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

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In Green

  A couple of months ago (had no internet for a few weeks due to a technical glitch) I did a very enjoyable workshop at Clarence House called Feeling Good  With colour.  It was about using colour  to improve our mood.  We did a visualisation  where we imagined sitting under a giant flower and golden sunshine pouring on to us,  discussed a poem about colour in nature, colour associations, discussed colour therapy, colour harmony, and how colours are used in different cultures.  We also went into the garden and each wrote a poem about what were experiencing.  This is the poem.

                                   IN GREEN

Stillness

In green

Vegetation.

Indigo flowers

Sat in middle.

Circle of bird conversation.

Trees smooth out                                                                       treespirit-greenwood-tree-primavera-500

Blunt sunshine

Cool breeze

Pats the back

Of golden heat

Calms the whirling

Brain chatter.

Buttercup open

Like greeting hand.

(image from otherwisetrading.co.uk)

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.

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