• 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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Healing Lies In Relationship

Ease Pain With That Which Holds The Universe Together

Healing relies on a true synergism of physical, psychological and spiritual harmony within the individual. And this synergism, or lack thereof, comes from relationship.

But within our relationship to what? or to whom?

As I write this I wonder how many of us share a complete understanding of the meaning of the word relationship?

Jiddhu Krishnamurti says, “the meaning of the word (relationship) is to be related, actually to be related, to be in contact, to have empathy, sympathy, a sensitivity that understands each other completely, not partially.”

Krishnamurti’s simple explanation strongly emphasizes relating, contacting, understanding each other completely. In essence he describes sympathy and intimacy with one another. He describes communion, does he not? Communion means to have an intimate communication, a sharing of emotions.

In an older post titled Eros Heals, I wrote on an element of healing that is often overlooked: It is to approach an individual with eros for the landscape of their pain. According to Thomas Moore, “This is not eros as sex but eros in its true origin, which is relatedness.”

Prior to the Greek use of the word, eros referred to the coherence that holds the entire Universe together. I can’t give an in-depth explanation on the coherence, or fabric, that holds the entire Universe together; it’s beyond my basic scope. I can conceptualize, however, from a Naturalistic perspective that that which holds the Universe together is participating in its continuation.

For the Greeks, eros was much more than cosmic glue as it inspired a highly spiritual form of Love that united our bodies with our souls. Yes, the Greeks were wonderfully amorous with their intimations on the merging of body and soul. Their description reveals our purity and offers a complete understanding of the responsibility we have for every action on our planet.

Approach Your Client or Patient With Eros

Real Love, as eros is experiencing our oneness in the expression of our mutual origin. Approaching your client or patient with eros, with oneness in expression, is altruistic and highly intimate, it yields a complete understanding that relates to the individual’s pain. In mind-body-spirit healing this unravels the deeper wound of our shared separation.

Healing is primal: It is vital to address psychophysically and neurochemically the mechanism of distress but this is a part of a larger process: If the primal is not acknowledged then this approach risks becoming mere escape from pain, thus strengthening the pain by habitualizing the escape. For many, escape becomes ritualized within routine creating a desperate loop inviting a new pain within a new illness.

Spirit completes the process: Not what a reductionist may think of as neurospiritual, but purity in spirit because it is subjective: It is to help someone accept and honor their pain and fears as a wounded part that needs to bond intimately, to belong, to share, and to receive that which holds the Universe together.

The principle element: Vulnerability: Healers must learn to express the consistency of eros for one another effortlessly. One does not intellectualize nor even need to differentiate Love from fleeting emotions. However, one does guide the individual in sharing the truth of their pain. You’ll recall that the word communion means to have an intimate communication, a sharing of emotions.

This open sharing may or may not be expressed through spoken words. Words represent our beliefs but mean little if they do not carry our truth. My favorite Martha Graham quote is, “The body says what words cannot.” Herein, sharing through tears, gestures, tension, a sigh, cries, an embrace and trembling communicates the truth of the individual’s pain. However, the sharing that I refer to is even subtler, elusive to the senses and is intuited through our attunement to the other person; a true navel-to-navel connection.

I can only describe the experience of my shared calling to be in service: To hold the emotional sensitivities of the individual’s pain within eros’ more coherent emotional expression, fueling the person’s reverence for their whole body, their wounded parts; allowing the unraveling to begin…

So in seeking healing, look within relationship. In relationship, relating comes from our oneness. In our oneness, Love comes into being. And within Love, one’s suffering is eased by that which holds the Universe together. Thus complete healing lies within relationship.

They do not love that do not show their love. -William Shakespeare

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Tap Into The Body’s Energy By Stimulating Acupoints

Stimulating Acupuncture Points for Health & Vitality is Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine

However, the stimulation techniques that I have learned and developed in private practice and that I teach reflect the cultural background of the Japanese Martial Arts by emphasizing the importance of being connected with and moving energy from your vital center, known in Japanese as hara.

Young and confidentStimulating acupuncture points should never come from muscular strength, but should come from the body weight in relation to gravity. Basically the practitioner should lean into rather than push into an acupoint.

The practitioner should also lengthen through his or her spine as one does while sitting in meditation. This allows the practitioner to raise energy along the spine while remaining grounded.

In order to do this correctly, you need to use your center of gravity, your hara. This is considered the whole belly area. By using your Hara you are using your whole body.

Think about this for one second: By using your belly area you are accessing your whole body. This means that you are using the total power of your body.

Focusing Your Energy in the Hara Harmonizes the Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit.

The best example of using the hara is seen in the world of martial arts. It is known that when throwing a punch or giving a kick, if you focus your mind and breath in the hara and pivot from your lower abdominal area, you will have the force of your body weight behind that punch or kick. This is the secret to harnessing unseen power.

Developing the skills to meditate and channel energy from your hara is essential for not only martial artists but also many eastern healing modalities, this is especially true in Shiatsu. Incredible transformations occur when using the art of hara while stimulating an acupoint on yourself in daily life as well as on a client in a healing session.

A beneficial byproduct of balancing your internal energies by using hara is a shift from acting on autopilot toward more desirable ways of treating your body and the world around you.

Using your hara requires you to originate all of your movements from your belly area. To be more specific–to move from a point just below the navel which is your body’s central pivot point. This point is called tanden (or dantian in Chinese).

Stimulating an acupoint with finger pressure is not enough to modify the flow of Ki, blood, and other fluids helping you harmonize the functional activities of your body. Stimulating an acupoint also requires the power of the Universe harnessed through your breath and by moving internal Ki through the hara.

So, whenever you stimulate a point on the body, you must check in with yourself to make sure that the movement is rooted in your lower hara.

How do you make sure that you’re rooted in your hara? One way to do this is to mentally trace the movement backwards; starting with your fingers and mindfully moving your awareness through your arms and into your shoulders until you reach your hara. It is in this way that you will feel when you are using force or pressure as opposed to your lower hara.

For example if you’re leaning on specific acupoints along someone’s leg and you realize that the movement is coming mostly from your shoulders then you are not going to have the most effective results.

Worse is that it may even create tension in the other person that you are working on because of the tension building in your own body. It is through using your hara that you can ensure effective results.

It’s important to understand that the meaning of hara extends beyond the mechanical. To be rooted in your hara also illustrates a person’s ability to achieve and to have continued success. In Japanese culture, diligent and thoughtful effort toward your goal reflects someone with a strongly developed hara.

To have hara means to have the ability to get things done; to not shy away from the difficult and to overcome setbacks. When you are ‘coming from your hara’ whether in everyday life, in meditation or stimulating an acupoint, the meaning is that you are well grounded, strongly focused and fully engaged in the potential of the Mind and the Body.

Shiatsu is a healing practice that requires the development of hara.

Your Body’s Energy Pathways

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a person’s vitality depends on the subtle energy which flows through the body’s energy pathways. These pathways are called meridians. The meridians are classified in two groups:

  • First, the twelve regular meridians, which are associated with the functions of different internal organs. These channels flow to and from the hands and feet.
  • Second, the eight special meridians, which are not connected with any particular organ function.

Overtime, master healers learned that pressure on specific points on the body’s energy pathways would relieve certain symptoms. The next major discovery was that certain combinations of the acupressure points could also heal disorders that were caused by a malfunction in a certain organ.

By studying the relationship between the functions of the body and the acupressure points a system was formulated describing the energy pathways that flow through and connect the specific points.

Acupuncture ConceptIt is easy to understand the network of meridians and acupuncture points if you imagine your body as representing land. The meridians are your body’s main highways while the acupressure points are the gas stations. 

Just as people travel around the country by way of the highway and stop to refuel or get stuck in traffic or worse, run out of gas, your body can supply vital life energy to your internal organs and transform your emotional health by way of the meridians.

The body’s subtle energy, known as Ki in Japanese, concentrates within the meridians. The twelve regular meridians, mentioned earlier, run vertically along the body.

Each of the meridians are named after a physical organ, for example the Heart meridian, and is identified as either yin or yang.

Additionally, two of the eight special meridians are particularly important because they monitor the twelve regular meridians and have many important pressure points. In shiatsu, these two meridians are called: the Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel and they run through the vertical midline in the front and back of the body.

The Six Pairs of Meridians and their Yin/Yang Associations are:

       YIN                            YANG                      
Lung (LU)                    Large Intestine (LI)
Spleen (SP)
                 Stomach (ST)
Heart (HT)
———–       Small Intestine (SI)
Kidney (KI)
———–     Urinary Bladder (UB)
Pericardium (PC)
—-   Triple Heater (TH)
Liver (LV)
————      Gall Bladder (GB)

It’s important to understand that the properties of the meridians are founded on the functions of the organs and not the organs themselves.

Besides the yin and yang divisions, qualities of appearance are further subdivided into five transformational phases. These phases flow into one another just like the changing of the seasons, they are known as the five-elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire.

As stated earlier, each meridian along the body is identified as being either yin or yang and is then associated with one of the five-elemental transformations.

The Meridians and Their Elements:

Lung and Large Intestine — Metal
Spleen and 
Stomach — Earth
Heart and
 Small Intestine —Fire
Kidney and 
Urinary Bladder — Water
Pericardium and 
Triple Heater — Fire
Liver and
 Gall Bladder — Wood

Despite the actual definition of the word meridian, which means longitudinal lines circling the planet, the original Chinese concept of the body’s energetic pathways means to have the quality of a flowing river or stream.

Shiatsu and Energetic Healing aim to balance the flow of Ki throughout the meridians and to relieve any blockages. 

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