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
I invite you to join me on a holistic journey. Through no fault of our own, life turned upside down on us the past few weeks. Our daily norms, for the most part, have had to adjust drastically and while change is a constant in life, as humans we tend to struggle with it.
"We're all in this together" is a beautiful sentiment, and though true, it does little to alleviate personal feelings of worry, uncertainty, fear, anger... Broad statements such as this can actually cause us more stress, especially if we're feeling isolated and can't relate to it.
Taking a Holistic approach to change means allowing yourself to feel what you feel, all of it, expressing it and then working through ways that work for YOU to accept, shift and move forward. That shift needs to happen on all levels; Body, Mind and Soul, for our beings to fully integrate and journey forward. It opens a door to fully embracing that we really are, all in this together.
Join me through the coming weeks as we navigate this journey together. The chart below identifies the steps we'll be taking, what you'll discover as the theme in blog articles, social media posts and some new video offerings.
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.
With the spread of this virus and with the little known about it, I thought it would be a good time to reassure clients of the steps taken to protect them during their sessions. During Cold and Flu season I always take extra precautions to avoid the spread of any germs or viruses. While most clients have strong immune systems I do have clients who take immunosuppressant medications as well as seniors with other ailments.
Let's all stay healthy and safe and keep those who have weaker immune systems safe.
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.
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
My connection with Reiki, from when I received my first session, through learning, sharing sessions and also teaching, has been a journey filled with twists and turns and a lot of lessons. Not all of it easy, but I think those experiences have made me a better teacher and practitioner.
Reiki is all about being open to allowing and receiving energy that is loving and healing. Deservability can raise it's ugly head in whether we feel we're worthy. That self-judgement is completely dissolved as we feel the vibrations of Reiki's beautiful energy.
What has changed the most in my Reiki practice is a better understanding of how many different physical and emotional journey's clients and students are on. They are as unique as the individual. Remaining open, without judgement but instead with acceptance, is a place that I have learned to greet each person with. This has spilled over into all of the holistic sessions that I practice and teach.
While a lot of what I have learned and practiced is from textbooks and lectures, I've also come to the understanding of how important it is to embrace holistic healing, that if the mind is feeling out of sorts, stressed and anxious, the body is likely reflecting that as well. Healing one without addressing the other usually leads to a temporary feeling of well-being, but in addressing both many clients experience better outcomes.
A few months ago I had a client book in for Reiki who was brand new. She had experienced trauma and said to me "I want to heal, but do I really have to talk with you about what happened". "No, you don't" was the answer. I knew that she would draw Reiki to those areas that needed healing and that I was simply there to support and facilitate that process. Twenty years ago I likely wouldn't have had the same trust and faith, but I've witnessed it with too many to discount it now.
In teaching Reiki I find that students will struggle with what they are feeling when giving a session, moreso that they are not feeling anything or not feeling enough.
It takes some time and practice to come to the understanding that sharing a Reiki session is not about what you the student or practitioner is feeling. What is the most important aspect of Reiki is what the recipient is experiencing and knowing that is enough.
Reiki, or the idea of working with energy, brings a lot of questions from clients and the public. I am always happy to talk with you and, if I can, answer any questions you may have about Reiki. However, the best way to learn about it is to first experience it.
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!