Friday, 1 January 2021

Shiatsu for Markers


 decision making for markers - eg teachers and lecturers

As I sit in two camps - that of university tutor, and shiatsu practitioner - I ponder on both, and may provide a particular bridge in view.  New Year's Day and marking a bunch of student scripts.  I often, and these are no exception, find it almost agonising to decide on how far an assignment meets the criteria set by a module team.  And deciding on a mark can feel challenging.  I fear missing something and giving a very high mark to a script which has for example missed the point of a question.  

So, what I often wonder is how shiatsu treatment may help improve this situation.  I am drawn to think about the Wood Element, which incorporates the Gall Bladder meridian - good for decision making.  Could it be that receiving a treatment of this meridian and Element would make my task easier.  I might feel more able to discern a script quality and thus to decide on a mark.  Talking of discernment actually leads me on to think of Small Intestine (part of the Fire Element) - physiologically apparently about sorting what to take in and what to let go - so perhaps my Small Intestine and Fire Element would benefit from focussed treatment, which might also make my task easier.  


I found myself hearing insecurity in my voice in my first paragraph - how can I feel more confident in what I do?  There is certainly and element of knowledge and preparation which are important and requires background and graft.  But what about the Water Element and Bladder meridian - good for courage and confidence?  Perhaps work on these would help too.


I would certainly love to try it - both as a received/ marker, and as a giver/ practitioner for anyone interested.  Could that be you?  Get in touch if you would like to explore further.


I have both science and and anthropological training and experience, and am aware how whacky these Five Element ideas can sound; however, my experience has been that in some strange work they can seem to work.  I'm curious to explore further - how about you?


Dr Catherine Scanlon is a science tutor and shiatsu health practitioner.  Please contact wellbeing@scanlon.me.uk to discuss further and see website at www.shiatsuhealth.com for background information.

Friday, 13 November 2020

What kind of magic?

I wanted to jot this down while I'm still thinking about it. 

So, the full quote was something like:  What kind of magic have you been doing for your bones to be in such good shape?


Background:  3 bone breaks in the past 20 years - after the 3rd a Dexa scan which I was told showed osteoporosis of the spine, and osteopaenia of the right hip.  Rather a blow, and I wondered how this had come to pass - being vegetarian for 17 years? being a vegan for quite a few? not enough exercise?


I tried and tried to understand the diagnosis sheet, but found it very confusing.  


I spoke with my GP who advocated drug treatment, and who wasn't impressed by my wish to treat with exercise and diet - commenting that the results could be very serious if I didn't do the drugs and supplements.


I worked out that to get enough vitamin required an unthinkable amount of sardine consumption


I tried to keep playing tennis because that is considered good.  I tried walking and running with mixed results.


A long journey - lots of thought.  Didn't feel I'd cracked it, and in fact psyching myself up before this recent appointment for depressing bony results. 


Anyway, I was very chuffed to gather that the original interpretation of my results were due to the consultant, generally apparently very good having an off day.  So, whilst they do indicate osteopaenia, which is not great, not osteoporosis, which I'm very pleased about.


Aaaaaand apparently my levels now 4 years later (as an older woman, where it is natural to lose bone mass etc) were the same as then, which couldn't be better in conventional terms, since you can apparently only delay the rot, not get better.  (I think I have heard miracle stories of if you do enough chi kung, it can get sorted, but who knows).


So, pondering what I may have done 'right' in case helpful for others:


1. I tried to include more 'greens' in my diet - just 'greens' are cheap and delicious - and also eg cabbage, brussells etc.

2.  I tried to keep playing tennis.

3.  opened my French doors to get sunlight on skin when possible; and out walking in the sunlight with skin bare where possible.

4. can't remember anything else offhand. [edited to add - I do aim for wholefood; I did include some meat and oily fish; I do have shiatsu quite often, and try to do related exercises like do-in and taiqi qigong - so these may all be part of the raft].

5.  feel free to add your thoughts/ experience/ advice to comments if you feel to.


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Hi - I'm not posting much on this blog at the moment - more often on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/catherine.scanlon.92 and https://www.facebook.com/shiatsuforwellbeing/; also Instagram... https://www.instagram.com/wellbeing_way/ - and Twitter @japaneseyoga.

Feel free to post any thoughts or queries on this blog, and I'll endeavour to respond.


Saturday, 30 December 2017

osteoporosis update... useful resource

In my ponderings about good ways to build up bones, and manage/ reduce osteoporosis and low bone density, I found this rather useful website.


There's quite a lot of useful information in this website, I think - written by someone who has apparently managed to  improve her bones by changing lifestyle, diet etc.

She also explains a bit about the DEXA scan results - and made me realise that there is apparently an actual scan one can look at.  My GP didn't seem to know about this, so I am pondering how to get hold of mine.

Another point I thought would be useful - although others don't think it is is to access the Z values - showing how one compares with people of the same age.  The number that most people think is important is comparing to bone density in 30 year olds.

However, I am also interested in how I compare to contemporaries - are my bones worse than everyone elses? - or are we all terrible...

Feel free to leave thoughts and comments below.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Pain in face and head when landing in a 'plane?

so, yesterday I flew down from Bonnie Scotland to Luton airport on Easyjet.  When it came to landing I had a scary pain in my face and head.  I have had this a couple of times before (when landing), and wondered if I was having a stroke.  When it's happening I can't talk to anyone else, because I'm so absorbed by the discomfort.

In this case, I intuitively pressed on parts of my head and face.  Especially the ear flap, I found.  Once landed it was a lot better, and generally better over the next few hours.

I am aware that I got a chill on Saturday night (standing outside at a party, and then sitting in a cold marquee eating a delicious meal).   And then I had a very runny nose later on Sunday.  So, perhaps this problem was linked to blocked sinuses or something.  I no longer remember if I had a cold on the other occasions.

I do remember some years ago a friend talking of not wanting to travel by air when he had ? an ear infection.  And mention of burst ear drums.

So, perhaps something of this ilk happened to me.

I googled a bit and it seems to be 'aerosinusitis'.  What I found interesting was that there was no/little mention made of the intuitive pressure point work I did.  That did feel very important in preventing more damage (eg the burst ear drum thing, or somewhere I saw something about bleeding).

So, what I am offering here is the knowledge that this can happen:  ie pain in head/ face when travelling with an cold/infection.  And that this intuitive pressing can be important to help resolve it most satisfactorily.

anyone else any thoughts or experiences to share?

all for now,

Monday, 21 August 2017

vitamin D... continued

So, I was advised by a herbalist of where I could get a 'cheap' Vitamin D test done - City Hospital, Birmingham, for £28.  You can find it online, pay the money, and they send a kit.  You then need to prick your finger with a special blade, and drop 4/5 drops on their special sheet.  NB, the drop needs to be quite large, but shouldn't incorporate several drops - that may mess up the test somehow (it wasn't quite clear how unfortunately since I had small drops and added a bit of blood here and there to make the size bigger).  The website link is:  http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk.

You need to do the test on a weekday so that they can get it and return in the week.  I guess the blood may get too old and not fresh otherwise to do the test.  So, Monday to Wednesday are probably good days, and post as early as you can to have good chance of getting through quickly and for the next day.

I was heartened to get the result back (early August), with just into 'normal' range (51, and normal is 50-200).  This is encouraging since a test I had a few months ago was 35, and before that last year sometime 49.

It is hard to know cause and effect, but I have made a lot of effort to get in the Sun when it shines, with a fair amount of skin exposed.  I've also kept going with trying to increase oily fish (eg mackerel, salmon, sardines) and greens as well as seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) in my diet.   I had already given up coffee, tea and alcohol round October 2016, in the thinking that that too might be having adverse effects in allowing for uptake of Calcium etc for bone.  (I have since gone back to having some of these 3 latter drinks from time to time, but so far not as frequently as when I gave them up last year).

I offer you these thoughts in case helpful.  It seems encouraging that the Vitamin D level has gone up to within normal range, if still rather low.  It's also worth noting we are now in Summer, so a concern that it will fall again in Winter.  Something to watch - perhaps I will have another Vitamin D test in about 3 months to monitor.

Next steps may be to review my exercise some more - eg include more 'weight-bearing' exercise which is meant to be good for bone.  This might include jogging; skipping is also considered to be very good for bone.  My herbalist also recommended mini-trampolining which has been fashionable, but I can't imagine how I could include that into the space I have so probably not an option.

Feel free to post any thoughts you have in the Comments section.

best wishes,

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

getting older?

Most of us fear getting older, losing physical mobility, getting ill, and 'losing our marbles'.  Not sure how the latter would fare in a language/ political correctness test, but still.

How do we handle this - for ourselves, and for our friends or relatives?  Where is the conversation that tells someone they are going to have/ should have a mental health assessment?  Can they / might they refuse?  What to do if they do?  Where is  the conversation where we discuss with a parent that they may have dementia?  How to start such a conversation?  Should one avoid such a conversation?  Can it help to acknowledge this sort of thing?  Might it not be the end of the world?

More questions than answers, perhaps.

However, to consider some of these issues.

It seems to me important, and ethical, to inform, and consult, people of what is happening.  There is the issue of giving notice of an event - a week ahead, a day ahead, an hour ahead, a moment ahead.  And what it may comprise.  And could it be helpful to be accompanied.

Is there a definitive diagnosis for dementia?  Do people avoid the term?  Perhaps dementia is a collection of symptoms which when taken together is known as dementia.  Knowing this, can this help inform the best way to help someone manage and care for themselves as far as is possible.  Where is the boundary with 'no longer possible'?

I'm using this post as an opportunity to open up discussion and thinking around issues that have come up for me recently.  By discussion, we may find good ways to handle these kinds of issues, to go forward, and be the best support for people who may be struggling, consciously or not, with issues of mental health and dementia.

Please add any thoughts or comments below.