Win a copy of The TUI-NA Manual!

Win a copy of The TUI-NA Manual!

The Tui Na Manual: Massage to awaken body and mind by Maria Mercati

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💆 Prize draw ends 22nd May 2018
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Read an introduction to the book here:

Tui Na Massage To Awaken Body And Mind

THE BOOK: This clear, step-by-step guide introduces Tui Na, a Chinese system of therapy that uses massage and manipulation to relieve pain, release tension and treat common ailments. Clear illustrations outline the meridian energy channels and qi (life energy) points, while step-by-step photographs demonstrate each technique. Ideal for improving sporting performance, alleviating executive stress or simply invigorating body and mind, Tui Na can be used on friends, family or colleagues, at home or at work, and is suitable for any age, young or old.

ISBN: 978-1-85906-411-5

‘How to Breathe’ is a solid guide on breathing and the Alexander Technique

‘How to Breathe’ is a solid guide on breathing and the Alexander Technique

Review by Emily Faulkner for AmSAT.

Richard Brennan’s new book, How to Breathe, Improve Your Breathing for Health, Happiness and Well-Being is a solid guide on breathing and the Alexander Technique. It is well organized, clearly written, and comprehensive. The wealth of information is balanced by philosophical considerations and gentle reminders that the purpose is to find balance and ease. The book covers the following (and more):

  • Anatomical explanations of the breathing mechanism
  • Basic principles of the Alexander Technique
  • Common misconceptions related to our breathing
  • How the Alexander Technique can help us improve our breathing mechanism
  • How the Alexander Technique helps us better use our voices
  • And all this is accompanied by a panoply of exercises.

The anatomy of the respiratory and vocal systems will certainly come in handy for me. Brennan includes enough anatomical information to make it accurate, but not so much as to get lost in the details. I was happy to be reminded of some basics, like the fact that the air we breathe in enters the nasal cavity horizontally as opposed to upwards vertically. The sections on anatomy included some experiential exercises like thinking of the diaphragm as a parachute, billowing in the wind.

As someone who has suffered in the past from both hoarseness and asthma, I quite appreciated many of the exercises. In particular, I found it useful to observe the movement of my abdomen, ribs, and upper chest while lying down, sitting, and standing.

These experiences gathered from three positions yielded more observations than had I assumed just one of those positions because I had so much more to compare.

The book is filled with these sorts of wonderful, basic observational exercises, many designed to help us see how our thinking affects our breathing. For instance, what happens when we hold our breath? What happens when we think of our breathing mechanism in a more or less anatomically accurate way? When do we unconsciously hold our breath and what happens when we bring consciousness to that situation?

Brennan also includes the whispered “ah,” some vocal exercises, and some simple standing and sitting movements.

Throughout, Brennan emphasizes the non-doing of breathing. Every section is couched in reminders that healthy breathing is effortless, and this sort of effortless breathing brings calm to every aspect of our lives, emotionally and physically.

If you are well versed in the Alexander Technique, as a teacher or an advanced student, this book is a useful resource, both as a factual reference and as a source of good exercises. If you are less steeped in the Alexander Technique, it’s a well-written and practical guide to the basic principles of breathing and the Alexander Technique, but some of the exercises towards the second half of the book may be a bit dif cult to follow. However, if you’ve got an Alexander Technique teacher to consult, you’ll probably find them quite instructive.

Emily Faulkner (American Center for the Alexander Technique [ACAT], 1999) is a dancer and Alexander Technique teacher in the New York City area. She is a member of the AmSAT Journal team.

How to Breathe

Richard Brennan

Breath is essential for life, but did you know that the way you breathe can be detrimental to your well-being? Poor posture, stress, muscular tension … all can make the ‘effortless’ act of breathing hard work without us realizing. And breathing isn’t just a physical activity; it influences our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, too.


HOW TO BREATHE shows you how to relearn your natural rhythm of breathing to beneficially alter the way you think, feel and act. Packed with breathing techniques to use at home, and featuring groundbreaking methods developed
by the founder of the Alexander Technique, it will help you rediscover how to breathe naturally to improve every aspect of your life. By applying consciousness to the action of breathing, you can become aware of harmful habits – and alleviate common breathing problems in the process.

We breathe more than 20,000 times a day – so why not make sure you do it as efficiently and effectively as possible? This is a book you can’t afford to be without.

Price: £12.99 RRP

Richard Brennan is the director of the Alexander Teacher Training College in Galway, Ireland. He lectures extensively throughout Europe and the USA, and has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years. His previous titles include, among others, The Alexander Technique Manual (listen to the podcast!), Change Your Posture – Change Your Life, and Stress: The Alternative Solution.

Eat Well Look Great in the News

Eat Well Look Great in the News

We are so delighted to present the excellent recent press for our Superfood guide

EAT WELL LOOK GREAT by Dr Sarah Brewer 

The Daily Express 26th Feb 2018
The Mail Online 4th March 2018
The Mail Online 6th March 2018
The Sunday Mirror 11th March 2018
Natural Health Magazine April issue 2018

EAT WELL LOOK GREAT reached no 2 in the Amazon Beauty and Fashion bestsellers list!

Get the book!

Eat Well Look Great

Dr Sarah Brewer

Most of us have niggling beauty issues, yet just resign ourselves to putting up with them. But we don’t have to!

In EAT WELL LOOK GREAT, Dr Sarah Brewer reveals her nutrition and lifestyle secrets for beating common beauty problems, based on the principles of nutritional medicine. From cellulite and dull hair to bags under the eyes and age spots, discover what you should – and shouldn’t –
be eating to nourish your beauty from the inside out.

There’s also advice on key superfoods to make a part of your everyday beauty regime – as part of your diet and as topical treatments to tone, soothe, zap, refresh and more. Plus you’ll find lifestyle tips and guidance on useful supplements and effective salon techniques, too.

You may also like:

Eat Well Stay Well – Dr Sarah Brewer

ISBN: 9781859063989

Interview with acupressure expert Laurent Turlin

Interview with acupressure expert Laurent Turlin

Steve Nobel sat down with Laurent Turlin to interview him about his book ‘Heal Yourself with Chinese Pressure points’

Laurent talks about your qi, and how your qi can become stagnant, and how acupressure helps relieve stagnant energy to nourish your organs.

Steve:   So hello and welcome. My name’s Steve Nobel and today I’m speaking with Laurent Turlin on “Heal Yourself with Chinese Pressure Points: Treat common ailments and stay healthy using a 12 acupressure point system.” This book is a wonderful introduction for beginners. Explores 12 key acupressure points for treating common ailments and conditions according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. And this book explores how to use these 12 key points to treat a range of conditions, from headaches, sciatica, and fatigue, to insomnia, motion sickness, and even a sore throat. Now Laurent is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and qualified acupuncturist, where he practises in a clinic in Paris.

Hi Laurent.

Laurent:                Hello.

Steve:   Hi. So can I ask you, many people are really familiar with acupuncture as a complementary form of treatment for conditions. I mean I’ve had it many times. But many are less familiar with acupressure. Can you just say something about acupressure?

Laurent:                Acupressure is the very first thing everybody does from the beginning of humanity. For example, when you have a shock, you touch or press the zone where you have had the shock. This is acupressure, it’s healing to relieve the blood and the qi stagnation. So acupressure, now we can specialise with acupoints, but it can be done anywhere on the body when you have a pain, self-administered, like with intuition it’s just a natural reaction, you know.

Steve:   Yeah. Can you say something about qi stagnation, and what is qi? Many people may know this, but just in case they don’t.

Laurent:                qi is energy. What is qi? Everything is qi. It can be a dense energy, solid, energy in movement. And in the body we have 12 meridians, 12 channels, and the qi goes in each of the 12 meridians to nourish the organs. Qi equals life. So when you mesh some points with other points, you create the formula and you can have synergy to treat yourself, for example, for back pain or headaches.

Life is movement, so when there is a blockage, there is pain. Chinese medicine is about moving the stagnant qi. And the blood? The blood is the substance of the qi. Qi is young. It’s immaterial. And blood is material, it is you. So the qi needs blood to circulate, and the blood also needs qi to be able to circulate. So when you bruise yourself, the blood is stopped in that area. The pain breaks the flow of circulation.

Steve: So what kind of things cause qi stagnation? You mentioned bruising, is there anything else that causes stagnation?

Laurent:                Yeah, emotion. Frustration and anger creates qi stagnation. Especially around the liver. Now tomorrow is the Chinese New Year of the Dog. This is the New Year Chinese is celebrating spring. Every season we nourish special elements and special movements. And in the Spring, the Chinese nourish the liver. And the liver is very important. It’s one of the most important organs in Chinese traditional medicine. The liver is the organ which creates the impulse, the qi, and the blood, and it regulates all the glands. It is the endocrine system, the endocrine glands. The liver nourishes the tendons and the fibres in your body, to your eyes and your brain. So the liver is very important because it is the ‘boss’ of the circulation– the flow and circulation and also your stresses. And we can say the liver digests your emotions.

Steve:   Yeah.

Laurent:                When you feel an emotion, if you receive bad news, something happens and you get frustrated and get angry, your liver is trying to digest these emotions, you can have qi stagnation around the liver. It can also lead to qi stagnation resulting in a heavy feeling on your chest, and feeling of having something in your throat, in sadness, and also for men, genital organ pains. For woman, PMS. And even migraines.

So, Chi stagnation can come from your internal emotions, can come from external shock. It can come also with the season. For example, you can have a qi stagnation if you are outside, you don’t have enough clothes, and of course you get super cold. If you have any deficiencies in your internal terrain, the cold can go, for example, into your lumbar. You can have a qi stagnation in your lumbar because the cold and the humidity go in the channels and go inside your skin and create all sorts of stagnations.

And you can have qi stagnation by having bad posture. Bad posture or torticollis. Torticollis is when you have a pain or something in your neck and you are in your car, you open the window and you drive, for example, for three hours – that’s a lot of wind. And this wind goes into your neck and the qi can stagnate.

Steve:   Now I know you’ve got this 12 main points, and I know there are a lot of points on the body, but there are just 12 you’re going into. Why these 12?

Laurent:                Why these 12? Because I studied Chinese medicine in China, and I have read a lot of Chinese medical texts. These 12 points are from the optics Chinese medical books. Zhen Jiu is the flow of acupuncture and moxibustion. And Zhen Jiu is a very fine mix of medication. There are four principal points in acupuncture and in moxibustion. And the idea for this book it that everybody can use it. They don’t need to know what is diagnostic, what is yin, what is yang, what is deficiency, what is plenitude, and what is the cold or heat. So this is book is for everybody. These 12 points are chosen because they target and treat the main areas.

So the idea is to give 12 key points. It’s for people that know nothing, but just want to do something before they go to see the doctor, before going to see the acupuncturist, or to call the emergency services. The purpose is not to say, “Here are 12 points – now you can do everything.” No. It’s a guide so you can help yourself.

Steve:   It could treat a lot of things, can’t it.

Laurent: Yes absolutely, for twenty years now I have been doing acupuncture. The emergency point between the top lip and the nose has a lot of applications.  It is a great, wonderful point to help someone that has passed out. And its also wonderful for the Lumbar (lower back) pain. You know if you have a such a great pain that you can’t stand up. It’s really hard for you to move and you just, even can’t walk. And you practice acupressure, and then acupuncture with needles, and you can ask to the patient to move, after this treatment, the person can stand again. Not to run, to do the New York marathon but he can walk. For example, if has to take the train for his job, he can do this.

Of course acupressure doesn’t use needles and its not manipulation, but really it’s energy. The Japanese do Dao-ing, Chinese do Qi Gong in the morning or so. That’s one treatment. These practices nourish life.

Steve:   Nourish life.

Laurent:         Nourish life. When we touch or treat our selves we just make our energy balanced. In our occidental world, to touch someone it to steal something they’re in need of. And in Oriental countries and in Africa, where they touch themselves, especially in India, they treat they touch they massage, it’s very normal. But still, us in occident (western cultures), there is always a connotation when we touch ourselves. We need to touch, we need to have contact, I say this in my lectures in Paris, press yourself, touch your family, your loves, your children, your friends, and with the acupoints something happens. It helps you to open your mind and maybe, your heart.

Steve:   Beautiful book, Laurent and full of lovely illustrations. And it goes through all the 12 points and lots of different issues such as asthma, or ringing in the ears, or back pain, or sinusitis, or pains, just generalised pains in the body. So it’s a very good book. If you’re interested in this kind of form of complementary medicine, I encourage you to buy this book.

And, Laurent, thank you for taking the time to chat with me.

Laurent:                Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

Heal yourself with chinese pressure points

Laurent Turlin
with Alix Lefief-Delcourt

This perfect introduction for beginners presents the 12 key acupressure points for treating common ailments and conditions, according to the principles of Chinese medicine.

After a simple overview of the meridian system of energy channels in the body, plus easy-to-follow instructions on different massage techniques, you are then introduced to each of the 12 points in turn, and how to use them to treat a wide range of conditions, from headaches, sciatica and fatigue to insomnia, motion sickness and even a sore throat! Clear illustrations and diagrams are included throughout, along with tips on other useful complementary treatments.

ISBN: 978-1-85906-056-8

Alexander’s story

Alexander’s story

Improve your breathing for health, happiness and well-being.

How to breathe using the alexander techniqueDid you know that the way you breathe can be detrimental to your well-being? Poor posture, stress, muscular tension … all can make the ‘effortless’ act of breathing hard work without us realising. And breathing isn’t just a physical activity; it influences our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, too.



Alexander’s Story

In the world of breathing, there is one figure who stands out as a pioneer in the eld of understanding and improving the art of breathing. His name is Frederick Matthias Alexander, and he developed his method of breathing co-ordination in the late 1800s due to difficulties he had with his own voice and breathing. Over a number of years, he developed a technique that helped people to replace their detrimental breathing and postural habits with a freer and more expansive way of being. To understand his method, it would be helpful to first look at the story of how Alexander overcame his own voice and breathing problems, as it is truly extraordinary by any standards.

Alexander was born in Tasmania, Australia, in 1869 and was from mixed Scottish and Irish descent. He was born prematurely and suffered from respiratory problems from the day he was born. Due to his frail health, he was taken out of school at an early age and was tutored by the local school teacher in the evenings. As Alexander got older, he became interested in amateur dramatics and, at the age of twenty, he travelled to Melbourne, where he spent three months going to the theatre, concerts and art galleries. At the end of this period, Alexander had firmly decided that he wanted to train to become an actor and reciter.

How to Breathe- By Richard Brennan
Voice concerns

Alexander stayed on in Melbourne to train to become an actor, and it wasn’t long before he gained a fine reputation as a first-class reciter. He went on to form his own theatre company, specialising in one-man Shakespeare recitals. As he became increasingly successful, Alexander began to accept more and more engagements and his audiences increased in size, and, as a consequence, so did the halls in which he performed. With no microphones or other aids, his voice came under increasing strain. After a while the strain began to show, as his breathing became audible and he regularly became hoarse in the middle of his performances. He approached a variety of people, including doctors and voice trainers, who gave him medication and exercises, but soon all treatment became ineffective and his voice deteriorated still further, until, on one occasion, Alexander could barely finish his recital. His concern grew as he realised that this problem was threatening his entire career.

Increasingly desperate, Alexander approached his doctor again and, after a fresh examination of Alexander’s throat, the doctor was convinced that the vocal cords had merely been over-strained and prescribed complete voice rest for two weeks. Determined to try anything, Alexander used his voice as little as possible for the next fortnight. At the beginning of his next performance he was delighted because he found that the hoarseness had completely disappeared and that his voice was crystal clear; however, halfway through the performance, the hoarseness returned even worse than before, and by the end of the evening the hoarseness was so acute that Alexander could hardly speak.

The next day, he returned to his doctor and reported what had happened. The doctor felt that his recommendation had been somewhat effective and advised Alexander to continue with the treatment, but Alexander refused to do this, arguing that if, after two weeks of following the doctor’s instructions implicitly, his problem had returned within an hour, carrying on with the treatment could not give any lasting benefits. He reasoned with the doctor that, if his voice was perfect when he started the recital and yet was in a terrible state by the time he had finished, the problem must be caused by something he was doing while performing. The doctor thought carefully and agreed that this must be the case. So, Alexander asked the doctor to tell him what this cause might be. The doctor admitted honestly that he couldn’t. Alexander left the surgery determined to find out the answer for himself.

How to breathe using the alexander technique


Alexander embarked on a journey of self-discovery that would not only give him the answer to his voice and breathing problems but would ultimately lead to a profound new understanding of posture and breathing. He came to realise that many people grossly and unconsciously interfere with their own natural movement, co-ordination and breathing, and that this causes much of our suffering in our modern civilisation.

Alexander’s findings were greatly underestimated at the time, yet it could be argued that his discovery was one of the greatest of the twentieth century. As you will see, Alexander’s story is like a mystery novel. His genius was the insight that he could be unwittingly causing his problems himself. Through his tenacity, he came to prove that this was indeed the case, and found a way to cure his problem.

When he started his investigations, Alexander had just two clues to work with:

  • The act of reciting on stage brought about the hoarseness and breathing difficulties which caused him to lose his voice.
  • When speaking in a normal manner, the hoarseness in his voice disappeared.

Following simple, logical steps, Alexander deduced that if ordinary speaking didn’t cause him to lose his voice or to breathe badly, but reciting did, there must be something different about what he did while speaking normally compared to what he did when reciting. If he could find out what that difference was, he might be able to change the way in which he was using his voice when reciting, which would solve the problem. He used a mirror to observe himself both when speaking in his normal voice and when reciting, in the hope that he could discern some differences between the two. He watched carefully and could see nothing wrong or unnatural while speaking normally, but when he began to recite he soon noticed several changes:

  • He tended to pull his head back and down onto his spine with a certain amount of force.
  • At the same time, he depressed his larynx (the cavity in the throat where the vocal cords are situated).
  • He also began to suck air in through his mouth, which produced a gasping sound.

The larynx. Learn how to use it properlyUp until this point, Alexander had been totally unaware of these habits, and when he returned to his normal speaking voice he realised that the same tendencies were present, but to a much lesser extent, which was why they had previously gone undetected and why they didn’t cause the hoarseness. After this breakthrough, he returned to the mirror with new enthusiasm and recited over and over again to see if he could find any more clues, and soon noticed that the three issues became accentuated when he was reading passages in which unusual demands were made on his voice. This confirmed his earlier suspicion that there was a definite connection between the way in which he recited and the strain on his voice.



Alexander’s experiences led him to question how he consciously directed himself while reciting, and he realised that he had never given any thought to how he moved, but simply moved in a way that was habitual because this felt ‘right’ to him. So, he tried a different strategy: he experimented with just thinking or directing his head to go forward, and realised that he merely had to think of the directions in order to bring about a change.

How to breathe using the alexander technique

While there was some success, he noticed that he was still pulling back his head to a certain extent and he looked for all possible causes. After a while he saw that he gave his directions successfully right up to the time of reciting, but then immediately reverted back to the habit of pulling his head back and causing tension throughout the body. He realised that he had been so goal-oriented when it came to reciting that any attempts to ‘get it right’ had resulted in tension in his neck muscles. Alexander referred to his tendency to become overly focused on a goal, without considering the way in which he achieved it, and his next challenge was to find a way to become less fixated on his goal.

‘ We often need to do the very thing that feels wrong.’

He decided to try giving himself a space between the stimulus to speak and the action of reciting. He called this process inhibition and, by giving himself this time and using his directions, he was able to notice and change the ingrained habit of pulling his head back. The principles and techniques that he conceived, which primarily consist of awareness, eradication of harmful habits and free choice, are what form the basis of what we know today as the Alexander Technique. Through diligent practice, he was able not only to free himself from the harmful habits which had jeopardised his career, but also to cure himself of the recurring breathing problems that had afflicted him since birth.

I do not claim to have discovered any new method of breathing, but to understand the only true one – Nature’s.

F. Matthias Alexander


How to Breathe

How to breathe using the alexander techniqueThis was an extract from How to Breathe by Richard Brennan. How to Breathe shows you how to relearn your natural rhythm of breathing to beneficially alter the way you think, feel and act. Packed with breathing techniques to use at home, and featuring groundbreaking methods developed by the founder of the Alexander Technique, it will help you rediscover how to breathe naturally to improve every aspect of your life. By applying consciousness to the action of breathing, you can become aware of harmful habits – and alleviate common breathing problems in the process.

‘How To Breathe’ – Richard Brennan
ISBN: 1859063977

For a podcast interview with Richard Brennan, click here