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  1. Is Massage Just About Relaxing
  2. What's All This About Energy and Balancing?!
  3. Can Thoughts Really Affect Your Health?!
  4. Just 'merely' the Placebo Effect!?
  5. So, Is Illness God's Punishment?
  6. So, Is There a Devil? - Are There Demons of Evil Intent?
  7. Why is There Conflict of Belief & Understanding?
  8. What's This 'Healing Crisis'?
  9. There are Only 5 Mondays Till March!
  10. What's so Bad About Taking a Wrong Turning?
  11. Can We Read Each-Other's Thoughts?
  12. Holism is a Way of Life
  13. So Why Do I Like a Beer – or Even More Than I Should!?
  14. Reiki and the Reiki Ideals
  15. Is Pain Really Gain?
  16. Destressing Muscles
  17. Does daily meditation really help us in our challenges of life

Is Massage Just About Relaxing?  top  next

Tight muscles drain energy, pollute the body with toxins and weaken surrounding muscles. Adhesions, scar tissue and fibrosis can be helped by therapy, keeping the body in good shape and making it's owner feel good. Holistic therapies are mind/body therapies, but not just relaxing. Good therapy can provide a lasting benefit on the physical as well as the mind.

What's All This About Energy and Balancing?!  top  next

Lets look at it in a level-headed and non-mysterious way! We know we all have flow in our bodies, whether blood flow, lymph flow, heat flow or electrical impulses associated with our nervous system. When we get unwell these flows are upset in some way, maybe restricted or maybe enhanced. This is just our bodies reacting physically to the threat, illness or even just the environment. We all tend to react a bit differently, even though we're of a similar 'production line'; we're different models. If our bodies can be stimulated (even by the power of our own minds) to redress the balance and re-establish correct 'flow' then we are heading down the road to recovering from the illness or problem we are subject to. The terminology used by therapists may be a bit vague at times but it does however encompass the issues involved. - So, OK this is a somewhat oversimplification but hopefully it helps to make the mysterious just a bit more of something any of us can begin to get our heads round.

Can Thoughts Really Affect Your Health?!  top  next

You will often hear the holistic and complementary 'people' relate the physical to the abstract (e.g. 1:' Bad gums is an inability to back up decisions and being wishy-washy'. 2:'Flatulence is undigested ideas'). There was me thinking flatulence was too much beer! Then again, why might I drink too much beer? Often because I am wrestling with an issue or two. So maybe, there is that logical connection and unity with all aspects of our life. There's the idea that our minds are capable of making things come true. If we think negatively, negative things happen. If we think positively, positive things happen. Our mind certainly gives us conscious motivation to get and do things, so there's no reason to suppose it does not give us sub-conscious motivation. Our bodies respond accordingly and quite dramatically at times. If we desire to do something physical, our bodies build muscle. There's a great book written by a great man, Dr Keith Mason. This book is "Thoughts that Harm, Thoughts that Heal". Click the link to find it in my references. Often, the characteristics aligned with illness we can see in ourselves. More so, I'll be sure that you will see them in people you know!

Just 'merely' the Placebo Effect!?  top  next  

I read on MSN about assessments of complementary therapies (which I will address in due course) but one comment was, "just merely the placebo effect". That stimulated some thought in me, particularly following my thought for last month. What do you understand by the placebo effect? Some responses I've had are; "Fake M8" (got that by text!), "Dummy", "Mind Effect", "Actually Works - I read a lot".

I looked up 'placebo effect' on Wikipedia ( It's not the only definition and maybe conjectural, but lets run with the notion that it actually gives 'results'. This has no doubt been observed for a long time & is based on 'real' results, not just perceived. Yes, this brings in the concept of mind/body medicine and last months thought on 'thought'. Further to this, a placebo is used as a control in drug trials and complementary therapy trials, but, if the placebo can give true results, then there must be doubt about this nature of control (even from a scientific perspective!) even though it's probably the best that can be done. So, what is the placebo effect? How 'good' is it? Perhaps, it's very good, in which case, why knock it?! Is there a degree of placebo effect? As it's not seen in all people (as we're all different, even in the way we respond to drugs) can it be enhanced? Does complementary therapy enhance the placebo effect? Could it do this without intake of anything (as with a number of therapies) or could even the small amount of intake do this (bearing in mind we have very sensitive receptors)? Maybe even very diluted essential oils could enhance the placebo effect bearing in mind the high level of detection our olfactory system is capable of (just a few molecules) - OK, lots of questions, no real answers, but, if there are results from the power of someone's mind, come on, let's not knock it, let's use it and let's find the keys to making it work, for the benefit of all of us! I would like to answer these questions as I go through the rest of my life and as an applied physicist of 30 years experience, you can trust me to be objective. As this is such an important question, I will have a separate link in order to expound some further thinking and expound any developments I can.

So, Is Illness God's Punishment?  top  next  

I believe in God, though I don't pretend to begin to understand what it's all about! If God exists, then I believe He must be all loving and forgiving. If He made us what we are, then how could he punish us for what He made us?

So, how can we explain illness or lack of completeness, especially from birth, when there was no reason or "error" which we performed to induce it?
I find myself drawn to the philosophy that we are on a journey and maybe living several reincarnations, each with a purpose in our soul's higher purpose. Also, it is logical that all our attributes (or lack of) we decided as a part of our learning curve within our physical existence. Thus, whatever, physical structure/attributes, emotional disposition, illness, strength/weakness, intelligence/lack of, longevity, pain/comfort - whatever, we decided before being born, as a part of our learning curve. I have always believed that we are here for two reasons; to enjoy our lives and to learn. The only way that learning can mean anything is if we carry that beyond this life.

Having now worked on a number of ill people in Stoke Mandeville, I can honestly report that they all appear to address and take on their illness with incredible strength of purpose, beyond, I believe, what I could do myself. I've met no-one who wants to just 'give up'. They take it on as a journey, which is doubtless what it must be - not a punishment!

So, Is There a Devil? - Are There Demons of Evil Intent?  top  next  

This is a very deep issue that certainly runs deep & through all of history. We are physical beings naturally orientated to survival in the environment given to us. There's nothing false or protected. It's all about freedom, free will, excitement, challenge, competition, threat and response. Fear is a most natural response to threat & essential in the life we have chosen or find ourselves. Evil is a function of ourselves and of the freedom/free will that we have been given. All the aspects of evil like destruction, pain, suffering, even illness are a function of our minds. Maybe, that's where our journey of soul development is leading us, to the control of our thoughts to purity and the best intent; the serenity to expel the evil thoughts; to exorcise that 'devil' within!

Am I saying anything new? I don't think so! I'm sure that it relates perfectly to the biblical texts and writings from all cultures, throughout history. Maybe, technology's moved on & time has changed the nature of our lives, but the basic questions (and no doubt answers) are the same as they've always been since man first trod the earth.

Why is There Conflict of Belief & Understanding?  top  next  

This is very topical approaching Christmas time. There are many religions and philosophies. So, what's right? Is it surprising that churches are less filled than years ago when the population was very much less? My belief is that there is only one Truth. That doesn't really need saying. It's self-evident. So how can all the cultures come together? Well, they must somehow. The apparent differences are probably man-made and must be consolidated somehow. I believe in what works. Yes, as an applied physicist for 30 years, I like to look at theories and be able to predict, but how can any of us deny what works?! We just need to figure the explanation afterwards, when the story unravels. I believe in God and in Jesus Christ who I believe was the greatest healer who ever lived. I don't see that should detract from the truth from other religions that are based on great philosophers and prophets or even from the earth itself. They all received guidance from God. Our thoughts came from somewhere; that timeless place where all aspects of existence are not important.

So, at this time approaching Christmas, what was that Sacrifice all about? Maybe understanding and that best intent. Was Jesus a martyr? Maybe he just needed to show how we have free will. Even the Son of God could not escape the free will of men. He proved that to mankind and at the same time pleaded for us to realise that. Have we? But if God made us the way we are, why haven't we? Maybe because we need to learn and some of us are new souls needing to go through the learning curve. Maybe, that's what it's all about! Whatever, Jesus Christ is still the greatest healer who ever lived!

What's This 'Healing Crisis'?  top  next  

The Healing Crisis occurs when the body needs to clear toxins faster than it is able to do so. There are good descriptions on the internet such as:

Here it is sufficient to explain that the result of such a crisis is the temporary worsening of the symptoms that the client has gone to the therapist to be relieved of. The key word here is temporary. Clients often feel worse and assume that the therapy is not doing well and is therefore reluctant to return. The Healing Crisis can heighten emotions and fears thus making this situation worse. The reality is that the therapy has done well and the client most likely has passed the worse and ready to start feeling better!

The healing crisis is a reality for many types of therapy. Massage therapy is quite capable of releasing toxins which are held or trapped in the soft tissues of the body. Massage can therefore cause a Healing Crisis but also speed the client through it. These need to be flushed through as quickly as possible. It is a fact that for lymph drainage, the key methods of ‘pumping’ lymph are either exercise or massage. The reason why therapists ask clients to drink plenty of water (or other suitable fluid) is to help the toxins to be flushed and thus reduce or eliminate the effects of the Healing Crisis.

If you suffer a Healing Crisis, take head of the warnings and the advice and discuss it with your therapist!

There are Only 5 Mondays Till March!  top  next  

I'm not keen on the winter months, anymore! Go on, think it, "Poor old sod"! I get cold too easily and the body begins to creek & groan! Yesterday I saw a new client at Stoke Mandeville and he said, "Only 5 Mondays till March!". My father might accuse him of 'Wishing his time away', but in fact he is looking forward joyously to a better season.

I believe it's very important to look forward to joyous things, perhaps particularly if one is unwell at the present time. I believe it can encourage the body in a subconscious way to find solutions that will ensure the future objective comes true.

By looking forward to March, sunny Basingstoke on 21st Jan, suddenly becomes a bonus. By looking forward to the future, all that we achieve in the present becomes a bonus and achievements to be proud of. When the joyous event comes, we can enjoy it even more! 

What's so Bad About Taking a Wrong Turning?  top  next  

Have you ever been driving and taken a wrong turning? Sometimes I do it even if I've driven the route countless times before. My first reaction is to swear and get annoyed at myself. I've sometimes had to turn back but often I've found the error does not take me far out of my way and the new scenery is very rewarding! I'm often pleased with the experience and the journey can land up being easier, with less obstacles and can even get me there quicker.

While driving the new route, I've had time to think that life can be a bit like that. We beat ourselves up for taking the wrong path, but sometimes, if we just absorb the experience, we can draw such a lot from it and enjoy it. Possibly, we are better off for the error! If we don't beat ourselves up but look at the positive view, life takes a new perception. 

Can We Read Each-Other's Thoughts?  top  next  

There certainly appears to be those gifted in such a way but often, the ability can break down when put to the test in the laboratory. What about the rest of us? Since being a therapist, I've had some severe lessons on listening to my intuition and even more severe about acting on it! I couldn't tell you what a client on my couch is thinking about (and why should I want to?). I respect all clients in every way so why would I want to invade their thoughts, but I often get a strong feeling of emotions. I include physical discomfort in that too. I insist that being brave to the sometimes discomfort of massage is not the way to be, as that just causes more physical tension and why should I have to rely on intuition when a few choice words could convey the message?! However, sometimes the feeling of a client's emotion is very strong.

Yes, I'm now experienced at reading body language (even when the face is buried in the hole in the couch!) and receptive to the slightest muscle twitch, but it really goes deeper than that and on a level that transcends words and language. Us therapists talk of 'connecting' with a client. It really appears to me that the intuitive (even involuntary) reading of emotions is something initiated by the client (even as a shortcut to all the wordy business of a counselling session) which happens at a time when the client is loosing the burdens of life, in the attempt to reach relaxation and oneness with existence. It is really quite a magical experience and hopefully of great benefit to the client!

I believe we all have the ability to read thoughts and mostly, for whatever reasons, we block the ability, maybe in the name of objectivity. The connection developed with the holistic therapist lends to the transfer of thought and I believe is something we can all achieve in most situations in life, not to read some-ones personal thoughts or to be intrusive but to have understanding and to help each-other.

Holism is a Way of Life  top  next  

I see so many people who come to me as a last resort, that last ditch attempt, as everything else has apparently failed. Particularly in England, we get the emphasis wrong. Taking care of ourselves should be a part of everyday life and the doctor should be the last resort! As a society, we tend not to look after ourselves and even abuse our bodies. We allow this to carry on, sustaining increasing stress, emotionally as well as physically, totally consumed by the vortex of our life-styles.

Even those of us aware of the issues still put things off. We’ll go to the gym next week, when we have more time! We’ll relax once those chores are done and during that few weeks of holiday (sandwiched between the usual stresses of getting on holiday and then getting back)! We are unique and able to sustain various levels of stress and with a variable perception to it. I see those who think they’re not stressed with obvious physical and even emotional signs and symptoms. I see those who think they are stressed but are not too bad, really. They just don’t want to be in the situation they are in!

Taking time out is a way of stepping off the roller-coaster and assessing the situation. It promotes clearer thinking, greater focus and objectivity in life, promotes better health and immunity and generally creates a feeling of well-being, giving a greater sense of fulfilment, peace of mind and happiness. Taking time out from the world is taking time for oneself and renewing the connection with the world. Sometimes, doing very little can generate the energy and that will lead to colossal achievement!

So Why Do I Like a Beer – or Even More Than I Should!?     top  next  

For me, beer (English ‘real’ ale) is a pleasant drink, full of flavour, refreshing and with alcohol to ease the tensions. But, I’m a therapist. Why should I have tensions? Well, I think too much! I worry about why we’re here and why life appears to be so difficult and not the wonderful, straightforward event. So, the tension for me springs from the frustration of not being able to really comprehend or understand. This frustration can apply to any of us for various and personal reasons.

You may be wondering what this has to do with or to excuse the business of drinking beer or any alcohol.

When I went to see my Reiki master, back in December, he dowsed my chakras. (Whether you believe in chakras, I think you will appreciate the relevance). He was amazed at how active they were but commented that I was, “Top heavy”. The point about the upper chakras being more active is that of thinking and being spiritual. My comment was, “I need to get out more, then!” I often walk and my favourite place is around the walls of Silchester. Whatever the spiritual nature of the place, there is the basic joy of the countryside, with the flora and fauna of the various seasons. It is an earthly and grounded place, which is what a ‘top heavy’ person so needs.

This need of ‘balancing’ is what the spiritualist/holistic therapist alludes to, and the ‘balancing’ is so essential to the correct and appropriate physical working of the body. Imbalance equates to blockages and dis-ease.

So, you still ask what this has to do with alcohol! Enjoying beer and even the release of tension due to alcohol is still indulging in the earthly, different to walking God’s countryside but still with a similar effect. Earthly things correlate to the lower chakras. Thus, stimulation of these energy centres will help balance these with the more active upper ones. “Oh! What an excuse.” I hear you say! I don’t need an excuse to drink in moderation. Beer is full of natural things and alcohol in small quantity is good to help prevent stroke and heart attack, but here’s the problem!

Alcohol engenders such a good release and earthly feeling that it is intoxicating and, yes, becomes toxic to our physical systems. It finally becomes not just a moderator for the lack of understanding but an ‘easy to accept’ substitute. We fall into the pleasures of the physical as escapism from the overall reality. Keeping the ‘balance’ is such a difficult objective to achieve in this life, unless we are fortunate to have a good, happy balance built in that we can cling to. “God, give me the life that I so desire and I won’t drink too much! (Not that I will complain, if You don’t!)”

Readers should realise that to avoid long-term effects from alcohol, there are NHS guidelines. These are different for men and women and will be affected by circumstances, health conditions and medication.

Reiki and the Reiki Ideals  top  next  

The name 'Reiki' emanates from the Japanese characters Rei and Ki, life force energy (Ki) of divine origin (Rei). Ki has a similar meaning to the Chinese 'qi' or 'chi', the Muslim 'baraka', the Hindu 'prana' or the Christian 'light' (or even Holy Spirit).

The practitioner (operating in light contact with the receiver or just above) acts as a channel for this ‘energy’, the clearer the channel, the better the transmission. The practitioner holds a shallow state of meditation to achieve focus and visualises the ‘energy’ flow. The ‘energy’ travels to where-ever needed.

Reiki appears to work, based on impeccable intent and the practitioner holding the best intent while maintaining the open channel.  Perhaps, emphasising the intention of Reiki are the Reiki Ideals. You don’t have to be involved with Reiki to appreciate these  Ideals:

The Reiki Ideals

Just for today, I will not be angry.
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbour and every living thing.

The point of the Reiki ideals is for us to withdraw from the issues of life that are negative and are not productive for our progression.

Anger and worry are signs of inability to cope and are reflex actions to stress. Worry is of no avail without a solution to the problem. A conscious intent to avoid anger and worry leads to a genuine reduction and an objectivity, which actually enables one to cope better.
How often do we bemoan our lot and forget to look at our blessings? Dwelling on the difficulties of life leads to further discontentment.

Doing work honestly also means conscientiously. If we become lethargic, then the workload increases for our colleagues and again, discontentment spreads rather like a disease.

Being kind to our neighbours and all living things is a positive way to help every creature to fulfil their individual life’s journey. The better we travel our journey, the less frustrated and discontent we are.

Perhaps, with practice, we can achieve the ideals every day, not just for today!

Is Pain Really Gain?  top  next  

There’s little doubt that in many aspects of life, pain/endurance (however one describes it) can be the price to pay for improvement or moving on in life.
Many lessons of life are learnt in a painful way, often because we are not open to see the ‘easy’ option. Therefore, pain (doing things the hard way) should be regarded as a sign that maybe we should consider a different approach or philosophy for future problems.  

In a more physical sense, an injury being treated by the physiotherapist will often be painful and is a result of the therapist, for example, maintaining the best mobility in a joint. The criterion appears to be that if the pain goes away within a minute after therapy, then the therapy was of value. If it does not then maybe the therapy has created more damage!  

The sportsperson/athlete appears to gain in training by pushing through the pain barrier, providing this is done with due regard for the body’s needs. Not adhering to sensible practice will result in injury and degradation of performance.  

When it comes to holistic/massage therapy, there are instances where pain can be experienced. If muscle fibres are ‘glued’ together, as a result of previous damage, soft tissue release (STR) can create pain as the fibres break free. This could be accompanied by some localised bleeding, but hopefully the resulting repair will be more flexible and free than the original issue.  

In the case of tight muscles and localised inflammation due to trapped toxins, pain will only cause the recipient to tense up more and thus become more of a problem to the tense muscles. Neuromuscular technique (NMT) is controlled to take the recipient to the threshold of pain only, by feedback, therapist intuition or both. The body will then respond by relaxation and even the generation of pain-killing endorphins, thus allowing increased pressure.  

Pain generated in an uninjured body by a therapist overusing pressure or not controlling the rate (thus, not allowing the body to respond at its own pace) is definitely not going to be gain for the body!  

Holistic therapies, generally, should be a pleasurable and relaxing experience, generating a peaceful and calming environment for the body to balance and heal itself. However, we are all individuals with differing pain thresholds and differing degrees of tissue discomfort. We might vary ourselves from day to day. Thus, it is important for the recipient to feedback to the therapist, as much as it’s important for the therapist to proceed carefully. The recipient saying ‘ouch’ means that feedback was not provided soon enough! It is useful to scale discomfort from 1 to 10, where 7 is the threshold of pain. A number can be a quick way of feeding back to the therapist. Boldly putting up with pain is not necessarily providing gain!    

Destressing Muscles  top  next  

Before I became a holistic therapist, I took an interest in yoga (a cheap book from the book club). I was always a stesshead (which I now realise, but at the time could not see it – I knew nothing else). However, somehow, I sensed the need to relax. I knew my anxiety was not ‘normal’ and searched for a cure. For me, breathing was a problem. I compared myself to others and could not understand what I now understand as hyperventilation – unnecessary oxygenation of the blood due to brain panic.
I was surprised to find breathing exercises in my yoga book. I found the physical exercises invigorating and the breathing exercises interesting. I learnt straightway that I had little control over my breathing, according to the times indicated in the text. What proved valuable was the coordination of breathing with physical activity.   

An important point that the book presented was the scientific fact that muscles relax most after being tensed. By this time, I had become conscious of my tight, stressed muscles and found this advice quite enlightening. Practice makes for greater awareness.   

When I then got into holistic therapies, I learnt about deep-tissue techniques, remedial and sports massage. A technique emerged that reminded me of the yoga book advice. It is called Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR) and fairly self-explanatory. Isometric for muscles means contraction without movement, so pressure is applied that is hampered by another person or a physical block (the wall or something). After this is applied for some seconds, coordinating with breathing, the pressure is released. After 2-5 seconds, the muscle can be passively stretched further than previously, the same phenomenon expressed in my yoga book that said muscles relax more after contraction. This really works and can be physically observed. It is not just a function of the mind but a true interaction of brain and muscle.  

Practicing such techniques appears to train the brain to understand the latitude between tension and relaxation. There is no need to hold muscles tightly unnecessarily. This causes anxiety to be perpetuated. Anxiety leads to the inability to cope and even depression. Training ourselves to cope leads to coping with the issues associated with the anxiety and therefore a greater peace and fulfilment of life.   

Exercise can often be done by just ourselves and even when struggling with getting to sleep. This will lead to a better sleep and with less toxin build up within the overly tight muscles. (Tight muscles will generate bi-products that are not easily cleared without physical motion and thus can cause local inflammation and discomfort). PIR techniques can often be done without the need for a therapist or other person, but can be fun with your partner in life!   

Does daily meditation really help us in our challenges of life  top  

There are increasing belief and studies concerned with the power of our own minds.
The evidence suggests that we are not subject as a victim but everything that happens to us is a consequence of our own consciousness.
Studies include the placebo efect and various exercises of the effect of our belief system on our effectiveness and performance. Some results are quite bizarre!
The problem appears to be in our personal system of belief, entrenched into our subconscious at an early age and so difficult to uproot or modify.
Obesity appears to be a huge issue in many’s lives, which is a result of one or more of a number of factors, including emotional factors. I have always been a bit overweight but not grossly and I have successfully dieted before but with the inevitable creep-back of the pounds as time moves on and I struggle with my personal issues in life.
Around December 2012, I stood at around 11st 3lbs, which for me is about a stone overweight (for healthy comfort). I wanted to lose weight and joined a weigh-in group at my local church, to try to give me incentive. I did nothing, due to the stresses of life, apart from changing chips to mash when I took my mother out to the pub. I crept down (& up) for several weeks, making little progress (as did most of the others in the group! Then I discovered a meditation, which I tried. We missed a week at church, due to a holiday period, but I was surprised to find that in the 2 weeks, I had lost 5lb! I thought it was a blip, but as the weeks passed by, I reached 9st 11lb. I now hover between 9st 8lb & 9st 11lb, no matter what I eat and I feel great (a bit flabby but now trying to rebuild muscle lost due to inactivity!). I have developed a better consciousness of healthy eating and drinking. I drink redbush tea, no milk or sugar, and I can’t understand how I ever liked milk & sugar for all those years! I am comfortable with my eating habits; though desire to eat more healthily when I have time to address it.
Surprised by my own success, I started to worry about my health and went to the doctor for a check up on things like diabetes. Of course, everything was fine. I now strongly believe that the meditation was responsible for this achievement.
I do the meditation only occassionally now (once or twice per week) and I’m now meditating for other outcomes in my life.

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