Oppression

Lake dry

Thirst momentary.

Throat dry

Yet still

I laugh.

Body weak

Yet still

I walk.

Smile

On dry lips.

non-copywrited shining lake

 

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Massage therapy and Qi Gong

If you want to keep well and creative, I suggest a massive list of positive whole good things to do daily…so, along with gardening, meditation, relaxation, being grateful to everyone for their ‘small’ acts of everyday kindness, I have Massage Therapy from John Mackie.

I fell down the stairs 3.5 years ago, and as someone who values his fitness for gardening, self-defence, in a rough area – the roughest in Leeds – Holbeck, not Chapeltown! – it was a traumatic loss. Traumatic in both senses of severe damage: physical and mental trauma means not just psychological. The pains of tendinitis: heavy dragging sensation on foot, sharp shooting dull pains, in calf muscle, quadriceps, gluteus maximus/buttock muscle, dull, numb (which can indicate formation of scar tissue) tingling were indescribable.

I tried to get referrals to the physiotherapy care of my GP, but they didn’t do it – healthcare eh?! There was probably some stigmatization of me. It is well documented that mental health service users die younger on average, from severe physical disease and get less better heath treatment, because doctors believe they are making it up. Anyway, that’s only an aside.

I asked 3 GPs in my practice for a referral to a physiotherapist, several times but no joy. I plumbed for holistic massage therapy with John Mackie – he is trained in a wide variety of medicines. he knows and is practised in physiotherapy Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Reichian (body massage psycho) therapy. My whole system was suffering, and the bio-mechanics of my left leg, from the impact of 100s of pounds worth of pressure, as I rocketed down the stars. Somebody said, cruelly, ”Was I drunk?” ,”It was Monday morning”, I said and I drink a 10th less now down to 1 or 2 pints mild beer weekly. I asserted myself. People can be cruel. He shut up. Be assertive folks. 

I asserted my need for therapy despite the mentalist system, asserted my truth of health ‘gainst the fool with the cruel comment. Be kind to yourselves.  Deep down we are ALL OK, OK? Out of this practice of this wholesome idea I have been having massage therapy and Chi Gong, with John, since November 2014. although it’s fortnightly it really has helped.

I have had about 8 sessions, and I have noticed the muscle strength has returned almost entirely, however my balance is not quite right and I can fall over if not careful. I have to be mindful of my balance and take over, for now, this short-term conscious mind over body matter. (Normally, the unconscious, autonomous nervous system co-ordinates a healthy body without the need for conscious thinking).

The reason why I promote John Mackie are several:  He offers concessions; out of wholesome karma-choice I promote him spontaneously.. He is not a big commercial company; he is a holistic practitioner who is struggling to make money in the recession, as everyone is cutting back spends. He is a good listener/ diagnoser, and is clear in answering questions honestly, is open to feedback, attends Mind’s Peer Support Meditations with Steve Hart, e.g. Tuesdays from 5pm to 7pm, see other articles on Inkwell in this blog. Please see http://www.leedsmind.org.uk

John Mackie is a thriver not mere grim survivor. He is a good man indeed.

Milan Buddha Ghosh

A Friendly Competition for a New Logo?

In the meantime..

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I attach the first of many sunflower photographs, this one from my allotment in Parkside. Beestonistan.

I do not know if the Sunflower (Helios) is any more native to the United Kingdom, but it some how feels much more appropriate.

I’m getting very fit from digging, sowing, weeding and planting on my allotment, and carrying 2 sacks of Gypsy horse manure from the waste ground that was a school, to my home.

My hands are now thickening up their palm skin, the winters writers hands are transforming, as everything is transforming, we are all free therefore, do you see?

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Last year Tez took a wonderful picture of a Chestnut Brown Horse, on the ole school site, now demolished, of Matthew Murray High School.

Please send in your fave pictures folks, and what do you think to a suggested new logo for leedswellbeingblog?

Finally, did you know that half the flowers in our English gardens are not native? They are species, collected, mostly by Victorian Gardeners, and Botanists, around the time of the British Empire, (1750- 1945 roughly).

Gardening is good for the soul, it works off normal neurotic anxiety, worry, gives light and heart to living, and these sunflowers each had a pile of horse manure at their base, plenty of water and sunshine.

Horse shit to Sunflowers is my English version of the old Muddy Waters to Lotuses, symbolising cleansing and purification, settling down to pellucidity the truth that shines through all things, when we become Enlightened.

Milan Buddha Ghosh

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Hope for Progress on Men’s Health in Leeds

Barry Ewart co-ordinates the Leeds Men’s Health Network (LMHN), and agreed to do us a guest blog about the work they do. He says:

Potentially exciting times for Leeds Men’s Health Network (LMHN) as we have just got Leeds City Council’s Scrutiny Committee to agree to examine men’s health as part of their investigation into, ‘Narrowing the Gap’ in the city.  We are also working with Public Health and one of their officers now attends our meetings.

Members of the 'Wild Bunch' ecotherapy and philosophy group

Members of the ‘Wild Bunch’ ecotherapy and philosophy group

If you want general information on men’s health then the National Men’s Health Forum website is very useful see www.menshealthforum.org.uk/   In Leeds we are also lucky that Leeds Met. University hosts The National Centre for Men’s Health and this is led by Professor of Men’s Health, Alan White and a small team of researchers see www.leedsmet.ac.uk/research/mens-health.htm

Some further good news for LMHN is that we have just acquired a New Chair in Claude Hendrickson from the Race Card Project based at Leeds West Indian Centre and we are to now have Executive Committee meetings of the officers in between our quarterly meetings of the Network.  We also hope to have guest speakers at future meetings to cover topics such as ‘Men and Gambling’, ‘Homelessness and Men’ (hopefully with someone from The Big Issue) plus someone from one of the Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leeds so that we can hear how they may be commissioning services for men in Leeds, and as always we are open to ideas for topics from members.

We are currently planning for The White Ribbon Campaign 16 days of action around the 25th of November 2013 (this aims to get men to address issues of domestic violence by men) and we hope to have a city centre walk starting from the White Ribbon Tree in Park Square.  We further hope to have a celebrity from Emmerdale Farm joining us on the walk and there may also be a seminar on men’s health at the Centre for Men’s Health, Queen Square, following the walk.  We will as usual also be encouraging voluntary groups to do something around The White Ribbon days of action and we hope to get schools, libraries and children’s centres to do something such as wrapping a tree with white ribbons which they have done in previous years.   We hope to finalise our plans very soon and for further information on The White Ribbon Campaign see www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

Also for anyone interested, ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ has just been launched and this is aimed at people who may not do any physical activity and there is free use of Leeds City Council leisure centres during selected activities.  See www.leeds.gov.uk/llga or e mail:  rachel.brighton2@leeds.gov.uk

Finally our next meeting of the Network is on Wednesday the 4th of December, 2.00pm at Leeds Civic Hall and anyone interested in men’s health is welcome to attend.  You can also join Leeds Men’s Health Network which is free by just e mailing me at: b.r.ewart@leeds.ac.uk

With best wishes, Barry Ewart, Secretary, Leeds Men’s Health Network.

Volunteers and Lay Workers needed to help overcome public health challenges. Professor Jane South.

Last Wednesday I went to a public lecture delivered by  Professor Jane South.

It was advertised on Eventbrite – the online events site.  I’m not averse to the odd public lecture and it sounded relevant – so I thought I’d go.  In fact it was much more than relevant.  It was engaging, inspiring and it followed the lines of a conversation which seems to make sense to me and keeps attracting my attention.

Professor Jane South – Inaugural Lecture – Leeds Metropolitan University

The basic gist of the lecture was to explore the premise that current health challenges cannot be met without engaging the public in Public Health action.  To meet this requirement she envisaged an increase in the use of Volunteers and Lay Workers, such as Peer Support Workers and Lay Health Trainers.  She proposed that this would result in services that work and fit better along with a greater sense of empowerment for the people involved.

Dr Jane South

Jane began her career in Nursing and during this time made an observation which was to inform the direction of her career:  She saw that ‘the Doctor knows best philosophy’ could be dis-empowering. She gave examples of Health Promotion strategies which had failed, as they didn’t quite fit. They had been designed by those who didn’t grasp the full nature of the situation – as they weren’t at the coal face and perhaps had a touch of the Ivory Tower syndrome (check DSM !)

Using Volunteers and Lay Workers -she said, would help secure a greater fit.  She proposed that all parties would benefit – the volunteers, the organisations and the communities. Volunteers may gain in confidence, have improved social contact, a greater sense of empowerment and access to more opportunities. It could provide a greater sense of empowerment for those receiving the services.   She further suggested that involving people in this way may then create a ripple effect to more active citizenship. Her tag line was ‘Think Big, Act Local and Join up.’

Inequality can be dis-empowering for people, which in turn  can result in a reduction of self-esteem.   I believe it’s healthy and really important for us human beings  to have a sense of empowerment.  I guess once upon a time we lived upon the land, in smaller communities, built ourselves shelter and found our own food – a sense of mastery which is difficult to attain today.  I have at times felt very dis-empowered in my own life and have struggled with low self-esteem which in turn has greatly affected my ability to look after myself both physically and emotionally. Working on the blog and being involved in Peer Support at Leeds Mind, both as a participant and as a volunteer,  has helped me to feel much more empowered, it’s given me a voice, a purpose and has helped to increase my sense of belonging.

At the end of Jane’s lecture there was a positive response from the audience, many of whom were professionals and worked in the health and social care/public health sector.  A member of the audience made the point that using Volunteers and Lay Workers wasn’t just a cheaper option but also a better option.

I managed to have a brief word with Jane – as it occurred to me that there was a fine line between the empowerment of unpaid volunteers and the exploitation of them.  She replied that ‘exploitation is something that would have to be carefully guarded against.’   With this final caveat in mind,  I think it’s a really positive thing! What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Check out #profjanesouth for comments about this lecture from Twitter.

Jane is the Professor of Healthy Communities in the institute of Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Metropolitan University. She is the Director of the Centre for Health Promotion Research in faculty of Health & Social Sciences.

GOOD NEWS ABOUT DRINKING WATER

I always knew that drinking water benefits our body’s in so many ways.  However, like most things we eat and drink everyone has there own opinion on how much water to drink.
Recently I came across an article on facebook which was headed HEART ATTACK AND WATER which intrigued me.  I read the article with intent and thought I’d mention a few of the things relating to water.  I thought it may benefit many people to know this.
From the article:
 How many folks do you know who say they don’t want to drink anything before going to bed because they’ll have to get up during the night. Heart Attack and Water – I never knew all of this ! Interesting something else I didn’t know … I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time. Answer from my Cardiac Doctor – Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier.
This then ties in with the last statement! I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me. Correct time to drink water… Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist! Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body
2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack I can also add to this…
It may save lives! “Life is a one time gift”

Nutrition and Wellbeing

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I’ve always intended to eat better, ever since meeting Danny 30 years ago, the macro biotic juggler who could walk backwards down the stone steps in my garden juggling 5 balls. There must be something in it, I thought. However I don’t have that kind of discipline – never juggled more than 3 balls (badly), and rarely been able to eat well for very long. But I can see it makes sense, and that generally the more attention I pay to what I eat, the better I feel.

About 10 years ago I won a copy of Amanda Geary’s ‘The Food and Mood Handbook’ and it really impressed me. Browsing through it now, I read ‘food is more than fuel to keep you going, and what you choose to put in your mouth can influence the state of your mind. Greater control of your moods and energy levels is possible through exploring the links between diet, nutrition and emotional and mental health.’ The only thing that stands out in my memory is how brilliant sweet potatoes are – I don’t think I ever touched one before, but I’ve enjoyed them ever since. I’m ashamed to see that my rizla paper marker is stuck at page 23, and that I never got on to chapters like ‘Brain Chemicals and Gut Feelings’, ‘Caffeine and Chocolate’ or ‘Good Mood Foods’ (there are tons of them). Why is looking after myself such hard work?

Anyway now Leeds Mind’s Peer Support service, which has already been the subject of a post on these pages in March, is about to run a six week Nutrition and Wellbeing Course, aimed at providing us with an understanding of basic nutrition and how it can affect our mental wellbeing. They say “using fun and interactive tools, and discussing our positive and negative associations with food, the sessions aim to improve our ability to make healthier, balanced food choices that will help our mental and physical selves.”

Sessions will include; Food and Mood, Basic Nutrition and Eating Socially. The course will run on Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00pm, 4th June through to 9th July.

They want to be sure that attendees feel they will get what they need from the course before attending, and want interested persons to meet with a facilitator, who will explain the content of the course and what it involves. The bad news is that meetings will be held tomorrow on Friday 24th May, from 12.00 – 4:00pm at Clarence House in Horsforth – sorry it’s so late in the day telling you this. The meetings will be on a one-to-one basis (rather than a group activity), and will be 15 minutes long. To book one you need to ring Leeds Mind on 0113 305 5802 or email luke.rushworth@leedsmind.org.uk

The publicity also says that If you will struggle with attending on 24th May, a telephone call may be arranged at a time that suits you, so even if you pick up this information after the event there may still be a chance of getting on the course. Go for it. Remember, you are what you eat, and you don’t want to be a pork pie all your life, do you?

Terry

porkpie