Gentle, slow unwinding of Fascia while also opening up any restrictions in the movement of cerebral spinal fluid, are the goals of a Craniosacral Therapy session. I often find that if a muscle is not letting go with traditional Massage Therapy, that a gentle Craniosacral hold to the area will do the trick. Sometimes muscles require a lighter touch to respond.
In our day to day physical activities our fascia can become tight and congested if we are not taking regular approaches to keeping it loose, hydrated and flexible. Emotional and mental stress play a part as well. Hunched shoulders, turtling, digestive issues... can all cause the fascia to wind tighter. When tight and congested the muscles and organs don't have as much room to move and flow normally.
Craniosacral Therapy is a beneficial and gentle approach to encouraging the Fascia to unwind subtly. When we open up the Fascia around our muscles and joints they move more freely. Fascia loosened and flexible around our rib cage makes that deep breath that stress often needs, increasingly possible. And some of the old trauma and stress that can keep mental and physical trauma in a holding pattern can begin to unwind as the Fascia does. Concussion symptoms are often relieved with Craniosacral Therapy.
While clients often go with Massage Therapy or Myofascia Release, because they are more familiar to them, I do find that many clients have better results with the slower approach of Craniosacral Therapy. It does not have to hurt to work and Craniosacral Therapy demonstrates that. In the next blog I'm going to share a couple of personal stories where I have found this treatment beneficial to myself and my family.
Phase 3 in the Journey - Maintenance and Moving Foward (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 6)
OK, so you’ve done the work, peeled back layers of your life, like an onion, to discover at least one thing that is no longer working for you. That something is up for change as you create holistic balance in your life. You’ve explored the ways that work for you and hopefully found 2 or 3 that work and you’re in the process of integrating those changes. Now what?
Phase 2 in the Journey - Acceptance and Investigation (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 5)
At this point in our journey it's accepted that you have embraced the idea that the health of mind, body and spirit are all integral to our holistic well-being, and that it's totally ok to have any and all emotions during changes in your life that affect all parts of you. If you're not at this point yet then move backwards through the previous blog posts...this next part of the journey is interesting, playful and enlightening.
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.
I invite you to join me on a holistic journey. Through no fault of our own, life turned upside down on us the past few weeks. Our daily norms, for the most part, have had to adjust drastically and while change is a constant in life, as humans we tend to struggle with it.
"We're all in this together" is a beautiful sentiment, and though true, it does little to alleviate personal feelings of worry, uncertainty, fear, anger... Broad statements such as this can actually cause us more stress, especially if we're feeling isolated and can't relate to it.
Taking a Holistic approach to change means allowing yourself to feel what you feel, all of it, expressing it and then working through ways that work for YOU to accept, shift and move forward. That shift needs to happen on all levels; Body, Mind and Soul, for our beings to fully integrate and journey forward. It opens a door to fully embracing that we really are, all in this together.
Join me through the coming weeks as we navigate this journey together. The chart below identifies the steps we'll be taking, what you'll discover as the theme in blog articles, social media posts and some new video offerings.
I chose my profession because people, their health and well-being, matter to me. I have been so fortunate to have found and to be able to work in a field where I can impact that directly. Each and every person that I see is of great importance to me, and the fact that I am trusted with your well-being is an honour that I take very seriously.
My association has reached out to URGE RMTs to do our part in preventing further spread of Covid-19 by shutting down operation. From my personal perspective, my ethics as a (non-essential) healthcare practitioner requires me to put your health and safety first, always. It is impossible to offer safe distancing with most of the therapies that I offer.
On Tuesday evening I had to make a difficult decision to temporarily suspend providing massage and most holistic services. The situation with Covid19 is fluid and changing and I will be reassessing regularly. I really look forward to when I can book clients again. I'm sure we will all need some mind and body stress relief.
In the meantime, scroll down for what is still available and how I will be reaching out and staying connected with you until I can see you in person again.
Stay healthy, safe, and don't forget to practice self care!
Warmest Regards, Teresa
When We're Back
To reassure you for when I re-open. I always take sanitizing seriously, between each client, and that will not change.
All linens are changed between clients, individual oil containers are used and hard surfaces are wiped down with disinfectant. I will however be mindful and implement any other suggestions that are put forward by Alberta Health or Health Canada to ensure your good health and safety.
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 "sigh" is something I wait for, and eventually, in every holistic session, it comes.
That is when I know that a client has given over to allowing the holistic session to work with them on all levels (mind, body and spirit)
The human sigh, while often a spontaneous occurrence, conveys a wide range of emotions and has an abundance of holistically healthy benefits. Our breathe impacts our emotional and physical state and the sigh can encourage a state of balance.
A sigh is the body's reset button. Whether we're releasing stress and tension, relaxing, or even in the midst of a panic attack, a sigh can trigger a spontaneous reset for mind, body and spirit. Sighing reminds us to breath more regularly, and often more deeply while at the same time encouraging us to come down a little from high anxiety.
Take a Moment:
How do you feel?
You'll probably notice that your shoulders have moved down from your ears, your mind feels a little less foggy and overall, you feel "lighter".
At the beginning of a Reiki or Craniosacral Therapy session I encourage clients to take 2 to 3 deep, slow breaths as it begins to encourage relaxation. However, I know they are in a deeper state of allowing stress and tension to release, when they sigh...and they always do.
So let your body sigh...it's Good For You
My connection with Reiki, from when I received my first session, through learning, sharing sessions and also teaching, has been a journey filled with twists and turns and a lot of lessons. Not all of it easy, but I think those experiences have made me a better teacher and practitioner.
Reiki is all about being open to allowing and receiving energy that is loving and healing. Deservability can raise it's ugly head in whether we feel we're worthy. That self-judgement is completely dissolved as we feel the vibrations of Reiki's beautiful energy.
What has changed the most in my Reiki practice is a better understanding of how many different physical and emotional journey's clients and students are on. They are as unique as the individual. Remaining open, without judgement but instead with acceptance, is a place that I have learned to greet each person with. This has spilled over into all of the holistic sessions that I practice and teach.
While a lot of what I have learned and practiced is from textbooks and lectures, I've also come to the understanding of how important it is to embrace holistic healing, that if the mind is feeling out of sorts, stressed and anxious, the body is likely reflecting that as well. Healing one without addressing the other usually leads to a temporary feeling of well-being, but in addressing both many clients experience better outcomes.
A few months ago I had a client book in for Reiki who was brand new. She had experienced trauma and said to me "I want to heal, but do I really have to talk with you about what happened". "No, you don't" was the answer. I knew that she would draw Reiki to those areas that needed healing and that I was simply there to support and facilitate that process. Twenty years ago I likely wouldn't have had the same trust and faith, but I've witnessed it with too many to discount it now.
In teaching Reiki I find that students will struggle with what they are feeling when giving a session, moreso that they are not feeling anything or not feeling enough.
It takes some time and practice to come to the understanding that sharing a Reiki session is not about what you the student or practitioner is feeling. What is the most important aspect of Reiki is what the recipient is experiencing and knowing that is enough.
Reiki, or the idea of working with energy, brings a lot of questions from clients and the public. I am always happy to talk with you and, if I can, answer any questions you may have about Reiki. However, the best way to learn about it is to first experience it.