Pain and tightness between the shoulder blades
Injury to a joint, such as the elbow or shoulder, or arthritic inflammation can be quite painful. A combination of diet and shiatsu effectively deals with these common problems.
If an injury has occurred, shiatsu can inhibit swelling. It can also reduce the pain.
In the case of arthritis, the macrobiotic diet is the key in alleviating the symptoms. Extremes of food aggravate arthritic symptoms. Beef, eggs and other animal foods, fruits, fruit juice (especially tropical varieties), spices, stimulant and aromatic herbs, soft drinks, sugar, honey, chocolate, vinegar, and especially the entire nightshade family (tomato, potato, eggplant, bell pepper, and tobacco) have been linked with increased arthritic pain. In addition, oil and fat contribute to arthritis. Its symptoms are also aggravated by excessive intake of liquid and icy drinks such as soda and beer. Because of its dairy base, high sugar content, and frozen nature, ice cream is also a major exacerbating factor.
Shiatsu is also helpful in the case of arthritis., However, the diet must be followed to have lasting relief.
The standard macrobiotic diet is recommended for any joint injury and especially in the case of arthritis. Whole grains, such as millet, barley, brown rice, oats, whole wheat, rye, corn, and buckwheat should make up the majority of the diet. All vegetables should be cooked. With vegetable selection, take care to avoid tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, asparagus, spinach, chard, avocados, beets, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cooked dried daikon with miso is beneficial and can be taken regularly. As a table seasoning, scallions cooked with miso and a few drops of sesame-oil can be used. The remainder of the diet should consist of beans, seaweed, soup, and a small volume offish and cooked fruit occasionally (perhaps once or twice per week). All food should be chewed thoroughly.
In the case of arthritis, the intestines are usually hard and stagnant. A ginger compress on the abdominal area is helpful to soften the congestion there. You can also rub up and down the spine with a hot ginger towel.
Compresses can be placed directly on the affected arthritic parts such as hands and feet. Daily compresses will accelerate blood and body fluid circulation and soften up the hardened parts. Or perhaps, if a large area is affected, you can soak either the hands or feet in a ginger bath.
Shiatsu can be given to whichever area of the body has the pain. You can follow the instructions for giving a full body treatment or, if time is limited, you can use your common sense and massage the individual part. Massage must be gentle enough so as not to cause unnecessary suffering. For example, if someone has arthritis of the hand, use shiatsu on the hand according to the instructions in the treatment part of this book. Remember that the aim of treatment is to alleviate the person's suffering and increase circulation. The pressure should be firm yet yielding. That is, if the pressure is too much for the receiver, then go lighter but repeat the movement more often.
In the case of shoulder or neck trouble, be sure to include rotation and movement of the affected part. This will shorten the recovery time.
For the swelling that frequently occurs after mastectomy, light shiatsu on the upper shoulder and the lower arm of the affected side will encourage reabsorption of fluid. In addition, a buckwheat plaster can be used to pull out excess water (edema). (See appendix.)