Central Nervous System-Gut connection

PARASYMPATHETIC INNERVATION – THE VAGUS NERVE

People with digestive dysfunction are often treated via dietary changes or exclusions.  This video by Dr Datis Kharrazian proposes using simple exercises to improves gut function by stimulating the vagus nerve, is the nerve which innervates the viscera of the body.

Further reading: Viva vagus: Wandering nerve could lead to range of therapies

SYMPATHETIC INNERVATION – SPINAL NERVES

The following diagram shows the spinal segments which correspond to each visceral organ.  These segments are both the innervate of the viscera sympathetically, and also relay pain signals to the brain via the sympathetic ganglia.

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TEACHER PROFILE: Mac (Terdchai Chumphoopong)

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This week, I had the pleasure of visiting Mac at his new school.

Situated on the outskirts of East Chiang Mai, the school is in a traditional walled complex which also contains Mac’s house, a student guesthouse with its own kitchen, and tents on bamboo platforms scattered beneath the fruit trees.  The space is beautiful and peaceful, and provides a wonderful platform to immerse yourself into the practice of Thai Massage.

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IMG_0162Thai Massage is a family tradition for Mac, with his mother and grandparents practicing the healing arts of massage and herbal medicine.  Mac has been teaching massage from a young age, and opened his first school in 1999.  After some years absence from Thailand, he recently returned to put his energy towards building a school to teach his style of Thai Massage.

IMG_0161Mac teaches Thai Massage as a three week course.  All students, no matter how experienced, start learning from Mac as beginners with open minds, and he then tailors his teaching to suit the student as they progress.  After the basic three week course is completed, there is a course in Thai acupressure and herbal therapy.

There are rooms and tents available to rent.  This gives students access to practice massage in the school outside teaching hours.  It is a good time to learn from Mac as currently class sizes are small.

It is early days for Mac’s school and complex, and he has plans to add more accommodation and plant more trees.

For more information about Mac and his school, visit http://www.art-of-thai-massage.com

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Sip Sen

  • There are ten major lines. “ Sen” means line and “Sib” means ten.
  • The origination of all ten lines are lining underneath the abdominal surface around the navel approximately two finger width deep
  • Each line has different exit throughout the body accordingly.
  • The lines are invisible. They are invisibly connected to send sensation when pressing at the righ presure points to the corresponding directions.
  • There is “wind”, being the energy force, run through the line. If the line is obstructed, the wind can cause illness. Some lines have more than one wind, some have names for the winds, and others do not have names. However, lines with no wind names mentioned may not mean lack of wind. The ancient people merely did not mention names on some, but still indicate symptoms when there are blockage in the particular lines.
  • The lines have pressure point locations that effect the wind when pressing.

1. Sen Sumana:  starts at the tip of the tongue, travels down the throat and chest into the solar plexus region (Ren 14). (This pathway resembles the Sushumna Nadi in the yogic tradition and part of the Conception Vessel, Ren Mai meridian in Chinese medicine

Indications: Asthma, bronchitis, chest pain, heart diseases, spasm of the diaphragm, hiatus hernia, nausea, cold, cough, throat problems, hunger pain, diseases of the digestive system, abdominal pain, paralysis in the upper body, mania, daydreaming.

 

 

 

2) Sen Ittha: starts at the left nostril, travels up inside the head and then down the throat and neck.  It becomes line 1 on the back and travels down the  back, goes across the buttocks and continues as  the third outside line (lateral aspect) on the leg to  the knee. At the knee, the Sen crosses to become  the first inside line on the thigh, then ascends up the medial aspect of the leg into the abdomen and stops at the point 1 thumb-length lateral to the navel on the left side. (Similar to the Ida Nadi in the yogic tradition and part of the Bladder meridian in Chinese medicine.)

Indications: Headache, stiff neck, nose feels strange, sinus problems, cold, abdominal pain, restless legs, urinary tract disorders, back pain,knee pain.

3) Sen Pingkhala:   This pathway is identical to Sen Ittha, only on the right side of the body. (Similar to Pingala Nadi in the yogic tradition and part of the Bladder meridian in Chinese medicine.)

Indications: Same as Sen Ittha with additions of diseases of the liver and gallbladder.

4) Sen Kalathari:  This pathway starts at the navel and divides into two branches on the inside of the arms and two branches on the inside of the legs. The arm branches’ energy passes up from the navel through the abdominal and chest regions across the shoulders, travels down the inside middle line of the arms into the hands, and crosses into the palm of the hands to the tips of all the fingers. The leg branches of the Sen travel out from the navel across the inguinal region, descend down the inside of the legs on the middle (line 2) of the leg to the foot, and end at the tips of all the toes. (The arm branch follows the  Pericardium Meridian of Chinese medicine.)

Indications: Diseases of the digestive system, indigestion, hernia, paralysis of the arms and legs,knee pain, jaundice, whooping cough, arthritis of the fingers, chest pain, shock, rheumatic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, angina pectoris, sinusitis, arm and leg pain, epilepsy, schizophrenia, hysteria, mental disorders, back pain, spinal pain.

5) Sen Sahatsarangsi:  This pathway starts in the left eye, travels inside the head through the throat, and descends down the left side of the chest and abdomen. It continues to the outside of the leg and descends along the first line of the outer leg into the foot, then crosses the foot and ascends up the inside of the leg along line 1, crosses the inguinal area, and ends just below the navel. (This line corresponds in part to the Stomach meridian in acupuncture.)

Indications: Facial paralysis, toothache, throat pain, red and swollen eye, cataract, impaired eye function, fever, chest pain, manic depression, gastrointestinal disease, urogenital diseases, leg paralysis, knee joint pain, numbness of leg, hernia.

 

6) Sen Thawari: This pathway begins at the right eye and then follows the same course as Sen Sahatsarangsi, but on the right side of the body.

Indications: Same as Sen Sahatsarangsi, with the addition of jaundice and appendicitis.

                                                                                            7) Sen Lawusang:  This pathway starts in the left ear and travels down the left side of the throat into the chest toward the left nipple. At the nipple, the line turns inward and travels toward the navel, ending above the navel in the solar plexus region.

Indications: Deafness, ear diseases, tinnitus, cough, facial paralysis, toothache, chest pain, gastrointestinal disorders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 ) Sen Ulangwa:  This pathway begins in the right ear and follows the same path as Sen Lawusang but on the right side of the body, ending above the navel.

Indications: Same as Sen Lawusang, with the addition of insomnia and itching under the skin.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

9) Sen Nanthakrawat: comprises two lines:

Line 1 starts at the navel, descends through the urethra, and ends at the urine passageway. This is called Sen Sikhini.
Line 2 starts at the navel and descends through the colon to join the anus. This is called Sen Sukhumang.

Indications: Hernia, frequent urination, female infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation, irregular menstruation, uterine bleeding, urinary retention, diarrhea, abdominal pain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10) Sen Khitchanna:  This pathway runs from the navel to the penis in men and is known as Sen Pitakun; in women it is known as Sen Kitcha, running from the navel through the uterus into the vagina.

Indications: Same as with Sen Nanthakrawat, including balancing libido

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Advanced Thai massage with feet.

This is such a tranquil video! Here is Ralf Marzen
in Khao Sok national park demonstrating a beautiful sequence from his advanced workshops.

Ralf teaches in London, Amsterdam and Thailand, check out his website for more details.

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Thailand breaks Guinness World Record for Mass Massage

641 Thai Massage therapists simultaneously performed a Thai Massage to smash the Guinness World Record. It is quite a sight to behold!

The National News Bureau of Thailand reported last week that the government is ‘aiming to make Thailand the world’s ultimate destination for massage’, with plans outlined to offer massage classes to the public and set up massage centres in every hospital.

 

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Osteo-Thai Style Massage by Thierry Bienfaisant

Here is a beautiful video by Thierry demonstrating the Osteo Thaï style of Thai Massage. Thierry has just opened up a Thai Yoga Massage School in Belgium where you can study with him.

And let’s not forget the Osteo Thaï College in the South of France where David Lutt runs courses throughout the year.

Fluid, beautiful and effective Thai Massage.

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Some thoughts on the Pelvis

Recently, I have been getting to know and love the pelvis: a source for so many chronic problems.

The “true” or “lesser” pelvis lies between the pelvic inlet and the pelvic floor and houses the reproductive organs, the urinary bladder, the sigmoid colon and rectum.

 

 

 

 

 

The pelvic inlet is protected by the “greater” pelvis or wings of the ilia, which also hold the ascending and descending colon, so our best access to this area is via the pelvic floor, or via the area superior to the pubic bone and symphesis.

The pelvic floor lines the pelvic outlet and is a muscular partition consisting of the levator ani and coccygeus muscle.  The pelvic diaphragm act as a sling, holding viscera  in place.  We have probably all heard about the importance of pelvic floor exercises in order to maintain pelvic health.  However, sometimes it is impossible for some people to engage their pelvic floor either because they have no awareness and control of these muscles, or because the muscles are already chronically tight bilaterally or unilaterally.  The pelvic diaphragm is the base of our “core muscles” (along with the respiratory diaphragm, transverse abdominus and multifidus), so inability to engage the pelvic floor fully may affect lumbar stability and breathing patterns.

The Levator Ani muscle (which when combined with the coccygeus muscle forms the pelvic diaphragm) can have a profound effect on the local area if  it becomes imbalanced.  The Levator Ani is suspended like a hammock from the fascia of another muscle: the Obturator Internus.  Therefore one way to help find balance is to assess for a tightened and restricted obturator internus.  This can be accessed at the base of the thigh, and once you have found it, you can slowly sink into the deeper layers of pelvic floor muscles.  Encouraging your client to gently activate this muscle also can help it release.

Tension in these muscles may cause pelvic torsion/imbalance and may also compress the Pudendal Nerve causing chronic pain, incontinence, genital numbness, and inability to orgasm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is interesting to note that the similarities and differences between male and female anatomy.

I have also been getting well acquainted with the uterus recently.  Lots of clients have been coming to me with hormonal and menstrual problems, and I’ve found that working to free the uterine ligaments and blood supply has been a great help in both promoting circulation or helping inflammation subside.

The uterus keeps its position suspended in the pelvic cavity by being hung from it’s ligaments.  Releasing restrictions of the fascia around these ligaments allows motility to the uterus and may help relieve pain and dysfunction to the area.  The main ligaments are the suspensory ligament (which is also important also brings blood to the ovaries), broad ligament, round ligament, cardinal ligament and uterosacral ligament.  Also, looking for blockages in the blood supply to the area is very important to help rebalance this crucial area.

Finally, diet is extremely important in order to maintain a healthy pelvic cavity.

The first important problem to counter is inflammation – a byproduct of muscle fibre trauma. Inflammatory mediators are released into the area resulting increased sensitization to pain.  While it is possible to take pharmaceutical drugs, there are also dietary measures you can take to support this, as Hippocrates said “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”.  Turmeric can suppress expression of COX-2. Nutmeg inhibits TNF-α. Phenolic compounds in olive oil have antioxidant compounds, anti inflammatory properties, prevent hypoperoxidation, induce favourable changes of lipid profile, improve endothelial function and have antithrombotic properties – studies suggesting that 50m (3.5 tblsp) has the same effect as 200mg of ibuprofen.  Also weight loss itself is an effective anti-inflammatory strategy.

For endometriosis, oxidative stress can be improved by intake of antioxidant compounds.   Antioxidant containing foods also help counter inflammation.  Studies have shown the following to be helpful anti-inflammatories: Resveratrol, Carvacrol, pomegranate and blueberry extract,  bromelain, and green tea.

Eicosanoids are derived from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Since we cannot produce these  fatty acids, we must consume them, hence their moniker “essential fatty acids”.  The main sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed oil, walnut oil, krill oil and oily fish.  They also can be found in green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, hempseed.  It seems that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is crucial, and intake should probably be around 4:1.  High intake of trans fats are associated with increased levels endometriosis.

Vitamin D deficiency was noted to be prevalent with women with pelvic disorders.

A great book about this area is “Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction” by Leon Chaitow and Ruth Lovegrove Jones.

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I would like to try this massage.

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A Story of Healing

When my mother was a little girl, perhaps 8 years old, she and her brother were playing on a piece of land by the water.  They called it their “island” and drove in stakes scrawled with warning signs “Trespassers will be prosecuted”.  They claimed the land for themselves and went charging up and down the riverbank.

But someone else was already there.  Somebody who really did own the land.  And he was watching them.

This was the shell of man, a war wounded soldier returned from the trenches of the first world war.  Civilization, when he had returned to it, was all too much for him.  So he had sold his house, but kept the end half of the garden.  And here he had dug himself a trench.  Lined it with plywood.  And decided to live there.  Right down in the depths of the earth.

He had been living in solitude in his trench until these two little children came down and unwittingly claimed his land.  And for days, he simply watched them playing their games.

Over the coming months, they gradually befriended each other.  They would spend hours playing together, the war veteran enthusiastically playing “horsey” for the kids, and making them cups of tea in his trench, he adored them and would do anything for them.  They always begged him to come over to their house for tea, he was, after all their great friend and ally.

And eventually, after months of persuasion, he finally agreed to come over to their house for tea.  This was a momentus occasion, even my mother as a young child recognized these first steps to re-engage with the world.

Eventually he got his foothold back in society, and got a job in a crew building roads.  The kids moved frequently, every year or so, but he managed to stay in touch, coming to visit every couple of years to wherever they might be.  The last time my mother remembers seeing him, she had just started university.

When my mother told me this story, it struck me as a horrific yet beautiful tale.  It made me wonder, do we have patience today for damaged people in our midst?  Would mothers today let their children play with fully grown men who unable to engage with the world?  What would you do if your children brought home a dirty bedraggled man who lived in a hole for tea?

Trench warfare had scarred this poor man, but given time, and fresh nonjudgmental playmates, he was able to let go of the nightmare.

For Lent this year, I pledge to meet everybody with the same clear gaze, and perhaps play a little.

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This Teacher Rocks!

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Felicity Sen template felicity abdominal template

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