Category Archives: RESOURCES & TOOLS

Radio care

Listener-supported, commercial free, SF based SomaFM has a selection of quality music channels from which to pick. Get into a groove, chill, feel, soothe your soul, be inspired, find focus, make a sound cocoon for yourself, immerse your friends in good vibes, create distraction, noise barriers…

We currently have a thing for Earwaves, “spanning the history of electronic and experimental music from the early pioneers to the latest innovators”. It fills space with a relaxed yet strong focus. Good for work, meditation, and bodywork sessions.

BEPO(ésie)

ICI archive vidéo d’une présentation de la disposition clavier ergonomique francophone (et polyglotte !) BEPO, donnée à Paris lors de l’Ubuntu party de novembre. BEPO ou “Plus de mots, moins de maux “, le tout en licence libre (CC-BY-SA). Sans quitter la rangée de repos, pouvoir écrire “Une sainte aura ruinait la nuit trainante”. Absurde AZERTY, c’est fini ?!

Lire aussi Qu’est-ce que le BEPO ?

 

DONDE NO HAY DOCTOR and other health books free

Easy indispensable basic health guides for people and communities worldwide, accessible for free in many languages HERE on Hesperian Health website – including David Werner classic Donde No Hay Doctor. Covering many topics, for when there is no doctor, no dentist, for people with special needs, women and children, disabled, and because health is a right.

 

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The handshake

handshake

The following article beautifully describes a simple protocol for a hand massage for people with Alzheimer or other dementia, the elderly, or anyone really. It includes a nice description of that important preliminary moment in massage, for establishing connection before you actually do anything and that I like to call “The handshake”…

“Center yourself and take a cleansing breath to focus your attention and intention. Take a moment to establish trust with the elder and gain permission to provide the massage. Sit facing the person, to the side. Be sure that you can reach the shoulder area without strain. (…) Begin with focused touch; simply hold the person’s hand. Place your attention on their hand and think about all the ways their hands have served their life. Notice the lines, the elegance, the strength or the fragility, whatever is there. Linger here a moment, simply enjoying the connection.”

Connecting and expressing the language of the human heart, Ann Catlin, in massagetoday.com

See also by same author

Gentle and effective touch for frail elders 

Yoga-to-go

Classic, concise, clear, accessible yoga book ASANA PRANAYAMA MUDRA BANDHA by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is available HERE although not in its latest version.

Imo, this manual is particularly interesting when new to yoga and/or or looking for some easy body routines that you can start practicing alone. The Beginners group is good indeed, with different series of basic exercises to help prevent or help alleviate disorders caused by overexertion and stillness-stasis combined (as in a lot of computer / office work). Check out the Exercises for the eyes !

(Remember to first read the advice and precautions in the introduction)

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Surveillance Self-Defense (EFF)

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Surveillance Self-Defense is EFF’s “guide to defending yourself and your friends from surveillance by using secure technology and developing careful practices.”

Activists or protesters, journalists, human rights defender, everyone, on the move or at home: Be introduced to threat modeling, find out how to keep your data safe, how to create strong passwords, learn about encryption, choose your tools…

For inspiration, you can read Laura Poitras on the crypto tools that made her journalistic work with whistleblower Edward Snowden possible, and the film CITIZENFOUR 

 

 

 

Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

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The Huang Di Nei Jing, a.k.a Yellow Emperor’s inner classic or canon, is considered a fundamental text of chinese medicine, going back approximately 2000 years. It exposes TCM principles and applications in the form of a Q&A between disciple and old master. The canon is divided into two sections both containing 81 chapters (where 8+1=9, 9 being the number for the sky in chinese metaphysics). The first section is Su Wen, or “Basic Questions” deploying the theories at the root of all diagnostics, and the second section is the less known Ling Shu, or Spiritual Pivot, which is more directly about applications and acupuncture.

HERE is an Annotated Translation of Huang Di’s Inner Classic – Basic Questions: 2 volumes, by Paul Unschuld (University of california Press). A complementary history and comparative literature of the Su Wen, also by Paul Unschuld, can be read HEREA chinese manuscript (Wang Bing’s version) can be found HERE on World Digital Library.

 

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Gynandco

“Lancé en juillet, le site Gynandco est une liste blanche de soignant.e.s pratiquant des actes gynécologiques (gynécologues, mais aussi médecins généralistes ou sages femmes) qui respectent les lesbiennes, les bisexuelles et les personnes trans’. Grâce à cet outil – toujours en construction –, l’équipe de Gynandco entend défendre le droit à une prise en charge de qualité et non discriminatoire pour tou.t.e.s, et faciliter l’accès à ce droit: «Nous avons choisi de promouvoir l’accès à un.e soignant.e qui respecte le/la patient.e, et non pas de dénoncer ceux et celles qui abusent de leurs pouvoir et savoir médical.» À ce jour, plus de 160 professionnel.le.s ont été recensé.e.s sur le site (le module de recherche est en cours d’amélioration).”

Extrait de: Gynandco, une liste blanche des gynécologues lesbian, bie et trans-friendly (par Maëlle Le Corre)

GYNANDCO

(à propos)

“Nous sommes un groupe de militantes féministes et nous en avons marre des soignantEs ayant des pratiques sexistes, lesbophobes, transphobes, putophobes, racistes, classistes, validistes, etc. Nous avons donc mis en place Gyn&Co pour mettre à disposition une LISTE BLANCHE de soignantEs pratiquant des actes gynécologiques (qu’il s’agisse de gynécos, de médecins généralistes ou de sages-femmes).

Nous sommes nombreux’ses à avoir été confrontéEs à des expériences malheureuses avec unE soignantE lors de consultations gynécologiques : qu’il s’agisse de propos jugeants ou déconsidérants, d’un manque de respect de l’intégrité de nos corps, d’un refus de tenir compte de nos choix voire de discrimination ou de violence.De plus, nous n’avons pas forcément les mêmes besoins et attentes selon nos situations et nos pratiques – handicap, travail du sexe, usage de drogue, séropositivité, polyamour, etc.

Pour mener à bien ce projet, nous avons élaboré un questionnaire afin de collecter des coordonnées de soignantEs et de les mettre à la disposition de touTEs. Attention il s’agit bien d’une LISTE BLANCHE : nous n’intégrerons que les coordonnées de professionnelLEs nous ayant été recommandéEs sur des critères positifs.* (…)”

Chen Xiaowang on Chen style taijiquan

Nice video here of Chen Xiaowang explaining and demonstrating some principles and characteristics of Chen family style taijiquan, extracted from a documentary for chinese television. Below is a transcript of the (sometimes approximate) english subtitles.

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CHEN XIAOWANG CCTV EXTRACTS

(Transcript of english subtitles)

Chen Wangting (1600-1680)

Journalist:

Chen Wangting, from Chen village in Henan, building on the martial arts of his ancestors, studied famous Ming general Qi Jiguang’s and many internal fighting arts, integrated meridain theory, and confucian, daoist and traditional taiji yinyang teachings, created Chen style taijiquan and two person push-hands practice.

Four characteristics of Chen style taijiquan

Chen Xiaowang:

The first characteristic: movement spiraling and rotating, ‘chansi jin’ (reeling silk force). What is reeling silk force ? The jin which comes from silk reeling practice is reeling silk force. This spiraling, twisting way of moving is characteristic.

The second characteristic: Fast and slow alternate. Circle, slow. When circle arrives at straight, fast. Circular, lively movement. Light soft movement. At the (moment of) fajin it becomes straight. When doing fajin it is fast.

The third point: It preserves – cuan, beng, hao, yue (leap, bounce, jump, leap) teng, nuo, shan, zhan (soar, shift, dodge, open)

The fourth point: In the first form, soft spiraling movements dominate. But when this movement pattern is established, practice the second from, jump, leap… Soar, shift, dodge, open. Fast, faster than shaolin.

Slowness is the obligatory path” (to “form the dantian as core”)

Journalist: Master Chen, we often see the form done slowly, so why when it is applied it is so fast ? How would you explain this ?

Chen Xiaowang: The slowness is to slowly form the dantian as core. One part moves, all move, connected from section to section, qi unbroken throughout – To arrive at this movement principle. Now this movement system, if you can adapt it to all circumstances then when the opponent attacks you convert his attacking speed into your movement power. E.g. If he suddenly pushes … I change. He can push me quickly I retain my calm (position). I use this movement system, the dantian as core. I don’t move, he attacks. Second, after the system is developed, adapting it to all circumstances is about not losing this core. You must proceed from the slowness, to reach slow but not scattered, fast but not chaotic. If there is not ‘slow but not scattered’, if there isn’t this construction, this movement system process, there cannot be the resulting speed. This is the obligatory path, from slowness.

Relaxing is for coordination, harmony”

Chen Xiaowang: First of all, just relaxing is no good. E.g. This part, the position is not right. Can I relax ? No. First, correct the position. Only when the position is right can I relax.

Journalist: The position must be correct.

Chen Xiaowang: Yes, that’s the first point. Point two: relax how much ? Too much is also wrong. Relaxing is for coordination (harmony) to serve the movement principle. It is not ‘The more relaxed the better’.

Journalist: Is it true that too relaxed turns into slack ?

Chen Xiaowang: Right. This is called diu (losing, abandoning)

Agility appears”

Chen Xiaowang:

So to put it simply this movement principle is the foundation. After establishing this movement principle, when error is reduced to a certain level, movements are coordinated with the inside, not using brute force, then agility appears.

Chen Changxing’s 10 important points”

Journalist:

Chen Changxing’s 10 important points says:

When the upper part moves, the lower follows – When the lower moves, the upper leads – Upper and lower move, the middle responds – Middle moves, upper and lower harmonize – Hands move, waist moves, feet move, gaze follows – Only when upper and lower follow each other can we achieve taijiquan’s higher level requirements

Dantian moves, hand moves, foot moves…”

Chen Xiaowang:

Hand, elbow, shoulder, chest, abdomen. Below is pelvis, knee, ankle, foot. If above and below can follow each other, you can achieve dantian as core: one moves all move, unbroken. So what does follow mean ? First, the right position. Maintain the dantian as core. When you move with dantian as core, it brings about lower and upper moving together. Dantian moves, hand moves, foot moves.”

Different approaches for different angles of attack”

Journalist: Horizontal, vertical or sloping circles…

Chen Xiaowang: Yes, all appropriate for different angles of attacks, as necessary for striking. Sometimes the opponent strikes from the front: the arc should go this way. If he attacks from behind: shan (dodge) goes this way. From the left, this way. From the right, this way. Different approaches for different angles, to adapt to different attacks. This becomes front, back, left, right.

Journalist: So the opponent’s attack determines which circle I use ?

Chen Xiaowang: Correct.

The difference between hard and stiff”

Chen Xiaowang:

So by gang (hard) we mean fajin. What is the difference between hard and stiff ? One part moves, all parts move, Qi is unbroken. Then it is gang (hard) strength (jin). e.g. I do a fajin movement. This jin from the dantian, compared with this one… Two different feelings… Hard jin is qi unbroken, flowing. Whole body strength as much as possible, concentrated into one point. That is gang jin.

The characteristics of fajin (fali, emitting force)”

Chen Xiaowang:

The characteristics of fa li can be summarized: relax, lively, springy, shaking. These four words are hard to understand. The first step: get the body right. Before the fali, the whole body is relaxed. You mustn’t be over-relaxed. Every body part in the right position. For example, forearm and hand raised this much is enough. Using more force can obstruct the inner qi flow. In the wrong position, that is wrong too. So you need both the right position and not use to much force. This is the right amount of relaxation. With this precondition, with every part in the appropriate place, the dantian as core will naturally emerge. When you move, starting from the dantian to move the whole body, then its jin will have relaxed, lively, springy, shaking results. One hand, two hands, sideways, all the same.

Before fajin, you are relaxed. The fajin time, the shorter the better.

The art of hard and soft”

Journalist:

Renowned taiji master Chen Xin wrote insightfully about this. The taiji practitioner, reaching hard and soft, and mixing them seamlessly. Hard and soft nature is like a spring. A spring’s pliability and toughness is soft, its springy vibration is hard. The soft is not floopy, the hard is not stiff. Taijiquan is the art of hard and soft.

Chen Xiaowang:

So ‘gang’ is fajin, and soft is slow movement, change movement. In hardness, softness, and in softness, hardness. Pure hardness, without soft, lacks coherence. Pure soft without hard, is empty. What happened there ? He threw a punch. First I deflected his attack. This deflection is ‘soft’.

Journalist: So you absorbed it, absorbed the force

Chen Xiaowang: Correct. This part is ‘soft subdues hard’. The down part is ‘store up and emit alternating’.

Journalist: The down part is ‘gang’

Chen Xiaowang: Yes, the change.The transforming part is ‘soft’ subdues ‘hard’. After subduing hard with soft comes ‘store’. Not like this, that way I’m gone. When he comes I store up. Downwards is store and release alternating. Store and release, mutually changing.

Soft subdues soft”

Chen Xiaowang:

If the opponent doesn’t use force and I don’t use force, it depends on whose absorbing skill is better. If one person soft absorbing skill is good, he can feel his opponent’s changes and grasp the opponent’s core and fali. This is soft subdues soft. He is soft, I am even softer. If he comes very lightly, I can still lead him and change, soft subdues soft. If he softly listens to my force – you attack me. Then I first listen to his force then grasp his weak point. He is listening to my force. He is soft I am soft, I change, still soft, find his weak spot.

Hard can subdue hard”

Chen Xiaowang: Sometimes both are fajin. Then it depends on who has better hard jin.

Journalist: But if both are hard, don’t you get blocking ?

Chen Xiaowang: If the opponent’s quality is poor, he will be thrown right out. Now he is using hard force. He fajin’ed, I did too.

Journalist: Yours was harder than his

Chen Xiaowang: Yes. A question of whose basic skills are better. One strong, one weak. It’s the same, hard can subdue hard.

Many ways to control the opponent”

Journalist:

We can see taiji’s hard and soft needs close investigation. Soft does not always subdues hard, hard subdues hard, soft subdues soft, there are many ways to control the opponent. Taijiquan is like this, seemingly full of contradictions which can be perfectly resolved. Hard and soft, fast and slow are like this. Movement and stillness are also like this.

Handle movement with stillness” and Winning by surprise”

Chen Xiaowang:

Handle movement with stillness means feeling the opponent’s force as it comes. How does he come, from which direction ? Which angle ? Should I harmonize and change ? This is not a fixed rule, handle movement with stillness. If you also handle movement with stillness and I do too, if we both don’t move, that is no good. There is no opposition. So then there is winning by a surprise move. Find the opponent’s median line , weak spot, empty, weak point. You can attack first. You don’t have to handle movement with stillness. E.g. I push with (Chen) Bing . Step and close. Both waiting for the opponent to move. But here he is weak, here the qi is not enough. I see his center is here, I can take him down, suddenly attack. It is not always handle movement with stillness. Even if he doesn’t move, I can move.”

Soft absorbing, hard emitting”

Chen Xiaowang:

So hard is fajin, everyone knows that. Soft is changing, not fajin. When the opponent uses jin we use soft means to change the opponent’s line of force. The opponent has come at my center. We change the direction of his force, change and dissolve his force. This is absorbing. When the opponent loses his balance, we strike with hard jin, attack the appropriate part. That is called soft absorbing, hard emitting. (Chen) Jun psuhes my center line. My core is here. His force doesn’t reach my center line. This process is called absorbing. If his force reaches here my hard force is here…I move like this..That is hard emitting. He wants to take my center – I change, redirecting his force direction. He heads off a different way, then he also loses his balance. The process of leading him is the process of storing energy. He loses his center, I store energy. And… Fali! Attack his weak spot. So the absorbing force becomes storing, so when he loses balance, fali.

Journalist: Then it’s an ’empty’ ‘full’ change

Chen Xiaowang: Correct. Don’t try to hit first. First you have to change and dissolve, maintain your own movement principle.

 

Yoga postures to relieve sciatica pain in piriformis syndrome

Read how spasms in the piriformis muscle can cause sciatica pain (+ understand there are other types of sciatica) + check out / try out the selection of well described yoga postures that can help relieve that pain and prevent it from happening again.

>>> Healing with Yoga: Piriformis Syndrome (Daily Bandha)

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“Piriformis syndrome is characterized by buttock and/or hip pain that may radiate into the leg as a form of sciatica. This syndrome is thought to result from spasm of the piriformis which causes irritation of the sciatic nerve as it passes across (or through) the muscle. Spasm in the piriformis can be precipitated by an athletic injury or other trauma. The mainstay of treatment involves stretching the piriformis and its neighboring external hip rotators, with surgery to release the muscle reserved for recalcitrant cases.”

See also on Daily Bandha : The Piriformis Muscle and Yoga 

>>> Yoga poses can relieve pain sciatica pain (Fox5 San Diego)

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“Pigeon pushup”

“This is a piriformis-stretching pose for the front leg and a hip-flexor stretch for the back leg.

From a kneeling lunge position, take both hands to the floor on the inside of your leg. Open your hip by letting your knee fall out to the side as you roll to the outside of your foot. Walk your hands forward and outward to push your weight out of your upper body and into your hips and pelvis. Take five long, deep breaths.”

CAREFUL with the exercises !

You might want to “Check with your physician or physical therapist before trying these exercises” and do “Move carefully into each posture, listening to your body. Stop immediately if pain increases or you feel any cautionary sensation.”

 

Navigating Crisis Handout

Here is Navigating Crisis, another sensible handout from the Icarus Project, a community dedicated to helping each other and oneself “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”

Useful facts about psychological crash, crisis response suggestions, how to write down advance directives for friends / carers ..

” When you or someone close to you goes into crisis, it can be the scariest thing to ever happen. You don’t know what to do, but it seems like someone’s life might be at stake or they might get locked up, and everyone around is getting stressed and panicked. Most people have either been there themselves or know a friend who has been there. Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis.

The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? ”

Guía fácil para el aborto espontáneo (y salvaje) – Maria Llopis

Guía fácil para el aborto espontáneo (y salvaje) –

An Easy (and wild) guide to miscarriage (also available in English) –

Maria Llopis

1.- Definición de términos. ¿Qué es un aborto espontáneo?

Un aborto espontáneo o aborto natural es la pérdida de un embrión por causas no provocadas intencionadamente. Se distingue pues de un aborto inducido. El término se puede aplicar solo cuando la pérdida se produce antes de la semana 20 del embarazo, a partir de ese momento se denominará parto prematuro.

2.- Antes de abortar.

Las causas de los abortos espontáneos son un misterio para la medicina occidental y no hay nada que un médico pueda hacer para impedirlos. Si intentan recetarte progesterona, recházala. No hay pruebas de eficacidad y solo conseguirán ponerte de un humor depresivo y suicida.

Si te prohiben tener relaciones sexuales, desconfía. Se suele desaconsejar el sexo cuando hay amenaza de aborto (como pérdidas de sangre) pero no existe evidencia científica de que el sexo provoque el aborto. Lo que sí puede suceder es que empieces a abortar después de tener relaciones sexuales. Pero las relaciones no son la causa, simplemente estimulan un proceso que YA a empezado en tu interior. Es como cuando te viene la regla después de follar. No te viene la regla porque folles, te viene porque no te has quedado embarazada. Que no te confundan. Algunos ginecólogos tienen vocación de curas.

3.- No vayas a un centro médico.

Si te has hecho una ecografía y ya no hay latido (es decir el embrión ha muerto) vas a sufrir un aborto. Es solo cuestión de tiempo. Tienes que tener paciencia porque la cosa se puede demorar semanas. Prepara tu cuerpo y despídete. Cada caso es distinto. Cuando comience te darás cuenta, empezarás a sangrar y a sufrir calambres. No vayas a un centro médico porque hay muchas posibilidades de que te hagan una intervención muy agresiva y en absoluto necesaria.

 

Black Cross Collective First Aid for Radicals and Activists

http://www.blackcrosscollective.org

>>>> Basic first aid and safety for protesters, advice about medication in jail, protection against pepper spray and tear gas, tips for emotional / injury/ chemical weapons aftercare… A zine, the Activist’s Guide to Basic First Aid, to read / print /share…

“Black Cross Health Collective is an affinity group of health care workers who live in Portland, Oregon. We formed after the WTO protests because we saw a need for medical care that is specific to the radical community. We think our needs as radicals are different, and that groups like the Red Cross don’t give us the skills we need to keep ourselves and each other safe in the streets. So we called upon our own medical experience (as nurse practioners, nurses, EMT’s, clinical herbalists, and more), as well as our experience in demos
and direct actions, and formed Black Cross. Since then, we’ve done first aid trainings in Portland and around the country, provided medical support at local and national demos, and are conducting trials looking for a way to neutralize pepper spray.

We believe that health care is political. The kind of care we do or don’t receive, where and how we receive that care, who provides that care, who has access to training to provide care, and what kinds of trainings are smiled or frowned upon, all involve inherently political issues. We believe the system needs to be changed… the health care system right along with all the others.

We’ve put this zine together mostly to go along with a first aid training. While doing the trainings we realized there was way more to say about first aid than we would have time to say it in. So we thought a little reading would maybe be helpful to y’all.

Remember the most important words you can ever learn to say are “I don’t know.”

Fight the power, do no harm.”

Black Cross Collective 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Therapy Gauntlet

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“The Gauntlet is an interactive accessory designed for a specific application in the field of health and wellbeing: It serves as a therapy device for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) which is one of the most common hand diseases. Symptoms range from a burning, tingling numbness in the fingers, nocturnal rest pain, strength loss of the fingers and blood circulation disorders of the hand. The Gauntlet makes CTS patients aware of load situations and reminds them to vary their hand positions: One knitted sensor on the top of the hand realizes if the wrist is bent, another one at the palm and inner side of the arm measures pressure on the wrist.”

Design research lab project by Katharina Bredies & Hannah Perner-Wilson 

Chinese Martial Arts Manuals translated

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Here is a generous selection of 19th century to mid 20th Chinese Martial Arts Manuals (notably Taiji Boxing manuals) all translated to english and made available by Paul Brennan on his site. Original chinese scriptures are still in the copy along with vintage photographies and images. Interesting for practice, the manuals are also windows on chinese metaphysics and the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (which the “gymnastics” are part of), and on chinese (war) history…

“The ideal thing to do is unite in association with each other and rouse our spirits to strive, to study intensively in the triple aspects of education [i.e. ethical, intellectual, physical] and let us be common friends against a common foe. Without strength of literature, how will these things be spread far? A single page carried by the wind can delay a culture’s decay.” 

Liu Qian, foreword to the TAIJI MANUAL OF XU YUSHENG

Trail Guide To The Body and other bodywork books

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Andrew Biel’s TRAIL GUIDE TO THE BODY- a hands-on guide to locating muscles, bones and more, does exactly what it says. It is a good, complete, educational and entertaining book for everyone interested in learning and working with the body, professional or amateur. It teaches anatomy hands-on, but mostly, it shows a way, a method, to always get back on your hands while you give a massage, to always remain grounded in what you feel under your fingers. This, I find, is actually more important than knowing all the muscles by names, especially for amateurs, because then you cannot get it wrong so much. I also like it very much because it follows the metaphor of the body as a landscape and hence, of massage as a hike or a nice “promenade”, a powerful metaphor which I am fond of and work a lot with in both individual sessions and workshops (Coming soon in Paris is another edition of my Body as a Landscape massage Workshop)

Get the book, get out there, and explore !

DATALOVE TIP:

The book is part of a pack here, along with other very good massage and bodywork books

<3

First Aid For Emotional Trauma (Icarus Project Info sheet)

Read / Download / Share FIRST AID FOR EMOTIONAL TRAUMA, An Icarus Project Information sheet.

Excerpt: 

Feeling Body Sensations: Key to Trauma First Aid    

Trauma cuts us off from our bodies. When we are in overwhelming danger, we dissociate or ‘leave our bodies’ as a protective measure. Later this protective mechanism becomes stuck and counterproductive. The key to healing trauma is to return to our bodies, by feeling our physical sensations and making our bodies safe and alive again.

Ask, “How do you know that you are sad? Is there tightness in your chest or throat? How do you know you are afraid? Is there a cold feeling, or a sinking feeling in your stomach? Feel it fully. How large is the feeling? Is it changing? What do you feel next?” Listen without interruption and give plenty of time to feel and respond. Grounding and resourcing yourself will also help the other person.

Keeping eyes open usually is best for focusing on body sensations.

If the person can’t feel their body at all, ask, “Can you feel your feet on the ground? Your pelvis sitting on the chair?” Grasp their hand or shoulder and say “Can you feel my hand?” Always ask before touching. If lying down, ask them to sit up. Ask to walk around slowly and feel their legs and feet. Or gently hold & press their feet to the ground.

MAPS’ Psychedelic Harm Reduction manual

Go to MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) for psychedelic harm reduction resources and download manual !

“This year, millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Many psychedelic users are unprepared to tend to a psychedelic-induced difficult experience if one were to arise. As part of our efforts to minimize harm related to the non-medical use of psychedelics, on this page we provide advice for helping someone having a difficult psychedelic experience”

MAPS PSYCHEDELIC HARM REDUCTION

Creative Commons Workout Music selections from WFMU/ FMA

Radio WFMU and Free Music Archive propose mixes of creative commons workout tunes for non commercial use.

As noted by WFMU Jason Sigal, these are good for schools, non profit fitness centers and other organizations who can’t pay the (pumped up) price to do squats to an original Britney Spears song, and are not too interested either in getting cheaper mock up versions of it.

So get into comfortable clothes and grab some for your community:

WFMU/FMA CC Workout mix 

FMA Katya Oddio Feeling SuperBetter workout mix 

Remember no one actually has to become super better or optimized or anything, although, for those who like, a Mister Universe kind of workout is also available: The Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Body Workout MP3s

th

Cumbia Care

One cumbia a day keeps the doctor away – or is it champeta* ?

Datalove.net shares torrents of it, and champeta, and chicha, and salsa, and merengue, and other sensational street finds.

See how much good vibes yours systems can take in, set to expand that capacity,

And don’t forget to share-care

Besos

Beijos

<3!

* Champeta is a “super-popular rythm, mixing traditional Colombian sounds with modern tropical rythms of obvious afro-carribean influence”, and it is really keeping us healthy around here.

Dusk-til-dawn eyestrain relief with the program REDSHIFT

Long hours in front of a computer screen can cause great eyestrain and fatigue.

The “repetitive stress”corresponding to such constant focusing and adaptive efforts from the eyes can lead to a bunch of symptoms, hence a syndrome, conveniently called Computer Vision Syndrome: Blurred Vision, Double vision, Eye Dryness, Headaches, Neck pain…

One way or “tip”, among others, to prevent or reduce these is to adjust your computer’s display settings, for Brightness, Text size and contrast, and Color temperature.

This is where the project Redshift comes in.

“Redshift adjusts the color temperature according to the position of the sun. A different color temperature is set during night and daytime. During twilight and early morning, the color temperature transitions smoothly from night to daytime temperature to allow your eyes to slowly adapt. At night the color temperature should be set to match the lamps in your room. This is typically a low temperature at around 3000K-4000K (default is 3700K). During the day, the color temperature should match the light from outside, typically around 5500K-6500K (default is 5500K). The light has a higher temperature on an overcast day.”

It sounds both poetic and soothing although I haven’t tested it, and I believe it would be for everyone to make their own opinion. I am told some are very satisfied with it and wouldn’t live without it, while others cannot stand it – or simply find it incompatible with their tasks, being, for example, graphic designers working with colors.

French readers can read a review of Redshift by Geekfault (stroll down the commentaries for users feedbacks).

Redshift, ne vous abimez plus les yeux la nuit, by Geekfault.

There is an alternative to tampons: Menstrual Cups

For the women out there who still wouldn’t know about the Mighty Menstrual Cup as excellent alternative to tampons, it is my pleasure to introduce it to you here. Safer, greener, cheaper, “no strings attached”. Powah periods everyone !

(Mooncup is one menstrual cup, there are indeed many others brands to choose from. Luna, Mia, Diva, Iris, NaturalMamma…This french site lists and compares quite a few: http://www.easycup.fr/description-coupes.php)

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Research or report prescription drugs side effects with RxISK

RxISK.org is a “free, independent drug safety website where you can research your prescription drug side effects or report a drug side effect.”

There are “zones” where you can find out if the drugs you’re taking are affecting your hair, skin, sex life… or if they have been linked to violent or suicidal behaviors. There is also an “interaction checker”, and a zone to check if your symptoms are linked to withdrawal from a drug.

Tip: if you live outside of the countries covered, you might not have the same trademark medicine – try entering the name of the active molecule (ex: ibuprofen)

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID: Free guidelines to download from MHFA Australia

Mental health first aid has been defined as the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. Training courses started to be developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener, and Anthony Jorm in 2001, then spread to other countries (…)”. It aims apparently to “increase mental health literacy, expand knowledge on how to help someone in a psychological crisis, connect individuals with professionals, and reduce stigma”.

But then MHFA stems from a medical model which can have its limits. It has been argued that it could in fact result in more stigma, if not more alienation, through the use of clinical labels, prompt resort to medical authorities / psychiatric services, and medication. These points are addressed in Three reviews of mental health first aid on the Mad In America website:

Edward Duff: Mental Health First Aid is pretty good if you ignore the labeling system and just pay attention to the very gentle form of peer support, harm-reduction, and listening they advocate. This is a big IF since the main response of the program is to lead people into psychiatric services. It’s also a form of response short of an emergency hospitalization/capture scenario. This can be a very good thing to avoid, for sure.”  

With this in mind, you can explore MHFA Australia material on how to pick up signals, how to approach and help someone with depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, panic attacks, drug or alcohol use problems… or help returning to work after depression. Also, it has guidelines adapted to different cultures.

* MHFA Australia free GUIDELINES * 

“In order to improve the quality of the mental health first aid techniques being taught to the public, MHFA Australia and researchers in the Mental Health Literacy Research Team lead by Professor Tony Jorm (now the Population Mental Health Group at the University of Melbourne) have developed guidelines on what constitutes best practice first aid, as informed by expert consensus (i.e., consensus-based guidelines). (…) Guidelines in the following areas have been developed, and are available for free download below.

How to use these guidelines 

These guidelines are a general set of recommendations about how you can help someone who may be experiencing ———. Each individual is unique and it is important to tailor your support to that person’s needs. These recommendations therefore will not be appropriate for every person who may have ———-.

Also, the guidelines are designed to be suitable for providing first aid in developed English-speaking countries. They may not be suitable for other cultural groups or for countries with different health systems.

Although these guidelines are copyright, they can be freely reproduced for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

Please cite these guidelines as follows:
Mental Health First Aid Australia. Psychosis: first aid guidelines. Melbourne: Mental Health First Aid Australia; 2008. Enquiries should be sent to: 

Mental Health First Aid Australia email: mhfa@mhfa.com.au 

GO TO the DOWNLOAD PAGE 

sources: wikipedia, mhfa.com.aukeccs.org, mad in america.

“Navigating the space between brilliance and madness” : The Icarus Project

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The Icarus Project is a “radical mental health support network, online community, and alternative media project by and for people struggling with extreme emotional distress that often gets labeled as mental illness.” You can read their mission statement, here. Principles like access, transparency, looking beyond the medical, self and/or alternative education, all guide a relaxed yet resolute, diffracting yet convergent, initiative for the well-being of extra-ordinary people. Browsing through their pages you’ll find they provide a lot of resources (articles, forums, etc.) to help one “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”. It will speak to whoever is confronted to “madness” at some point in their life, one way or another, in a world that is constantly LOSING IT in many aspects.

Taking care of oneself or helping someone in a psychological crisis can be tricky. Not everybody is experienced or comfortable in dealing with different, awkward, or extreme states of consciousness. As a matter of fact, many people it seems become clueless when confronted to psychological distress, even their own… Some psychological states are indeed impressive, and some can actually threaten a person’s mental and physical integrity. But with appropriate reactions (often rather simple ones, like keeping the voice down or introducing oneself), informed attention, kindness and clear intentions, a little help can go a long way in supporting recovery or preventing harm. Even better is the care we can provide as a group, attentive, resilient, aware and creative, because it will be more sustainable, and so the recovery or at least the safety of the person will stand more chances too in the long term.

So how to take care of oneself when the mind is troubled ? How to take care of friends, of strangers, of friends who suddenly become strangers ? Breaking the taboo around “madness” in one’s community can be a good start, making a safe space, becoming a bit more literate in psychology / caregiving, aware and confident… By not being afraid to do good ?

Following is a small selection of handouts, information sheets, guides and zines I found on Icarus website relative to psychological care. They are all interesting to read, print, post, share. They can give you insight and clues and confidence. All Icarus Project material is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.

NAVIGATING CRISIS handout

“Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis. The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? “

CRISIS PLANNER pdf

“Noticing and responding to symptoms early reduces the chances that you will find yourself in crisis. But it is important to confront the possibility of a crisis because in spite of your best planning and assertive action in your own behalf, you could find yourself in a situation where others will need to take over responsibility for your care. (…) Writing a clear crisis plan when you are well, to instruct others about how to care for you when you are not well keeps you taking responsibility for your own care.”

HELP GETTING TO SLEEP information sheet

“Not sleeping for long periods of time is extremely dangerous for physical and emotional 

FIRST AID FOR EMOTIONAL TRAUMA information sheet 

“Trauma (or post-traumatic stress disorder) is the emotional “shock” after a life-threatening, violent event. Anything that makes our body panic and go into a fight/flight/freeze response can leave us traumatized. The effects may be immediate or take time to surface, and can be felt for the rest of our lives. “

HURTING YOURSELF zine

“how to take care of yourself when you feel the urge to hurt yourself ”

* HARM REDUCTION GUIDE TO COMING OFF PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS 

Excerpt : “Applying harm reduction philosophy to mental health is a new but growing approach. It means not always trying to eliminate “symptoms” or discontinue all medications. It recognizes that people are already taking psychiatric drugs, already trying to come off them, and already living with symptoms — and that in this complicated reality people need true help, not judgment. It encourages balancing the different risks involved: the harm from extreme states, as well as the harm from treatments such as adverse drug effects, disempowering labels, and traumatic hospitalization.

Making harm reduction decisions means looking honestly at all sides of the equation: how drugs might help a life that feels out of control, how risky those same drugs might be, and the role of options and alternatives. Any decisions become a process of experimentation and learning, including learning from your own mistakes and changing your goals along the way. Harm reduction accepts all this, believing that the essence of any healthy life is the capacity to be empowered.”

 

 

OBSERVE a MASSAGE : A Thaï Yoga Massage demo

During 30C3 I will be giving massages on a futon on the floor, working over comfortable clothing (one-size-fits-all-yoga-pants will be provided). Indeed, we are now in winter, and in a semi-nomadic situation I want to optimize the warmth and coziness of individual sessions. Consequently the massages will use a combination of techniques drawn more from Asia than California, with powerful palm pressures, cat paws and elephant walks, yoga-like stretches… I also like to integrate to them tools coming from occidental body-mind therapy, like guided deep breathing exercises, subtle stomach massage, and other minimal moves for maximum mind soothing benefits.

To give you an idea of the family of massage I am referring to, I looked for a demo video. I came across this thai yoga massage demo by teacher Ralf Marzen, whom I have never met and whose school I didn’t go to. But he seems to be really good at what he does, and these 9 minutes of demo are inspiring and instructive. I chose it because I loved the sequence at first sight and could almost feel it while watching it: I immediately wanted to try it (to receive and to give it).

So those of you who didn’t know anything about Thai massage can have a better idea of the style (there are of course many more techniques and moves and styles and practitioners, and the beauty of it is also a diversity outside of strict protocols). Furthermore, watching a good demo (or watching someone IRL) gives an opportunity to really observe what goes on in giving a massage. We can maybe understand, “copy-feel”, integrate moves, and by the wonderful ways of memory and imitation, we grow a new practice. These aspects have been discussed in my workshops OBSERVE-HACK-MASSAGE.

Now, here are some of my thoughts as I observe this demo.

Although this sequence looks smooth and easy, it is actually (indeed) advanced. Quite advanced, more than I am at present -yet nothing I couldn’t grow capable of, precisely because it looks so tasty and I like to look up to things that look so tasty and learn from them.

It looks easy and smooth because it is executed with great art, grace, and presence. In general a massage feels quite like it looks. So you can pretty much trust what you see, and/or feel, watching it.

It looks and probably is then, smooth ad easy, because the giver is himself comfortable in his own skin and bones, has gotgreat coordinationfeet sensitive as hands, to name a few. He seems to have very well integrated what he is giving, his knowledge seems “incarnated”. Also, he looks in an attentive yet relaxed state, and in a kind of a “blurry focus”, quite characteristic. Indeed thai massage is traditionally done /approached by giver and receiver like a meditation.

Notice the similarities with Yoga, it is – yet another – form of Yoga.

Notice the similarities also with Dance: how the giver communicates his “groove” to the receiver, and how rhythm is kept throughout. Notice if you can, how this groove and rhythm originate from the center of his body (belly) and propagate to his limbs, hands, feet (it’s not just the hands doing something independently). Notice also how the bodies respond to each other, echo, however passive the receiver may seem (I would argue that receiving a massage is not such a passive thing, by the way).

Notice how the structure of the body (of receiver, but also giver) is very well handled, notice how movement is initiated where movement should be initiated: at the articulations. Notice how amplitude comes with opening (of the joints, of breathing..).

Notice the fluidity in the whole sequence, the oceanic vibe, brought by rocking and oscillating moves. Also, the stretches are many, long and soft. The masseur is taking his time, not rushing things, sometimes even pausing. He is listening, feeling.That leaves space for (deep) breathing. It also indicates that the pressures are applied progressively on the receiver’s muscles, thus respecting her body and needs. The whole thing is not so tonic, meaning the intention, and effects, are probably more about relaxation than waking-up or preparing for action. It is about gentle unblocking, melting tensions and opening of flows in the bodies. I guess it could be one metaphorical illustration of how “data must flow” can resonate in massage.

These are really cool massages to learn. So cool that to practice them well, you have to be really flexible and CHILLIN’. You cannot escape (at least not for long) working on your own body and mind (which is true with any massage but is especially true here with Thai, for occidental people). Once you integrate its aspects, some of which I have described, you become comfortable and capable of giving this kind of massage to almost anybody, even somebody with a body much larger than yours.

Do in automassage (le bien-être au bout des doigts)

Le Do In est une technique d’automassage issue de la médecine traditionnelle chinoise. Sa pratique est très proche de sa version japonaise appelée Shiatsu « la voie par la pression des doigts ».

Dominique Launay, praticien en shiatsu est l’auteur de “Do In automassage : le bien-être au bout des doigts”. Il a réalisé des vidéo pour le web présentant une série d’exercices pour prévenir et soulager les maux du quotidien des travailleur.euses sur ordinateur.

La démarche est expliquée et les différents exercices sont présentés ici:
http://www.psychologies.com/Bien-etre/Relaxation/Massage/Articles-et-Dossiers/Video-s-automasser-avec-le-Do-In

 

 

MARVELOUS FITNESS (I shall triumph over human lethargy)

Here for your enjoyment some yoga / stretch / fitness exercises from Stan Lee’s STRENGTH & FITNESS book.

A few stretches in the morning and/or evening can go a long way. You don’t necessarily have to jump like Silver surfer, in fact, maybe you shouldn’t jump first thing, but do adopt a little morning routine to wake your body gently and activate your vitals so you can kick ass all day. Make it indispensable and obvious like a shower (let’s hope you do shower from time to time). In the evening, stretching will help you lose the tight uniform of a hero, so you can regenerate at ease, make room for new moves and ideas, sleep well, and be fit to kick ass again tomorrow.

MARVELSILVERSURFER-206x300

The exercise below, the Jameson Roar, is a take on Simhasana, the Lion pose, in Yoga (as shown here also by BKS Iyengar). It is for me a MUST in morning stretch, very accessible and rewarding. It opens your face, brightens your vision, takes away tension in the jaws and at the back of the neck. Interesting for people with bruxomania (compulsive grinding of teeth in sleep) AND very interesting to practice before giving a speech ;)

marveljamesonroar-200x300

simhasanaIyengar

When bending forward and letting your head hang like Spiderman below, you might want to flex your knees, to go easy on them and your legs if you are not very flexible (you should not feel pain). Certainly flex your knees on the way up, even if you’re flexible, and rise up slowly, vertebra after vertebra, from the sacred to the cervical region where your head rests. Once you are standing, see that your shoulders are in a good alignment, not falling in front, not too much in your back, and keep them low (you ARE strong, no need to brag about it more).

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Carpal Tunnel: Anatomy, Syndrome and Exercises

VIDEO Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exercises that really work – Boing Boing.

Anatomy of the region:

armanatomy

carpal-tunnel-syndrome

Q/A (from wisegeek.com)

WHAT CAUSES TENDINITIS ? 

“Tendinitis is a condition that is created by some type of irritation or inflammation of the tendon. Since tendons are the connecting tissue that adheres muscles to the skeletal structure of the body, this inflammation can be extremely painful. Tendinitis can come about as the result of certain types of physical activity and exertion, as well as be the product of other health ailments that are creating adverse effects on other parts of the body as well as the tendons.

One of the most common causes of tendinitis is overexertion. When the muscles become strained due to heavy lifting or any movements that place the muscles and tendons into unnatural positions, there is a chance of straining the tendons and creating temporary irritation. Repeated activity of this nature may inhibit the ability of the tendons to recover from each episode and lead to tendon inflammation. When this is the case, it is often necessary to visit a physician and obtain medication to help reduce the swelling and the discomfort while the tendons heal.
Full article on wisegeek here 

WHAT IS THE CARPAL TUNNEL ?  

“The carpal tunnel is a narrow area that is located under the ligament, a band of tough tissue, of the wrist. It consists of both tendons, which are connective tissue between the bones and muscles, and nerves. One of the primary nerves in this area is known as the median nerve, which is located down the forearm into the wrist. When the median nerve becomes irritated or otherwise affected, it can cause pain in the tunnel and lead to the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

When the area near the carpal tunnel, especially its tendons, becomes swollen or inflamed, it can result in the tunnel becoming more narrow and pressing down on the median nerve. This narrowing of the tunnel is often due to repetitive movements of the wrist that may end up irritating the median nerve. It can also be caused by having a naturally smaller carpal tunnel, which can make even slight constriction of the tunnel press down on the median nerve and cause symptoms.”

Full article here + how to “treat carpal tunnel syndrome”