WF Coordinator/Editor’s PA Jaymie spills the beans on her first experience with the Japanese practice
I’d never tried alternative therapy. Not because I didn’t believe it would work, but because I generally avoid all types of doctors and therapists due a childhood fear of being jabbed with needles and force-fed cough syrup (that stuff does not taste like strawberries, I don’t care what you say). So it was quite out of character for me to be (willingly) making my way down Oxford Street for a Shiatsu session in Sydney last week.
Why the change of tune, you ask? Well, for the past few weeks, our Art Director Alissa has been singing the praises of her regular Shiatsu practitioner, Dr Jack (or Master Jack as we affectionately call him now). He’d basically risen to God-like status in the office because of his magical healing properties: he’d helped Alissa with her digestive health; while diagnosing Chief Subeditor/ Video Producer Lizza’s foot injury just by reading the “meridian lines” in her stomach.
Say whaa? Here’s a little Shiatsu 101:
What is it? Shiatsu, which translates to “finger pressure,” is a type of Japanese alternative therapy that works by monitoring the 12 meridians that run through our body. These meridians (pathways our energy travels through) are connected to certain organs, and can become blocked from excesses in energy, or they can become deficient in energy. Such fluctuations can cause digestive, emotional and muscular problems, along with other issues. A Shiatsu practitioner is trained to identify when and where these blockages or deficiencies occur by applying finger and palm pressure along the meridians.
What does it do? Once the practitioner examines your meridians, they will work your pressure points, stretch your limbs and, if needed, do a little joint manipulation to regulate your pathways and restore health and balance to your body.
Intrigued and impressed with what Google had revealed, and after I’d ambushed Alissa and Lizza with questions multiple times at the photocopier, I made an appointment with the master himself to sort out a few issues I had (like the way my chin and jaw line resemble a pepperoni pizza and the pain in my upper and lower back that has been there since the beginning of time).
I entered Master Jack’s office somewhat prepared by my co-workers but still a little apprehensive. For the next hour and a half, he was polite and friendly as he poked and prodded my body, then stretched and pulled my limbs. At one point, whilst digging his fingers into my stomach, he declared, “You get a lot of pain in your upper back.” Cue my fit of giggles. How had my stomach told him that? And how on earth did moving my ribs around tell him my stomach often bloats for no reason – before I’d even mentioned the annoying symptom?!
Once the session was over, Master Jack gave me a list of foods to eat, and ones to avoid. I was told I would have to say goodbye to bread and bananas for two weeks so that my body can heal and adjust. I’d never been so horrified in all my life. Not even when Bruce Willis died at the end of Armageddon. But Jack had read my body, and told me what it couldn’t handle. So I thought I’d better listen – especially since I’d just spent more than an hour having all the toxins in my body cleared away.
Now that my life has been sans toast and banana smoothie for just over a week, I can begrudgingly admit that he was right. While it’s way too soon to start running down the street yelling “I’m cured!” I can admit that the sneaky sips I had of my sister’s banana milkshake left me feeling bloated and gross. A Shiatsu therapist can read your body better than you can – but with their help, you can learn to understand it too.
Want to steer clear of fast food but don’t have the time? Deputy Editor Samera has the news you’ve been waiting for
What’s yummy, healthy and way better than a Dominos pizza? It’s called Dietlicious – and in the same way a big red bag comes to your door filled with greasy slices, Dietlicious is home-delivered too… er, only minus the greasy slices! Instead, this healthy home delivery service is full of meals made from scratch (by chefs!), with no preservatives and clever portion control.
If any of these thoughts apply to you, you might want to think about signing up…
1. You know it’s good to eat healthy. You want to eat healthy. But it all looks Just. So. Hard.
2. All of the above. But also, as if you ever have the time to cook a la MasterChef during the week.
Last week I put it the 5-day cleanse menu to the test and was chowing (and slurping) down on this kind of deliciousness: watermelon, mint and acai smoothie; spinach chana dahl with basmati rice; risotto provencale with tuna; ocean trout with olive and tomato crust… I could go on, or you could just head on over to dietlicious.com.au and find out more.
Happy (health) eating!
Lacking funds for a proper pamper? No worries. Naturopath Cassie Mendoza-Jones reckons a kitchen raid is all you need. Here are the natural goodies that will keep your skin glowing.
Coconut oil is a beautiful hydrator for skin. It’s has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and has been known to soothe irritated and red skin, such as in the case of eczema or psoriasis.
How to apply: Apply coconut oil to your skin after cleansing morning and night. It can be used on your face and all over your body. It speeds up healing of bites, rashes and sores and even helps to remove makeup.
Yoghurt contains lactic acid which helps to prevent the signs of ageing, such as wrinkles, and gives the skin a fresh, youthful glow. Yoghurt is also a wonderful hydrator.
How to apply: To improve dull or dry skin, apply natural yoghurt to your skin for about 10-20 minutes. If you have extremely dry skin, add some honey, and if you have extremely dull skin, add a natural exfoliator such as sugar, salt or oats to brighten your skin.
Oats are a natural absorbent making them perfect for oily skin. Using them in a homemade scrub helps to deeply cleanse your pores, removing excess sebum.
How to apply: Add to a mixture of natural yoghurt or coconut oil plus some honey. Rub into your skin to gentle exfoliate cleanse, then rinse off. If you have very sensitive skin, brown sugar is an even more gentle option for exfoliation.
CUCUMBER + CHAMOMILE
The signature ‘home-made facial’ look of cucumber slices over your eyes actually works. You could also use refrigerated chamomile tea bags. Both cucumber and chamomile are anti-inflammatory and work really well to calm down irritated skin, and de-puff and reduce redness, irritation and fluid retention.
How to apply: Place cucumber slices over your eyes. Or, if you’re using chamomile tea bags, dip them in water, then place in the fridge or freezer for a short time to cool them. Then apply over eyes for ten minutes.
Honey is antibacterial and helps to kill germs and bacteria which may affect or worsen acne. It also gentle moisturises the skin.
How to apply: Add to a mixture of coconut oil and oats, rub onto your skin, leave for 2-3 minutes then wash off with warm water.
Cassie Mendoza-Jones is a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and entrepreneur who believes in the healing power of nature (and a good dark chocolate). She founded Elevate Vitality, a boutique naturopathic clinic which specialises in healing digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression.
Beauty/fashion/home makeovers aside… your superannuation might need a bit of makeover too. Here’s the (non-boring, but really important) the lowdown…
Here’s a crazy stat: on average, a woman’s super payout at retirement is 43% less than a man’s. As part of International Women’s Day today (happy IWD!) the Australian Taxation Office has launched a campaign to make sure Aussie women know how to make the most out of their super (and you don’t have to earn big cash or have a fancy degree in economics to do so). Bridge the whopping gap with this five-step super health check:
1. Check your statements
We know, it’s easy to just throw super statements in a stack of other paper that never gets read but you should be checking these things: is your employer paying the right rate (amount equal to at least 9.25% of your pay) each quarter? And does your statement show ALL your contributions, insurance and fees?
2. Make sure your fund has your Tax File Number
If not, you’ll be paying more tax (eek!) and it makes it harder to keep track of all your current and past super accounts (a lot of us have plenty floating around from different jobs…).
3. Keep track of all your accounts
Find any lost super (ahem, aforementioned accounts) and transfer to one preferred account (whether it’s the one your current employer contributes to, or a fresh one you’ve done some research on).
4. Find out if you’re eligible for government contributions
These can boost your super – who doesn’t want that?! Head to www.ato.gov.au/boostmysuper to suss out if you qualify and if so, what you need to do.
5. Start contributing too
You’re probs not putting any extra dollars into your super fund, right? Start making extra payments, either through salary sacrificing (chat to your work) or from your after-tax pay. We bet there’s something you can give up now so that you can put your feet up by a pool when you’re old and grey…
We get the expert advice from Miss Minit resident podiatrist, Kate McArthur
By Coordinator/Editor’s PA Jaymie
When we’re not in our trainers, chances are we’re slipping into our favourite pair of heels. But unlike the strangely satisfying burn we feel in our limbs after a morning at boot camp, our poor feet are often left feeling abused and tender after a night out or a day at the office.
Wearing heels doesn’t have to be as traumatic as watching an episode of Game of Thrones, though. If you wear them right, you can skip the pain altogether. Try choosing shoes with a thicker heel for more stability and a rounded toe for more space. “Wedges or chunky heels are a great option,” Kate says. But if you can’t stay away from the pumps, try sneaking Kate’s exercises into your day:
• Pick up a towel with the toes on your right foot for 1 minute. Change feet and repeat.
• Holding your big toe still and straight, wave your little toes up and down. 3x10 reps per foot.
• Sit in a chair and place your foot on the ground. Flex the top of your foot and hold the stretch for 2 minutes. (This one’s easy to do under your desk at the office!)
This reinvigorating but calming yoga move will have you facing the world head on
How to master it:
1. Stand with your feet together and arms in a relaxed position by your side. Step your left leg back into a lunge (you can place your fingertips to the floor for support), making sure your right knee is directly above your ankle and your thigh is parallel to the ground.
2. Press firmly into the balls of your back foot (heel lifting) while keeping your hips facing forward. Keep your weight evenly distributed across both feet and legs. Allow your torso to lift out of your legs and keep your stomach active so your whole body works together. Fix your gaze at a point in the sand ahead of you. 3. Inhale and stretch your arms overhead, palms pressed together. Remain looking forward or look up towards your thumbs or the sky.
4. Hold and breathe deeply for five breaths. Repeat on other side for the same duration.
TIP: Change it up by dropping your back knee down into the sand for extra support.