This past week I had the opportunity to participate in 2 workshops for enhancing Craniosacral Therapy outcomes for clients. While there was a lot of fascinating information shared one topic that stood out to me was the role of Craniosacral Therapy in gently releasing muscular restrictions in the body, versus Deep Tissue Massage where that release is forced, through pressure.
Clients are generally sore after a Deep Tissue Massage due to the inflammation caused by a treatment that is focused on aggressively and forcefully breaking down tissue adhesions that are causing limited mobility or pain. It's kind of a "no pain, no gain situation". I do notice that Massage Therapy is moving away from this belief and I am embracing the understanding myself, that it is just as therapeutic and healing to use a lighter, more moderate pressure. (I know the diehard deep tissue fans may not agree...but I do encourage them to try it)
In contrast, Craniosacral Therapy encourages the body into a state of deep relaxation and stillness. In that space the Parasympathetic Nervous System takes over to bring the body to rest, relax, repair and restore. In that space of quiet stillness the body has the opportunity to drop away from it's usual "busyness", settle into calm, and reorganize and heal itself.
The human body and mind are constantly in a state of awareness and response to keeping safe. The fight or flight response is natural and instinctual. At the same time it is exhausting and debilitating, and often causes tight and restricted muscles through the neck and shoulders. With Craniosacral Therapy it feels as though your body is being cradled, that the tension of gravity is removed in a way that feels safe and supportive. When the physical body is eased of tension the mind and spirit follow along and clients often notice an ease of stress, pulling them out of their anxious state, to one of calm.
In calmness and relaxation a portal to healing is revealed. Tension slides away, blood pressure decreases, the fluid around the brain and spinal chord (which nourishes the nerves) flows unimpeded, muscles relax, fascia opens, anxiety slips away and mind, body and spirit have the opportunity to relax. In this mind/body state of peace is the opportunity to find a space of solution to problems causing anxiety, and ease of movement returning to impeded joints and muscles stressed from overuse and injury.
The Benefits of Craniosacral Therapy
As a Holistic Health Practitioner since 1994, I long ago discovered that the more I learn the more there is to learn. I've practiced Craniosacral Therapy since 1996 and this recent workshop series has opened up a whole new perspective that my clients will begin to benefit from this week. Have you experienced Craniosacral Therapy?
"Stand up straight and tall!" Who didn't hear this as a child? What was never explained was why.
Posture, next to stress, is one of the main reasons clients come in to see me. Though I'm not sure they realize that. Posture while standing, Posture while walking, Posture while sitting at a desk and computer, Posture during screen time... Good posture, or lack thereof, makes a difference to more than your muscles.
During May and June I'm placing a focus on Spinal Touch Therapy as it is probably the most effective tool in my skill set for good posture and encouraging your body to return to that, and hold it. Spinal Touch looks at where your posture is distorted, which muscles are pulling it into that position, and applies a gentle technique that encourages better alignment and posture.
I will be honest here though, while the technique is gentle, you often feel as though you've been hit by a truck afterwards. Here's why...
When we are stooped over with shoulders rounded and chin drawn down or forward our muscles will begin to hold us in that distorted shape. That posture pulls on the muscles through the spine from lower back to skull. The muscles in the front of the chest and neck begin to shorten (because the body, in it's wisdom, views that we're not using or needing them to move better so sends the energy elsewhere to the cells that are using it). In that hunched over shape our digestive organs and circulation are compressed and we tend not to breath as deeply.
A Spinal Touch session encourages a posture where, from a side view, a straight line could run from your ankle, through your mid knee, mid hip, mid shoulder and mid ear. Looking from the back both ears, shoulders and hips are in line.( That's the optimum)
Imagine for a moment how your muscles would feel as they are pulled back into a more open and balanced position, as you stand straighter, how your organs when they are no longer compressed. It's not a comfortable feeling at first. The muscle hurt as they fight to go back to the old posture they've been holding and the organs often release and cleanse as they're meant to. The hit by a truck feeling doesn't last long though (24 to 48 hours) and the results are worth it.!
I encourage you to take some time to check in on your posture each day and where you might stretch or move to improve it. If you would like to experience Spinal Touch Therapy you can book here.
Chronic pain (especially in the low back, shoulders and neck), limited range of movement and flexibility, pain from old injuries or surgical sites, anxiety from recent and/or long ago traumatic events... all of these point to an unfitness in your Fascia. Holistic therapies can help!
What is Fascia
Fascia is a spider web-like, loose connective tissue found throughout the body, that wraps around muscles, joints, organs and the body as a whole. Fascia also connects all parts of the body. It has varying consistency depending on where it is located. When your Fascia is open, hydrated and loose it facilitates movement, allows good muscle function and allows all cells to communicate and function at their best. Your Fascia fitness is optimal!
When Fascia becomes congested, dehydrated and tough it causes us to lose our flexibility, limits movement and often causes pain. Physical, psychological and environmental stressors can all cause Fascia to become "stuck". Physical stress can include poor posture, lack of exercise and movement, accident, surgery... Emotional stress, often associated with muscle tension, can cause Fascia to thicken and stick. It can build up over years, and Fascia can remain tight and hard even when muscle fibres have relaxed.
It always makes me smile a little when I'm a few movements into a Massage Therapy session and I hear "You can go deeper" from the client, face down on the table. Yes, I can go deeper, but are your muscles at a point where they are ready for that? Is your Fascia ready?
Movements are lighter at the beginning of a Massage Therapy session for a few reasons. Firstly, with my hands I'm feeling for temperature changes in the areas that I'm treating, usually checking for heated areas that may be signaling inflammation. If I start getting deep into the tissues right away, increasing circulation, I'm not going to be able to check for inflammation as easily.
Clients will find their Massage Therapy session more beneficial if muscles are "calm" and part of the slower, lighter movements is to encourage the nervous system to relax and the muscles to open, allowing my hands to move in more deeply. Muscles are more likely to be "on guard" if I am trying to dig deep right from the start, and that can cause them to spasm. If you are hurting and clenching because the Massage is too deep or feels uncomfortable I will cause more damage than good. Massage Therapy does not have to be deep or painful in order to be effective.
We've been walking on some icy surfaces in Calgary for a couple of weeks at least, and I can feel it in the muscles of your legs and hips! Apparently there is more to come through the weeks ahead...ugh.
What are your muscles telling me?
To avoid falling or slipping we tend to walk differently on icy surfaces. The shoes we wear hopefully have a better grip, but they also tend to be heavier and clumsier than our usual footwear.
Our stance, or centre of gravity should change to feet wider apart and slightly bending forward over our feet to shift body weight where we need it to maintain balance. Hands out of pockets to balance and holding handrails to catch our fall if we go down, shifts our balance as well.
We may hit an icy step and jerk or twist our body to keep from falling. Your muscles tell me all about it.
The colder weather is definitely upon us and the season has quickly changed from Summer to Fall. Did you know that Massage Therapy can help you to easily transition between the seasons? There are so many benefits to receiving an Autumn Massage, here are just a few...
Massage Therapy Helps Relieve Anxiety, Depression and SAD
Back to school, sports, indoor activities, the '9 to 5', family holiday gatherings... all of these happenings are good, but they can leave you feeling overwhelmed and fatigued. Decreasing amounts of sunshine and daylight begin to take a toll on your mind and your spirit. Anxiety and Depression increase and can lead to exhaustion.
Massage Therapy helps to naturally balance your hormones. Lowering the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) while increasing serotonin (a mood stabilizer) and dopamine levels (helps to battle depression and increases clarity and focus).
Your Massage Therapy appointment gives your mind and body a "time out". This is a great opportunity to rejuvenate and re-energize so that you can keep your life on track
Massage Therapy is a Natural Immune System Booster
This time of year we spend more time indoors and often in the close company of others, an optimal scenario for the spread of viruses. Preventative action can help you to stay healthy.
Massage Therapy helps to boost your body's white blood cell activity, which strengthens your immune system. It also helps you to sleep better, which always goes hand to hand with staying healthier.
Get a Better Nights Sleep with Massage
A good nights sleep leads to better health, eases depression and is a time for your body to kick into it's innate self-healing mode. Massage Therapy helps to boost serotonin and melatonin production which are key hormones for regulating your sleep cycle.
Massage as a Stress Buster
When stressed our heart rate and blood pressure increase and muscles become tense and tight. Massage Therapy will help to release your shoulders from your ears, lower your heart rate and decrease blood pressure. In a more relaxed state your stress becomes more manageable.
Reduce Pain and Inflammation with Massage Therapy
Colder weather often brings an increase in muscle and joint pain, especially for those who deal with arthritis. Back to school/study/computer posture places more stress and tension on the muscles of the neck, back and shoulders which can lead to increased headaches, jaw tightness and muscle pain.
A Massage Therapy session increases blood flow to muscles, joints and connective tissues while helping to ease inflammation. Greater blood flow and reduced muscle tension eases stress on joints so that they are able to move more freely and with reduced pain. Massage helps to loosen the strained muscles that can become tense with studying as well as increased computer and desk time. Through releasing muscle tension the body moves into it's better, more natural posture resulting in fewer headaches, joint pains and neck strain.
You may already know which therapy is your go to for your optimal well-being, but have you tried others? Here is your opportunity!
This month Teresa will be offering mini sessions in some of the holistic therapies she shares (some, because not all services fit into a shorter time period).
~ You can add a mini session to a longer appointment that you have booked, or book just a mini session, or book up to 2 mini sessions back to back in a day.
~ You can only book a mini session for a specific therapy once during the month. Your sessions must be booked and received between October 1 and 31, 2019.
~ Mini -sessions are 25 minutes long and cost $45 (plus gst). Sorry, gift certificates can not be purchased towards or used to pay for monthly sessions.
By Email: email@example.com
By Phone: (403) 620-0561
Our Body is talking to us ALL the time; it’s our lifelong best friend. It constantly sends us messages about how it’s feeling and through listening to and feeling what it’s telling us, we can make adjustments in what we’re doing to keep it “happy”. With the intention of living a long and happy life with little or no pain, doing all of those things we love to do (like dance well into our 90’s and beyond) it’s worthwhile to take the time to listen to what our body is saying. What it is saying and how it is saying it speaks volumes about some of the adjustments and fine tuning it wants us to make.
Massage Therapy clients are often surprised to discover how the parts of their body are all connected. They often don’t consider that pain in one area of the body may be related to problems in another area. The realization of that connection can often make sense once awareness is created.
Our Spine is one of the key structures in our body, without it we’d be like mushy beanbags on the floor, unable to stand erect and unable to move. This amazing part of us gives protection, support and a base for our muscles and ligaments to attach to so that we have mobility. Honouring the spine’s natural curvatures and giving it the space it needs to move is essential.
It’s important to remember that the spine is just a bony structure and that muscles move bones (not the other way around). Keeping our spine healthy means keeping our muscles strong, stretched and flexible. When we tune into all the ways in which our spine and other bones are able to be moved by those amazing muscles we remove a lot of limitations.
Massage Therapy, Yoga, stretching and strengthening exercises all give our muscles the support they need for us to move freely with flexibility and without pain. Besides good nutrition muscles need oxygen (our breath work) and water (the Brain is 90% water, Muscles are 75%, Bones are 22% and water protects and moisturizes our joints....it’s a key ingredient to keeping us moving!)
In our fast paced way of living we often become unaware of what our body is saying or we suppress (pain killers) or ignore it (gotta get that last thing done) until we have time to listen. Sometimes we become so used to ignoring our body that we don’t notice that we’re moving differently or limiting our movements to avoid the pain they cause...we adjust and limit, adjust and limit and soon don’t realize there are many more ways we could move around if only we were aware.
Taking a few minutes throughout your day, in your normal activities to check in with how your body is feeling will go a long way to make this a natural automatic response and keep you active for many years to come! If you’re not sure book in for a Massage Therapy session and let the therapist help in creating more body awareness.
With heart health month quickly coming to an end here is a special to reinforce all those good things you've been doing this past month for you! Ease away stress and totally relax...so good for YOU!
One of the most effective sessions that I offer is Spinal Touch and now I am going to teach it to you!
Keeping up with home sessions for your family members helps to maintain good posture and less strain on muscles and joints, which means less pain and fewer injuries.
During this 3 hour workshop you will learn, hands on:
* How to assess someone on a plumbline. The line is pulled straight by gravity making it easier to see just where muscles are pulling the spine out.
* Taking what you found on assessment you'll learn easy steps to provide a session to a family member to encourage muscles to relax through very gentle massage technidques and some accupressure.
* Re assess after the session to see what changes have been made
Hand out notes will make it easier to follow, step by step, how to give a Spinal Touch session, after the workshop. I hope that you'll join me!