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Take these knots from my neck

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Take these knots from my neck Amanda Lees 3 April 2001 I have finally succumbed to the curse of the computer. Hours spent chasing deadlines in front of a flickering screen have given me shoulders tighter than a starlet's smile and the stress of my recent book launch has driven the final nail into my lumbar spine. Add to that a recent whiplash injury and it is evident that mine is more than the average pain in the neck. Popping a painkiller achieves precisely nothing, so the answer is obvious: it's time to take the alternative route. New therapies pop up on a weekly basis and sorting the effective from the plain insane is not as easy as it would seem, particularly when you are dealing with that most modern malaise: technology tension. Spend long days at your keyboard, phone propped under chin while manoeuvring a mouse, and you, too, are likely to be a victim. In the interests of knotted necks everywhere, I bravely submitted myself to the ministrations of various practitioners. The Ayurvedic approach The alternative approach du jour and who better to visit than the doyenne of Ayurvedic innovation, Bharti Vyas. She has spent the past two years perfecting what she calls the Harmonising Facial, and you read it here first. More a total transformation than a facial, it is tailor-made to treat the parts of you that ache more than most. In my case, the Indian scalp massage incorporating acupressure was especially effective. An amazing army of ...
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Take these knots from my neckAmanda Lees3 April 2001
I have finally succumbed to the curse of the computer. Hours spent chasing deadlines in front of a flickering screen have given me shoulders tighter than a starlet's smile and the stress of my recent book launch has driven the final nail into my lumbar spine.
Add to that a recent whiplash injury and it is evident that mine is more than the average pain in the neck. Popping a painkiller achieves precisely nothing, so the answer is obvious: it's time to take the alternative route.
New therapies pop up on a weekly basis and sorting the effective from the plain insane is not as easy as it would seem, particularly when you are dealing with that most modern malaise: technology tension. Spend long days at your keyboard, phone propped under chin while manoeuvring a mouse, and you, too, are likely to be a victim. In the interests of knotted necks everywhere, I bravely submitted myself to the ministrations of various practitioners.
The Ayurvedic approach
The alternative approachdu jourand who better to visit than the doyenne of Ayurvedic innovation, Bharti Vyas. She has spent the past two years perfecting what she calls the Harmonising Facial, and you read it here first. More a total transformation than a facial, it is tailor-made to treat the parts of you that ache more than most. In my case, the Indian scalp massage incorporating acupressure was especially effective. An amazing army of treatments occur during the 90-minute session: back massage, reflexology foot massage, the famous flowtron boots, a facial ... even hands and ears are thoroughly massaged. In an extension of her holistic philosophy, she is about to introduce family memberships at her clinic so that you can all benefit from her wisdom.
Bharti Vyas 020 7935 5312, www.bharti-vyas.co.uk Harmonising Facial £120. Knot-free factor: 8/10
Shiatsu
Fully clothed and flat out on a comfy futon, I felt better already. The wise and witty Nik Kyriacou explained that there was far too much going on above my neck and very little anywhere else. Charming. In order to treat my neck-and-shoulder tension, he would have to go for the root cause and attempt a bit of grounding into the bargain. I could only wish him luck on the latter. Astoundingly enough, it worked. Not only did my shoulders feel freer, he also managed to make me feel far less fraught. Centred, even. An angst-free experience and perfect for the more reticent among us.
Nik Kyriacou 020 8741 3323, londoncollegeofshiatsu.com £35-40 for 1-11/4 hours, student clinic £15 per hour. 8/10
Manual lymphatic drainage
I have to confess I couldn't see how the movement of my lymph - wherever that was -could possibly relieve a pain in my neck. But it can, along with addressing a host of other conditions. Lymph is basically our drainage system, and mine was a sludge bed of toxicity. Getting it moving again involved an all-over massage consisting of gentle but extraordinarily powerful movements. Sublime. Australian trained in the latest techniques, Liz is on a mission to spread the word here. To this end she also teaches her method to
health professionals and body workers. Stagnating systems nationwide will be eternally grateful.
Liz Fletcher 020 7602 5636, lizfletcher@cwcom.net £45 per one-hour session. 9/10
Acupuncture
Let's get one thing out of the way. It doesn't hurt. Not even the teeniest bit. And I am the biggest wimp you could ever wish upon a therapist. The sensation is, admittedly, odd, but such is Greg's soothing presence that it is impossible to do anything but relax and let the hair-thin needles do their work. The Chinese have, after all, been doing this for thousands of years and if it's good enough for the nation who invented the prawn cracker then I, too, am happy to make like a porcupine. Just don't be tempted to turn over halfway through the treatment or you could find that the benefits are a little more penetrating than you had anticipated. A yoga teacher as well as a personal trainer in a former life, Greg is that rare creature - a truly holistic fitness guru. I came away smothered in a sweet-smelling balm, no longer a needle-phobe.
Greg Dorn (Member of British Acupuncture Council) 07931 551977, gregdorn@yahoo.com £45 first session, £30 thereafter. British Acupuncture Council 020 8735 0400 www.acupuncture.org.uk 8/10
Chiropractic
Think chiropractor and crunching noises come to mind. This, apparently, is due to nothing more alarming than the release of gas between the joints. And once they've let off steam the relief is instant. My chiropractor, Ida, likens it to the realigning of a car, adjusting your tracking so that you can cope with the daily grind. Like all the other treatments, this deals with a far more extensive range of ailments than you would expect and is superb for boosting that all-important immune system. It's fast, it's effective and it's excellent for the time-starved.
Ida Norgaard 020 7591 1929, info@fix-a-spine.co.uk £65 first session, £35 thereafter. 8/10
Large glass of red wine
To be honest I thought this would be my top choice, but hand on heart it didn't seem half so appealing once I was a toxin-free zone. Give it a week or so and it might be a different story, but for now I am reformed. In more ways than one.
Selling Out, by Amanda Lees (£5.99) is published by Pan Macmillan.
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