Research suggests that chronic pain affects around 43.5% of people in the UK, which has led to an increased interest in medication-free therapies. Massage therapy, a wellness therapy first described in China during the 2nd century B.C., has long played an important role in quelling pain, including lower back pain, shoulder pain, headache pain, and neck pain. When additional wellness therapies such as Shiatsu, holistic aromatherapy, acupressure, or acupuncture are added to the equation, benefits can rise exponentially, since all these therapies have their own positive effects on pain.
Why does acupuncture help?
In a recent study published by scientists at the University of York, it was found that acupuncture can boost the effectiveness of medicine, lowering the severity of chronic pain and depression. The researchers found that when acupuncture was added to standard treatments, there was a big reduction in headaches, migraines, neck, and lower back pain in patients surveyed. Acupuncture also reduced the pain of osteoarthritis, so patients were able to rely less on medication for pain. This ancient therapy can help in another way, says a British Medical Journal study. It can calm highly anxious dental patients, thus helping them receive necessary treatment for tooth decay, gum infections, and other oral problems. Pain is a matter of perception; stress exacerbates it, which is why wellness therapies can help.
Acupressure and shiatsu to reduce pain
Studies have shown that acupressure can relieve many types of pain. Studies have also been carried out on shiatsu, a traditional Japanese massage that relies on pressure to stimulate the body’s natural energy, known as Qi. It is calming yet dynamic, working on acupuncture points with pressure via kneading or effleurage using the thumbs or palms. One study published in the BioMedCentral journal found that acupressure may be beneficial for pain and sleep. Another study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine showed that shiatsu (even when self-performed) could help manage pain and help people with sleeping problems fall and stay asleep.
Aromatherapy for deep relaxation
Aromatherapy, which relies on healing essential oils to improve the body’s energy, has been found in numerous studies to help relax the mind and quell pain. One study published in Pain Research and Treatment concluded that “aromatherapy can be effective in treating pain for a variety of medical conditions.” These include lower back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic neck pain (potentially), menstrual pain (significantly), and pain related to labor and childbirth.
Wellness therapies that heal the mind and spirit as much as they do the body can help reduce chronic pain. By tackling stress as well as physical pain, they can reduce the perception of the latter. Pain is a subjective notion; it is made worse when we worry about it or feel imprisoned by it. Wellness therapies can help relax, soothe, and motivate you to soldier on, even on days when you aren’t feeling your best.
Mental health conditions are a big challenge facing the UK currently, with Mind stating that an estimated 25% will be diagnosed with mental health conditions each year. Many mental health diagnoses are treated through a combination of medication and classic, western therapy, such as CBT. However, there are more options. With east-meets-west therapy becoming popular, there are a number of excellent holistic therapy methods that could aid someone diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Acupuncture is the process of inserting needles into specific points along the human body. The aim of this is to subtly manipulate qi – the life force of a person’s body. For many years, it has been used for mitigating back pain and the effect of migraine with general effectiveness, with acupuncture now recommended by the NHS. When it comes to mental health, acupuncture has been shown to help relieve stress and the symptoms of anxiety. This can have wider ranging effects, such as for those investigating schizophrenia treatment and care options and other mental health diagnoses requiring the use of antipsychotic medication. Acupuncture can help to manage stress and anxiety, alleviating symptoms.
Herbal medicine is another complementary medicine that can help to alleviate other symptoms. In the UK, herbal medicine is tightly regulated, with many Indian and South Asian herbs reserved for medication and rigorously controlled. On the upside, this means that some herbs that could interact dangerously with regular treatments are restricted. However, it can mean some innocuous substances are restricted. There is plenty of material on the internet demonstrating how things as simple as Indian herbal tea can help to alleviate symptoms; as can some medicated herbs. Just read the label.
A word on aromatherapy. Usually consisting of the diffusal of essential oils intermingled with gentle massage techniques, regular aromatherapy can be a wonderful way to enhance regular therapeutic treatments and deliver a holistic sense of well being. When you feel you are too far away from your next appointment, you can deliver an aspect of aromatherapy in your own home by investing in essential oils and taking a bath, or using hot water to steam your head whilst listening to relaxing music.
Holistic therapy can take the edge off the treatments associated with the challenge of mental health diagnosis. In the best case, it can enhance and bring positive change to the rate of your recovery.
When you think of a healthy lifestyle, chances are you think about cutting calories and finally dusting off your gym membership. But no healthy lifestyle choice will be good for you if it doesn’t make you happy, such as if it’s too restrictive. It’s time for nourishment, not punishment! You need to focus on connecting your body and mind, with your lifestyle choices and beneficial holistic therapies. Here are 6 simple steps to be healthier, which could even add 14 years to your life.
#1: Get Your Hands On The Right Food
It’s really easy to fall into a bad eating habit, choosing processed and unhealthy foods that don’t nourish your body. Making the change to healthier foods isn’t about cutting out the delicious snacks you love, but having a more balanced approach to food. It’s about being more mindful about what you eat so that you give your body what it needs, instead of just eating for the sake of it or to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
Be smarter about your treats, such as by trading sugar for honey, and reaching for yogurt instead of cream. These small changes will still make you feel satisfied, but without the extra fat and calories.
Add more fresh produce to your eating plan. It might seem difficult at first, but small changes go a long way to achieving your goal. For instance, adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal will mean that you’ll easily consume three or four servings of fresh foods by the end of the day. This is also a smart way to replace unhealthy or processed food options.
#2: Lower Your Stress
Stress is linked to many diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Although you can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, you can find ways to better manage it. It helps to write down your stress in a journal, talk to a supportive friend, and try to see the bigger picture. Chances are, what you’re worrying about now won’t matter in five years. To keep stress at bay, regularly book massages. When a therapist touches your body at certain points, it encourages blood flow circulation and drains your lymphatic system of toxins. A massage with bamboo and jade stones symbolise energy, life energy and strength in the Far East. Pressure placed on the body from bamboo canes melt away stress in the muscles, while jade stones encourage the body’s elimination of harmful toxins, helping you feel rejuvenated – physically and mentally.
(Video Introduction for: Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy at chi yu)
#3: Start Moving
Exercise is important to stay healthy. Research has found that it can boost your health in many ways, such as keeping your heart healthy because it reduces blood pressure. But if you don’t enjoy the exercise you’re doing, it can make the experience stressful and unpleasant. Choose an exercise that you really enjoy, such as dancing, going on bike rides, or walking, and then get a workout partner who will help to keep your sessions fun as well as motivate you.
It might also help you to get a fitness tracker. A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who used fitness trackers increased how active they were by almost 40 minutes every week. Fitness trackers can keep you motivated because when you see your progress, you’ll be inspired to do more.
#4: Quit Your Bad Habits
What are your bad habits? Do you drink too much or smoke? You might depend on these bad habits, such as reaching for cigarettes when stressed, but such bad vices don’t help you for longer than a few moments. Meanwhile, their negative effects can last a lifetime, such as the various health conditions that can arise from smoking. Replace bad habits with more positive activities, such as visiting an art gallery after work instead of going to the pub for a drink. It takes 66 days to create a habit, which is just over two months, so stick with it and you’ll find yourself feeling better and living a more positive life.
To help you on your new path, consider acupuncture. It’s been used in Asia for thousands of years and promotes the flow of the body’s energy known as “chi.” Acupuncture can reduce withdrawal symptoms when combined with conventional treatment, easing cravings, anxiety, and tiredness.
(Video Introduction for: Acupuncture at chi yu)
#5: Create A Healthy Work-Life Balance
You can’t work all the time –not only will you be stressed, but you’ll miss out on the chance to enjoy yourself. There are many things you can do to encourage a healthier balance between work and life.
Think about what you’re grateful for every day, as this will make you more appreciative of your life and boost mindfulness. If you’re always trying to achieve more and more, you’ll miss out on what you’re already blessed with.
Give as much of your time as you can to others. The bonus of volunteering is that it gives you a sense of purpose, reminding you of what’s really important in life.
Remember that charity starts at home, though, so be available to your loved ones. Having a support system is an important part of life as it helps you better meander obstacles and challenges.
Focus on hobbies that make you happy. It’s too easy to forget about our inner children, and yet experiencing simple delight in fun activities is what we should nurture in our lives because it helps us to remember not to take life too seriously all the time and live in the present.
#6: Check Your Mood
Life can be busy and noisy, so it’s important to take time every day to relax in a quiet place. Here, you can be alone with your thoughts and feelings, and “check in” with yourself about where you’re headed and what you want out of life. Notice any negative feelings that come up, like jealousy or depression, and see what is happening in your life to make you feel them. Remember, it’s not what you feel but what you do with those feelings that matter. Use them positively and you’ll live a healthier and more harmonious life. For instance, if you’re feeling jealous, perhaps it’s a sign that you want more out of your life. It can therefore be a motivation to help you live the life that makes you happiest.
Essential oils are also capable of banishing negative energy, and Holistic Aromatherapy uses them to flood the body and mind with harmony. Essential oils are life essences from plants that have powerful chemicals to ease stress. Massage and inhalation help the body absorb essential oils so that they can influence your emotions, helping you find greater balance and peace.
(Video Introduction for: Oriental Aromatherapy at chi yu)
When your life is in harmony, you’re happier and healthier. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how you’re living, from what foods you eat to making time for holistic treatments that balance your energy. When you do this, you’ll make better choices that lead to greater spiritual, mental, and physical health.
Acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years, but most notably in China and Japan. There is strong evidence to support assertions that acupuncture may help with the treatment of a range of conditions, such as aches and pains, acute and chronic conditions.
“A growing body of evidence-based clinical research is discovering how the body responds to acupuncture and its benefits for a wide range of common health conditions. A lot of people have acupuncture to relieve specific aches and pains, such as osteoarthritis of the knee, TMJ, headaches and lower back pain, or for common health problems like an overactive bladder. Other people choose acupuncture when they can feel their bodily functions are out of balance, but they have no obvious diagnosis. And many have regular treatments because they find it so beneficial and relaxing” [source: British Acupuncture Council]
Acupuncture is based on the belief that illness can occur when the flow of energy known as Qi or chi in the body becomes stagnant. During the acupuncture treatment, very fine needles are carefully inserted into specific acupuncture points, which are located on different areas of the body, usually on meridian pathways, to restore the flow of Qi and encourage the body’s own healing process. This holistic approach focuses on you as an individual, not your illness, as all symptoms are seen in relation to each other.
What’s it like to have Acupuncture at Chi Yu?
Your acupuncturist will conduct a comprehensive consultation before the start of a course of acupuncture sessions, especially if it is your first ever session at chi yu. It is necessary to establish your general medical and health history, to understand your condition or conditions and the main associated symptoms. Other factors like your lifestyle, including diet and exercise, and your sleeping quality are also asked about in order to establish an holistic picture of your overall wellbeing.
Next your acupuncturist will take your pulses as well as an examination of your tongue, which together can reveal the quality of your Qi energy. Now the acupuncturist has enough information to determine which acupuncture points will receive a needle. Needles are sterile, individually packed and used only once. During needle insertion you may feel a quick pricking sensation, which is not usually painful. The length of time the needles remain inserted varies but it is usually for several minutes in order to allow the treatment to take effect. Your acupuncturist may insert needles into different points for each session depending on how the condition is responding to treatment. Removal of needles is quick and painless.
After the treatment, your acupuncturist will advise, as necessary, lifestyle or dietary changes so that the effect of the treatment will be longer lasting and enhance your well-being as a whole. Each session can last from 30 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the concerns and conditions. Acupuncture can be combined with other therapies, such as cupping or heat treatment or massage, which could help boost effectiveness.
All of our acupuncturists are professionally qualified, highly trained, experienced but most importantly they are genuinely passionate about supporting our clients well-being. Find out more about our therapists here.
Please feel free to contact us if you would more information about acupuncture or make an appointment request, please call, email or enquire through our website, contact details below:
The owner of chi yu wellness centre, Mami, is an experienced acupuncturist as well as highly qualified complementary practitioner with many years of successful practice and thousands of happy clients who have benefitted from her healing touch. Watch Mami’s video below about acupuncture at chi yu. (Also in Japanese and Chinese)
Mami Tsang, owner and complementary practitioner of chi yu, contributed to the blog of Healing Holidays by explaining the Benefits of Acupuncture, excerpt below:
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is based on the belief that illness can occur when the flow of life force energy known as Qi, which runs through the body in meridians or channels, become stagnant. During the acupuncture treatment, very fine sterile needles are carefully inserted into specific acupuncture points located on different areas of the body to restore the flow of Qi and in turn restore health.
Acupuncture has been known to treat a range of health conditions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are over 40 different conditions and symptoms that are treated effectively by acupuncture, including rheumatoid arthritis, nausea, TMJ, headache, menstrual pain, and lower back pain. Based on scientific evidence, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also recommends acupuncture as a treatment for chronic lower back pain, chronic tension headaches and migraines. Read more
“A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to attend an event at the Chi Yu Wellness centre to hear all about their latest nutritional products from Well Well Well and test out a few of their most popular treatments.
If you were wondering where the name of this spa comes from “chi yu” actually means ‘healing’ in Japanese. ‘Shizen chiyu ryoku’ means the body’s self-healing ability. The centre is very much targeted at improving your state of physical well being using a mix of modern western and traditional Japanese methods, which are reflected in the spa’s contemporary, yet classic Japanese interiors. The are five treatment rooms (including a double treatment room), which are individually themed to reflect the ethos of chi yu and provide a tranquil environment. Chi Yu also incorporates a wellbeing boutique, where you can purchase a selection of skin care, teas, supplements, candles and other luxury home & travel accessories.” Read more (article link) or PDF version.
Watch our video about Acupuncture as mentioned in the article
Marylebone is full of eastern promise now that the Chi Yu Wellness Centre on George Street has opened its doors. Chi Yu means “healing” in Japanese, and inspired by traditional Japanese philosophy the new centre aims to improve it’s clients’ physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing through the application of both Oriental and complementary therapies.
Treatments include acupuncture, cupping therapy, aromatherapy, craniosacral therapy and pre- and postnatal care. There is a comprehensive choice of massages, including deep tissue and remedial massage, which focuses on releasing muscle tension and stimulating blood circulation through slow strokes with deep pressure, and improves joint mobility by applying muscle stretching techniques. The signature Chi Yu Integrated Therapy uses a range of therapies tailored to the needs of each client. Read more.
Watch the videos about Deep Tissue and Remedial Massage and Chi Yu Integrated Therapy as featured in the profile