“It is impossible to find the way of the spirit without integrating the experience of the body”. Kenneth S. Cohen - The way of Qigong
Anxiety is a natural emotion. We feel anxious when we are exposed to a more or less imminent threat, but I daresay that anxiety itself is more like “living with worries” than “worry about living”. More often than not it is not even generated by an event, but rather by the thoughts we have about what might or might not happen because of that event.
Many of us unfortunately know the widespread and frequent symptoms: intense and persistent concern, poor concentration, irritability, difficulty falling asleep, tachycardia, gastrointestinal disorders. In some cases, when anxiety is excessive, it can turn into panic and, in the worst case scenario, be pathological.
Today anxiety is a very common condition since we live very frenetic lives. Everyday we are exposed to many things to do, increasing social pressure and obligations. We then find ourself somehow no longer in balance with our biological rhythms, our bodies are contracted and our breath is shallow.
Shiatsu can help you to manage anxiety and make you feel much better. The first step towards an anxiety-free life is awareness and the Shiatsu’s body-work makes you aware about your physique, your breath, your emotions and the way they influence your body. Also science – as the newest research suggests – tell us that our bodies are strictly connected with our mind and that our emotions have a huge influence on our body. There is actually an entire field of studies, the PNEI, that investigates the interconnection between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.
With Shiatsu and acupressure massage the therapist will set up different kind of treatment for different kind of people since anxiety has not the same roots for each person, even if the common root should be sought in a poor grounding.
Usually the treatment includes stretching, rotation, acupressure massage – on particular points of your body as per the Chinese medical tradition – and gentle deeply relaxing pressure all over the body from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, in order to rebalancing your energy and restore the balance between body, mind and emotions.
With a treatment like this, the practitioner will aim to make you feel grounded. From a Shiatsu point of view, being grounded means being in the moment, in the breath and in your body. It also means being aware of yourself. In order to achieve that, you need to be relaxed and to improve your breathing. But it also works the other way around: if you are aware of your body, your breath will improve and you will be more relaxed.
Since Shiatsu is not just your sessions but it is a way of life, after the treatment the therapist will usually give you some easy exercise to help you in the everyday life and, on the other hand, to lessen your need for the therapist. The exercises could include breathing, self acupressure massage, Qigong or stretching.
I will now share with you an easy breathing exercise to do, that will help to reduce anxiety.
Lye down or sit comfortably on a chair, if you are sitting be sure that your back is aligned and your shoulders, arms and jaws relaxed. Now put your hands on your abdomen and close your eyes. The first step is focus your attention on let go of all the air that you have in your lungs, try to be completely empty of air, it will be natural that you will give a deep breathe after that because our human nature is to intake air. Repeat again and again always focused on letting go of the air and will go if that every time you will be filled of new air and each time you will be more relaxed.
Let the nature do the job, trust in your body. Don’t forget to be focused on the letting go, let the air as well as the anxiety go and intake the new, fresh, clean and cleansing air that will make you more relaxed each time. After a while your breath will become deeper and you will probably notice that your abdomen will follow the breath up and down. This is the deep breathing. Do it every day. If you are too busy, you can do it in your bed just before going to sleeping or on the couch while you are watching a tv show. After having been practicing the deep breathing for a while you will be able to do it everywhere, also on the bus or while waiting for an appointment.
Finally, always remember what Mark Twain said: “Much of my life has been spent worrying about things that never happened.”
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or send an email, I will be more than happy to answer.