Taking a necessary step back from working during this Covid19 pandemic has been challenging for me. I love my work, love helping clients and interacting with them. The first few days I filled with creating and now I'm on to spring cleaning...I think scrubbing surfaces will help keep my arm muscles strong for when I return to work.
One of my passions when being creative is sewing. Have you noticed the different video clips and pictures from around the world, where industry has temporarily shut down, just how clear the skies and waters are becoming? Apparently Venice is seeing fish and dolphins return to their waterways and images show clearer skies above cities that have shut down. There has been a suggestion that Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms to just think about it.
Seeing these images triggered my sewing projects last week. Those reusable plastic grocery bags are starting to wear out and I decided to replace them with washable fabric ones. I also created some produce bags to take to the market and store instead of using the plastic ones offered. My cat, who loves it when I sew, wasn't very helpful but did enjoy playing with the scraps. Here are some pics of creations:
Self Neck Massage
All of this sewing resulted in a tight, sore neck and shoulders. I am unable to go to my Massage Therapist at this time either and so self-massage and extra stretching had to come into play, to ease those tight muscles.
While searching YouTube for some ideas to make a video for clients to use, I found one that had everything I would have said.
So go and get some oil and give yourself a fabulous self massage until I can see you again!
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!
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.
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?
The majority of my clients understand Massage Therapy to be a necessary part of their health and wellness plans. Thankfully, those that use to view Massage as just a luxury are learning how helpful it can be. What I've been thrilled to witness in the past couple of years are the number of parents booking their teens and pre-teens in for Massage sessions with me.
My own son was 10 when I started studying Massage Therapy and as a growing teen, student and hockey player, he received regular Massage sessions to keep his muscles flexible and fit. Growing pains and muscle spasms were resolved naturally. He was also introduced to a healthy way to relax and rejuvenate during exam time, hockey tournaments and the other stressors of growing.
Sports, technology and studying place the same stress on kid's muscles as they do on adults. Posture suffers from bending over textbooks and computers in the same way it does when sitting at a desk job throughout the day. Neck, shoulder and upper back muscles become tight and tense, which can lead to pain and headaches, regardless of age.
Many clients say they feel taller and stand straighter after their Massage. The head pulled forward and chin tucked over a phone, turns into shoulders and head back and in alignment, with the loosening of muscles. It creates better awareness of just how good proper posture can feel.
With the stress of school grades, bullying, peer pressure, sports tournaments... kids need to learn ways to relax and de-stress that are natural and healthy. What they learn through their teens as coping mechanisms will carry them through the adult years in the work force. It sets them up to succeed.
While they may squirm at first because they are not familiar with the touch of Massage, young people soon become relaxed, calm and often fall asleep during their sessions. While easing muscle tension, massage also balances the hormones that are often raging during these years, boosts the immune system naturally, and encourages positive body awareness.
For the first session I often encourage parents to book young people in for 30 minutes rather than a longer session. It allows them to become familiar with how Massage Therapy feels, provides them a safe space to give feedback as to where they are sore or how much pressure they prefer with Massage. An adult is also always welcome to stay in the Massage room if that is what is more comfortable for a young person. Providing a space that feels safe is essential.
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!
Do you ever find yourself holding your breath, without really realizing it? Perhaps I notice it more for myself because I am often reminding clients to "take a breath" while they are on the table.
With so many benefits, why wouldn't you take a deep breath? Deep breathing:
There are many breathing techniques that you can experiment with, here is one...
How and when we breathe has a direct impact on both our body and our mind so make yourself a note to "JUST BREATHE"!