How to develop Chinese massage techniques

9780956293008This extract from Chinese Massage Manual by Sarah Pritchard shows how to practice some of the key techniques of Tui na. Beginners should try out the movements on a rice bag before attempting to use them on patients. The author took 3 months to learn the first technique and a further 6 months of daily practice before she was competent to use it on the human body!

Read the extract…

Sarah Pritchard was one of the first Westerners to practice Tui na in the UK. She trained in both the UK and in Nanjing, China, and has been working as a professional Tui na practitioner and acupuncturist since 1994. She is the Tui na course co-ordinator and senior lecturer at the City College of Acupuncture, and the founder and director of Blackheath Complementary Health Centre, London. She is the chair and a founder member of the UK Register of Tui na Chinese Massage.

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.

 

Use it or lose it! A bodyworker’s guide to self-rehabilitation after injury – by Noah Karrasch

Picture of Noah KarraschMany years ago when I first met Susan Findlay, owner/director at NLSSM school of massage in London, she told me she would like me to offer a course on knees.  I responded that I didn’t feel I did good work with knees, but focused on getting better hips and ankles; then knees seemed to get better on their own.  Her response:  “If you’re not comfortable with knees, that’s the course you need to teach!”  At the time I wasn’t pleased with her response but I’ve come to see the value in it since.

I’ve recently given myself an opportunity to test my theories about bodywork much more strongly than I might have liked.  A few days ago I severely injured my right knee… working for several hours on a friend’s cold concrete floor, with lots of kneeling and twisting.  After several hours with just the right twist, I heard a loud ‘pop’ and felt that my knee was very unhappy.  As far as I could self-diagnose, it seemed I’d either damaged my lateral collateral ligament or torn the lateral aspect of the meniscus.  Either way I couldn’t put weight into the knee, couldn’t bend or flex, and couldn’t get comfortable for quite some time.

Anyway, what an amazing opportunity to self-rehabilitate!  And I’m pleased to say it’s working:  48 hours after the initial shock, I was back to about 75% function in that knee, and continuing to feel stronger by the hour.  I think the ‘formula’ that’s working for me gives us all something to think about.  While I can now negotiate lifting myself up a step through that leg and knee, I can’t yet sink through the knee without a great deal of pain, and I don’t see the value of too much pain.

So what’s working?  Why am I getting better, without MRI’s and surgery?  Can we all get better with a bit of self care?  I think we can, but we’ve got to do a bit of work instead of expecting the work to happen to us.

1. I’ve not pushed myself too fast or too far… there’s very little twisting involved, and precious little bending and flexing yet.  On day three there’s finally a bit of flexing and extending the foot on a stair step.  Only gradually should we trust ourselves to give a bit of flexion while still doing most of the lifting work through your arms, if your toes, knees or hips are complaining.  You’ll have a pretty good sense of what’s too much and what’s just right in terms of the paces to put yourself through.  The big toe pushups from my book Meet Your Body remain the single most important piece of work I can recommend to rehabilitate one’s entire deep line, but especially the knee.

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Meet Your Body by Noah Karrasch – featuring the big toe push up and other exercises for releasing trauma in the body

2. I’m always interested in breathing, or at least in staying relaxed while I work to rehabilitate, and I invite you to look at the same.  Current Heart Rate Variability studies suggest that a great deal of basic health is predicated on remembering to breathe in and out, regularly, approximately 6 times per minute.  This causes a greater HRV which facilitates heart function, strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation among other wonderful features. When we push too far and too fast, we stop breathing.  It’s that simple.

3. I tend to want to look for longer lines of transmission in my body.  We’ll rehab ourselves faster if we’re as interested in what’s happening in that big toe on that same side foot, and how it relates to what’s going on in our low back, as we are in what the knee itself has to say.  While stretching the big toe hinge by holding onto a table and lifting into the toes, can you also keep your low back back, while stretching your head to the opposite side and looking behind you?  Can you see the value of trying to find lines of holding and getting breath through them to help find that most important holding spot and release and resolve it?

4. Finally, I do subscribe to the ‘use it or lose it’ school of thought.  I’ve seen too many frozen shoulders or creaky knees where patrons told me that it hurt if they moved, so they’d simply quit moving.  Well, how does one expect to get better if one hides from the challenge?  While I can understand the thought process, I can’t condone it.  We must move through pain and fear to get to the other side!  For too many of us too much of what we call debilitating pain is simply fear-based lack of movement into and through a problem spot.  Consider that movement can be seen as oiling rusted hinges throughout the body; they won’t start moving freely right away!  It will take a bit of time and energy to make them work smoothly again.

And so far, this experience of rehabbing a very scary knee injury is bearing me out on these thoughts.  I believe my experience could be duplicated by most of us…those who are serious about getting better, first need to decide to get themselves better.  It seems we’ve become a generation of people who expect others to fix us and take responsibility for us.  A surgery might be easier, but more likely a 4—6 week recovery from a surgery just isn’t as efficient as a 2—3 week recovery from the work one does for oneself… can more of us begin to think this way?  Can we use the simple principle “Use it or lose it” more of the time?  Can we decide to first assess what’s going on in our body, second, remember to keep breath flowing through it, third, slowly ask the body to come back to balance, and last, to keep on keeping on without overdoing?  Such, I think, defines the ability to heal self.

So, the good news:  another learning experience, another healing, another opportunity for me, and possibly you, to practice what I preach.  While I wish we didn’t find ourselves in these situations, I truly believe we can still find our way out of them.  By slowly returning to a regular climbing of stairs, full range of movement through the knee hinge, and general attentiveness to the way we ask our bodies to work, we can heal.  I believe all of us could be inspired to slowly but with purpose, move into and through the pain and fear, and return to function and joy.

Noah Karrasch is a certified Rolfer and licensed massage therapist, and holds a teaching degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He teaches core bodywork skills throughout the midwest and also works with the Wren Clinic in East London. Noah has written two books on bodywork: Meet Your Body and Freeing Emotions and Energy Through Myofascial Release.

How facial exercises and massage promote both health and beauty – Interview with Leena Kiviluoma

Leena KiviluomaHow did you first become involved in facial muscle care? What drew you working towards working with the face?

As a physiotherapist I aim to help my clients to improve and maintain their overall health and well-being. The musculoskeletal system does not end at the neck, and so I felt it was important to enhance my knowledge of facial anatomy and physiology, and develop my skills to also treat the facial area.

I hope that Vital Face will help people with jaw problems or anxiety about their ageing face, both telling about the reasons behind their problems and concerns and giving advice on how to deal with them.

We use our faces every day in expression and interaction. What can we tell about a person through their face?

Facial expressions show us emotions. Basic emotions activate different facial muscles, producing different facial expressions. We process people’s facial expressions quickly and instinctively, and facial expressions are contagious. When viewing a person with a genuine smile, seeing genuine enjoyment evokes a similar response in the observer’s facial muscle activity, and, consequently, a similar emotional experience.

Interestingly, even though people can fake facial expressions and try to not to show negative emotions such as anger, you may be able to see a tiny involuntarily microexpression appear in their face for a very brief moment, revealing their true emotions.

With the help of Vital Face people will develop an improved awareness of their own faces and ability to release facial tensions. A relaxed face with an enhanced awareness of facial expressions helps to give a positive impression to whoever you are communicating with.

How does facial massage affect overall health and vitality? What health benefits have you noticed with your clients?

MimiLift Facial MuscleCare and Therapy contain massage and stretching techniques which relieve tension from the face, head, neck and shoulders. This reduces tension headaches, stiffness of the lower jaw, neck-shoulder pain, and helps people who suffer from teeth grinding. Relaxation of the face, head, neck and shoulders also relieves stress, relaxes the whole body, and helps with sleeping. All of these can greatly improve overall vitality.

My clients have, for example, reported instant relief of headache and facial tightness, improved mobility and relaxedness of the lower jaw, improved voice production and the improved ability to notice and avoid harmful oro-facial habits such as holding extra tension in the jaw.

Kiviluoma_Vital-Face-Faci_978-1-84819-166-2_colourjpg-webHave you noticed facial massage changing the way your clients look?

Generally, after a one-hour MimiLift Facial MuscleTherapy treatment clients look relaxed and well rested. What has surprised my clients most has been the visible reduction in facial lines and creases. In particular, lines between the eyebrows and across the forehead were considerably diminished.

Facial massage can be done on oneself or by a therapist. MimiLift Facial MuscleCare presented in Vital Face and MimiLift Facial MuscleTherapy feature the same kind of treatments with the same kind of results. The only difference is that the latter is the treatment performed by the therapist.

How do you hope this book will help professionals working with the clients?

Vital Face explores the facial structure and function and how the facial musculoskeletal system affects health and appearance. We have tried to make the book easy and enjoyable to read, with rich illustrations and practical tips, so that it is easy to acquire information and brush up one’s knowledge of the facial area.

The book also presents a wide variety of specific, medically-based self-care exercises and techniques, and explains their scientific basis and effects. These will be very useful as they help professionals in the field of health and beauty to select individual home programmes for their clients.

Vital Face is useful especially for professionals such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, dental hygienists, speech therapists, singing teachers and beauty therapists.

Can MimiLift facial rejuvenation be used alongside other therapies?

MimiLift facial rejuvenation is perfect for licensed beauty professionals to use alongside other non-invasive therapies such as electrotherapy, or for anyone to use alongside home treatments and products.

Leena Kiviluoma is a physiotherapist working as a teacher and consultant in the fitness, beauty, health and rehabilitation industries. Her clients have included the Finnish National Opera, the Finnish National Theatre, The Parliament of Finland and many other companies, and she has contributed to numerous articles on fitness and beauty in magazines and newspapers. She began to develop her medical-based, facial muscle care technique and therapy in 1990 and her two books on the subject have been translated into many languages. She lives in Helsinki, Finland.

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