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.
After 25 years I've discovered there is an area of my practice where I haven't communicated with clients clearly enough and lately it has caused some confusion. The thing about being in practice for so long is I think I assume some things that I shouldn't and it takes a few miscommunications for me to realize...ahhh, it's really clear...but only in my head...lol
The Time You've Booked - what's included
With each session that you come for you'll notice from the start that I ask you questions about how you're doing that day, what's going on and how is it affecting you. I may test your muscle movements to help determine which muscles are affected, what causes you pain, or what isn't moving as well as it should.
All of this ensures that I provide you with a treatment that addresses what is going on for you, whether it's Reiki, Massage Therapy, Reflexology or Craniosacral Therapy... Thorough assessment ensures that each session is dedicated to your specific health and wellness goals.
During a session, if needed, I will ask you about your comfort level with pressure, if something I'm doing is worsening symptoms or if your positioning is comfortable for you. I really want to ensure that you get the most from your session.
At the end of the session, based on the work we've done together I will likely suggest after treatment self-care, stretches or movements to continue at home to increase your well-being. I may re-test your muscle and joint movements to ensure that the treatment has done the work that is needed.
There is also time for any questions that may come up for you before, during and after your session. Whenever you feel the need to ask.
Why Assessment, Testing and Home Self-care?
There is a good reason for all of the pre-treatment questions, assessment, muscle testing and discussion. While I may see 5 people in the same day that are dealing with neck and back pain, you are an individual and it is affecting you in a unique way. I'm not going to treat you like the other people I've seen, but instead I will address your specific treatment needs. That's what makes Holistic Health amazing! Holistic Health recognizes that each individual is affected by and deals with mind, body and spirit issues in their own way and treatments must address that.
Read, Review and Ask
Before you come in for your session I have taken time to review notes from your previous session or have read the intake forms that you've completed online. By taking the time to read and review I'm ready with any questions I may have to fill in gaps or to ask about any changes since your last session.
As you can imagine, when seeing 5 or 6 people each day, symptoms and injuries could be mixed up and that is why I want to ensure that I have a clear picture about you and what we're working on together.
Why Isn't Your 60 Minute Session a Full 60 minutes of treatment?
Well, because of all of the above. Your treatment time begins the moment you arrive in my treatment room and part of your treatment is the assessment and home self-care.
From the moment you enter my treatment room I am laser focused on meeting your treatment needs and I can't do that effectively without including assessment and self-care. I guess that I could, but I won't. For 25 years I have focused on providing the best of myself for your sessions, that isn't going to change.
It has been mentioned that I don't offer "cookie cutter" treatments, but instead meet the individualized needs of each client. I'm pretty fussy about that.
Why Are You Charged if You Don't Show For Your Appointment, or Cancel Without 24 Hours Notice?
I value your time, I also value my time. Even if you don't show up for your appointment, I have prepared for you. The room has been set up, I've reviewed your file and I've set the time aside for you. By providing less than 24 hours notice or not showing up for your session I don't have the time to fill that space that has been set aside just for you.
Time in between each appointment is allocated to changing linens, having some water, writing or reviewing treatment notes and ensuring everything is set up for the next appointment. Your appointment begins at the time that it was booked for and ends at the allocated time, even if you're late. If you're a few minutes early it ensures that you receive the full allocated time that has been booked for assessment, treatment and re-assessment.
There are never too many and there are none that are dumb or stupid. I hope that you feel you can ask whatever questions you have. Our clear communication is really important to me.
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
I created a Gift Guide for suggestions of what can go with one of our Healthy Session Gift Certificates. You can put a Massage Therapy Gift Certificate in a basket of Bathsalts and Chocolate, wrap a Reiki Gift Certificate around a candle, hide a Reflexology Gift Certificate inside a pair of socks... lots of ideas
There is a reason to include each and every one of these, mostly it's to prolong the effects of the session that you gave a Gift Certificate for. Kind of like the Massage lasting after they've gone home!
The signage has gone up in the window and the space is all set up for you!
Clients are really enjoying this comfortable and welcoming space. Come by and see us!
The Neck. Neck pain is one of the most common Massage Therapy complaints that clients come in to see me for. It's such an amazing, flexible part of the body but when it hurts...OUCH!
Tight neck muscles can lead to pain, tension, headaches, jaw pain, pain in the shoulders, upper back and even the upper chest. There are 26 muscles in the neck that help to stabilize the upper body, allow us to look up and down and from side to side, let us bend our ear towards our shoulder, allow us to swallow and talk, and help to elevate our rib cage when we breathe.
It's important to keep these muscles flexible so you can enjoy their full function and mobility!
Technology and Neck Pain
While the technology we have is amazing, it is probably the worst culprit and what brings Massage Therapy clients in to see me the most.
Straining or holding our neck muscles as we look at computer screens for work throughout the day, or tilting the head down to look at phones and other devices, puts undue stress on our neck muscles unless we take time to care for them. If you're regularly taking breaks from computer screens and your devices throughout your day as well as taking time to counter stretch the neck muscles, you may not be having issues. Unfortunately we can get drawn into the job or the conversation and forget to take those breaks.
This Neck Pain, I Just Woke Up With It
No reason that you can think of as a cause, but when you woke up this morning you experienced severe neck pain. It hurts to move it, it hurts to not move it, your head feels too heavy to hold up... Has this happened to you?
Another reason I see clients for a Neck Massage is because of Torticollis (or Wry Neck), a spasm in the neck muscle. It's likely that your neck has been tense and strained for some time but you may not have been paying attention. While you were sleeping you unknowingly moved into a position where the strain became an intense muscle spasm and because the muscle was already strained and fatigued, it's now yelling at you. Torticollis can be very painful.
How Can I Help Your Neck Pain?
Massage Therapy can help to loosen all of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, upper back and upper chest. Clients often feel some immediate pain relief and notice increased flexibility and mobility.
A form of Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release focuses on encouraging the fascia around the muscles to loosen and release. Through rolling the muscles with the fingers, and gradually massaging in more deeply. The tightness begins to let go. Not usually recommended when the muscle spasm is acute, as it often feels too aggressive and painful.
Gentler than Massage, Craniosacral Therapy will encourage the fascia that surrounds the muscles, ligaments and joints to gradually begin unwinding. As the fascia loosens the muscles have more room to move.
Through specific techniques Spinal Touch encourages good posture throughout the entire body to promote good spinal alignment. (read more about Spinal Touch here)
Hot Moist Heat
Muscles just love hot moist heat. It brings circulation to the area and can often encourage the muscles to relax. Getting into a hot bath to soak your neck and back muscles is the best way to apply this form of therapy. You can also place a damp hand towel in the microwave to heat up and place on the affected areas.
It's important to remember that your neck muscles have probably been under strain for a period of time and they are unlikely to completely loosen with just one treatment.
Let's work together to get them loose through regular therapy, some home self-care and stretches. Once loose we can create a plan to keep them that way!
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. 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 days and hours will be the same with some flexibility to work later for those established clients who require that.
If you need to book a session outside of scheduled times please contact me. I have some options available.
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)
Super thrilled to be offering sessions at this dynamic, patient focused clinic beginning Tuesday, September 5th! Check out www.atmospherehealth.ca to discover more about what is offered and about the knowledgeable and experienced healthcare staff. I look forward to seeing you soon.
I probably ask about your self care time at pretty much every appointment. While your sessions with me count as self care it really is a practice that needs to be followed daily.
Making it a habit isn’t really that difficult….here are some easy tips to bring self care into your daily regime AND they take 15 minutes or less
…just a few things to get you started! What ideas do you have for self care?