Before I start working with someone who is struggling with stress and anxiety, I often have this conversation with them, and it can generate some real Ah-Ha! moments. It's nothing new, but just gives some context and understanding as to whats going on, so we can begin to work with kindness and compassion for that part of ourselves, rather than from a place of judgement or distress, which so often happens.
Stress and anxiety are huge in our modern day living and can have a detrimental effect on our system over a prolonged period of time. In this short video I deconstruct how stress and anxiety can impact our system and thinking, and disrupt our daily ability to deal with situations rationally and from a place of calm. Understanding this can really help, and to know you're not going mad, or 'loosing it'. It's actually an important survival tool which has got misplaced in our modern day living. Have a quick watch and let me know what you think!!
You may have heard in the news about one of the latest things taking the internet by storm called a chat-bot. You can ask it pretty much anything and it will scan the internet and generate a response based on its' scan gleaning the most relevant information from millions of websites in a ridiculously quick fashion.
As I was wanting to write something for my Blog and Newsletter about the spring, wood energy (in the 5 element system we use in Shiatsu) and how it can get stuck at this time of year; in awe I decided to ask it to 'write a short 550 word article on how the wood energy (in the 5 elements system) effects the body when stuck'
In mere seconds it came up with this answer, which in my book is pretty bang on!! have a read and see if it makes sense to you!!
According to the Chinese five elements system, wood energy is associated with the liver and gallbladder meridians. These organs are responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of energy (or Qi) throughout the body. When the wood energy is stuck or blocked, it can lead to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms.
I must admit I forgot to ask it to reference Shiatsu initially in it's response, so asked it to do so, and again in mere moments it re-wrote the article to be Shiatsu specific! it's pretty remarkable! Who knows where this is going to take us, education, writers, and what world of information we may or may not receive and believe any more? But as my first foray into it, I was pretty impressed!
Rest assured I will continue to write my own blogs and newsletters (with all the usual typo's and poor grammar giving the game away!!) but it could be a really useful research tool! Let me know what you think?!
Boost your system with a delicious Tumeric latte
In the winter months, why not try supporting your immune system with this super easy to make and delicious latte. Try using a plant based milk such as Oat or Coconut, rather than dairy or Soy (which can stimulate the phlegm in our system according to Traditional Chinese Medicine)
add some honey for sweetening if you require!
Have a play around with the ingredients and feel free to add a little cardamon, nutmeg or cloves for a more christmassy twist! I tend to make a big jar of the mix ready to hand for whenever I feel the urge, rather than having to root around the spices cupboard every time. and if you can froth the milk, this makes it super special!
This latte is not only delicious but can help reduce cholesterol levels, aid digestion, and boost your immune system! so why not give it a go!!
Having managed to catch the dreaded bug myself recently, and such a large number of my clients seem also to have recently caught it, I thought I would share some of the things which have helped me on my recovery.
In this post I share some useful acupressure points and tips for helping with Breathlessness, a lasting cough, emotional reactions, fatigue, and brain fog. These aren’t of course all the symptoms you may be facing, but certainly these are common, and these techniques have helped me in my recovery – alongside receiving Acupuncture, Shiatsu and Tapping!
If you are experiencing Breathless-ness, try tapping or rubbing on the collar-bone point (kidney 27) this helps expand the lungs and reduce breathlessness. (Find the soft fleshy part beneath the ends of the collarbones, either side of the sternum, above the top rib). If it feels tender or sore, you’ve got the right spot!
You can also slide your hands out to the lung points, which are 3 finger-width beneath the collar bone, and 3 from the Kidney 27 point. – you’ll know when you’ve got it as it may also be sore or tender! It sits roughly under where the bra strap sits for women. Hold, tap or rub these points to support the Lung Chi. These are also useful points to use if you have a cough
Also practice any breathing techniques you may know to really give attention and strength to the lungs, not just physically but energetically too! This is a link to a really useful document listing some well researched breathing techniques to help with recovery from Covid on pages 4,5 and 6.
I noticed after the fever stage of Covid quite dramatic emotional reactions to things. Many of my clients also have reported this – be it anxiety or sadness, almost irrational distress, frustration or impatience. This can be normal after a fever – the excessive heat in the body can scatter the “shen” which is our heart/mind spirit*, and we can feel quite distressed and ‘out of ourselves’.
Some of my clients have reported feeling quite surprised at this emotional impact of Covid. But it’s normal and nothing to worry about and will pass, and your system assimilates and returns to its equilibrium.
Receiving Shiatsu and practicing other grounding practices can help calm the system and create a “safe space’ for the shen to return. Also tapping on the emotions can really help release them.
*(In TCM we work with the ‘five spirits’ the Shen, Hun, Po, Yi, and Zhi residing respectively in the Heart, Liver, Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys)
Memory loss and lack of clear thinking call all also be connected to this, and there is a great point on the very top of your head you can press to help clear the mind and restore memory. Imagine drawing a line between your two ears across the top of your head, and intersecting it with a line from your nose to the nape of your neck. Where those two lines cross, you can tap or press here.
If you would like to receive some more specific support in your recovery, please do get in touch. Tapping and Shiatsu both can really support you to heal and recover. You can book a free discovery call with me here, or go straight ahead and book a session.
In these times of unusually high temperature, it is really important to stay cool and hydrated as we all know! But in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) this can be further aided by considering what foods we eat. Different foods have different energetic properties which can affect our systems, so to help you stay cool and well, I have been doing some research and found a lovely recipe for a delicious cooling drink you can keep in the fridge.
So heres a recipe for a lovely cooling drink you can easily make and keep in the fridge ready.
1 big bunch of Mint Leaves
4 bags Green Tea
4 tablespoons of Honey
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
6 cups Water
- 1. Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan, then remove from heat and add mint and tea bags
- 2. Cover pot and allow to infuse for 15 minutes
- 3. Pour the liquid into a large jug or jar adding the honey and lemon juice and stir-
4. Once cooled to room temperature, you can refrigerate. Feel free to drink neat or dilute with a little still or fizzy water.
Not only will this hydrate the body, it will further cool it down:
- The cooling properties of mint and green tea will dispel heat from the body.
- The astringent properties of lemon will soothe the liver and reduce the amount of body fluids- -Honey nourishes and moisturises the body,
-and Green Tea is full of anti oxidants and has lots of special properties to support your system!
Top tip -Did you know that in TCM its advised not to shock your hot body with too many iced drinks?
If you tend to get overheated avoid: Fatty, greasy and sugary foods and drinks
Other 'Cooling' foods its advised to eat during the hot days are:
The Tapping Tree: Understanding how to use EFT tapping to clear deep rooted difficulties and beliefs.
When tapping - there are different areas we can focus on to gain shifts and get better results. The Tapping Tree is a great way of identifying some of the different areas we can focus on.
If you imagine the Leaves being the presenting "Symptoms" such as worry felt in the tummy for example, you can tap on the feelings and sensations and reduce those in the moment quite quickly. However, you might find the feelings returning, and we need to go further.
The Branches can be considered the emotional reaction, which is being experienced; So for example worry is a facet of fear. If we can identify the underlying emotion such as fear, sadness, anger, hurt, etc and tap on that emotion - this can decrease in intensity and then reduce the "symptoms" being experienced as a result of that emotional reaction; and we can clear that as a trigger for those symptoms.
To understand WHY we might be having those emotional reactions, we need to explore what the underlying limiting self-believe might be that causes that emotional reaction. (The Tree Trunk)
Beliefs such as "I'm not good enough / I don't deserve X/Y/Z / I'm not the kind of person who can ever be Happy/ accepted / lovable" etc
If we can identify what those beliefs are for ourselves, and tap on that belief specifically; then we can begin to clear that as a trigger.
To completely clear and fell that tree though, we need to get to the root causes of that belief. We can explore where and how we created that for ourselves. This can be a series of things, not just one event, which happened in our past. Often in childhood.
There are two times of trauma in life - the "little t" traumas, we all experience whilst growing up, and then unfortunately the "big T" Traumas, which hopefully not everyone experiences. These are events where there is a big emotional reaction to immediate danger or threat to life, which is out of our control, such as car accidents, rape or natural disasters. It is important to work with a skilled practitioner if you have experienced a big T Trauma, and this Blog is aimed at the "Little t" traumas we have all experienced, and you can safely work on for yourself.
We can all remember that time when - the teacher called upon us in class and we mis-spoke, and felt ashamed or embarrassed, or when we got picked last for the sports team again, or we went into the wrong classroom when starting at a new school and everyone stared at us etc. and in that moment of shame, humiliation, hurt or rejection, we unconsciously formed a belief about ourselves, which we then have lived from as if true, finding ways to prove otherwise or avoid that truth being discovered/ seen/ experienced again.
for example - "I'm stupid , I'm not good enough, I don't belong, Im not allowed to,..." and this becomes a way of navigating through those difficulties.
The kid rejected from the sports team might decide "I'm not good enough" and then set about trying to disprove that, training really hard and becoming the super athlete to prove their worth and join in, or they may avoid playing sports again, and create other ways of gaining acceptance and success, becoming a skilled artist or the joker of the group. These hurts and rejections can become our survival tactics, but also become habitual and no longer serve us, but remain feeling very true.
Having identified one or a series of events which generated that limiting self belief, you can focus tapping on that /those event(s) disbanding it completely so it no longer holds the same strength of power, emotional triggers and reactions.
you can explore this on your own, using the tapping tree model to practice on your own. If you a parent or carer of and anxious child, have a nosey with them in this model - and see what you can discover - tapping with them through the different aspects.
and If you'd like some specific help or guidance from a professional, then why not get in touch with me, and we can safely explore this together! Good luck and let me know how you get on!
(and this is why tapping is SOOOOO great for kids! If they can apply it (tapping) in the moment of distress and upset, it then doesn't become so embedded in their future self-belief system)
Its Friday! You've made it through another week! HURRAH!
But if you are feeling somewhat tired and wired, Why not try this breathing technique I teach to many of my clients. Its very simple!
Notice the pace of your breath, and just add in a count for each breath.
Make the IN-breath for a count of 7 beats, and the OUT-breath for the count of 11 beats.
Its' important to start at the pace your breath is at now, then slow the beat of the count down gently, until you are taking long slow breaths in and out. Don't try and start with long deep breaths as that can cause more difficulty!
Just slow the beat down over a few breaths and notice how much you can relax and let go on the out breath.
Did you know, it's physiologically impossible to relax on an in-breath? So giving longer attention to the out-breath means you are relaxing more each time, and creating more space for fresh oxygen and energy to enter the system! Give it a try and let me know how you get on!!
So often when teaching people how to tap, this is a question I get asked somewhat fearfully! Especially when clients go home and try practicing on their own, they skip straight to the positive, and then feel they're not getting the results they got with me in the session.
By naming the negative, whilst tapping - it gets it's chance to be heard, and doesn't need to scream so loudly, so then can settle down, and allow the more rational part of the brain to kick in again. The negative is from our primal brain, which is programmed to look out for all the worse case scenarios. - "Negative Bias"
We are all "Meaning-Making-Machines" and our brain will make something mean something completely different to the truth sometimes, and this can be a cause of great anxiety... So for example when an upsetting event happens, like not getting chosen for the school sports team; a child can make it mean a plethora of things about themselves, or the world. for example - "I'm not good enough" / I'm too slow / I don't deserve it / I'll never be good at anything" and then start looking for more evidence to back up that belief, so it becomes embedded into believe system we operate from as if it's true.
With Tapping we look to explore what those beliefs are, where we learnt them, and then by tapping whilst thinking about or around that particular memory or event, it then changes our relationship to it, so it no longer becomes a trigger point for upset/ anxiety / fear etc. and un-employs that belief system as one we need to live from as if its the truth.
We all have those experiences which form our belief systems, and our body physiologically cannot tell the difference from a thought/ memory and the truth in reality, and will react as if the thought or memory is actually happening right now.
So by employing Tapping, it sends calming signals to the brain, allowing it to put the memory back in the past, and unlink it from the present, and freeing us from that emotional and physical reaction - Hence the name - Emotional Freedom Technique!
Particularly at the moment, with the Pandemic and home-schooling, let alone climate change fears and all the other nuances of anxiety facing a child or young person, I'm finding I'm working more and more with young people and getting fantastic results. Stress and anxiety used to be more in the adult realm, but sadly this has become commonplace for children and young people in today's society, and it can quickly spiral and escalate.
EFT Tapping is fun, and quick to learn and has been proven to reduce anxiety by 41% in less than ten minutes!
I started my career working with children, using the arts as a tool for transformation and empowerment, and spent ten years working around the world with"at risk" young people. I had the great privilege of spending time in Bosnia doing reconciliation work with children after the war there at the end of the 1990's, I've worked in Nepal, the UK and New Zealand, with young people labeled as "troubled" "disaffected" "difficult" "challenging" "Vulnerable" I've worked in prisons, with young offenders, on rural housing estates, in inner-city tower-blocks, and everything in-between; with children and young people who were struggling in ways society felt unable or difficult to support. and I WISH that I had had this tool then to offer them! Because where ever I was in the world, and whatever the "difficulty" those young people were experiencing, the resilience and ability of young people to transform and pivot rapidly, given the right support was extraordinary, and equally consistent, regardless of circumstance, culture or social structures.
I now find myself working with children and young people using EFT. Their engagement and ability to pick it up, transform and run with it is extraordinary and so delightful to witness! They've yet to develop the layers of cynicism and carefully constructed defences we as adults have, and so the effectiveness and speed at which they can transform how they are feeling and reacting is so often such a surprise for me, who's been working with adults for so long!
Fear and anxiety which can develop out of a feeling of loss of control, can be quickly released by giving children access to this tool, which immediately gives them control in how they respond to a situation, freeing them of those overwhelming reactions of anxiety and stress.
Anxiety is a physiological fear based response to something we perceive out of our control, which we imagine may happen in the future. How and what we think about that thing, can trigger the fear based response (and by that I mean the physiological flight or flight response (See my earlier blog post to understand more about that) So its worth a little detective work to find out what your child's thoughts are that are triggering the stress and anxiety reaction. If they are feeling anxious about going back to school - try exploring with them what exactly it is that they think about it - in relation to themselves, which is triggering the fear reaction in them. With a bit of rooting around it can often come down to something like "I'm scared my friends won't like and include me any more" or "I haven't done my work and I'll be in trouble" or " I don't know if I'll like my new teacher"
(If you can, get them Tapping on the finger tip-points or on the head points whilst having this chat!)
The next key thing to work out with them, is; what are they making that mean about themselves? and to get a real shift this is where the gold is! (and I encourage you to throw in your educated guesses here with them as they probably wont have a clue what you're on about!) common themes that arise are:
I am unlovable (no one will like/love me)
I don't deserve it
I'm not good enough
It's not safe for me (I'll be hurt / humiliated /abandoned)
If you can identify a core (usually negative belief) like this underlying the thought/anxiety and tap on that - this will make the biggest difference.
But there are many different ways to introduce tapping to your child, and I would encourage you to do so as part of your daily routine, when they are not in a pickle / drama (when you really DO need it!) but as part of the wind down at bed time, or when they get home from school, or in from playing with friends - times of transition. encourage them to tap on the points, without even worrying about what to say, just to become part of their own toolkit. Do it with them and let them see you using it on yourself too, so it becomes a normalised part of your day! (and then you can draw on it when it's really needed without having to try and teach them something when they are in a state of panic or upset.
If you'd like to learn more about EFT and how it can help your child's anxiety, you can join my facebook group here "help your anxious child with EFT" where I'll be sharing top tips, and offering short videos and workshops.
I'm also offering an Introductory family package, of 3 sessions;
The first is with the "grown-ups" to learn how to use tapping for themselves, and chat through what issues your child is struggling with.
The second is with the adults and the kids together, for the children to explore tapping with me and their parent/guardian, go away and give it a go.
The 3rd session, is to review, see how you've all got on, refine and maybe go deeper. I've found that in just three sessions when we are working together as a team, with both the adults and the kids, we can really get some great shifts and benefits very quickly.
You can give me a call to discuss or click here to book
Here's a short video about EFT being used in schools.
Currently as I write, Shiatsu Practitioners (and Complimentary Health Practitioners) have not been given a go-ahead date to practice face to face again. Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers are all allowed to open next weekend; but currently the government is not recognising our profession in any discussions around back to work, and the easing of lockdown.
We have been issued strict guidelines to follow (you can read my simplified version here of what I will be doing to keep my clients and myself safe) and will be adhering to these.
If you would like to support the call to the government to make a science-based decision please would you sign and share this petition? http://chng.it/YwWVpJfW4Z
I have written to my MP to ask for consideration of when Shiatsu Practitioners and Complementary Therapists can return to work.
If you would like to write to your MP as a user of Shiatsu or other complementary therapies, asking them to allow us to return to work, I have amended the template provided by the Shiatsu Society and you can download it here.
Thank you for your support. Wishing you well
Author: Hannah Currant
Hannah is a Shiatsu and EFT Practitioner based in Bristol.
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