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!
A holistic health colleague and I were discussing ways to promote our businesses last week and how to get our messages of wellbeing out to the general public.
What we couldn't decide was whether approaching potential clients from the viewpoint of emotional wellbeing was the best way to share, or if physical wellbeing was better. Why was this a dilemma for us? I think it lies in the fact that we, as therapists, look at wellbeing from a holistic point of view, while mainstream media presents to the public a very "physical symptoms and dis-ease picture" viewpoint.
In researching what the public is searching the internet for, the focus is very much on disease and symptoms labels such as Fibromyalgia, Plantar Faciitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, PTSD, Stress, Back Pain, Menopause symptoms, Cancer, Anxiety Disorder....
While there is no disagreement with the labels, a holistic therapist looks at each client as an individual and how those symptoms are specifically affecting them. How they are feeling, that day, on an emotional and physical level.
When a client comes to see me for a Massage Therapy session and lists their problem as Back pain. I'm assessing, as they move, how the pain is affecting their movement, is their spine appearing to be out of alignment, any signs of swelling or inflammation in the muscles, are they in emotional distress from the pain, what is it keeping them from doing, is it affecting their sleep, are they clenching their jaw or sweating from pain, how are they describing it, what words are they using...
Why so much in the way of assessment? I've probably already seen 3 other clients that day with Back pain and I guess I could treat them each the same way BUT is that really going to be beneficial for each? It might be but likely not. I assess because I want to know how this is affecting their overall holistic wellness and I want to treat them in such a way that all levels of wellbeing are addressed
I may find as I'm workingwith them that the pain began after an emotionally upsetting day. As they talk about this during their session the muscles will often open up and let my hands work out the pain and tension of the emotion. They may cry, laugh, get angry as the loosening muscles allow the emotion to be released...which is wonderful.
While they are likely of the mind that it was the massage that loosened the muscle, I'm more likely to believe that releasing the emotion was much more beneficial.
That was only one of the 3 clients that day with Back pain. What about the other two coming in with completely different circumstances but the same symptoms. Perhaps baby gaining weight is putting excess strain on the pregnant woman's back muscles, or they slept in an awkward position, or the busy teacher is stressed out and clenching their muscles.
That is why so much assessment happens.
So in getting back to the original dilemma around promotion, we wondered how to best get that message across as holistic therapists. I think what we decided was to go for the symptoms and use the language that potential clients understand, and then begin to plant seeds, educate and present the ideas that encompass holistic health and wellness.
That isn't to say we would try to change people. Each person has their own beliefs around health and wellness and what is best for them in the way of therapies. Each individual knows their body far better than I, and their beliefs bring them the holistic wellness they feel comfortable with.
As a therapist, it is up to me to honour and understand, learn from each client and adapt my therapy session to best meet their needs, and at the same time share knowledge about how the body works and it's amazing abilities to heal through holistic wellness.
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)
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.
We're closing in on "that" time of year again...colder weather, kids back in school, more time spent indoors and those wretched cold and flu bugs begin to circulate. Before the germs and viruses become too prevalent is the optimal time to think about strengthening your immune system.
The germs and bugs will still be around, however, with a strong and resilient immune system your body is in a better position to defend itself from becoming sick.
How Can Massage Help?
There is an ever growing body of research that supports the benefits of Massage Therapy for the Immune System, especially during the winter months. Here are some reasons why regular treatments strengthen your immunity:
When it comes to strengthening your immune system regular massage becomes a necessity rather than a luxury as it increases both your physical and mental well-being.
When is it Too Late?
A number of clients will book an appointment when suffering from a cold or the flu in the belief that it will help them to feel better. The truth is that a Massage will spread the virus and will very likely make you feel worse.
If the cold or flu has already hit, your body needs to rest, not have a muscular work out.
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.
Whether you love your job or would rather do something else, the night of your last day off before the work week begins can be stressful when thinking about the week ahead, what needs to get done and finding the time.
My days off are Sunday and Monday and each Monday night I have a ritual, it's something I've been doing for years and it ensures that my week ahead will be smoother.
First the practical stuff...
Coffee is my get up and go juice, it's likely an addiction but really, I don't care. I really enjoy that first cup in the morning (I only allow myself 2 a day). I know that if I take the time to sit and sip then my day will go well. So on Sunday night I set up the coffee maker for the morning AND grind enough coffee for the week so that I can selfcare each morning.
I also take a wander through the fridge and cupboards and in my head figure out the meals for the week. I make sure that what is there will meet my nutrition needs and for the longer work days, will be easy to prep.
And then of course, given the work that I do, there is the nail care. Making sure that my nails are trimmed and short so that I don't knick or scratch a client's skin during their sessions this week.
There's also the mundane...checking that the clothes are clean and ready, the linen for clients session is washed and folded...
While meditation is a regular habit, I take some extra time with visualization the night before my work week begins. Lighting scented candles that I love and putting on some quiet back ground music I make myself really comfortable. This has become an invaluable practice in easing into the first day back and being in a space to give my clients the best of myself throughout the week.
What do I visualize? The work week ahead going smoothly and easily where clients receive the best care that I can give them, Sending positive energy ahead to the clinic so that as I walk into my workspace it feels really good from the get go and that will reflect upon my mood when working with clients, visualizing my days filled with clients as I do something that is my absolute passion!
And with those pictures in my mind I breathe deeply and settle into bed just a little earlier than needed with a book and a cup of tea, knowing that the week ahead will be fabulous!
What tips and tricks do you have to set your work week off right?
Do you take the time to visualize?
AND then there is our mindset...going from the confines of indoors to the spacious outdoors. Yes, even our emotions are affected by this new found liberation.
Throughout the month of June you will find a series of articles to not only prep your body and mind for the great outdoors but also how to maintain so that you can enjoy your passions throughout the summer months. On my Facebook page you'll find daily links and tips to be sure YOU are getting the most out of summer!
How are YOU getting ready for outdoor activities?