I've just finished a course in looking at all the symptoms and solutions (shiatsu and supplements) that you can utilise to help you over a combat an array of issues that you may still be struggling with. Over the last 18 or so months our health has been put under the microscope in a way that doesn't compare to any life experience that we've had. The last major flu pandemic was a 100 years ago, and then HIV had a massive impact in the 1980's (it's also a virus) and then we've had a pretty complacent 40 or so years. SARS and other respiratory viruses only happend in far flung places like China and Africa so when the pandemic hit us last year many of us were not in the frame of mind to really strenghten our immune system ready for what was coming. If you're left with symptoms then treating post viral symptoms with shiatsu becomes a beneficial tool in your health arsenal!
I worked on my immunity, as did my mum, my shiatsu practitioner and my clients to a certain extent. It didn't help that I couldn't see them face to face but we definitely started emailing and zooming to ensure those that were in the right mind set made changes to protect themselves. I'm pleased to say that none of my clients have had Covid but ironically I caught it in November 2020, so that was interesting!
I think I was very lucky, the week I caught it I was doing a liver detox, so I was helping my liver process and cleanse toxins and I wasn't eating sugar, 2 factors I believe really helped kick it out at the time. I was also taking a bundle of supplements to support and replenish my body chemistry , live vitamins D and C.
Then by January I felt like I was tired, I hadn't refreshed after the Christmas break, and so I made the assumption that I may have had a low level of post viral fatigue, I dealt with it, and I'm pleased to say for me it wasn't too bad, it was more how my mind felt than my body, and it was easily dealt with.
This leads me on to dealing with the after effects of having a bad virus, or symptoms that may arise after having a vaccine and how it carries on , maybe at a low level, maybe very debilitating but there is no end in sight, and there hasn't been any support.
TREATING POST VIRAL SYMPTOMS WITH SHIATSU
This is where energetic therapies like Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Ayurvedic Medcine and Kineseology come in. They all look at the energetic patterns of your body and work out how to resolve. The major underlying cause of all your symptoms will be something we term 'Kidney deficiency', this means you're really really tired. You may get a lot of sleep, or it may be badly affected, but in the mornings you never feel replenished. You may also feel the cold more, feel more achy, sluggish, and have anxiety and breathing issues. The more it takes hold the more symptoms you get, and you feel hopeless about how to turn this around, and this is because the energetic imbalances (which then manifest as physical symptoms) are really complex and all need to be rebalanced in some way.
"37% of people have symptoms 6 months after catching covid"
The symptoms are complex and various, so let's have a look at some of the health issues that manifest in the months afterwards, you may not associate them with having post viral fatigue but they can most likely be connected:
As well as these symptoms appearing months after having caught a pathogen these can also be triggered by going back to the gym or doing high impact/ cardio exercise, this is due to extreme exercise triggering an inflammatory response, and can kick start symptoms based on issues that were lying relatively dormant in your body.
In energetic terms (the chinese medicine perspective) this is damp and heat still stuck in your body and the actual pathogen trapped in your fascia (connective tissue) causing inflammation.
There are also increased risk factors dependent on your health and environment, these include:
High viral load/ varients
Poor diet/lack of nutrients
Environment (e.g toxins/ black mold)
After the pathogen invades, it causes heat and obstruction in your energetics and manifests as inflammation in your lungs, areas of weakness and blockages that can cause cardio vascular distress. Over time this stagnates your lood and Qi (your energetics), causes damp (sluggishness) and although some of these are excess, like heat, the overall issue is a deficiency; and then it becomes a catch 22 situation. A deficiency doesn't tend to clear on it's own as something is 'missing', the more deficient you become the less you can help yourself To help you find relief you then need a physical intervention to help the body recouperate and regain energy. Or as the course tutors succinctly said:
"Herbs sort it out, Qi kicks it out!"
Malika Meddings, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Cliff Andrews, Shiatsu Practitioner
Working with the chinese meridians, your symptoms can fall into 3 areas of your body - respiratory (upper burner), digestive (middle burner) and constitutional energy (lower burner). Understanding the chinese medicine of how and where the virus has got stuck in your body means we have a pretty good chance of getting you feeling like your old self again.
For example , let's take 'damp'! It's particularly prevalent in the UK anyway, and especially if you live in a house that is prone to damp, plus the foods you eat (damp inducing). If your body is in a damp state, it's obstructing the natural flow of fluids (think lymphatic system), blood (you may have cold limbs) and energetics (your mood is low), and you can also be dehyrdrated as water can't get past damp either (aching muscles); these are just a few main examples. With treatments as we start to shift the damp, muscle aches and brain fog will go, but this could open you up to anxiety and breathing issues. As your body starts to work again it triggers then next set of symptoms to resolve. You may have compensated for and not realised that you weren't breathing properly all these months, but as treatments unfold so do the issues in your body. This is why one treatment to 'kick it out' is short sited.
"Shiatsu gets your energy moving without you expending your energy in an inflammatory way"
Cliff Andrews, Shiastu Practitioner
Shiatsu will gently move the damp, or obstructions, and release the excess heat, herbs will tonify and strengthen the organs (including blood) that are weakened, and both together will help you regain energy, better sleep and relieve symptoms like anxiety and low moods.
It's also important to mention that covid can have an affect on your periods - heavier, more clots/pain and even missed periods are all signs that your energy has been disrupted, but the good news is that can be rebalanced very quickly. Some of these symptoms are not yet deep rooted in the body and gentle tuning up and set them straight. If you are not feeling like yourself and you've had a virus in the recent past then look to one of these therapies, and of course I'm biased towards Shiatsu, to help you regain your mojo! Don't let it go on so long that it becomes a deeply embedded issue in your body, if your sleep isn't helping you feel refreshed in the morning, or if you are wondering what the point of everything is these are 2 very clear signs your energy is stuck.
DIET AND NUTRITION
With chronic fatigue, the way to help the body heal is to take the stress of the digestion system which includes the liver , plus give your kidneys a break too, this means looking to lower these foods in your life and for a while try an organic plant based diet. Eat less:
meat and dairy (damp inducing, stress on the kidneys)
sugar, alcohol (damp inducing, cause liver toxicity)
caffeine (too stimulating, stress on kidneys)
fats (damp inducing)
cold/raw food (tire your system to digest)
Or to put it in a more positive spin, eat more:
cooked vegetables , gently spiced and whole grains (that you're not intolerant too). A healthy plant based diet is right for you at this point in your life. Foods that you're intolerant too cause more inflammation and this really isn't going to help at all. If you need help finding out what foods your intolerant too you can do a simple hair test (bioresonance) or kineseology session to test.
soups and stews - the gentle spices will help you energetically warm from within.
damp resolving foods - dark green veg, barley, seaweed, ginger, chickpeas (hummus!), lemon/lime, garlic, nuts, seeds, spices, olive, oil.
Also intermittent fasting, this is where you eat within a certain number of hours during the day and then leave around 14 hours e.g 6pm to 8am food free to allow your system to repair when not digesting. This also allows you to go into the parasympathetic state, also healing (i.e. not stressed or in fight/flight state - which also will exacerbate symptoms).
THE RIGHT TYPE OF EXERCISE
It's not about hitting the gym, spin classes, boot camps or couch to 5k runs, not if you're flagging after a virus. It's about breathing properly, deep breathing, breathing in nature, meditative breathing, yoga, Qi gong, basically any activity that involves deeply restorative breathing. You get the picture :)
Deep breath work is one of the 2 sources of restoring your Qi energy, if you'd like to read about restoring your Qi, check out my earlier blog:
The other source if the quality of food that you eat, and the amount of nourishment you can extract from it.
SUPPLEMENTS MAYBE SUITABLE
You may not be getting the nutrition you need from your food, and this can be said of all the time now, not just when recovering. Even if you eat completely organic the likelihood is that you're still deficient in Vitamins C, D3, trace minerals and the most important one - Magnesium. If your sleep is impaired, add in magnesium now.
Start with a good multivitamin, I recommend Cytoplan, as not all supplements are made equal. The ones we have the best chance of absorbing the most nutrients from are those that are derived from plants in the first place. They cost a little more and smell like a compost heap, but they give you the best chance of topping up your body chemistry.
This is different from herbal supplements that have an energetic effect on your organs/blood. For example if you're fatigued, stressed, anxious or suffering from overwhelm I would suggest that you should try Ashwaganda (for at least 3 months), this helps your adrenals calm and down and can aid healing of fatigue, and help get better sleep.
If you'd like support with supplements download my handy guide from here
SHIATSU AND SUPPLEMENTS
This is the best combination for resolving your post viral fatigue and associated symptoms, as welll as regaining your optimal health. As course tutors Cliff and Malika stated : Herbs sort it out, and Qi kicks it out!
Nutritional supplements are putting back in what is 'missing' from your body, we call this depletion, and it's incredibly common, I doubt there is a person alive that doesn't have a deficiency, however western medicine only works with excess, the simplest example is 'take a paracetamol to lower a temperature'. This removes excess heat, this is good in the moment when you have a symptom. Hopefully you've picked up from this blog that your symptoms are caused by something stuck, damp and missing; and it's the energetic support you need to turn to with shiatsu and herbal medicine if your symptoms are really chronic.
A lot of herbalists now work online, however Shiatsu is in the room! If though you can't reach a shiatsu practitioner, then I offer online sessions where I talk you through gentle stretches and point pressing to help you relieve symptoms yourself and give you nutritional supplement advice. Check out treatments and contact me for a health and vitality call here.
Relieve excess heat in your lungs with these powerful opening stretches of the Lung meridian