I am lying face down on a massage table. My ears are tightly covered, so that I’m deep inside a loud silence of rushing blood and muffled room tones. Explosions of pressure twang against the back of my skull and reverberate through my brain and being, over and over. I feel at first shaken apart, and then, oddly enough, powerfully relaxed — safe.
Living in a wheelchair for one week, one month, one year or a lifetime can cause significant physical discomfort. Luckily, whether someone uses a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy, HIV or an athletic injury, proper positioning and massage therapy may help ease the associated pain.
Most of us wouldn’t imagine needing a lesson in walking, because once we surpass the crawling and walking stages in childhood, many of our movement habits are fixed. But, according to Judith Aston, founder of Aston-Patterning(R) and creator of Aston-Mechanics(R), if we can learn about good body usage, walking holds great potential for our well-being.
I didn’t breathe during most of my 20s — or at least I didn’t breathe fully.
I had no idea my chronically tight shoulders, constricted intestines, insomnia and unyielding jaw tension were so closely related to my limited breath. To regain my health, I had to relearn how to breathe. And, though I still have to remind myself to do this from time to time, I understand how healthy breathing supports the body’s ability to heal itself.
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health, that I discover I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849
It’s difficult to find a gardener who doesn’t agree with Emerson. The reward, avid gardeners say, of cultivating the earth is nothing short of sublime. So what exactly is going on in the backyard plot that has captivated more than 85 million Americans? Well, in a word, healing.
In massage and bodywork, there is an elephant on your tables and chairs, in your spa rooms, and, in fact, everywhere you take the profession. Not the trunk and peanuts kind. No, this animal is metaphorical in nature, yet an animal, nonetheless. Strangely paradoxical, this elephant is the backbone of many modalities and to many of our lives, yet is often avoided in the name of privacy, sacredness, and because we just don’t know how to talk about it. The subject of which I speak is none other than spirituality.
Too much on your plate? Millions of Americans know how you feel.
Stress has become a “given” in our modern world, and a primary cause of physical and mental illness for millions of us. Small amounts of stress can be a good thing, keeping us alert and on-task. But unrelenting stress, whether from overbooked schedules, financial strain, too little sleep or too much bad news, can lead to a breakdown of body, mind and spirit. When an overextended life puts you on a collision course with disaster, there are simple steps you can take to recover a sense of balance.
For thousands of years, the Chinese have known the power of its healing properties, incorporating its use in their traditional tea ceremonies. Now green tea has found its way into the heart of Western medicine as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent capable of blocking the cancer-causing effects of free radicals in the body.
Santosh Katiyar, Ph.D., who has figured prominently in investigating the relationship between green tea and skin, says the tea has an “antioxidant activity superior to that of any other naturally occurring antioxidant known.”
Most of us take water for granted. It’s in our oceans, rivers, lakes and swimming pools. It falls from the sky and flows from our faucets. We swim, bathe, wash and soak in it. When we need it, or want it, we have it. Our supply of water is not the problem today, (more than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by it) the problem is the purity of the water.
All water is not the same. There are differences equating to different healing properties and, as you can imagine, its uses in hydrotherapy vary greatly.
In 1983, Chicago native Rosita Arvigo, a doctor of naprapathy (D.N.) began an intensive 12-year apprenticeship with one of the last living Maya shamans in Central America. Don Elijio Panti was already 90 years old when Arvigo began to study with him in his tiny, remote village of San Antonio in western Belize, not far from the Guatemalan border. She learned about native healing plants, the Maya prayers, herbal bathing for physical and spiritual healing and the ancient technique of Maya abdominal massage, known simply as la sobada — the massage.