"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.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
A holistic approach means taking care of something in all aspects. When we talk about holistic living, it means a complete and whole approach to the well-being of our body, mind and spirit. We are not just our bodies nor just our minds or spirit, if one is off balance the others are likely affected … and both should be addressed as we journey towards maintaining wellness.
In our normal busy states of being, people often tend to be very much in their "heads". The mind is busy thinking, planning, remembering, engaging. For most occupations we have to be, however, what is going on with the body during this busy time?
Two things that I notice when clients are in for a session, especially Massage Therapy; They often don't realize just how many sore muscles the have in their body until I begin to work on them, and I can often feel the muscles begin to relax as people talk on the table about the issues keeping them busy. It's as though air is finally being released from an overfilled air mattress, the muscles become softer and more fluid.
This is often my reasoning to asking questions before a session starts. How are you doing, on all levels, that day? Your answers give me some insight into how you're connecting with all aspects of your holistic well-being.
When you plan an activity is it purely physical? Or do you also account for how it will feel on a mental/emotional level and how it feeds (or not) you on a spiritual level?
An example of what I mean by the question above. Some years ago when looking for a workout I needed to find something that I would stick to. While I played a lot of team sports and did competitive swimming in high school, my life just didn't have a space of time for that as a business owner and single mother.
I thought back through the things I had tried during my growing up and pre-mum years for what I had really enjoyed doing. Here was the list I came up with:
My workouts became: Taking Belly Dance classes and moving on to also teach (moving the body freely with music is so energizing!), yoga because I loved it and it really goes hand in hand with taking care of dance muscles and joints and walking or hiking in nature. This holistic approach to my well-being fed me on all levels, mind, body and spirit.
I take this same approach to other activities, and to my work. I love the work I do and the interactions that I have with clients. My work doesn't feel like a job but instead is a passion that I get to take part in every day. While I've been a secretary and interior designer in past careers and did find some satisfaction in that, they don't feed my soul in the same way as providing Massage and Holistic Therapies does.
The holistic approach to well-being is not just about the body. It also takes into account your mental state, how you're feeling about your day to day activities, and if they feed you on a spiritual level as well.
With the changes life has brought us during the Covid19 pandemic I encourage you to take some time to take a look at your daily activities and ask yourself if they bring a holistic balance to your well-being or do they need to be tuned-up, changed or dropped completely. Once you begin to take a holistic approach to one or two activities, you'll find it begins to change your approach to others.
Note: This is not a space for you to be self-judgemental or look for blame, it's simply having an honest look at ways to make positive changes for your whole healthy being.
I hope that you'll share your experiences.
Join me during the month of April for A Journey into Taking a Holistic Approach to Covid19
Let's explore together some ideas to improve our holistic well-being through 2020. The calendar below is filled with suggestions to help with that. Take one a day (you may need longer than a day for each step and that's totally ok...take all the time you need), pull out a journal and explore what the theme for the day means for you, your life, your well-being.
You may find that some questions, suggestions, ideas resonate to stay as they are, or need to be changed up. The idea is to take a look at your life from a holistic point of view, and make some changes where you feel the need.
Each day you can follow along with the day's theme on my Facebook page. I welcome your comments, suggestions, stories, ideas, questions, etc. with each post.
Challenge yourself, challenge others...the results will make a positive difference.
I plan to take the challenge, I hope that you will join me!
During 2019 I saw a number of clients in both Calgary and the Fraser Valley for a number of reasons. They brought some similiar issues to the treatment room for us to address.
The main problem being tackled (which displayed itself through symptoms) was a feeling of life being too much, too busy, too much to do, too much to take care of, too many places to get to... Too much was a common theme.
Here are the top 5, plus how we worked together to resolve them:
#5 Holistic Maintenance Sessions
I have to admit that I was really excited to see Maintenance as a priority with many clients this year. Not really an "issue" but a really positive step. Many were taking the view that Massage Therapy and Holistic sessions are not just a luxury, but instead an essential regular part of maintaining mind/body wellness.
In the past, so many clients wait to book in when they are at an overwhelmed breaking point or the ongoing pain has become intolerable. More and more though, are realizing the benefits of regular sessions, to ensure their body is feeling good the majority of the time, and they are more able to deal with life's stressors as they come up.
Maintenance appointments were across the board for therapies including Massage Therapy, Reiki Treatments, Craniosacral Therapy, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology.
#4 Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain
Technology is wonderful BUT it is really hard on the body. For those sitting at desk jobs working on computer all day, students studying, or those with more physical daily tasks, the upper body muscles seem to suffer the most through the past year.
Many mentioned their posture at work as well as repetitive strain issues with daily tasks. Massage Therapy was the number one choice for dealing with pain through the back, neck and shoulders. Included with those sessions was passive stretching to encourage muscle flexibility. Plus we often had discussions about stretching at home along with ideas for better posture so that muscles are not over strained.
I did notice that those coming for regular Massage Therapy sessions through the year mentioned that they experienced less pain and fewer issues with headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms and enjoyed better sleep.
#3 Anxiety, Depression, Overwhelm, and feeling Disconnected
While a number of clients would end their list of what is bringing discord into their lives with a statement of "well others have it worse, so I shouldn't complain", I was quietly thinking "Wow, you are really dealing with A LOT!"
So many have so much on their plates that it's not surprising that the mind just can not keep up, and in it's attempts to do so, becomes overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and depression. Honestly, I don't think many people are realistic about just how much the body and mind can take. As a society we are pushing ourselves way beyond our elastic limits.
For too long we've pushed those feelings aside, jumped up after trauma to "soldier on", lived in our whirling minds of getting "it" done and feeling disconnected from our body, and trying to pretend that everything is fine, while we're actually falling apart. It can be scary to allow yourself to fall apart, but it can actually create space for things to fall into place.
I witnessed a greater increase in those asking about and experiencing Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy. During those sessions clients experienced a full 60 minutes of peace, loving energy and unwinding.
Taking that time to get quiet left many saying that they felt clearer, stronger and were heading home to think more on what they needed to let go of and the steps they were going to take to put their well-being first... It was amazing to be a part of those journeys through the year.
Whether tension or migraine there seems to be more and more people dealing with regular headaches. Caused by stress, weather changes, computer screen posture, hormonal imbalances with menstrual cycles and menopause...headaches were causing pain through the day, sleepless nights and feelings of fatigue and nausea.
Treatment choices included Massage Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and Indian Head Massage. All wonderful for creating relaxation and releasing muscle tension, these therapies also increase blood flow to the brain, encourage the release of "feel good" hormones and ease pain.
The most frequent reason clients booked in for sessions was Stress. Stress that was chronic, overwhelming and causing considerable issues, both physical and emotional. Life has just become too much! To much to do, to take care of, to deal with... Deadlines, bill payments, exams, school activities...
Clients booked for Massage Therapy to help release the tension in the muscles that were holding tight and to get the natural space back between the ears and the shoulders (no, they shouldn't be attached to each other). Encouraging overall relaxation so that your stomach will release some of the knots was another reason for Massage.
Reiki sessions were popular to help ease the insomnia that was a symptom of stress. A session to help with deep relaxation in a quiet space. Where the thoughts stop whirling, the breath comes more deeply and evenly, and life feels more in balance.
Craniosacral Therapy to help the fascia that has become tightly bound and to begin an unwinding process, allowing the whole body to just open up and breathe.
Reflexology because many found it encouraged the entire body to completely relax. Relaxation to the point of falling asleep on the table!
So what would be your reason for booking a Massage Therapy or Holistic session in 2019 and moving forward into the New Year?