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There Are Many Benefits to Receiving Abdominal Massage

There Are Many Benefits to Receiving Abdominal Massage

Emily Crown-Robinson RMT, CST, CR

Please consider receiving abdominal massage as an important part of your next treatment. “Hara” is the Japanese name for the center of energy in the lower abdomen – also known as the “Sea of Ki” ( Ki meaning our life-force). Massaging the Hara can help to develop energy in that part of the body.

This area can be treated in a specific sequence to promote circulation to each organ reflex. Selected pressure points can also be used – tailored to the receiver’s condition. Comfortable pressure is applied, above the clothing, to the desired areas while the client practices smooth, relaxed, deep breathing.

In Western society, the Hara can often become closed off due to restrictive clothing and/or shallow breathing (as is often the case with high-stress levels). Organ stasis usually results because of this; therefore, it is important to awaken the Sea of Ki!

Imagine a happy Buddha statue with a round prominent belly – it is a strong, grounded center and not a bag of jelly!

Treating the Hara treats us to the core of our being. It can thus be a powerful tool in helping to release deeper areas of tension and stasis – encouraging smooth blood and energy flow both distally and locally. The release of a tense solar-plexus can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Hara treatment also aids smooth digestion by decreasing bloating and constipation. Last, but certainly not least, it helps to dispel congestion in the reproductive reflex areas in both women and men. It can be used in conjunction with fertility treatments to increase local circulation as well as relaxing the nervous system.

Personally, I really enjoy receiving Hara treatment. I find it not only soothing, but I often feel very calm and grounded afterward. Since everything in the body is ultimately connected, a more complete treatment will always include Hara. Please request to have it as part of your next session – it can broaden the benefits and length of positive effects of your treatment.

Emily Robinson, RMT, CST, CR offers a tailored treatment of either Shiatsu, Massage Therapy, Reflexology, or a combination of all three treatments at The Pacific Wellness Institute. To book an appointment with Emily, please call, 416-929-6958.

Digging Around: Wellness Tips for a Healthy Summer

By Tony Ho-Tong, RMT

Hopefully, everyone is enjoying the warmer months! As we all remember, winter threw us a few storms to end the season. Some of us were even lucky enough to shovel our way out of our homes – some unexpected exercise! Now, along with the increase in temperature outside, also comes increased (and more pleasant) outdoor activities. With the eagerness of getting our lawn and garden started, we may have tried to cram to clean and prep for the upcoming season. Others enjoy attending festivals or participating in recreational sports and activities. This, in conjunction with “spring cleaning” for our house and working at our regular jobs, we may have put our bodies through much toil and sweat. Whatever activity you choose, take into consideration not to over-extend yourself and end up feeling more tired afterward. The time we take for ourselves should help with the rejuvenation of the body, mind, and soul.

Here are some things to keep in mind with whatever you are doing this summer:

Always keep yourself HYDRATED. This point can never be over-emphasized. As the weather warms up, the body will start to perspire more. This is obvious through general sweating, but we also lose moisture each time we exhale. Being hydrated will also help rid us of toxins within our body and replace minerals and nutrients used by our cells (assuming we are mobile and have a reasonable diet).

STRETCH after vigorous and/or prolonged activities. As we keep on using the same muscle or group of muscles, they may become “shortened” or “tightened”. I’m sure all of us have experienced the ‘achiness’ of muscles after some activities. Most of the time, it’s a symptom of toxin built up. Stretching can help the muscle/muscles to relax. This will increase the range of motion and blood flow to the region. Increased blood flow, will bring in nutrients and minerals as well as get rid of toxins and by-products.

Most importantly, ENJOY the season and your health. General health is a combination of physical and mental attributes. Don’t be afraid to try different treatments or modalities. The Pacific Wellness Institute offers massage therapy, shiatsu massage, naturopathic medicine, reflexology, and acupuncture. You never know, something or someone may surprise you!

Tony Ho-Tong, RMT holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from McMaster University and completed the Registered Massage Therapy program at the Canadian College of Hydrotherapy. To arrange a therapeutic massage session with Tony, call the Pacific Wellness Institute at 416-929-6958.

Take the Time to Take Care of Yourself

As the year starts to draw to a close and work schedules get busier, it is important to take the time to take care of yourself. Preventing excess stress on the body will help to prevent illness due to a compromised immune system. Basically speaking, the major causes of the disease include environmental, emotional stress, overwork, and poor diet. These factors can compromise and/or exhaust our Ki (Chi or Qi in Chinese).

Oriental medicine describes the body in terms of energy or “Ki”. Ki is the vital energy of life. Half of our Ki is comprised of the genetic material we inherit from our parents. The other half is extracted from the air we breathe and the food we eat. We are in “good health” as long as it is flowing smoothly and is bountiful. Symptoms of ill health begin to appear in our body and mind when we don’t have enough Ki, or if it is not flowing smoothly. When we are healthy, Ki warms us, moves us and protects us.

Furthermore, we all have “Defensive Ki” within us. It is a shield to protect us from external influences. When we are out of balance, our Defensive Ki becomes weak and the shield becomes porous. We then become susceptible to external pathogens from our surrounding environment.

The most common manifestation is the ‘common cold’ (Traditional Chinese Medicine has a saying: “every disease begins with symptoms of a cold”). This sneaky common cold will penetrate our system by way of the draft. It is important to keep your neck covered on a windy day or wear a small scarf in a drafty home or office. The onset is sudden and acute, mostly affecting the upper part of the body. There are body aches, an aversion to drafts, and sometimes headaches. At this stage, our Defensive Ki is keeping the illness at bay – but the outcome is still undecided. A shiatsu treatment at this stage may purge the external pathogen before the disease has time to develop.

Note: Clients should not come to the clinic for treatments if they are experiencing fever, sore throat, cough, excessive runny-nose or sneezing. It is best to stay at home and rest – so as not to spread a possible contagious “illness” to the therapists and other clients at the clinic.

Emotional stress can also compromise the quality of our Ki. It does this by way of obstructing an organ or weakening the Ki of that organ. Emotional stress can also affect our healthy choices towards workload, hygiene, and diet.
A poor diet consisting of excess alcohol/ coffee/spicy foods, fatty/fried foods, excess cold/raw foods (especially in the colder months), puts extra stress on the Ki of the digestive system. This results in poor extraction of nutrients from food. Eating at irregular times, as well as excessive stress can also injure the digestive process. Mental and physical overwork can damage our Ki by depleting it, or by local wear and tear on our joints and muscles.


  • Maintain realistic working hours.
  • Exercise moderately to clear the head and move stuck energy.
  • Do a simple, quiet, deep breathing exercise with a focus on slow exhalation. (Breathing exercises can relax the mind and body).
  • Meditate or write your thoughts in a private journal.
  • Try not to internalize emotions – talk to a trusted friend
  • Wear a scarf on drafty days.
  • Try to get to sleep at the same time every night- avoid stimulants or stimulating thoughts close to bedtime (a proper sleep will relax your nervous system, restore your mind, and help to recharge your body for the next day).
  • Remember, eating meals at regular times + in peace + healthy food choices = happier person!

Prevention is key. Regular shiatsu treatments along with the above recommendations can help to improve the quality and the smooth flow of Ki – this stimulates the body’s own natural healing process. It can also help strengthen Defensive Ki and help balance organ function, among many other benefits!

Take the time to take care of yourself. Your mind and body will thank you and you will not have the added stress of missing events (business or pleasure) due to a compromised immune system.

Emily Robinson, RMT, CST, CR offers a tailored treatment of either Shiatsu, Massage Therapy, Reflexology, or a combination of all three treatments at The Pacific Wellness Institute. To book an appointment with Emily, please call, 416-929-6958.