Richy K. Chandler discusses ‘When Are You Going to Get a Proper Job?’

 

When Are You Going to Get a Proper Job? is the new comic from Richy K. Chandler, which tackles the issue of how the responsibilities of parenting can clash with a creative career.

When Are You Going to Get a Proper Job? features parent and graphic artist, Tariq, who finds himself stuck in a cycle of guilt, torn between quality time with his family and creative time in the studio.

This comic will spark the important debate about the value society places on creative careers, and will raise awareness of the pressures put upon creative professionals and how this career choice can conflict with family life and societal expectations.

Richy K. Chandler discusses the themes of the book and the process of drawing the illustrations in the video below.

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More Titles by Richy K. Chandler

You Make Your Parents Super Happy!

Explaining why parents decide to separate in simple, understandable language to children, this candid graphic story reassures and comforts any child whose parents are breaking up. Fully illustrated, with characters that any child can relate to, this book is a lifeline during a confusing time.

Click here to read more about the book.

My Transition from Practitioner to Teacher

Quayle_Mouses-House-Ch_978-1-84819-247-8_colourjpg-printby Susan Quayle, author of The Mouse’s House: Children’s Reflexology for Bedtime or Anytime, illustrated by Melissa Muldoon

If you are thinking of transitioning from a practitioner to a teacher I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have created your own beautiful course and have a passion to share it with the world. On the whole, the world is just waiting for you to share your vision with them.

As a maternity and fertility reflexologist I build powerful relationships with women at the most amazing times in their lives. Working with pregnant women is such an awe inspiring privilege with the therapist developing a connection to both mother and child. Very soon after making this career choice I realised that all too often the relationship ends abruptly after the child is born when really a whole new relationship should be starting. Babies absolutely love reflexology, whilst inside their mothers womb as well as skin to skin, so to speak!

For a long time after having this realisation I thought about how I could continue to see parents after their babies were born and the answer I came up with was to run a course for them. There was a problem with this idea though, what and how would I teach them? Just coming along for a session would be great but wouldn’t really be building any relationships or offering them the chance to bond with other new mothers. So the content needed to last for more than one session, be engaging, attractive and fun. I thought I might be able to create a course but there was a lot of work to consider and I really felt that without a proper concept it would feel a bit flat. I thought a lot more, for months, years even! As with all ideas they come after a lot of ground work has already been put in and one day in the bath an idea came to me of The Children’s Reflexology Programme, TCRP, and a lovely, simple story about a mouse that would visit all her friends and ask for help to make her new-found house cosy. The Mouse’s House and the development possibly for future courses were born. I have become a strong believer in the concept that if you work on ideas for long enough everything falls into place.

There was a lot of work involved in creating the book and finding Melissa Muldoon, the amazing illustrator, but after a year we self-published and shortly after that Lucy Buckridge, an editor from Jessica Kingsley Publishers, approached me and we now have the beautiful book that we see today. The Mouse’s House is a rhyming story of short verses where each of the animal characters represents one of the important reflexes and as you read the story to your child you work the reflexes as the characters appear. The result is a simple but complete treatment.

Almost two years after the creation of The Mouse’s House I started writing the first parent course to supplement the material in the book and help parents understand the reflexology better in a workshop style environment. The book with the animal characters had given me the concept that I had felt was missing from a course in the first place. I added a few more reflexes to the course which meant coming up with more characters. I felt that this would add value and would allow me to create specific treatments for a variety of minor conditions of childhood.

The first courses went out in the autumn of 2014 and I was a nervous wreck! I felt pretty exposed standing in front of an audience and teaching my course for the first time….but the mums loved it! I received messages from the very first day telling me how the reflexology had worked for a variety of conditions that their children were suffering and they couldn’t wait for the next session. I ran three courses for one hour a week over six weeks. The youngest we had on a course was four days old and he was suffering from constipation – but not for long! Everyone got something out of the course and all of them have continued to give their children reflexology since with the beautiful handouts that they received and their own copy of The Mouse’s House, which make up a parent pack and which the children loved.

The feedback was fabulous and inspired me to continue, so after Christmas I began writing an instructors course. I realised that if I wanted this to reach the number of people that I was thinking of I would need more than me out there teaching it to parents. I had already been thinking about the concept of a website that would link the instructors to their courses and allow anyone anywhere to find an instructor in their area. I had been asking my husband, who is a programmer, if he could design such a website for me and in January he started to work on what we have now. A large part of the instructor business is based online with lots of marketing materials and the Google Earth link to the site. So we had a way of instructors reaching their parents and telling the world that they were here.

One of the most important factors for me in creating TCRP was empowering parents. I wanted to bring the powerful effects of reflexology to them in a simple fun package that they could utilise anywhere and at any time. So now that I was writing an instructor course I thought about what I wanted to achieve from this course and again I wanted to be able to empower parents. I thought about the baby massage business model where there is no pre-requisite to be a massage therapist to train and I thought how wonderful it would be to be able to offer parents, mothers in particular, the option of having a sustainable, ethical business that they could work at alongside their parenting and which would be holistic and positive in supporting other families in such a beneficial way. Having seen mothers who’d had to go back to work, leaving their baby when they didn’t want to, it felt great to be able to give them another option, as a long term business plan or for a short time until they were ready to resume a career.

For me this was a huge thing. I felt that I was breaking many rules. As far as I was aware, in this country, all infant reflexology courses were taught by qualified reflexologists and mine would be the first to change this ideology. It wasn’t just parents that I wanted to offer this training to. Baby massage teachers, baby yoga teachers indeed anyone who worked or had a healthy interest in helping parents and their children would be able to train as an instructor.

By March I was pretty much done. The coursework was beautiful and there was lots of it! All the reflexology was wonderfully simple, clear and most importantly engaging. All the reflexology protocols had been carefully created by a professional reflexologist and the marketing material was all to a very high standard.

On a whim, in March, I published details of the first course – just to see what the reaction would be – and I got an instant response from several people. The first course ran in April and was a great success and a huge amount of fun. As I was aware that being the focus of attention wasn’t my favourite thing I built in lots of things for the students to do to draw it away from me. So much came out of this first course. Once you create something new it is often surprising how many different avenues can open up. The second instructor course ran in June and this enabled me to apply for approval from the Association of Refelxologists in the UK. I sent all the course work off, feeling very nervous about what they would say in regards to the not needing to be qualified to train. I have to admit to being quite flabbergasted by their response! They loved it and wanted to approve it but wanted me to make a couple of small changes – mostly in relation to teaching the reflexology to trained reflexologists, which was fair enough. I now have approval and the good news is that reflexologists only need to do two of the normal three days’ training.

I have lots of courses planned and have been in close contact with many wonderful reflexologists around the country who are helping me to set up all sorts of new initiatives with this concept. There are a lot of areas opening up that I had never really thought of and whole new concepts coming out of this one too.

I have also continued to write books and have written two more and am half way through a third for older children. Writing has become my passion and empowering parents through reflexology my mission. I really hope that infant reflexology can become as mainstream, accepted and appreciated as baby massage – but let’s not take forty years to make it happen this time!

Susan Quayle is an experienced reflexologist and complementary therapist who has developed her skills and qualifications to specialise in the areas of fertility, maternity, babies and children. Susan has created and developed ‘The Children’s Reflexology Programme’, which uses her guide The Mouse’s House. The course has been approved by the Association of Reflexologist. To find out more, including dates and venues across the UK, please visit www.kidsreflex.co.uk.

Susan lives in Devon, UK and her clinic is based in Exeter and at her home, she now spends much of her time empowering parents with reflexology through her innovative books and courses.

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Four day old asleep

Shōnishin – The Art of Japanese Acupuncture Without Needles

What is ShōniOppenheimer-Wer_Shonishin_978-1-84819-160-0_colourjpg-webshin?

Shōnishin (from Japanese shōni = little child, shin = needling) is a non-invasive method of acupuncture which was developed in Japan for pediatric treatment around 100 years ago. Instead of using needles there are different tools and instruments. They are used for rubbing and tapping on certain reflex zones and meridian areas, as well as on acupuncture points for gentle stimulation along the torso and the extremities.

The therapeutic effect of Shōnishin is to regulate and support the specific development of children, especially the central and autonomous nervous systems. Therefore the treatment is very effective, especially for children with different disharmonies or illnesses from birth to school age. As Shōnishin has no side effects and is absolutely painless, this kind of treatment is made-to-measure for the needs, complaints, and illnesses of babies and children.

Other client groups who can benefit from Shōnishin

Shōnishin is being used as an alternative to acupuncture in women’s shelters, mother-child facilities and nurseries. This aids women and children, who are in difficult social or monetary situations, abandoned and without any obvious way out. This includes traumatized women and children (e.g. survivors of rape), who are only able to permit touching via the “interposed” Shōnishin instrument where no skin-to-skin contact happens.

Another field of application for Shōnishin will be in the treatment of older adults. Particular parameters like skin conditions and mental conditions seem to show retrogression into childhood. First experiences with Shōnishin in homes for the aged show promising treatment approaches. Even here it becomes obvious, that treatment with a Shōnishin instrument is advantageous as older adults often suffer from a shortage of caring touch. With Shōnishin the contact doesn’t take place directly, but indirectly with an instrument. Thus, older adults have no fear of contact and are willing to allow the treatment. Yet another advantage of treating elderly people with Shōnishin is that as many of them have to take blood-thinning medicines, with the non-invasive and gentle treatment technique with Shōnishin, there is no contraindication.

Training in Shōnishin

Training in Shōnishin varies a lot in the way it is done outside Japan. In Germany there are trainers who offer one-day courses. This, of course, entails the risk that therapists with minimal training could bring Shōnishin into public disrepute if they treat children outside their own household.

As a member of the Japanese Scientific Association of Acupuncture for Children (Nihon Shōni Hari Gakkai), my main aim in running courses is to set a high quality standard in the interest of both small and older children. My courses are based on current traditional Japanese medicine research and on Western health sciences on the other.

Knowledge on child development from both Western and Eastern points of view are an essential lesson of the course. Shōnishin training is best acquired after a basic training in a meridian therapy (e.g. acupuncture, Tuina or Shiatsu) and a minimum six days course. Since, ultimately, children are going to be treated, the motor and sensory aspects of child development in the first 12 months of life are taught, as is energetic development. The most important thing is to understand how the meridians develop, and their influence on child development and development in later life.

Theoretical Basics of Shōnishin

I have based my training of Shonishin upon my nearly 30 years’ experience of working with children. My wife, Karin, initially trained as a physiotherapist and and went on to study shiatsu in Japan. In 1985, she and I founded an institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine just outside Frankfurt, Germany. Karin teaches baby and child shiatsu internationally and is a Founder of the German Shiatsu Society. She has written a number of books on the subject, including Children at Their Best and Baby Shiatsu.

Together, we have developed a modShonishin2el of energetic development that can serve as the theoretical foundation for Shōnishin. It is the basis for understanding child development in its energetic aspect, and ultimately for diagnostic and therapeutic processes that depends on the stages of development.

The model of energetic development is an attempt to bring the knowledge of modern neuroscience, developmental psychology and developmental physiology into harmony with the knowledge and experience of oriental medicine.

The model states that each energetic stage of motor and sensory development builds on the previous developmental stage. The meridians play a primary role in this and represent a communications network connecting the child with her external world. They are then also responsible for the child’s development of posture, movement, patterns of behavior and personality.

Knowing about the ways motor, sensory and energetic functioning are interwoven, opens up new perspectives on child development, resulting in specific treatment approaches. Ultimately, it is the knowledge of meridians in developmental stages forms the foundation for treatment of children of all ages with Shōnishin.

 

Shonishin Training with Thomas Wernicke in the UK:
3 day course as part of the 6 day Shonishin Training with Thomas Wernicke:
When: Saturday 30th May to Monday 1st June 2015
Where: Edinburgh
Cost: Early Bird booking by 31st March 2015 £235, full cost thereafter £260
For more information and to book your place (places limited to 12 people) contact:
Svenja Schaper, Shiatsu Practitioner, Dip. BSS, MRSS, PGCE
svenjashiatsu@movingtouch.co.uk mobile: 07842 563 298

~~~

Thomas Wernicke is a licensed General Practitioner with qualifications in complementary medicine, Chinese and Japanese acupuncture, as well as manual therapies including craniosacral therapy and osteopathy for adults, children and babies, psychosomatic therapy and homeopathy. He is a member of the Japanese Scientific Society for Shonishin, and since 2004, he has been the Training Manager for Daishi Hari Shonishin in Europe. Thomas is also Founding Member and President of the International Society for Traditional Japanese Medicine. He lives in Hochheim, Germany. He has written Shonishin: The Art of Non-Invasive Paediatric Acupuncture publishing by Singing Dragon.

 

Call for Comic and Graphic novel submissions

Singing Dragon and Jessica Kingsley Publishers have recently started developing an exciting new line of comics and graphics novels and we are now open for submissions.

Singing Dragon publishes authoritative books on all aspects of Chinese medicine, yoga therapy, aromatherapy, massage, Qigong and complementary and alternative health more generally, as well as Oriental martial arts. Find out more on www.singingdragon.com

JKP are committed to publishing books that make a difference. The range of subjects includes autism, dementia, social work, art therapies, mental health, counselling, palliative care and practical theology. Have a look on www.jkp.com for the full range of titles.

If you have an idea that you think would work well as a graphic book, or are an artist interested in working with us, here is what we are looking for:

Graphic novel or comic – Long form

We are looking for book proposals that are between 100 and 200 pages, black and white or colour, and explore the topics listed above or another subject that would fit into the JKP/Singing Dragon list. Specifically we are hoping to develop more personal autobiographical stories.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the plot/outline of the book, as well as short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Character sketches of the main characters with descriptions.
  3. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 5 to 10 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  4. Solo writers will need to submit 10 to 20 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

Comic – Short form

We have some shorter comic projects underway and are looking to expand the range of topics covered. These books can run from 20 to 40 pages, black and white or colour, with dimensions of 170x230mm. We are mainly looking for comics that provide ideas and information for both professionals and general readers.

For example, the first in this series, published by Singing Dragon, is a book exploring the latest developments in chronic pain research.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the narrative style and subject matter to be explored in the book. Also include short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 3 to 5 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  3. Solo writers will need to submit 5 to 10 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

When submitting please provide low-res images and send them, along with everything else, to Mike Medaglia at mike.medaglia@jkp.com

If you have any other ideas that don’t directly relate to the subjects described above but you feel might still fit into the Singing Dragon or JKP list, please feel free to get in touch with ideas and enquiries on the email above.

Autumn Metal 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!   If this is your first time reading our blog, you can go back to our first entry in May to view the WOOD Element activities.  All of the blogs can be downloaded in a pdf format by clicking on the link at the end of this article so that you can enjoy making your own notebook of Five Element exercises for each month and season of the year. 

November - metal imageThe transformation of the autumn leaves from their brilliant colors blowing in the wind to withered, crunchy piles on the ground shows us the natural capacity of our planet to let go of what is no longer   needed in life.  Autumn is the time of the Metal Element, where the cycle of life from beginning to end is most apparent as nature prepares for the hibernation of winter.  Fall marks the approaching end of the year and can bring a natural sense of reflection for us as we recognize how time passes season after season.

The Metal Element and the season of autumn are symbolic for many aspects of our lives.  It has clear demarcation of irreversible change representing the need to let go and create boundaries in order for balance and the cycle of life to continue.  It is the Metal Element that gives us the capacity to reflect on what has past, to keep what is most precious, and to cut loose what we no longer need so we can make room for what comes next.   When in balance, this function is as natural as breathing in, and breathing out, and one might even find oneself doing exactly that with the crispness of the autumn air.

For children, the Metal Element expressions are most visible in their sense of boundaries in their environment, bodies, space and time.  The young child that cries out, “No! That’s my toy!” is expressing a boundary of self and depending on the age is an appropriate and needed expression to come in touch with oneself.  Just as the 6 year old child that shows difficulty respecting the space of other children and their objects, likewise may be expressing an undeveloped Metal Element aspect.  Space, time, order, capacity to let go of one craft to start another, or just an ability to know when the time for stopping an activity, are all developmental pieces of the Metal Element that can be observed in children and adults.

The following exercises are games and activities that can be used to stimulate the Metal Element energy.  They can be used with a family, classroom, or a group of children to experience some fun qualities of Metal Element.

Do I Know My Size?

This activity is for a family or small group. Every member of the family/group gets a long rope (longer than what it would take to draw the outline of the body).  The rope can be inexpensive twine that is used to wrap packages.  Everyone uses their rope to try to create the outline of their body (in whatever shape they want) on the ground.  They cannot lay on the ground to measure; they have to try to do this from their idea of their own size and shape.  When everybody is done, all members of the group look and decide if they think the drawings are the correct size of each other or not.

After all the opinions have been shared,  each person will take a turn laying in their own shape while the other group members use different colours of wool or cotton balls to surround the actual shape of the person laying down.  Then they help the person surrounded by cotton or wool to stand up very carefully.  Now this group member can see how different the shape they made was to the real shape on the ground.

Having Fun with Boundaries!

2 people are sitting face to face at a table. The table should not be too big.  A cotton ball is placed in the center of the table.  Now, without using hands or any other objects, both people try to blow the cotton ball off the opposite side of the table in the direction where the other person is sitting. Of course it becomes harder and harder to succeed as the each person tries to keep the cotton ball from falling off the table on their side!Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-web

Click this link to download this article.

For more information about the Five Elements and the way they can support child development read Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists.

NEXT: Winter Water Element activities – snow fall down the Bladder Meridian!

The rewards of using homeopathy with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Andrews_Homeopathy-and_978-1-84819-168-6_colourjpg-printThe rewards of using homeopathy with Autism Spectrum Disorder – by Mike Andrews

I have been practicing as a professional homeopath since 1990. I have an open door policy to referrals and most clients self refer to me. In the past I have had a special interest in working with clients with fertility problems, skin conditions and asthma.

I have over the years worked with many children, and their parents, with ADD, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I find working with ASD children particularly rewarding as the changes that I have seen homeopathy bring about in their and their parents lives is immensely heart-warming.

As is common in the Autism community when parents find something that benefits their child they tell other parents about it. This is how my Autism practice has grown. The changes can be so obvious that other parents will ask ‘What you have been doing to help your child so much?’

The changes can be most observable in social skills in public, the changes that go on ‘behind closed doors’ are often dramatic in terms of improved family relationships, eating a wider range of foods and less repetitive or aggressive behaviour.

In my book Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder I wanted to look at the types of results homeopaths around the world were achieving and to see how they compared with my experience. Many positive small cohort studies have been published. I refer to these studies in the book and also chose to interviewed colleagues from around the world.  Homeopaths working in Australia, the US, Israel, India and the UK contributed generously to the publication.

Nutritional approaches or biomedicine are often the first step that parents take in to non-conventional medicine when they are dissatisfied by state provision of services. Myself, and other homeopaths, have found that significant further gains can be made even for those children that have been following a dietary regime and supplementation program for some time. Observing a seven year old boy, who had been on a nutritional program for a year when his parents first consulted me, significant cognitive and motor skill improvements followed the introduction of a homeopathic remedy. His nutritionist then suggested stopping the old program, and various tests, before starting a new revised program; at this point the child’s tantrums increased although other gains were maintained. He was then prescribed a different homeopathic medication which helped him greatly even before he started the new nutritional supplements.

Homeopathy is very much an individualised treatment modality which is both its strength and its weakness. Being so individualised it is hard to fit homeopathic treatment into conventional research protocols and it is difficult to give advice for self treatment. However with a choice of over 3500 homeopathic medicines to choose from the child, or indeed adult, with ASD can receive a remedy which takes full account of their individual characteristics and symptoms. Homeopathic treatment is not about de-toxing, although that can be part of the treatment plan, but more a holistic treatment. Homeopathy views everyone’s symptoms, whether autistic or not, as a dynamic whole mind-body disturbance and they are treated with a dynamic homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy works with the ‘vital’ force’, Chinese traditional medicine with the ‘chi’. The exact mechanism of homeopathy is still not fully understood, although it probably lies in the realms of quantum physics. Reading my book will give you as a parent or career for someone with autism, or a professional working with families, a good understanding of homeopathy and the results that have been achieved if you work with a properly qualified and registered Homeopath.

Mike Andrews DSH RSHom graduated from Misha Norland’s School of Homeopathy (UK) in 1990. He has taught at many UK homeopathic colleges: London College of Classical Homeopathy, Purton House School of Homeopathy and on the BSc (Hons) Health Sciences: Homeopathy module at the University of Westminster. He has been in full-time homeopathic practice since 1990 and has been a Registered Member of the Society of Homeopaths since 1994. He practiced in West Sussex for many years, but now works in London and Ludlow, Shropshire. Over more than twenty three years in practice, he has worked with many children and their parents, giving him a good practical understanding of child development. He has worked with children with diagnoses of dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s and Autism. He is the author of Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder

June Wood Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

In our previous blog we introduced the element Wood through a visualization exercise to help children begin to feel the Element in themselves and the environment.  The focus was on the imagination and creativity qualities that Wood Element offers in life. We will continue with Wood in this blog and expand on the way it supports child development.

Beside creativity and imagination, the Wood Element gives us two other important gifts, our physical mobility and flexibility. Here we want to emphasize that the development of flexibility happens as strongly in the mental capacity as in the physical. A good analogy of a flexible nature in someone can be seen in a bamboo tree. No matter which direction the wind blows, bamboo will stand upright over and over again. The following exercise is an example of how you can bring this experience to a family or small group of children. It creates a lot of movement involving rolling, turning and stretching that is good for everyone. Above all, it is really fun and brings laughter and play into the dynamics of any group.

June Wood imageThe World is Coloured

Particularly in springtime we experience a large variety of colours in nature. Everything blossoms, budding fresh green leaves and flowers of every hue.  Everywhere you look nature is full of energy and joy for life. The following exercise can bring all of these qualities to everyone in the family or group.

The family members sit down on a big towel of their own, and are told it is a large tub full of different colours, whatever they imagine. Everyone chooses one particular colour that they are sitting in and shares which colour they selected.  Each can say the special reason why the colour they picked is their colour for today. 

Then everybody should “paint himself” –if possible everywhere- with his favourite colour, by turning on his towel, rolling and lolling about. Encourage each to try all the movements possible in their tub.

Then ask, “Is your body totally covered with colour? Well, now let’s paint the floor!“

Everybody rolls and rolls throughout the space. There are obstacles everywhere! If another person is touched, their colours mix. What colour is it now?

After a few minutes everybody sits up.

 “So, now let’s paint the soles of each other’s feet – pick a partner and ask your partner which colour he would like.  Apply the colour firmly on your partner’s soles. When you are done, everybody stand up and make footprints with big or small steps in the whole room! Now, try to walk in the footprints of another person and see what it feels like to walk in their steps.”

Everybody has to go under a shower afterwards. Everyone searches for a place in the room for himself/herself and shakes the colours off vigorously under their shower.

To end, everyone must hop until they are dry!

The physical activity of this exercise allows the Wood Element’s need for large movements, imagination, loud noises, and stretching for everyone.  Allow the dynamics of the group to unfold. There might be natural directors that appear as others ideas and creativity come and go. Give room for each to experience and work out what might be difficult or easy in the interactions and instructions. Experiencing any difficulty is as important as experiencing the ease in all of the Five Element exercises, as participants have the opportunity to try out new solutions.

If anger appears, allow this. Anger is the natural response to frustration and the emotion expressed in the Wood Element. Activities that give children permission to experiment with anger, supports healthy development as they learn how to manage this strong energy. For those that struggle moving through this emotion, the following exercise can be added:

Lightning Power

Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-webSit without shoes on a chair.  Cling your toes into the floor and tense all the muscles of your feet.

Now imagine a lightning bolt which sends the anger down into the floor. If the child likes he/she can also clench the hands and make a grimace with the face.

After a while relax and enjoy how much lighter everything feels now.

We invite you to look for what comes next month as we enter into the Fire Element and season of summer. This article can be downloaded in a pdf format by clicking on this link so that 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: July Fire Element Activities – nicking socks and making faces

 

Springtime Wood Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

This blog is an invitation to parents, teachers, therapists and mentors of children to join us in having fun with a seasonal series of stimulating Five Element activities that can support development in all ages!  These entries can be downloaded and printed off in pdf format by clicking this link so that you can enjoy making your own notebook of Five Element exercises for each month and season of the year.  We hope you have as much fun being creative with these ideas and projects as we have with many children and families.

May Wood imageSince we are beginning this series in springtime we will start with the Wood Element, the perfect place to start any activity with children. Wood Element marks the time of new beginnings and all the bursting energy of creativity and expanding growth like the first spring flowers breaking through the ground and fresh green buds on the trees and bushes. If you have lived in a place that has long, cold winters, you know the antsy feeling of wanting to move, jump, and stretch in every direction to greet the sun and warm air of the coming spring! This is exactly what children feel physically as they are developing gross and fine motor skills and testing them out for the first time, or emotionally and cognitively as they are learning new activities and seeing the possibilities of what they can do next from their new development!

The following exercises can be used with a family, classroom, or group of children to experience qualities of Wood:

 A Tree in the Forest

Have the group of participants get comfortable and read the visualization below.

Imagine you are a seedling of your favorite tree or plant in the earth. You can feel other seedlings around you nestled in the soil tucked up tight with the earth and each other to keep warm from the cold of winter.  But now the earth is getting warmer.  You feel something growing bigger inside you day by day.  You feel itchy and antsy to let it out, until finally the energy gets so strong that it bursts out in every direction!  Your roots shoot down into the soil, and your trunk, branches, and leaves up and out towards the sun.  You feel the roots of the other trees around you and playfully you all race each other toward the sun and sky!  Feel how strong, fresh and new you feel in the freedom to grow!

When finished have everyone draw a picture of what they saw themselves as in a forest with each other. Pick a wall or board to have everyone create the forest with their pictures hanging together.

A Family/Group Springtime Walk

Talk about springtime and get ideas from the group about what they notice with the plants, animals, and colours in nature.  What does their body and air feel like in the room when they talk about this? Wood Element brings the development of imagination, movement, planning and creativity. Allow all ideas, there are no right or wrong answers.  Let them express how they experience and relate this time of year to themselves.  After everyone has a chance to share, get ready for a walk outside and invite all to pick one item up from nature that reminds them of spring.  When you get back from the walk, place all the items found on a table or cloth for everyone to touch and admire. This can be left on a season table somewhere in the room or house, and the children can be invited to continue to add items and be creative with the table throughout the season. Remember, that it is not about looking perfect to the adult eyes!  Let the children find all the awkward and balanced expressions of Wood Element and have fun seeing what they create. Permission to play and express is the key to growth.

Splitting the Tree

Every Element has an emotion associated with its development. The creative energy of the Wood Element brings emotions of frustration and anger when this dynamic desire cannot Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-webmove. This last exercise we offer is to support the healthy movement of anger. Use pillows, plastic bat, cardboard tube, anything safe to allow a child to get as physically active as she/he needs to express their emotion.

Imagine a big trunk of a tree on the floor in front of you. With an axe, you want to use all your power to split the trunk. But it is so hard to do that you get really angry! Take all your energy and power and keep striking the trunk until you feel tired and can rest, feeling calm.

For more information about the Five Elements and the way they can support child development, read Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists released in April 2014 with Singing Dragon.

NEXT: June Wood Element activities – a colourful world and lightning power!

Request a copy of the UK Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue

Cover of the Singing Dragon UK Complete CatalogueMake sure not to miss Singing Dragon’s latest UK Complete Catalogue. If you have not yet received a copy, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send a free one out to you ASAP.

Readers in the UK and Europe who request a copy of the catalogue before February 15th, 2013 will also receive a voucher for a 15% discount on the entire Singing Dragon list of books, with free postage and packing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to find new, forthcoming and classic books on Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health, Taiji, Qigong, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Spirituality and more. Also, sample health-promoting recipes with The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, and Make Yourself Better with Philip Weeks’ books. Delve into the history of Ayurvedic Medicine and the Mudras of India, and discover the Five Levels of Taijiquan, Daoist Nei Gong and Chinese Medical Qigong.

To request your copy of our Complete Catalogue, please click here. To receive your 15% discount voucher, please be sure to click the checkbox for “Singing Dragon” under area of interest or else mention this offer in the “any further comments” section.

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Using Shiatsu to Support Infant Development, Step by Step: An Interview with Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke

‘An important part of what we do is trying to put parents and baby in a different connection, where the parents are more aware about the needs of the baby – and also aware of their own needs.’

In this interview, author and Shiatsu practitioner Karin Kalbantner Wernicke recounts the travels through Japan that helped her to compile the techniques that form Baby Shiatsu, describing the very real benefits that these techniques can bring to parents and to babies from both Eastern and Western medical practice.

Picture of Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke


What is Baby Shiatsu and why is it so important for young children?

Baby Shiatsu is a special form of Shiatsu which really looks into the development of the baby from both a Western and Eastern viewpoint. It follows what we know about infant development from Western medicine, but we also use the Eastern viewpoint to look at how the meridians develop. When you use both approaches together, they give a more complete understanding of a child’s development, and of the interaction between parents and children.

It is also really important, in our opinion, that Baby Shiatsu supports the child at the stage they are at in the present, without any preconceived ideas of what the child should be doing either now or later on in life. When doing Baby Shiatsu, we are just thinking about what is necessary for the child now, and what a parent can do now to help their child take their next step in their own time.

Baby Shiatsu also offers so much support for the little daily problems – when babies are teething, when they can’t sleep, if they have gas. There are so many simple techniques from Shiatsu that parents can use to support their child.

How did you develop this approach?

That’s a long story! Many years ago I studied Shiatsu and I lived in Japan. While I was there, I was of course influenced by their approaches to health. After coming back to Germany I met my husband who had previously worked as a doctor in the Philippines. As he was also interested in Oriental Medicine we went together to Japan where he studied Shonishin (special acupuncture for children). I’m also a physical therapist, and my husband is a doctor, and we both specialise in working with children and babies.

When we were in Japan, we wanted to understand how all of these different therapies help children and babies – where they differ and what they have in common. So we travelled around Japan, we made a film, and we analysed what different therapists were doing and the impacts that these different techniques had. We also met families who used techniques passed from mother to mother to mother, through the generations. During this time, we discovered many techniques and views, and we put them together with what we already knew from theory and practice. You see, in Japan one thing that we saw was that sometimes, even though the techniques worked wonderfully well, the therapists themselves couldn’t explain why they worked. We, with our education in oriental medicine, modern physiotherapy and western development could really see how these varied approaches support one another, and how they work together. This is what Baby Shiatsu is based on, but it is growing year by year. New studies and observations continue to bring out new ideas and techniques, and we take this all in, as well as feedback that we get from parents and colleagues.

What are the changes that you see when you work with children?

You can see many changes – for example, when you do Baby Shiatsu in the hand and arm with a baby, suddenly the baby can develop a real consciousness of their hand – you see them realise ‘this is my hand!’

But what is really important for us is to teach parents to see what their baby or young child needs – when it’s time for a break, when it’s time to cuddle, when it’s just time to do nothing. When this baby becomes conscious of their hand, he or she needs time to lay there, to look at their hand, to touch their hand, whereas most of the time the parent just wants to go on. It’s difficult to understand when to slow down. Nowadays, parents want so much for their baby. An important part of what we do is trying to put parents and baby in a different connection, where the parents are more aware about the needs of the baby – and also aware of their own needs.

In your book you show that Baby Shiatsu can also be used to help parents support themselves – can you tell us about that?

There is a Japanese saying: ‘If you want to strengthen the baby, strengthen first the mother or father.’ When we are doing mother-baby shiatsu classes it’s very important to always work on the same developmental theme, or Qi flow, with both baby and mother. Nowadays, more and more fathers and mothers are coming together to sessions with baby and that’s great – it really supports the whole family and many of these techniques get great feedback from the parents. Parents can even use the techniques that we teach them on each other if they have any problems.

Baby Shiatsu is so simple to use, and because we don’t use oil and the baby remains clothed you can do it everywhere – if you have a few minutes to spare you can do it with the hands, or with the feet. It’s really very practical.


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