Thai massage can bring numerous benefits. No wonder people get hooked on it. This type of massage is focused on providing physical relaxation, apart from many health benefits like improving blood circulation, increases body energy, decreases muscle tension, and more. It is also a great way to ignite your love life if you and your loved one are willing to do it together.
Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD, says, “Massage therapy is a manual procedure that involves manipulating the body’s soft tissue as a way to relieve tension and pain as well as anxiety and depression. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers and sometimes their forearms or feet as a way to “relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness.”
“For many couples, sex is a way to reconnect, have some fun together, and recharge from their daily demands. Sex can take many forms, but the important thing is that it is a shared and mutually enjoyable erotic experience.” – Ari Tuckman, PsyD.
Sex is part of being human. It is meant to be shared and enjoyed by two people who are in love. However, from the woman’s view, there will come a time wherein the urge and interest would drain.
Asian countries have their own set of health beliefs and healing practices that greatly contrast with Western methods. These beliefs are influenced by the culture that has been handed down from generation to generation. Until now, these practices that have lasted for thousands of years are still being used since they have been found to be very useful for natives. With this said, people who are studying in the medical field should have a background in traditional Asian medicine to be able to grasp the incredible concept and beliefs behind it.
Eastern Healing Techniques Meets Western Methods
Modern age medical practices utilize both East and West medical influences regarding treating health ailments. Most Westerners only consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies as alternative techniques to address their health problems; the idealism behind health problems and traditional medicine in the East is not entirely understood nor even labeled as a go-to choice. Medical practitioners may recommend conventional Chinese medicine. It isn’t, however, considered as an ultimate means of treatment.
Health and Clinical Theories
Despite the efficiency of cultural remedies, Western doctors still struggle to grasp the concept of traditional medicine, especially the significance of the effects of the supernatural, physical, and social environment on the patient. It is because Western medicine is based on the belief that diseases come about due to viruses and other external factors that can harm the human body. Meanwhile, Eastern medicine believes that each part of the human body is connected to one another as energies.
Beliefs And Practices Briefly Described
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) base their diagnosis and health beliefs on Chinese cosmology, Yin, and Yang, two opposing forces that complement one another (life and death, heaven and hell). The primary purpose of Chinese medicine is to entirely restore the normal function of the human body by sustaining the balance in the body.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine helps keep balance in the human body. These herbs have been used for centuries, and each has its function and benefits.
Japanese Herbal Medicine
Kampo is a form of Japanese herbal medicine that makes use of herbs as a treatment for multiple illnesses. But what distinguishes Kampo from all other natural therapies is that the diagnosis of the sickness is made through examining the abdomen. This treatment is based on the idea that diseases are caused by a disruption of the flow of Qi (life force/energy).
Sowa Rigpa embraces a philosophy of the balance of body energies. It uses pulse and urine as the basis for diagnosis. It helps them uncover the root of the disease. This treatment encourages patients to undergo the Tibetan diet, lifestyle adjustment, and the use of herbal medicine.
Traditional Vietnamese Medicine
Traditional Vietnamese Medicine or TVM focuses more on the well-being of the blood than the illness itself. It is because they believe that having healthy blood and good circulation is the ultimate key to having good health. TVM employs moxibustion, herbal medicine, and acupuncture.
Acupuncture is the treatment of inserting needles on specific trigger points in the body. It will not only treat muscle issues but also improve the energy flow of the body and mind.
Moxibustion, Coin Rubbing, and Cupping
Moxibustion is the treatment that makes use of mugwort herbs. This treatment is being utilized in Mongolia, China, Tibet, Korea, and Japan. Mugwort herbs are burned to use the smoke as a healing property for the body.
Coin rubbing is a technique that has been used centuries back. There was the belief that rubbing coins in the patient’s skin will help “scrape” away from the disease from the human body.
Cupping of Fire – this is the technique that makes use of cups or glasses, wherein there is heat applied before attaching onto the skin of the patient. This treatment is used to cure “stagnation” issues in the human body.
On a related note, these therapy techniques will work well if you also try it with online therapy. Together, it can relieve any type of physical and mental anguish.
Chinese medicine is a well-known practice of healing for many centuries. These techniques are not only used by the Chinese, but also by other nationalities. It is proven to be effective even until today, and many healers follow the concept as a treatment for various health issues.
Chinese medicine techniques come in many different forms. And below are the most popular techniques that are used worldwide.
“I believe there is a life force in us that will carry us through when we are reminded how to access it. When we can keep our fingers on the pulse of our purpose and stay open to wondering about what it all means and letting those questions be as important as finding the answers, life is expanded. Good therapy will not only help you embrace the philosophical questions about the meaning of your life but also give you a tool box of skills that will be useful and accessible.” – Amanda Sargent, LMHC.
For more than 2000 years, acupressure has played a significant role in traditional Chinese medicine. Countless individuals resort to this Asian healing method to battle imbalances in the body, sore muscles, and even mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The fact that acupressure is rampant until today is an affirmation that it is, without a doubt, useful and beneficial for one’s well-being.…
What is Jamu?
Asia is popular for the many strategies it has introduced in the field of natural healing, the Chinese being the most renowned for their discoveries of acupuncture, herbal medicines, and massage, among others. However, less known to the world, even to fellow Asians, is an alternative healing technique originating from Indonesia. It is referred to as Jamu.…
When we need some tender loving care for ourselves, we almost always think of getting a relaxing and rejuvenating massage. But what is massage, and how does it help the busy working mom, the uptight student, or the workaholic entrepreneur?
The Mayo Clinic defines massage as a term for rubbing, pressing, or stroking a person’s skin, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. A massage therapist uses his fingers and hands to press down on the body of his client and produce relaxation. Indeed, massage therapy is becoming more and more popular, but some people need to value massage as a way to alleviate physical as well as mental conditions. In fact, massage has treated people from depression, PTSD, anxiety, and stress.
Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD, defines massage therapy as “a manual procedure that involves manipulating the body’s soft tissue as a way to relieve tension and pain as well as anxiety and depression. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers and sometimes their forearms or feet as a way to relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness. There are several different types of massage, each utilizing slightly different techniques. For example, Swedish massage, the most commonly used form of massage in the United States, involves “a combination of long strokes, kneading motion and friction on the layers of muscle just beneath the skin.”
As the epidemic progresses throughout America and the whole world, a lot of people are anticipating positive results from mind and body approaches, such as massage. Massage therapy has eventually evolved into an extra treatment for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Below is a list of the different types of massage therapies that can be used to complement conventional medical therapies.
- This involves a massage with supplemental essential oils that help heal other conditions. The client may also request to use these oils for any illness, physical or mental, that he may have. The therapist provides the client with a choice of essential oils that reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation. Aromatherapy is recommended for those who have anxiety-related conditions.
“Essential oils are derived from flowers, stems, seeds, roots, bark, and other parts of plants. These natural oils are “essential” in the sense that they have been distilled down to the essence of a plant’s fragrance. People have been using oils for health-care, beauty treatments, and even food preparation for hundreds of years. Today, essential oils are used for a wide variety of emotional and physical wellness applications.” Tiffany Goyer, LMFT
- Swedish Massage. In America, this is the most popularly preferred type of massage that involves kneading, using circular movements, and utilizing long, smooth strokes over the superficial back muscles and other muscles of the body. It also uses massage oil but is not necessarily fragrant. Swedish massage is relatively gentler than the other types of massage, so this is more suitable for first-timers or those who do not regularly get a massage.
- Massage therapy that originated from Japan, shiatsu is done by using the fingers to apply pressure on the trigger points of the body, especially the back. The pressure is held for a maximum of eight seconds to increase energy flow and balance. If you are one who wants more force but still achieves relaxation, you should try this.
- Hot Stone Massage. As the name implies, smooth, hot stones are arranged on specific parts of the body to allow the muscles to relax and loosen. The warmth effectively gets rid of the tightness, and the therapist may even apply pressure on the stones over the body part to induce relaxation. People who have less muscle tension can instruct the therapist not to apply too much pressure.
- Thai Massage. Body alignment is one of the main goals of Thai massage. Similar to Shiatsu, it uses soft pressure on certain points, but Thai massage may also include stretching and compression. The therapist guides your body into a stretching and posture sequence. Because it is more active, it is also more stimulating than the other types of massage therapies.
Massage has the unique ability to relieve pain, reduce stress levels, and connect one to his/her body-all this while being non-invasive, feeling great, and having no negative side effects. Pain addressed by massage can be caused from torn, overworked or tired muscles. Tension and stress reduction provides improved flexibility, reduced potential for injury and improved quality of life. Connection with one’s body helps an individual feel more comfortable in his/her skin and improved knowledge of how one interacts in situations and environments.” – Paul Levatino, LMFT
Massage can be utilized as a main form of therapy, or it can be used as a supplement to medical therapies. Whether you are treated for stress and fatigue or are dealing with depression and need some loosening up, massage is among the many therapeutic approaches that provide immediate relief from such negative conditions.
These days, detox has become a popular word with different meanings. But in general, it suggests following a particular diet or utilizing a specific product that claims to help the body remove toxins and consequently promoting physical and mental wellness, as well as inducing weight loss.
The more natural definition of detox, on the other hand, is eradicating toxins without using any kind of diet or product. The body has the natural capacity to detoxify its system. Here are some of the natural ways to detoxify and revitalize the mind and the body.
- Always Hydrate. There are more benefits to water than we know of. Aside from satisfying our thirst, water maintains the body’s temperature, eliminates internal waste, helps in digestion, and lubricates joints. However, waste is removed from the body through urination or sweating. Thus, proper hydration is vital. Dr. Ernesto J. Fernandez, LMHC, says, “Water is the most essential nutrient in the body. The body is made primarily of water. Poor memory, depression, anxiety, excessive worry, insomnia, diffuse muscle pain, and constipation are often due to cellular dehydration of specific tissues of the body, most commonly the brain.”
- Avoid Excessive Alcohol Drinking. The first important reason for this is that nearly 90% of the alcohol that you consume goes directly to your liver. Here, the alcohol is metabolized by the liver enzymes to form acetaldehyde, a chemical that is known to cause cancer. Once it identifies acetaldehyde as a bad chemical, the liver then converts it into acetate, a harmless chemical, which is removed from your body.
- A decrease in Sugar Intake. Sugar, along with processed foods, is known to be the primary cause of today’s health problem. It has been associated with obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are suffering from these illnesses, your body will have difficulty detoxifying itself, as they harm two of the most important organs in the body – the liver and the kidneys.
- Get Sufficient Sleep. Sleep enables one’s brain to recharge as well as eliminate toxins and other byproducts that have stayed in the body the whole day. Getting enough sleep, about 8 to 10 hours, is crucial to maintain physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation causes the toxins to remain in the brain. One of these toxins, amyloid, is a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.
Christine Lawler, LMFT, says, “Sleep loss has a MASSIVE impact on your emotional and mental health and well-being, not just your physical health. Adequate sleep is essential to mental and emotional regulation. During sleep, the brain creates new pathways, processes information, and regenerates the brain and body.”
- Exercise. One must try to follow a regular exercise routine, no matter how big or small he is. Being physically active has been proven to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, cancer, and heart disease. It has also been associated with longevity of life. Doing at least 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week (jogging, brisk walking, swimming) is the usual recommendation.
- Consume Foods Loaded With Antioxidants. Greens like lettuce and broccoli and fruits such as apples and grapes contain antioxidants that protect against cell destruction. Once the cells are damaged, the result is oxidative stress, a condition that is triggered by too much production of free radicals. It is much better to get your dose of antioxidants from natural food instead of taking supplements, which may often increase the risk of developing other equally life-threatening diseases.
According to Lisa Dorfman, LMHC, “For someone with a generally healthy diet, adding an ounce of trail mix with seeds and almonds and a peanut butter sandwich every day can provide the boost they need. For others, adding a leafy salad with a mix of vegetables and some green tea as a between-meal snack will do the trick. Fruits are another convenient choice–apples, oranges, cherries, berries, and cantaloupe are all packed with antioxidants.”
- Reduce Salt Intake. Some people have too much water, and they need a detox to remove the excess water in the body. Taking too much salt can ultimately lead to water retention, which leads to edema, congestive failure, and other diseases. And it may sound unreasonable, but the way to eliminate excess water in the body is by hydrating, as it continually removes the salt that you have consumed and retained. There should be a balance of salt and water intake to prevent this from happening.
- Other Detox Methods include consuming foods high in sulfur (onions, broccoli), using natural or organic cleaning products, incorporating herbs and spices in your meals, and choosing naturally made self-care products like deodorants, shampoos, and lotions, among others.
If you come to think of it, your brain is always active, always on. It is responsible for your everyday thoughts, body movements, breathing, and your senses. It is constantly working even when you’re asleep. With that said, we know that our brains should be supplied by fuel to keep it going. The fuel is important, but what’s more vital is the kind of fuel you feed it with. This means that how effective your brain works depends on the food that you eat. Its function varies with the type of foods that you consume.
Lisa Dorfman, LMHC, says, “For someone with a generally healthy diet, adding an ounce of trail mix with seeds and almonds and a peanut butter sandwich every day can provide the boost they need. For others, adding a leafy salad with a mix of vegetables and some green tea as a between-meal snack will do the trick. Fruits are another convenient choice–apples, oranges, cherries, berries, and cantaloupe are all packed with antioxidants.”
Like a luxury car, the brain will do its job more effectively when it is fueled with premium gasoline. Food that consists of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are among the best choices. So if you’re a fan of sugar, you should know well enough to quit as this damages the body and leads to injuries, depression, and mood disorders. Further, high amounts of sugar may cause inflammation and oxidative stress.
These days, luckily, growing knowledge about the brain is discovering that there are a lot of outcomes and associations between the food we eat, our emotions and behaviors, and the kinds of microorganisms that thrive in our gut.
Food And Mood
A common neurotransmitter called serotonin aids in regulating sleep, mood, and appetite. About 95% of this neurotransmitter is produced in the gut, which is why the GI tract is covered with millions of neurons. This structure of the gut explains why it doesn’t only aid in digestion but also in regulating emotions.
“YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. We’ve all heard this saying before… but what would you say if I told you that what you eat affects how you feel? The fuel we give our body is the same fuel we give our brains. So it’s not a surprise that if you eat overly processed foods or too many sugars, you have an increased tendency towards anxiety, depression, attention/focus problems and many more.” – Renee Chillcott, LMHC
Additionally, these neurotransmitters have a connection with the good bacteria that stays in the gut. The more serotonin present, the more good bacteria; thus, the stronger the GI system becomes. When this is the case, there is better absorption of nutrients into the gut as well as in the brain.
Trying A Healthy Diet
“When recipe browsing, meal preparation, food shopping, and thinking about eating become an obsession and/or a part-time (unpaid!) job, it might be time to ask yourself if your healthy eating is really healthy. When a slice of pizza with friends or an occasional piece of birthday cake are unthinkable, it might be time to take a closer look at your patterns with food. When taking a day off from exercise feels terrifying or unacceptable, it might be time to examine your so-called “healthy lifestyle.” – Andrea Wachter, LMFT
Considering the discussion above, you can start to be aware of how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally when you try eating various kinds of food. Perhaps you can eat a clean diet comprising of greens, lean protein like grilled fish, and brown rice. Listen to your body on that day as well as the day after. Then you can also do a combination of some dry food and some saucy ones, such as pickles, kimchi, or organic pasta. How do you feel? Do you feel heavy, light, cranky, or relaxed? You can also do a dairy-free diet, as most health-conscious people claim to reap outstanding results with no milk, cheese, and other dairies in their daily diets. Monitor your progress, and after a week, you can choose the diet that best suits you, the one that made you feel excellent overall.
It has been a known fact that going clean inside and out produces the best outcomes mentally and physically. It goes to show that what you feed your body must be healthy so that you will have a healthy and sound mind. Do give it a try and let us know if you have seen positive changes in yourself!
When it comes to interesting and useful art forms, Tai Chi often comes to mind. It is quite easy to practice, and it only requires a little space for you to be able to practice. Additionally, the positive effects of Tai Chi are instantly seen by anyone who continually practices it.
“In a broad sense, the goal of Taoist practice is to integrate the three centers of the Belly, the Heart and the Head into a coherent flow of energy and information. As this flow becomes more stable, we also open to the energies of Heaven and Earth and become optimally permeable to our social and natural environment. The Belly controls our capacity for physical strength and vitality and is the power center that allows us to master our three dimensional existence in time and space. The Heart Center develops our capacity for Compassion and emotional attunement with all beings. The Head Center is the doorway to experiences of pure Presence and the pregnant Emptiness of Spirit.” – Michael Robbins, LMHC
Here are some facts about Tai Chi that you ought to know.
- Everyone Can Participate. It’s gentle yet physical, so the young and the old are certainly welcome to join. In China, it is one of the most ancient practices that most seniors up to 90 years old participate in.
- It’s Not Just A Trend. Tai Chi, unlike Zumba or some other modern activity that comes and goes, has existed in China for more than a thousand years. It has become popular in other countries, including the Philippines and the United States.
- It Increases Endurance And Strength. The long-term practice of Tai Chi has been known to improve one’s overall muscular endurance and strength and develops better balance and flexibility. A study was done on seniors aged 60 to 70, where they were asked to practice Tai Chi three times a week for three months. Even before the trial concluded, there were already substantial improvements seen in their endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Ray Blume, LMFT, says, “Qi Gong aids in balancing your internal life with your external life. Moving slowly, in a controlled way activates the Qi (bio-electric energy) through the body to promote healing. Because the movements are done slowly, without tension in the body, the circulation improves which aids in the healing process. It takes energy to go slowly in a controlled way and Qi Gong is considered to be a moving meditation.”
It Improves Asthma And Fibromyalgia. The concept of Tai chi involves proper breathing techniques, which is why it is very effective for people who have asthma. On the other hand, it has also been found to be useful in the treatment of fibromyalgia, a painful musculoskeletal disorder that often affects a person’s health and activities of daily living. The pain symptoms decreased with regular Tai Chi practice.
- It Relieves Stress And Anxiety. The gentle movements and the slow, patterned breathing in Tai Chi improves a person’s mood and reduces his anxiety and stress levels. It can be considered as a good kind of distraction for those who have a hectic schedule and are looking to relax while clearing the mind.
According to Barry Bastian, LMFT, “By stimulating and channeling one’s inner energies, Tai Chi reconnects mind to body, attention to intention, and the individual to his/her environment. The practice enhances balance, restores energy, strengthens muscles, improves coordination, expands awareness, eases stress, cultivates mindfulness, and reduces anxiety.”
- It Promotes Joint And Bone Health. Several exercises make the joints of the shoulder, elbows, and knees vulnerable to injury. With Tai Chi, people become aware of the proper way to move their bodies because it has been practiced from generation to generation. Further, it has taught them the importance of posture and balance in helping protect and improve bone and joint health.
- Increases Aerobic Capacity. This was proven after a trial was done, which centered on how a person’s aerobic capacity improved or increased with over a year’s practice of Tai Chi compared to those who lived sedentary lives.
- Enhances Gut Health. Tai Chi’s versatile body movements accompanied by the meditation and breathing routines are said to produce a massaging effect on the body’s internal organs. This consequently releases the gut from the constrictions that have been caused by poor body mechanics, stress, and anxiety. It also aids in better digestion.
Despite the many exercise routines existing, and others still rising to popularity, the practice and the corresponding benefits of Tai Chi have remained to be at par with the other practices. It doesn’t matter how old it is, the old and the young and the modern and the traditional continue to appreciate how Tai Chi has evolved and helped them go through their lives with a peaceful.