"Stand up straight and tall!" Who didn't hear this as a child? What was never explained was why.
Posture, next to stress, is one of the main reasons clients come in to see me. Though I'm not sure they realize that. Posture while standing, Posture while walking, Posture while sitting at a desk and computer, Posture during screen time... Good posture, or lack thereof, makes a difference to more than your muscles.
It always makes me smile a little when I'm a few movements into a Massage Therapy session and I hear "You can go deeper" from the client, face down on the table. Yes, I can go deeper, but are your muscles at a point where they are ready for that? Is your Fascia ready?
You've heard me suggest drinking extra water after your session, but do you know why your body needs Hydration?
I may make an extra suggestion during your session that your body (usually the skin) is telling me you’re not hydrated enough? Keeping hydrated is a major keynote in getting your body to give you it’s best! Especially while venturing into the great outdoors through the summer months.
For many it feels like forever since we've seen our friends, family, clients and colleagues, but with staying home and keeping everyone safe, we're now seeing a light at the end of this tunnel.
The idea of businesses re-opening can be both exciting and scary. With regards to Booking your Massage Therapy or Holistic Sessions, I want to put your mind at ease.
Phase 1 in the Journey - Emotions (A Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 4)
I think that one of the downsides to people feeling safe to share their journey towards holistic balance is Toxic Positivity. Ourselves or others can often feel uncomfortable with emotion, and so will downplay it in others, or we stuff it down in ourselves. Neither are healthy and that is not what this journey will be about. It's time to get honest with how you're feeling.
Allowing your feelings is healthy. Emotions are energy and in order to eventually be released, energy has to be allowed to move. Same thing with emotions, and yes, it can be super uncomfortable to allow our own emotions and to witness those of others.
Radical Self-Care during Phase 1 of Your Holistic Journey
Some of the following suggestions may seem like band-aid solutions to the emotions you're feeling about the changes you're experiencing due to Covid19. They are band-aid solutions for now. During this first phase in creating holistic balance your creating space for emotions and looking after yourself through that phase. (You're also teaching your loved ones that it's ok to have the emotions and to explore self-care techniques that work for them)
Ways to Safely Express Emotion
Don't suppress them or tamp them down! Allow the energy of the emotions to move through you and if they get too much go ahead and scream in the car, cry, stamp your feet. Journaling through writing or art, breath work, laughter and physical movement are all great ways to safely express emotions.
My favourite way is to put on the music and dance with abandon. As I move the emotional energy moves as well. I encourage you to explore and discover new ways that feel good to you.
Nurturing Yourself Through the Tough Days
This can be a really interesting way to find out just what radical self-care looks like for you as you explore different methods.
I'ts ok to sit in this phase of discovering Holistic Balance for a period of time as you explore what works for you. But we're not going to wallow or set up camp in this phase for too long. That being said, there is no timeline. As I said in a previous post, you will work through this journey as it works for you and there is no right or wrong way. Get comfortable with self-care and emotional expression as best you can. Perhaps the weekly calendar guide below can help with that.
What Does It Mean to Take A Holistic Approach (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Disc0vering Balance During Covid19 - 2)
The Mind Body Spirit Connection & Dealing with Change (Journey Into A Holistic Approach to Discovering Balance During Covid19 - 3)
The basis of a holistic approach to health, to life and to change, is acknowledging the mind, body and the spirit connection, and nurturing that connection.
What affects the mind has an influence on the body and visa versa. Anything affecting either or both, mind and body, impacts upon our spirit.
Let's take stress as an example. When we're feeling stressed about a situation we can feel it in our body. Some feel is as stomach upset, some as shoulder pain from tightened muscles, others experience headaches. Often, and at the same time, stress can cause a loss of hope, thus affecting the spirit.
Unexpected change is often uncomfortable and can create stress. Despite change being an ongoing occurrence in life it is one we can't seem to embrace. The drastic changes that COVID19 has brought to our lives is hard to navigate and it is no wonder that many balk at embracing it. But, what are our choices?
I am hearing a whole range of emotions from clients, family and friends as the life changes imposed by COVID19 unroll. Anger, fear, depression, anxiety, frustration, sorrow, shock,, grief... are just a few.
Many feel changes "forced" upon them are impossible to steer through. There are many of us that have had to slow down or stop work due to social distancing or loss of business, parents are being asked to work at home while also home-schooling their children and at the same time keep them indoors and away from playgrounds and friends, those deemed essential are busy and stressed as they are daily put at risk of infection, as humans we are social beings and we are not able to spend time with our friends, or family members that live elsewhere... I cannot think of any emotions that would be inappropriate, but there are ways to navigate through them, grow from them and thrive, holistically.
The first step in taking a holistic approach to the changes of COVID 19 is to acknowledge every single emotion experienced as valid, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Secondly, is to understand that those emotions are having an impact on your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Take some time over the next few days to allow your feelings, write them down or express them through art. If you meditate, try to check into where you're feeling those emotions in your body and what they feel like. Don't try to tamp them down as emotions are energy and energy needs to move to be released.
Upcoming posts, as we travel this journey together will address ways to not only deal with the mental, physical and spiritual impact of COVID19, but ways to grow holistically. Tips that will assist you in addressing change throughout life, often making it something easier to embrace.
You may want to work through the steps as they are presented or may find yourself jumping back and forth. There is no right or wrong way to work through these steps, your way must work for you in realizing the benefits of a holistic approach.
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.