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Heal yourself; Inside Out.

Byline: Laura Davis

With the influence of Eastern philosophy, holistic therapies are becoming increasingly popular in the West. But visiting a practitioner can often be very expensive. Laura Davis looks at ways to do it yourself

Jin Shin Jyutsu

Theory This comes from Ancient Japan and works by balancing the body's vital energy, qi, through a series of energy safety locks. When the body is under strain, the locks can become congested and sore. Jin shin jyutsu aims to clear them so the energy can flow freely.

What it can do for you Can help relieve headaches, menstrual pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia. May help increase fertility. Do-it-yourself version can help prevent jet lag if practised during flight.

Professional treatment

Your qi pulses are taken to detect which locks are out of balance. The practitioner lays one hand on one part of the body and the other on another point. He acts as a cable for the circuit to clear.

Home method

Hold the thumb of your left hand with the fingers of your right and wait until you feel your qi pulse. Do the same with each finger of your left hand then repeat with your right. Do this every day.

To relieve tension, take the middle joint of your left middle finger lightly between your right thumb and fingers.

Hold for a few minutes then swap hands.

Verdict

I found it so difficult to find my qi pulse that I felt quite stressed even before I could begin the exercise but after a few days of practising it did seem to make me feel more relaxed. Whether this is due to unblocked energy flow or just taking a few minutes out of the day to rest, I'm not sure.

Art Therapy

Theory Psychologists believe art has the ability to bypass the conscious mind and connect with our subconsciousness where all our deepest fears and pain are buried. People may be able to express ideas and fears with art which they are unable to express in words.

Healing effects

You could discover hidden sides to your personality, gain confidence and self-esteem and may find that physical ailments disappear.

Professional treatment

Sitting quietly and breathing deeply, you are asked to paint without trying to make the picture look like art - just seeing what appears on the paper. You may be asked to write a commentary or scribble a letter to your painting. You then discuss the contents of the picture.

Home method

Go to an art shop and see which materials attract you. You may like to paint on huge sheets of paper or prefer smaller pieces of card and use felt tips or charcoal.

Don't try to paint a "proper" picture. You could shut your eyes or use your left-hand if you are right-handed. Some ideas for what to paint include lifelines using symbols to represent your life; your dreams, which could show you the issues your mind is mulling over as you sleep; yourself, which could help you discover how you really feel about your body.

Verdict

I've never been much of a Matisse and so this was a great opportunity to enjoy painting without the pressure of having to create a work of art. I've always loved the smell of wax crayons so I used them to draw a lifeline. I found myself mostly drawing references to positive things that have happened to me so I felt very uplifted by the time I'd finished.

Sound therapy

Theory Disease is part of our body vibrating out of tune, advocates of this therapy believe. By creating sounds which are in harmony with the frequency of our organs we can heal ourselves.

How can help

Can improve confidence, alleviate stress and increase energy and wellbeing. It also helps dissipate headaches and prevent migraine.

Professional treatment

Sounds are directed at your body focusing on specific organs. You are taught how to make healing sounds yourself by using simple voice exercises.

Home method

The trick is to find the sounds that are in tune with your body. Try singing the different vowel sounds - ah, eh, iii, oh, uh - to see how they make you feel.

Experiment with different kinds of music and work out what effect each has on your mood. Try some sacred chants like Gregorian, Tibetan and Mongolian.

Sighing and groaning can help release negative emotions while exaggerated yawning will reduce tension in your jaw and mouth.

Sing and hum at every opportunity, feeling it resonate through your body. Sing positive statements to cheer yourself up.

Verdict

This was a lot of fun and singing definitely cheered me up but I don't think I managed to find any sounds in tune with my organs. The sacred chants were so relaxing that I fell asleep listening to them and I think I concerned some of my friends with the exaggerated sighing, who thought I'd become very depressed since beginning the treatment.

Colour therapy

Theory This is based on the belief that colour can affect health and happiness, success and our sex lives. Each colour corresponds to a different emotion or part of the body. Visualising or wearing these can help heal a range of physical and emotional ailments.

What it can do for you

Used to centre people in difficult situations like bereavement and shock. Eases stress-related conditions, soothing anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Professional treatment

Colour therapists beam a precise intensity of light at the patient using large lamps or small torches. Some may use coloured oils which are spritzed around a person's aura.

You may be advised to dress or redecorate your house in certain colours.

Home method

Lie down, breathing comfortably and deeply but naturally and relaxed. As you breathe in, imagine a colour entering your body just above your abdomen and spreading through you. Breathing out, visualise its complementary colour leaving your body.

Blue relaxes and brings peace, its complement is orange which brings joy. Visualise green to cleanse and balance your system and its complement magenta to let go of the past and obsessions.

Complementing red, the colour of energy, is turquoise which calms, soothes and strengthens the immune system.

Violet is for confidence and self-respect. Its complement is yellow which helps you concentrate.

Verdict

I chose to think about yellow because I had arranged to take part in a pub quiz later that evening and needed to be able to concentrate. After 10 minutes of colour breathing I felt more focused and ready to impress my teammates with my superior knowledge brought on by my new found powers of concentration. Unfortunately we didn't win.

Psychoneurimmunology

Theory This is based on the mind's ability to effect change in the body. The idea is that if you visualise your body being healed then it will cure itself.

What it can do for you Is thought to quicken the pace of growth in broken bones and improve the recovery and mortality rates of people with cancer.

Professional treatment

Patients are taught to focus their mind to visualise healing energy flowing into ailing organs, to dissolve tumours and repair tissue. They are encouraged to use an image which has some meaning for you, like thinking of the tumours as large, ugly toads which you zap, Harry Potter-style, with a magic wand.

Home method

This can be used to relieve stress or to help with emotional recovery.

Sit on the floor, close your eyes and breath calmly and deeply. Allow as much air as possible to fill your lungs, taking 12 conscious deep breaths. As you breathe in imagine you are inhaling total relaxation and calm. As you breathe out, all the anxiety leaves you body.

Think of a safe place and explore the surroundings with your mind. Become aware of the area around your heart and imagine it filled with light which gradually spreads all through your body. Slowly bring yourself back to reality and have a good stretch. Rest for a few minutes.

Verdict

This is a very pleasant way of escaping from your problems for a while. As I relaxed I began to feel more and more distanced from my surroundings. The feel of the floor underneath me started to become lighter. Letting my mind travel to a place where I felt secure, I felt warm inside and very calm. Afterwards my thoughts were clearer and I felt at peace.

These do-it-yourself therapies can be found in Mind Body Spirit by Jane Alexander, published by Carlton for pounds 18.99

CAPTION(S):

FOCUSED: If you are ill, concentrating on the diseased area can speed the healing process
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN Ltd.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2001
Words:1429
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