Health Tai Chi in Devon

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Fibromyalgia and qigong

Written by Karen Yeandle – Qigong Instructor and Fibromyalgia sufferer

Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves widespread pain in soft, connective tissue eg. muscles, tendons, ligaments and particularly shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Other symptoms include sleep deprivation due to pressure being applied to joints when laying down-reduced sleep depletes brain serotonin which increases pain and a vicious circle ensues. Depleted serotonin also causes impaired memory and, for some, depression. Many sufferers report bladder weakness, IBS, unstable core temperature, jumpy legs, numbness and tingling. There are even anecdotal reports of a connection between fibromyalgia and keratoconus of the eyes.

The exact cause of FM is unknown but certain factors predispose it’s onset i.e. a combination of one or more of the following:- trauma, serious accidents/infections, psychological stress e.g. death of a loved one. It also has a genetic potential. This combination of environmental and inherited factors effects the central nervous system.

Fibromyalgia
There is no diagnostic test so symptoms are looked at as a whole with a certain number being registered and other factors ruled out. Currently in the UK 2-8% of the population are affected with women affected roughly twice more than men.

Standard treatment is with opiates e.g. amitriptyline and antidepressants which also work on reducing nerve pain, along with advice to “get more sleep” (far easier said than done!) “diet change and increased exercise”.

I was ‘diagnosed’ with FM c12 years ago having seen numerous GPs and specialists over 2-3 years until one consultant put the pieces together. Like most sufferers, I was prescribed the full range, all of which left me feeling foggy and unable to fully function. I felt I had no option than to stop taking them. Although acupuncture reduced pain and inflammation, increased exercise resulted in tendonitis of both Achilles’ tendons plus golfers and tennis elbow. My sleep deteriorated as pain woke me to turn every 8-10 minutes; my IBS worsened; bladder control was impaired; I could no longer kneel or squat; I could only shower, because I had no strength in my arms or legs to bath; I couldn’t clench my fist‘s; get up or down from the floor or sprint in an emergency. Although I was fortunate not to suffer depression, I struggled to resign myself to the fact that my life was significantly limited and deteriorating.

 

A friend suggested Qigong for its health benefits and after extensive research I found an excellent teacher in Alda at HOM in Dawlish and started in November 2016. Qigong which includes stretching, lengthening and strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments (amongst other physical and mental health exercises) very soon resulted in improved sleep and significantly reduced pain. Such were the notable benefits I started practicing most days and can now bend, stretch, close my hands, stand on one leg, squat and balance. Qigong has been ‘life improving’ and such is my belief it’s exceptional benefits, I further studied and qualified with the British Health Qigong Association as an instructor myself.
Recent controlled trials (Jana Sawynok & Mary E Lynch 2017) also demonstrated noteworthy effects of Qigong on FM where when practiced 30-45 minutes per day over 6-8 weeks, benefits included reduced pain; improved sleep, physical and cognitive function, memory and mood state. FM continues to be the subject of research but to date it appears the greatest success in combating the debilitating symptoms of FM is the regular practice of the wonderful health preserving benefits of Qigong!!

 

About the Author: Karen started Qigong 2 years ago as she with struggling with an ever-deteriorating medical condition that had been diagnosed some 10+ years previously and it had been suggested by a friend of a friend that she try the benefits of Health Qigong. With regular practice the improvement in her overall health was so significant that she decided to study further and, having been a tutor and instructed classes of an altogether different nature in her former career,  she went on to qualify with the British Health Qigong Association (BHQA) in May 2018 as a Qigong Instructor herself. Karen now teaches 3 Qigong classes at Cockwood, Dawlish and Exminster, Devon.

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Book Review: Energy Medicine by Donna Eden

I believe that this book is a must-have in every library for anyone who is an energy worker. As tai chi and qigong are Chinese exercise methods that work transforming the energy in your body, I am not surprised that this book has eventually crossed my path. Both Nick and I are avidly reading and doing the energy exercises recommended by Donna to restore general health. Nick is reading “Energy medicine” which is the general book for anyone interested in improving their general #health, knowing about your #energies anatomy, getting your energies balanced, #energy testing, the five rhythms of the season wheel and much more energy-related knowledge. I am reading “Energy medicine for women” who would interest any woman struggling with #hormone imbalances, thyroid problems, #PMS, #fertility issues, #pregnancy discomfort, #menopausal symptoms, #osteoporosis o #weight loss worries.

Both books are a mixture of theory about energy and practical movements, massages and tapping techniques to help you improve your health. To give you a snap-shot of what you will learn in the book, please have a look at this youtube video where Donna Eden demonstrates her daily energy routine.


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5 ways of easily practising #tai chi

Driving.jpg

  • Queueing at the bank/supermarket/airport – Bend your knees and Pay Attention: Isn’t it boring to queue at the bank/supermarket/airport or many other places? An interesting and healthy way to use that time is by gently bending your knees (no one will notice) to help increase your blood circulation. Second, you can bring your attention inside. Notice areas of #tension in your body (shoulders, abdomen, back?) and try to release that tension. You don’t need to close your eyes. It might take a little bit of practise at first to notice what is going on inside while keeping your eyes open, but it is an amazing tool you can use at any time. Enjoy your holidays.

 

  • Walking – Pay attention to Your Feet: Again, it is all about paying attention. This time, bring your attention to your feet and how they connect to the ground. Notice how you shift the weight from one foot to the other. Notice whether you tense your legs as you do this, or any other muscle in your body. Notice the quality of the connection to the ground. Are you floating? Are you grabbing the ground? This is called #mindfulness. Try different postures and see how they feel, raise your body, release unnecessary tension, try to walk as comfortably as you can. Enjoy your walk!

 

  • Driving – #Relax Your Shoulders: If you drive long distances and, like me, you don’t particularly like the speed in the motorways, your shoulders might be tightening with the effort and concentration. You don’t really need to tighten your shoulders to concentrate on the road, but we often do it automatically. Lower backs are often also clenched while driving. Pay attention to your shoulders and try to release unnecessary tension, especially when the M5 is really clogged with traffic and you wish you had stayed at home for the weekend. Calm your shoulders, your lower back and you will feel better straight away. If you keep an eye on #relaxing your shoulders while driving, and practise it daily, you will notice that you don’t get those awful #headaches after a long drive. Enjoy the ride!

 

  • While making some tea – Standing/Cloud Hands/Silk Reeling: If you normally have a flavourless cup of tea because you haven’t got the patience to wait for it to brew for a few minutes, try to approach tea making from a tai chi perspective. 1) Put the kettle on. Practise some standing until water boils. 2) Pour the water over your tea cup with tea bag. During those 3-7 minutes that you need to wait, practise cloud hands or silk reeling. 3) Bring your cup of tea to your armchair. Enjoy your soap opera!

 

  • Showering – Sing your Heart Out: This is not a way to practise tai chi, but I bet you it will put you in the right mood for the day, right? Ok, there were only 4 ways of practising tai chi, but hey, singing and dancing should always be in your repertoire, wouldn’t you agree? You are the star. Enjoy the show!


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What is Tui Na massage and its benefits

Written by Nick Taylor – http://www.devontuina.com

Founded in China, Tui Na has a long history of development, and archaeological evidence suggests that massage was carried out over 3,000 years ago. Tui Na – pronounced Twee Nah, is a mainstay method of treatment and rehabilitation in modern China, and a key part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a system of massage techniques and manipulations that help the body’s musculoskeletal system to heal and recover. Traditional Chinese Medicine is founded on the concepts of treating the body as an integrated whole, Yin and Yang theory, five element theory and the meridians, or channels through which energy flows.

Tui Na manipulations stimulate acupoints and other parts of the body to restore balance and heal the body. Tui Na can also be used as a method of preventative healthcare, Chinese forefathers kept their Qi energy and blood flowing freely, strengthening their tendons and bones, eliminating fatigue and helping to promote longevity.

Nick with a client

In a similar way that there are five main family named styles of Tai Chi and numerous forms of Qigong, there are many schools of Tui Na that have evolved in China, each with it’s own style, strengths and therapeutic effects. From the many differing approaches that developed throughout China, five main schools became famous, all of which have influenced modern Tui Na, and are the one-finger meditation school – Yi zhi chan tui fa; the rolling school – Gun fa; the point pressure school – An fa; the striking school; and the Internal exercise school -Neigong.

Tui Na has the ability to: –

  • Promote and invigorate the flow of blood and Qi
  • Expel, clear and dissipate pathogenic factors
  • Regulate Qi and blood
  • Harmonize Yin and Yang
  • Nourish, tonify, strengthen and support Qi and blood, Yin and Yang
  • Release and relax the channel sinews
  • Lubricate and facilitate the movement of joints
  • Soothe Qi and calm the spirit

With it’s long history and development, in modern times Tui Na can help with the following conditions and problems: –

  • Sports injury
  • Knee, hip and Achilles pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Painful, tight muscles
  • Tendonitis, bursitis, R.S.I.
  • Migraine, stress and headache
  • Frozen shoulder, Golfer’s/Tennis elbow
  • Arthritic pain
  • Work related injuries
  • Preventative healthcare, protecting the body and enhancing longevity
  • Lower limb, foot and ankle pain issues
  • Sciatica and sacroiliac joint problems

 

Author: Sifu Nick Taylor, Tai chi master, Reiki master and TuiNa massage therapist.

http://www.devontuina.com