Intuition in Aromatherapy – extract from The Spirit in Aromatherapy

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’

Read the extract…

The Spirit in Aromatherapy is available from the Singing Dragon website.

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July Fire Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

Welcome back to the monthly series of stimulating Five Element activities that can support development of children in all ages!   By clicking on the link at the end of this article you can enjoy making your own notebook of Five Element exercises for each month and season of the year. 

FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!fire-element
What do those three words expressed with exclamation marks elicit in you?  Action, alarm, quick-rising energy to react, a pounding heart, consideration of others, a need for clear communication to call out to others for help?  You are landing in the Fire Element capacities already and July brings us into the heart of summer and the Fire Element.

The Fire Element gives us our capacity to communicate with others with warmth, excitement, distinction, emotional sensitivity, and clear articulation.  It rules the heart, so Fire Element development includes learning to express and feel all of the emotions in life.  Joy, laughter, lightness of being, and relational sensitivity are the core emotional expressions gifted to us in our Fire Element capacities.

Correlating summer qualities can be seen in the vitality of nature in the Fire Element.  Summer brings playfulness, bustling energy to interact with others, red, sweaty faces, laughter, heart connecting activities, and vacations that involve relationships with others or self.  Like the busy bees in nature pollinating the trees and collecting nectar for the hive, all activities are directed by some level of communication with others and self.  And like real fire, the energy of this Element in children can be seen in flickers of spontaneity, exuberance, boundless freedom to express in all directions in a room, contagious – spreading laughter, humorous wit, and warmth to all that come near it.

The following exercises can be used with a family, classroom, or a group of children to experience qualities of Fire Element.  Remember, all emotions and experiences in the participants are part of the growth of the Elements.  There is no right or wrong way to react to these games.  Allow children to experience whatever arises with support, acceptance, and safe boundaries, and all five of the Elements are given room to grow.

Nicking Socks

This game is suitable for groups of at least six children.  Each child needs to be wearing loose-fitting socks.

a. On command, everyone crawls around the room and tries to pull as many socks as they can off the other children’s feet and stick them in their own waistband.  The contest creates a lot of laughter and romping.

b. To calm the group down afterwards, all the socks can be put into a bag, and the child who collected the most socks is blindfolded and has to try to find the matching pairs.  Can it be done?  Laughter, playfulness, group camaraderie is offered for all in this exercise.

Desire and capacity for relationships, emotional intelligence, awareness of others and oneself are fruits of developed FIRE qualities.

Making Faces (Good for all ages, great for parent/child groups)

3 or more individuals are standing in a line facing in one direction. The last child/participant makes some kind of funny facial expression.  When the child is ready, he/she taps on the shoulder of the person in front of him.  Then this child/person taps the shoulder on the person in front of him and passes the expression on.  When the last child receives the expression, all compare how it looks with the last persons interpretation and how it looked at the beginning.  The difficult part is not to laugh and to try to stay serious all the time.  Nearly impossible!

This article can be downloaded in a PDF format by clicking on this link  so you can start creating a notebook of Five Element exercises that will be offered each month.
You can find more information and examples of how the Five Elements support development in children in the book: Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for parents, teachers, and therapists, published by Singing Dragon.

NEXT: Earth Element activities – stay grounded in the season of change

Anti-ageing super greens mint chocolate chip ice cream

An easy way to cram in some extra greens into your diet. Use chocolate chips or grated chocolate to provide some texture to the ice cream.

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Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Suitable for Vegetarians

125g/4½oz cashew nuts soaked in water for a couple of hours
2 tsp. super green food powder
1tsp probiotics
60g/2½oz unsweetened coconut flakes
1tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp colostrum powder or glutamine powder
60g/2½oz maple syrup or honey
250ml/8fl oz coconut water
Dash peppermint extract
Pinch of sea salt
60g coconut butter
30g/1oz dark chocolate chips, dairy free if needed

1.         Place the nuts and coconut water in the blender and process until smooth. Then add all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips and blend.

2.         Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn adding in the nibs.  Then freeze to harden. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Calories 337kcal, Protein 5.8g, Carbohydrates 15.9g, Sugars 11.8g, Total fat 27.8g, Saturates 16.8g

This recipe is taken from Eat to Get Younger by Lorraine Nicolle and Christine Bailey, the book has over 100 more delicious anti-ageing recipes and tips for looking and feeling good into your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond!

 

Shōnishin: the many applications of non-invasive acupuncture – by Thomas Wernicke

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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.

shonishinFor 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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Singing Dragon complete 2014

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 hello@singingdragon.com with your details and the number of copies you would like.

How to maintain your root centre – by Rosemary Patten

Rosemary Patten, author of Japanese Holistic Face Massage and founder of Equinox Rose, a clinic specialising in energy healing, offers tips and meditation exercises to fix your prana from tip to toe by focusing on your root centre.

Patten - chakra image for blog pieceWhy is maintaining the root centre important?

The root centre brings the flow of energy from crown to root and back from root to crown again. Without this instinctual energy the human race would not be here and we would not be able to understand the link we have with spirit. The root centre has given us the opportunity to progress. The rhythm of life is an ebb and flow of ideas and the willingness to confidently embrace the new with the knowledge that we can achieve and we can let go.

 

How does a balanced root centre make us feel?

  • We make decisions that are intuitive
  • We enjoy other’s company without fear at expressing our true feelings
  • We respect ourselves
  • We feel no envy or no greed for possessions
  • We relish other’s success
  • We can face people without judgement
  • We can achieve
  • We can help and inspire others
  • We listen to our bodies
  • We are aware of our sexuality and are not ashamed of our bodies

 

What can an imbalance of the root centre lead to?

  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Being weak physically or emotionally
  • Blocking out the past unable to accept and move on
  • Being afraid of our own judgement
  • Restlessness and over talking
  • Running away from any kind of confrontation
  • A lack of co-operation by not allowing anyone to have their say
  • In relationships, aspirations can be too high with a tendency to criticise
  • A tendency to be over competitive
  • Losing the ability to be happy for other’s success

 

How can we maintain a healthy root centre?

  • Get out into the air and with each step realise the earth beneath and feel it!
  • Find activities your body will thank you for; walking in the fresh air, physical exercise, competitive sports, even gardening will help you to connect to your body and the earth
  • Recognise the early signs that tell you when your body is not balanced
  • Eat foods that are natural not processed. Meat and proteins when your mind is racing will help to keep the energy within the lower energy centres. However, overeating meat can cause you to be sluggish, therefore consider also soy tofu, pulses, nuts and dairy

 

An exercise to keep you feeling connected

Remember this simple exercise when you are busy and life gets fraught and you feel overwhelmed:

Sit upright in your chair and imagine a cord that runs down your spine into mother earth. When it reaches the level of the trees it forms roots. These roots intermingle with the trees and keep you connected to the earth. Bring the energy up through your cord.

Meditation 1

(Follow the above connection exercise)… Imagine all your worries, all those little things that annoy or niggles you… And then send those worries, excessive thoughts, down the cord and dispersing into the roots or fibre… Imagine yourself as strong as an oak tree…. Noble… Powerful…

 

Meditation 2

Sit in a comfortable position and put your hand comfortably on your lap.

a) Connect to the breath, breathe evenly and do not force the breath…  Connect to the rhythm of the breath; remember to sit upright to allow the energy to pass up and down your spine. Release any tension you feel within your body.  Scan your body with your mind’s eye.  Are you holding any tension in your head?… Around the temples? Relax… Breathe into the tension and dissipate any tension. Scan your body, head, neck, shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back.  Release by breathing into the area… Feel relaxed but upright.

b) Breathe down and place your root into the soil of mother earth… Remember to breathe not hold the breath too long…

c) Imagine a beam of white light some distance above and to one side of you and draw this light down your spine…

Hold the light at your root centre and visualise it turning a bright red colour.  Feeling the red light within the perineum area…

Feel it grow… Feel strong… Powerful… Passionate and feel courage… Courage to achieve…

You have boundless energy…

You are connected with your root…

You understand the needs of your body and you give thanks

 

Meditation 3

(Follow the above connection exercise)

a) Feel your body expand and contract as you breath… Feel your legs, your feet… And the floor beneath you… Really be aware of the contact of your body to the chair… How solid, gravity keeps you there…

Bring your awareness to your feet and slightly increase the pressure to the floor without bringing tension into your legs… Grounding your body…Feel the current running down your legs… Continue to feel your body grounding…

b) Tune into your body… Feel the centre of gravity at the base of your spine… Focus on this point… As you focus on this point of gravity… Start to be aware of rest of your body… Think of the central channel your spine… Align the energy… Keep your back straight… Bring the energy over this central area…Your torso to your head, throat, chest, stomach, all over the central core of gravity… Keep breathing as you settle into the alignment…Imagine the cord running from the centre of your head down the central core… Deep into the earth… Try to imagine this core a deep red…

Take your time to feel all the energy centres aligning one over the other… Pulling you down into the earth… Anchoring your physical body with the subtle bodies…

c) Allow yourself to sway from the central core of gravity back and forth… Around from that central point… Feel the central point of gravity weighing you down… Holding you… As you move feel the tension lift… Draining away while your feet are pressing gently to the floor. Remember to breathe…

Now just relax into your chair for a few moments before you open your eyes.

 

Rosemary Patten is a master Reiki practitioner, aromatherapist, reflexologist, and author of Japanese Holistic Face Massage. She lives in Kent, UK.

VIDEO: What are acupuncture points?

Emergency doctor and acupuncturist, Dr Daniel Keown, explains his groundbreaking theory that integrates western embryology with ancient Chinese knowledge to explain how acupuncture works in a way that lines up with both eastern and western medical tradtions.


This is part of the theory behind Dr Keown’s revolutionary new book, The Spark in the Machine, which could change the way we think about alternative and mainstream medicine forever. The book is available to order now from the Singing Dragon website.

The six most important fingernail images for diagnosis – extract from Fundamentals of Chinese Fingernail Image Diagnosis (FID)

Li-Fu-Li_Fundamentals-of_978-1-84819-099-3_colourjpg-webIn this extract from Fundamentals of Chinese Fingernail Image Diagnosis (FID) the authors explain the six most common shapes and colours of fingernail images. Formed by blood and Qi between the nail bed and nail plate, the fingernail image can be used to observe pathological changes within the body. The extract explains how to identify the shapes, their significance in terms of Qi and Blood changes and the diseases or disorders these indicate.

Read the extract…

The book is a practical quick reference guide and introduction to FID will be useful for anyone interested in diagnostic techniques. It is available to buy from the Singing Dragon website.

Patting to treat shoulder pain and back ache – extract from Qigong and Chinese Self-Massage for Everyday Health Care by Zeng Qingnan

Qingnan_Qigong-and-Chin_978-1-84819-199-0_colourjpg-web 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.

Read the extract…

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. 

Singing Dragon New Titles – Autumn/Winter 2013-14

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.