It is on this precept that the holistic approach of Claude Girault, natural medicine therapist and founder of the E.M.T practice (Essentiel Massage Thérapie), in Verbier, is based.
You have been living in Verbier for eight years. What is your background?
I practised in Saint-Tropez until I met my wife, who had already been living in Verbier for over twenty years. So I decided to move to Switzerland with her. My diplomas in traditional Japanese medicine (micropuncture, Japanese osteopathy and chiropractic) were not recognized in Switzerland. As my 50th birthday drew near, I decided to start from scratch and redo training courses recognized by the Swiss health system. At present, I practise plantar reflexology, Vodder lymphatic drainage, therapeutic massages, resetting of bones and joints, and Japanese therapies. In 2013, I opened my practice in Verbier where I was considered a kind of UFO. They called me the wizard. They said, “We don’t understand what he’s doing, but it’s working, we feel better.” At the same time, I give lessons in Sion. The passing on of my knowledge is for me an important element. I also receive people in Geneva two or three times a month at the “mhp I centrum” centre.
You talk about the 5th season. What is this concept?
The 5th season is an off-season like a period of transformation, of change of state while preparing for “what is to follow”. It is therefore a question of synchronizing oneself with “what is coming” to avoid trouble arising.
It is a concept from Taoism. Between each season, there is a lapse of 18 days during which you make your changes and which constitutes this 5th season. This happens 4 times a year. During the 5th season, you have to change your diet. For example, it would be better not to eat tomatoes all year round (but only during their harvest season). It is a time when everything changes while we obstinately try to resist changing anything in our diet, because our daily routine suits us well.
Is the 5th season used for prevention?
When I see a patient, I have several approaches at my disposal. I make sure that he/she recovers his/her mobility by using my different therapeutic techniques. From there, I will take stock of his/her daily habits. For example, in Valais, local products are a little too much in evidence on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, you should know that the body needs several weeks to completely eliminate cheese. The digestive system has to work twice as hard to digest it. A lot of energy is required, which notably leads to greater fatigue and joint problems.
You also support people in their preparation for the ski season. How?
It can be a question of proprioception (or kinesthesia), that is to say of recovering the balance of the body, both physical and psychic, through a holistic approach. You can’t separate things. My job will be to find the origin of the problem which often lies in your daily family or professional environment, but of course, could also be .mechanical.
Another example: say my knee hurts. If we dissect the “knee” (“genou” in French) into its phonetic syllables, it is made up of “je” (“I” or “me” in English) and “nous” (“we” or “us” in English). In other words: “me” and “others around me”, which would support the conclusion that “I find it difficult to bow to others”.
If someone comes with a foot or pelvis problem, we are treating a joint that is no longer in motion. If there is no pathological cause or accident, the pain may be due to the fact that we have difficulty moving forward because of something that happened before. So we have to look there. Returning to the preparation for skiing, the main thing is to ensure that the person has good coordination of movement and good physical condition, by applying a few appropriate exercises.
How do you strengthen your patients’ immune system?
It’s very personal, but I would say an important factor is to be yourself. The immune system will be influenced by food, the place where we live, heredity, the environment…
In my opinion the key points are:
Reduce stress, get restorative sleep, exercise, think about yourself, laugh, chat with friends, get a massage, etc.
Do you have any advice?
Drink four glasses of hot water in the morning on an empty stomach. Hot water helps to drain the toxins of the night, to cleanse the body.
You do massage therapy. Does this have a preventive effect?
I advise my patients to do an hour’s massage once a month. This is an opportunity to take time for yourself to see if there are blockages and take care of them so that the problems are not present continuously.
There are many sports activities in Verbier, which involve the risk of injury. How can one avoid this?
By preparing physically and in terms of food. These principles are valid all year round and not just when winter arrives with skiing. We try to raise awareness of them, but it is difficult. It is necessary to have a minimum of preparation before getting on skis or on a bike. Using muscles that have not been used for a year, as you may imagine…I provide some advice and exercises for people to do at home or redirect them to other professionals in Bagnes.
Verbier my love! What do you like most about the resort?
I like everything! I am Franco-Swiss, married in the commune of Bagnes!
The quality of life, the sun, the friendliness of the locals who welcomed me warmly, the hamlet, the walks…