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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Holistic Health Fair Fills McCormack Hallways

Massages in McCormack? Shiatsu in the Harbor Art Gallery? What other explanation could there be other than the Holistic Health Fair sponsored by the Health Promotion Program of University Health Services? The Spirituality Club was passing out Fresh Samantha lemonade in McCormack. A line had already formed for back rubs by barely 10:00 am, and many students noted that it was worth waiting for; the masseuse was quite busy. Those who missed the opportunity for a back rub can catch her when she comes here “once a month or so” through the Health Center.

Another table at the health fair, focused on the benefits of herbal medecine. The woman behind the counter explained that dandelion roots may be sedating. The recipe calls for two handfuls of chopped up roots, simmered for 30-40 minutes. “You can drink it all day,” she explained.

Next up was a short introspective group meditation, presented by the Art of Living Foundation at the Harbor Art gallery. The instructor, Nanette Ruggiero said that this type of meditation was invented by a Holy Living Saint in India named Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and that it was called the Sudarshan Kriya. She went on to explain that our bodies get energy in four ways: breath, food, sleep, and a calm meditative mind.

Ruggiero instructed the group to, “Think of the mind as like the string and the emotions like the kite.” She also told the small group in attendance for the session that people’s brains have a strong tendency to see the negative rather than the positive. “The tendency of the mind is regretting and reliving the past, and when it’s not busy doing that it’s worrying, wondering and stressing about the future.”

She also shared the idea that the breath is our most present way to balance our energy, but that most of us “use 35% of our lung capacity, while 85% of the toxins are released by the breath.”

At the Art of Living Foundation’s table, they backed up some of the presentation with facts. In studies in 1998 and 2000, 73% of those who reported depressed feelings were cured for the three months since re-screening of patients practicing this Kriya. The study concluded that, “Sudarshan Kriya was effective on depression regardless of the severity of the depression or the severity of the patient’s biological dysfunction.” The 2000 study also found that in comparing anti-depressant therapy versus Sudarshan Kriya in depressed patients, Sudarshan Kriya was as effective as electro-convulsive or anti-depression drug therapy. Furthermore, Sudarshan Kriya is free of the troubling side effects and dependency. The Art Of Living Foundation offers courses on how to meditate and the rate is reduced for students.

The next discussion was about Shiatsu, held by Patricia Carusone, an AOBTA Certified Shiatsu Instructor who teaches at the Charles River School of Shiatsu. Shiatsu is a form of Asian Bodywork therapy that offers natural path to a healthier life. Based on the over three thousand year old Chinese medical system, shiatsu uses gentle hand pressure to balance the flow of qi (life-energy) in the body to allow greater health to emerge. Shiatsu uses assessment methods to detect imbalances on the energetic level before they manifest into physical symptoms.

Carusone pointed out the 12 meridians we have in our bodies. As she pressed with her thumbs into the grooves in the backs of our skulls, the students present seemed to feel less tension. “We’re not just muscles and tendons, we’re an energetic pattern,” she said. Carusone went on to discuss how Western medicine treats the body as separate from the soul, but Chinese medicine accepts them both together.

Traditionally, Chinese healers see the meridians as each a vital organ that has its time of day or night. For example, although you might think it painful to have a midterm your from 8 to 11 am, its really the best time of the day for test taking, according to Carusone, who says that is the time of the spleen meridian, which, in Chinese medicine, is responsible for the brain’s retention of thoughts and information. Also, the best color to wear while studying is apparently yellow, which is believed to be an enlightening color.

Among other points of interest are the facts that the body is best suited for exercise in the morning, and least suited for drinking in the late night hours, when people usually drink, because night time is the meridian of the liver, which needs to rest since it has a consuming job purifying the body all day. Also, according to Carusone, the best time for having sex is between 7 and 11 PM, because this is the time of the heart meridian, and circulation is strong.

The final lecture was about Reiki. The Reiki Master is none other than the coordinator of health education and outreach in University Health Services, Donna Durfee. This short discussion simply explained what Reiki is: a form of energy healing. It is supposed to work whether the recipient believes in it or not, even if they are unconscious. It is rumored to work on both plants and animals. Reiki means “energy of the spirit” and involves barely touching a person while running the hands from the top to the bottom of their body. Durfee said that although Reiki is something that is hard to explain verbally, it is something that is felt immediately in the body. Anyone who is interested in really finding out what Reiki is about may wish to sign up for her Reiki workshops, which she plans to start in the summer and continue in the fall. Her office is in M-1-414.

The North Eastern Institute of Whole Health, Inc. (NESA) had a table with brochures of their class offerings, for those who have interest in becoming massage therapists. While getting her back rubbed, this reporter asked Pete Leonardi, massage student (NESA) who came here to complete his back-rubbing hours, if the ads in the Phoenix classifieds for massages were “dirty massages”. He had wondered that too, and had called a few places to find that they were prostitution rings, masquerading as health promoting, legit and “clean” practitioners of massage.