Request a copy of our 2014 Singing Dragon new and bestselling books

SD logo 300 x 300 pixelsOur brand new catalogue of books and resources from will be available soon.

Click here to sign up for a free copy.

Our new catalogue has essential new titles from Charles Buck (Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine: Roots of Modern Practice) and Clare Harvey (The Practitioner’s Encyclopedia of Flower Remedies).

This is a great opportunity for parents to get a hold of Damo Mitchell’s newest book, The Four Dragons as well as Ioannis Solos’ Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice.

There are useful new resources for every practice like Getting Better at Getting People Better by Noah Karrasch, and the new fully updated edition of A Guide to Living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility Type) by Isobel Knight.

To request a copy of the catalogue please click here.

Click this link to see more forthcoming books from Singing Dragon.

Improve patient’s experience through relationship-building – interview with Jane Wood

Jane Wood

Jane Wood has been involved in reflective practice for the last 20 years.  She is a supervisor and teacher of reflective practice at the University of Westminster and is the head

of practitioner development and reflective practice at the International School of Homeopathy, London.

Jane Wood’s new book The Compassionate Practitioner is now available from Singing Dragon. This handbook, full of practical tips and supportive advice, explains how best to enhance the client’s experience through compassion and mindfulness. This book will be a valued support for anyone working in private practice.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have been teaching the practitioner-patient relationship to students at college and at the University of Westminster for nearly 20 years. At the same time, I have been supervising qualified alternative practitioners and seen their struggles to build up a private practice. Many practitioners talked about the same issues in supervision: their patients were demanding, impatient or simply didn’t return. The practitioners needed to find a way to create trust, loyalty and staying power. They could do this if they improved the patient’s experience during the consultation. I realized I was in a position to write a book that takes the practitioner through every stage of the consultation, giving them lots of practical advice on how to create a healing relationship with the patient – and gain a flourishing practice.

 

Why is relationship building so important for people working in private practice?

I strongly believe that relationship building is vitally important for everyone in the caring professions whether they are alternative practitioners, counsellors and therapists or traditional doctors, nurses and consultants. Unfortunately, most orthodox practitioners do not have the time available to do much relationship building, leaving both the practitioner and the patient feeling dissatisfied and rushed. Many alternative practitioners such as homeopaths, acupuncturists, and body workers have longer sessions with their patients, which allow them more time to work on the relationship.

On the surface, making an effort to improve the experience for the patient will increase their trust and loyalty to the practitioner, but it is more than this. When the practitioner takes time to make the patient feel safe and appreciated, the patient can start to relax and explain themselves better; which in turn enables the practitioner to give a better treatment.

The added bonus for anyone in private practice, is that once there is a good relationship, the patient will help build up the practice by referring other people.

There are many different ways in which the practitioner can improve their patients’ experiences. One way is consider the clinic environment. I suggest that practitioners take five or ten minutes to sit in the patient’s chair, quieting their mind by focusing on the breath. Once they are quiet and relaxed, they can bring themselves into the present moment and use all of their senses to assess the clinic room. What is the feel of the chair they are sitting in? Is it comfortable? What is the room temperature? What smells are there?  Can they hear the receptionist or another therapist working in the next room? If so, does this impact on confidentiality?

 

What can practitioners do to improve their patients’ experiences?

The appearance of the room will make a big difference to the patient. If the practitioner is behind a desk they will feel more secure, but the patient will feel distanced. What do the patient’s eyes rest on when they are not talking? Considering the clinic room through the senses will give the practitioner a taste of what the patient experiences. They then need to consider what they can do to improve the current environment.

Another suggestion for improving the patient’s experience is that the practitioner should explain to the patient what will happen during the consultation. This is called ‘signposting’ and should be done at the beginning of the session. It can be very brief, such as, ‘I’m going to invite you to talk about yourself and your problem for the first twenty minutes, and then I’ll give you a treatment which takes about thirty minutes. You’ll need to take off your shoes and get onto the treatment couch. After the treatment we’ll see how you feel.” Once this has been clarified, the patient knows what to expect and can relax.

 

How can practitioners maintain balance in their work and avoid burnout?

Being a practitioner and listening to many patients talking about themselves is a great privilege and helping them can be deeply rewarding.  But sometimes the price is too high. There are several different causes of burnout, including working for very long hours, anxiety about patients or unconsciously taking on the patients’ negative emotions. The last one occurs mainly when there is a long time spent face-to-face with the patient, such as for counsellors, therapists or homeopaths. Our brains are programmed to read other people’s body language and facial expressions, so that we can empathise or feel their emotions.

The patient’s emotions can be directly experienced by the practitioner who might carry home a patient’s anger or depression. An awareness of this will help them consciously make more breaks in eye contact, and change their own body language more often so they don’t unconsciously mirror the patient so much.

Another way to avoid burnout is to make sure the practitioner has enough personal time to have fun and relax. This might sound obvious but when a single practitioner is running a private practice, they have to be their own marketing manager, record keeper and accountant and this all takes time. The practitioner needs to balance the intense work in the clinic with care for themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

You write a lot about self-reflection. Who do you think should do it and why do think it’s important?

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Self-reflection is a process of self-examination, of thinking seriously about your own character or actions. In the caring professions this will mean exploring something about the practitioner-patient relationship in order to understand it in more depth and decide what can be done to improve it. It is not nearly as effective if it is done within the limitations of the practitioners mind, and much better if it’s done out loud in front of a colleague or supervisor, or written into a self-reflective journal. If something went well, the practitioner can make a note of it so that they can repeat it. If it didn’t go well they can analyse why and plan how to change things next time. As I see it, all practitioners should be doing self-reflection. Their learning taught them how to work with the average patient. Experience shows them that patients are anything but average and everyone is very different. Self-reflection raises the standards of the practitioner and everyone gains from it: the practitioner, the patient, the clinic and the profession in general.

 

 2014  Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

 

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.

mint-chocolate-chip-ice-cream---edit

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

Oppenheimer-Wer_Shonishin_978-1-84819-160-0_colourjpg-web

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.