Healing approaches, Inspiring stories

Kinesiology: A personal journey

Life's journey
Life’s journey

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

Someone asked me the other day how I first got into kinesiology and that made me think of how my journey into the profession started a long time ago.

In fact, I was a student in London doing a BA honours degree in Jewellery at the time. Our technician had asked for some willing guinea pigs for his wife, who was studying to become a kinesiologist. Everyone looked at him with blank faces – and even now, I still occasionally get ‘a kinesi-what?’

But it did not take too much persuasion to get involved, mainly due to the fact that she was happy to feed any willing bodies, albeit macrobiotic food, which as it happens was delicious. So a pioneering group of us set off to discover what this brave new world was all about.

We lay down on the couch and ‘resisted her pressure’ as she tested the muscles of our arms and legs in various positions. She carried out corrections using massage points, homeopathic drops, colour, sound and so on. It was fascinating and magical. The whole experience was lots of fun and a huge eye opener to things I had never previously known existed.

But it was a year or so later that my journey down this path really began as I developed psoriasis, mainly on my scalp, while undertaking my finals. I saw a doctor many times during this time and tried all manner of shampoos, steroid creams and tablets, but to no avail.

Eventually I gave a kinesiologist a go and, after my first session, he advised me that my body was struggling to absorb dairy products and that I should stop eating anything containing milk. This statement caused me to experience a whole range of emotions, the biggest of which was fear.

No more cappuccinos – was he crazy? OMG, what about cake? Cheese I did not mind so much as I had always considered it a pointless food that I neither liked nor understood – and as for milk, yuk.

But this was back in the early 1990’s and dairy-free foods were not as readily available then, although they could be found in health food shops. You certainly would not come across them in what a friend calls “the fusspot section” of the supermarket as we do now.

Leap of faith
Leap of faith

Leap of faith

So I took a leap of faith, irritating anyone who offered to cook for me in the process, by swapping out cows milk-based products for the only real alternative at the time, soya milk. And I was disappointed to report there was no real change.

But when I returned to the kinesiologist, we discovered that my body had just as much of an aversion to soy as it did to dairy. No soya. Holy Moly – what would I eat now?

So I duly cut out all the soya products, which was not much of a sacrifice as I did not care much for them anyway. And then the magic happened: my psoriasis got better, disappearing never, ever, to return again.

I felt great. My digestive system was no longer a grumpy, irritated beast that made me prone to bloating, cramping and feeling gaseous, with all of the unfortunate consequences that entails.

I also no longer suffered from regular, painful coldsores, brought on by late nights, too much work and any kind of fun or stress. One of them even went rogue at one point and turned into impetigo. But I have to report that over the last 20 years or so, I have only had three or four at most.

While all of this may not sound life-changing, it was to me. I realised that my system was not depleted as a result of taking drugs or medicines. It was simply about putting something into my body that it struggled to digest. After years of doing its best, the added stress of my finals was just more than it could take.

When I look back, my body was always trying to tell me that I was failing to make lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose in milk. Or alternatively, perhaps I did not have enough of it, or something was blocking it.

But as a baby, once my mum tried to put me on formula milk, I became covered in eczema. We struggled on though, eventually settling on a goat’s milk formula that was not rejected immediately by my delicate system.

Life force
Life force

Times move on

Although we were given various creams to help, I also developed multiple ear infections and repeated tonsillitis. By the age of five, they took out my tonsils and adenoids, which was a horrid operation. Could the procedure have been avoided if milk had not impaired my immune system? Yes, I believe so.

But times have moved on since then and at least some GPs would now suggest reducing or removing dairy from your diet in the case of skin complaints.

Anyway, this history meant that the kinesiologist’s diagnosis really struck a chord with me. I needed to add nothing to my diet – just take something away. It was so simple and yet it enhanced everything – my energy, my overall health and, much to my boyfriend’s delight, also reduced my moodswings. My digestive system became calm and amenable.

After that, I started seeing a kinesiologist for all of my ailments. By the time I came to seriously consider if I could actually work this magic myself, I had been benefiting from it for a very long time. I took all three of my children to my kinesiologist and most of my friends went too – if only to shut me up.

The most dramatic situation though was when I broke my coccyx. It became dislodged and moved over to one side rather than being straight. I had also slipped a disc and was suffering from sciatica, which meant I found it difficult to walk or drive. After my scan, the consultant said the best thing would be to have the coccyx surgically removed.

But I decided to call my kinesiologist, who is also a craniosacral therapist. Using very gentle techniques, she was able to encourage my body to ease the coccyx back into alignment. I suffered no more pain or discomfort and had no more need for it to be chopped off.

What more can I say: I love this work and am very keen for others to have healthy, happy outcomes as a result of it too – which is why I became a kinesiologist in the first place.

I have now also qualified as a ‘Touch for Health’ kinesiology instructor. If you would like to see for yourself whether this approach works for you, Touch for Health is the first step, so please contact me directly for teaching dates. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about kinesiology in general or locate a practitioner near you, the Kinesiology Federation is definitely the place to go.

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Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. Anita is also a member of the Kinesiology Federation.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Kinesiology: The science of human movement

Picking up clues on the journey to self-discovery

Homeopathy: Awakening the vital force

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiring stories

Picking up clues on the journey to self-discovery

silhouette of a man during sunset
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

By Helen Preston, counsellor, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) expert and reiki practitioner.

In 2007, I read an article in the Sunday Times that changed my life. It resonated with me very strongly, although at the time I had no idea why. I cut out the page and stuck it in my ‘little book of inspiration’.

It was written by a woman who called herself an “intuitive”. She was sharing a little of what she did, how she did it and how she helped others to make sense of their lives. These words were particularly emotive for me:

“The inner world is created first, our thoughts create our environment. So it’s about what you decide you are about to become. When we truly know ourselves from the inside out, we no longer look to the outside world for validity. Inner beauty comes when we ‘know’ ourselves and it manifests as confidence and self-assurance.”

At that time, I was lacking in confidence and self-assurance. We’d moved house for the fourth time in five years, my children were very young and I was a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother and a friend. But I didn’t really know who ‘I’ was.

I had a feeling there was something I was missing but didn’t know where to start the search for ‘it’. I just knew I needed to keep those words. What I didn’t do was write down the woman’s name. I cut out her picture – she’s looking gently into the camera’s lens and there is peace in her eyes. As corny as it may sound, she has the serenity of an angel.

The thing I’ve grown to realise is that you don’t know what you don’t know. That said, I’ve grown to believe, through my own experience, that what you need to know will show up – sometimes in the words you read in a book or hear in the lyrics of a song, sometimes through a chance encounter with a stranger or a poster on the side of a bus. The messages are everywhere – we just aren’t looking. Our lives are too busy, too frantic and too stressful to notice.

From the moment we are born, we are being conditioned. We are taught to seek approval. We are discouraged from being who we naturally are for the convenience of others. Fear is ever present. As the BeeGees once sang, ‘staying alive’ is what it’s all about. And of course this is true, but there’s a big difference between surviving and thriving.

In the article, the intuitive said: “Some people don’t understand what I do – including my own father. But I never really edit who I am. Not everyone can like you: I learned that in the playground.”

Looking inside

Woman meditating on a mountain
Woman meditating on top of a mountain (Bigstock)

Back in 2007, I was surviving too and it didn’t feel great. My stomach was tight, my breath shallow and my fear and anxiety levels high. I was still editing myself for others. I was the people-pleaser I’d learned to be from early on. In truth, I didn’t know who I was. But I knew there must be more to life than this.

The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung once said: “Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens.” I say: “If you don’t go within, you go without” – and I say that because it scares me how much would have been left undiscovered if I hadn’t sought out a relationship with my spiritual self.

Instead I rocked up at a spiritual development group at The Arthur Findley College in Essex’s Stansted Mountfitchet in 2010 after a ‘chance’ conversation with a stranger at a party who made the suggestion. I learned to meditate. I learned to let go of fear. I learned to open up to my feelings and feel safe doing so. I developed a trust in myself I had never imagined I could feel. I developed inner confidence, resilience and contentment. I found my tribe after a lifetime of feeling like the odd one out. It turns out that I wasn’t so odd after all.

But Jung also talks of the shadow side – the part of us that we don’t want others to see and that we find difficult to accept is within us. We can hardly bear to experience those feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, of not being good enough or of not being lovable.

So rather than sit and feel the discomfort of those old wounds and try to find healing, we distract ourselves with activity. We try to escape from something that is intrinsically part of us. A client once told me that after having ‘run away’ to Hong Kong to escape her pain, she realised that she had simply taken herself with her. As a result, she realised it was necessary to face her inner suffering and heal it in order to be free.

So what does spirituality mean to me? It means living in the here and now, being aware of what is around you, but also feeling what is within and working with your own inner peace. It is living your life from a position of unconditional love rather than fear, having faith and trust that everything is happening exactly as it should be, and learning from life’s lessons.

At the time, I didn’t have the first idea why that article spoke to me. But although I had no real understanding of what the intuitive was saying, I did feel it was important in some way.

Like a clue in a ‘Scooby Do’ cartoon, one piece of the puzzle appears to make no sense in isolation, but if you pick it up and take it with you, you’ll be one step closer to solving the mystery. Actually since then, I’ve collected a whole book full of clues: sayings, articles, inspiring words that others have shared which resonated with me. And each clue has taken me one step closer to me.

image1 (1)

Helen Preston is a counsellor, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) expert and reiki practitioner. Her approach to therapy acknowledges the crucial inter-relationship of mind, body and spirit. Helen is a member of the National Counselling Society and has an Advanced Diploma in psychotherapy and counselling, a Diploma in Hypnotherapy and an EFT Master Practitioner certificate.

Inspiring stories

Journeying to wisdom: The five totemic beasts of Britain

Leaping salmon
Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar, leaping in turbulent waterfalls in Boenfossen in Kristiansand, Norway

By Cath Everett, content editor of The Spirit of East Anglia community.

It must be said, I do like a good myth – and one I’ve come across lately that seems to be of particular significance in iconic British terms is Culhwch and Olwen.

Believed to be the earliest of the Arthurian romances and the oldest surviving prose tale written in Medieval Welsh no less, a complete version was found in the Red Book of Hergest, a manuscript of yarns and fables written sometime between 1375 and 1425. Another more fragmented account also made its appearance in the White Book of Rhydderch, which was produced in 1350 and is the earliest known anthology of Welsh prose.

Anyway, it is essentially the story of the aforementioned Culhwch, who is the son of King Kilydd. He marries Goleuddydd, who sadly loses her mind during pregnancy, which results in Culhwch being born in a pig-run and raised by a swineherd until he comes of age.

In the meantime, King Kilydd takes himself a new queen who is unhappy on discovering he has no direct heir. But hearing of Culhwch’s existence, she calls him to court in the hope of marrying him off to her daughter and securing the succession.

Finding Olwen

Culhwch refuses though and in a fury, the queen puts a curse on him. This means he is no longer free to marry anyone but Olwen, the beautiful daughter of the king of the giants, Ysbaddaden Pencawr. Luckily however, Culhwch becomes obsessed with the idea of her – although his father warns him that he will never be able to find her without the help of his famous cousin, King Arthur.

So off Culhwch goes to Arthur’s court in Celliwig, Cornwall, to seek his help. After Arthur’s scouts have searched for Olwen for a year to no avail, he gives Culhwch half a dozen handpicked men and, on discovering her, Culhwch is, of course, stunned by her beauty and falls in love.

Although Olwen is quite taken with Culhwch herself, the problem is that her dad is fated to die if she marries, which means he will, understandably, only consent if Culhwch completes a series of nearly impossible tasks. Which, of course he does, before eventually killing poor, old Ysbaddaden, and finally winning his bride.

But the reason that I mention all of this is that, not only is the story a classic, traditional prose tale, believed to be the closest to the original oral version still in existence. But interestingly, one of the tasks also makes mention of Britain’s primary five totemic creatures.

To explain a little further, the aim of the task in question was to recover an exalted prisoner, Mabon, son of the Earth Mother goddess, Modron, and Child of Light, who was imprisoned in the Underworld. But to do so, it was necessary to seek the counsel of the oldest animal in the world.

Blackbird at twilight
Blackbird at twilight.
  1. Blackbird: Calling us to start our journey

So off Culhwch and the rest of his crew go to find the oldest creature they can think of, which is the ancient Blackbird of Cilgwi. Blackbirds are interesting in this context because at twilight, they are said to stand at the threshold between this world and the Otherworld, calling to us with their song.

They urge us to listen to our souls and follow a spiritual path, exploring our inner world through dreams and myths to understand our hidden motivations and potential. By heeding Blackbird’s song, it is said, you can find your way to healing and forge a new reality for yourself based on purpose and passion.

  1. Stag: Helping us to let go

Unfortunately though, the Blackbird knew nothing of Mabon and instead directed the men to a still older animal, the Stag of Rhedynfr on Fernbrake (another name for bracken) Hill in the Forest of Dean. The stag is a messenger from the Otherworld and brings with him the power and knowledge of this realm.

He teaches us the qualities of integrity, grace and dignity, but also symbolises new beginnings and having the strength to let go of unnecessary possessions or emotional attachments in order to gain and maintain your independence, both spiritually and physically.

  1. Owl: Teaching us to engage with life

But the Stag did not know where Mabon was either and so he led the men to the Owl of Cawlwyd. Owls signify esoteric wisdom, a wisdom that comes from objectivity and discernment as they wait and watch – although it is important not to take such detachment too far or hold back too much in case you end up not feeling fully alive, with all the vulnerability this entails.

Owl, meanwhile, is also the totem bird of clairvoyance and astral travel, while likewise signifying the spiral of death and rebirth – the death of one thing, which often leads to the birth of another. He also teaches us the wisdom of turning a disadvantage to an advantage – while most birds are unable to feed in the dark, his amazing hearing enables him to pursue unsuspecting prey while others are asleep.

  1. Eagle: Guiding us to balance mind and heart

Anyway, Owl also had no clue where Mabon was imprisoned and so took the men to meet the Eagle of Gwernaby instead. An important thing to know about eagles is that they are both intelligent and courageous. They help you see life in a wider context, enabling you to come up with clear and objective goals and take appropriate decisions.

Eagles also denote a sense of purpose and the courage to see your goals through to the end, showing you how to renew yourself by plunging at just the right moment into the lake of emotions to catch the Salmon, with which he is closely linked.

The idea is that Eagle denotes our masculine, fiery, intellect, while the lake represents our feminine, watery emotions and the unconscious. If Eagle cannot find the lake, he will starve. Put another way, if we prevent our minds from accessing our hearts, we become overly analytical and our lives become dry and sterile. So it is vital that our minds and hearts remain in balance.

  1. Salmon: Urging us to connect with the dancing child within

And as such, it is Eagle who takes the men to meet the Oldest Animal of all, Bradan, the Salmon of Llyn Llyw (the Lake of the Leader), who is swimming in the Well of Segais at the source of all life. Salmon teaches us wisdom – despite the odds, he always returns to the place of his birth to mate. In the same way, to understand ourselves and our motivations fully, we must also journey back to our beginnings and get to grips with our life experiences.

But it is also worth considering that Salmon is the only creature able to lead Culhwch and his men to the Divine Child, Mabon. Mabon is associated with ChristOrpheus and Apollo, who each symbolise eternal life. In other words, being able to relate to the child within and maintaining a childlike attitude based on openness, innocence and humility will take you on the path to true wisdom.

And so there you have it. Like the Fool in Tarot eternally making his journey, it is about finding ways to integrate the disparate parts of ourselves in order to achieve wholeness, happiness and fulfilment. So good luck – and bon voyage.

Cath Everett

Cath Everett is content editor of the Spirit of East Anglia website.

Inspiring stories

About us

Eagle at sunrise

East Anglia is a mysterious kind of place in some ways. For starters, it’s a big, spread out, mainly rural, often atmospheric, region that can be slow and difficult to navigate in parts – although it does have a number of big towns such as Cambridge, Norwich and Peterborough within its borders.

And then there are the disputes as to which counties it actually covers, or not as the case may be. If you’re playing it by the book, you’re looking purely at the Kingdom of the East Angles, which was formed in 520 and made up of the North People (Norfolk) and the South People (Suffolk). The Angles themselves, however, were originally from northern Germany – Angeln in Schleswig-Holstein to be precise, the clue, of course, being in the name.

Over time, however, the Kingdom expanded into Cambridgeshire and is sometimes even said to include Essex, even though its name actually means ‘East Saxons’, which refers to a different German tribe that ran their own separate gaff. But an area between the Wash and just south of Colchester has been commonly known as East Anglia since the 6thcentury apparently – and so who are we to argue.

But despite the watery pleasures of the North Norfolk coast and Broads, and the cultural yet picturesque highlights of Constable Country and Aldeburgh, there seems much about the region that is hidden.

Again, despite its ancient burial mounds, woodhenge and churches, the region tends to hide its spiritual light under a bushel. While there are lots of healers, lightworkers and groups of an esoteric bent, they often take a bit of finding and are in no way as overt as in areas such as Glastonbury or the Great Stones Way.

Spirit of place

But in keeping with the concept of ‘Spirit of Place’, maybe there’s a reason for this secrecy that has passed down along the threads of time. As a friend of mine once put it, in an area where more witches were killed than in any other region in England, perhaps there’s an inherent reluctance for people to put their head above the parapet.

Because East Anglia was the stomping ground of the notorious ‘Witchfinder General’ and was synonymous with witch hunts. At a time when Puritanism was at its peak and the 1603 Witchcraft Act was still in force, local parishes paid Matthew Hopkins to find and try witches, who were all too often single, older women working as healers, herbalists and midwives – or who simply ended up as scapegoats.

In 1645, Bury St Edmunds, in fact, had the dubious honour of hosting the single biggest witch trial in England, at which 18 people were hanged. So while Hopkins made his money, the wise women and innocents perished.

But the time for hiding is now over. In an age where many people are searching for meaning and to understand what spirituality – which includes physical, mental and emotional health – means to them, we at the Spirit of East Anglia are creating a community of healers and wise men and women to help you on your path.

Not only will we provide a register of respected practitioners from across the region, but our aim is to become the go-to site for local people to discover all things spiritual – in the broadest possible sense. We also intend to hold a networking group for practitioners across the region each quarter.

Our founding members are:

Cath Everett, editor and journalist

Helen Preston, counsellor, Emotional Freedom Technique and reiki practitioner

Anita Ramsden, kinesiology and reiki practitioner

Sarah Stollery, kundalini yoga and meditation practitioner, who also focuses on children’s wellbeing.

We look forward to getting to know you over the weeks, months and years ahead as you learn to know yourself, and the mysterious world around you, better too.