Caring for the commons with OUR!Netmundial

It’s raining cats and unicorns on the Internet and we hope this will positively influence the climate and conditions for life there.

Some salutary raindrops come in the shape of signatures to OUR!NETmundial’s message to the governments of the world.

A global response to the successful failures of Internet Governance Meetings, the letter calls for strong principles and actions in order to End Global Surveillance and Protect a Free Internet, Internet being envisioned here as a common good.

This is also stated by Jérémie Zimmerman’s in a publication presenting the campaign “The Internet Governance’s Farce and its Multi-Stakeholder Illusion

Those interested to learn/reflect more about “the commons” can search the Digital Library of the Commons, which “provides free and open access to full-text articles, papers, and dissertations (…) relevant to the study of the commons.”

Posture: Spot the differences game

Pay attention and FEEL the differences between postures to help yourself minimize body harm from your long desk hours. Here are two images to reflect on what can be a less straining posture at your desk.

YoungmanInfrontOfcomputerScreen_JonathanJanson

Young man sitting in front of a computer screen, by Jonathan Janson

computereyes

Computer Eye-gonomics, from article in the Atlantic by Lindsay Abrams

Addition to this post :

Ironically, there is actually more life “portrayed” in the first picture. I don’t know about you, but in a way I’d rather be the first dude, even with shoulder strain. As much as postural advices are interesting, they should not become a cold, rigid, norm… It’s not about seeing 90° angles everywhere and becoming postural orthodox, right… ? Careful how you hold yourselves, and don’t freeze into any posture..

Posture must flow

dynamicAlignmentBook

 backFlow

One way to improve posture so as to avoid piling up strenuous tensions is to think of it as a continuous flow.

The image of flow is a tool dear to (re) educational somatic disciplines (e.g. Feldenkrais or Alexander techniques), and of course to dancers, whom it helps perfect their art.

In the practice book Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery, we read:

“The concept of flow is crucial to creating dynamic alignment. Just as we have said that your mind can sculpt your body into a certain posture, your mind can also help your body flow into better alignment. And here is the good news: A flow cannot be held because it then ceases to be a flow; therefore alignment based on this notion cannot become rigid. If you begin to realize that your alignment is flowing, constantly changing, even if on a cellular or molecular level, you are able to take charge of this flow. Using imagery, you can constantly guide your alignment toward increased efficiency without ever holding onto it. If you were to stop the flow, even in what appears to be a biomechanically well-aligned position, tension would ensue. The building blocks of our body, our cells, are both filled and surrounded by fluids. Therefore fluid motion is inherent in our very structure.”

In a resting still position, the image of flow can also be used to “flush” muscular tensions:

“Imagine a river flowing down your back, expelling all muscular tension (figure 12.40). Visualize the tension points as little rocks and pieces of wood carried out with the flow. Imagine the murky water turning crystal clear. Watch the river flow down through the gutters between your spine and ribs to flush out all remaining tension” 

RiverFlowsBack

Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery, by Eric Franklin. 

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.

This is your brain on mobile

Power down

 

 

When is the last time you powered down. All the way down. Not asleep. Not in airplane mode but ON | OFF. Try it with me now. Take your phone out, if you’re not already futzing with it, and turn it off (note: this is not advised if you are reading this on your mobile. In this case you are probably too far gone). Fair warning, you will experience a short stint of anxiety and emptiness. These mobile withdrawals are unpleasant (and slightly pathetic) but the sobering and liberating experience is worth more than your 25th snapchat today. I promise.

I was a mobile junkie. The phosphorescent glow left me mesmerized and needing more. Each Snapchat or push notification fueled my need for news, updates, and winning the battle against boredom. At my worst, most conversations with friends and family would start with “do you have a charger?”

I remember the turning point. I had just returned from a camping trip where I ‘witnessed’ a beautiful sunset. As I was reminiscing over the dozens of photos I took, I barely had any recollection of ACTUALLY being there. I was so focused on eternalizing the moment through my phone, that I hadn’t taken the time to eternalize it in my brain. I accepted my addiction and decided to make a change.

Full disclosure: I’m a technologist that works almost exclusively on mobile. I’ve had the opportunity to build some really neat things (thing 1 and thing 2) alongside very talented people. So my telling you to put your phone down is a little bit like a girl scout telling you only to buy 2 boxes. We (as app makers) want them to be addicting. Like a potato chip manufacturer, we try to put just the right crunch and the perfect amount of salt so you can’t help but have just one more. We want you to get addicted. It puts the potato chips on our table.

read the rest on : https://medium.com/medium-long/15308056cfae

The Effects Of Negative Emotions On Our Health

by JOE MARTINO

Humans experience an array of emotions, anything from happiness, to sadness to extreme joy and depression. Each one of these emotions creates a different feeling within the body. After all, our body releases different chemicals when we experience various things that make us happy and each chemical works to create a different environment within the body. For example if your brain releases serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin, you will feel good and happy. Convexly, if your body releases cortisol while you are stressed, you will have an entirely different feeling associated more with the body kicking into survival mode.

What about when we are thinking negative thoughts all the time? Or how about when we are thinking positive thoughts? What about when we are not emotionally charged to neither positive nor negative? Let’s explore how these affect our body and life.

Read more at : http://www.realfarmacy.com/the-effects-of-negative-emotions-on-our-health/

Atelier bien-être: ANTIDOTES aux usages douloureux de l’ordinateur, PARIS le 17/04

stressOrdinateur-300x211

Nous passons beaucoup de temps assis, tête rivée à des écrans, ordinateurs à bout de bras, clic sous index droit, téléphones en mains, tablettes…

Comment nos corps sont-ils affectés par nos usages des nouvelles technologies et outils de communication ? Souffrez-vous un peu, beaucoup ? Qu’est-ce la posture ? Quels gestes pouvons nous pratiquer, pour nous-mêmes ou en massage, pour soulager des tensions et prévenir des maux plus graves sur le long terme ? Quelles habitudes simples pouvons nous adopter et/ou suggérer à nos clients ?

Emily propose d’explorer ces questions dans un atelier découverte ouvert à toutes et à tous, chez Biopulse Formation Massage

12 Rue Saint Sauveur
75002 PARIS

Tarif: 15 euros

Inscription au 01 44 82 51 29

Creative Maladjustment (Martin Luther King)

“There are some things in our nation and in our world to which I’m proud to be maladjusted… I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, and leave millions of people perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of prosperity. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, and to the self-defeating effects of physical violence… And I call upon you to be maladjusted to these things until the good society is realized…Yes, I must confess that I believe firmly that our world is in dire need of a new organization – the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment…Through such maladjustment we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice”

Martin Luther King “Don’t Sleep Through The Revolution,” speech delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly in Hollywood, Florida (May 18, 1966).

Transcript from “Taking Martin Luther King’s for creative maladjustment seriously”, on Mad in America 

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)

MenstrualCups2-1024x682

Being programmed by a program: a review of Workrave by Sophie Hiltner

Physical therapist Sophie Hiltner offers a quick review of Workrave ”a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.”

More from Sophie in the talk she gave at 30C3 last December, CODING YOUR BODY

Workrave: being programmed by a program

A review by Sophie Hiltner 

Sitting at my desk working as usual I suddenly feel the urge to stretch my arms high in the air, extending my thoracic spine. Two seconds after I had followed my impulse, the little reminder from workrave popped up to tell me I needed a micro pause. What happened here, had the one week trial phase already left its impression in my movement patterns inside my brain?

I will give you a quick overview about the program workrave (http://www.workrave.org/), my experiences with it and a physiotherapeutical evaluation of its function.

Workrave is a programm that monitors the use of keyboard or mouse. The programm offers two different kinds of pauses, a microbreak and a coffeebreak. The preset timing, of the intervals of the pauses, did not feel good to me, therefore I chose a twenty minutes rhythm for the micropause of thirty seconds and one hour rhythm for the coffee break of five minutes. During those breaks your monitor is blocked, unless you decide to skip or postpone the break by a certain period of time. In general I use these microbreaks to stretch, get out of the chair,  go to the bathroom or fill up my tea cup. Choosing a small cup and putting the tea pot at the other end of the room is a great opportunity for a small walk between the sitting phases of your day.

During the coffeebreaks the programm offers excercises for shoulders, eyes, fingers and arms. For example: stretching out your fingers or neck muscles. Each exercise is about twenty-five seconds long. Depending on your motivation you can choose up to ten excercises per break. These exercises are helpful from a physiotherapeutical point of view, but especially the stretches are way to short. If you like the excercises offered I would suggest doing one maximum two and repeating those for at least one minute each. Concentrate on your breathing while stretching, for example your neck, and feel the tension leave your body while you exhale.

A friendly person sent me his comment about workrave “Since I use workrave, my room is much cleaner.”. I have to agree, besides the stretching I used the breaks also to tidy up things quickly, wash the dishes or make fresh tea.

Besides all those advantages I have two points I am not happy about. First of all, when you are not typing or using your mouse the programm counts it as a break. Since I am also reading a lot when working I need to remind myself of those breaks. But after using workrave quite often while I was writing, my body started to remind itself of the needed breaks. This does not mean, that the program became unnecessary, but that Pavlov was correct. Bottomline: the programm helped me to be more aware of continuous sitting periods and I start to move subconsciously whenever a break should be taken.

The second point of criticism: workrave is incredibly sexist, since the person presenting the exercises is a big busted woman with braided hair. A neutral person would be more suitable, at least for my taste.

Another thing is, that wordrave is not availabe for Mac L sorry to say. If anybody knows a mac compatible programm let me know.

That is what I have to say about workrave. If you have questions, suggestions or critique: Let me know! Till then keep working out in the office,

Sophie.

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

icarus_youarenotalone

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.”

 

 

Big Doctor will care ?! Privacy for the weak !

The possibilities and dangers -closing in on us- of “pseudonymized” health records central databases, with police backdoors, scientists, insurers, and other third parties authorized to mine the “care.data” are exposed in this guardian article “Police will have backdoor access to health records despite opt-out”, by Randeep Ramesh.

This puts into light an architecture of biopower (as conceptualized by french philosopher Michel Foucault) where control over people’s destinies can technically and easily be exerted via the subjugation of their own bodies.

Let’s not forget that today, people’s personal health informations ALREADY are used against them and negatively affect their fundamental freedoms, for example of movement and/or economic interaction, whether it is a matter of crossing a border when you’re HIV+ and/or getting/keeping a job when you’re a smoker.

Overall it is a particularly aching reminder of the importance of protecting the personal data of the weak, in that it concerns the very place where people are the most vulnerable (that’s when we go to a doctor, right?), and a place that is still considered a safety and confidentiality haven – with privacy being a component of good care.

“PRIVACY FOR THE WEAK, TRANSPARENCY FOR THE POWERFUL”

as advocated and enabled by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange,

really sounds like the right line.

Extract:

Phil Booth of medConfidential, which campaigns on medical privacy, told the Guardian: “This is precisely the danger when you create a giant database of highly sensitive information about people – all sorts of other people want to go rifling through it, including the government.” There’s always another good reason to go digging, but no one thinks of the catastrophic breach of trust this represents.”

“The lack of independent oversight and transparency is what’s most worrying. People trust their GP, but who’s heard of the Health and Social Care Information Centre or the four people who sign off on access to all our medical records?”

The Uncomfortable Chair and other well-sitting hacks

markWentzelXLounge

About sitting around the clock:

Sitting all day can have real negative impacts on our well-being and health. You can take a quick look at this Sitting is Killing You infographic to get a picture, and/or watch the talk Coding Your Body physical therapist Sophie Hiltner gave last week at 30C3.

One of my favorite “hack” to remedy for this problem has to be the UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIR, which was cited by Sophie Hiltner at the end of her talk. When asked by someone in the audience what is the best chair to prevent musculo-skeletal disorders caused by sitting all day, she answered that the best chair could actually be the most uncomfortable of all, the most basic one, because then one has no choice but to stand up every so often to stretch. I think that is brilliant. It reminds me of a friend, movie director, who used exactly the same trick for a different, and also very interesting, purpose: He said he would always sit in the most uncomfortable chair to watch movies, because he believed comfort was detrimental to a healthy critical sense, and he certainly hated falling asleep in the arms of whatever storytelling.

Sophie Hiltner also cited having INCENTIVES TO STAND UP in the room, like placing the pot of tea or coffee on a different table than the actual desk, so one has to stand up every once in a while to get a refill. It’s a good one too, though the incentive has to be pretty strong, knowing how sometimes we don’t get up to go to the bathroom even though we are bursting.

Another woman we met told me how she cannot stay, and will not, stay in place behind her computer even though she does spend hours on it, and how she was always POSTURE SHIFTING at her large desk. She demonstrated to me a few moves, options for sitting, kneeling, forward bending, and it resembled a strange, very personal kind of yoga involving office accessories. And, she also moves/works away from the main desk, to other spots in the room where she experiments with other postures. She said it will all be perfect when she gets a desk that can adjust its height so she could then include standing postures in her “routine”. Very refreshing 🙂

STANDING DESKS are an interesting option by the way, you can read some posts about them + IKEA hacks and how to build your own here on lifehacker.

StandingDeskposture

She also mentioned her and her son trying the exercise BALL as an office chair, but said that it proved tiresome and too f****ing distracting in the end. I have never tried it so I wouldn’t know. I hear that the interest is that you have to keep moving to maintain your stability, and that this gets your (forgotten, atrophied) stabilizing muscles to workout and that it prevents you from turning into a petrified human that will end up breaking at some point.

stabilityball

Me, I ideally like to have a chair with a wide enough seat (not too soft or spongy) so I can sit in a SEMI-LOTUS POSE on it every now and then with a straight back (not straight as in straight, straight as in with nice spinal curves). Days when I’m not flexible enough, I will add a CUSHION under my bottom, just so my hips are higher than my knees (if not, the effort I have to make to raise myself over the level of my knees is too much and counterproductive). This is also known as “ZAFU SITTING” for meditation. This way of using a cushion or “prop” can be useful even when sitting more classically on a chair (legs uncrossed), for elevating the hips and helping reinstall the healthy spinal curves. DO think about it whenever you are working on the floor at a low table.

zafusitting

About computers and other devices sucking life juices out of you…

The same woman mentioned another very interesting “trick” (that is way more than a trick, actually) so that machines would not end up sucking all life out of her : She has DOGS. Most of us have probably already heard how stroking a “pet” can be soothing for the mind and emotions, but that is not exactly the point here. In her case it has more to do with sharing her work space with OTHER LIFE FORMS, having a room inhabited, kept vibrant with life. Not to mention the fact that dogs will always remind you that is is TIME TO TAKE A WALK (how’s that for an incentive?!). She cites dogs for lively counterpoints to computers and/or points of reference for what matters in life (that is, life), but of course there are many ways in which to explore how to keep a connection to the living world while giving it all at the work place. It can make it easier to COME BACK from long deep immersions into technological realms.

9_wurm_erwin_oneminutesculptures5

I like PLANTS for that purpose. Indeed they are more easy going than dogs, yet not less alive. I sometimes like to suggest CARING FOR A PLANT as means to start taking care of oneself (better), and to stay connected to life. An idea to make it even more fulfilling is to pick a plant which kind of resembles you: in shape, original habitat (where does it grow), cycles, flowers or no flowers, spikes or no spikes, needs for water and sunlight, and whatever more you find relevant. A plant that you will like and will like to care for, and that, without you really knowing at first, will care for you too (no, I’m not crazy). Then keep it with you at your work place. Look at it from time to time. What does it need ? Do you provide it ? Does it look well? If it has become dusty, asphyxiated, dehydrated, is turning yellow, is losing its leaves, and is shrinking… You probably are too.

A taste of other well-being hacks and how nice it could be to create a WELL-BEING HACK BOX

Other people at 30C3 shared with us other well-being hacks, tricks and personal rules that work for them and that one can use to improve their quality of life in relation to extensive use of computers and other devices. For example, not having devices in the bedroom (a huge step for many!), or at least turning them off before bed (yes, that is taking action), covering computers with a blanket (making them disappear for the time being almost like a magic trick would), taking offline holidays, only allowing oneself 10 minutes of use before breakfast, installing some software that will interrupt the computer work regularly… These tricks and hacks can be already well known and/or very singular and surprising, and they come in response to a vast array of discomforts, in relation to eating, sleeping, socializing… Each of these topics would deserve specific articles. Here now I just wanted to give you a glimpse of how nice it good be to actually collect and put some more of these hacks and fixes together in relation to specific problems so we can all pick from a box, be inspired, and overall feel better.

If you feel inspired and want to contribute with your own hacks, cyber grandpa and cyber grandma home remedies, go to our survey page on the menu of that blog ! THANK YOU 🙂

Art credits

Erwin Wurm, Idiot II & One Minute Sculpture

Mark Wentzel, XLounge

“CODING YOUR BODY”: Physical therapist Sophie Hiltner talks at 30C3

In this 30 minutes talk, physical therapist Sophie Hiltner explains basic anatomy of the musculo-skeletal systems, the physical structures that hold us together and enable our actions. This is of course of interest to people who spend most of their time holding themselves the same way, not shape-shifting much, sitting all day, heads tilted over screens, forever clicking… You get the picture.

How is a little anatomy interesting ? Understanding the physiology and mechanics of the bones, muscles and connective tissues, leads to a better understanding of the constraints and stresses our postures exert on these systems everyday all day, and of the negative consequences these postures can have for the general well-being and health. Over the years, these consequences can in fact turn out quite bad, Sophie remarks, as she invites the audience to not lose more time before starting to listen to important warning signals from the body (you know, like pain). Note that the worse posture of all can be any posture in which one will let themselves become a statue, that is to say, lack of movement sabotages us in the long term. On that subject, French readers can read my post “l’effort musculaire de la statue”, on my massage blog.

From Sophie’s overview of the musculo-skeletal systems it then becomes quite clear that preventing and/or reversing the negative effects of still and sloppy habits can/should be in one’s power, as one becomes more aware and hopefully doesn’t wait to be too hurt before he or she takes simple steps that can go a long way. Like… Getting up ! Moving! A little later on after the talk, Sophie took the crowd outside (best place, given the hot air, lights, hyperactivity and electricity inside the building) for a little stretching and moving about. NICE ONE :)

So yes, a little knowledge in anatomy is very useful, and it can trigger a realization that movement is vital, which can save everyone some avoidable pains and strains (not all pains in life in the world are so easily avoidable, so we might as well prevent those which we can). It was great that Sophie was there at 30C3 to communicate this, because as crucial as it is, this kind of knowledge and practical body wisdom is not much represented… I myself am not fond of the analogy with machines  when speaking of the body (I like to stick to the living), but I guess it helped in getting the message across at 30C3, which mattered. As an experienced masseuse I guess I also would have enjoyed it if there had been more time for Sophie to present the case studies of her patients she had brought but… next time !

Hackers Food : Is There An Alternative?

Ok it’s not a gastronomic congress, but can we pretend to a sustainable alternative without including the food system?

Maybe we lack whisthleblowers from the food industry ? For whatever reasons, it seems that hackers are condemned (by design) to eating junk..

Why is it every times no choice in between hot dogs or pizza or crepes ? for vegetarians it’s often worst: plastic salad with fake cream cheese or frozen carottes with industrial beans?

One can argue that germany is the country of salami and ham, but it’s also the one of Demeter and high standards organic agriculture..

So I’d like to understand : Is food the last preoccupation of the organization ? Is industrial junk is the default option?

Yes there is lots of constraint to feed thousands of people, but no more than other organizational aspect..

How can it be so exemplar on every single organizational aspect but food ?

I’d like to understand that… Is is it because the junk industry is so well implanted and irreplaceable?

Why is it so hard to have the same level of exigence and ethics than for other technology and social issue?

It seems that fooding (and well being in general) is the ultimate thing to hack.

Du Bist Was Du Isst!

The Pink Side Of Dark: about sexist tech products

Good points made about “macho-dominated technology landscape”, sexist marketing, “pink coding” and other “dumbing down” of tech products in Casey Johnston’s article on Ars Technica.

“The poorly thought-out tech product for women hardly needs an introduction. Rare is the week that goes by without a company (or a Kickstarter) deciding that there just aren’t enough products for women amid the macho-dominated technology landscape and rolling out a new pink monstrosity.

It’s probably unfair to say that many of the most offensive products targeted at women cropped up because someone’s wife, girlfriend, or mom casually complained once that her smartphone wouldn’t do what she wanted, and suddenly she needed a solution tailored to her feminine ways—but it’s easy to envision that backstory for many of them.

Products that target women tend to fall into three basic problem categories through flaws of logic and, in some cases, morality.

Problem 1: Looks like a “woman’s product”

The simplest tactic used to target women is giving the product a stereotypically feminine design—pink, purple, sparkly, curvy, and so on. Contrary to popular belief, women are not biologically wired to like stuff that is pink or tiny or pretty. Some, however, are culturally wired for these things, as history and research on product segmentation show. They’ve been conditioned to believe pink and delicate things are made for them because the two are so often linked, and eventually this conditions what they choose for themselves. But that does not necessarily make it okay to reinforce this coding through your product marketing.

Continue reading (and have Santa read): FLOWCHART: HOW NOT TO DESIGN A “WOMAN’S” TECH PRODUCT

Hacking (with) care + La Quadrature Du Net at 30C3 <3 December 27th to 30th 2013

(En)

Following the lovely experience together at OHM2013, Hacking (with) care members gladly respond to the invitation of La Quadrature Du Net to once again team up with them, this time at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, from December 27th to 30th. Emily and Baba (and Anne sending and picking up infos and vibes from Quebec!) will basically offer the same body & soul treats to caring hackers, + new ideas and little improvements that will hopefully make it even better, including:

– Well, this blog, to start with..!

– Morning and evening stretch sessions guided by volunteer Stretch masters

– DIY massages/ individual tutorials with Emily, available in addition to individual massages session

– Energy showers…

And more !

Keep posted with 30C3 thanks to the wiki, AQUI

(Fr)

Après l’agréable expérience partagée cet été à OHM2013, les membres de Hacking (with) care sont heureux d’accepter une nouvelle invitation de La Quadrature Du Net à se joindre à eux, cette fois lors du 30C3, Chaos Communication Congrès, du 27 au 30 décembre à Hambourg. Emily et Baba (et Anne, émettant et captant infos et vibes depuis Quebec!) proposeront à peu près les mêmes gourmandises et soins pour le corps et l’esprit qu’à OHM, + de nouvelles petites idées et améliorations pour rendre le tout encore meilleur, notamment: 

– Ce blog, pour commencer..!

– Des sessions d’étirements le matin et le soir menée par des “stretch masters” volontaires

– Des petit travaux pratiques, supervisions avec Emily en massage, disponible en plus des séances individuelles de massage.

– Les “douches d’énergie”..

Et plus ! 

Vous pouvez rester branché.e.s grâce au wiki LQDN 30C3, AQUI 

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

 

 

OBSERVER-HACKER-MASSER: Rapport d’atelier, en direct de Biopulse

Jeudi 12 Décembre chez Biopulse Formation Massage s’est déroulé l’atelier débrouillard et futé OBSERVER-HACKER-MASSER, animé par Emily et tous les participants ainsi que Baba ! Nous avons noté en direct sur cette page certains éléments de cet atelier, et voici notre rapport ! Pour mémoire, inspiration, et partage !

En guise de préambule aux activités pratiques les participant.e.s ont réfléchit à 2 questions. L’une portait sur les “qualités” personnelles, l’autre sur les modes préférentiels d’apprentissage. Ces réflexions avaient pour objectif de sentir en soi le potentiel et la variété des formes apprentissages (et de transmissions ), libres, personnelles, collaboratives, et de prendre conscience de ses capacités, pour développer “son art” à partir de ses forces, ses sensibilités, ses ressources existantes, tout en mettant en commun avec ses pairs, pour augmenter encore d’avantage les connaissances et capacités de toutes et tous. Nous avons évoqué le concept anglo-saxon de “empowerment”, dans le sens de “se rendre capable”, de se concentrer sur ce qui va être “capacitant” pour soi, plutôt que le contraire…

Les réponses ont été mises en commun, discutées, et notées en direct,  les voici – les prénoms sont remplacés par des pseudonymes ;)

> Pensez à 3 qualités, talents personnels que vous avez… A priori éloignées ou pas, qu’est ce que ces qualités peuvent vous apporter en massage ?

baba

  • l’humour => accueil / énergie positive / légèreté/ protection, défense de soi (comme toute défense, intéressant en bon dosage, sinon on risque de barrer l’autre)
  • l’empathie => contact avec l’énergie / écoute
  • l’utopie => liberté / accessibilité du massage pour tous et par tous / transformation personelle et collective

dragon

  • patience => pas pressé d’arriver / être dans le processus / écoute
  • curiosité => stimule l’apprentissage / favorise une observation fine de l’autre
  • passion => énergie / plaisir / générosité / traverser les moments difficile avec la flamme qui continue

joker

  • générosité => donner
  • attentive, à l’écoute
  • joie => énergie positive, vitalité
  • gentillesse => envie de faire du bien

litsea

  • organisation -> le cadre, la structure, les rdv / organiser son discours pour la transmission / organisation du toucher / intégration du schéma corporel
  • empathie
  • créativité -> art vivant / adapter ses formes / ne pas s’ennuyer / inventer

sarah

  • initiative, prise de risque => oser proposer un massage qui ne parait pas immédiatement coller avec la demande, mais en fait correspond parfaitement. Suivre son intuition dans des chemins nouveaux.
  • confiance en soi => permet la prise de risque, l’écoute des intuitions, et une forme de stabilité.
  • bienveillance => évidemmment ;)
  • synthèse, organisation => élaborer à partir d’une intuition, avoir rapidement une vision d’ensemble qui guide le massage

> Quelles sont vos modes préférés d’apprentissage ? Comment retenez-vous le plus facilement quelque chose ? 

sarah

  • pas à l’école, partout ailleurs
  • à travers des rencontres
  • écriture / lecture
  • faire confiance à la maturation d’un apprentissage, savoir lâcher prise même dans l’apprentissage
  • les challenges, les épreuves

litsea

  • en écoutant
  • à l’école<3, dans un cadre structuré, à travers la prise de notes (qui ne seront pas nécessairement relues..)
  • par les couleurs

joker

  • quand on m’explique, qu’on me raconte une histoire, toute seule je n’arrive à rien.
  • En regardant quelqu’un, besoin d’un maitre
  • Avec des anecdotes, ou des images, des métaphores

dragon

  • l’expérimentation, jouer: si c’est ludique j’apprend plus facilement
  • visualisation, parcours mental ou corporel, mémoire d’un “chemin” sur le corps
  • désynchronisation des sens / dissociation, c’est à dire, un sens après l’autre: répétition d’une même info via plusieurs canaux différents
  • accompagné de musique

baba

  • ludique, rapport au plaisir / désir
  • situation / contexte plaisant

Emy

  • image / métaphores / allégories
  • si je dois/veux transmettre
  • reformulation dans mon propre langage
  • pas de musique
  • ressentir = savoir. Recevoir un massage c’est l’apprendre

Ces réflexions et mises en commun ont été suivi d’un réveil corporel ludique et sensible spontanément animé par Sarah, fait de secousses de 4×4 et ébrouements et cris d’ours.

De là nous avons chacun procédé à un “body scan”, ce qui nous a permit d’identifier et d’approcher  de quelques “problèmes du jour”(en vue de “résolution” par notre groupe de hacker masseurs !)

Chacun profite de son réveil corporel pour ressentir dans soi l’état présent de son corps, identifier un “problème” du jour, et chacun profite de son ressenti pour dire de quoi, de quel(s) geste(s) cela lui donne immédiatement envie (le ressenti nous INSTRUIT sur le geste). Quelques problèmes et envies, suggestions:

  • Sensation d’avoir un “petit dos”, comprimé, rabougri, ratatiné => envie d’un bain aux essences et d’une bonne nuit de sommeil. En massage, nous suggérerions un thaï dans un rythme lent, océanique, composé surtout d’étirements.
  • Mal au dessus des omoplates => envie de pétrissage du trapèze, de ponçage de l’os omoplate
  • Fébrilité, Frilosité => envie de force, d’appuis, de frictions
  • “mal au muscle du torticolis” => envie de glissement, de étirement, et de rechercher les attaches du muscles
  • Fatigue, manque de sommeil, je ne sens pas mon corps comme d’habitude => bain aussi ! massage océanique pour emmener vers un bon sommeil, “décrasser” les parasites de la fatigue, massage de pieds, des mains…

Exploration en groupe de l’outil MAIN…  et des manières imaginables de se servir d’une, ou deux, mains, paumes, doigts, pouces, éminences thénar… Poings… Percussions… Frictions…. Cela en fonction du “problème”, du “site” sur le corps, de ses caractéristiques etc…

 

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).

marvelghostrider-204x300

marvelpeterperpendicular-208x300

marvel_fitnessspiderman2-213x300

“How do we encourage more people to develop their renegade muscle or energy?”

Interviewed about her book IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD, in which she describes her battle with cancer, writer and activist Eve Ensler speaks about violence (more specifically against women), separation (mind/body, self/others, wo.men/nature…), and puts personal traumas into perspective with the ongoing world wars. She shares thoughts on how to overcome these failures of humanity, towards a revolution which she believes people are ready for. To “consuming” she opposes “connecting”, to “transaction”, “transformation”. She has inspiring words about empathy and embodiment “of intelligence” as collective empowerment tools, and gives a big up to truth tellers good doers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. She also salutes Terence Mc Kenna, and defines miracles not as magic, but as powerful leaps into positive change, created by vision, audacity, strong will, and community.

I like and find inspiring the way she puts that question : “How do we encourage more people to develop their renegade muscle or energy?”

And the interview ends with these words:

“It’s an amazing time to be alive right now— the stakes are so extreme and obvious—the creative possibilities are astounding and the possibilities for darkness are astounding, too.”

Read the interview by Michael Klein HERE on Guernica

HACK STRESS and prevent collateral damages to yourself

Stress-Graphic-resized-600.jpg

WHAT IS STRESS ? 

Stress is a useful, dynamic state of tension that will boost your mind and body when you need to actively and quickly respond to extraordinary demanding situations. Hence the idea is not to rid our lives of stress altogether, but rather, to learn to operate at “optimum” levels of stress, to calm down when stress is done serving its purpose, and to find balance between challenges. Indeed, if the mind and body do not experience regularly the state opposite to stress -rest, relaxation, regeneration- the general well-being and health of a person can suffer some serious aches in the long run.

STRESS activates your senses for action, it prepares you to “flee or fight“, as evolution scientists like to put it. It can be defined as a powerful set of physiological and behavioral responses to a set of demands and pressures. Some of the demands and pressures you perceive come from outside (surveillance dispositive, laws, heavy work-load, aggressive threats, poor weather, noisy surroundings, lack of daylight…), some you might have “internalized” (education, prejudices, norms…), and some are more personal/internal and/or or related to your actual physical condition (ideals, personal views, illness, hunger…). These are often entangled. When they “reach” a critical level, very subjective, all these demands and pressures trigger your stress response.

REACTION AND OVER-REACTION 

Together, your nervous and endocrine systems operate some switches and start “firing” their neurotransmitters, and specific stress hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine, a.k.a. adrenaline and noradrenaline, cortisol…), which, networking between your organs via nerves and blood vessels, sensitize and prepare all systems for a joint action. Your heartbeat rises, your breathing becomes faster and shallower, your digestion and excretory functions are put on hold, memories are pushed aside to boost focus on one concern, your muscular skeletal system gets extra tensed and tonic, you mouth goes dry, you start to sweat, etc.

That is a LOT of ACTION. Normally, it all goes back to a calm pacific state once the danger is dealt with, mind and body rest and you regenerate after the extra struggle. But if/when all this ACTION goes on after the challenge has passed or if – as is the case – the fight or resistance is NEVER OVER and you cannot allow yourself to stop, your mind and body become at risk of turning into a devastated, depleted battlefield, with little resources for you (or others) to draw from, and a likely generalsensitization that will make you each time more vulnerable to the next attack… until you are the one unconsciously attacking yourself with this chemistry. And while the demands and pressures are probably still (out)there stressing you, your stress response also starts feeding on itself… And there you are, entering the dodgy state of CHRONIC STRESS…

CHRONIC STRESS 

Symptoms of CHRONIC STRESS will quite logically and frantically reflect the havoc in all your body systems: tormented digestion (diarrhea for example) which in turn might lead to bad assimilation of nutrients, bad sleep (insomnia…), poor immunity (susceptibility to infections, allergies, auto-immune and inflammatory diseases…), cognitive disorders (bad memory, memory loss, poor concentration..), heart problems (high blood pressure, tachycardia.. ), emotional distress (depression, rage, panic attacks…), below ground libido and/or sexual dysfunctions, muscle strains, pathologies of the tendons, ligaments and joints (caused by some of the above + bad posture associated with chronic tensions), adoption and/or abuse of “toxic” and/or addictive substances (alcohol, tobacco, pain killers, sleeping pills, coffee… you name it) in attempts to self-regulate and/or compensate for difficulties in all the above areas, more vulnerability to addiction. So much for “survival” then…

Once the damages are done it takes long for the mind and body to recuperate (of course the longer the non-stop stress period the worse). Better then to think about how to balance your forces AS YOU GO. If/when you understand better your stress response and become more aware of how efficiently or badly it affects you, you can start having ideas on how to prevent damage to yourself and yes, to others (whom you might be neglecting or shouting at, or taking ill advised, impulsive decisions for). You are welcome to share these ideas ! Here are some known tricks and strategies I have used for myself and, sometimes others, with positive results.

SWITCH OFF the STRESS RESPONSE WITH DEEP (ABDOMINAL) BREATHING 

belly-breathing-posture

The part of the nervous system that is specifically involved with the stress response is the autonomic nervous system (a.k.a involuntary) responsible for the automatic (without thinking) control of basic essential and visceral functions, which I have described above (respiration, heart rate, digestion…). The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two antagonist systems, that is, two distinct networks of nerves connecting the same organs but with opposite effects: the sympathetic nervous system stimulates action as in the stress response, where it prevails, while the parasympathetic system is responsible for rest and regeneration (both do so by inhibiting or stimulating this or that, see image). The nerve branches of the sympathetic system exit the spine at the thoracic and lumbar vertebras, while the nerve branches of the parasympathetic exit the spine at the cervical and sacred vertebras.

NEU_autonomic_nervous_system

In stress response, the sympathetic system is king. As I have said, breathing is faster and shallower. The muscular work/effort of breathing (which always involves various principal and accessory muscles) tends to be concentrated in the shoulders and thorax, with the diaphragm not going down very low in the abdomen. Next time you feel stressed, anxious, observe what is happening with your breathing, what do you notice? (notice, for example, how your tummy is sticking in and not ballooning out like a kid’s). We cannot control the fact that we breathe to be alive -that’s where the autonomic nervous system is involved- but we can have control over HOW we breathe thanks to our central nervous system and brain.

To switch to the parasympathetic system, that will favor a state of relaxation, you can try deep abdominal breathing. Lower the shoulders (=lower the guard !), lie down if you can, place a soft hand on your abdomen, another one on the thorax/heart (feel the heart pounding and later feel how it slows down). Breathe in through the nose, extend your diaphragm to the max, let air in all the way DOWN to the most remote places of your obscure belly, let your abdomen fully BALLOON. Breathe out (empty slow the balloon) through the mouth until there is no air left down there. Then, naturally, just like a pump, fill your belly up again. Think only of what you are doing : breathing in and out, and FEEL what it feels like. What does it feel like in the abdomen when it stretches to the shape of a balloon ? What does it feels like to have that “knot” at the solar plexus slowly soften, untie ? There in your plexus, travels a very important nerve of the parasympathetic system, called the vagus nerve. The movements of your deep diaphragmatic breathing will likely stimulate this nerve and help you switch systems, from sympathetic to parasympathetic. Meanwhile, the fact that you are no longer breathing so much in the thorax will lessen the stimulation to the nerve branches of the sympathetic system that exit at these vertebras and also contribute to that switch. Slower heartbeat, loose breathing, that chilly feeling, laid-back stomach sounds (indicating a restart of peristalsis) all signal that you have made it to a quieter state.

vagus-nerve-image

images

Practice on yourself whenever necessary and in more quiet times, so that you are ready when it IS important that you come down. Practicing on yourself will then allow you to practice on someone else who might need your help to achieve this switch. It is a very caring hack that requires patience, trust, confidence. You do not impose a way of breathing to someone, you create a space, conditions and contact that are welcoming for them to find their way to relaxation through deep breathing. I have practiced with success on myself and people who showed up at my massage table with a lot of anxiety.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS AND TIPS

– Break it down! You might want to break down whatever “THE” great MISSION into sequences of smaller missions, for a start, so you can identify “cycles” more easily, and make room for rest/recuperation after completion of each task.

– Identify and analyze demands and pressures both external and internal and make all possible changes immediately AT HAND to alleviate these. It might not be easy to influence which scumbag is going to be at the head of a state or an institution, but it is probably in your power to not let yourself starve while thinking about it. Don’t add to a long list of stressors outside by neglecting yourself and/or your surroundings. Take all the “stones” you think are no “big deal in comparison to the importance of the cause” out of your boots NOW so you can have more strength to actually climb the mountain. Meditate to identify which external pressures and demands you’ve unconsciously taken to be yours and can or should discard, spot pressures and demands that actually belong to the past (but for some odd reason you behave like they are still on), reflect upon YOUR interpretations of stressful situations, modify them so they suit you better, and eventually make your mind more caring and comfortable for your SELF, that needs not be oppressed further.

– Acknowledge your emotion(s) and others’ emotion(s) in stressful situations. ANXIETY, ANGER, and SADNESS are the three main emotions associated to the state of stress. Emotions are great, they are vital, so once again, it’s not about getting rid of them, it’s about balance. Understanding emotions, so that they contribute to a vibrant life rather than become a pain (to you and others’) deserves an article which I will write another day. IMHO, one advice that can go a long way is to acknowledge the emotions that come knocking at your door during stress. It sounds easy, but it is in fact quite an art, and most people are not very good at it. And many cannot even tell emotions apart, anger or fear, or sadness… Work on that. Learn to be able to say to yourself (or to someone if necessary -acknowledging emotions actually takes a lot of heat off interpersonal conflicts): “Oh, this is anger – Hello anger – You want to cross me ? Sure, ok, just get across then ! ” Kind of “data must flow” applied to emotional life. It is a 100% non judgmental. ANGER is ANGER, SADNESS is SADNESS, neither good or bad. Resist them emotions, and they’ll bother you for hours. Welcome them, and you’re done with them in 20 minutes.

– Install and SUSTAIN regular eat / sleep / and other life patterns. Most things in the body work hand in hand, alternating with their antagonist and counterparts. It is like a dance, you don’t want all your systems always stepping on each others feet, conflicting, or becoming shy on you or shutting down, you want them to settle a little bit as to when they come in and when they come out to do what is is they have to do for your to be well. Think CYCLES, complete.

– Move your body where it has not been moved and relax that which has been tensed too long. 

– Practice relaxation techniques or disciplines that will favor the state antagonist to stress, like Chi-Kung, yoga, mediation, breathing techniques, or other not necessarily “oriental”. The deep tummy breathing described above can be practiced daily. Be aware that SPORTS (as in tennis, or running, or squash) might still solicit your active side. Although sports certainly have good effects (like building stamina or “emptying the mind”) they won’t necessarily bring your system to COOL DOWN. Getting a massage is also a good idea, or getting someone to gently scratch your back…

Disclaimer: I am here to share what I know, what I have experienced and read, but I am not a qualified doctor ! Do consult with one in due time if you experience stress related disorders that you feel might be endangering your physical and/or mental health. 

Switch Off from stress with abdominal breathing

NEU_autonomic_nervous_system

The part of the nervous system that is specifically involved with the stress response (described in details in previous post) is the autonomic nervous system (a.k.a involuntary) responsible for the automatic (without thinking) control of basic essential and visceral functions (respiration, heart rate, digestion…). The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two antagonist systems, two distinct networks of nerves connecting the same organs but with opposite effects: the sympathetic nervous system stimulates action as in the stress response, where it prevails, while the parasympathetic system is responsible for rest and regeneration (both do so by inhibiting or stimulating this or that, see image). The nerve branches of the sympathetic system exit the spine at the thoracic and lumbar vertebras, while the nerve branches of the parasympathetic exit the spine at the cervical and sacred vertebras.

In the stress response, the sympathetic nervous system is king. Breathing is faster and shallower. The muscular work/effort of breathing (which always involves various principal and accessory muscles) tends to be concentrated in the shoulders and thorax, with the diaphragm not going down very low in the abdomen. Next time you feel stressed, anxious, observe what is happening with your breathing, what do you notice? (notice, for example, how your tummy is sticking in and not ballooning out like a kid’s). We cannot control the fact that we breathe to be alive -that’s where the autonomic nervous system is involved- but we can have control over HOW we breathe thanks to our central nervous system and brain.

belly-breathing-posture

To switch to the parasympathetic system, that will favor a state of relaxation, you can try deep abdominal breathing. Lower the shoulders (=lower the guard !), lie down if you can, place a soft hand on your stomach, another one on the thorax/heart (feel the heart pounding and later feel how it slows down). Breathe in through the nose, extend your diaphragm to the max, let air in all the way DOWN to the most remote places of your obscure belly, let your abdomen fully BALLOON. Breathe out (empty slow the balloon) through the mouth until there is no air left down there. Then, naturally, just like a pump, fill your belly up again. Think only of what you are doing : breathing in and out, and FEEL what it feels like. What does it feel like in the stomach when it stretches to the shape of a balloon ? What does it feels like to have that “knot” at the solar plexus slowly soften, untie ? There in your plexus, travels a very important nerve of the parasympathetic system, called the vagus nerve. The movements of your deep diaphragmatic breathing will likely stimulate this nerve and help you switch systems, from sympathetic to parasympathetic. Meanwhile, the fact that you are no longer breathing so much in the thorax will lessen the stimulation to the nerve branches of the sympathetic system that exit at these vertebras and also contribute to that switch. Slower heartbeat, loose breathing, that chilly feeling, laid-back stomach sounds (indicating a restart of peristalsis) all signal that you have made it to a quieter state.

images

vagus-nerve-image

Practice on yourself so that you are ready when it IS important that you come down. Practicing on yourself will then allow you to practice on someone else who might need your help to achieve this switch. It is a very caring hack that requires patience, trust, confidence. You do not impose a way of breathing to someone, you create a space, conditions and contact that are welcoming for them to find their way to relaxation through deep breathing. I have practiced it with success on myself and on people when they showed up at my massage table with a lot of anxiety.

frog+Relax

This article is part of a previous larger article about the stress response: HACK STRESS and prevent damages to yourself (and others) in the process of fighting for your ideals 

REPOS / REST

La sagesse du dimanche soir:

” Le vrai repos est celui où l’homme s’arrête quand le moment est venu de s’arrêter et se meut quand le moment est venu de se mouvoir”

Richard Wilhelm, à propos du “repos”, dans son commentaire de l’hexagramme 52 KEN (l’immobilisation, la montagne) du Yi King, Livre des transformations.

J’ai remarqué qu’il est fréquent de négliger l’un ou l’autre de ces deux termes/principes, qui pris ensemble opèrent pourtant une bonne régénération des forces vitales, le cycle étant complet. Il semble même que certaines personnes tendent à négliger préférentiellement l’un ou l’autre, l’arrêt ou l’activité, selon leur “tempérament” ou “habitudes”. Il y a alors les personnes qui vont avoir tendance à se dévitaliser d’avantage en s’arrêtant trop, et celles qui vont avoir tendance à persister dans l’activité par dessus les ravins de fatigue qui se creusent, et toutes arrivent à l’épuisement finalement par des voies différentes. Wilhelm émet l’hypothèse que l’interprétation de cet hexagramme renvoie aussi à la pratique du yoga. Je perçois en effet comment le yoga peut contenir en lui même cette grande petite leçon là.

Some sunday night wisdom: 

“True rest is when one stops when time has come to stop and moves when time has come to move” 

Richard Wilhelm about “rest”, in his commentary of hexagram 52 KEN (keeping still, the mountain) in the I ching Book of changes. 

I have noticed that it is quite common to neglect either one of these two terms/principles, which when united bring good, full regeneration of life forces, for the cycle is complete. It even seems to me that some persons tend to neglect preferentially either one or the other, of stillness or activity, according to their “temperament” and/or “habits”. Then, there are the ones who tend to devitalize themselves further by keeping still too much, and the ones who insist on pedaling over ravines of weariness, and all reach exhaustion eventually following different paths. Wilhelm also makes the hypothesis that the interpretation of this hexagram refers in some ways to the practice of yoga. I think I see how yoga can indeed include this big small teaching.  

Que sont nos signaux somatiques devenus?

« Your injured body has become the burden of your digital soul.»
 Yin Aiwen, 2013, The Massage is the medium

─Séance de Feldenkrais [1]
Intégration Fonctionnelle

 Plongée intérieure
dans un corps
comme système
Réaliser qu’il est
immensément complexe
et que les mécanisme et circulations
qui s’y trament
y sont très largement inconnus et ignorés.

Nous étions partis dans l’esprit comme habitat ultime
Depuis quand avons-nous commencé à déserter nos corps
les vouloir obsolètes?

Je regarde et relis le film et la documentation de cette performance et installation magnifique d’Aiwen Yin: The Massage is The Medium, 2012

Je recopie quelques petits extraits de la voix off qui accompagne la performance, telle que retranscrite par Emily King

[…]

Peut-être qu’à force d’extériorité
d’harnachement aux artefacts
de cognition
qui déposent dans l’espace
lointain
et proxémique
à force de sortir du corps
nos pensées
et idées
et
mémoires…
nous sommes devenu.e.s
à nous-mêmes
inconnu.e.s

des systèmes oubliés
lointains
relégués
aux soins de soi
délégués
aux experts en dérèglements
qui parlent en règles
en régimes
en régiments
d’instructions médicales
mécaniques
désaffiliés

Hello computer
partenaire d’évasion
colonel d’invasion
de l’espace
de nos corps:
nous revenons.

Est-ce que je force le trait?
Est-ce que j’invente un passé?
que dit l’archéologie de nos présences au corps depuis le temps que nous sommes numériques?

Le vieux Marx parlait d’un continuum.

Tout ce qu’on appelle l’histoire universelle n’est rien d’autre que l’engendrement de l’homme par le travail humain. [2]

Si nous sommes parti.e.s
ailleurs
et absenté.e.s
nous allons donc nous réengendrer
et penser de tous nos corps
prolongés

Encore?

Le post-humain est-il post-cyborg?
Le post-cyborg est-il post-humain?
Le post du post est-il là?
Au cœur d’une circulation,
une conversation à reprendre
entre artefacts cognitifs, corps pensants, et pensées outillées

re-prise de corps
aussi inconnu.e.s brillant.e.s, éléctriques, usé.e.s, perdu.e.s et à portée de main,
et de signal, l’un.e que l’autre.

Les techniques somatiques
reviennent
comme des prises, des langages
de programmation et de lecture
de nos corps systèmes
aux langues oubliées
presque mortes
organes inutiles
déplacées dépassées
remplacées
prothésées
Un retour vraiment?
Ou un nouvel appel à exploration d’une dimension ignorée

body signal within techno noise
body noise to techno signal
embodied techno signal
au présent

Ontologie hacker
à renverser
inter-verser
intérieurement
retracer le circuit
de l’origine de nos pensées
de l’émergence du signal
de sa circulation

Taire les signaux
les ignorer
à force
jusqu’à perdre
le sens de lecture
l’écoute
le décodage
des signaux
des signes
des pulsations
des souffles
des douleurs
des rythmes
qui battent
et pulsent
et disent

Communications systémiques à reprendre
opérer
nos artefacts à cœur ouvert
et désirer
que corps obsolètes
ressortent des tiroirs
et s’extirpent des chaises
et nos mains des souris
en dansant

des ré/assemblages.

… suite sur le délinéaire du labnt2 …

OBSERVER-HACKER-MASSER: Atelier de massage bien-être à Paris le 12.12.2013

Jeudi 12 Décembre 2013 Emily animera chez Biopulse Formation Massage à Paris l’atelier OBSERVER-HACKER-MASSER.

L’atelier propose de découvrir l’application de l’éthique du hacker à l’apprentissage et la pratique du massage bien-être. Le terme anglais « hacker » peut se traduire par « bidouilleur », « bricoleur », et est loin de ne se référer qu’à la figure du pirate informatique plus ou moins malveillant communément relayée par les médias. Si la malveillance existe (et les questions relatives à la vie privée, à l’intrusion, résonnent avec le massage), il existe aussi de nombreuses personnes passionnées exerçant leur savoir-faire, leurs ingéniosités curieuses, selon une éthique ayant pour coeur le bien commun, la joie d’apprendre, de résoudre des problèmes, de partager le libre-savoir et cultiver les connaissances. C’est dans cette optique que nous nous situons avec cet atelier de massage. Que peut signifier hacker-masser ? Qu’est-ce que ce rapprochement peut nous apporter en tant que practicien-nes bien-être ?

Cet atelier est né d’une collaboration avec La Quadrature du Net, association française de défense des droits et des libertés fondamentales des citoyens sur Internet, lors du festival international OHM (Observe-Hack-Make) 2013 auquel Emily a participé avec eux. Un compte rendu de cette expérience est disponible ici.

OBSERVER-HACKER-MASSER

Jeudi 12 Décembre 2013, de 19h30 à 21h30

Biopulse Formation Massage

12 Rue Saint Sauveur

75002 PARIS

Inscription obligatoire 01 44 82 51 29

15 euros. 

(image found here )

About hackers and depression

Some material related to hackers’ psychological well being/health in the article CRACKING SUICIDE: HACKERS TRY TO ENGINEER A CURE FOR DEPRESSION, By Adrianne Jeffries. Full text here.

EXTRACTS :

WHAT’S IN A HACKER ?

(…)Bernadette Schell, vice-provost at Laurentian University, studied hackers for more than a decade. (…) She wanted to know whether hackers matched their portrayal in the media, which at the time considered them maladjusted cyber-psychopaths. ”I kept looking for everything that would support these myths,” she said. 

“What I found was that the hacker community was a very well-adjusted group of individuals.“ At the time, the perception was that hackers were computer addicted, high-strung type A personalities. But the hackers in Schell’s study turned out to be emotionally balanced, “self-healing” type B personalities. They were a bit more introverted than the average population, but still socially connected. Most were employed and made more than the median income level. Incidence of depression was not higher than in the general population. (In fact, some studies have shown that engineers, a group that has a lot of overlap with hackers, have one of the lowest depression rates compared to other occupations.) The hackers were so resilient that even being sent to jail or charged for hacking crimes did not affect their reported stress levels long term.

JUST FIX IT 

(…)The roboticist, hacker, and Discovery Channel personality Zoz, also known as Andrew Brooks, served as a student mentor while getting his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. He ended up counseling a lot of depressed undergrads who tried to reverse-engineer a solution rather than seek help. Many hackers even refer to their strategies for dealing with depression as “hacks.” 

(…)Of course, depression can be difficult to synthesize into a math problem. The cause is usually a combination of cascading factors that are often difficult to trace. The solution can be even harder to pin down.

“It can be incredibly frustrating to be sitting there, looking at your own brain, and going, ‘right, I entirely understand that something is not quite right with the way that my neurotransmitters are communicating with the receptors in my brain,’” Patterson said. “‘I recognize that I can tinker with this balance and otherwise engage in manipulations of my own mental state to try to resolve this situation. I understand all of this, and why is it not working?’”

HACKING TOWARDS SOLUTIONS 

(…)The popular impression that hackers have a high suicide rate could be because many of the hackers who killed themselves were at the top of their fields, and the highly gifted are statistically more likely to suffer from depression. The community’s facility for dissecting, analyzing, and communicating on the internet — a medium that naturally amplifies its message — has also contributed to the perception that there is a hacker suicide crisis.

In reality, the situation is getting better. While there are still some negative associations with mental health issues among hackers, that’s true of most cultures. Like the broader public, awareness of mental health issues is growing, and resources like BlueHackers.org, which has information about depression geared to hackers, and IMAlive, an instant message version of a suicide hotline, have helped countless hackers through their issues. Hackers are also eager to help each other; the line for Baldet’s talk started forming 20 minutes before it was set to start, and she was mobbed by questioners afterward.

Six months after Sassaman died, Patterson appeared on a panel called “Geeks and Depression” at the 2011 Chaos Communication Congress (CCC), an international hacker conference.

 

(this article was first published 28th August 2013 by Le massage en images)

Habit “turns us into machines”

“Lack of choice makes strain habitual”

“As long as superfluous effort is invested in any action, man must throw up defenses, must brace himself to great effort that is neither comfortable, pleasurable, nor desirable. The lack of choice of whether to make an effort or not turns an action into a habit, and in the end nothing appears more natural than that to which he is accustomed, even if it is opposed to all reason or necessity.”

“Habit makes it easier to persist in an action, and for this reason it is extremely valuable in general. Nevertheless, we easily over-indulge in habits, until self criticism is silenced and our ability to discern is diminished, which gradually turns us into machines that act without thinking.”

Text: Moshe Feldenkrais, in Health Exercise for Personal Growth.

Illustration: Fritz Kahn, Man As An Industrial Palace, 1926

 

OBSERVE-HACK-MASSAGE

Here I am back from my tour with time to reflect on the wonderful experiences I’ve lived this summer in company of La Quadrature du Net,  the french organization in the defense of civil rights and freedom on the Internet, and friends from around the world.

Invited to join their village as a hacker-masseuse on the OHM2013 festival for hackers and makers in the Netherlands, I took part with all my heart for a week, along with a team, to bring massage and care to a place where it was not much represented…at all.

 

Our “Hacking with Care” team was composed, for massage, of myself and physiotherapist student Baptiste, who had come to lend a hand (two actually!), of JB hacker-maker of MyOwnStretchWare (nice piece of “reverse engineering for public health”), with whom we put the proposal together and who was also behind the funky initiative Nail art for nerds, and of dancers Karine Rathle and Anne Goldenberg from Quebec, with whom we teamed up to propose workshops.

The Nail art for nerds, carried out on a playful DIY basis proved great to bring awareness, sensation and meaning (messages, symbols, logos were painted on nails) to the tip of these ultimate 21st century tools which are our hands and fingers. Massage was MUCH wanted all day long and MUCH appreciated. Workshops had great, happy, responsive, audiences.

Indeed, the two consecutive workshops Karine, Anne and I gave on the third day made for a sensational afternoon. First, Karine and Anne conducted Atten!ion Som(t)a(c)tic, an embodiment workshop in which participants were invited to explore through various postures the physical and more subtle sides of their relationship to their devices (computers, phones…), and to pain and pleasure when working with a machine. Then, to an already quite relaxed and very enthusiastic crowd, I gave a hands-on massage workshop, named after the festival : Observe-Hack-Massage ! My intention was rather simple: With the same passion everyone around felt for their discipline, I set to explain to bright crafty people how the same hacking spirit they apply to pretty much everything can also be applied to the art of massage and body care – a dimension where most had been more shy all week – with great enjoyment and results ! It was very exciting, and people were still exchanging massages on our village after the workshop was over. I heard some were already talking of setting up a massage corner in their hackerspace, and already thinking about how to build the massage table themselves…

At the end of the camp, it was obvious the “Hacking with care” team had done a wonderful job. Each activity invited people to engage with each other (and their devices !) in a variety of (new) ways, brought awareness about one’s body, one’s relationship to others, to machines and to work, and helped soften some barriers between genders, in a community still dominantly masculine (it felt more balanced on our camp..).

Most of all, all these activities blended very well with the magic conviviality of the tea house, which was at the heart of La quadrature du Net’s project for OHM2013.

The tea house was ran collectively by LQDN’s team and visitor volunteers, who were spontaneously taking turns at being Tea Masters -very horizontally though- and served a fine selection of tea to everyone from dusk ’til dawn. Various workshops and debates took place sitting at these handmade tables, sipping erva maté or pu-erh, discussing topics such as Net NeutralityCopyright Reform, or how to “make datalove” to your neighbor, as heartily and rightly argued by spokesperson for LQDN Jérémie Zimmermann in the talk he gave.

 

It was a beautiful gathering and bridging of talents and hearts. We all got a LOT of positive feedback. Many people expressed many gestures of gratitude and support for the hacking with care project, whether they had individually received a massage or not.

We know now there is clearly room for more hacker-masseur and hacker-masseuses like me (and other body and soul practitioners) in the hackers world, just as there are, I believe, many massage or other healthcare/body practitioners who could benefit (and so would everyone they care for) from injecting some of that hacking spirit into their own practice.

A downside of this beautiful success ? I didn’t have much time to attend talks or workshops given by others… Indeed, for the proposal to be as successful as it turned out to be, I kind of had to stick around the massage booth ! I have lots of catching up to do !

Luckily, La Quadrature du OHM’s Village attracted many talented persons in its DIY dwellings (almost pumping them in and out like a strong loving heart would do). In the end I had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with the passers by and I learnt a lot, thanks to a genuinely generous attitude I find many had in common. I even got the chance to swap sessions and received one of the most beautiful massages in my life (which is always a lesson in itself). Hackers, you will learn, are certainly not all disembodied goofs like you’d expect them to be. Clichés are often worth crap, but they seemed to make even less sense there in this community. There are many colors to the hackers hats, not just white or black or grey, and sometimes rainbow ! Speaking of which, we were called “hippies” a couple of times, which I actually take as a compliment, if not a manifest, in times so perverted with murderous greed and totalitarian fear. Shouldn’t ideals of love, goodness, sharing and caring, be key ingredients in any form of resistance to human-made evils ? Doesn’t the world stand better chances to be a nicer place for all if/when these ideals are “built-in” our technologies ? LQDN seems to think so, and I think so too.

 

So it was an important week… For us, and for two civil disobedience heroes in particular: Private Bradley Manning -from now on Chelsea Manning- who was convicted on July 30th of 17 charges including 5 counts of espionage and theft, and whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum by Russia and left the Moscow airport on the 1st of August of that week.

French readers who wish to find out more about these events and what went on in OHM2013 can read a series of articles written “en direct” from OHM by journalist Jerôme Hourdeaux for Mediapart.

Finally, I would like to say once again THANK YOU to everyone and to LQDN especially. I hope to be back with more projects and collaborations soon, we sure have lots of ideas to explore and put into practice !

I will be giving the Observe-Hack-Massage workshop again, starting with a session on Thursday December 12th, at the Biopulse School of Massage in Paris. Contact them directly, not me, for information and registration.

Meanwhile, if you want to help La Quadrature Du Net to keep on keeping ‘on, you can make a donation on their website (or reach them if you have other helpful propositions to make). If you want to help me to keep on keepin’ on, well, be sure to book a massage or workshop next time I’m in town ! It will do everyone good ;)

PEACE AND DATALOVE

(this article was first published August 22nd 2013 by Emily King – Le Massage En Images here)

Le ventre notre deuxieme cerveau

Le ventre notre deuxieme cerveau

– Marie-Odile Monchicourt, France info, info science – 11 Juin 2012

S’il réagit aux antidépresseurs, il peut aider à prévenir la maladie de Parkinson… Depuis quelques années, la recherche accumule les indices qui font de cet organe rien de moins qu’un deuxième cerveau. Avec Michel Neunlist, directeur de l’unité 913 de l’INSERM. “Il possède autant de neurones que la moelle épinière et pourtant, il ne loge pas sous notre crâ^ne, mais dans notre ventre ! Lui, c’est le “système nerveux entérique” ou SNE, un réseau dense de neurones étroitement connectés entre eux, qui enveloppe tout l’intestin.

“Feel what the medium has done to you”: Artist Yin Aiwen

mediumismassage

Taking media analyst Marshall Mc Luhan’s famous theoretical pun that “the medium is the massage” almost to the letter as a staring point, chinese artist Yin Aiwen designs a performance-installation in which massage plays a central part, until the initial statement appears to be reversed, and “the massage” re-installs itself as “the medium”. A true human massage ultimately appears as a possible antidote to the panoply of psycho-physical pains quite willingly (=unconsciously?) inflicted to oneself by the modern human, otherwise “massaged” into a disembodied alienation by the soft, gentle, falsely-caring mass media machinery.

I as a masseuse happen to think highly about massage, and this work strikes me as interesting. I may have a few hesitations about the piece (mostly about the dispositive), still I feel it is conveying important, inspiring, and potentially emancipative material.

The dispositive is as follow: Yin Aiwen gives a 15 minutes a chinese medical massage to a participant installed in a massage chair, at the headset of which is installed a tablet playing a video-montage of clips from mass culture. A voice over reads, in a more or less relaxing, therapeutical tone, a text exploring the relationship between media, machines (computers specifically) and the receiver’s body, their pain, their vitality, all along questioning them, engaging them in instructive feedback loops with their sensations. A small audience is invited to watch the session.

It is almost a clever piece of reverse engineering, Yin Aiwen giving a massage and deducing, from the informations she collects at her expert fingertips, the design of the “end product”, the end product here being the human being in the capitalist world… So that she could then re-build this human being, re-model them, correct them, free them from this socio-economical-mechanical blocking ?

I have not assisted to the performance myself, so my judgment and impressions are of course limited. I only watched the video documentation, which I find was already quite an experience, and I strongly advise you to watch it ! As for the text, for which I post below a full transcript, it contains some gems and, in the light of my own experience, it speaks a lot of truth, however in somewhat dark aspects of it.

In the end, the piece altogether appears to be slightly too demonstrative, still too spectacular to my taste, authoritarian and somewhat cruel for the receiver (!) but Yin Aiwen completely admits it, for it serves her purpose : “The harsh, ruthless massage has no interest in your pleasure”, she writes. It gets the “message”/”massage” across…

However I believe this “message” is in essence one that emerges from massage during a private session. Indeed, a good massage will “inform” you of your condition. Here and now, and before, and even possibly give you an insight on after. It will move and question those layers of histories embedded in your flesh, sometimes it will allow images, memories, dreams, fantasies, to flash behind your eyelids, without a video being necessary. It will present to your consciousness, at your own pace, material very personal, possibly life improving; hints, cues, directions given by your senses to finding yourself again, connecting with yourself so that you be again the one “living” rather than the one being “operated” by. This way of the massage is known, and listened to, by many massage artists, practicians and therapists.This piece speaks to me of the substance of which good massage sessions are made of.

Find out more about the Massage is the medium by Yin Aiwen here.

Welcome to the plug in systems.
Your body will be massaged in a few seconds,
Please relax…
You are going to experience a story that is specifically made by you, enjoy.
Please relax…
Some cream will be applied to your neck and shoulders,
It’s going to be fine,
Things will be nice and smooth…
Good
That’s right
After your fifteen minutes massage, you’ll feel free like never before.
 
Now your neck is being touched, does it hurt ?
Have you noticed this type of pain before ?
I know you work in front of the computer a lot, picture that scene :
Do you see your face with the screen light on, glowing in the dark, just like everyone else ?
You work late quite often, don’t you ?
The quiet night… Only the sounds of your keyboard is in company.
Do you feel those blocks here ? It hurts a lot, doesn’t it ?
You must be the kind of person that is constantly thinking, probably getting annoyed by it sometimes.
Your tired brain creates this block.
It’s in the way in which your brain gets all the supplies.
So when it gets blocked, the supplies – oxygen, nutrients, and blood – will have difficulties to get into your brain.
 
Tiredness must be an old friend of yours.
That’s why you need this massage :
To clear out the scene, to make it work again…
 
Computers change you, starting from your hands,
Grow into your chest, get into your back, then to your neck, and eventually, to your brain…
I know you thought that your body was irrelevant, didn’t you ?
Otherwise, you wouldn’t let it be like this…
As if it’s just the operator of your mind, and you thought your mind is eternal,
travelling in the infinite universe, pluging into the mortal nervous circuits, being free…
 
The strain muscle you have, many people have it nowadays.
It used to be a professional injury for people doing paperwork.
But nowadays, almost everyone has it.
Even children have it.
See how stiff your front neck is.
It indicates the condition of your chest
Like here, the end point of your chest muscles, and the starting point of your arms’…
Do you feel how it goes all the way down to the hand that types the keyboard ?
Your injured body has become the burden of your digital soul.
It’s ok, many people thought so.
 
People say fickleness is the theme of society now
Streaming tweets, 24/7
Optical transmission, day and night…
The facebook « one for all, all for one » utopia, right in front of your eyes…
Your fingers dance on your keyboard non-stop
Your Iphone camera flashes at every corner of your life
Your exciting brain on wire, all season…
You are so willing to share yourself to the world,
That you are pleased to shatter yourself into a hundred and forty pieces…
All the consequences then fall on your back,
Sink into your neck, permeate your brain…
They change you so quietly that you thought it’s your choice.
 
Do you see your face with the screen light on, glowing in the dark, just like everyone else ?
 
Physical pain is easy to forget of course.
That’s why you constantly hurt yourself.
Do you see how badly you have hurt yourself ?
It’s so painful it almost becomes emotional.
Feel it…
Feel what has happened to you…
Feel what the medium has done to you…
Think about what you have done to yourself…
Can this pain that you have done to yourself make you regretful ?
 
The medium is the massage.
The sweet exciting kind of massage, catering to your every wish,
Manufacturing your desire, regulating your recognition,
Until you can’t tell if there is another kind of life anymore…
All you can see is what has been given,
ALL that has been given is ALL you can imagine…
In the world of cyber capital
Everything is soft, fluffy, gentle, fulfilling…
Like a massage.
Satisfying your longing to be cared for, to feel special, to feel loved…
All you need to do is to pick a set that is all designed.
Yes, the special design, only for you…
And a million duplications of you.
 
You think this massage is made for you, don’t you ?
Like this, it happens for a reason,
Reasons that are based on your condition
But so many people have the same condition,
The same analysis of you…
I did it to dozens and dozens and dozens of people.
You are the same, you are all made the same.
Together you are precious, together you are special,
Together you are unique, together you are alone.
 
It’s not enough that machines code your life.
It’s not enough that they design every inch of your life.
You will only be perfect when its perspective becomes yours,
Your only perspective.
Only then you will have your true freedom :
Boundless, painless, senseless, heartless…
 
Do you see your face with the screen light on, glowing in the dark, just like everyone else ?
 
In this optical fiber world, you are transcendant.
Your face is flattened after the speed of light.
You can barely see others faces, and others can barely see yours.
So you talk as loud as you can, in one way or another,
So you can grab as many hurried travellers as possible…
After all, the mass man needs the proof of his living…
So fifteen minutes of attention is already an extravagance.
If possible a massive killing weapon is in favour.
So taking a massage to you becomes a very odd, even uncomfortable idea, doesn’t it ?
You needed to have so many decent reasons to give yourself in, didn’t you ?
 
But you need this massage.
Through others hands, it reminds you that you are still human.
Through the pain, it reminds you that you are not entirely numb, yet.
You are more than the electrical signals from your neurons.
Your communication with people is more than a faceless P2P transmission.
The massage is the medium.
 
This person behind you, who’s touching you, trying to find out what happened to you,
Do you see her as a human ?
Two euros slide in a coin slot, and a piece of hamburger jumps out…
She’s not a walking commodity, providing catalogue services,
But that’s why you felt uncomfortable about the idea, isn’t it ?
It’s a better design that pryes your heart with a decent distance…
 
Have you noticed the silent communication between you and her ?
Or are you just struggling to fight with your body, learning about yourself ?
It’s ok, she knows what you have been through.
Underneath the fingertips size of skin that she connects to you, your trembling muscles are shedding a tear…
She knows.
The pain you’re experiencing is the last mayday your body screams out to you, do you hear that ?
Feel it…
Feel your blood running through your body…
So powerful, as if you are alive again…
Feel this warmth inside, as if you are being cared for…
Feel what is happening now…
Feel where they came from, and where they will go…
Feel it, before this massage comes to an end…
 
I would like to thank you for dedicating yourself to this experiment.
I hope it means something to you.
Before you unplug yourself,
Please take a deep breath,
And I would like to ask you : Do you think I am human ?

HACKING WITH CARE : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

There are numerous reasons to draw parallels between the hacktivist movement and a vision of the future that is politicized, self-governing, and libertarian. As shown in the documentary We Are Legion, hacktivism has evolved into a tool for politicization and transnational solidarity. Hackers value and encourage an empowering, transparent, and freeing relationship with tools, technology, and knowledge. They are often viewed through the lens of their ethics, values, and social engagements – but how does this translate for them on a daily basis? How do hackers invest in relationships that reflect their political discourse? What are the links between hacktivism, care, and the politicization of everyday life? How do hacktivists practice self-care and handle exclusion problems within their community?

Hacking with Care : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

– Anne Goldenberg, DPI 27, Hacktivism, April 24, 2013

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”