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Why meditate? – The Emotional Cleanse!

How to easily deepen your Spiritual Practice - Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness etc.

Empaths – Energy Dynamics, Misconceptions, and Healing Tools

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage – combining bodywork and energy work

Differences between Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing

The anatomy of the Human Energy bodies - Chakras, Aura, Kundalini, Hara and Soul Star

Research into the effectiveness of Massage Therapies for Parkinson’s patients

Research into Hamstring Strain and Sports Massage

General Research into (Upper) Trapezius/ Shoulder pain and Sports Massage (Techniques)

 

Why meditate? - The Emotional Cleanse

Meditation seems to be ever more en vogue (well, I might be prejudiced as I workin the industry, and mainly hang out on e.g. spiritual Facebook forums, but it seems to be featuring more in mainstream media too!). Meditation is said to have many beneficial effects, e.g. :

-  It can help to calm the mind, help us manage stress
-  heighten one’s senses and intuition,
- we can learn to view emotions and thoughts more detached (to not be drawn in as much anymore,  especially by negative thoughts and emotions),
- and ultimately it may supposedly help us reach  some state of enlightenment.

I’d like to talk about another potential benefit of meditation though – The Emotional Cleanse!

Read more

How to easily deepen your Spiritual Practice - Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, etc.

Now I know that for many all information in this article will be second nature already, but in my massage and healing practice I am still at times amazed how many of my clients, doing Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness, even in teacher led courses, do not know anything about some considerations and techniques, which are easy and can really deepen and empower ones spiritual practice.

Read more

Empaths - Energy Dynamics, Misconceptions, and Healing Tools

What is an empath, and how to overcome the challenges of being an empath  - are all the rage in the spiritual/ esoteric scene currently. I cannot identify with many of them though, and there seem to be some common misunderstandings and confusions.....

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Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage – combining bodywork and energy work

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage is just that – a combination of Spiritual Healing/ Reiki and whole body massage. How did I come to combine the two, and what are the potential benefits - let me elaborate....

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Differences between Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing

Perhaps you too wondered at some point what Craniosacral Therapy is, or what indeed Spiritual Healing is, and how the two compare? A client of mine suggested I learn Craniosacral Therapy next, to add to my repertoire of bodywork and energy work therapies, so I endeavored to find out more about Craniosacral Therapy. I did some general internet research and booked myself a session.

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The anatomy of the Human Energy bodies - Chakras, Aura, Kundalini, Hara and Soul Star

There is many sources where on can read about the chakras and the aura, fewer probably to read about the Kundalini and or Hara, but I have found very few that try to combine all different human energy systems and explain how they might interconnect and influence each other....

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Research into the effectiveness of Massage Therapies for Parkinson’s patients

General research into the effectiveness of Massage Therapy for Parkinson's Patients, within the context of a Sportsmassage Diploma case study

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Research into Hamstring Strain and Sports Massage

The following is general research conducted for a Sportsmassage Diploma case study. The client presented with sub acute Hamstring strain (Level 1)

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General Research into (Upper) Trapezius/ Shoulder pain and Sports Massage (Techniques)

General Research into (Upper) Trapezius/ Shoulder pain and Sports Massage (Techniques)

Read more

Why meditate? - The Emotional Cleanse

The following was written as a guest post for: www.lorisreadingcorner.com

Meditation seems to be ever more en vogue (well, I might be prejudiced as I workin the industry, and mainly hang out on e.g. spiritual Facebook forums, but it seems to be featuring more in mainstream media too!). Meditation is said to have many beneficial effects, e.g. :


-  It can help to calm the mind, help us manage stress


-  heighten one’s senses and intuition,


- we can learn to view emotions and thoughts more detached (to not be drawn in as much anymore,  especially by negative thoughts and emotions),


- and ultimately it may supposedly help us reach  some state of enlightenment.


The benefits of meditation can even be measured physically, as the practice causes beneficial long term changes to our brains. 1)


I’d like to talk about another potential benefit of meditation though – The Emotional Cleanse!


On my spiritual journey I had plenty of epiphanies. Moments when things suddenly just come together, I reach a higher understanding, ranging from e.g. understanding why I or someone else behaved in a certain way, to more life altering understandings about life, energies or The Divine. Such moments are usually great, they often feel quite empowering. E.g. I might have understood that anger is a very uncomfortable energy, and that as such forgiveness is not only great because some guru told me so, but because should improve my overall wellbeing! I therefore decide to apply forgiveness to all my troublesome relationships here and now  – past, present and future-  and look forward to a life without anger.


My rational mind got it, but somehow the next time I see an ex-lover, there is still all those feelings of e.g. anger, disappointment or hurt. Should they not be gone now that I practiced forgiveness? Why am I still apparently dependent on ‘time’ to heal my wounds?  - Over the years I have come to understand that just because my rational mind understands something, that does not necessarily translate to my emotional body processing those comprehensions. It feels like emotions are stickier than rational thoughts. Some emotions might actually really have dug in and refuse to heal, change or leave. Such emotions do not give a hoot that your rational mind has decided to forgive and let go. Luckily though there is tools we can use to speed up emotional healing processes – e.g. meditation!


Why does meditation speed up emotional healing? For one, as mentioned above, it can help the regular practitioner learn to become more detached. Learn to view his/her emotions with a bit of distance, a bit like watching a theatre play, and with this not have emotions envelop him/her, and or dig in, as much in the first place. Mainly though, the way I understand it, with an attuned meditation2.) we connect to a higher source of Energy, Love and Wisdom; through this connection we get healing energies flowing‘in’, which help dislodge and dissolve stubborn emotions, plus when we then release such emotions,  they are taken up and disposed off safely.  Depending on what you are working on/ trying to release – not everything is going to vanish with a 30min meditation. More complex and or traumatic energies can take a few sessions. E.g. getting over my last ex, who turned out to be quite a nasty narcissist, and with the relationship only lasting circa 3 months, took a good 5 weeks of intense cleansing. That can feel like a lot, but then I remind myself that in pre-meditation times any break up took a minimum of 6 months to heal, with the initial pain being much more all-consuming…


And why meditate regularly? Well, most people’s lives can be quite stressful. There might bethat bit of road rage on the commute to work, that impossible co-worker, plenty of bad news on the news channels, a troll on your social media feed, etc, etc.  Meditation can be a bit of an emotional reset button, getting rid of day-to-day emotional turmoil too.


Meditation is not the only spiritual tool available to optimize emotional healing - other (spiritual) tools are e.g.   – Spiritiual Healing/ Reiki, special visualizations, special prayers, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).


Alexander King is a Spiritual Healer and author living and working in London, United Kingdom. He promotes free critical thinking about all things spiritual, and teaches practical and realistic tools to use on our spiritual journeys. You can read more posts like this on his blog http://www.alexander-king.com/blog-1/  or buy his book – Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier; Surviving the Path to Enlightenment.

 
1.) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation


2.) http://www.alexander-king.com/blog-1/2016/4/22/how-to-easily-deepen-your-spiritual-practice-yoga-meditation-mindfulness-etc

How to easily deepen your Spiritual Practice - Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, etc.

Now I know that for many all information in this article will be second nature already, but in my massage and healing practice I am still at times amazed how many of my clients, doing Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness, even in teacher led courses, do not know anything about some considerations and techniques, which are easy and can really deepen and empower ones spiritual practice.

In my experience there is three basic important parts to any spiritual practice:

-          Attunement

-          Practice (Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Sound Healing, etc.)

-          Safe disposal of released energies

Many only seem to do the second one point, which is obviously the most important, essential and time consuming part, but the other two have much meaning too. Let me explain what each part can do for you.

 

Attunement

Attunement is to connect to a Higher Power and or greater source of energy.  People might have different terminologies here, e.g. and not limited to: God/ The Divine/ Allah/ Jehovah/ The Universe/ Creation/ Spirit/ Holy Spirit/ Light/ The Good Guys. I try to be as nondenominational as possible so I personally usually say ‘Ultimate Good’, ‘Spirit’, ‘The Light’ or ‘The Divine’.  And for those who do not like religious or spiritual connotations one can still connect to e.g. Qui, Prana, Universal Energy, Orgone, etc.

Why Attune? Well I like to use the analogy of ‘water’. In a sense we all have a bucket of (energetic) water at our disposal per day. We usually start out with nice clear spring water, but as we age, it might get a bit murkier. We can drink it to sustain ourselves, or we can use it to cleanse, wash or refresh ourselves . Now let’s say that those who already believe in the healing power of themind have a 10litres bucket. Those who don’t (yet) believe in using their mind to heal themselves have 10l too, but can only really access 5-6l of those.  Without a spiritual practice the water can be harder to access. We can only really use our hands to scoop out handfuls to drink and wash. Spiritual practice – Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, etc. – gives us nice large ladle, which will make it easier to drink and to wash ourselves….

Now a bucket of water a day might be enough for some, at least most of the time. For them their current life path is perhaps a dusty road, and they can easily brush themselves off at night, and wash the rest off comfortably.  For others the journey regularly, or occasionally is more demanding though. They track through stinky swamps, on muddy paths, or require large amounts to drink, as they are traversing a stretch of desert.  In the desert one bucket might offer enough to drink, but really getting clean and refreshed will be a great challenge. Or after a smelly swamp track a bucket might not be enough to wash ourselves properly, even more so after drinking our share…

That changes if one attunes. We connect to Higher and or greater sources of energies. Instead of a bucket we get access to a veritable waterfall of water (the waterfall even comes to us) – you can have a shower now, and drink to your heart’s content! Plus you don’t have to worry anymore that during the day the bucket water might get contaminated(if you spend time in more toxic environments).

As such , when attuned,  it raises our vibration somewhat – makes us stronger (spiritually at least), it is easier to reside in ones Divine centre/ core, and we are more in-tune (it is easier to receive messages and communicate with energies.)

(N.B. Now I don’t mean to make anyone paranoid, but water comes in a lot of different qualities. There is pure delicious spring water and there is more e.g. murky, or even polluted river water. In spiritual practice one usually says – ‘Ask and it is given’! Now if one attunes to ‘The Divine’ (with whatever name), and believes that the Divine is an all benevolent force  – that is clear spring quality water automatically. If one uses more all encompassing terms, such as- ‘The Universe’, one might get clean one day, and dirty the next. The same applies for more general terms such as Universal Energy, Qui, etc. One can still use those terms, but it is prudent to just add adjectives such as – ‘‘clear’ or ‘healthy’ Universe energies/ Prana/ Qui/ Universal Energy ‘only’! Thank you!’ As a Spiritual Healer I trust that ultimate good Divine energies I connect to are actually intelligent too, i.e. they know themselves where to go, what to fix, clear or balance, and how. So If you want the same from e.g. Qui, e.g. just add the adjectives ‘intelligent and healing capable’.)

How to Attune? Some people use visualizations on how they connect to energies, I prefer to ask them to come and connect to me! You can just say a prayer in your head, such as ‘I ask the Divine to connect to me as much as necessary, possible, available, and sensible. Many thanks, Amen!’

Now some of you may say – ‘Hold on! I never bother with attuning and always feel connected anyway!’ That is well possible. Some people have agreements made before they incarnate, or someone has prayed for them correctly (e.g. a meditation teacher or author). If you are not all sure though it is safer to just do it. Spirit is practical too – so one can actually ask just ones to always(!) be connected when one does any spiritual work.

 

Practice

I am not actually going to write anything here, as it would be too complex – and since I assume that most readers already do this part anyway, you are your own experts already! For those readers who are not practicing yet – there is tons of information about Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness etc. on the Internet. As well as on YouTube, in apps, books, you can take courses etc.

 

Safe disposal of released energies

Now this may be a stretch for some, but I believe that thoughts and emotions actually have substance, a body of sorts. But for the more science minded among you one could maybe call them energy, perhaps created by nerve impulses? And energy supposedly does not just disappear, it can only get transmuted. Have you ever tried tapping, as in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)? It is one possible technique to rid ourselves of negative emotions. Have a look on YouTube for a clip about it. It might not always work instantaneously for all emotions (big, complex and ingrained ones might be stubborn when attempting to remove them), but you will likely have some success with some (less complex) emotions straight away. It is quite a weird sensation when one feels an emotion, and then it just lifts and dissipates. Now I ask where does the energy go? As an empath I am quite energy sensitive, and in my experience/ feelings all sorts of things can happen.  In a more natural settings such energies might be taken up by nature – healed/ transmuted by sunshine, trees, (salt) water or else. In a more urban environment they might float about for a while though, such energies can accumulate, and ultimately either reattach to the person who released them or attach to someone else… As such humanity has made great progress with regards to physical hygiene (most places have canalization, waste water treatment plants etc.), but with regards to energy management many places are still a bit like the middle ages, when folk just dumped their chamber pots out the window. That is why most healers learn to ‘dispose’ of the energies they help remove from their clients. As will many more clued in yogis, meditators, etc.

It is quite easy actually. For released energies we do not have to build expensive canalization – you just ask the same Higher Power(s), or sources of energy you attuned to before commencing your practice, to please safely take care of any negative or stale energies released. I tell my clients they are taken to the big cosmic recycling heap, but it is probably more like energy rehab clinics.

There is another benefit to asking for safe removal of released energies – many people are actually not very good at releasing negative and stale energies/emotions. I feel it is because subconsciously they feel/ know that these energies might float about and attach to others, so unless they feel very safe and certain that what they release will be taken care of, they hold on to stuff. (NB. And yes, some of our negative energies/ emotions can feel quite toxic, so we might not want to burden another being with them – BUT there is beings that enjoy recycling such energies. There is an abundance of such helping energies/ beings just waiting on the side lines, and they often hugely underused. And if you have problems releasing/ flushing out such energies, because you have basically been holding on to them for year, if not decades, there is energies there too that can help with that, which enjoy helping, and which we just have to allow to help…..)

Now before you start to worry, as you might never have asked for safe energy removal – don’t. There is no use. If there is still anything floating about, you can ask for it to be taken up now. If anything created any discomfort anywhere, just ask for potentially necessary healings now too. And if you tend to do your spiritual work under a divine umbrella, your energies might have been taken care off before anyway. As with the attunement some of us have arranged these things before we entered our bodies, someone clued in might have prayed for you, etc. It only takes a few seconds to make double sure, and ask for this too. And here too you can even do the economic thing and pray/ ask that any negative or stale energies you release, or which may come through you, are always taken care off !

The above are the basics for good spiritual work. As with most things there is potentially even more to learn/ rediscover. I’ll just briefly mention a few.

-          Grounding- Grounding is to consciously connect to healthy (Divine) Earth energies. Some might call it Mother Earth, or if you are looking for more non-spiritual nomenclature you can say e.g. Earth Qui. It is basically specialized attunement, concentrating on ultimate good Earth energies. Ultimate Good Earth energies can be very healing capable and nourishing. The connection is a good avenue to get rid of negative or stale energies too. (Do not worry here either. The Earth is big enough to take all our crap energies. It is a bit like putting feces on a field – they get transmuted and new things come out of them.) Grounding is great stuff, and an essential tool for most healers, many Lightworkers, and widely recommended as essential in the Empath communities. I wrote a whole chapter on Grounding in my book – ‘Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier; Surviving the Path to Enlightenment.’

-          Setting a healing intent – Setting a healing intend can make spiritual work more targeted. If we ‘just’ attune and practice there will be healing effect, but usually general (and there is often a lot of things to be fixed in life). It can be understandable to want to concentrate on specific areas of one’s life – e.g. upcoming exams, weight loss,  a particular pain or emotion. Or we can dedicate our practice to the wellbeing or healing of another, like a sick relative.

-          Asking for protections – Now when we attune to the Divine, protection is quasi built in. There won’t be much room for other energies to come in. When you use more neutral energies like Qui it can be prudent to ask for additional protection. When we practice we basically ‘open up’. Our chakras open up, and we become more receptive. Now as mentioned not all energies out there are all benevolent, so it is good to take some safety precautions, so that shadier energies do not see out ‘opening up’ as an invitation to intrude.

-          Saying thank you! – Which is common sense, but it is still good to remind oneself. If a person helps us with something (especially without expecting anything in return), we usually thank them.  They are there in the flesh and hard to miss though. Energies are usually much more subtle, and it is easy to forget that we might well be dealing with another conscious entity, which/ who might appreciate a quick ‘Thanks’.

 

All the above, if you are not considering it already should help deepen your spiritual practice. It should improve the quality of your practice. But just to keep it real – after 20 years of meditation, I still do not levitate, and I still can have bad meditation days (where the mind can be all over the place). The fruits of spiritual work are often best measured in the long term, not the short term.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feel free to share it, but please retain any reference to me as the author. Love and Light – www.alexander-king.com


Empaths - Energy Dynamics, Misconceptions, and Healing Tools

What is an empath?

An empath is a person who is more  (emotionally) sensitive than the average human. He/ she can hence easily empathize with other beings, sometimes to the extend of actually being able to feel another beings’ emotions or thoughts him/herself.

If you are an empath you might e.g. notice that you feel different when being in certain places, or around certain people. This can go both ways, you might e.g. get despondent and doubtful when around a skeptic/ atheist, or uplifted and cheerful around an optimist. Pretty much everyone has some energy sensitivities, even (self-proclaimed?) non-intuitive people will probably have noticed that being at a party with miserable people will drag them down somewhat, whereas going to a party with happy, loving and positive people will usually make them feel better too….The abilities of an empath can go much deeper though, they might e.g. (physically) feel the pain of a sick person, or might feel someone’s depression, fear, stress, happiness etc., even if they do not show these emotions explicitly. They might be able to see through lies etc. Different empaths might have different sensitivities, so do excuse me if I do not mention everything about you in this blog.

How did I discover I am an empath?

I actually discovered this before I even read articles about empaths. Working as a masseur and spiritual healer I started to notice that certain clients would make me feel specifically different - sometimes for hours before or after I saw them. With some clients it can be quite pronounced. My observations became even more meaningful when some clients turned into regular clients, and I felt their specific energies more than ones. Seeing clients more than once enables me to judge more clearly if some feeling is my own, or indeed because of a particular client. Besides a client’s emotional state and wellbeing, there seem to be additional potential influences, such as a client’s job, geographical/ ethnic origin, religious affiliations etc, which can affect me, and the way I feel when I see them. After having monitored these effects for years, they have, in my estimate, become less and less likely to be coincidence, or simply figments of my imagination. What adds to this estimation too is, that, at times, such energies can start and cease quite suddenly. What I feel might not always be easy to pin point, or to identify exactly, and I would not call myself a (100%) reliable psychic, but to me there is enough evidence to affirm my self-diagnosis.  – N.B. I actually used to reject that I might take on other peoples’ energies for years. I believed that I might react to them, due to e.g. old karmic events, but not that I simply feel their energies. Since embracing the philosophy that I am an empath though – life has become easier. I guess before I allowed for negative energies, disaffecting me, to be from e.g. my clients, I used to get them none-the-less.  I took them on as my own though, and hence got stuck with them for longer. Nowadays I just let them pass through – not resisting, and they seem to pass faster for it!

Having read several articles about empaths I have found several points that, from personal experience, I do not agree with – so besides providing you with some potential self-help tools, with this blog,  I’d like to clarify few points too!

Why do empaths feel the way they feel?

I have come to understand that having meditated for years, and having worked with Light-(spiritual) energies a lot, has made me quite ‘light’ myself. This has had some consequences. Besides (in good times) being happier, more unconditionally loving and stronger, I have become more sensitive and intuitive as well. Most empath I have talked to seem to be more than average spiritual too, more compassionate, more unconditionally loving , etc. - so I assume that most are quiet ‘bright’ shining as well. (But please note that having empathic abilities is no guarantee of good character, not every empath might use their ability for good. For such individuals I am not quite sure what the mechanisms behind their abilities might be)

The way I see it - everything is energy. There is positive (divine) energies , such as (unconditional) Love, happiness, compassion, truth, wisdom etc. , which are usually described as ‘Light’ energies, and there is more confused energies – hate, anger , fear,  guilt, sadness etc, which are dark or grey. One could also call the positive ones LEEs – Life Enhancing Energies, and the negative ones LLEs – Life Limiting Energies. (Discussing the origin of confused energies and why they exist, is beyond the scope of this article – but feel free to peruse my book – Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier, where I discuss them in greater depth). LLEs,  such as e.g. fears, seem to feed of us giving in to them, so they have a self-preserving interest to keep us in fear (I assume and feel, that since everything is part of creation, everything has some degree of consciousness, including energies.) Now both LEEs and LLEs  are to a degree infectious. Plus there is the argument that Light energies raise awareness and help understand truths – like physical darkness cannot prevail in the face of light, many darker energies cannot prevail in the presence of light energies.  I.e. when LLEs encounter a lighter being, they potentially feel threatened, and might resist! So if you are a (bright) empath, get invited to a party with negative minded people, you might get resisting feelings of not wanting to go before setting off (for no good reason), sent by their LLEs. Or if I e.g. have a client that does not like himself every much, I might get feelings of dislike for him (even though I have no rational reason to), as he apparently projects his self-dislike onto me. He expects others to dislike him. Alternatively I have found that it is not just energy resistances or projections that affect me, often it actually seems that LLEs seek me out, as a way-out/ a channel out. They are tired of being the bad boy, and just want to go home - into the Light. A bit like a toddler tries to communicate by crying, the main way LLEs can communicate is through whatever they currently are– fear, depression, anger, guilt, frustration, jealousy etc. So if an empath feels fear, for no good reason, it might just be a fear energy trying to get his/ her attention, asking  them to channel them ‘out’, or pray for their safe removal…

What mis-understandings make being an empath worse?

As mentioned before, a great error to make, being an empath, is to not understand that one is an empath. Under such circumstances one potentially still gets LLEs  from others, but one personalizes them, thinking they are one’s own. It used to drive me potty. I used to repeatedly search through my childhood for traumatic experiences, which might disaffect me in adulthood, but except for a few non-invited birthday parties there really was not much else to find. I had forgiven myself and all involved (for the non-invited birthday parties) several times, had a thoroughly positive spiritual understanding of life, but I still kept on feeling sick, exhausted and depressed for years. Even worse, I feared that my negativities might affect those around me negatively. I guess I allowed others to be empathic, but not myself, and or I feared that my negative thoughts and emotions might ‘create’ negatives for myself and my life (including others). Another misconception I had was – that I believed, that once I had e.g. cleansed out all anger (out of my bodies), I would never feel anger again. I’d meditate for hours/ days trying to rid myself of a particular negative emotion, just to feel it again, hours or days after. I had to understand that I am an empath, and as such I’ll keep on getting e.g. anger energies (from the outside) – the cleansing process is an ongoing one (for now).  Another misconception I had to debunk was that – if one feels negativities one is either not bright enough yet (to repel them), or one has not asked for enough spiritual help! If I have a heavily depressed client and get hit by his/ her depression acutely (whereas they might have had years to chronically get used to them), it can be very uncomfortable. I though ask for as much divine help as necessary, possible, available and sensible, as far reaching and complex as necessary, possible, available and sensible -  always(!) – to then still believe that I do not ask for enough help, would be masochistic . I have also prayed to be as bright and clear as possible; to understand, and clear out any confusions, in myself, that could make my being (and healing work) more difficult and even painful. I have asked such for the last 19+ years. Sure, I may get lighter yet in future, but to fear myself not bright enough, and somehow self-responsible for my empathy, would likely be wrong! Most articles I read just recommend that empath visualize themselves as a bright beacon of Light, in a bubble of Light, or similar – doing such for a few minutes supposedly fixes all of an empaths’ problems. If that were so, I would be ecstatic all the time. Heck, I’d be an all-LLE-destroying power-laser by now! I also read that if one gets negative energies from others during or outside of healing work, one has some self-punishing or masochistic programs left inside. Again, I have become aware of such potential very early in my spiritual career, and honestly prayed, to be cleansed off all such self-punishing programs – but I still get dis-affected by people’s/ client’s energies. So nowadays I just understand them as – as of yet unavoidable. I also recently read that – we all have blind-spots, i.e. areas of our being that are still confused and that we cannot ‘see’/ uncover ourselves – we are always dependent on the help of outsiders! Not sure if the author was trying to sell her services? Sure it is great to help one another, but it is dependent on time, money etc. too. Also if you work with the Light – you automatically have tons of outside (spiritual) help anyway… Hence I’d say it is possibly to go it alone (from a human perspective). Being an empath I actually found, that it can be difficult to find acceptable human help anyway. I tried some ‘professional’ therapists, where it ended up feeling as if I had to do more healing for them, during our sessions, than they actually did for me! And I am not so sure if there is too many therapists yet, who understand empathy. Understand it as a psychic ability too, and not class it as psychosis. (I am sure there is some though, so if you want outside help, just make sure you vet your therapists beforehand, or see if they advertise empath support specifically). Last but not leastI read – ‘to visualize protections against negative energies, is to deny the empathic part of yourself.  Embrace it, do not deny it!’ Maybe the author is not all that empathic herself, and has never ended up with strong LLEs off others, to write such romantic drivel? (Excuse my language.) As an empath you likely still have to hold down a job, maybe look after a family etc.  If I wanted to, I could possibly spend most of my day in meditation, dealing with confused energies, wanting out, resisting etc. – I would just not get anything else done anymore! I.e. I ask for as many protections as necessary, possible, available and sensible – to make my life as effortless and enjoyable as possible. I do feel sorry for LLEs, they are part of Creation too, and I am definitely not against helping them, but I refuse for them to take over my life completely. I do love my neighbours, but I do not love them more than myself! 

Empath Self-help tools? 

Spiritual tools: Self-healing  can be a complex process, at times painful, and it can take a while - but I believe it does not take forever. I.e. if one has honestly confronted oneself and one’s (past) demons, practiced forgiveness and asked for divine healing-help to (re-)discover one’s true, light, divine self - that process might take a few months, maybe even a couple of years, but it should not take decades. Our bodies are not that large, it should not take years to cleanse them off all past negativities. If you still suffer, regardless of plenty of self-healing work, maybe even more so – perhaps you have turned into an empath too (or you were one all along, and have become ever more fine tuned)!?  Embrace it, and stop feeling responsible for other people’s negativities – stop identifying them as your own. (Obviously one can have both empathically received LLEs, and still self-generate negative emotions, or hold e.g. non-dissolved/-forgiven trauma energies, at the same time. It can, at times, be difficult to distinguish exactly which emotions are my own, and which received from the outside. That process gets easier with time though. And the main thing is that one does not ‘insist’ that every emotion one feels is one’s own (especially if they do not make much sense, and are out of your usual character.) Even though, as already mentioned, I have not found any spiritual (visualization) tools, which enable me to turn off, or block, my empath abilities completely, the following tools can help to potentially tone them down, and or make disaffecting LLEs stop, or pass (through) speedier. (N.B. All the following tools can obviously be recommended to, and used by non-empaths as well!)

Energy upgrades for Empaths – If you have never done so - you might want to check if you have all the best and strongest energy systems available and sensible. Maybe there is e.g. healer/ Lightworker chakras vs. normal chakras? I.e. if one does not just process one’s own emotions, but helps others to do so too, there could be a greater energy through put, and ones chakras might require according ‘upgrades’ to deal with such?  So I ask/ pray that all my energy bodies and systems are optimized, whenever necessary, possible, available and sensible, and dedicate the occasional meditation time to these processes.

Energy Healing, Protection, Cleansing and Recharging Tools for Empaths –

Bubble of Light –This simple visualization can help keep some LLEs out. It can have some comforting effects, plus it can help you be more in your own energy, be more centered, and not be drawn in as much into other people’s negative energies/ dramas.  You just visualize, imagine, pray or ask for a perfect, divine, healing, and protecting Bubble of Light – around you and your aura. Ask that the bubble is self-cleansing, self-healing, self-regenerating, and self-protecting. It should do it’s best to keep LLEs out, or channel them out, before they ‘hit’ you, but be semi-permeable to let in LEEs  effortlessly. Ones you have visualized, or asked for your Bubble, you do not necessarily have to think about it anymore. It’ll stick around for a while. Ones you are in the Bubble, you’ll breathe in Light, and you allow your bodies to release negative and stale energies via the breath. The Light will then take such released energies, and take them to a cosmic energy rehabilitation center (i.e. you do not have to worry about them floating about, reattaching, or disaffecting others). If you fear that, feeling negative, you might disaffect your surroundings (people, pets etc.) – just pray for (continuous) protections and healing of your surroundings too. Chances are your surroundings disaffect you more than vise versa! You can obviously also visualize Bubbles around beings especially dear to you.

Pillars of Light and other large scale tools – The way I understand it, Lightworkers (or Lightsoldiers, as I call them) are not just channels for Light to come into our Earth-plane, but, at times at least, and if absolutely unavoidable, channels for negative energies to get out/ go home too. So, to make my life and healing work, as un-pestered (by LLEs, and as effortless as possible, I generally ask for as much divine healing help, and LLE cleansing-out help, as necessary, possible, available and sensible; as far reaching and complex as necessary, possible, available and sensible. I also ask for/  visualize - Pillars of Light all-around my town, (world-wide even, if necessary, available and sensible), to make it easy for LLEs to leave (if they want to), without needlessly disaffecting Lightworkers! If you have not already – do tell the Divine too, to ignore any conscious or subconscious restrictions you might still hold, with regards to the amount, strength and frequency of divine help you receive. Tell the Divine that you do not want to suffer and that you want your life to be as happy, loving and effortless as possible…. Sometimes I find it helps to talk to energies disaffecting me too, such as: 'Calm down guys, you have all been noted and seen. You are going home. No need to worry and overcrowd me. And please, try to not negatively affect me, as you are passing through. Also have a look around, I have asked for alternative channels out (Light-pillars etc.), so please use them too...!'  There is obviously other visualizations you can use. You could e.g. visualize armies of Angels flying over an area and raining down Love or Healing Light. In my experience it can useful to go larger scale with ones healing requests. E.g. some empaths might be (dis-)affected by collective subconscious energies (e.g. I can get loads of resisting energies before traveling to certain countries), or some e.g. human LLEs might have ‘back-up’ LLE-structures in the outside, which, if we do not ask for their removal too, can just replace any cleansed out LLEs, with new ones… (There is no need to be modest with ones (justified) healing requests - ever. Empath have a right to a happy, non-suffering life, just like every being does. If that should require large scale healings, so be it. They might take a bit longer to work through, but I am confident that a.) there is enough divine help to materialize them all, and b.) they are more than happy to help.)

Grounding for Empaths - Besides all the above, I find it very important to stay connected to healthy, divine Earth energies, to be ‘grounded’ as much and best as possible. Grounding seems to be one of the main tools of our energy bodies to get rid of negative and stale energies, as well as recharge - so it is good to have that connection!  To ground just visualize, imagine, pray or ask for two beams of Light, coming up from deep in the Earth, and connecting to your heels. Once you have visualized the connection, it will be established, and once you are connected, the Earth energies will pull out negative and stale energies, and give you fresh energies up! Well, it is nice to (at least once) ask the Earth energies for this help, but not 100% essential (I have done so for you already). As with the Bubble, once you are connected, you can stay with your attention on the connection, and try to ‘feel’ the connection, feel how energies move in and out, or how they move up into your body (i.e. use it as a meditation), but you do not have to. It is a bit like stepping into the shower. Once we have turned on the tap, the water runs, regardless of us thinking about it or not. The Earth energy will look after any negative and stale energies removed, rehabilitate them, or send them on for rehab somewhere else.

NB.: I love doing the Bubble and the Grounding together, and I love doing them when I do my cardio at the gym. Especially on the cross trainer, I can close my eyes and really go into it. (Please do not close your eyes on the treadmill though!). Sometimes I might breath Light into specific areas – like a pain in my body, or am emotion I want to release – to try to shift them, and breath them out.

Energy Cleansing for Empaths – I do feel that our bodies have tools to digest and or excrete LLEs to a certain degree. It feels though, as if our lives are too busy nowadays, there is too many stresses, fears, frustrations etc. for our bodies to handle them all completely. In other words, at the end of the day, we will likely have some LLEs left over. Unless we use tools to help remove such energies, they can accumulate, and will likely not make us any happier and healthier in the long run. As empaths especially we might not just deal with our own energies, but those of other’s too, so empaths can be overwhelmed by LLEs sooner, and regular energy cleansings are even more important. Furthermore LLEs might function as portals for more LLEs to circumvent regular protections. Basic cleansing tools are e.g. the above described Bubble of Light, and Grounding exercises. If you get bored of them, or want to become more specific in your work – look into e.g. chakra cleansing meditations, and do not forget to work on your back-chakras too (as that is, were in my understanding, LLEs from the past accumulate). For cleansing out specific emotions, character traits, thoughts, believes or maladies you can use the:

Handing over Tool for Empaths – A very simple and elegant tool. If you e.g. want to get rid of a particular fear, you just say a prayer along the line of: ‘I hand this fear over to the Divine/ Ultimate Good/ God (or whatever you want to call the benevolent Higher Powers you believe in), and I thank you for taking it off me, and take it in for cosmic rehabilitation. Thank You! Amen (the Amen is optional, you could also e.g. say ‘So be it’, ‘Go’ or ‘Start’.) Once you have said the prayer you might notice that you start to breathe deeper and slower, as you start to breathe off, whatever you are releasing.  You can breathe off more than one emotion at a time, but if you try too many at once, it might come to energy blockages, at bottlenecks, such as our chakras. Therefore it is prudent to ask/ pray for all cleansing processes to be orderly, and to consider the capacities of your bodies/ energy systems. (After using this tool a lot, for a few months, I stopped saying the whole formula altogether. Spirit already knows what we want to do next. So I started to just give them this tiny nod, notifying them, and thanking them, as I’d be about to breath out some stuff.)  Using this tool is so much easier than e.g. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and without any funny tapping sequences, it can be done wherever and whenever. It can also remove LLEs, without making them come to the surface first, and feeling them again (even though you might feel them somewhat, as they are being released)!

Forgiveness Tool for Empaths – Another powerful tool. If you have a problematic relationship with someone, whoever really – just say: ‘I forgive myself, I forgive x,y,z – I let go in Love, and I ask the Divine for perfect (relationship) healings. Thank You! Amen/ So be it/ Start.’ If a relationship is/ was rather traumatic, you might have to say this quite a few times, but every time you do, you heal some unhealthy energies connecting you to that person/ being. Here too, there might be some breathing off connected!

If you become as conscientious and zealous about energy work as I do, even the above, relative quick practical tools might become too cumbersome after a while. If you are a newbie, I would definitely give them a try first though. They are great for one’s self-confidence, and confidence in Spirit, and their help. Being able to become more of a master over one’s emotions is truly liberating. Over the years I realized though that Spirit is very pragmatic. If you truly want to heal, and help others heal – they know.  By now I rarely even still visualize, or pray anything specific. The Divine’s willingness to help us is immense and unconditional – and they are more than happy with all-encompassing, economic on-off prayers. The Divine knows I do not want to suffer, and I have asked for 24/7 support – as much as necessary, possible, available and sensible - unlimited. Support including obviously all necessary energy healings, cleansings, protections, recharges and optimizations. For myself, my bodies and my life! I meditate when I can, or feel like it, but I am confident that any LLEs that do come to me, will be removed ASAP! (For a perfect prayer see – here) But please be patient too. I definitely feel so much more empowered with all my tools and the confidence to know that I am helped (plus I often actually feel the Divine’s energies helping), BUT at times I can still become swamped with LLEs too. Be it from a e.g. particularly depressed client, some cosmic event, or when e.g. traveling to some countries. It is a bit like bad psychic weather. Some true storms indeed. These days I know that they all always pass, but that does not make the hours, or even days, when they are there that much more comfortable. The only consolation is, that after such episodes I am confident that a lot of negative energies will have been removed from this planet. And that can only help in the long run, and make my life more effortless and enjoyable.

Physical tools: Some of the greatest improvements to my well-being came through finding physical tools to support my body and immune system. I used to think my body was incompetent, or in cahoots with confused energies (I did have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for several years) - until I understood that I am an empath, and my body has constantly been healing itself, again and again, from potential negative effects, of LLEs  passing through, or resisting. Personally, what really helped me was taking enough Vit. D3, and or making sure I get enough sun-exposure (meditating with the Sun can be very powerful). Furthermore regular, strong pro-biotics really help (I usually drink Kombucha, and make my own Kefir). I also like to take Milk-Thistle – an anti-oxidant herb for the liver. The liver, I read, spiritually, is the main organ to digest emotions, so supporting it seems to make sense. Furthermore I seem to benefit from (methylated-)Vitamin B12.  As with all food supplements – do read up yourself about potential side-effects, dosage etc. Especially if you take medication, are under medical treatment, or pregnant -  do talk to your health-care provider first! And all that said, a reasonably healthy general life-style with your 5-a-day, and some exercise is, of course, sensible! Also do not forget to rest and get some me-time to recuperate, if ever possible. Personally I do try to have a day or two off per week - if I see clients 7 days a week, and get their tiredness, frustrations etc. continuously, it becomes harder to not believe that those feelings might not indeed be my own. Obviously there is plenty of other things you can consider to improve your wellbeing, e.g. Reiki session, aromatherapy, acupuncture, or massage. And to cleanse ones energies one can have (sea) salt baths, smudge herbs (e.g. sage), burn incense, put up salt lamps, use sound, such as singing bowls or gongs, etc., etc …

To conclude –

Being an empath usually means that you are more intuitive and sensitive than most. It can be great help to understand others, help them heal, and or resolve conflicts. It can be damn challenging as well though! When stuck with someone else’s LLEs , they can feel very real and uncomfortable. Once we embrace our empathy though, and do not personalize other people’s LLEs anymore, let them pass through, rather than hold on to them – we discover that such energies are finite and we recover our well-being again and again. Personally I have prayed to Ultimate Good years ago that, if my life does not get any easier and happier, to please take me out. I know life and my body is a gift, but I do not believe in a needless masochistic voyage either. I am still here, and my life has improved. Some of that is through understanding that I am an empath and Lightsoldier, and that as such I help heal my life and this planet. There is no use complaining for being drafted into helping to ‘clean up our planet’ (energetically, or otherwise), in order to make it a more enjoyable place to live on! And some of that clean up can, at times, be hard work! There is plenty of suffering around, some of it quite severe – to expect the clean up to not take some hard graft, would likely be ignorant. We are not alone though, and leagues of divine helpers are helping (if we just ask for their assistance). I trust it is all achievable and definitely worth it. Any (pain-)investment will be re-paid in happiness many times over. Some rewards are more instantaneous, we might be rewarded by a smile and the gratitude of a person we have helped; for other (greater) healing projects we might have to stay tenacious and patient – but we will reap!

Feel free to share this blog – I just ask that you keep it as a whole/ unaltered, and reference it to me/ www.alexander-king.com as the author. Thanks

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage – combining bodywork and energy work

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage is just that – a combination of Spiritual Healing/ Reiki and whole body massage. How did I come to combine the two, and what are the potential benefits - let me elaborate....

2006 - I had been doing healing work for near a decade, and had made it ‘official’, by taking the Healing Trust healer training program, and becoming a Reiki Master too. When trying to become a self-employed full time healer, I soon found though, that apparently, unless one has written a few well-subscribed esoteric books, miraculously healed a couple of cancer cases, within a session or two, or done a few TV interviews, there is not many people actually booking a no-name spiritual healer for a healing session. At least in London that seemed to be the case for my practice. I could not blame my non-existing clients though, on one had there is plenty of healing centers London-wide, where one can get a Healing Trust Spiritual Healing on donation basis only, plus it is a bit of a funny therapy... Basically a Spiritual Healer or Reiki Master will just stand next to you and often do most his/ her work with his/ her hands off your body. The real work happens inside the healer, invisible to the healee’s eyes , so unless you are more energy sensitive already, it could be hard to distinguish between a charlatan and a genuine healer. Furthermore, even though there is plenty of research which appears to confirm that energy healing therapies have statistically significant positive healing effects, it still is not too widely known and accepted.

 I did not let the initial scarce number of clients dampen my spirit, and started to consider other complementary therapies, which might be more renowned, and have greater client pulling potential. I had always enjoyed massaging partners on a layman basis, plus I was quite confident that I have good, strong and relatively intuitive massage-hands ( – having played the piano for 20 years might have helped develop to those?). I decided to take some massage courses.  The first whole body massage technique I learned was Hawaiian Massage. I really liked the sound of it, and it turned out to be half spiritual too. The therapists creates a safe, spiritual space for himself and the client, before commencing the actual bodywork. Hawaiian Massage is very beautiful! The soothing Hawaiian chants playing in the background, help induce incredible flow. The energy created is very beautiful, soothing and refreshingly innocent. It is a bit like the therapists’ hands performing a Hula dance on your body.

I started to experiment with it though, I added chakra work, such as I had learned with my healer training to my massages. I also added deeper and more localized work, something that Hawaiian Massage did not teach as much, but which most my clients seemed to be looking for. It turned out to be a winning combination.` My Spiritual Healing-/ Reiki Massage was born.

I have had plenty of clients commending me on my technique, and many returning clients attest to them not just sweet talking me. Some of the benefits and validity of combining energy work and bodywork have only become overt to me in retrospect. Over the course of the last year I have trained as an NVQ Level5 Sports Masseur.  – It is always good to keep on learning, and Sportsmassage taught me more about anatomy, some common sports injuries, postural imbalances etc. What is really interesting though is, that over the years I have intuitively, bit by bit, added some changes to my massage technique, such as vibrating on the spot, shaking limbs, using traction on joints, or poking into tight muscles. It turned out that much of what I had intuitively added over the years, are genuine massage techniques, taught in more advanced massage courses. With Sportsmassage, we learned to apply deep punctual pressure – NMT (Neuromuscular Technique), but we were advised to go in very slowly, as to not create undue pain. Obviously it is something which is hard to quantify, and I could be deluding myself, but I very strongly feel, that when I do a Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage, my clients are faster and deeper relaxed than when performing a Sportsmassage without healing. In 7 years of Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage, I have never had a client complain about me going too deep or being too rough on them. I imagine that being for a potential number of reasons – for one I feel that spiritual energies are somewhat analgesic. - Spiritual energies help dislodge and ‘take away’ energies contributing to muscle tightness or pain. - Being ‘switched-on’ I am more intuitive and just ‘know’ how deep I can go, plus it naturally slows me down (slow, deep work is seldom painful).  - Furthermore clients are more relaxed, they feel safer and due to that, what might be felt as uncomfortable pain with a regular massage, is rather felt as a healing relief. Having created an energetic connected 'safe space' clients, consciously or subconsciously, might also feel more safe to actually release pent up emotions, etc.. They feel, that such energies will be taken away and looked after in a safe manner.  - As of yet, no client has complained about post-massage muscle achiness either, something which can happen with regular, deep massage work, when therapists ‘over-work’ an area.

Besides all that, I am confident too, that whereas most regular massages have primarily physical benefits only, by adding Spiritual Healing/ Reiki, these energies can help my clients heal on all levels, i.e. physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I like to think that my clients might just be even more de-stressed, energy-balanced and re-charged, when they leave me, than after a regular, non-energetic massage. For many of my clients it is their first experience of Healing energies, but I very rarely get any clients, who do not want me to add any Spiritual Healing/ Reiki. Perhaps knowing, that they’ll get a ‘proper’ massage too, they do not have to worry about their mates laughing at them down the pub later. With a Reiki only session -their friends might tell them, that even If they felt more relaxed after, it would be nothing more than a placebo effect… But even if Reiki were make believe only, with me they get a proper massage too, which is undeniable – they get something for their cash.

Obviously in an Spiritual healing or Reiki session only, I do notjust stand over my clients with my hands off their body? They can be very hard work.  Holding a healing energy frequency, I, at times, tense my whole body. As I am standing still, you might not be able to tell easily, that I am doing anything though.

Another benefit of combining energy work with massage is, that I ground my clients (energetically) at the end of their session. Grounding pulls them back into their bodies. Most clients do not need more than a minute to get up after that, refreshed and alert. No feeling dizzy or somewhat dis-oriented.

Especially with less spiritual clients, I do not talk about spiritual topics much. I remember from my own, younger, more skeptical years, that when people tried to proselytize me, I would just block up completely. Pushing too much on a potential budding opening towards spirituality, can easily back-fire. I let the (healing) energies talk for themselves. And then, at times, you get some wonderful developments. I remember a stressed banker. In his first session he did not seem to respond at all. No signs of overall relaxation, such as deeper, calmer breathing. When he turned on his back, he lay there with his eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Most clients have their eyes closed and only potentially open them, when chatting with me. I cannot deny that there were plenty of insecurities in my head screaming – ‘He is not enjoying your massage at all. He is bored out of his mind!’. I was pretty surprised when he called again, a few weeks later, to book another session. He lay there again though, eyes wide open. And the next time too! Only with his next massage – Oh Joy! – deeper breathing and closed eyes. I asked him after that massage – “How is work, still so busy?”. He said – “Yes, always. But I have had this epiphany, that if I get stressed, the workload does not diminish because of it. So I have decided to just not get stressed anymore. “

Working one-on-one with many clients, many of whom have become regulars, has helped me more and more to understand how energies work too. It was one of the last pieces of the puzzle to make sense of how energetic forces appear to function on this planet. It also gave me the last needed push to put my spiritual understandings and experiences, over the years, on paper. My first book – ‘Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier’ (Alexander King) – O Books.  The book does not only deal with my experiences with my healing clients, but also other milestones on my spiritual journey – initially I ended up in a manipulative, destructive cult, when wanting to learn how to spiritually heal, and thereafter I was plagued for years, by what felt like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They are all experiences, which have helped me to be more confident and grounded in my believes though. Most of all, these experiences have given me the strength and brawn to not just take any guru’s words, or spiritual teachings, as given anymore. I have learned to question and test teachings myself first, before potentially subscribing to them. Many I have found to be at least lacking or incomplete, if not misleading or potentially even wrong. With ‘Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier’ I attempt to take an honest look at and manifest much needed constructive criticism of the esoteric field. I do not just de-construct some teachings though, but I also append or fix them, as required. Hopefully my readers will have better and stronger tools for their spiritual journeys after reading my book.

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage is a whole body, hot oil massage. In my Hawaiian Massage training we learned to treat clients with a loin-cloth-cover only, and for the ladies, a cover for her breasts, when lying on her back. Being able to work on the whole body and apply frequent whole body massage strokes, can be very soothing, and most of all it helps (re-)connect body parts to each other. With our modern lives often being very mind and head centered, many of us, it seems, unless doing plenty of exercise, can unlearn to be in our bodies and to feel ‘being in our bodies’. In that sense whole body strokes can potentially help a client feel more whole again, more in his/her body and more centered. The added energy work adds to that effect.  – All that said, as a professional therapist, I am obviously open to modify the treatment, when more modest clients might wish so. It can be performed with the client wearing shorts or underwear and theoretically even fully clothed too. With the latter the massage work is then obviously not going to include any flowing effleurage work, but more e.g. localized kneading and pressure work only, akin to maybe Thai massage.

Whereas Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage seems to generally be tolerated well and usually clients only report positive effects and after-effects (such as better sleep), common massage contraindications prevail. E.g. massage work is contraindicated fresh after surgery, or when you have a fever etc. Then there is localized contraindications, such as infectious skin diseases, open wounds, varicose veins etc. The beauty in performing Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage, and having a client with localized contraindications, is though, that often one can still massage the rest of the body and just perform hands-on or hands-off healing on the areas, which should not be massaged. For clients, who suffer from generalized massage contraindications, Spiritual Healing or Reiki (ex the massage) can obviously still be offered.

Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage, just as Spiritual Healing or Reiki, is a complementary therapy, and should not be seen as an alternative to medical advice and treatment. It is also non-denominational, and clients do not have to be spiritual or be religious to receive it. Whereas with clients who are more spiritual and e.g.  meditate,  the energies often feel , as if they are flowing more abundantly and intensely, more skeptical clients will often not ‘feel’ much in terms of energy, but usually they too will notice that they were more relaxed than usual, or they might have noticed that my hands became relatively hot at times.

Currently I do not teach Spiritual Healing/ Reiki Massage yet, but I am open to the idea. Teaching would likely be more of a sharing of experiences though. Students would already be qualified masseurs and energy workers,  and it would be more about helping them abolish any potential resistance they might still experience about putting the two therapies together.


Feel free to share this blog – I just ask that you keep it as a whole/ unaltered, and reference it to me/ www.alexander-king.com as the author. Thanks

Differences between Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing

Perhaps you too wondered at some point what Craniosacral Therapy is, or what indeed Spiritual Healing is, and how the two compare? A client of mine suggested I learn Craniosacral Therapy next, to add to my repertoire of bodywork and energy work therapies, so I endeavored to find out more about Craniosacral Therapy. I did some general internet research and booked myself a session.


I have been doing energy work since 1995 and am an mNFSH (member NFSH (National Federation of Spiritual Healers) – aka The Healing Trust; i.e. a Spiritual Healer). Since I have studied under The Healing Trust, I will compare to how they teach and practice Spiritual Healing to Craniosacral therapy. (Please note that there is many different energy therapies, and some might have different approaches or philosophies to The Healing Trust. The Healing Trust is a part of the UKH (UK Healers). As far as I am aware healing organizations, that are a part of UKH, strive to deliver the same Standards. Standards dealing  with qualification of Healers and Student Healers, Training, Code of Conduct, Legal Aspects, Assessment, Complaints and Discipline, so other UK Energy or Spiritual Healing organizations should be comparable ) 


What is Spiritual Healing?


What is Spiritual Healing? What is a Spiritual Healer? How does Spiritual Healing work? To spiritually heal, a healer ‘connects/ attunes’ to Spirit and channels that energy for the (highest possible good) benefit of the client. Spirit is universal, beneficial, intelligent energy. The Healing Trust is a non-denominational organization, so whereas different Healers might have different explanations for themselves, what the Source of this beneficial energy is, Healers are free to choose what to believe in, and what to call the source of the energy they work with! In the same way clients are not told what to believe, or even that they must have any (higher) believes.


Healers are taught how to connect, how to ground and how to protect themselves and the healee before commencing a healing session. The aim of this process is to assure that the energies channeled are as healing and pure as possible.


Funnily the greatest challenge for a Spiritual Healer is to then actually do as little as possible. Well, that was the greatest challenge for me, in my training. A healer trusts that the energy channeled and the healee’s body have their own intelligence. The energies will go where most needed and heal, balance, clear and or protect what is required. Also there is some trust that our bodies have great innate self-healing abilities, these self-healing abilities might just not work effectively, due to lack of (good) energy.


A healer will attemptto be a channel to help the client become more connected to healing energies him-/ herself, ground him/ her and work through the client’s main chakras (to help cleanse, balance and or strengthen them). Chakras are energetic energy centers, where energies can enter and exit our energy bodies (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies). You can compare it somewhat with our physical breathing, just on an energetic level. When the chakras are sluggish or their flow is else wise not optimal, the associated energy body can become dis-eased.


Spiritual Healing hence potentially works on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Spiritual healing is a complementary therapy, not an alternative to Western Medicine! Most clients will feel improvements to their wellbeing after 1-6 sessions. They might feel lighter, happier, more confident, sleep better etc. Some feel that Spiritual healing has helped them to overcome physical ailments and or see positive changes in their lives after having received healing.


Whereas a one-on-one healing session is performed on the client, a good healer will not stop the healing energies form potentially also helping outside of the client’s body; e.g. to heal a relationship or help else wise to improve a client’s life.


What is Craniosacral Therapy?


As mentioned, I cannot speak for what a Craniosacral Therapist learns during his/ her training, only what I can publicly glen from an internet search.  This is what the UK Craniosacral Therapy Association has on their website as an explanation for what Craniosacral Therapy does (http://www.craniosacral.co.uk/this-is-craniosacral-therapy , viewed online 13/03/2015):


Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle way of working with the body using light touch. People sometimes ask about the name Craniosacral Therapy and think it only refers to the head. In fact Craniosacral Therapy works with the whole person and changes may occur in body, mind and spirit during and after sessions.


When a Craniosacral therapist places her hands lightly on you, she is using them to listen to you in much the same way that a counsellor might listen to your words. Your body responds to this sensitive touch by beginning to listen to itself. A feeling that you have been heard in the truest sense of the word is a common experience during and after a Craniosacral session.


(…)


Craniosacral Therapy supports your body’s innate ability to balance, restore and heal itself, as well as helping to reduce stress and build your underlying energy. The practitioner senses tensions in the body and helps to release them in a supported and comfortable way. During or after a session you may feel calm and energised, with increased clarity of mind and a feeling of well-being..


Wikipedia also says that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniosacral_therapy, viewed online 12/03/2015):


Practitioners of craniosacral therapy assert that there are small, rhythmic motions of the cranial bones attributed to cerebrospinal fluid pressure or arterial pressure. The premise of CST is that palpation of the cranium can be used to detect this rhythmic movement of the cranial bones and selective pressures may be used to manipulate the cranial bones to achieve a therapeutic result. However, the degree of mobility and compliance of the cranial bones is considered controversial and is a critically important concept in craniosacral therapy


Craniosacral Therapy was originally created/ discovered by American Osteopath William Sutherland. Supposedly the light touch utilized by Craniosacral Therapists is equivalent to the weight of a 5cent coin.


Some therapists seem to be more spiritual in their approach, so Andrea Sea, Craniosacral therapist from California writes on his website (http://www.andreasea.com/cranio-sacral_therapy.html, seen online 12/3/2015):


Craniosacral Therapy works with the rhythmic wave-like motion of the cerebrospinal fluid, which can be felt anywhere on the body, and out to the edges of the auric field. The brain and spinal cord float in a sac containing the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the nervous system and allows for movement of neurotransmitters.  The entire body is connected by nerves and fascia to the spinal cord, which gently moves up and down inside the vertebral column as much as half an inch with each wave of the cerebrospinal fluid.


The cerebrospinal fluid is the lightest, finest fluid in the human body, similar in chemical composition to amniotic fluid, which in turn is similar in composition to the ocean, source of all life on this planet.  Beyond serving as a transport medium for neurotransmitters, this fluid carries the energetic imprint of Spirit from the third eye chakra throughout the rest of the physical body.  Cerebrospinal fluid is generated in the ventricles (spaces) of the brain.  There are neurotransmitters generated by the pineal and pituitary glands, which just happen to be situated in exactly the location of the third eye chakra, on the "saddle" of the sphenoid bone in the center of the skull.  As divine energy is gathered in through the crown chakra, it is focused down into the third eye chakra, and as neurotransmitters are released into the cerebrospinal fluid, they are bathed in this divine light and infused with the energetic imprint of pure Spirit.  I hold the understanding that I must approach each person with deep respect for the innate intelligence of the divine pattern held in their cerebrospinal fluid.  I understand that I am not just touching a cranial rhythm, I am touching a Soul.


I could not find any mention though what “energy” Craniosacral Therapist use? Obviously if Craniosacral Therapists are trained in other energy healing techniques, they might channel energy, when treating clients, similar to Spiritual Healers, but I could not get this verified by my online research.


My experience receiving Craniosacral Therapy


My therapist received me professionally, in a professional environment set up. Let’s call him ‘John’. The initial interview was all about possible accidents or surgeries I might have encountered in my life. There were 4 eye operations in very early childhood and a bike accident at the age of 17 (I am 43 years of age currently). I was also asked about why I was there? Did I have a specific problem? I told John that I am a Spiritual Healer and Masseur and just wanted to experience Craniosacral Therapy. John mentioned that he too comes from a massage and energy healing background, but now mostly only does craniosacral work.


We then commenced with my session. It took me a good while to relax. I am pretty sensitive to energies. I would not say I am a 100% reliable psychic though, so I try to not judge prematurely. Anyway I did not feel comfortable ‘letting go’ fully. The energies I felt did not feel pure or unconditionally loving enough, so I spend plenty of energy to assert healthy protections for myself and maybe try to connect John to a purer source. That took about 20 min. I cannot say that by the end of that I felt all was good now, but I figured then that I can heal any possible contamination coming in with the session, by clearing myself sufficiently afterwards.


I definitely did feel energy though. And we were relatively in sync with what we seemed to sense. When having his hand on my sacrum I felt some tightness on top of my quadriceps. John asked me to send healing intend into this, to relax it. We then seemed to ‘feel’ simultaneously when it had dissolved and John seemed very happy with the result. Overall I did feel some minor energy blockages dissolving and energies potentially flowing better thereafter, but in no way more pronounced when I just meditate or give healing to myself (the main difference being though, that when working on and with myself, I am more relaxed, as I know I am asking to be connected to, what I call, Ultimate Good (energies).


What slightly annoyed me was, when working up my body and getting to my lungs John said – ‘The lungs are where the body stores sadness. Now, how to make Alex cry?’ I found that very inappropriate and a bit offensive! This was our first session and asking a client to break out in tears in a first session smelled of emotional manipulation to me. Sure, some client’s might go off on getting to cry in a therapy session, but I would never just assume that off a client of mine.  Plus having meditated for thousands of hours myself in my life, I know there is no significant amounts of accumulated sadness in my being anymore. Any sadness that does manage to sneak in, I just channel out again on a regular basis; and I tend to do so without having to cry (especially in front of relative strangers!).


I had also mentioned to John that I seem to be an empath, i.e. I often seem to take on other people’s emotions, especially my clients - but that I can handle it! I.e. likely anything he helped to shift in energy blockages that day, was stuff from my client to see that day, not my own. Still I kept on getting the impression he was trying to heal me. It seemed that even though I had told him that I had meditated and practiced self-healing for years, he believed that I needed him to heal potential surgery trauma from operations 20+ years in the past. I would think that Spirit has taken care of those long ago! 


Comparing Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing!


Obviously I cannot talk about and generalize for all therapists in either healing modality. I am sure there will be Craniosacral Therapists (perhaps pre-trained in a good form of energy healing), who can deliver/ facilitate some decent healing results. On the other hand I have received healings of Spiritual Healers, whose energy I did not like and fully trust too. I can therefore only really compare the theory or philosophy behind both therapies.


In my experience healings are an energy expending process! I.e. our bodies require energy to heal themselves, be that energy from e.g. food, herbs, medication, a therapist’s attention/ love/ care/ healing intend or healing energies. I am not even going to try to validate that a pressure excerpted onto a bone (cranium/ spine/ sacrum), equivalent to the weight of a 5 Cent coin alone, will have healing potential. If that were the case, we would have to live forever paranoid about tiny pressurespotentially screwing everything up again too, and then some. The acceleration in a car or just lying down your head on a pillow at night would excerpt greater pressures and then theoretically potentially cause grave damage???


A good therapist, especially alternative or complementary should have empathy and healing intend as a solid basis of his/ her practice, anything else is built on top (e.g. prescribed herbs, nutrition, Spiritual Healing energies etc.). A Craniosacral Therapist ‘just’ listening to a client’s body would therefore potentially just do the bare minimum needed to assist a client’s body in healing itself. In a way a Craniosacral Therapist is connecting to the client’s body and telling it –‘ I trust you can heal yourself’. Maybe the client has never told his/ her body this before, and the body was feeling lonely and misunderstood? Being seen and felt will give it the comfort to heal? That is all nice and well, but I am pretty certain that most bodies inherently continuously try to fix themselves anyway, so if something is so out of sync, so much  that it causes dis-ease, it will likely be because the body has lost the tools to fix itself or lacks the energy. Telling a body then – ‘Go on, fix yourself, you can do it! I trust you!’ – will likely just irritate and frustrate the body intelligence even further. It would be like telling a car mechanic to fix a car without any suitable tools or spares. You can tell said mechanic a thousand times how great a mechanic he/ she is and how much you trust his/ her ability – you car will remain broken…


Even if a Craniosacral Therapist adds more energy into the mix, which energy is it? There is biomagnetism, i.e. a therapists transferring his/ her own energy into the client. That can help, if the transferred energy is intelligent and capable enough. It goes hand in hand with the risk though that the therapist might deplete his/ her own energies and consequently get sick him-/ herself. Or he/ she might transfer confused energies, that possibly do nothing or even make things worse… If a Craniosacral Therapist does actually channel (good) healing energies, this could surely help the client’s body, it still would potentially be unnecessarily self-limiting though. A Craniosacral Therapist would potentially only work with the crown chakra (+3rd eye chakra?) and cerebrospinal fluid. Sure, after a while healing on crown chakra level can work itself through to lower chakra levels – all is interconnected, that can be a long and laborious process though.  A Spiritual Healer on the other hand will treat all chakra levels outright; that as well as potentially help the client to be more grounded, and help him/ her with his/ her Hara, Kundalini etc. Another great advantage of Spiritual Healing is, that it does not necessarily limit the extend of it’s efficacy on the client’s body alone! I.e. if the actual cause of someone’s disease is in the outside, maybe a bully at work, then that can possibly be healed with a spiritual healing session too. Or some clients might have ‘lost’ or given away parts of their soul (we easily give away parts of our heart in relationships, but don’t always receive an equal part or any in return), in such cases a bit of a soul retrieval might be required – again something that does not seem to be within the scope of a Craniosacral Therapy session?


With all that one can obviously still argue that Spiritual Healers and their clients are deluding themselves, as there is no source of higher, intelligent and healing-capable energy, which one can attune to and then channel for a client’s benefit? Any positive healing effect would therefore just be placebo?  If that were the case then transferring biomagnetism would likely be an illusion and nothing but placebo too though. If both therapies are just placebo, then they might be en par with what they can achieve? This is a whole other discussion though. I can only mention that I have read enough studies attesting to significant healing effects after Spiritual Healing (not just on impressionable humans, but also animals, bacteria, inert materials etc.), and have seen and felt enough energy effects in my own practice to strongly believe that I am not deluding myself and my clients with what I do….


Conclusion


When comparing Spiritual healing and Craniosacral Therapy, Spiritual Healing, in my opinion, comes out on top. If Craniosacral Therapists add any extra energy into the healing mix at all, besides their empathy and healing intend - Spiritual Healing works on/ with all chakras (plus potentially Hara, Kundalini etc. too), whereas there is only mention of working with the Crown Charka (+3rd eye Chakra)  in Craniosacral Therapy.  Spiritual Healing too has the potential of having direct, extended healing effects outside the client’s body,  in the client’s life, which, according to its theory,  could not happen with Craniosacral work.


After all, if you do have a Craniosacral therapist, with whom you are happy and with whose assistance you experience satisfying healing results, by all means stick with him/ her. Maybe you and or your body is strong enough, all it really needs is to be ‘listened’ too, or even if your therapist has never learned the theory of Spiritual Healing, with some humans it is an innate ability….


All the best for your healing journey! Love and Light


Feel free to share this blog – I just ask that you keep it as a whole/ unaltered, and reference it to me/ www.alexander-king.com  as the author. Thanks

The anatomy of the Human Energy bodies - Chakras, Aura, Kundalini, Hara and Soul Star

Working spiritually and giving healing to myself and others has often made me wonder about the anatomy of the human spirit/ its energy bodies – especially the chakras, the different aura bodies, the Hara with it’s Dan Tiens and the Kundalini. Initially it took some time to suss out how the different energy structures and systems are build up themselves, e.g. I knew where the main chakras were, i.e. the mid-line of the torso, but I somehow could not match them up with the aura layers, which they are supposed to feed.  How are they connected? My quest for understanding was hampered on one hand by conflicting information. Multiple authors, at times, giving different account of e.g. chakra locations, colours, functions and meanings. Furthermore I could only find authors either writing about the Hara or Kundalini, but none seemed to bring the different systems together. Are they connected somehow? (The below is more detailed, re energy systems, then ‘Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier’, but in turn the book has some guided meditations examples on how to work with them, plus it goes into more depth regarding on how energy systems, influencing us in the grand scheme of things, work – and what factors may influence ones spiritual development. Well, at least for me it is not all just a steady path forward and up, sometimes it quite an up and down, things just do not seem to want to shift or even get worse for a while?)

My quest used to be more frantic in the past, as I was suffering from chronic fatigue and was very determined to potentially find anywounds, imbalances, blockages etc. that needed healing. Energy follows thought, so I had learned, and that I can ‘just’ visualize a e.g. blocked chakra as free and flowing again – and so it should happen! I was therefore under the impression that I needed to know what I was doing, where I was sending energy, of which colour etc. I did beg the good forces out there (or as I call them Ultimate Good) to please check all my work and correct it, where required, but then I did not want to create too much work for them or be a nuisance in some way either.

I relaxed somewhat when, with my Healing Trust (NFSH) Spiritual Healer training, I learned that healing energies are intelligent – they will go where needed most and do what needs doing! It took some time to fully trust in this, but I managed. Still we learned the Healing Act, i.e. a specific sequence in which a healer works through the chakras etc. It appears there is still a bit of energy guidance, one potentially ads to the energy flow. Or one e.g. feels or sees a chakra blocked or sluggish, and learns to listen to that info and hence e.g.  stay on such a chakra for longer. Again that is not essential, I know healers who just count to some number and move on to the next chakra. Being a bit clued in can make healing and other spiritual work more interesting though. If a healer knows that e.g. the navel chakra is an in and out for emotional energies connecting us to family and very close friends, that a blocked navel chakra can hint at some emotional problems on a family level… Besides that the human mind is inquisitive and for me at least it is great to learn about and ever more understand our bodies. I am aware that there is a bit of healer ego in it too. Knowing more gives us the illusion that we are good at something and might have greater ability to help. One just has to watch out to not get too cocky about it and remember that the very gross of the work is still done by the energies themselves!

I would just like to make very clear that my experiences, impressions and understandings of energies are not guaranteed reports and descriptions! I would not (ever? Well definitely not yet!) call myself a 100% reliable psychic. I do not really ‘see’ much psychically, I feel more and think I understand things. What I see are more like fleeting impressions. That does not necessarily make it much easier to describe energy systems. I find there is a danger too in being too confident about ones psychic abilities. I have experienced again and again that spiritual intuitions can be tampered with, during my own work or via information I have been told by psychics. Information that just did not make any sense, neither back then nor to date, after reflecting on it for a few more years. If a healer thinks he/ she knows 100% that they have to do such and such in such and such circumstance, and insist on such a healing, if they are in fact wrong, they might end up blocking or hindering the actual healing that needs to take place! Also I believe that our energetic bodies are likely just as complex as our physical – and humans do not really fully know yet what really goes on in a simple (physical) cell, what influences what, where, how etc. There is much more research available into the physical though – our physical bodies’ histology, physiology, bio chemistry etc., than there is research into out energetic bodies. Plus on a physical level, what scientists see under a microscope, measure in a lab, is quiet clear and replicable, whereas, three different psychics looking at the same person might all see something different; even with something as relatively straight forward as the colours of the aura, the number of chakras etc.

When I e.g. send green healing energy into the heart chakra with a know-it-all attitude (the heart chakra is green, right!?) – Spirit would likely tell me: ‘Are you sure you want green and not pink, like reported in other books? What shade of green exactly? Or a mix of shades? Are you sure there is only green going into the heart chakra?’ Even if I were able to answer all those queries correctly, they might go on: ‘And with those shades of green into the heart chakra, did you consider that you might have to take the blockage out first, before you can put in fresh energy? or do you need some fresh energy in first, to soften up the blockage and enable you to take it out? And what about blockages beyond the heart chakra, in the heart-chakra-aura layer? How does the energy get there? Is there something like energetic arteries? Where are they? And if you want to affect something on a heart-chakra-aura- level cellular level, what do the cells look like and what has to be done?’ You probably get my gist by now. Maybe if I give healing all my life and keep learning something new with each healing (and keep rememberingit all afterwards), I will be able to answer more and more of those questions semi-reliably - that is a big ‘If’ though.

So today when I visualize something during a healing session, I tell Spirit, it is only meant as a suggestion. If that suggestion helps guide some energies and I can hence add to the healing with my energy – great, if I am mistaken though, they should just ignore me. I have learned to use some of the energy I used to spend trying to visualize as accurately as possible, to try and ‘hold’ a good, loving and healthy healing intend instead (which is hard work in itself at times)! I.e. I find healing works best when I find the balance between not getting in the way of the energy flow, but yet being involved, learning and adding my energy to it as best as I can.

I have found there is another thing to consider too, when working with our energetic bodies – a potential evolution. It is a bit like the embryology of the soul. If I perceived correctly, my energy bodies have changed and developed over the years. It is as if, with increased energy channeling abilities, I have received upgrades and or new systems have gone online (-  I will mention more about this below.) This too is to be considered though when working with energies. When reading one author’s view of the chakras, they might be talking about a spiritual novice’s chakras, whereas another author might be further along the spiritual development paths (be that innate or acquired) when reporting about the chakras? Both might be right about what they ‘see’, but a novice might not work successfully with visualizing advanced chakras and vise versa.

 

 

The Chakras

During most healing sessions I work with 10 main chakras. Each has a front and a back side to it, which connect to a chakra center inside the body. Where the chakras are like funnels, the chakra centers are like a ball of light and I understand them a bit like the heart and brain of the associated aura body. I call the chakra centers chakra hearts as well. Whereas the front chakras are usually were you expect them, the back chakras, I sometimes find, can shift a bit, i.e. be a bit higher or lower than expected. Generally the front chakras seem to deal with current affairs, whereas the back chakras are where past (and potentially past life’s) stuff ends up. I.e. if we do not deal with, heal, or forgive a current conflict in the here and now, it will end up influencing the state of the back chakras. (N.B. Any suggestions I make about healings to perform on chakra levels, remember – many a problem is multi-level, i.e. it affects more than one chakra. Also usually not just the chakra will be affected, but the associated aura level(s) too. Then there might be other systems to consider, like Hara and or Kundalini etc. My suggestions are more there to get your intuitions and creativity flowing.)

There is:

The Base Chakra – red – physical energy and basic survival instincts. Maybe some sex too. The front chakra is found between the legs, on the middle of the perineum, the back base chakra is somewhere around/ on top of S2/3/4. If you are tackling a physical illness, you will probably require a good dose of healing on the base chakra level. Or if you had very deep seated levels of self-consciousness, on the line of thinking you do not deserve a physical body, you’d need healing here too (if you do not want to be on this planet, it is more and also healing on your grounding). If your energy levels are not as good as you’d like them to be, you might not get enough energy through your base (blocked?, sluggish?, defect?), or loose too much on this level.  Deep seated trauma, such as childhood abuse might sit here too!

The Sacral Chakra – vermillion/ dark orange – also called the sex chakra. I feel that we connect emotionally to sexual partners on this chakra level, but it is also important for self-confidence, as well as divine self-confidence (understanding ourselves as individualized divine spirits). The front sacral chakra is on tip of the pubic bone or just above and the back sacral a bit higher on top of about L4. If you have self-confidence issues, this is a good chakra to start your healing. Sexual performance issues, try healing here. Problems with an intimate partner will likely affect this level and require more healings, cleansings, protections and recharges here too.

The Naval Chakra – orange. This is where we were initially corded to our mothers in the womb, and were I find we are emotionally connected on a family or close friends level. Trying to clear unfavorable past generation’s DNA errors mainly requires work on this level (and probably on the base chakra level), but other levels could be affected too. The front chakra sits on top of the navel, whereas the back navel chakra is a bit higher, about L1/2. Problems with a family member or close friend, will likely affect this level and require more healings, cleansings, protections and energy recharges here.

The Solar Plexus Chakra – yellow. This is where we exchange energies on a day-to-day human level, e.g. colleagues at work, the sales person in the supermarket, your lawyer or accountant, traffic  etc, etc. It supposedly is the main seat of our creativity too though, and yellow is supposed to attract money… It might be called solar plexus for a reason too – it is a bit like a sun shining in our bellies and major source of potential happiness. The front solar plexus chakra is on or just below the xiphoid process, the back side pretty much opposite on about T11. Problems with a colleague, that driver road raging against you, your frustration about your manager, or their frustrations about you etc., will likely affect this level and require more healings, cleansings, protections and energy recharges here. Problems with your creativity, as an artist, writer, marketer or else – check your solar plexus chakras…

The Heart Chakra – green. This is the seat of our divine unconditional love for everybody and everything! The front heart chakra is about half way up to two/thirds down the body of the sternum (excluding manubrium), the back slightly lower, i.e. about T6/7. In my understanding grief, heart-ache etc, should actually affect the lower emotional chakras more, but somehow they often seem to end up on one’s heart chakra too. Maybe that is because we think that these are matters of the heart, because we are told that they are? Or we have not understood unconditional love and our divine unconditional loving connection to everything fully yet? We then might think that what we e.g.  feel as romantic love (but often is so full of conditions) is divine, eternal, love and should be here, and consequently a heart break should end up here too? If you have problems empathizing or forgiving people, your heart chakra energy might not be flowing freely?

The Higher Heart Chakra – turquoise. This is the seat of our divine unconditional love for ourselves. I think it is interesting that that sits ‘higher’ than the unconditional love for everything else. The front higher heart chakra is on about the middle of the manubrium sternum on top of our thymus. The back on/about T3. If you have problems loving, accepting and forgiving yourself, work here! The higher heart sits on top of the thymus, which regulates our self-recognition immune system, i.e. auto-immune disorders will often have their cause here. Perhaps if we do not love and accept ourselves unconditionally, that creates a greater chance of our immune system attacking ourselves?

The Throat Chakra – blue. This is the seat of our communication, as well as logic and rational thinking. The front is about on top of the cricoids cartilage (under the Adam’s apple), the back one about C4. If you have problems speaking your mind or being heard, this might be the level to work on. Problems with math or other rational systems, you might have to work on this level.

The Third Eye – indigo. This is where we process our senses, including our extra-sensory perception, for the outside world. The front chakra is between the eyebrows, whereas the back one is about on top of the external occipital protuberance. If you have problems with your outside senses definitely do not forget to work here too. If you want to re-discover, protect or strengthen your psychic abilities for outside issues, here is a good place to start.

The Fifth Eye – indigo. This is where we process our senses, including our extra-sensory perception, for ourselves. The front fifth eye chakra is in the middle of the forehead, the back one about the middle of the back skull, about where occipital and the right and left parietal bones meet. If you have problems feeling, sensing and understanding yourself, work here. If you want to re-discover, protect or strengthen your psychic abilities re yourself, here is a good place to start.

The Crown Chakra – purple/ violet. This is where we connect to the divine and higher truths. The front chakra is on top of our head, whereas the back one is towards the top of the back of our skull. The crown chakra is supposedly the biggest of all chakras and as a healer I was taught that most of the healing energy channeled comes through the crown, still it is the most abstract of all chakras to me and it is hard to tell how it really adds to ones day-to-day living?

Some lightworkers seem to work with more ‘eyes’. Supposedly there is 7. There is the 2 eyes, where our physical eyes are and the third and fifth, as above. Then there is the fourth eye, which I feel gives us perception about those close to us. The sixth eye, above the fifth and just under the hairline, I believe is our connection to our Higher Self. Finally the seventh eye, is about 2cm above the hairline, above the sixth, and our connection to our spiritual guides and protectors. I have worked with all of them and am grateful that I have spent the time to feel them and cleanse and (re-)activate them, as felt appropriate. Working with the 7th was one of the very few times I can remember that really got me a proper blissful buzz. The buzz only lasted for a few hours though, and, as of yet, I have not been able to experience it again. There is those who teach even ‘higher’ chakras, supposedly above our head, but when reading what they are supposed to do, they all seem to do the same thing – higher understanding, even higher understanding and then some. I have tried working with them and did feel something when doing so, but am all together not really sure if that was ‘real’ and useful or an illusion? It was not ‘mind-blowing’ in any way, like it had been promised to be. One lecturer told me that I probably was not ready yet! Maybe? Then again I did hear about them and work with them relatively early on, on my spiritual path and did not feel much. Years later, with thousands more hours of meditation and healing under my belt, I tried working with them again and again nothing earth shattering happened. Maybe I still was not ready? My other theory is that there might be energies out there that want lightworkers to keep chasing after higher and higher understandings and connections. These chases in fact only distract from being happy where we are and investing our energy here on Earth, for Earth and Human issues  - to improve our lives here and now. Plus I feel there is enough left to understand down here too, trying to understand the (spiritual) cosmos in these bodies might neither be helpful and or totally overload us?

Initially, when I started working with my chakras, I was quite insecure. I was never really sure where they are and if or not I felt anything, and if I did feel anything, if it was in the right place? If you experience similar, do not be disheartened – rest assured that if you ask for healing for a certain chakra, then it will happen (unless it does not require any healing (which would be rare, especially if you are relatively new at it)). Over time your self-confidence should improve and you should feel where you chakras are and what state they are in… If you are worried you might be spending too much time on a chakra, just tell the healing energies to ignore your staying too long and work on something else already.

 As for the evolution of my chakra system. I started with the 7 supposed main ones, as described by most esoteric literature. After a while I read about and added working on the Naval, Higher Heart and 5th eye chakras. Then I discovered and started working with the back chakras, which I now feel was the most important step of all, as they deal with past issues. Once we have healed any past influences, the past cannot catch up with us anymore (unpleasantly). I actually read in one book to keep my hands off the back chakras, working with them is not appropriate and supposedly dangerous. I am not sure why the author thought so, I feel he might have feared it might trigger a premature Kundalini release trauma? Well I did not experience such and have since given healing to all my clients’ back-chakras (1500+ of them) and never had any problems because of it. Furthermore I have had clients who have flowing Kundalini and blocked back chakras, so the two systems do not necessarily influence each other. I feel that if we work in conjunction with Ultimate Good, under their supervision and protection, they will do their utmost (which is a lot) to keep us safe! If the back-chakra-work prohibiting author’s theory were right then any kind of work that resolves past conflicts, traumas, fears, upsets etc, like psycho-therapy sessions, would potentially be dangerous. I feel that most humans, especially lightworkers, will agree though that forgiving and letting go of the (negative) past is important for once development – and cleansing, healing and protecting ones back-chakras is one way to do so! 

Furthermore I read that as one develops spiritually the chakra colours get richer/ deeper/ darker. I concur. Perhaps it is due to us then being able to channel more and more energy and it becomes more and more concentrated? In recent years, when clubbing, channeling healing for the crowd for several hours, sometimes my chakras seemed to turn white. The next day, just channeling for myself or a client they are usually their respective colours again though. The white might be to be able to channel even more energy or maybe it is just some healer megalomaniac illusion?

You might also want to check that your chakras are complete! I.e. sometimes bit and pieces might have been given away, lost of stolen. Furthermore, while you are at it, I’d ask that your chakras be upgraded to the best and most capable versions (as applicable), which might be especially important if you work as a healer (or else wise do lightwork for others, or bigger projects), and you use your chakras to channel energy for more than just yourself… (You can obviously ask for sensible upgrades for all your energetic energy systems…)

Then I went through a phase where I tried to drill down on the different functions of the chakras. I.e. e.g. the base chakra will likely be responsible for e.g. physical age/ anti-aging , health and strength and physical form/ shape. I ended up seeing sub-chakras outside and in front of the main chakras and worked with them for a while. Either they were not real again or they have now been integrated into the chakras inside my body? They are gone! Which is good too, because they were hard work to stay aware off and make sure they were protected too! I had a similar problem when trying to visualize how energies got to my chakras? I used to ‘see’ these great long hoses/ pillars of energy, that came from far, far away and slotted into my chakras – a bit like a fuel hose into a car. Again, when I felt off, weak or otherwise attacked,  it was hard not to get paranoid that those hoses might be attacked, infiltrated or squeezed off by unfriendly energies somewhere and hence the cause of my un-wellness. I could have spent forever trying to monitor those hoses and put healing into any interference. I asked Ultimate Good to take this off me, which I am sure they did, but then during crisis one does get tempted to add to the defense of energy supplies, outside ones bodies, with one’s own energy. All these worries are mostly a thing of the past now, as nowadays it usually feels as if Ultimate Good beams energy straight in and out of my chakra centers. I have gone wire-less J. Sometimes I am not so sure anymore if I even still have chakras, or is they have become obsolete? I also worked with side chakras for a while, i.e. where a main chakra has a front and back one, I saw a left side and a right side one as well. They too seem to have disappeared though, and might just have been an illusion or wishful thinking trying to ‘up’ my energies by establishing more in and output avenues…

I have also read that chakras have different numbers of petals or sub-funnels, i.e. each chakras funnel is made up of smaller funnels, where sub-funnels lead energy in or out. Supposedly the base chakra has least petals and the number of petals increases for each higher chakra.  It all ended up being to much to have to visualize at once though, plus it never really made too much sense to me, why ‘lower’ chakras should be smaller than higher chakras – so I never meddled with it. Furthermore the actual anatomy of the chakras might be so much more complex than just sub funnels too…

With regard of the chakras to the physical body it is said that usually the organs nearest to a chakra are most influenced by that chakra. It kind of makes sense, but I try to not get too bogged down on it. Any main chakra feeds a whole aurabody, which is at least as big as the physical, so all aurabodies cover all organs. It is not all, all straight forward. E.g. the stomach I see mostly influenced by the solar plexus chakra, whereas the liver, being the main organ to deal with emotions, is influences by all emotional chakras - sacral, naval and solar plexus. The lungs are closest to the heart chakra, but seem more rules by the throat…And giving healing to any physical organ will usually always require healing on base chakra level too. ..

If you buy a more detailed book about chakras, you’ll find there is supposed to be many more minor chakras. Again, so far I had enough work just taking care of the main chakras, so I have not bothered learning more about them. All our main joints supposedly have chakras, and I do at times work through my joints and make sure they are clear. From Hawaiian Huna I learned that we have torso corner chakras, i.e. in the upper corner of our chest and kind of next to the frontal upper spine of the iliac crest  - i.e. not actually in the shoulder or hip joints. I do work with these at times and feel they are mostly associated with the heart chakra…

 

The Aura

Initially the aura really puzzled me. I kept on getting it wrong. Usually you get pictures of the aura, which very clearly shows layers in different colours on top of each other, all nicely bordered off. I took these depictions literal and hence always thought that our aura bodies are in fact aura shells, stacked one on top of the other – like Russian nesting, Babushka dolls. The main problem I then got was, how do the chakras and chakra hearts actually connect to these aura layers, as they do not seem to be in the same place? Looking at aura photos (the kind you can get done on Mind Body Spirit exhibitions) the aura looks very different again – no clear cut borders and often many colours , kind of blotchy, in and around each other. I could not really reconcile these two different versions with each other? Both versions of these aura visualizations show the aura extending beyond our physical body. Most layered depictions show 7 main layers, having the same colours as the 7 main chakras: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple.

I did what my mind tends to do, I just ignored the problem and concentrated on other things. If I did healing and visualizations for my energy bodies I’d usually concentrate on my chakras and hoped that the energy would feed through to my aura layers as appropriate. Only a few years back it finally clicked – we have aura bodies! That means that the etheric body, fed by the base chakra will be in and around our physical body. The next, the emotional body, fed by our sacral and naval chakras, will too be in and around our physical body, as well as in and around the etheric body – i.e. extending a bit further than the etheric. The next would be our mental body, fed by the solar plexus chakra and which is in and around the physical, etheric and emotional bodies. And so forth. The usual layered depiction of the aura layers, I understood, is highly simplified and stylized. If aura colours mixed as physical colours do, then working from the outside in, the outermost layer would be purple, the next a mix of purple and indigo, the next layer a mix of purple, indigo and blue, then purple, indigo, blue plus green etc., etc. With those colour mixes it would be impossible to identify the actual main colour of each body, except the outermost, but it would have helped me to understand that we have aura bodies not shells or layers.

Now if I understand correctly though, the different aura bodies, even though they partially occupy the same space, do work independently of each other. The colours do not actually mix. They work at different frequencies, a bit like radio or TV channels, which stream in the same space, but do not interfere with each other. Considering that many things we experience are multi-level, there might be some way of different chakra levels to influence each other, but I am not 100% sure how that works exactly and how to describe it. The main energy which connects and harmonizes the different chakras seems to be the Hara…

As for the evolution of my aura, besides the above understandings, I’ll just quote from my book (Alexander King – Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier):

What happens to the aura in tight confined spaces, like the London Underground? If my aura extended, say one meter beyond my physical bodies (and in healing courses, when other healers tried to feel my aura, it was supposedly five meters wide), would it then not ‘fuse’ with other people’s auras, when I got close to them? So even if I cleaned/ healed my aura when I meditated, could I be getting everybody else’s confused energies when traveling on the tube? Or almost worse, if my un-wellness was intrinsic, people around me might get some of mine too? I disengaged this paranoia by changing my understanding of my aura. I thought to understand that my auric bodies were perhaps not ‘solid’ but just a shine, e.g. the emotional - yellow, solar plexus chakra energy shines 50cm beyond my physical body and the spiritual, purple, crown chakra energy one meter beyond my physical body. The actual shining light bulb would be where the main chakras meet inside my physical body and somewhat beyond. Now if everybody just shines, if the veneers intermingle, there is no risk of infecting each other. My understanding of my aura has since further evolved. After some time I once again believed that my aura bodies are solid, but that they would be quite malleable and that they can squeeze tight or expand to full size, depending on how much room is available and thus could avoid ‘cross-contamination’.

          Currently I work on the assumption that my aura does not extend beyond my physical body, again. I believe so, as supposedly everything has an aura, including animals, objects etc. It is easier to understand when imagining ourselves swimming. If water has an aura too, extending beyond its physical extend, it would potentially penetrate our aura and vice versa. What about the air surrounding us? We are always surrounded by other matter (with their auras), so unless our auras would fuse (making it very hard to build up effective energetic protections), our auras would always be ‘squeezed’ to the size of our physical bodies anyway.             

I do not tend to visualize much more re my aura or my client’s. As explained, I think that our aura bodies are probably just as complex and detailed as our physical bodies, so I would not know what I am doing and rather keep my hands off it. Sure, sometimes I might feel or see a heavy energy patch inside an aura body – I’ll then concentrate on it with a healing intend, but do let the healing energies do all the actual and detailed work…

 

Grounding

Grounding work is to consciously connect to and work with healthy, divine Earth energies - usually connecting through ones heels. Earth energies are very nourishing, healing and help us cleanse out negative and stale energies, such as accumulated, stresses, fears, angers, frustrations etc. It mainly seems to flow via the skeletal system and enters the rest of our bodies from there…

I find grounding extremely important, but there is a whole chapter on Grounding in my book so no need to duplicate it all here.

 

The Hara

I see the Hara as this energy that comes in through the crown chakra on top and through the heels and base chakra on the bottom. It seems to be located pretty much in the middle of our body and seems to connect our chakra hearts, like the string of a string of pearls. There are also three main energy centers or Dan Tien. One in the lower belly, one in the upper chest and one in our head, towards the top. Or as I see it they are around the sacral chakra heart, around the higher heart chakra heart and around the 5th eye chakra heart (and or around the crown chakra heart, not too sure here). Some people work with the Dan Tiens mainly as energy reservoirs, some even pull intuitions out of them. When I initially started working with them and clearing them, that seemed to briefly work for me too, but nowadays, they are just there and contribute, but I do not work with them especially …

Initially I saw the Hara energies as see through. Over time they became more and more white. After that they started to take on a silver tinge up to sometimes being almost all silver… Funnily when I have my hands on the back of my client’s knees, there usually is very strong healing, of which most seems to take place in the Hara…

As mentioned, the main function seems to be to harmonize and coordinate the different chakra levels, plus healthy Hara energies seem to add an extra energy boost. There is more, but I’ll mention it after having discussed the next two, i.e. Kundalini energies and the Soul Star…

 

The Kundalini

The Kundalini energies are ‘higher’ energies too. Some say they are the most divine energies we possess? Some see them as two coiled up serpents, residing in the sacral bone, that rise and wind around the (back) chakras, as a human progresses spiritually. It looks very much like the Caduceus sign. The two snakes/ channels are called Ida and Pingala. In between the two snakes is an energy channel/ nadi, going straight up, called sushumna. It seems implied that once ones Kundalini energies have risen completely and connected with cosmic Kundalini in or over the Crown chakra, that pretty much means enlightenment. The same people claiming such usually put strong breaks onto that process though, they warn that an immature Kundalini rising can cause much harm and severe crisis. It sounds as If Kundalini rising could kind of cause energy blockages in ones back chakras to release all at once and poison once system?

Initially I followed the above advice and mostly left off any Kundalini work, but over the years I have become less fearful and have learned to not be afraid of challenging spiritual authorities/ writers/ gurus. What mainly quashed their theories for me was my experience with other healing energies and trusting that they are intelligent and do not harm. If Kundalini energies are divine, they will not rise, do things or go places that would trigger too much healing resistance and create uncontrollable problems. I did not push them, but I did start to meditate more on the Kundalini with a healing intent. Intending to unblock the system, where necessary etc. It felt more as if channeled healing energies were radiating from the outside onto Ida and Pingala, unblocked them,  and then allowed Kundalini energies toflow up. For whatever reason I only worked with the Ida and Pingala channels, and only recently made sure to clear my sushumna as well.  I did once get a bit of a sore spinal cord as a result of a Kundalini cleansing, but I gather that that was an unavoidable healing side effect. It was uncomfortable, but not debilitating and passed after a few days. What also made me more critical of common Kundalini teachings is that I had started to scan my client’s Kundalini energies regularly and have found that sometimes some have flowing Kundalini, regardless of not doing any conscious spiritual work and usually still having, at least some, blocked back chakras. If I were to try to find any underlying common thread for clients with flowing or freer Kundalini, it is that they on average seem quite happy and contend. They seem to enjoy their professions too (often creative ones, but not always) – so I think that overall they are more living their divine nature, life plan or whatever you want to call it…

Supposedly, when Kundalini energies rise, they give extra powers to the chakras – they super activate them. You hear quite fabulous accounts – you’d be very psychic, have full access to Akashic records, can have out of body experiences at will, create so much heat, you could melt yourself out of a snow drift etc. I have definitely become more sensitive since working spiritually, some of these sensitivities already surfaced about a year into my journey – I just did not understand them fully initially. Now, not having monitored my Kundalini much, except for the last few years – I cannot tell if my increased awareness went hand in hand with some Kundalini flow increase? My extra sensory sensitivities are still pretty unreliable, plus can still get tainted. As much as I tried for a while – out of body experiences have not materialized yet, nor any Akashic record access, that I am aware off, or e.g. more powerful psychic sight…I am quite confident though, that my Kundalini is quite strong, but could obviously be kidding myself?

Initially I started with transparent Kundalini too, then it became more white, then it started to take on a gold tinge until it was pretty much mostly golden….Whereas the Hara flows more in the mid-line of our bodies, the Kundalini flows more in the back, probably about where the spinal column is… I am not sure in which direction what flows, with Kundalini energies, so I keep out of it.

 

The Soul Star

The Soul Star is an energy center inside the tummy, about 2 finger widths above the navel. It is often described as the most divine energy we have, our unadulterated divine essence, our soul center. Sometimes I manage to connect soul star to soul star, which really gives you a feeling of oneness. It can be hard work though to get into that frequency and hold it, so I don’t do it often. Contrary to what I have read and been told, when working more closely with my soul star and those of clients, I have found adulterations, missing parts etc. One lecturer said it must be my meddling, resisting subconscious giving me those visions - could be? I rather think though that it is me having become open to the possibility of damaged soul stars. I.e. when I initially read about soul stars, quite early on in my journey, I read that they are always perfect! I then never dared to question their perfection and thought I always saw them perfect. Only once I allowed the possibility of faults did I start finding some…

Initially I was not quite sure what the Soul Star does? When managing to connect to it’s energy it always gave a more or less instant sense of calm and serenity – maybe because it reminds us of our eternal being (there is no need to stress, if you have eternity to solve problems, plus you do not have to fear death anymore…). What I did notice though is that, as opposed to all other energy systems above, where energies seemed to come to them and connect to them (at least for the first few years), with the Soul Star, energies seem(ed) to always beam in and our directly… (All that said, it does feel like the very heart of the soul star is impeccably divine and hence invincible.)

 

Bringing it all together – Chakras, Hara, Soul Star, Kundalini…

In 2013, I think, all systems started to come more together and their function now makes more and more sense to me. I am still, at times, somewhat insecure, whether I am right, as I never read my theories mentioned anywhere else yet – but it feels ‘right’:

What happened is that the Hara and Kundalini started to fuse. Whereas I had always, more or less, considered the Kundalini as a closed energy system, now it opened up. When I say closed energy system I mean that , using the snake analogy and hearing some calling the Kundalini the seat of our divine essence – I thought that my Kundalini energy is limited and would remain inside my body. Were I to let it flow out of my body, I would leave my bodies… - Now I started seeing the Hara as the energy input system, which then connected to the Kundalini, flowed up the spine and partially left through my crown. Just as energy flows in and out of our chakras – the Hara-Kundalini system was now ‘open’! The Soul Star slotted in too – it was sitting on top of the Hara and looks bit like a pumping heart, helping to circulate energies around the Hara-Kundalini flow. The Hara-Kundalini-Soul Star system, all help now to harmonize and also boost my chakras. Currently energies are mostly white, with both silver and gold tinges, sometimes the silver/gold intensifies.

I had arguments with two more clued in clients, who thought that the Kundalini sushumna channel is actually the Hara, but can only say that I still feel that they are two different and distinct structures, the Hara being located further towards the middle of the body (in a side view).

 

(26/3/2015) The latest insight I feel I have received is, that the Soulstar-Hara –Kundalini System can be upgraded. I.e. over time the energies flowing through it can become ever more pure and powerful. (I am reminded of the angel hierarchies – Angels – Archangels – Principalities – Powers – Virtues - Dominions – Thrones – Cherubim – Seraphim – and ultimately -> Gods and Goddesses. The further up you go the hierarchy the more invincible the beings get). As we progress on our spiritual path, the energies could therefore be continuously upgraded. It makes sense to me,  and it potentially explains why e.g. I frequently experience a boost in energy, when I have worked on e.g. my Kundalini energies, but it does not last too long and perhaps the next day or so, it feels like things are almost back to normal. A bit like my energy increases by 10-20% when cleansing or discovering a (new) energy system, but then things go back and the overall energy increase effect is just +1 to 2%. Perhaps when we initially ‘free’ and re-activate our e.g. Kundalini etc., the energies flowing through it are not all pure divine yet, hence they can be impeded by energy resistances (coming from the outside or inside?). Hopefully, with time, the energies will be ever more pure and ‘unstoppable’ and more marked increases in energy levels (and potentially spiritual abilities) more permanent!

I  cannot tell you if and how my energies are going to evolve and develop further in future? I remain open to anything necessary and let Ultimate Good guide me, as well as cleanse, protect, change and upgrade my systems as they deem necessary and sensible. Overall -  I do mostly feel like I have more energy than in the past (all the work on my systems has brought benefits). That does not mean though, that when hit by a wholly of  negative energies , I cannot still feel all e.g. depressed or exhausted. I think to remain more steadfast during such attacks though….

For more spiritual insights, feel free to purchase my book – Tours and Cures of a Lightsoldier (Alexander King), published through http://www.o-books.com/ and available from Amazon and other (online) retailers.

Feel free to share this blog – I just ask that you keep it as a whole/ unaltered, and reference it to me/ www.alexander-king.com as the author. Thanks

Research into the effectiveness of Massage Therapies for Parkinson’s patients

The following is general research conducted for a Sportsmassage Diploma case study. I this case mainly the clients shoulders, arms and back were treated (over the course of 4 treatments), but the patient's underlying condition, leading to muscle stiffness, is Parkinson's, so I decide to research the potential benefit of Massage Therapy for Parkinson’s patients.

The NHS general patient information website1.) tells us:

‘Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years. The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

·         tremor (involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body)

·         slow movement

·         stiff and inflexible muscles

A person with Parkinson’s disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms, including depression, constipation, problems sleeping (insomnia), loss of sense of smell (anosmia) and memory problems’.

Considering the major musculo-skeletal component of Parkinson’s, where muscles get stiff and inflexible, massage intuitively feels like a good therapy to help. P Ferry et al (2002)2.) found in their study, questioning 80 PD patients about their use of alternative and or complementary therapies, that the most commonly used complementary therapy is massage n=9 (11.25%). There is no way of telling from the abstract where this Parkinson’s clinic is situated though. I would gather that massage might be more commonly used in more affluent areas.  It seems implied in the article that the complementary therapies used were privately funded by the patients, i.e. if the Parkinson’s centre, where the study was held, is in a more affluent part of the country 11.25% might not be reached in less affluent regions, whereas if the centre was in a less affluent part of the country there might be more massage uptake in more richer areas? It might also be interesting to see whether in other European countries, where massage is often medically prescribed, e.g. Germany, the percentages might differ? According to a German Parkinson’s website3.) physiotherapy, including massage, stretching and weight training, should be started as soon as possible, to enable Parkinson’s patients to remain independent as long as possible. In the United Kingdom, to my knowledge, massage does not belong to the repertoire of what is taught to physiotherapists in their training. The NHS website only mentions physiotherapy or occupational therapy as supporting therapies in Parkinson’s though, so UK patients might be missing out on massage? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’ll have to establish first whether massage is a beneficial therapy.


The most interesting study I found, which is somewhat Sports Massage related too, is the following - LH Craig et al. (2006)4.):

Controlled pilot study of the effects of neuromuscular therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease.

The objectives of this study is to examine the effects of neuromuscular therapy (NMT) on motor and nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD). Thirty-six subjects with PD were randomly assigned to NMT or music relaxation (MR, or active control). Subjects received treatment twice a week for 4 weeks. Testing was conducted at baseline, after final treatment, and 8 days after final treatment. Primary outcome measures were the Motor subscale of the United Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and the Clinical Global Impression scale (CGI-Change). Secondary outcome measures included a PD-specific quality of life scale (PDQ-39), quantitative measures of motor function, and severity scales for anxiety and depression symptoms. NMT resulted in a significant and sustained improvement in the Motor subscale of the UPDRS (P < or = 0.0001), most notable in the tremor scores. Also improved 1 week after the last treatment were the CGI scores (P = 0.007) and the finger-tapping speed (P = 0.001). The MR active control group had a slight improvement in tremor but evidenced no other change in motor function. Both groups exhibited a modest improvement in quality of life immediately after the last treatment. This effect was sustained for 8 days only in the MR group. In the nonmotor domains, the MR group evidenced improvements in mood (P = 0.001) and anxiety (P = 0.002), whereas NMT had no effect on mood (P = 0.09), and its initial effect on anxiety (P = 0.0009) dissipated after 8 days (P = 0.40). Group differences for UPDRS motor score and patient CGI-Change were superior in the NMT compared to the MR group. There was no group difference in PDQ-39 scores or in nonmotor measures. The findings suggest that NMT can improve motor and selected nonmotor symptoms in PD and that this effect is more durable for the motor symptoms. The results of this pilot study warrant larger controlled studies to examine dose range, durability, and mechanisms of NMT in PD function.


36 patients, i.e. presumably 18 patients having been given NMT therapy is not a very large study, but interesting non-the-less. I find it especially interesting that LH Craig et al. (2006) decided to massage probands twice a week for 4 weeks. As I wrote in my case study summary, I felt that Pieter receiving massage more than once per week could possibly be even more beneficial. I am positively surprised that the study found somewhat lasting improvement in motor function (testing 1 week after final session again), as Pieter had subjectively reported that improved muscle relaxation in his shoulders only lasted up to 1.5 days. I am also somewhat surprised though that this study did not show any lasting quality of life results, whereas the ‘placebo’ group, receiving music relaxation did. Usually my clients seem to especially come to see me because of the stress reducing abilities of massage. Perhaps ‘just’ receiving NMT treatments, i.e. only being poked with a thumb (NMT Inhibition) and not receiving any longer, effleuraging etc. strokes was not very calming and de-stressing?

In another study Maria Hernandez-Reif et al (2002)5.) 16 Parkinson’s patient’s were either massaged or received progressive relaxation therapy, 2*pw 30min for 5weeks. Maria Hernandez-Reif et al then actually measured norephinephrine and ephinephrine serum levels (being stress hormones) after the 10 sessions, and found that the massage group had lesser levels. I find 30min massage sessions are not very long at all, with my regular whole body massages for Pieter I usually spend 90-120min, which makes Hernandez-Reif et al’s results even more impressive.  Overall these ‘de-stressing’ results feel more in line with what I see in my practice and what patients report to me though.

Charlotte Paterson et al. (2005)6.) came to similar, related conclusions as Maria Hernandez-Reif et al (2002). They offered 8 weekly, 1 hr deep whole body (therapeutic) massage sessions to 7 Parkinson’s patients. Results- In addition to enjoying the massage, individuals showed improvement in self-confidence, well-being, walking and activities of daily living. There was good agreement between data from the outcome questionnaires, interviews and clinical notes.6.) Well, I would think that a decrease in stress hormones would likely be experienced as an increase in well being. Charlotte Paterson et al. (2005) used two different questionnaires to ascertain results, which might be more subjective than stress hormone serum levels, but then most patients likely do not care too much if their increase of well being is subjective only, or can be confirmed with a laboratory test. But then, if one has received free massage for 8 weeks, one might try to be polite and more positive in ones judgement then one actually feels? In that regard a stress hormone serum level test is much less manipulable. Note that here the application frequency went from twice per week to once per week, but still had positive results. That is comforting to know. Most of my full time working clients would probably be hard pressed to come see me more than once a week, including Pieter. But then I mainly have recreational massage clients yet, likely my attitude and confidence will change over time, once I do more sports and medical massage (with more concrete illnesses to treat than ‘just stress’). With recreational massages, the most loyal clients see me about once a months. On the other hand the study tells us that there have been improvements in e.g. walking, but without more concrete data that could mean anything. If normal stride length is 0.76m and a Parkinson’s patient’s stride is shortened to 10cms and improves to 11cm, that is an improvement, but he/ she will still be moving stiff and slowly. To increase such a patient’s stride length to a more normal 0.5m, he/ she might require daily massage for weeks, or massage might not be able to improve results beyond say 0.2m, however many massages one receives? Unfortunately we, as EfH Sports Massage Students, do not have access to medical libraries, where we might be able to access studies in their entirety, without paying very steep amounts online (most articles I have found yet, retailing at USD 40+ each), so I can only comment on study summaries and abstracts.


I found two more studies regarding the potential beneficial effects of massage in PD. Nozomi Donoyama and Norio Ohkoshi (2012)7.)  - Effects of Traditional Japanese Massage Therapy on Various Symptoms in Patients with Parkinson's Disease: A Case-Series Study,

 and what looks like a bigger follow up: N Donoyama (2014)8.) - Effectiveness of Anma massage therapy in alleviating physical symptoms in outpatients with Parkinson's disease: A before-after study. The 2012 study offer one single 30min traditional Japanese massage to 10 Parkinson’s patients. The scientists found that, amongst others, with one single massage session gait speed, in those patient’s with gait disturbances, was improved, as well as ROM, with patient’s with frozen shoulder complaints. It looks as if these results were encouragement enough to conduct a bigger study, published in 2014.

Effectiveness of Anma massage therapy in alleviating physical symptoms in outpatients with Parkinson's disease: A before-after study.

Abstract

We aimed to confirm the physical effects of a single Anma massage session and continuous Anma massage therapy for outpatients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Twenty-one PD outpatients (mean age, 64.43 ± 8.39 [SD] years; Hoehn and Yahr stage I-IV) received a single 40-min Anma massage session involving upper and lower limb exercises and some subsequently received seven weekly Anma massage sessions. After a single session, visual analogue scale scores were significantly lower for muscle stiffness, movement difficulties, pain, and fatigue; gait speed and pegboard test time were significantly shortened; stride length was significantly lengthened; and shoulder flexion and abduction were significantly improved. No significant changes occurred in controls. After continuous sessions, we found general improvements in the same outcomes. In conclusion, Anma massage might effectively alleviate various physical PD symptoms; furthermore, because it is given through clothing, Anma massage is accessible for PD patients with movement difficulties.


N.B. Anma massage is traditional Japanese Massage: Anma practices uses common massage techniques such as kneading, rubbing, tapping and shaking. These activities are directed at specific vital points and meridians on the body.[3] The seven traditional techniques are: pressing/stroking, grasping/kneading, strengthening, compressing, vibrating, tapping and "hand music".9.)

Again ‘significant’ improvements are being reported. It is not quite clear to me though whether further sessions meant further improvements or an upkeep of improvements? Comparatively Pieter showed no change in shoulder flexion, which at 160° was not too restricted in the first place though, and a (probably) significant 30° improvement in abduction (120-150°). This on his r.h.s. only though, his l.h.s. remained at 120°. Generally his l.h.s. side was tighter than his r.h.s., but I am confident that both sides received the same amount of massage. If anything I probably spent more time on his l.h.s.. The question here would be if Anma massage is in some way better suited to treat PD patients, then Sports Massage? From the sounds of it, it is not too different, except for it’s emphasis to working with meridians and acupressure points, rather than ‘just’ trigger points.

Interestingly Anma massage is actually performed clothed, which is named as a benefit for PD patients with movement difficulties. From my past nursing experience I know that PD patients can be much more rigid than Pieter is, so this makes sense. Dressing and undressing become very time consuming activities, such patients might have difficulties getting on a massage couch too and might need to receive massage sitting down on a chair. Nothing stops a Sports Massage therapist from adjusting his or her technique to be performed through clothing too though, should the need arise. Many a pre or post event massage seems to regularly be performed through clothing too, and Sports Massage Therapists are taught such. Furthermore some techniques are taught without the use of oil already, e.g. STR. Trigger Point Inhibition, being on-the-spot, does not require any oil or essentially naked skin either…

Please note that from the abstract alone we cannot tell what kind of controls were used. Obviously if one has one group of patients who do receive massage and one that does not, a placebo effect with those receiving massage cannot be excluded!


To be fair I found one more study mentioning massage in PD, which is not too enthusiastic about massage in PD - G Ulm (1995)10.).

The current significance of physiotherapeutic measures in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Abstract          

Physical measures as adjuvant therapy in Parkinson's disease have so far received insufficient investigation from the viewpoint of either their clinical effectiveness or of their theoretical rationale, although they are widely prescribed in practice and contribute a substantial cost factor to the overall treatment. Most attention has been devoted to movement therapy, which may admittedly only achieve minor improvements in motor performance but contributes substantially to subjective improvement of the well-being of the patients and to the maintenance of their physiological functions. Speech therapy seems to be effective only for patients who are highly motivated and have not suffered any psychological deficits and who continue exercising on their own. Massage, ergonomic treatment approaches and the nowadays fashionable area of various relaxation techniques have received very little attention. Our own trials with vibro-massage (swing-exbusar) for the loosening of muscular rigidity have led to no sustained improvement, and our attempts to improve speech defects in Parkinsonian patients by the application of laser acupuncture have likewise not resulted in improvement.


Wikipedia tells us this about Vibromassage:

Vibromassage (also called vibratory massage, vibra-massage, vibration therapy) is a type of massage based on the use of mechanical devices for vibration therapy, which pass vibration onto the body surface that is being massaged. Vibromassage can be both general and local.11.)


Even though G Ulm (1995) says that he/ she did not observe sustained improvements (where there some, but they reverted after some non-massage time?), the results are somewhat comforting. Most likely a vibrating massage machine was used, whereas in all other studies, quoted above, human massage therapists performed the massage. Besides probably being more versatile in their massage techniques repertoire than a vibro massager, other factors like the ‘human factor’ or perhaps therapists intuition might be vital to achieving better and more sustained positive massage results!


Last but not least I came across an article - Clinical and economic analysis of spa therapy in Parkinson's disease, C Brefel-Courbon et al (2003)12.):

Abstract

The effectiveness of spa therapy in the management of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) has never been evaluated. This is assessed in this pilot study. A prospective, randomized, cross-over, controlled study was conducted in 31 PD patients who underwent a 20-week spa period, including spa therapy for 3 weeks, and a 20-week non-spa period. Effectiveness was assessed using quality of life scales (PDQ-39 and SF-36), motor scale (UPDRS) and psychological questionnaire (GHQ-28), at baseline and at 4 (T4) and at 20 weeks (T20). Direct medical costs (radiological and laboratory tests, physician fees, drug therapy, and ancillary care) were recorded over each 20-week period. At T4, spa therapy improved significantly several dimensions of PDQ-39 and SF-36, part IV of the UPDRS, and GHQ-28. At T20, no difference in any parameter was found. The mean direct medical cost over 20 weeks (euro;1,328 +/- 167; pound 776 +/- 97 per patient) in the spa period was slightly but significantly reduced in comparison with that of the non-spa period (euro;1380 +/- 523; pound 807 +/- 306 per patient). This cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that spa therapy is more effective and less expensive than conventional treatment alone and could be beneficial in the management of PD.


This article seems to show that PD patients who receive Spa therapy (no detailed information is given what happens during such a Spa period), are overall lees expensive to treat than those who do not receive any Spa therapy. This is interesting, as in my conclusion of Pieter’s case study I felt too, that he might benefit from a proper Spa, with more massage (and potentially further therapies). To be fair though, Pieter does not require any anxillary care yet, just the occasional set of bi-weekly physio sessions. And I do not know how much of a cost difference a potential, say, dose reduction in anti-parkinson’s medication would come to. I.e. greatest cost savings might be only possible with advanced PD patients, who, after Spa therapy, require less mobile nursing help in their homes.


In conclusion – Massage does overall seem to be a viable method in helping PD patients. Where a more complex massage that goes beyond just utilizing a single technique (NMT or vibro massage here) seems more beneficial than single technique treatments. Whether that is because combination massages are more relaxing than single technique massages remains unclear. (When considering massage therapists and suffering with Parkinson's therefore a certain amount of experience and level of training might be desirable. In the UK level 5 Sportsmassage Therapists should be trained to treat clients with pre-existing medical conditions, such as PD.)

Gait, ROM improvements etc. seem achievable and some studies found psychological benefits too. It remains unclear, from the data accessible, if there is a limit to how much improvement can be achieved and if e.g. number of massage sessions per week and or number of massage sessions overall make a difference. Furthermore only one study tested patients at +1 week, post their last massage session, so we do not know yet how long improvements can  last, before potentially being reversed again by PD. Ongoing massage therapy might be required. From the above studies it seems likely though that weekly sessions would likely suffice to keep up improvements achieved. It might be interesting to research if this could be extended to say every two weeks or once a months.

Whereas Massage Therapy is potentially not the cheapest therapy out there, if it can help PD patients remain independent for longer and forsake more nursing homecare or eventually residential care for longer, besides the clear human and psychological gains, the cost-benefit too might be higher than not providing manual therapies.


1.)  Parkinson’s Disease (Last reviewed 2/4/2014), [Online], available from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Parkinsons-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx, accessed [13/10/2014]

2.) P Ferry, M Johnson, P Wallis, Postgrad Med J. 2002 Oct;78(924):612-4., Use of complementary therapies and non-prescribed medication in patients with Parkinson's disease.

3.) Nicht-Medikamentöse Behandlung bei Parkinson, [Online], available from http://www.parkinson-aktuell.de/behandlung-von-parkinson/nicht-medikamentoese-behandlung-bei-parkinson, accessed [13/10/2014)

4.) LH Craig et al., Mov Disord. 2006 Dec;21(12):2127-33. Controlled pilot study of the effects of neuromuscular therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease

5.) Maria Hernandez-Reif et al., Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies

Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 177–182, July 2002, Parkinson's disease symptoms are differentially affected by massage therapy vs. progressive muscle relaxation: a pilot study

 6.) Charlotte Paterson et al., Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 161–171, August 2005, A pilot study of therapeutic massage for people with Parkinson's disease: the added value of user involvement

7.) Nozomi Donoyama and Norio Ohkoshi. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. March 2012, 18(3): 294-299, Effects of Traditional Japanese Massage Therapy on Various Symptoms in Patients with Parkinson's Disease: A Case-Series Study

8.) N Donoyama et al., Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Aug 20, Effectiveness of Anma massage therapy in alleviating physical symptoms in outpatients with Parkinson's disease: A before-after study.

 9.) Anma, [Online], available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anma, accessed [15/10/2014]

 10.) Ulm G, Paracelsus-Elena Clinic, Kassel, Federal Republic of Germany.

Journal of Neural Transmission. Supplementum [1995, 46:455-460], The current significance of physiotherapeutic measures in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

11.) Vibromassage, [Online], available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibromassage, accessed [15/10/2014]

12.) C Brefel-Courbon et al, Mov Disord. 2003 May;18(5):578-84 , Clinical and economic analysis of spa therapy in Parkinson's disease

Research into Hamstring Strain and Sports Massage

The following is general research conducted for a Sportsmassage Diploma case study. The client presented with sub acute Hamstring strain (Level 1)

 Most research into Hamstring Strain Treatment seems to just consider exercise and stretching rehabilitation programs, not mentioning massage at all. I have stumbled across only one Sports Massage technique used to treat Hamstring Strains, i.e. Cross Fibre Frictions/ Deep Transverse Massage. The following will discuss Hamstring Strain injuries, signs and symptoms, BTEC - Diploma in Sports Massage taught treatment options and compare them to found publication(s) about Cross Fibre Friction treatments.


Hamstring strains or ruptures are among the most common injuries of active athletes. 1.) According to Lars Peterson and Per Renstroem2.), they usually take place at the muscle-tendon juncture or at their insertion. Considering the anatomy of the hamstrings, this can be at almost any part of the hamstrings, considering the long musculotendinous junctions following most of the muscle length’s. Typically there will be sudden onset sharp pain, with a potential pop-ing sensation. Signs and Symptoms are local tenderness on palpation, potential hematoma (which may or may not reach the skin). A palpable defect is supposedly untypical. The athlete will experience pain on loading tests.

Lars Peterson and Per Renstroem (2001) suggest for treatment – Rest, Ice and Elevation during the acute phase (3-5 days). After 5 days exercise and stretching should be reintroduced, slowly building up ROM and increasing intensity, making sure to stay within limits which do not cause new/ further pain. After 2-4 weeks (depending on severity of injury), they suggest a return to ones Sport. A potential, occasional complication are chronic strain conditions, which might end up requiring surgery. They recommend potentially taking anti inflammatory medication, presumably for pain relief.

Muscle Strains can be graded. If less than 5% of fibres are torn, we speak of a Grade I Strain. Grade II is >5% and Grade III is a complete rupture of a muscle.

Lars Peterson and Per Renstroem (2001) do not mention massage as a viable treatment method, in conjunction with muscle strain at all. Massage does get one brief paragraph in the 5th Chapter – Principles of Treatment, as an age old treatment method in Sports, but it is insinuated that besides symptomatic relief there is not much in clinical proof that it really works.

BTEC– Diploma in Sports Massage teaches it’s students that certain Sports Massage techniques are useful in the Post Acute stage of muscle strains. Massage should slowly build up in depth, using Effleurage initially than Petrissage and then build up to deeper work, aiming to flatten fibres and soften/ dissolve or prevent adhesions. Furthermore the potential use of Deep Tissue Frictions (DTF), Neuromuscular Technique (NMT) and Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), to restore muscle length and function, are advised. Students are taught that Grade I strains take 4-6 weeks to heal, Grade II can take 2-3 months and Grade III might require months of rehabilitation. Regular massage (in a Grade I)  is supposedly recommended for 6 weeks to prevent adhesions.


Hoskins and Pollard (2005) quite categorically state that there is no evidence based approach to injury management of hamstring injuries, due to lack of high quality research into treatment, rehabilitation and prevention methods. Management is based on clinical experience, anecdotal evidence and knowledge of the biological basis of tissue repair.6.)

What both fractions seem to agree on, those how advocate the use of massage3.) and those who seem to think that simply controlled exercise and stretching regimes are sufficient 1.),2.), 4.),  is, that after initial rest, a quick return to mobilization is desired. A.) to prevent muscle atrophy and b.) as during the maturation of the scar tissue, as long as the scar has not fully set yet, mobilization, stretching and (cross-fibre) massage might help the tissue repair to be most effective, preventing cross-fibre adhesions. Ombregt (2013) describes this very nicely:


    Friction stimulates fibre orientation in regenerating connective tissue:

During the maturation, the scar tissue is reshaped and strengthened by removing, reorganising and replacing cells and matrix . (8) It is now generally recognised that internal and external mechanical stress applied to the repair tissue is the main stimulus for remodelling immature and weak scar tissue with fibres oriented in all directions and through several planes into linearly rearranged bundles of connective tissue. (9) Therefore, during the healing period, the affected structures should be kept mobile by using them normally. However, because of pain, the tissues cannot be moved to their full extent. This problem can be solved by friction. Transverse friction massage imposes rhythmical stress transversely to the remodelling collagenous structures of the connective tissue and thus reorients the collagen in a longitudinal fashion. Friction is thus an useful treatment to apply at the beginning of the repair cycle (granulation and beginning of remodelling stage): The cyclic loading on and motion of the healing connective tissues stimulates formation and remodelling of the collagen (10).


    Friction prevents adhesion formation and ruptures unwanted adhesions


As transverse friction aims basically to achieve transverse movement of the collagen structure of the connective tissue, crosslinks and adhesion formation are prevented . In the early stages of proliferation when crosslinks are absent or still weak, friction must be very light so as to cause only minimal discomfort. Therefore, in the first day or two following an injury, friction is given with slight pressure only and over a short duration, say one minute.
At a later stage when strong crosslinks or adhesions have formed, more intense friction is needed to break these down.( 11, 12). The technique is then used to soften the scar tissue and to mobilize the cross links between the mutual collagen fibres and the adhesions between repairing connective tissue and surrounding tissues . This, together with the produced local anaesthesia, prepares the structures for the mobilizations that apply longitudinal stress to the structures and rupture the larger adhesions.

A good illustration of what the effect of transverse massage is the following:

2.2 Deep transverse massage. The muscle fibres are teased apart.5.)

Further on in the Chapter Ombregt (2013) goes on and says:


It is a common clinical experience that all musculotendinous junctions (containing both muscular and tendinous fibres) throughout the whole body can be treated only by deep transverse friction. It seems that no alternatives for the friction exist: local anaesthetics, so curative for some muscle belly lesion and steroids, so effective at teno-periosteal lesions, have not the slightest effect on musculotendinous lesions, whereas deep transverse frictions usually have.

Using transverse frictions to strains in the hamstring belly, seems therefore wise, as injuries, considering the anatomy, will most likely be at a muscular tendious border.


I should mention though that Ombregt (2013) confirms Hoskins and Pollard (2005), and does make clear that Deep Transverse Friction (DTF) is not scientifically proven – ‘Transverse Massage should be taken for what it is: no scientific proof (yet) but banking on empiry.’


The main ‘problem’ I currently still have with DTF is the ‘pain issue’. According to Ombregt (2013) the techniques has an unjust reputation of being very painful. I have to reserve personal judgement here, as I have not massaged any sub acute injuries with DTF techniques yet. When being taught DTF, and having had it performed on me, DTF could be uncomfortable (and that was on healthy tissue). I can imagine that at least the initial pain triggered, by going ‘deep’ on a relatively fresh injury could be substantial. Ombregt (2013) does alleviate though and explains that ‘However, pain during friction massage is usually the result of either a wrong indication, a wrong technique or an unaccustomed amount of pressure. Friction massage applied correctly will quickly result in an analgesic effect over the treated area and is not at all a painful experience to the patient.’ and then adds a paragraph about why pain might be relieved:


Relief of pain

It is a common clinical observation that application of local transverse friction leads to immediate pain relief - the patient experiences a numbing effect during the friction and reassessment immediately after the session shows reduction in pain and increase in strength and mobility. The time to produce analgesia during the application of transverse friction is a few minutes and the post-massage analgesic effect may last more than 24 hours. (3)

The temporary relief at the end of a session prepares the patient for treatment with mobilisation not otherwise possible, such as selective rupture of unwanted adhesions.

A number of hypotheses to explain the pain relieving effect of transverse massage have been put forwards:

Pain relief during and after friction massage may be due to modulation of the nociceptive impulses at spinal cord level: the "gate control theory" . The centripetal projection into the dorsal horn of the spinal cord from the nociceptive receptor system is inhibited by the concurrent activity of the mechanoreceptors located in the same tissues. Selective stimulation of the mechanoreceptors by rhythmical movements over the affected area thus ‘closes the gate for pain afference’.

According to Cyriax, friction also leads to increased destruction of painprovoking metabolites, such as Lewis's substances. This metabolite, if present in too high a concentration, provokes ischaemia and pain.

It has also been suggested that prolonged deep friction of a localised area may give rise to a lasting peripheral disturbance of nerve tissue, with local anesthetic effect.

Another mechanism through which reduction in pain may be achieved is through diffuse noxious inhibitory controls, a pain suppression mechanism that releases endogenous opiates. The latter are inhibitory neurotransmitters which diminish the intensity of the pain transmitted to higher centres. (4,5,6)

Whereas I agree that sometimes pain seems to vanish, just by not being afraid of it, and facing it head on, in my experience, with e.g. sore muscles, trigger points etc, usually when I massage tender areas the massage intuitively slows right down, it almost grinds to a halt. I might still use very slight vibration when inhibiting a (not too sore) trigger point, but I would not think I would feel that I should friction it. Ombregt (2013) claim about DTF being analgesic is somewhat annihilated as well, as later on he writes: ‘In minor muscular tears the friction is often part of a combined treatment, as it is usually applied after an infiltration with local anaesthesia’. Now if minor muscle tears supposedly require anaesthesia, what about Grade II or III ones? If anaesthesia is required, then this therapy could really only be provided by healthcare professionals, who are qualified to inject medications. It would pretty much exclude most massage therapists and even physios.

Another aspect of DTF which makes it difficult for me to fully embrace it yet is the insistence of massage having to be applied transverse to the (e.g. muscle) fibres. With more complex structures, like the hamstring muscle it is usually not possible to really tell where a minor tear actually is located,  in the say medial head of biceps femoris or the semimembranosus, both of which fibres run differently. Even in just one muscle, fibres might be slightly differently orientated depending on the depth at which , in the muscle body, they are, and would have torn. What makes more sense to me is that applying friction on an area will warm it up, fascial groundsubstance will liquefy and fascial fibre entanglements/ crosslinks will dissolve? In which direction the friction is applied would then likely be unimportant.

If in fact, what is required is a myofascial release of fascial crosslinks than other techniques, such as applying heat, METs or NMT might all be viable too, but may overall cause much less discomfort?

Furthermore Ombregt (2013) writes: ‘Transverse massage either works quickly (after 6 to 10 sessions) or not at all.’ 6 to 10 session does not sound that quick to me. Supposedly one would leave 2-3 days between sessions, to give the body a chance to heal potential new inflammation caused, i.e. we are talking of a treatment period of anything from 12 - 30+ days here, to evaluate if a treatment works in the first place. A Grade I muscle strain might just take 4 weeks to heal without any intervention at all. This makes it hard to evaluate if any positive healing progression is actually do to the DTF treatments, regardless of them or even despite of them? No explanation is given why it might not work in the first place by Ombregt. Furthermore I think of the practical implications, to tell a client that they will have to come see you for 6-10 treatments, which may or may not work, and which may be quite painful, might be difficult. Their time and financial commitment is to be considered! Unless we are talking about the affluent, professional sportspeople or where manual therapies might be covered by a private health care scheme, 6-10 sessions are a serious financial commitment. One would want to be quite confident in the technique. Especially if there is an additional investment of pain, one would want clear scientific proof that the long term healing effects are better and recurrences of injuries significantly lower. Ombregt (2013) claims:

‘Friction is usually slower in effect than injections but leads to a physically more fundamental resolution, resulting in more permanent cure and less recurrence. Whereas steroid injection is usually successful in 1- 2 weeks, deep friction may require up to 6 weeks to have its full effect.’


Personally, until more studies into Deep Friction Massage are performed, including their long term benefit, I will have to rely on my own empirical data. Researching this therapy has certainly sparked my interest and give me greater understanding about it. I will have to reserve final judgement about it though, until I have treated more sports pathologies and experienced for myself if DTF is indeed analgesic and not a tool to just make me unpopular with my clients.

(My personal experience of having combined Massage Therapy and Spiritual Healing for several years is, that with such a combination clients seem to relax quicker and deeper. Their pain threshold seems to be elevated too, i.e. they seem less sensitive to pain. Even with that knowledge I will approach DTF in strains with great care in future. Alternatively if you have suffered a strain you might also look into finding a massage therapist (or physio, chiropractor etc.), who is also trained in acupuncture, and who knows how to needle for pain relief. Considering that in China supposedly open heart surgery is performed with acupuncture as anaesthesia only, it should be a viable option.)


 Just because there is no Medline research into other massage types used to treat muscle strains, does not mean that massage therapy (and other massage techniques/ applicators/ strokes) are not beneficial. When researching e.g. football teams, I'd bet that, where means allow, teams will have masseurs at hand, and injured players will receive massage too, to speed up recovery (by assisting e.g drainage). Strained players will receive massage regardless of there not being any medical research attesting to its efficacy (in treating strains, and which I could find). Overall a higher level of training (e.g. BTEC Level 5 Sportsmassage Diploma) should be useful, as such masseurs will be more versed in treating common sports injuries and will have a wider variety of massage techniques to choose from.


1.)  TO Clanton and  KJ Coupe,  J Am Acad Orthop Surg July 1998 vol. 6 no. 4 237-248 – Hamstring strains in athletes: diagnosis and treatment

2.) Lars Peterson and Per Renstroem (2001), Sports Injuries, Their Prevention and Treatment. 3rd Edition, Singapore, Kyoto Printing Pte. Ltd

3.) Ludwig Ombregt MD (2013), A System of Orthopaedic Medicine. 3rd Edition, China, Churchill Livingstone, cited [Online], available from http://www.ombregt.be/engels/friction.htm [Accessed 30 September 2014]


4.) Marc A. Sherry et.al., Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2004, Volume: 34, Issue: 3, Pages: 116-125 – A comparison of 2 Rehabilitation Programs in the Treatment of Acute Hamstring Strains


5.) J H Cyriax (1993), Cyriax’s Illustrated Manual of Orthopaedic Medicine. 2nd Edition, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., pg 19


6.) W Hoskins, H Pollard, Manual Therapy, Aug 2005 10(3): 180-90 – Hamstring Injury management-Part 2: Treatment


General Research into (Upper) Trapezius/ Shoulder pain and Sports Massage (Techniques)

The following is general research conducted for a Sportsmassage Diploma case study. The client presented with upper shoulder pain, over the course of 4 treatments with Sportsmassage techniques his condition much improved. ROM increased and pain vanished! (client named: Ax)


The purpose of this research is to look into studies performed regarding Upper Trapezius/ upper shoulder pain and different Sports Massage techniques.


Amongst others the most likely causes of Upper Trapezius or upper shoulder pain, with clients presenting in a masseurs practice, would be overuse (such as in repetitive strain injuries, potentially leading to micro trauma; or simply a accumulation of metabolic waste products in a tight, potentially hypertrophic muscle (tight muscles impeding optimal blood supply and lymphatic drainage)), overuse likely going to present with trigger/ tender points, a strain (which is usually accompanied with sudden, sharp onset of pain, an acute injury, so less likely in Ax’s case), muscular imbalance (leading to overuse or atrophy), bad posture (leading to muscle imbalance, overuse or potential nerve impingement).

Nerve impingement (requiring spinal manipulation) or Grade III muscle strain (potentially Grade II as well, depending on severity) would require Sports Massage therapists to refer their patients to more qualified professionals. Muscle imbalance, overuse, tight or hypertrophic muscles, repetitive stress injuries, bad posture, grade I strains as well as trigger points can all potentially be treated by qualified sports massage therapists though. Techniques, which could be utilized, would be general massage, Deep Tissues Massage (DTM), Neuromuscular Techniques (NMT)  - especially treating trigger points, static stretching techniques, as well as advanced stretching techniques, such as Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) and Soft Tissue Release (STR), furthermore Deep Tissue Frictions (DTF), Jones Strain/ Counterstrain technioque and Mysofascial Release techniques (MFR).

Considering that Ax’s pain was not reported to have had a sudden, acute onset of pain, and it was bilateral, assessing his pain as a (now chronic) muscle strain injury was unlikely, so I will not include this option in my research.


Muscle imbalance can either stem from unbalanced muscle training or bad posture1.). Jill L. McNitt-Gray and Witaya Mathiyakom (2007) write:

Muscle imbalance is the weakness of one muscle/group while its antagonist is strong.10,11 The weaker of the two muscles/groups is usually elongated, while the stronger is shortened.10,11 Shoulder injuries commonly experienced by dental hygienists, such as upper trapezius and levator scapulae myalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome, and supraspinatus tendinitis,2 are often related to muscle imbalance. For example, a prolonged scapular elevation posture that is common among dental hygienists requires the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles to contract isometrically. The activation of these two muscles without alternation in muscle length reduces blood circulation, creates microtrauma, and, over time, leads to upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscle pain. Static contraction of the upper trapezius and levator scapule muscles also results in adaptive shortening of these muscles and leads to an elevated scapula. As the scapula becomes elevated, the lower trapezius muscle (the antagonistic muscles of the upper trapezius and levator scapulae) becomes elongated and begins to weaken,3 thereby increasing the susceptibility to future injury.


Even though Rochelle Cocco (2011)2.) does not seem to be a qualified manual or medical therapist, it does make sense that she concludes:

How Destabilized Shoulder Blades cause Neck and Upper Back Pain: Because the Rhomboids, and Middle and Lower Trapezius muscles are stretched and weak, the work of anchoring the shoulder blades to the spinal column passes to the Levator Scapula and Upper Trapezius, both of which can't avoid their anatomical role of suspending the shoulder blades from the neck/cervical spine. But these two muscles aren't adequate for the extra load* and in response they become hyperactive and remain tight, always trying to pull the shoulders up toward the ears. Use of the arms in weight bearing activity such as in lifting or pulling adds to the load, and may cause the upper traps and levator scapula to spasm. Focal points of hyperactivity are felt as tender knots at the levator scapulas' points of attachment to the shoulder blade (red X in illustration above and at left)


Ax though does seem very muscle balance aware and except for a slightly forward positioned head his posture appeared healthy and balanced. Furthermore tense and well developed middle and lower traps, as well as rhomboids do seem to preclude Rochelle Cocco’s (2011) pain aetiology. I mention them none-the-less, as stumbling across the above in my research has helped me to in future be more posture and muscle imbalance aware, with regards to tense upper shoulder muscles. If in such cases weakened medial scapula stabilizers are not strengthened/ posture is not corrected, massaging upper traps and levator scapulae will likely just lead to temporary improvement.


The above syndrome is also called Upper Crossed Syndrome and Michelle K Moore (2004)3.) writes:

Abstract

Objective

To discuss the management of upper crossed syndrome and cervicogenic headache with chiropractic care, myofascial release, and exercise.

Clinical Features

A 56-year-old male writer had been having constant 1-sided headaches radiating into the right eye twice weekly for the past 5 years. Tenderness to palpation was elicited from the occiput to T4 bilaterally. Trigger points were palpated in the pectoralis major, levator scapulae, upper trapezius, and supraspinatus muscles bilaterally. Range of motion in the cervical region was decreased in all ranges and was painful. Visual examination demonstrated severe forward translation of the head, rounded shoulders, and right cervical translation.

Intervention and Outcome

The patient was adjusted using high-velocity, short-lever arm manipulation procedures (diversified technique) and was given interferential myofascial release and cryotherapy 3 times weekly for 2 weeks. He progressed to stretching and isometric exercise, McKenzie retraction exercises, and physioball for proprioception, among other therapies. The patient's initial headache lasted 4 days. He had a second headache for 1.5 days during his exercise training. During the next 7 months while returning to the clinic twice monthly for an elective chiropractic maintenance program, his headaches did not recur. He also had improvement on radiograph.

Conclusion

The principles of upper crossed syndrome and the use of exercise, chiropractic care, and myofascial release in the treatment of cervicogenic headache are discussed. A review of the literature indicates that analyzing muscle imbalance as well as vertebral subluxation may increase the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for cervicogenic headache.


Amongst others (including strengthening weakened muscles),  Michelle K Moore (2004) uses myofascial release techniques to help her patient. Personally I intuitively shied away from using MFR techniques on Ax’s back, as his muscles felt too tight and firm, except for very superficial MFR, trying to sink in to deeper level, and release any fasciae with my palms alone, felt like it would have stressed my finger joints considerably. Perhaps utilizing MFR tools/ scrapers might have worked, but not having used them before, I did not feel confident enough yet to experiment with them. Things were slightly different on Ax’s front as his check muscles were not as tight as his back muscles. Considering using MFR techniques I also found the following- Anja Blikstad and Hugh Gemmell (2007)4.)

Immediate effect of activator trigger point therapy and myofascial band therapy on non-specific neck pain in patients with upper trapezius trigger points compared to sham ultrasound: A randomised controlled trial

Summary

Objective

To determine the immediate effect of activator trigger point therapy (ATrPT) and myofascial band therapy (MBT) compared to sham ultrasound (SUS) on non-specific neck pain, cervical lateral flexion and pain pressure threshold of upper trapezius trigger points.

Design

Randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Setting

Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Bournemouth, England.

Subjects

Forty-five subjects between 18 and 55 years of age with non-specific neck pain of at least 4 on an 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS), an upper trapezius trigger point (TrP) and decreased cervical lateral flexion to the opposite side of the active upper trapezius TrP were recruited from the AECC student body.

Methods

The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: activator trigger point therapy, myofascial band therapy or sham ultrasound (control group). Neck pain level was determined using a numerical rating scale, degree of lateral flexion (LF) was determined using a cervical range of motion (CROM) goniometer and pain pressure thresholds (PPT) were measured with a pain pressure algometer. All subjects attended one treatment session and outcome measures were repeated within 5 min after treatment.

Results

A one-way ANOVA indicated there was no statistically significant difference between the groups at baseline in age, pain level, lateral cervical flexion or pain pressure threshold (p > 0.05). For the primary outcome measure of pain reduction the odds of a patient improving with activator trigger point therapy was 7 times higher than a patient treated with myofascial band therapy or sham ultrasound (95% CI: 1.23–45.03). The number needed to treat (NNT) with activator trigger point therapy for one patient to improve was 3 (95% CI: 1.4–10.6).

Conclusion

Activator trigger point therapy appears to be more effective than myofascial band therapy or sham ultrasound in treating patients with non-specific neck pain and upper trapezius trigger points.


This study is interesting for two reasons, for one it finds that myofascial band therapy does not appear as effective as trigger point therapy, for the other it is one of the few studies into manual therapies/ techniques I have found that uses a placebo control (here sham ultrasound therapy). The value of the placebo might have to be discussed though, where electronic gadgets and a possibly impressive looking ultrasound machine might have caused some placebo believes in their efficacy, with a therapists actually using myofascial band therapy or trigger point release, a patient should be able to tell that definitely something is happening, whereas with the ultrasound it is much more likely that they are facing the placebo therapy. It would be interesting to find out how the Ultrasound therapy was ‘sold’ to patients??? 45 patients is not a very large cohort, but knowing how hard it was to find massage bodies for my studies, not even considering specific pathologies, a valiant effort.


I found other studies looking into the efficacy of using trigger point compression, like Hugh Gemmel et al (2008)5.)

Immediate effect of ischaemic compression and trigger point pressure release on neck pain and upper trapezius trigger points: A randomised controlled trial

Summary

Objective

The purpose of this study was to determine the immediate effect of ischaemic compression, trigger point pressure release and placebo ultrasound on pain, degree of cervical lateral flexion and pressure pain threshold of upper trapezius trigger points in subjects with non-specific neck pain.

Design

Randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting

Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Bournemouth, England.

Subjects

Forty-five subjects from the AECC student body between 18 and 55 years of age with non-specific neck pain of at least 30 mm on a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, an upper trapezius trigger point and decreased cervical lateral flexion to the opposite side of the active upper trapezius trigger point were entered into the study.

Methods

The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups with 15 subjects in each group: trigger point pressure release, ischaemic compression or sham ultrasound (control group). Neck pain level was determined using a visual analogue scale, degree of lateral flexion was determined using a CROM goniometer and pain pressure thresholds were measured with a pain pressure algometer. All subjects attended one treatment session and outcome measures were repeated within five minutes after treatment.

Results

Clinical improvement was considered as a reduction of 20 mm or more on the visual analogue scale. Nine subjects in the ischaemic compression group improved after treatment compared to seven subjects in the trigger point pressure release group and four subjects in the control group. The number needed to treat for one patient to improve with ischaemic compression compared to trigger point pressure release was 7.5 (95% CI −4.53 to 2.05). The number needed to treat for one patient to improve with ischaemic compression compared to sham ultrasound was 2.5 (95% CI 1.39–12.51). The odds ratio for improvement with ischaemic compression compared to trigger point pressure release was 1.68 (95% CI 0.41–6.88). The odds ratio for improvement with ischaemic compression compared to sham ultrasound was 5.01 (95% CI 1.19–21.06). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated there was no statistically significant difference beyond chance in pain level, lateral flexion or pain threshold among the groups (P > 0.05).

Conclusion

Ischaemic compression is superior to sham ultrasound in immediately reducing pain in patients with non-specific neck pain and upper trapezius trigger points. Further research is needed to determine if there is a difference between ischaemic compression and trigger point pressure release.

Here too trigger point release and ischaemic compression (sorry not all sure, what the difference would be) appear to work to reduce upper shoulder pain. Funnily the authors call their study single blind, not really sure how they think they can get away with that one, unless the patients were unconscious during their treatments… Here too ‘only’ 45 probands were studied, perhaps manual therapists have to become better organized to be able to conduct larger studies, an effort that might be hindered by most of them being self-employed or working in small scale practises.  From my own work I too think that compressing trigger points can be helpful, I intuitively did so before I officially learned about them with my Sports Massage studies. Even if tissues do not always feel softer after trigger point pressure, they usually feel healthier, freer. I am aware that that is a very subjective measure, but it is occasionally backed up by clients making positive comments (and none ever complaining about it).


Dimitrios Kostopoulos et al. (2008)6.) too found that trigger point therapy/ ischemic compression helped with painful trigger points in upper traps. They explored using static stretches too, as well using static stretches and ischemic compression in conjunction. Utilizing ischemic compression and stretches in tandem seemed to bring the best overall results. Interestingly Kostopoulos et al (2008) concluded that using a control group would have been unethical!? Unfortunately the abstract does not contain any information about how many patients were included in the study.


Albert Atienza Meseguer et al. (2006) 7.) investigated the ‘Immediate effects of the strain/ counterstrain technique in local pain evoked by tender points in the upper trapezius muscle’ and found that ‘Our results suggest that strain/counterstrain was effective in reducing tenderness of tender points in the upper trapezius muscle. The application of a longitudinal stroke during the strain/counterstrain did not influence the effectiveness of the classical description of the technique.’ The study included 54 subjects and the control group, who received no treatment it seems, did not improve whatsoever. Personally I am still undecided about Strain/ Counterstrain application. I have yet to really try it myself on patients and find positive results with it. My main objection is  - how come patients do not reflexively put their bodies into a pain relieving position, be it only when sleeping? And – Is there not an increased risk of inadvertently creating subconsiuous fears/ paranoias, that if by putting the body simply into a non-irritating position for 90sec can markedly improve an ailment, then does that not also potentially imply that being in an un-ideal posture for 90+sec, like hunched over a desk for hours, can create serious damage? Obviously it can, but it usually takes much longer than 90seconds….


Last but not least Puustjärvi K (1990)8.) studied –

The effects of massage in patients with chronic tension headache

Abstract

21 female patients suffering from chronic tension headache received 10 sessions of upper body massage consisting of deep tissue techniques in addition to softer techniques in the beginning. When found, trigger points were carefully and forcefully massaged. The range of cervical movements, surface ENMG on mm. frontalis and trapezius, visual analogue scale (VAS) and Finnish Pain Questionnaire (FPQ), and the incidence of neck pain during a two week period before and after the treatment, and at 3 and 6 months during the follow-up period together with Beck depression inventory were taken for evaluation and follow-up. The range of movement in all directions increased, and FPQ, VAS and the number of days with neck pain decreased significantly. There was a significant change in ENMG on the frontalis muscle whereas changes in trapezius remained insignificant. Beck inventory showed an improvement after the treatment. This study confirmed clinical and physiological effects of massage.


Whereas I naturally want to be subjective and want to totally agree with Puustjärvi K (1990), the number of patients (21) is not very large. Only testing on females might be seen as warping results, as females are stereotypically viewed as more sensitive and potentially easier swayed by alternative therapies, i.e. convincing a hard core alternative therapies sceptic with this study alone might be difficult. Furthermore there is no control whatsoever. 10 sessions is actually quite a lot, unless different therapists were used it might have been difficult to exclude just a psychological healing influence by building up a rapport with someone making the effort to massage one 10 times. Furthermore if say 2 sessions per week were offered the whole treatment would have taken 5 weeks, which is quite long – which again might have strengthened placebo believes. On the other hand what does make this study potentially qualitative better than all the above, is that they actually included a 3 and 6 months follow up! A simple positive therapist effect might have worn off after 3 or even 6 months! Overall I was somewhat surprised though that I could not find any further studies looking into the healing effect of Massage in Upper shoulder pain.


In conclusion – I am glad that all techniques utilized in quoted studies, which have also been taught us in the BTEC Sports Massage course, did all seem to generate positive results. Overall designing studies into manual therapies with sound methodology seems difficult, it is difficult to come up with a viable placebo to a manual therapy…  Dimitrios Kostopoulos et al. (2008) and Puustjärvi K (1990) might be the most interesting studies, as they applied more than one technique in their studies. Dimitrios Kostopoulos et al. (2008) even found that using two techniques in tandem generates better results than just using one. With most my massages and with Ax’s case study too, I use a minimum of massage, deep tissue massage, stretches and NMT trigger point work. With Ax’s case study METs and STRs, as well as some MFR were utilized as well. Whereas designing a study, including as many therapies, might contain too many variables to come to simple enough conclusions, for now (at least with upper shoulder pain) most masseurs have to rely on their own empirical experience (and that of generations of masseurs before them) and trust that combining all different manual techniques improves their results and does not potentially make them worse.


1.) Jill L. McNitt-Gray and Witaya Mathiyakom, from Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. January 2007;5(1): 16-18. [Online], available from http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/ddhright.aspx?id=1028#.UHufEMWHIwA, [Accessed 06 October 2014]


2.) Rochelle Cocco (2001), [Online], available from http://fixtheneck.com/how_SP_causes_pain.html, [Accessed 06 October 2014]


3.) Michele K. Moore, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 27, Issue 6, July–August 2004, Pages 414–420, Upper Crossed Syndrome and its Relationship to Cervicogenic Headache


4.) Anja Blikstad and Hugh Gemmell, Clinical Chiropractic,Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 23–29 - Immediate effect of activator trigger point therapy and myofascial band therapy on non-specific neck pain in patients with upper trapezius trigger points compared to sham ultrasound: A randomised controlled trial


5.)    Hugh Gemmell, Peter Miller, Henrik Nordstrom, Clinical Chiropractic, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 30–36 - Immediate effect of ischaemic compression and trigger point pressure release on neck pain and upper trapezius trigger points: A randomised controlled trial


6.) Dimitrios Kostopoulos, Arthur J. Nelson, Reuben S. Ingber, and Ralph W. Larkin, Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, 2008, Vol. 16, No. 4 , Pages 266-278, Reduction of Spontaneous Electrical Activity and Pain Perception of Trigger Points in the Upper Trapezius Muscle through Trigger Point Compression and Passive Stretching


7.) Albert Atienza Meseguer et al., Clinical Chiropractic, Volume 9, Issue 3, September 2006, Pages 112–118 - Immediate effects of the strain/counterstrain technique in local pain evoked by tender points in the upper trapezius muscle


8.) Puustjärvi K, Airaksinen O, Pöntinen PJ, Acupuncture & Electro-therapeutics Research [1990, 15(2):159-162] - The effects of massage in patients with chronic tension headache.