IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY SO LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND ACUPRESSURE POINTS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO GO TO SLEEP…

Acupressure is an easy way to help with pain and insomnia and well worth trying if you are struggling to sleep. Acupuncture and acupressure are both methods used to stimulate acupoints. In comparison, acupuncture uses a hair-thin needle to stimulate acupoints whereas acupressure uses a firm pressure to massage the acupoints. In acupressure and acupuncture acupoints, the specific points that are stimulated are the same points.  Acupoints are categorized in relation to their functional effect on the body, again, the categorization and use of points is exactly the same in both healing arts.

The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapist’s explains how Acupuncture works. The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI [pronounced ‘chee’], which circulates in channels or meridians within the body. The QI circulates within the deeper organs of the body but connects to the superficial skin. In the state of a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points. If injury, disease, emotional trauma or infection occurs, the natural flow of QI within the meridians and organs may well be affected and the result is an altered flow, either a slowing or stagnation of QI causing pain and inflammation or a deficit of QI, which may cause weakness, exhaustion and longer debilitating disease. The stimulation of relevant acupuncture points may free stagnation, reduce excess or indeed, increase QI to the specific area or organ and thus help to restore normal QI flow and balance.

There are several techniques in applying Acupuncture by Acupressure or Electro-Acupuncture which enhances the repair mechanism and enables an improved recovery time.

Follow the pattern below to start your acupressure treatment.

 

Place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the centre of your breastbone, at the acupressure point known as ‘Sea of Tranquility’. Now close your eyes and apply steady pressure, not too hard, for a minute or two. You will then soon feel tension, anxiety and stress start to slip away.

You could also use your first two fingers and tap them across the top of your head from temple to temple. Then work from front to back and side to side as this can get blood and oxygen moving to ease tension and restore focus.

To destress your shoulders make a gentle half-closed fist and with a loose wrist, tap your right hand gently but firmly up your left arm, along your shoulder and up the side and back of your neck. Repeat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.

If you can’t quite get the gist of this then check out this YouTube video.

#Acupressure pressure points for #sleep disorders and insomnia.

HAND REFLEXOLOGY AS A TREATMENT FOR PAINFUL FIBROMYALGIA POINTS…

The earliest evidence of Reflexology comes from China, circa 2700 BCE. The reflex is stimulated by direct pressure to a particular point. On the palm and wrist there are some 45 reflex points, and on the back of the hand 28 reflex points, that represent a particular organ, region, or function of the body.

Combinations of reflex points are used in Reflex therapies. Since hand reflexology is performed by applying pressure from fingers and thumbs on reflex points on the hands, the practice can provide an easy, cost-effective and safe way to treat ailments. Stimulation of the so-called “reflex” points promotes relaxation, improves circulation and encourages the body to heal itself.

While reflexology hand mapping feels best (and may be more effective) when done by someone else, it is possible to work on oneself. Try having a go yourself by pinching the finger tips and thumb of your right hand. The pressure applied to each finger should be firm, but make sure it is not painful. A few seconds for each single finger tip will be sufficient. Now do the same with the other hand, but always check with your GP first if you are on any medication.

Reflexologists believe that the hands are considered to have electrical properties. The right hand palm being positive and the left hand palm negative. The right hand also has a reinforcing, stimulating effect while the left has a calming, sedative effect. The back of each hand is opposite to the palm, so the right is negative and the left positive. This is important when using reflexology as if the object is to revitalise the body and restore energy flow, then the right hand will have the best effect. The left hand, with its calming effect is best used for pain.

This is a perfect antidote to backache caused by sitting at a computer for too long.
The reflex is stimulated by direct pressure to the particular point. There are a number of online sites that show you how to apply hand reflexology from WikiHow to AOR Hand Reflexology Explorer where you can move the cursor to view the hand reflexology points and what they correspond to.


There are online courses you could take but always remember to check with your GP first before trying it yourself.

KINESIOLOGY – A TREATMENT TO AID MUSCLES FUNCTION PROPERLY…

Kinesiology is a treatment which concentrates on getting your muscles to function correctly. It is believed that each muscles is connected to a specific part of your body. The word ‘Kinesiology’ is derived from the Greek word ‘kinesis’, which means ‘motion’. It originated in 1964 and was developed by an American chiropractor called George Goodheart. He found that when he was treating patients for severe pain in the leg, that by massaging a particular muscle the pain seemed to ease. However this did not seem to work on all muscles.


An osteopath in the 1900’s a Dr. Chapman pointed out that there were certain ‘pressure points’ in the body which were connected to your muscles, and if these were massaged correctly the lymph would be able to flow freely throughout the body.


In the 1930’s it was also claimed that there were similar pressure points which were on the skull which, by putting a light pressure on them, the flow of blood to their related organs would be assisted.


A Kinesiologist will examine a patient and try to discover whether they are lacking in energy as well as any other problems which could relate to their symptoms. If they find blockages then they can treat the disorder by stimulating the flow of lymph and blood my massaging the pressure points.


Nowadays there are a number of therapies (acupuncture, osteopathy, myofascial release massage) that use pressure points to ease pain in the muscles. Kinesiology is gaining momentum and I could find a number of therapists in my area but I have not tried this personally.


After treatment by massage of the pressure points the patient would experience some tenderness for a couple of days as the toxins in the tissue dissipate gradually. However, there should be an overall feeling of an improvement in your health and in particular the areas that were treated.

The Kinesiology Federation say it is a A bespoke treatment that’s as unique as you are.

As any qualified Kinesiology Federation member would tell you there is no such thing as a “typical” kinesiology session. The content of each session depends on the client’s needs at that time. Everyone is different. For example, even the same client may have different needs after an argument with her boyfriend than when she has over indulged food wise for a few days.

By treating each client as the unique individual they are, Kinesiology Federation members are better able to help you, the client, achieve a sense of health and wellbeing. Using a range of techniques the kinesiologist can then guide you to understand what kind of changes would best support your physical, emotional and mental health. This means that kinesiology can be seen as the therapeutic equivalent of buying couture clothes.”

And kinesiology is not just for people who are feeling below par. It can help you perform better at work, in sport and in other areas of your life by working with a kinesiologist to identify what factors in your life you could do with more (or less) of.

There is a very good infographic on Pinterest on the do’s and dont’s of using Kinesio Tape. Kinesio Tape are strips of bright coloured tape on arms, legs and torsos. Some athletes believe it has therapeutic effects. The tape was invented by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970’s. A U.K. website for this tape says it can help reduce inflammation, relax muscles, enhance performance, and help rehabilitation as well as supporting the muscles.

ACUPUNCTURE, IS IT AS GOOD AS THEY SAY IT IS?

Acupuncture, is it as good as they say it is?

Back in 2009, after having numerous spinal surgeries and also being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I was at a stage where no matter what gambit of drugs I was taking I was still in a lot of pain.

I was already having regular aromatherapy massage on my back which I found amazing, but the relief was short-lived, so I decided to go down the complementary therapy route and try something new.

Also, at that time, Acupuncture was available at my NHS pain clinic, so I was able to go for regular sessions which were to mainly treat my neck and arm pains. I found these to be beneficial and could notice a difference by the end of each session but as my treatments were only one session every two weeks, I soon found that my pain was back before my next session.

Acupuncture works by stimulating your own body’s healing mechanisms to help with pain and recovery. The concept has been part of traditional Chinese medicine since 1000BC where it was written in scripts on the holistic concept on how it can help heal the body.

Without balance in our bodies, there are many health-related problems we can encounter and having an Acupuncture treatment can help to restore your body systems to the right balance. They are quite often referred to as Yin (which is negative) and Yang (which is positive).

The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapist’s explains how Acupuncture works. The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI [pronounced ‘chee’], which circulates in channels or meridians within the body. The QI circulates within the deeper organs of the body but connects to the superficial skin. In the state of a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and the deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points. If injury, disease, emotional trauma or infection occurs, the natural flow of QI within the meridians and organs may well be affected and the result is an altered flow, either a slowing or stagnation of QI causing pain and inflammation, or a deficit of QI, which may cause weakness, exhaustion and longer debilitating disease. The stimulation of relevant acupuncture points may free stagnation, reduce excess or indeed, increase QI to the specific area or organ and thus help to restore normal QI flow and balance.

There are several techniques in applying Acupuncture by Acupressure or Electro-Acupuncture which enhances the repair mechanism and enables an improved recovery time.

The conventional Acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the Acupuncture points. The Physiotherapist will determine the locations of the Acupuncture points, based upon the assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used at each treatment and these are typically left in position for some 20-30 minutes before being removed.

Trigger point Acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following trauma such as whiplash injury; for longer-term unresolving muscle pain such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or as a means to obtain increased muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation such as sports injuries. Here the needle is placed into the affected muscle until it is felt to relax under the needle and then removed. Trigger point needling is often much quicker and therefore does not require the 20-30-minute treatment time.

Acupressure uses the Physiotherapist’s hands over Acupuncture or trigger points in order to relieve muscle tightness or to stimulate QI flow and balance the body. It is a healing art that uses the fingers of the Physiotherapist on the key Acupuncture points. The amount of pressure used varies according to the condition and requires trained sensitive hands. It is often used with sensitive patients, patients with a needle phobia, children or frail patients.

I do personally believe that Acupuncture and Acupressure can help heal and therefore relieve some pain but what I do not seem to have been able to achieve with this treatment is momentum.

Should it be used weekly, fortnightly, less or more? Is it something you could use to treat yourself? With alternative therapies being preferred by many sufferers for pain relief it’s a case of working out the correct balance of treatments that you need. Unfortunately, my local NHS Pain Clinic no longer offers this form of pain relief which then also means funding it yourself which for some people I am sure is out of the question due to the cost.

 

‘KRIOTHERAPY’, THE LATEST FEEL-GOOD THERAPY FOR FIBROMYALGIA AND MUSCULAR PAINS…

Kriotherapy (sometimes spelled Cryotherapy) is the latest feel-good therapy which has apparently been known to heal muscular injuries, chronic aches and pains, help alleviate arthritis, and boost circulation, the immune system, and help fatigue, insomnia and the central nervous system !!

It involves spending two to three minutes at a temperature between -60C and -135C depending on your size and fitness level. It is stated that it is not suitable for people who suffer from claustrophobia and no-one should undertake it until a full medical history has been taken.

You are put in front of a fan to dry out your body thoroughly then put into a cabinet where the dry ice begins to seep in while you acclimatise to the -60C, then another door opens and where you are in a -135C atmosphere. After three minutes you are put through paces to help the released blood (which is sent out to protect vital organs in freezing temperatures) surge through your body, with ten minutes on the treadmill, an exercise bike and exercises.

The fact that you are cold, then warm apparently makes the blood swirl into action to help heal.

 

According to an article in Treatwell, writer Charlotte wrote about the treatment at Champneys Health Spa in Tring.

“Instead of trying out the usual Massage or Facial, we decided to test something different in the name of health & wellness – Kriotherapy. Becoming human ice-cubes doesn’t sound too appealing but in the end we had the most fun we’ve had in ages, and left with the softest skin we’ve ever had.

The Venue

The fountain outside made us immediately unwind (and so did the complimentary fruit juice), and the smell of Elemis products got us in the mood for some pampering right away. Walking through the corridors, Champneys Tring is full of things to do and offers a homely feel even though you’re wearing your robes in front of complete strangers. You’re welcomed the very second you step through the door and everyone offers a polite ‘Hello’, even the guests!

The Treatment

Kriotherapy isn’t a treatment for the faint-hearted or the fashion-conscious. We didn’t walk around in our designer bikini, rather some very attractive shorts, a crop top and some clogs (don’t say we didn’t warn you…), but it’s supposed to be a brilliant therapy for those with sports injuries or who suffer from depression, fatigue, psoriasis and insomnia.

The qualified cryotherapist, Renata, gave us a brief examination, taking our pulse and blood pressure to make sure we were fit enough to handle the freezing chambers. If you have high or low blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, or are claustrophobic – it’s best you steer clear from the thrilling treatment. Renata then handed us our outfit – if you’re a fashionista who would never be seen dead in a white woolly crop-top, Kriotherapy might not be your favourite treatment! We wore two pairs of white shorts, two crop-tops, two sets of white hockey socks, and a headband to protect our ears from frostbite (eek). Then Renata told us to make fists with our hands whilst she covered them with gloves and tugged on some bandages over our elbows and knees.

We started to get a little nervous once we were dressed up, but Renata ensured us it was all for our safety. We also stood in front of a fan for a few seconds to dry any perspiration or water lingering on our skin, to ensure any water didn’t freeze and burn our skin inside the chambers.

Once we’d fixed a mask over our nose and mouth and all our extremities were covered up we were led into the first chamber, which is at a chilly -60c. After 30 seconds of acclimatising we jumped straight into the second chamber, which sits at a very frosty -135c. Squealing and laughing, we spent the next 3 minutes marching in circles, jumping up and down, laughing, giggling, anything we could do to keep warm in the freezing temperatures. Renata stood in the warmth holding a timer so we knew how long we had left, and held her thumbs up as we counted down the last 10 seconds between giggles.

After tumbling out of the chamber, we cycled on an exercise bike for a couple of minutes, then spent 15 minutes on a Powerplate to get the circulation going and our rosy body back to its usual colour. Whoever said feeling great didn’t require a bit of hard work?

The Result

Whilst we felt a little embarrassed in our outfit, the treatment itself made our skin feel the softest it’s ever felt and those big gulps of freezing air did wonders for our breathing. Any aches and pains we had previously had gone and we were left excited for a good night’s sleep later. We had been nervous about the freezing chambers, but Renata put our mind at ease and we ended up giggling throughout the whole thing.”

I’m not sure if I’d fancy this and wonder if ice packs, followed by warm packs, would hit the spot just the same? I think I would rather have another type of treatment at this amazing Spa in Tring.