Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chair Shiatsu and Stretching for Knitters and Crocheters

STITCH THERAPY Happy Hour:  July 26th Friday night 7 - 10 pm $25.00 cover.

Bring a Friend

There is hope! You can have a very long, happy knitting life! Here are some practices that you can implement to increase the health and longevity of your limbs, digits and creative practice!

1. Stretches
Breaks where you employ wrist, finger and hand stretches can be very valuable. Even 5-10 min each day can make a huge difference, either in between stitching sets or while you are waiting in line. Pulling the fascia (the connective collagen and tissue that lives between the muscles) is very helpful. To loosen the fascia you must pull on the skin, do not use you want it to be tacky and not glide over the surface superficially. You want to feel a slight burning sensation. 

To release the fasciae in your forearm, grasp it right below the elbow with the opposite hand and squeeze just tight enough, squeeze for about 90 seconds to allow the fasciae to loosen...then push down very slowly towards your wrist. Do this a few times on each side.  After completing, you can do wrist rotations and twists, finger stretches and more. 

2. Postural Awareness

Pay attention to where your shoulders are. Are you hunching? Be sure to continuously check in on the tension in your upper body, shoulders and neck. Sometimes deep focus and concentration, can cause one to lose track of her, somatic awareness. It's important to keep returning to the body, and keep track of the tension that could be building, sending the breath there and standing up to shake it out or do a few full body stretched or yoga poses. Sometimes just paying attention to the breath can help bring us back into the body.

When one slouches, she tends to place strain on the lower back while messing up the curvature of the spine in the process.  Pulling the shoulders back, sitting tall and making sure the head is not in a constant downward position can help ease the stress on the neck and upper shoulders, and keep the spine in proper alignment, etc...

3. Chair Massage and Shiatsu

Chair massage is able to target areas where knitters feel the burn the most...arms, hands, shoulders, neck and back. It is amazing what 10-20 minutes can do to prevent repetitive movement injuries and strain, while releasing tension and pain at the same time, especially when recieved on a periodic basis. 

Massage sends oxygen to those areas and releases lactic acid that can build up over time...releases adhesions, and tightness in the muscle and connective tissue, AND sends feel good hormones and chemicals to the brain that counteract the feelings of pain. When acupressure is employed, there is even greater benefits, as it works with the time tested Chinese meridian system to create a smoother flow of chi and movement in the entire body.  Shiatsu is a tonic for the creative spirit and life force energy (chi). 

Good luck with your yarn endeavors, may you continue keeping humanity warm, snuggly and colorful!

Happy creating! 

Courtney Sheets
Certified Zen Shiatsu Practitioner and Thai Yoga Therapist

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