This article focusses on the main concepts from the point of view of Traditional Chinese medicine which is one of the diagnostic models in Shiatsu therapy. Shiatsu being a deep body of work, a synthesis of deep energetic methods in alignment with the theory and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Using finger or palm pressure, heat, vacuum and lineaments on acupoints (Tsubo's) and channels with specific stretches, Shiatsu balances the circulation of energy (Qi) and blood in your body thus controlling the effects of deficiencies, empty qi and other factors. It is incredibly tonifying and calming for the body and it's nervous system.
Anxiety in Chinese medicine can be thought of as a type of agitation of the mind or the Shen**. In the case of the shen, it's home is thought to be in the heart. The shen being the most yang requires an appropriate amount of yin to anchor and balance it. The condition can arise from a number of causes, as such, it is important that the correct treatment protocol is used for effective results. The core Shiatsu therapy it's self has a deeply calming effect on the nervous system and as such is very beneficial.
The emotion of fear can be an underlying cause of anxiety, either of a situation or an unbalanced kidney and bladder energies.
Did you experience dramatic or extremely stressful events in your early life especially childhood? Alcoholism, violent parents, bullying, unpredictable home life? Perfectionism or being constantly compared? These can establish a pattern of our nervous system being in the fight or flight mode constantly draining the kidney reserves by not being able to relax and rest.
Overwork is often a factor at it taxes these systems in a similar way - constantly drain on the nervous system depleting your yin. In the bladder and kidney case, rest can be highly beneficial but as the condition predisposes one to difficulty in falling asleep this can become a self fulfilling prophecy. I written an article on sleep issues which has many points worth considering.
Poor quality blood (yin) can and often does bring on anxiety. In western terms this can be likened to anemia. There are a number of factors to consider some of which are excess soy product consumption and poor food choices in terms of thermal and other qualities. Nurturing your stomach is important to be able to absorb nutrients throughly and produce quality blood. Blood deficiency, it's TCM name is discussed in greater depth in this article.
Energetic imbalance in the heart can also give rise to this condition which may have elements of blood deficiency. Meditation can be of great benefit here as can keeping a journal. Sarah Rosenberg or Humans Becoming runs excellent workshops to develop meditation/mindfulness skills, see details in references below.*
Anxiety is a warning bell that our body's reserves are out of balance and getting low. These reserves perform many functions with one of them being support for the Liver system. Emotionally this can disrupt your vision and willpower and easily lead to depression.
Contrary to many advertisements expounding the "soldier on" message there is much wisdom in having a rest and taking time to nourish our bodies.
1) Keep your kidneys and bladder warm at all times. Kidney area is at the lower back just above your hips at the back of the body.
2) Keep your feet warm and dry as much as possible, especially the sole.
3) Make time to replenish your stores by balancing work with appropriate rest and fun.
4) Eat appropriate foods for the season. Avoid cold foods and drinks in cold months and save soy products for occasional consumption only. If you are vegetarian then proper food choices are critical.
5) Discuss issues with trusted friends, keep a journal, spend time in meditation and nature.
6) Have regular preventative and nourishing treatments that help build your body's resilience and inner strength (not just physical).
Anxiety is not a simple pop a pill condition. The negative groundwork for it may have begun accumulating many years ago and if left unaddressed can become very debilitating.
Help your friends
* Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshops - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction/419011344876712
** Shen is a Traditional Chinese Medicine term that is difficult to explain in the english language. One closest to it is spirit or essence of the person. It is an energetic quality that transcends death in a Buddhist or Taoist understanding.