Bodywork

Help for Parkinson’s − the Natural Way

Tai chi, Macrobiotics, Shiatsu, Acupressure

Scientific research recently has indicated that people with Parkinson’s who take Tai Chi classes have excellent outcomes for reduction of symptoms and increased mobility. This is very positive for those with this condition. It actually has more far reaching possibilities than was recognized in the report of the following study. Science has been slow to recognize some of the principles of Oriental Philosophy and Medicine and it is indicated in their interpretation of the results.

OREGON RESEARCH INSTITUTE: 2012 − PARKINSON’S REPORT

195 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s were randomly assigned 2 per week sessions of either Tai Chi, strength building exercises or stretching.

After 6 months, those who did Tai Chi experienced:

  •  Stronger, improved balance − 2 times more than the strength building group & 4 times more than the stretching group
  • Half the falls of the strength building group and 2/3 of the falls in the stretching group
  • Slower rates of decline in overall motor control

The report says that clients took Tai Chi and gave the results. The report did not recognize the fundamental nature of what Tai Chi is and what is happening when one is performing the movements.  The basic aspect is that of Chi energy − a fundamental life force.  Tai Chi is a movement exercise that changes and alters chi flow in the body, helps to build chi energy and balance the flow of energy thru the meridians (channels thru which the energy travels).

If this manipulation of chi aids the Parkinson’s patient in gaining increased mobility, then it must be affecting the brain − improving its ability to regulate the neuro-muscular system and possibly affecting the nerves which stimulate dopamine production. 

The next thing to conclude is that if this form of energy manipulation can be successful, why not other forms such as Macrobiotic or          Traditional Chinese dietary theories, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Amma Massage, Chi Qong exercises, and more.

As a Macrobiotic Way of Life Counselor, I make use of energetic signs and symptoms in the face, on the tongue, in behavior and in reading pulses, etc. to determine what a person needs.  All foods have various energetic properties such as contacting/expanding, warming/cooling, and moving upward/downward, inside/outside.  The foods may have energetic relationships with each of the 5 major solid organs − heart, spleen, pancreas, liver, lungs, kidneys.  By assessing the energetic landscape of a person, we counter by recommending the foods which are going to do the opposite of the condition. This will bring the body into balance. Too much contracting needs expansive foods or styles of cooking.  Too much fire needs foods with cooling energies. The fundamental principle behind Macrobiotics is to manipulate chi (energy) to find balance.

DIET HIGH IN VEGETABLES PROTECTS AGAINST PARKINSON’S

In an experiment at Yale University, 11 patients with Parkinson’s who ate a revised diet experienced reduced movement fluctuations and less need for drugs than patients following the standard modern way of eating.

Their healthy diet consisted of:

  • Whole grains
  • Green and yellow vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Low in protein from animal and vegetable sources

They avoided:

  • All meats
  • Egg white
  • Gelatin
  • Dairy food
  • Beans and nuts
  • Chocolate and pastries

“On this diet, patients, can predictably expect daytime mobility, thus permitting near normal function and independence at home or on the job,” the researchers concluded.

 −J.H.Pincus and K.Barry, “Influence of Dietary Protein on Motor Fluctuation in Parkinson’s disease,” Archives of Neurology 44:270,1987

 THE MACROBIOTIC WAY, A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER             

In order to follow the Macrobiotic Way of Eating, proper food preparation is vital. It is possible that a cook could come to the home to prepare meals. But a caregiver or the Parkinson’s patient could get individualized cooking training so that an understanding of what goes into the preparations can be developed. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, Parkinson’s is usually defined as a Liver Wind condition (extreme toxic exposure) so healing the liver becomes a major component. Diet wise that may involve eating a lot of leafy green vegetables like kale and collards or eating shiitake mushrooms. Minimizing oil and extreme sweets is also a key factor. Sea vegetables in the diet like kelp and arame are helpful for discharging toxins from the body. There are numerous foods that can benefit the liver. Getting a full scale consultation can provide specific recommendations to insure good results.

SHIATSU TREATMENTS MOVE CHI TO REBALANCE BODY ENERGY

Shiatsu and Acupressure involve pressing points on the body which in turn affect how the internal systems are functioning. Shiatsu is a full body treatment done by a practitioner. Acupressure can be learned and points can be pressed by the Parkinson’s patient or a caregiver. For example: there is a point  on the foot that is in the webbing between the big toe and second toe which relates to the liver meridian. If that point is sore it means the liver meridian is out of balance and there probably is a liver condition that needs addressing. Pressing there also changes the flow of energy and regular practice helps heal the liver.  But each individual could also have other underlying conditions which should also be dealt with. Both Macrobiotics and Shiatsu can address all of these conditions to improve overall mobility and functioning.  Combine this with Tai Chi and your chances of improving the condition are highly increased.

Parkinson’s Retreat

Saturday, March 18, 2017 • 9:15am-4:30 pm • $35

Pre-register call: Dr. Tom Wachtmann 610-841-3395

 

Call Steve Hoog for an appointment or more information

on the Macrobiotic Diet • Shiatsu • Acupressure

610-756-6867

Keeping Your Inner Well from Running Dry

Close-up of a young woman receiving back massage at spa

by Jeanne Mancinelli, RN, LMT, Reiki Practitioner

Constantly giving to family, friends, job, life events all help to drain your energy. When the inner well is full, we are able to give as the situation needs. If these events or situations begin to drain our energy and we do not take the time to replenish our supply, then we run into trouble.

As the body approaches this level, it begins to send out warning signals. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Feeling “down”
  • Irritable, Etc.

Now we are entering a “dis-ease” state. If left unchecked, it will spiral downward and become more systemic. You may experience:

  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent severe headaches

How to replenish the well?

  • First is to recognize the situation
  • Secondly, realize that if you do not take care of yourself, you could end up with a physical or emotional breakdown.

What do do?

What helps you relax? Make some “you time.” This is where massage can help. As early as 15 minutes into the massage, the body releases endorphins. These are the “feel good” hormones. During this time your blood pressure begins to lower. Further into the massage, your muscles begin to relax and tension begins to ease. Clients frequently report improved sleep.

The type of massage will depend on the needs of the client. The therapist should discuss the expectations of the client. Some people prefer a more vigorous massage, while others enjoy the long, slow strokes of the Swedish massage. Incorporating essential oils can help ease muscle tension, help elevate moods, and help alleviate stress.

Taking time to refill your inner well is good preventative medicine.

According to a statement issued by the American Massage Therapy Association, there is a growing body of research supporting the health benefits of massage. They have listed 25 conditions that are positively affected by massage.

Included in this list are:

  • Relieve stress
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Relieve tension headaches
  • Improved sleep, Etc.

Massage is so much more than what a lot of people think it is.

Massage is not just a frivolous activity. It improves your health and well-being, it is good preventative medicine.

Join Jeanne Mancinelli, licensed massage therapist, for a cup of tea in our homey kitchen and learn about the different kinds of massage and their benefits.

Tuesday, February 9th at 5:30-6:30 pm

Register with Jeanne at 610.393.9676.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trager Approach

Rocking to Health  

Movement Education & Mind/Body Integration 

Have you ever been in an accident? Do you have weak posture? Are you fearful?  Perhaps you have developed emotional blockages or experiencing daily stress.

Dr. Milton Trager developed The Trager Approach, a psychophysical integration therapy, to treat his own chronic back pain. He became fascinated by how the body coordinated its patterns of movement in response to chronic pain or injury.

A Trager treatment consists of gentle, rhythmic rocking, and lengthening movements creating a state of deep relaxation and flexibility, which can allow the body and mind to achieve a state of balance and integration.

As the rhythmic motions progress, it is thought that deeper states of relaxation can facilitate the release of unhealthy patterns of tension between mind and body at an unconscious level.

By teaching the mind to unlearn these patterns of “blockage,” the body can also release chronic states of tension and become more flexible with less pain.

Conditions treated with the Trager Approach:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Joint irritation
  • Soft tissue discomfort
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Physical injuries
  • Neurological events (limited or restricted movement like stroke)
  • Tension headaches
  • Stress-related disorders
  • Emotional imbalances
  • Postural problems
  • Mobility issues
  • Pain relief
  • Increase physical mobility
  • Mental clarity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Sports injuries
  • Back and leg problems (sciatica)
  • Breathing issues (asthma and emphysema)

Two aspects of Trager Therapy:

Table Work: The client lies on a well-padded table in a safe, comfortable environment while your body is supported and gently moved within its pain-free range of movement and natural rhythm. You may choose to be fully clothed, or partially clothed and appropriately draped.

Mentastics: Dr. Trager developed simple, effortless movements to encourage playful exploration of “what could be freer” for your body. Integrating Mentastics into your daily life will allow you to enhance and recall feelings of ease, freedom, flexibility and joy. Mentastics can become part of the way you take care of yourself by relieving stress and tension. Instruction is offered in private sessions or class.

Bonita Cassel is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and has been practicing the Trager Approach since 1985.

For Table Work or Mentastics instruction, please call 610.395.3355

 

 

 

 

 

What is Reflexology?

A Form of Bodywork that Focuses on the Feet

Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears.  The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body and applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.  The results may include reduced pain, anxiety, stress, and depression; and enhanced relaxation and sleep.

A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.  Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care.  Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may have many health benefits.

Reflexology should not be painful; however, some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points.  The soreness should decrease with pressure.

Reflexology may help with:

  • Stress and stress-related conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive problems (constipation)
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Soothed tired feet
  • Overall better healing

Most people feel calm and relaxed and even sleepy after a treatment. As part of the healing process, one may feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is temporary and considered part of the healing process.

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.

Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across Europe and Asia as both a complement to other treatments and as a preventive measure.  One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early ‘90’s.

According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced leave and absenteeism (and significant economic savings for the employers).  Employees have consistently reported complete or partial improvement in conditions where they sought reflexologists’ help and even relief for additional problems related to stress. In one municipal district, almost one-third of the employees reported greater satisfaction with their jobs after completing six sessions with the reflexologist.

If you are pregnant, consult your doctor. Reflexology is a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.

 

Myofascial Release, Structural Integration (Rolf Method)

FASCIA  IS WHAT?

Do you know what’s holding your body together!  Think again, it’s not your muscles or skin.  They weren’t made to do that job, but the “fascia” within your body was.  By now you’re thinking, “What in the world is the fascia?”

Well, the fascia is a structure of fibrous connective tissue distributed throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerves.  Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force.

Does it sound like a well tuned state-of-the-art mechanism to you? It is, but it can go wrong!  For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together resulting in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

Symptoms may be:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pelvic
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Disc problems
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Adhesions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Painful scars
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Women’s health issues
  • …and more

Fascia Care:       

Move it: First thing in the morning roll around in bed and really stretch out

Stay lubricated: Drink, drink, drink! It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s wet.

Stretch your muscles: Keep the muscles from getting chronically tight.

Stretch your fascia: To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes – relaxing into a hold.

Relax: Fifteen to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up – follow up with 10 minutes of light activity.

Use a foam roller: Be gentle and slow in your movements, and when you find an area of tension, hold sustained pressure for three to five minutes.

Respect your body: Even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time, see a fascial specialist, and join a movement class.  Don’t set yourself up for long-term trouble.

See a fascial specialist: Myofascial Release or Structural Integration (Rolf Method) practitioner.

Join a movement education class: The Feldenkrais Method®, Coordination Pattern™ Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga are highly recommended.

What in the world is a CranioSacral Therapy and can it help me?

There are many who have benefited from this fascinating healing modality. Here are two success stories.

Mary had beensuffering from migraines for months with no relief. Life was filled withstressors including long days on the job without breaks and often times without even time for lunch. The demands of home and work were overwhelming and medicine was no longer providing relief. Now what? She heard about CranioSacral bodywork and thought she’d give it a try. What could she lose?  After four one-hour very gentle yet precise sessions, the migraines were gone.

Susan woke up one daywith ringing in her ears, commonly known as tinnitus. She had heard about this condition from others and recalled that they had little relief from traditional treatments. She considered her options and decided to try CranioSacral bodywork.

The session was totally different than anything else she had experienced. Her session began with the practitioner placing her hands lightly on Susan’s head to feel into her body’s tissues and determine where the greatest blockages might be. This was followed by an hour of gentle palpations and manipulations designed to facilitate the opening of tissues that were stuck in Susan’s body restoring her body’s natural ability to move.  At the end of the session as Susan spoke with the practitioner, tears began to flow, which is common as emotions are released. Susan left the session feeling relaxed with a much clearer head and the tinnitus was weakened a bit and lowered in pitch.  Susan continued for three more session. By the fourth session the tinnitus was nearly gone. She plans to continue with the CranioSacral treatment for general overall health. She feels the sessions not only impacted the tinnitus, but her wellness, on many levels.

Life’s experiences…physical injuries, emotional and psychological stress, and even birth trauma leave an impression in our cells and tissues creating blockages that may hinder our ability to achieve optimal health and wellness. CranioSacral bodywork is an effective treatment option for a range of illnesses that integrate the body, mind, and spirit to promote health, healing and overall well-being.

Diane Griffin, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Licensed Massage Therapist

Structural Integration (Rolf Method) – Creates Real Strength!

Betty heard someone say, “Pain and strain is your body’s way of telling you it is out of balance.” She had no idea what that meant. After doing some research, she started to think that maybe her back aches were the result of her body being “out of balance.”

Inthe midst of Betty’s research, she read about Structural Integration and learned how soft manipulation, education, and awareness helps the muscles, bones, and organs move into proper relationship to each other.

The part that excited her the most was when she read that releasing physical restrictions actually increases strength, adaptability, and resilience. Betty loved to run and for the last several months wasn’t able to enjoy this exercise because her back was ”talking to her – real loud!”  So, she found a Structural Integration practitioner and committed to the series of sessions.  Each of these sessions was to build upon the last and the strategies were tailored specifically for her. 

 At first, it was a strange concept for Betty to think that if she builds and deepens a relationship with her “body and self,” she will live with more awareness and harmony in her life. But, this is exactly what Betty experienced as her Structural Integration sessions progressed.  It was working for her!  She could feel her body changing – more natural and powerful.

Betty was able to run longer distances in a shorter time because she was more flexible and stronger. To get back to running and be pain free was her goal and she succeeded. She felt so relaxed and peaceful while she ran.

Betty felt like a new person and decided that the best thing she could do for herself in the future was to continue with periodic Structural Integration “tune-ups.”  Structural Integration transformed her body – and life!