk too much and too rapidly, or laugh nervously. They may suffer from anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. They may be too excitable, easily stimulated to excesses, and/or they may be emotionally cold and unfeeling.

People strongly influenced by the Fire Element may be vulnerable in very hot weather, and may be calmed and centered by walking. The flavor that goes with Fire is bitter. Coffee is a bitter flavor, but its effects may aggravate the Heart. The healthy bitter flavors include dark, green leafy vegetables.

Treatment for the Fire Element

Shiatsu techniques for neck, shoulder and back pain, and headaches are amazingly effective. If you see a chiropractor, they will also increase the benefits of your treatment. For those of you who suffer bouts of insomnia, there is a special technique developed especially for calming the mind and spirit that really helps with sleep. Several clients have reported being able to decrease the dosage of medicines taken for high blood pressure, anxiety and heartburn with regular Shiatsu treatments. Others have needed the combination of Shiatsu and herbs. I can recommend an herbalist for you.

Shiatsu relaxes and strengthens the mind and body, making it easy to create and maintain healthy, positive energy. It promotes a balanced “self,” able to assess, interpret, and respond from the heart to life’s events. The purpose of my work, besides relieving pain, is to foster this expanded sense of self that sees the beauty in our own being and in everything around us.

Chakra Development offers a moving meditation that increases both yin and yang energy and nourishes our central core.

DNA Activation frees up and increases physical and mental energy. It restores the divine blueprint of perfect health and clears our thoughts and emotions.

Recommendations for the Fire Element Season of Summer

* Millet is the most beneficial grain for the Fire energy. It is light, very quick and easy to fix, and even kids like it!

* Eat fruits with red flesh, like berries, plums and especially watermelon.

* Summer is a great time to soak in the sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D. Studies show that 70% of American children and adults seriously lack Vitamin D. Low Vitamin D levels leave us at risk for skin cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even rickets. Milk and dairy products are not enough to fill in the gap, so consider vitamin supplementation and/or get your 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day – without sunscreen. That is all you need. After that, rub on the sunscreen for the rest of the day.

sunsetHealth Tips for Summer

* If you apply Asian medical nutrition to local American foods, watermelon not only tastes great and is refreshing, it also helps prevent heat stroke and keeps you hydrated. Now you have even more reasons to appreciate and enjoy this wonderful summer delight!

* Just a reminder about leaving bottled water in the car: the amount of heat that accumulates in the car when the sun is streaming in through the windows causes chemicals from the plastic to leach into the water. These chemicals are especially dangerous to women, as research indicates a link to breast cancer. Sheryl Crow made many public appearances after her bout with breast cancer to educate the public about this fact. You will give a great gift when you share this information with you mother, daughter, wife or girlfriend, and any women you know.