HOW TO FIGHT OFFICE SYNDROME BY OPENING THE BODY’S WIND GATES WITH MINDFUL MOVEMENT AND BREATH-WORK:
Every System in the body relies on oxygen. From the Cognitive System to Digestion and Respiratory Health. In this article, I will refer to how the merge of Breath-Work and Mindful Movement practice, enhances the human body & mind experience.
Breath-work helps you gain mental clarity, improve your sleep and immune system support, reduce stress level, and aids digestion. This article will mainly focus on why the simultaneous practice of both is essential to prevent Upper Body blockage from the unavoidable Office jobs, and how adding Self-Practice to your wellness routine will help you fight Office Syndrome.
Most people are aware about the simplest Breath-work form, which is inhaling and exhaling as you know it, and Breath-work exercises such as holding the breath for certain counts. Breath-work is not a one-dimensional practice and most people wrongly believe that it is practiced only during Meditation. Practicing Guided Meditation by being aware of your breathing is a beautiful awareness raising practice and mental scape technique. Beyond that, haven’t you asked yourself what happens then to the air you breathe when you move? Where does it go? Which parts of the Body need to open to help disperse oxygen to the body?
People who don’t solely rely on Meditation to oxygenate, but also combine their Breath-work with activities such as Yoga or Thai Yoga Massage Therapy have been proven to enjoy all the benefits mentioned above, but with some extra benefits. By adding movement they are also able to control and regulate other important bodily functions such as their blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, as well as the sympatheric nervous system.
From my perspective as a Bodyworker, ALL practices work best when they are customized to YOUR needs. The nature of my Massage Therapist profession is in a private setting so this is always possible. However, if you solely rely on Massage Therapy you will have to receive it at least once per week which in reality is not budget friendly. The same goes with Yoga Classes as only a small portion of society can afford private classes. Another reason why your contribution is required, is to win the time “battle” of office syndrome, referring to the uneven daily 8-hours sitting versus the 60-90 minutes you spend moving & breathing mindfully during Yoga or Tgai Yoga Massage Therapy Sessions.
By now you should be feeling ready to start… but let me first introduce you to the body’s WIND GATES so you can achieve mindfulness in your Self-Practice.
In Traditional & Clinical Thai Massage Practice, the Shoulders, Hips, and Ears are considered the body's main Wind Gates. When we remain sited for long hours, the two of the three main wind gates (shoulders & hips) are blocked. However, as mentioned earlier we will be focusing on achieving the opening of the Upper Back Shoulder Wind Gates to target Office Syndrome.
To do so, you must comprehend the physical location of the Shoulder Wind Gate it’s self. The exact location of the Shoulder Wind Gate is at the front right and left shoulders, slightly before reaching the armpit. The whole curve starting from below the clavicle bone until one inch before the armpit is the Shoulder Wind Gate. Have a look at my Wind Gate location below :
WARNING: If you are someone who might go crazy in experimenting with opening your Wind Gate, make sure that you are not directly applying pressure on it in anyway in case you have Low Blood Pressure.
Τhe lack of movement in some people’s lifestyle, accompanied with stress, not breathing or sitting properly, trully does not forgive. Sitting long hours at work will undeniably affect your posture negatively, and you will slowly enter a Kyphosis state where your upper back and thoracic spine is more often curved forward, than straight up with open chest. This automatically brings the shoulders forward blocking oxygen access to the Shoulder Wind Gates as well as the brain.
Have a look at an example of how the Kyphotic spine looks like in it's initial and final state:
Unfortunately, when our shoulders are blocked we become a constant obstacle for the air we breathe and our system fails to transfer the required amount of blood and oxygen to our arms, lower arms, hands, wrists, etc. This way the WHOLE body system, as well as all arm muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments are negatively affected. This is because our blood cells fail to oxygenate properly, unless we mindfully move our body whilst breathing.
In addition to Yoga & Thai Yoga Massage Therapy, to truly fight the clutter of your office lifestyle and potential office syndrome, you must pitch in some targeted daily movement accompanied with breathing, in other words, your own SELF-PRACTICE. To be precise, you will have to focus on Shoulder opening exercises, Shoulder stretching, thoracic and chest openers etc… Mindful and targeted movements will help the breathing process play its role, which is to act as the vehicle of our blood and oxygen throughout the body. This will directly avoid blockages and stagnant energy.
MY PERFECT PLAN FOR YOU TO FIGHT OFFICE SYNDROME CAN START TODAY – If we take in consideration that you have not already developed chronic pain due to bad posture caused by your office job.
Let us start by telling ourselves the truth, shall we? If you do obtain an office job, and you do want to get rid of ALL office syndrome long term side effects, ALL of the following activities are essential:
IDEAL PLAN AGAINST OFFICE SYNDROME:
- Yoga Practice: 2-3 times per week (45-60 minutes per session) If you practice twice make sure one session is focused on this flow and has enough stretching. The ideal choice for that would be Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga. If you practice 3 times, make sure one class is again Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga, one is a strengthening Yoga practice such as Power Yoga, and one which combines both such as Vinyasa Flow Yoga.
-Thai Yoga Massage Therapy: or any other dry pressure technique that includes Breath-work & Stretching. It is essential to receive this kind of Bodywork at least once per month and more. In case you can only afford one session per month, try to aim for long Massage Therapies ( longer sessions correspond to longer than 60 minute sessions) . Do not confuse this choice with passive Relaxing Spa Massage Treatments. Visit our website www.hammockcare.com to educate further in Massage Therapy & Bodywork.
-FINALLY: Your Daily Mindful Movement & Breathing SELF-PRACTICE:
This is what you have been learning throughout this article. The reason you are still reading and not yet practicing is because the biggest step is to PERCEIVE and CONSOLIDATE WHY it is so essential!
I will upload a few videos at the end of this article with several upper body warm ups, exercises, simple and more difficult stretching techniques, and even strengthening exercises such as headstands for the ones who are more familiar with them. Do not follow my advanced poses (headtands) if you are not familiar with them.
My advice, which is the ideal option, is to practice Shoulder Openers THREE TIMES EVERY DAY. Once in the morning, once during the day, and once at night before sleep. On days where you practice a full body Yoga Flow, or receive Thai Yoga Massage Therapy you can SKIP the mid-day self-practice.
Morning & Night routines can last from 10 - 20 minutes, and mid day routine anywhere from 5-10 minutes. If you feel like having more short stretching breaks GO AHEAD.
HOW DO I BREATHE?
Have you been reading? If you attend several Yoga Classes and Thai Yoga Massage Therapy you will be confident enough to adjust your breathing and combine it with mindful movement.
DO I NEED TO FOLLOW CERTAIN MOVEMENTS?
The whole idea of you pitching in to your Wellbeing is for you to choose freely to achieve the desired free flow of energy (chi) in the body. Following my videos is a great start and maybe even challenging to most but this is what I do to keep my shoulders open as a Bodyworker. There are countless chest opening exercises in Yoga Flows and Massage Therapy sessions that you can get inspired by. Moving mindfully does not mean you cannot move freely, you just need to keep in mind which part of the body you are targeting so as to not miss the desired outcome. The following videos will just give you an idea or a kick-start, but for a customized approach, you will have to contact us directly. If you build a healthy relationship with your body, you will then learn to listen to its needs.
1) Shoulder Opening Stretching Exercises
2) Thai Yoga Ocean Greet shoulder warm up /Shoulder opener exercises/ Deep Shoulder Opening Stretch and a final Shoulder strengthening headstand. *don't practice headstand if you are inexperienced.
3) A Kyphosis Wall Exercise (there is another blog post with this video, search for it for more infornation)
Do you need more motivation? Let me tell atate just a few of the side effects that my clients have developed ONLY by blocked Shoulder Wind Gates ~ Office Syndrome:
Constant arm and finger numbness / Respiratory Illnesses due to the thoracic spine curve compressing the lungs / Chronic Migraines & Headaches / Brain Fog / Insomnia etc…
Lastly, I hope you found this article helpful, and I trully hope that it has helped you gain a new perspective over Self-Praftice and the significance of your own contribution into your Wellbeing Journey.
Thank you for reading once more, and can't wait to receive your feedback!
Your Massage Therapist & Bodyworker,