Nature spirals in and out through the seasons … so do we. Have you noticed the whorls and circles in the trunk of a cut tree, how a cat will curl up and around itself to sleep within a tucked up ball, the spirals of sea shells, plant leaves, wave patterns in the sand left by the ocean’s waves…
It may seem in Autumn and Winter that nature doesn't continue the spiraling process but it does. The leaves on a tree begin to dry and curl until a wind blows through the branches and the tree opens and releases the leaves to the ground. Snowflakes have circular patterns as they fall to the ground. Cats spend more time curled up to stay warm but they do get up to stretch luxuriously. Nature spirals in but also opens up and releases.
The human body spirals….our dna spirals within, we have linings (fascia) around our cells, muscles, our organs, even our skin acts as a lining that holds us together. Our mind spirals with emotions that wind us up or loosen and relax us. During the Fall and Winter months we are more likely to curve inwards to protect against the colder breezes, we're more likely to cocoon indoors and wrap ourselves up, curl our posture around that hot cup of cocoa.
As living beings we can run into problems when we don’t take the time to loosen and open our physical and emotional inward spirals. We often allow life’s continual and stressful grinds to wind us tighter…ever tighter. We can begin to feel like a tightly wound spring ready to “boing” in uncontrolled patterns, as we knock against those things around us and then lie in the place we land, still coiled and tight. This is never more true than as we navigate our way through Covid19 and staying within our space, bubble and home.
Holistic sessions encourage the body and the mind to unwind and open up with ease ... spiral out, for just a short time. It's interesting to note how many times a client will release a deep breath or sigh as their body and mind begin to release. Relaxation Massage opens and stretches muscles and tendons, Craniosacral Therapy encourages the linings (fascia) encasing muscles, organs and joints to unwind, to loosen the tightness and just be, Reiki encourages mind and body to move into balance and harmony with the cold of winter being warmed and thawed through the heat of the energy within.
You've heard me suggest drinking extra water after your session, but do you know why your body needs Hydration?
I may make an extra suggestion during your session that your body (usually the skin) is telling me you’re not hydrated enough? Keeping hydrated is a major keynote in getting your body to give you it’s best! Especially while venturing into the great outdoors through the summer months.
Phase 1 in the Journey - Emotions (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 4)
I think that one of the downsides to people feeling safe to share their journey towards holistic balance is Toxic Positivity. Ourselves or others can often feel uncomfortable with emotion, and so will downplay it in others, or we stuff it down in ourselves. Neither are healthy and that is not what this journey will be about. It's time to get honest with how you're feeling.
Allowing your feelings is healthy. Emotions are energy and in order to eventually be released, energy has to be allowed to move. Same thing with emotions, and yes, it can be super uncomfortable to allow our own emotions and to witness those of others.
Radical Self-Care during Phase 1 of Your Holistic Journey
Some of the following suggestions may seem like band-aid solutions to the emotions you're feeling about the changes you're experiencing due to Covid19. They are band-aid solutions for now. During this first phase in creating holistic balance your creating space for emotions and looking after yourself through that phase. (You're also teaching your loved ones that it's ok to have the emotions and to explore self-care techniques that work for them)
Ways to Safely Express Emotion
Don't suppress them or tamp them down! Allow the energy of the emotions to move through you and if they get too much go ahead and scream in the car, cry, stamp your feet. Journaling through writing or art, breath work, laughter and physical movement are all great ways to safely express emotions.
My favourite way is to put on the music and dance with abandon. As I move the emotional energy moves as well. I encourage you to explore and discover new ways that feel good to you.
Nurturing Yourself Through the Tough Days
This can be a really interesting way to find out just what radical self-care looks like for you as you explore different methods.
I'ts ok to sit in this phase of discovering Holistic Balance for a period of time as you explore what works for you. But we're not going to wallow or set up camp in this phase for too long. That being said, there is no timeline. As I said in a previous post, you will work through this journey as it works for you and there is no right or wrong way. Get comfortable with self-care and emotional expression as best you can. Perhaps the weekly calendar guide below can help with that.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
The Mind Body Spirit Connection & Dealing with Change (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 3)
The basis of a holistic approach to health, to life and to change, is acknowledging the mind, body and the spirit connection, and nurturing that connection.
What affects the mind has an influence on the body and visa versa. Anything affecting either or both, mind and body, impacts upon our spirit.
Let's take stress as an example. When we're feeling stressed about a situation we can feel it in our body. Some feel is as stomach upset, some as shoulder pain from tightened muscles, others experience headaches. Often, and at the same time, stress can cause a loss of hope, thus affecting the spirit.
Unexpected change is often uncomfortable and can create stress. Despite change being an ongoing occurrence in life it is one we can't seem to embrace. The drastic changes that COVID19 has brought to our lives is hard to navigate and it is no wonder that many balk at embracing it. But, what are our choices?
I am hearing a whole range of emotions from clients, family and friends as the life changes imposed by COVID19 unroll. Anger, fear, depression, anxiety, frustration, sorrow, shock,, grief... are just a few.
Many feel changes "forced" upon them are impossible to steer through. There are many of us that have had to slow down or stop work due to social distancing or loss of business, parents are being asked to work at home while also home-schooling their children and at the same time keep them indoors and away from playgrounds and friends, those deemed essential are busy and stressed as they are daily put at risk of infection, as humans we are social beings and we are not able to spend time with our friends, or family members that live elsewhere... I cannot think of any emotions that would be inappropriate, but there are ways to navigate through them, grow from them and thrive, holistically.
The first step in taking a holistic approach to the changes of COVID 19 is to acknowledge every single emotion experienced as valid, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Secondly, is to understand that those emotions are having an impact on your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Take some time over the next few days to allow your feelings, write them down or express them through art. If you meditate, try to check into where you're feeling those emotions in your body and what they feel like. Don't try to tamp them down as emotions are energy and energy needs to move to be released.
Upcoming posts, as we travel this journey together will address ways to not only deal with the mental, physical and spiritual impact of COVID19, but ways to grow holistically. Tips that will assist you in addressing change throughout life, often making it something easier to embrace.
You may want to work through the steps as they are presented or may find yourself jumping back and forth. There is no right or wrong way to work through these steps, your way must work for you in realizing the benefits of a holistic approach.
The Hips are amazing ball joints created through the union of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia of the upper leg and pelvis. A major weight bearing joint for the body, the Hip allows for great range of motion for our legs, when we look after it.
Probably the hip issues that I find clients dealing with the most are a result of not enough stretching of thigh, gluteal and low back muscles. Sitting at a desk day after day, standing for long periods, driving... can all contribute to contraction and tightness of the muscles surrounding the Hips. Massage Therapy and stretching can help to loosen and maintain flexiblity through the Hips and allow for easy, painless, movement.
An important tip to remember: Bones don’t move the body, Muscles move the bones that move the body. This is particularly noticeable in Hip movements.
When a muscle is overworked, tight and restricted without being given adequate rest, stretching and nutrition, or is injured, it will begin to limit the movements of our joints or cause pain in those movements. Swelling, inflammation, spasm, fatigue, injury… all can lead to muscles that just will not work without pain or only work within a limited range of motion. As the condition becomes worse so does the pain, while range of motion becomes more and more limited. While true for all joints, as a Massage Therapist I see this happen more commonly in the shoulder and the Hip.
The Hips Cradle Emotion
Our Hips are also said to cradle and hold emotions. Some yoga instructors refer to the pelvis and hips as the "junk drawer of emotions" for the body. When stressed or feeling threatened our "fight or flight" response may have us jumping into action. Or if receiving bad news we curl forward towards the fetal position. Our body has an instinctual reflex to clench the deep muscles and sometimes doesn't let go even after trauma or emotional experiences are over.
You may have noticed when you perform deep stretches or when having your Hips massaged that emotions well up unexpectedly. This is normal. On the otherside, when the muscles have loosened, you will often feel lighter and more relaxed.
Stretching and Massage Therapy are really great ways to ensure your Hips stay healthy, flexible, relaxed, and move easily and without pain.
Follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for Hip care tips throughout the month of March!
The majority of my clients understand Massage Therapy to be a necessary part of their health and wellness plans. Thankfully, those that use to view Massage as just a luxury are learning how helpful it can be. What I've been thrilled to witness in the past couple of years are the number of parents booking their teens and pre-teens in for Massage sessions with me.
My own son was 10 when I started studying Massage Therapy and as a growing teen, student and hockey player, he received regular Massage sessions to keep his muscles flexible and fit. Growing pains and muscle spasms were resolved naturally. He was also introduced to a healthy way to relax and rejuvenate during exam time, hockey tournaments and the other stressors of growing.
Sports, technology and studying place the same stress on kid's muscles as they do on adults. Posture suffers from bending over textbooks and computers in the same way it does when sitting at a desk job throughout the day. Neck, shoulder and upper back muscles become tight and tense, which can lead to pain and headaches, regardless of age.
Many clients say they feel taller and stand straighter after their Massage. The head pulled forward and chin tucked over a phone, turns into shoulders and head back and in alignment, with the loosening of muscles. It creates better awareness of just how good proper posture can feel.
With the stress of school grades, bullying, peer pressure, sports tournaments... kids need to learn ways to relax and de-stress that are natural and healthy. What they learn through their teens as coping mechanisms will carry them through the adult years in the work force. It sets them up to succeed.
While they may squirm at first because they are not familiar with the touch of Massage, young people soon become relaxed, calm and often fall asleep during their sessions. While easing muscle tension, massage also balances the hormones that are often raging during these years, boosts the immune system naturally, and encourages positive body awareness.
For the first session I often encourage parents to book young people in for 30 minutes rather than a longer session. It allows them to become familiar with how Massage Therapy feels, provides them a safe space to give feedback as to where they are sore or how much pressure they prefer with Massage. An adult is also always welcome to stay in the Massage room if that is what is more comfortable for a young person. Providing a space that feels safe is essential.
Do you ever find yourself holding your breath, without really realizing it? Perhaps I notice it more for myself because I am often reminding clients to "take a breath" while they are on the table.
With so many benefits, why wouldn't you take a deep breath? Deep breathing:
There are many breathing techniques that you can experiment with, here is one...
How and when we breathe has a direct impact on both our body and our mind so make yourself a note to "JUST BREATHE"!
Helping Body, Mind and Spirit transition selfcare through the seasons
takes some thought and planning, but you can make it easier.
Falling into Self-Care Activities
Self Massaging Autumns Dryness Away
This year the dry weather seems to have arrived a little earlier and my skin regime has already needed to change. Increased dry brushing to get rid of dead skin cells and LOTS of moisturizing. I make moisturizing a self-massage ritual. Usually coconut oil, blended with favourite essential oils and massaged into muscles, joints and skin. This increased and focused touch is a great way to improve body awareness plus skin that just feels good to live in.
For my scalp and hair I use warmed coconut or sesame oil to nourish and nurture. Wrapped up in a towel for a few hours my upper being absorbs all the goodness.
Lots and lots of Massage Therapy
Seasonal Eating Selfcare
Do you also prefer warm foods in your tummy when the weather is colder outside? There is nothing quiet like a steaming bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. Or starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and warmed fruit.
Preferring to buy local and fresh my self care nourishment includes lots of squash, kale, beets, carrots, apples and pears blended into stews, soups, oatmeal and other deliciousness. The addition of warming spices such as cinnamon, clove, curry, nutmeg speak to my soul this time of year.
Cozying up to Self Care
How do your self care rituals change through the seasons?
When you have to stay indoors rather than be outside, what do you do for self care?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Phone: (403) 620-0561
Ayurvedic (or Abhyanga) Massage is a deeply relaxing and healing experience for the mind and body. In an ideal world a person would receive Ayurvedic Massage daily with it's warm oils, meditative music, flowing movements and soft scents. Improving state of mind, a good nights sleep and movement without pain are just some of the benefits.
With Ayurvedic sessions, massage strokes are lighter in application but no less valuable than deeper work, as they follow the flow of energy channels, nerve pathways and hair growth. Relaxing yet enlivening, flowing and hypnotic, the mind and body are treated to a sense of integration and alignment.
There is no rush with Ayurvedic Massage. A session will last 90 minutes to 2 hours.
4 to 6 oz of warm, nourishing coconut oil is applied during Ayurvedic Massage to smoothe the skin, penetrate hair, lubricate joints, soothe and moisturize. While it sounds like a lot of oil the body will receive and absorb the healing benefits.
Ayurvedic body massage pays attention to the marma points and chakras. Marma points are located where there are junctions of muscle, tendons, ligaments and bones, those areas where pain tends to reside. The chakras are main energy vortexes that correspond to organs and glands in the body. Through Ayurvedic massage these areas are revitalized and balanced to function at optimal vitality.
Music for Ayurvedic sessions is meditative and relaxing while transporting us through the right side of the brain which nurtures creativity and intuition, relaxation and regeneration.
Aromas affect the limbic or emotional centre of the brain and through the use of gentle, natural essential oils, Ayurvedic Massage invokes an effortless state of relaxation. Scents are subtle and lightly used so as not to overpower the mind body experience of a session.
Not solely mechanical, during an Ayurvedic massage there is a transfer of energy between the therapist and the client so it is important to feel receptive, safe and have trust in your therapist.
The energy of kindness and gentle healing flows throughout an Ayurvedic session, engulfing you in a space of unconditional love, something we all could use more of.