Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to actually take some positive steps forward. Seems strange as we are often encouraged to just move forward without looking back.
When life is not flowing smoothly but instead is constantly hitting bumps and boulders I feel encouraged to sit in meditation (usually off in nature somewhere), and tune into what is feeling "off" and why. In that quiet space I can often come up with not only some answers, but also what changes I need to make to shift the flow and create more balance and harmony in my world. It's similar to how I assist clients during a Reiki session to shift into a healthier balance and flow in their lives. Practicing what I preach.
Since 1995 I have owned my own business in the holistic healthcare field, and while it's been challenging I've always enjoyed that. While I'm still able to offer this for my clients and students in B.C., since moving to Calgary it's changed. My parents were both self-employed entrepreneurs as is my son. It seems to run in the blood.
And so my recent meditations have me realizing the need for taking a step backwards while also stepping forwards in serving my clients in Calgary. Changes are afoot!
After August 15th my business, Hand to Health, is what I will be working under in providing Massage Therapy and Holistic Therapies to clients. Finding a space within a collaborative group of health professionals that is welcoming, peaceful (sound-proof rooms), professional and very much in tune with what I wish to offer. The same services and sessions in a holistic, healing environment.
I have been blessed through the past two years to have been a part of the amazing team at Atmosphere Health. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to have had it. Being only 5 minutes away at my new location, it is my intention to continue to refer clients to both Dr Paul Semadeni and Andrew Dulcamara for their Chiropractic and Acupuncture care. They are both amazing healthcare providers in their fields!
My last day of seeing clients at Atmosphere Health will be Thursday, August 15th. Taking Saturday the 17th to participate as a Massage Therapist at the Ride to Conquer Cancer, my first day of seeing clients at the new location will be Tuesday, August 20th.
My days and hours will be the same with some flexibility to work later for those established clients who require that.
A little about the Varsity Clinic. A beautiful healing space with sound proofed treatment rooms offering a wide selection of therapies and modalities for your optimal mind and body health. Also within the clinic is the SkyBlue Studio where classes in Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are shared.
Why Should You Book Massage Appointments During The Summer?
Summer just seems soooooo busy! The kids are out of school, the weather is nicer so we're outdoors doing a lot and ohhhh those muscles can hurt!
Summertime activities take a toll on our body regardless of how good they feel. Golfers hips, torsos and arms, Gardeners back, hamstrings and shoulders, Hikers legs and low back...the list is endless. So why should you get a massage?
With all of the outdoor activities your joints work over time and they can be sore. Massage Therapy helps to reduce inflammation and swelling and in that will help to reduce pain that you may be feeling.
Gardening is especially hard on muscles because of the postures we hold, often for long periods of time as well as the different muscle groups being used. Hamstrings and low back pain from bending over, shoulder pain from pulling weeds and trimming hedges...you know what I'm talking about. Massage Therapy eases sore and tired muscles so that you can get back out to growing your garden.
Stress! The kids are just getting out of school and I have already had 3 or 4 parents on my table stressing out about what to do with them all summer. Kids love to play outdoors from dawn to dusk during the summer months and keeping them engaged and interested can be challenging...and sometimes a little more than stressful. Take an hour to lie down on the massage table, ease the stress, quiet your mind and you will feel more energized and ready to take on the rest of the week with your little ones.
Remembering your "Me Time"! With all the busyness it's easy to forget about taking regular time outs for taking care of you. Massage encourages you to get out of your head for a little while and engage with your body in a quiet, relaxing and peaceful space. It's only 60 minutes but it can make your body feel as though you have had 6 to 7 hours of sleep.
A question I'm asked by clients often is why did I choose to become a Massage Therapist?
One thing that I can say for sure is that it's a choice I have never regretted, I love what I do as not only a Massage Therapist, but also sharing all of the other Holistic modalities I've trained in.
My second career, after office administration, was as an Interior Designer, a job that really nurtured my creative, artistic side. While on site during a design project I fell from a ladder and because of that fall I booked in for my first Massage session. There was no turning back.
That first Massage left me in awe of how it eased the pain, helped me to heal and moreso feeling just how connected the parts of my body were. I had to learn more!
I signed up for a weekend course "An Introduction to Massage". I was fascinated with how it felt to work with another's muscles and feel them release, to see the glow of wellbeing and peace that crossed their face as they completely relaxed. The course wasn't my first steps in incorporating holistic health practices into my life. As a young, single mother I was interested in organic, holistic nutrition and participated in meditation daily. Yoga had been an interest since my teen years.
While on the waiting list to get into Massage Therapy school, I studied Reflexology, Reiki, Fitness instruction, Aromatherapy and Colour Therapy. Loving how each of these could complement each other and the holistic wellbeing for myself, my family and others. Did I mention that I love to learn?
My journey into studying Massage Therapy seemed the next logical step on this path I was traveling and I have loved every aspect of practicing it through the past 23 years. Honestly I can't see myself ever fully retiring because of the joy I experience doing work that I love, with incredible clients.
Massage and other Holistic therapies are a continual opportunity to learn and expand my skills. Through the past 18 years my practice has turned to specializing in treating women through all the differing phases of their life journey...but that's another story for another blog, someday.
It's weird but I have a sense of gratitude for that fall from the ladder, because it led me to this amazing career!
Starting off the New Year with the loving, ancient healing art of Reiki. I will be offering 2 Reiki classes in Calgary this January; a level 1 and a level 2. For more information please click here
What is considered healthy, or not, seems to be linked to fads that come and go. I've watched clients as they have embraced different ideas and diets based on what is current, only to spiral when they haven't worked. Alternatively, I have seen those clients who take the time to tune in to and listen to their bodies, and what "feels best FOR THEM", experience the most success with lifestyle changes. They are also the happiest and most content people that I know.
Taking the time to get to know your body and working with it rather than pushing it is essential to holistic wellbeing. Get quiet for a moment and ask yourself the following:
1. When in the past have I felt my very best?
What was going on for you at the times that you felt your best?
2. What currently makes me feel my best?
Think about the clothes you feel best in, the foods that give you energy, the activities that feel good and the people in your circle that light you up.
When you create this list be sure to leave off the things that are done, worn or eaten because you "should". Only list what "feels" really good
3. When you visualize or daydream about events of things you would like to draw into your life, what are they?
We often picture ourselves or wish for things we'll do or have someday when we have more time or money, or fewer commitments. List these things.
Now, compare your 3 lists. Is there a theme that you can pick out as to what things, activites, foods, people, etc. make you feel great? Can you incorporate one or two of them into your life now?
So what does this have to do with Holistic Health? Holistic health includes how you feel physically, spiritually and emotionally. If for example you love to dance but run instead because you feel you should, is running the optimal work out for a good foundation in your health? If to go out running you find yourself thinking of all the reasons you don't want to, you find you are not enjoying the experience and you're feeling unhappy doing it, is it really the best for you?
If instead, as soon as you hear music your body begins to move and your mood lightens, and you smile...doesn't dancing fit your holistic wellbeing in a more positive way?
Think about the "shoulds" in your life and how they make you feel. What can you change to shift the feeling for a more holistically healthy you?
For many, Spring is the time of year to toss out the old and make room for the new! This tradition can help to create fresh energy that benefits both our physical and emotional wellbeing. The art of Feng Shui suggests that clutter in our home can bring clutter and stagnation into our lives. For myself, I find that physical clutter affects my mental calmness and clarity of mind.
For many years I have embraced the beautiful art of placement, Feng Shui, as it has brought so many positive energies into my home space. People will often comment that my home feels welcoming and peaceful. The sense of sanctuary, my space of peace that separates me from the rest of the world, the work, the noise pollution, the chaos... is essential to my wellbeing.
For this part of Spring Clean Yourself I will share what I have used in my physical space when practicing my own type of energy cleaning. Watch for Part 2 where we'll talk about emotional spring cleaning...even more important!
Anything you don't absolutely LOVE!! The most important step. When you look around your home at the objects you have how do they make you feel? Do they offer positive thoughts, memories, associations? or do they bring your energy down? Certainly there are the everyday mundane things we must have for day to day activities, however, if the can opener you're using is difficult to use and not doing it's job, how are you feeling as you open that can of food for you or your pet to ingest?
Take a look around and get rid of those things that don't work that well, that you've kept out of some sense of doing the right thing, gifts that just don't fit (re-gift them to someone who will enjoy them). Once you've removed these things take a breath and notice how the energy in your home feels. Does it feel better?
Once I've gone through all the stuff and cleaned everything then I often smudge my home or mist with a purification blend of essential oils to move out any old energy. Other regular activities can include:
-Opening all the windows for 15 minutes each day to allow stagnant air out and fresh air in
-Find natural scents that you enjoy and fill your space with candles, incense, oil diffusers or whatever works for you
-Before bringing anything new into your home take a moment to check into how it "feels". Do you love it? just like it? meh?
-Create corners of sacred space that bring you joy each time you see the contents. This could be photos, pictures, art work, plants, candles, crystals, etc. Whatever brings your heart joy.
-Smudge regularly as energy can get stuck in spaces. I usually choose just after the New Moon each month when energies are fresh and new
Coming next: Spring Clean Part 2 - Emotional/Mental cleaning
Teaching Reiki in Alberta and BC this Spring and Summer, below please find upcoming dates for Reiki Classes and Exchanges:
Reiki Level 1 Class - Sunday, April 22nd 9:30 to 5
Reiki Exchange - Sunday, April 22nd 2 to 4:30pm
Reiki Exchange - Sunday, May 6th 10:30 to 12:30
Reiki Classes - Level 1 or Level 2 - Sunday, Sept. 9th 9:30 to 5:30
Reiki Exchange - Sunday, Sept. 9th 2 to 4:30pm
When it comes to our Heart health it is important that all aspects of our health are considered...rather than considering only symptoms, Holistic health therapies take into account the whole person (mind, body, spirit) and how the current state of dis-ease is affecting them.
If the symptom is heart palpatations but the underlying cause is stress, it's more important to treat the stress aspect so that the heart and mind can relax...don't you think?
Our Spirit is able to connect and communicate with us more effectively when we are relaxed, open and calm. When we nurture that connection we thrive in a place of harmony, balance and wellbeing! We become more aware of the emotional stress and physical pain in our day to day activities. In that simple awareness we can begin to heal.
Each Holistic Health practitioner will have their own ideas as to which modality is the best for their clients health. Through the past 22+ years of practice, experience has taught me that the client actually knows much better than I do... often without realizing it.
I may suggest Reiki as a generic way to relax, become calm and discover balance, however, if a client is high energy and has difficulty staying still for long periods then that one hour Reiki session is likely to drive them crazy and up their stress level.
In this situation I would be more likely to introduce a couple of modalities where a vigourous massage for the first part of the hour, to begin the relaxation process, followed by Reiki for the second half of the hour, would likely be easier and more fitting for that particular client. This is the reason I take a few minutes at the beginning of a session to understand where you, the client, are at that day.
Each of the modalities that I offer encourage the body to relax and in that relaxed state the mind and spirit are often drawn into the space of calm. It is in that relaxed state that the innate and natural healing process can begin. That is the space you want to get to in holistic health modalities to best realize and maintain your heart health.
My role in that is to listen, to understand and to facilitate in providing a session that will be of the most benefit to your overall wellbeing, whichever modality that is.
Explore the different modalities towards wellness for yourself... (click a button below)
I don't know about you but sometimes I look at some of the selfcare tips and articles and they actually stress me out. I know that it's important to practice good selfcare, but how to juggle that with a busy life?
Not long ago I came up with some ideas for keeping Selfcare simple, making it work with my schedule so as to not be more stressful. Stress has a negative impact upon heart health and so it seemed ridiculous to me to be stressing out about my own selfcare.
When I first thought about my selfcare I created a list (yes, I'm one of those) of all the things that to me, were selfcare essentials that fit. That list was daunting in itself. I decided to take just 4 items from the list, that were important to me and make those my priority. Here is what I've been practicing...
Quiet Coffee Time
Not a morning person, I value quiet time when I first rise. My first selfcare essential was to recognize that...it's part of who I am. Also a coffee hound (only 2 cups a day but they must be good cups), I began taking the steps to set up the coffee maker the night before so that in the morning my coffee was ready and I could sit quietly in my space. Each morning I verbally thank myself for taking a few minutes the night before to do this. It may seem simplistic, but I began to notice a change in my thoughts in taking the few seconds to be thankful for my selfcare.
A recent move to Calgary has meant my skin adapting to the drier climate. Putting lotion on my skin has never been a priority as I've never really dealt with dry skin before...but now I have no choice, it can get so dry it hurts. Just taking the time to moisturize can be a moment of selfcare. For a few moments it takes you out of your head and connects you with your physical body. You can further the selfcare energy of this time by thinking or saying positive things about your body.
An example would me my gratitude for the strength in my hands and arms. It allows me to continue doing this work that I love, and also means I can give and receive strong, warm hugs.
I took this selfcare ritual further by purchasing a naturally scented lotion. I love the smell of roses. The scent calms and centres me and leaves me feeling peaceful. So that few moments of moisturizing with rose scented lotion makes me feel nurtured physically and emotionally.
I do find, with my work being so physical, that at the end of my work day I am tired. Once every couple of months I put aside a day to make healthy and nutritious freezer meals. Such a treat when I get home and can just pop something into the oven! I feel so much gratitude for my having the foresight to make sure I am eating healthy meals. I make ahead meals for breakfast and lunches as well so that throughout the day I am feeding my body well.
And my fourth daily ritual for selfcare is drinking something natural and healthy before going to bed. I try to end my day in the same quiet contemplative space that I started it with.
The benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and natural Honey are many (the picture shows a few). While I sip I take a few moments to think about a few things I'm grateful for from the day and I thank myself for taking some time to take these steps toward selfcare.
Those are my four daily selfcare steps...which may not seem like a lot but have had a huge impact in reducing my stress levels and increasing self esteem. I'm grateful to myself for taking the time to do just these things. It has encouraged me to do more in the way of selfcare on those days that I have time, but to not let it stress me out if this is all that I get done.
Have you made the Selfcare list? How can you make it simpler for you?
Did you know that when we take the time for selfcare we teach our children how important it is?
From a Massage Therapy or holistic therapy point of view bloating is seen as a symptom of something happening in the body. For example: a symptom of PMS and Menopause may include bloating, indigestion or inflammation in the colon may produce bloating. Regardless of the reason for the symptom, holistic health looks at the whole picture and works to reduce bloating through addressing the cause, while also reducing the discomfort that bloating can bring.
One of the best applications is abdominal massage. A practice well worth having your massage therapist give while also teaching you how to self massage at home. Abdominal massage can assist air or gas to move through the colon to be released, while helping to reduce inflammation, ease pain and improve digestion. It is a gentler form of massage where the organs between the ribs and pelvis are treated.
While the benefits of abdominal massage include improved digestion and relief of constipation it also assists in regulating metabolic function and reducing the build-up of wastes in the body. The feeling of abdominal bloating often comes about when our metabolism is impeded and wastes are not being released as they should.
Reflexology is another form of therapy that can work on the nerve endings in the feet that correspond to bloating due to gas. Adults and colicky babies alike respond really well to having that part of their foot treated.
Want to learn more? Book a session for yourself or baby at Atmosphere Health and Teresa will teach you how to self massage and/or how to treat baby for a happier, less bloated, belly.