• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
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The Heart of Summer

Summer Is In Full Gear, So Let’s Take Advantage of What Chinese Medicine Has To Say About These Long Summer Days!

For me, six words come to mind when thinking of the invigorating and enlivening experiences of summertime, they are: The Sheer Joy Of Being Alive!

summer joy by Dmitry Kichenko.

I feel totally imbued with the human spirit on a long, hot summer day. The farmers market abounds with juicy fruits and delicious veggies amidst the perfume of brightly hued blossoms. Activity is effortless and life feels full, transformed and somehow complete.

Needless to say, there is no complaining here about the heat because it won’t be long before we reach the dynamic height of summer’s inspiration and settle into a cooler, calmer and more collected fall.

So what does this mean for you in terms of body, mind and spirit?

Chinese Medicine teaches us to observe ourselves as an expression of Nature’s observable elements, depending on the cycle of the season and changes in the environment.  Just as Nature goes through a process of change, the Nature inside of you also undergoes a transformation.

If you are in harmony with the fresh green shoots appearing in spring then you will feel reborn, bursting with springtime activity. And when the trees are full of mouthwatering fruits and the plants are blossoming around you, then you will feel the joys of abundance coupled with the passion of the creative spirit.

Hmmm, an abundance of energy, stamina and passion!? Yes, clearly this is why I Love summer!

In the Five Element Theory, summer is ruled by the Fire element and is expressed through growth, joy, spiritual awareness and Love.  This is the Yang-est time of the year, which translates into a surge of physical, mental and emotional activity.

To be in sync with the long days, I wake up as early as 6:00am and stay up until at least midnight (it’s actually 1:48am while I write this post). Don’t worry to balance the work and play, I schedule a midday nap. Without my regular siestas I would be totally exhausted before summer’s end.

Anatomically, the Fire element corresponds with the heart which pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout our bodies. Emotionally, we’ve been warming up, going out and connecting with others. The heat of summer flows into our deeper relationships while our bodies relax around a more open heart.

In the Elemental theory, the heart houses the Spirit, also called the Spirit-Mind. A harmonious Spirit-Mind can be felt as a heart-connection with others and, for many of us, as a spiritual connection with Nature. This is a time that ushers in sensitivity and expression with the true contentment only known by a unified heart and mind. I view summer as an opportunity to transform negative experiences into feelings of Love.

Love is an extraordinary thing; it arouses the realization that the self and others are one. Love inspires what I call altruistic intimacy and the knowledge that what you cause and affect are one. Experiencing your heart’s purity reveals the responsibility we have for every action that occurs on our planet because we are one. Love between two people is a holy sharing when each have experienced their own depths and see their mutual identity and mutual causality through the starry-eyed gaze of eros.

Ahh, it’s easy to get swept away reflecting on the Fire element and Love, but let’s look at our original query: What does the long, hot days of summer mean for you in terms of body, mind and spirit?

Simple answer. The heart-felt enjoyment of family, friendship, perhaps even summer Love, but more importantly the exalting experience of the sheer joy of being alive!

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Got Ki?

The foundation of Chinese Medical Theory is energy in its various stages of vibration and manifestation. The concept of Ki, as it is called in Japanese, or Qi, as it is known in Chinese, refers to the energy that is found in the tiniest particles that create and form everything in the universe.

While we are alive, Ki flows through every part of your body from the earth to the top of your head, keeping each cell and every bodily function alive.

While we are alive, Ki flows through every part of your body from the earth to the top of your head, keeping each cell and every bodily function alive.

It is widely accepted in quantum physics that the entire universe is comprised of the same energy in varying stages. Ki is not only the mysterious, such as aura, spirit, consciousness, but also the observable, such as earth, rock, metal and this includes you.

Everything that exists is ki continually transforming itself into varying forms. If you consider the process of life, beginning with conception, then birth, growth and finally death you can see that there are many stages of form at a cellular level. Ki is manifesting as the underlying change in all processes in the universe.

An example of ki’s observable transformation is a naturally occurring forest fire during a period of hot and dry weather. The dry plants and undergrowth become susceptible to the flammable essences in the air. Once these plants begin to burn they turn into smoke and ash that floats into the air around the forest; eventually the ash falls and settles onto the newly cleared forest floor, where it will become part of the soil.

Smoke, charred wood and ash actually cue certain plants to begin germination. The ash mixes into the soil promotes the germination of seeds, these seeds grow into plant life and new trees. In this illustration we witness the change in form from tree to ash to soil and back to tree and recognize that the energy remains the guiding process.

In the United States, we use to have a policy to suppress and prevent all naturally occurring forest fires.

In the 1960s, this standard was reformed when it was realized that by preventing the natural process of the forest fires we were preventing a number of important processes in nature. Including the natural growth of new Giant Sequoia trees found in California and population control of molds and bacteria that inhabit the forest floor.

Ki is "The One" from the opening line in Lau Tzu's Tao Te Ching: The Tao begets the One..

Ki is "The One" from the opening line in Lau Tzu's Tao Te Ching: The Tao begets the One...

As a healer and teacher, I have witnessed many healings by harnessing the power of ki. The techniques that I teach include using more than 350 acupressure points in combination with breath and energy-exercises to improve the function of the body, mind and spirit.

The focus is to maintain a natural balance of internal ki, which keeps your body’s natural healing abilities at their peak.

What Is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu Restores & Balances Energy, Eases Tension & Stiffness, Impoves Breathing & Enhances Well-Being

 

Shiatsu is a Japanese bodywork therapy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulated in the 20th Century. Its roots are in many different disciplines, including acupuncture, herbalism, nutrition, exercise and meditation.

There are several styles of shiatsu, all of which incorporate TCM and modern methods of muscle lengthening and joint mobilization to varying degrees. 

As a healing art it is revered as a form of preventive medicine. All styles of shiatsu use the power of touch to bring balance to the body and mind, enable self-healing, and induce relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing.

The word Shiatsu comes from the word shi, which means finger and atsu, which means pressure. Shiatsu technique may also incorporate applying pressure with your thumb, elbow and knee.

A shiatsu session may be dynamic with intense stretches to help release tight muscles or more static while the practitioner meditatively supports areas of weakness. Shiatsu is also regarded as energetic bodywork and the practitioner approaches the human body as an energetic organism.

The heart of shiatsu relies on its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine; the practitioner uses his knowledge of the network of meridians that energetically support the functions of the internal organs as well as the individual’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. 

Cara Michelle giving a session in Ibiza, Spain.

A Shiatsu session may use stretches to release tight muscles.

In Japan people seek out a licensed shiatsu therapist for health reasons rather than pleasure and it is considered a form of medical treatment. It is important to understand that shiatsu refers to many varying manipulative approaches that are based on the location of the meridians, the acupoints and their functions, bone structure and the autonomic nervous system.

 This is an important difference when compared to traditional Swedish massage techniques that emphasize muscle, lymphatic and blood circulation, bone structure as well as the autonomic nervous system.

Receiving shiatsu regularly monitors the energetic changes that may be precursors to illness and helps by keeping the body and mind flexible and in harmony. Shiatsu is concerned with keeping the body and mind healthy and happy.

Unfortunately, in most cases people seek out a shiatsu therapist after they already have health problems, in which case shiatsu is an excellent therapy used in conjunction with your medical treatment. In the United States, shiatsu is growing as a complimentary therapy to medical treatments. 

“Shiatsu therapy is a form of manipulation administered by the thumbs, fingers, and palms, without the use of any instrument, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin, correct internal malfunctioning, promote and maintain health, and treat specific diseases.”

The Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare