Is it all about placebos?
This is the touch therapy belonging to yoga. It needs a specialist yoga therapist to pre-
scribe a specific
based on your ailment. Mudra therapy is very powerful. It has
to be approached with caution and respect since there are several contraindications if
misused. Also, touching lightly with the tip of thumb has the exact opposite effect of
applying deliberate pressure by pressing the thumb down on the other fingers. Unless
these subtle aspects of a
are understood, it is best not to self-prescribe it.
Mudra therapy means the healing through yogic hand gestures. These gestures bring
the tips of thumb and other fingers together in different combinations. It is based on the
principle of the biological homunculus man, which is the representation of the body
map in our brain. Fingers, especially the thumb, have the largest representation in our
nervous system which is intimately involved with our state of health. Since we cannot
manipulate our brain, we reach into it through our hands.
examines touch therapy to understand the
science behind this cure
ouch, it has been found, is one of the oldest of
Its connections to our brain is also one of the
oldest, established right when the baby is in a
mother’s womb, where it floats in her amniotic sac, feel-
ing the world before it sees it.
Though modern medicine may turn up its nose at this
line of treatment, dubbing its results as placebo, touch
therapy does work.
Placebo effect is unexplained, but research establishes
that it does manifest in healing. Also, intriguingly it has
been found that other senses, including sight, are deter-
mined and find their expression through the intelligence
of kinesthetics (sense of touch). Touch therapy exploits
this connection with other sense organs and the nervous
system to invoke healing powerfully.
Shiatsu is another eastern therapy which manipulates the entire body to heal. This needs the active participation
of a therapist. It is also based on the principle of the body as an energy field of life force (Ki) which also pervades the
universe. The energy can be overflowing or emptied in any of the channels. Shiatsu therapist applies pressure to toni-
fy, disperse (toxins and imbalances) and calm this energy so that it flows harmoniously. The principle of energy
meridians is similar to acupressure. However, unlike acupressure which manipulates the patient’s hands or exact
spots, shiatsu works the whole body.
Shiatsu is gaining popularity because it is believed to boost energy levels, relieve pain, treat emotional disturbances
that required intense healing and remove postural defects that also reflect our mental states.
In shiatsu where the pressure is applied at right angles to the body, the effect is said to energize and stimulate. If
the pressure is applied by squeezing or stretching, the inflated or wrongly flowing energy is said to be removed and
reduced. If the pressure is applied by just holding gently, the inner agitating energy is said to be calmed and soothed.
This is also an ancient method, finding
resurgence, based on the yin-yang philosophy
of Chinese medicine. In this, it is believed that
everything in the universe has a basic com-
monality, which is the yin (female) or the
unchanging part of it. What appears as
diverse is the yang (male) or changing aspect
of the universe.
In between these two, creating a balance is a
state of harmony. When things are in a state of
balance, there is harmony all around. In the
body also, when yin and yang are in a state of
balance there is perfect health.
Finger-toe therapy is bases on the belief that
these three states are found in our fingers too.
The outer phalanx our each of finger is yang
(changing principle), the lowest one corre-
sponds to the unchanging principle (yin) and
the central phalanx corresponds to the princi-
ple of balance. Also in each finger and toe, the
whole body is reflected. By locating the pain
spots with pressure (using either an acupres-
sure pen, or a diagnostic probe or even one’s
own finger nail or the tip of a pencil or closed
pen) one can manipulate its healing. This is
done by applying pressure with either mag-
nets, elastic rings, rubber bands, metal but-
tons designed specifically for this purpose.
These points may also be warmed, using
wormwood sticks. Massage, pressure or
‘knocking’ (to apply rhythmic pressure) are
part of this therapy. This treatment, once
understood and explained by a therapist, may
be done on one’s own.
In acupressure it is believed that
these energy meridians have key
switch-on points, just like electricity
has switches, which can be activated to
correct, rectify, modulate the energy
flow through the whole body. In acu-
pressure a deliberate pressure is
applied, using either finger tip, or acu-
pressure ‘pen’ , a specially designed
diagnostic probe, to ‘switch’ on these
The advantage in acupressure is that
it has no major contraindications. Most
alternative sciences, since their effect is
so powerful and immediate, have to be
approached with great precaution. In
acupressure, that caution is unneces-
sary — there appears to be no danger if
either less or more pressure is applied,
or even if it is wrongly applied.
Catch Shameem's yoga tips on http://jaisivananda.blogspot.com
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