Monday, 18 September 2017


this is just a quick post to say sorry that I haven't posted for a while!! 

I've been pretty much fully booked for most of this year so far and in between giving massage treatments, I've been working on a new website as well as continuing with professional development courses; hence I just haven't had the time to write any articles.

I love being busy helping people through massage and hope this continues.  I feel excited to finish my website and have it go 'live' hopefully by Christmas. I'll then be able to start writing again and spreading the word about how great massage is :)

In the mean time come and experience this for yourself by booking in and having a treatment!

I look forward to seeing you soon,

Best wishes

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The knead for Regular Massage

Massage is often regarded as a luxury, an extravagance or an expense that needs to be justified rather then a viable form of medical and preventative treatment which it is.  Hippocrates, the father of western medicine himself was a great advocate of massage therapy.

''The physician must be experienced in many things, but most assuredly in rubbing.  For rubbing can bind a joint that is to loose and loosen a joint that is to rigid''

When you think about it, the first thing we do when we bump our head or stub our toe is try and rub it better.  It's a genetically programmed reaction to place a hand over an injured area; and massage is an appreciation for the simple notion that human touch promotes healing.
It's not so well known but most pain conditions that we go to our doctor about originate in the soft tissues of the body; muscles, tendons,ligaments all respond to touch and through regular palpation many soft tissue pain conditions can be eased/prevented thus reducing the need for pain killers and even surgery.

We live in our bodies and movement is life in which our musculature system plays a major role; keeping it healthy and injury free is really important because we all know that a bad back or even a stiff neck can really impact negatively on the way we feel and our ability to be able to function in our day to day tasks let a lone engage in the activities we enjoy. Regardless of our occupation, hobbies, sport/exercise program a regular massage session will go along way in improving and maintaining the health of the body's soft tissues.

Getting a feel for the body's soft tissues.
Through the practice of informed touch the health of soft tissues can be determined. For instance a muscle that is weak or hypo tonic has reduced muscle tone and feels flaccid whist a muscle that is tight or hyper tonic feels tough with easily identified rope/cable like fibers that produce discomfort when touched.  Healthy soft tissue on the other hand is soft, pliable, resilient to pressure and doesn't cause any discomfort when palpated. The health of the soft tissue may fall anywhere between these states.

If a muscle being worked on feels tender or painful then it's constricted and unhealthy. The degree of constriction depends on the muscles state of contraction at rest. A deeply contracted muscle that remains in an extreme contracted position may be due to neurological dysfunctions, chronic muscle imbalances, emotional/physical trauma or repetitive strain. Circulation is reduced and as a result the muscle(s) lose elasticity, becomes fixed in a shortened position and there is a loss range of movement.

In some cases increased muscle tension or a previous injury/trauma creates a disturbance of collagen scar tissue and various adhesion's whereby muscle fibers within the muscle themselves as well as fascia and other tissues stubbornly stick together. If this is the case then there is a reduction in overall flexibility in the body and an increased chance of injury.

Improving the health of the body's soft tissues with massage
One of the most obvious ways in which touch/palpation increases the health of injured tissue is through improved circulation to the area thus encouraging the uptake of oxygen and nutrients which help the tissue repair quicker. Waste products such as lactic acid (often the cause of muscle soreness) is also taken away through the improved movement of lymph.  Massage for this reason is particularly beneficial after exercise or a sporting event.

Manipulation of the muscle tissue using different massage strokes/techniques releases tension from the muscle(s) and helps them to relax whilst at the same time stretching the muscle tissues that can't be stretched in the usual way.  Bundles of muscle fibers as well as the sheath of fascia that surrounds the muscle are stretched both length ways and sideways so as to soften and improve pliability of the muscle and surrounding tissue.  Passive and active stretching is often incorporated into the session so as to work at improving range of movement.

Through specific cross fiber release work massage aims to improve the function of the muscle by breaking down adhesion's and scar tissue and realigning muscle fibers.  Areas of stickiness where muscle tissues have adhered together (for example the shoulder blades to underlying tissue) is separated and an improvement in overall flexibility can be felt.  As neighboring muscles and the individual muscle fibers glide pass each other smoothly they are able to function properly and are less susceptible to injury.

Preventing chronic pain/injury through awareness of the body
A massage session puts you in touch with your body and can often be an education to the client who are sometimes surprised at how tender muscles feel when massaged.  It's often the case that soft tissue pain/injury is more chronic in nature and that the damage has been happening for some time before symptoms are felt. A regular massage session brings awareness to potential injury; for example maybe during the session you notice that your right shoulder and side of neck feel more tender and in trying to determine why this is you realize that the bag you carry on your right shoulder is too heavy or your t.v is positioned to the right of your vision and needs rearranging.

Muscles don't always become overly tight to the same extent all over the body and tightness in one muscle group may not be balanced by similar degree of tightness in opposing muscles.  The best example of this is people who bench press and have well developed pecs that are often in a permanent tight condition; whereas opposing muscles in the back are not as well developed/maintained causing a hunched over posture.  This is also true of people sat at a computer every day.

Unfortunately the tighter a muscle is, the stronger it becomes at the expense of opposing muscles that become weaker and more stretched.  These muscle imbalances pull the musculature structure out of alignment and places strain and inevitable injury on tendons joints and ligaments.  Massage brings awareness to these potential problems by highlighting areas that are particularly tight and need more massage work/ specific stretching as well as areas that need strengthening. In this way massage helps create balance in the body and is a great preventative treatment.

An investment in overall health and well being
Massage involves manipulation of the soft tissues but there is also a respect for the fact that the mind, body, emotional and spiritual self are interconnected and that an imbalance in one part effects the health and balance of the whole; hence the definition of holistic therapeutic massage.  It may be that your achy stiff back is making you feel irritable and fearful, or perhaps a build up of emotional stress is aggravating an already problematic area and making it feel worse. Sometimes feelings of depression can be reflected in our posture and yet poor posture itself feeds into feelings of low mood and tiredness.

Now a days there are many self massage tools available which can be used to help release tightness from a muscle and yet whilst these are good for self care in between sessions (and I often recommend them) there is nothing that can replace the healing potential of human touch to bring balance to our whole being.  In today's fast paced society even relaxing can feel like a extravagance that we don't have time for; and even when we think we're relaxing by watching t.v for example our mind and body are still active.  Sadly it's this inability to fully relax and let go of physical/mental/emotional tension that causes/exasperates many of the illnesses and imbalances we suffer from.

If you've ever had a massage then I don't need to sell it to you just how relaxing it is and how good it makes you feel.  Massage calms the nervous system and puts us in a safe place where our body's systems can return to homeostasis allowing healing to take place; and indeed many chronic pain conditions can be eased in this way.  Sometimes clients are surprised at how emotional and tearful they can feel after a treatment and again this is healing because that tension is no longer going to be carried around in the muscles and other organs of the body.

So you see, receiving regular massage (at least once a month) isn't a luxury or an extravagance, nor an expense that needs to be justified; it's an investment in our overall health and well being and should be viewed in the same way as any other healthy lifestyle choice such as eating a good diet and getting adequate sleep and exercise. 
In todays fast paced society, with high levels of stress and increasing amounts of time being spent at computers or looking down at hand held devices there has never been a greater need for massage therapy to help us tune into our bodies and ourselves. A regular massage session empowers us to take charge of our own health by creating space in our busy lives to fully relax, keeping us on top emotionally and easing and preventing soft tissue pain in the body which ultimately affect our enjoyment of live.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Maintaining a scents of balance this festive season

As the days get shorter we instinctively want to tune in with natures rhythm by slowing down and resting; however the festive season, especially the build up to Christmas is often one of the most busy and stressed filled times of the year.

Fortunately, Mother nature has provided us with a lovely way to maintain a sense of balance throughout and that's with the use of aromatic essences.  Found in plants, tree resins/bark, fruits and flowers and transformed into aromatherapy essential oils through the process of distillation; aromatic essences are often referred to as the soul or spirit of the plant because they give it its unique smell and set of therapeutic properties which help to bring body and mind back into balance.

Aromatic essences can be used in the home (or during a massage) at any time of the year but the more wintry ones are the ones we often associate with the smells of Christmas.  Blending and vaporising (or adding to the bath/using as a perfume/skin moisturiser) these oils are not only beneficial for our health and wellbeing over the colder months but they're also the perfect way to invoke the spirit and joy of Christmas into our home.

Here's a selection of some of the more traditional aromatic essences enjoyed at this time of the year. The Essential oils listed are completely natural (since they come from nature) making a nice alternative to artificial plug in air fresheners and deodorants.  These essences not only smell great individually but also blend really well together too. 

Orange: A cheerful, refreshing and uplifting aroma which brings a ray of sunshine into the colder winter months and is commonly used to treat anxiety, stress and depression.  It's anti inflammatory and has detoxing and cleansing properties. Orange helps break down and eliminate cellulite, it promotes the production of collagen, soothes dry, irritated, chapped skin and is essential to looking and feeling good this party season!

Cinnamon: A spicy and warming aroma which is both comforting and strengthening. Cinnamon is extremely useful in combating anxiety and soothing the nervous system as well as stimulating the immune system against colds and flu. It's also a great tonic for the mind and body so perfect if you still have a long list of things to do and need focus and energy! Cinnamon is also known to help with digestive problems (a good thing with Christmas's overindulgence's) and lower blood sugar levels.

Clove: An aroma most closely associated with the smells of Christmas due to its historic uses in making fragrant orange-clove pomanders, mulled wine and scrumptious baked ham. Very useful at refreshing the mind, relieving mental fatigue and stress; and giving you a good nights sleep.  Clove can also act as an aphrodisiac (great for all that mistletoe snogging) and when used in a massage, clove essential oil improves blood circulation and is a powerful pain reliever.

''The classic blend of orange, cinnamon and clove oil (5:5:5) in an oil burner/diffuser creates a welcoming festive atmosphere that appeals to everyone (think mulled wine) and is sure to bring the spirit and joy of Christmas into your home.''

Nutmeg: A very warming and relaxing aroma that removes mental exhaustion and stress.  It helps combat fatigue and is beneficial for muscular aches and pains brought on by the cold when used in the bath or during a massage. It is also an important active ingredient in many cough syrups and cold rubs. More commonly used for culinary purposes, nutmeg tastes and smells gorgeous so definitely add some to those biscuits! 

Ginger: Feels like a gift at this time of year; for when it's cold, ginger warms the body and soul.  Not only does it provoke childhood memories of ginger bread but it also soothes a sore throat, eases the symptoms of a cold and boosts the immune system.  It's helpful for when lacking motivation as it brings clarity, strength and determination. When used in a massage or in the bath it brings warmth to the body, improves circulation and keeps those fingers and toes nice and warm!

Pine: If you have a real Christmas tree up this year then you will already be benefiting from the aroma of pine; so take some deep breathes because pine is excellent for respiratory problems such as seasonal coughs and colds.  It is also a great mood elevator and invigorates you if you're feeling tired and sluggish. If you don't have a real tree then you can always add a few drops to an oil burner/vapouriser, or put a few drops on some cotton-wool balls and hide in your artificial tree! 25 drops added to 50ml of water in a water spray bottle also creates the enlivening smell of a live tree.

Frankincense: A gift from one of the three wise men; Frankincense encourages a spiritual connection by centering the mind and balancing the emotions.  It radiates a beautiful atmosphere of peace and serenity and so perfect for creating a harmonious environment, preventing family arguments and keeping the children chilled!  Frankincense is also considered to be very anti ageing and so may be used as a face moisturiser when diluted in a light carrier oil.

A guideline to using these oils

Remember I've only listed a few of the more traditional oils used at this time of the year but oils such as Rosemary, Bay and Juniper berry are also nice ones too!  It's fun to be creative and experiment with blending the oils in various different combinations; however to really enjoy, benefit and use the oils safely here are a few guidelines to follow:
  • To use in a oil burner/vaporiser: Like notes in a chord, an oil blend will smell better (more balanced) if you only use between 1 and 3 different oils at a time.  3-6 drops is fine depending on the size of the room.
  • Using as a body/face moisturiser/perfume: Never use essential oils directly on your skin.  Always dilute the essential oils first in a carrier oil such as sweet almond or grape seed.  The number of drops you put in should be half the amount of carrier oil e.g  2/3 drops in 5ml, 5 drops in 10ml  10 drops in 20ml etc.  It's also wise to test a small area of skin first to check for any sensitivity/reaction.
  • To use in the bath: Dilute first in some carrier oil (be careful this can make the bath slippy) or simply add up to 6 drops of your chosen oil to the water making sure you swish it around properly!  

Enjoy! x 

Friday, 30 September 2016

The importance of self love and how massage/bodywork can help

Artist:Chiara Bautista
Over the past few weeks I've noticed more clients complaining of feeling depleted and emotionally vulnerable; with recurrence's of stress related conditions such as psoriasis, headaches, irritable bowel and aches and pains in the upper body. With the intention of all these treatments being on creating space, nurturing and primarily relaxation I began to wonder if it was perhaps the time of year.

So I started to think about the importance of looking after ourselves, having regular treatment and practising self love as we approach the winter months; and yet whilst this is all good and necessary, it occurred to me that self  love is something we should all be practising every moment of everyday anyway.  This led me to think how actually there is this crazy notion in the western world, that to really love ourselves and put ourselves first is selfish; and that most of us don't love and take care of ourselves the way we should.

There is an old saying that you can't pour from an empty cup and yet for many of us this is exactly what we do on a daily basis; especially women (sorry men I know you work hard to!) who are more  natural care givers and in our modern world, find themselves not only looking after children (and sometimes elderly parents), but keeping the flow of the home and also having to juggle paid work too. The increasing pressures placed on people in terms of our time and energy in order to maintain our lifestyles is real and yet somehow, by taking time out for ourselves to enjoy a massage and maintain the health of our own mind and body, we feel guilty, we feel like we're being self indulgent.

This seems strangely paradoxical given how narcissistic society is becoming. We invest so much of ourselves in this world in terms of our desires for material gain, always looking to the world to make us happy.  Most of us spend too much time looking out onto the lives of others via social media rather then spending that time sitting quietly with ourselves. We think nothing of spending money on our car, a new kitchen or fill in the blank and yet to put money aside each month to invest in our own health and wellness by having a treatment seems somewhat frivolous and we tell ourselves that as much as we would enjoy and benefit from massage/bodywork we just can't afford it.

The truth is though (and I admit this has/is taking some learning) if we don't fill ourselves up with self love to the point of bursting then we can't properly love or look after our family, friends or indeed the world.  By truly loving ourselves we get to live our lives from the inside out in our own unique and beautiful way. We become in tune with our real selves. our lives become more authentic to who we really are, we feel energised and inspired to create, share our gifts and we become good for one another.

By not practising self love however we find ourselves living from the outside in, constantly chasing a forever elusive return on the investment we put in.  We tell ourselves the next holiday, the next home improvement, the next gadget, pair of shoes or relationship will complete us and yet the joy or love for these things is always fleeting. We compromise ourselves and as a result become tired, stressed, relationships become fraught and life feels more like a struggle then joyful. Stress related conditions begin to manifest and we become no good to ourselves let alone anyone else.

Cooking ourselves a healthy nutritious meal, getting enough exercise and making time to do the things we enjoy are all acts of self love (if we're genuinely doing it for ourselves and not just to post pictures on social media!) and yet as with most things that are good for us, there is always some resistance; and no more so it seems then loving ourselves.  For as well as feeling unnecessarily selfish for putting ourselves first there is also the matter of our own sense of self worth.  Low self esteem, past traumas, not feeling loved as a child and perceived past wrongs that we haven't/ can't forgive ourselves for, all keep us imprisoned in a sense of unworthiness.

It's not surprising that so many people hide from themselves in the world rather then confront these issues and yet letting go of all this, forgiving ourselves and loving ourselves despite it all, is what truly heals us and heals the world.  Of course there are many paths and personal journeys that people go on in order to arrive back at themselves and massage/bodywork work is but a tool; but in my experience of being a massage therapist and having received a lot of bodywork, I know that it can be a very powerful tool for inner transformation and self love.

How massage /bodywork can be a powerful tool for transformation and self love...

  • To make the decision to have a massage/treatment, to book the appointment and then to travel and make your way there is an act of self love before the actual massage even begins because you've made the effort for yourself and on a deeper level you're letting yourself know that you're worth it.  I have a client who comes every month and pays by standing order and I love the way she's put her name and 'self care' as the reference for the payee details.
  • I always begin a massage session with a minute of still work where I allow space for myself and my client to tune into our breath and bring ourselves into the present moment. Again this is powerful stuff because how many times a day do we actually do this?  From this place there is an anchoring, a safe shelter to rest from the constant pulls and demands of the world and our own chattering mind. There is a no judgement here, just a sense of coming home.  If this is new to people it may introduce the benefits of a regular meditation practise. 
  • Within a massage session there is an element of surrender, of handing over control and allowing someone else to take care of us. To be constantly giving out to others we need to feel that we're being looked after too. Touch is a powerful medicine, it makes us feel loved.  Sadly many people, the elderly in particular are deprived of touch.  Massage can be incredibly healing and I've encountered many clients, especially those dealing with issues of not feeling loved, being brought to tears by the simple act of a loving touch.
  • In a world that is always telling us and making us feel that we're not good enough (mainly so it can sell us something) it's little wonder that so many of us have insecurities with our bodies and the way we look. To feel that we're not good looking/ pretty enough can really impact on the way we feel within which is really sad and removes us from inner power. Indeed to be confident in our own skin is an act of revolution these days and massage/bodywork can really help with this, because it gives us the opportunity to connect to and enjoy our body for the amazing thing that it is.
  • Massage aims to relieve the body of chronic soft tissue pain and lets face it pain can really bring us down. Sometimes we hang on to pain long after the initial injury; our bodies literally stuck in a holding pattern of defence against the original trauma.  Sometimes we subconsciously hang on to pain because it's serving us in some way; maybe because of the attention//love we receive from people or perhaps because we have become identified with our diagnosis/condition. Massage/bodywork can go along way in relieving the body of pain whilst giving us permission to self love and release that which may be preventing us from healing.
  • There is a saying that 'our issues are in our tissues' in that the body acts like a buffer or sponge for a lot of our mental and emotional trauma.  By working on the body to release physical tension a lot of emotional stuff can come to the surface and clients often surprise themselves by feeling suddenly tearful during or after a massage.  By being mindful of what comes up without being drawn into it, we're able to process and let go of it and this is extremely healing for us because it means we're no longer carrying it around in our body as physical tension which in the long term can cause illness.  

Massage/bodywork, for all it's many benefits, simply feels really good; and to put some time and money aside each month to have a treatment is truely an enjoyable and healing gift to give to ourselves.  It's an opportunity to show ourselves love, put back that which life takes out of us, return to balance and honour that which is within; so we may become the best version of ourselves and the best that we can be for others.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Get into the groove (with a massage)

With the festival season upon us it's time to return to nature, lie out in the sun and get into that summer groove with some good music; and for the rest of the time we have massage, because that helps us get into our groove too!

I've always loved music and some of you may know that I really enjoy singing and have sung with many groups and choirs around Brighton over the years as well as writing my own songs. Sadly my guitar playing skills leave a lot to be desired (!) but I think one of the reasons why I enjoy doing massage so much (as well as relaxing people and helping to improve chronic pain conditions of course!) is because giving a massage is in some ways like playing an instrument.

There is a musicality to massage in that there are 7 basic massage techniques or strokes/moves which form the basis of all massage modalities.  Within a massage treatment these strokes or moves are creatively put together (depending on the clients needs) in different ways, to create different rhythms, speed/tempos, attack (the amount of pressure applied to the body!) in the same way as notes are arranged in a piece of music.  
Giving a massage is like dancing with your hands on someones body in that each technique flows rhythmically into the next.  It's tuning in to the clients body and mind and knowing how much pressure to apply, how fast the pace should be and when to just pause and simply hold the body without seemingly doing any thing at all.  The massage session hopefully should take you on a journey in which the rhythm and tempo of the strokes relaxes the body of muscular tension, calms the mind of stress and anxiety and sooths the soul.

To be in a groove means to be flowing with life, no resistance just content and happy with our situation, circumstance, or whatever we're doing in this present moment.  Most of the time though in our daily lives we feel stress and a resistance to what is, which knocks us out of our groove.  Feeling ill or in pain in our body also makes it harder for us to hit our stride so to speak.  This is why massage is so powerful and transformative because it brings us into our bodies and allows us to escape the constant chatter of the mind; it relieves us of stress and aims to release us from muscular pain. A good massage helps us to loose ourselves in the present moment, it puts us back in our groove!

The actual music being played during the treatment can also help with letting go and relaxing into the the massage for both the client and the therapist which is why I'm always on a quest to source good music that is suitable for a massage session. Of course every ones taste is different and what helps us relax one session, we may not be in the mood for the next, so I'm slowly getting a good collection of sounds together.
This is not to say however that music has to be played in the background, far from it.  In a world that is so noisy, it is incredible healing for us to spend time in silence and for the massage itself to help connect us to our own internal rhythm and groove.

Physiologically, our muscles are made up of fibres very much like the strings on a stringed instrument.  For a muscle to function properly these fibres need to be aligned alongside one another.  Over time or as a result of bad posture, emotional stress, injury or overuse, a local area of muscle fibres can mat together into a hard lump or 'knot'. These knots or adhesion's together with muscular tension affect the nerves governing vital organs and represent blockages in blood, lymph and energy flow.  They prevent fresh oxygenated blood from reaching local muscle tissue, toxins build up and we begin to feel those troublesome aches and pains.  A good therapeutic deep tissue massage realigns muscle fibres, breaks down knots, adhesions and trigger points and effectively puts the body back in tune!

Massage teaches us good body awareness thus helping to improve our everyday posture.  Shoulders are realigned down away from the ears, the neck is lengthened  and the chest opened.  Space is created in the upper body and like a wind instrument that has been cleaned, breathing becomes easier and deeper thus nourishing and oxygennating the whole body.  Massage helps us look after and care for our instrument!

I love giving (and recieving!) massage and have been practising and homing my massage/bodywork skills for 14 years. From working with the seven basic strokes/moves of giving a good massage, which I'll always return to because of their positive effects on body and mind; to refining my touch and learning to become more sensitive to the muscle tissue and to the grooves between the muscle fibres that lay beneath my fingers.  In this way i'm able to achieve better results when working with chronic pain conditions as well as hopefully creating a deeper level of relaxation.

When we're in a groove we're in harmony and balance with ourselves and others.  Massage puts us back in our groove by helping us to return to our centre, to the present moment, where mind, body and breath is connected and there is no resistense of any kind.  We are given the opportunity to let go of stress and anxiey and over time chronic pain is relieved.  We become 'in tune' with ourselves.

So get into that groove and book in for a massage soon!
Beth x

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Beware the magic bullet

Photo credit:
We are living in a time where modern technology has allowed us to have what we want at the click of a button. Whereas before we'd have to take time out of our day to visit the library or walk around the shops, now everything is instant.
In theory we should have more spare time on our hands and yet we find ourselves busier and more stressed then ever before.

Most of us are slaves to our smart phones/computers, we're constantly checking emails, texts and social media; and through the Internet we have access to so much information and news coverage that it's as if the world is pulling us all the time 'look at this', 'be this', 'be scared of this', 'buy this', 'this will make you look better/ feel better', 'this will make you happy' etc. with so much out there vying for our attention everything has to be quick quick quick and if it doesn't grab us within a few seconds then we've moved on.

This translates into our everyday lives and we see people becoming more impatient and intolerant with each other and themselves. The constant 'noise' of the world creating an underlying level of anxiety and stress in most of us as we rush about chasing or reacting too the world; rarely living or being content with the present moment. Mental health problems and stress related illnesses are generally accepted as normal and yet we haven't got time to be ill, it's an inconvenience, we just want some pill to make us better quick so we can carry on again. There's an app for that or rather there's a prescription for that.

We've lost touch with ourselves and our own power when it comes to taking charge of our own lives, health and well being.  We hand over responsibility of our health to the doctor like taking our car to the garage; we just want the doctor to fix us.  We know that by taking better self care we could in most cases prevent ourselves from becoming unwell in the first place but we carry on as we do; not eating properly, not resting enough, not sitting/moving properly, not thinking properly, not breathing properly and then when we do become unwell we seek that magic bullet that quick fix.

Certainly as a massage therapist I've met with clients who just want to lie on the table for an hour or for a few sessions and for all their chronic tension, aches, pains and muscle imbalances to just disappear.  Unfortunately though, as much as i would love to have these super massage powers; the body puts up with a lot before it starts complaining and the problem we're presenting with has often been building for some time and won't be helped quickly. There is no magic bullet to treatment, for good health or indeed a happy easy life instead there has to be an awareness towards self care that is present in everyday life.

Even for the most health conscious among us, this is no easy fete, for the lure of checking emails and social media sites seems to be so much more important then just sitting silently with our breath for 10minutes or doing some stretches.  The constant chatter of the world and a mind forever occupied with some worry or other, flushes our body with stress and tenses our muscles even when we're not aware of it.  In the short term this may lead to feelings of stress, general aches, pains, headaches, insomnia, skin complaints or digestive problems; in the long term more chronic stress, depression, injury, pain and ill health.

In a world that's always trying to sell us something and take us away from our centre of balance it takes effort to stand guardian over our own health and well being and to be selective with what we choose to let in.  To be mindful of how our thoughts create energy which is either nourishing or toxic to our health in the same way as the food we choose to eat.  To be aware of how stress affects our body and to take action on counteracting that stress before our symptoms become more chronic.

Self awareness isn't something we do once and that's it, we have to be conscious all the time, not just with our thoughts but also with how we're sitting, standing and moving in our bodies.  Correct alignment/good posture is so important for good health; it allows our muscles to be used correctly and more efficiently thus preventing fatigue, muscle strain, overuse injuries and pain.  There is less wear and tear on joints and ligaments, our breathing becomes easier and deeper and circulation and digestion is greatly improved; it even makes us feel better mentally and emotionally.

We need to constantly keep bringing ourselves back into balance. If we have a job where we're using the same muscles repetitively or our posture is that, that we're hunched over a desktop for hours then we need to counteract this by taking regular breaks and incorporating simple stretches into our day.  If we spend too much time sitting then we need to move more. If the nature of our work is that we're stuck inside all day then we need to make time to sit in nature, enjoy the sun and get fresh air.  If we have a tendency to work to hard then we need to learn how to slow down and rest sufficiently.

We give so much of ourselves outwardly and yet we feel like we're wasting our time and energy or perhaps missing out on something important if we unplug ourselves from the world for even a short time to check in and look after ourselves. We intuitively know what we need to do to restore/ maintain balance and good health; if only we were too quieten the 'noise' of the world and listen to ourselves.  There is no magic bullet or quick fix and in a world that is increasingly becoming more busy and stressful it has never been so important that we take back our power and take charge of our own lives, health and well being.

Monday, 14 March 2016

What we bring to the (massage) table

I've been feeling really grateful recently that I'm able to work as a massage therapist and that I have the space in my home in which to create a tranquil environment for people to come and have treatment.  So 'Thank you' to the powers that be, that have made this possible and 'Thank you' to all of you for booking in!

On a business level I'm taught to 'target a specific market audience' and yet I've never taken this approach when advertising my work.  I love that the people who come to me for treatment are of all different ages and demographic groups; each client bringing to the massage table, a life and everything that that entails.
For massage isn't just about working on the muscles and physical body; it's also about what's going on in the clients life at the time, their state of mind, their past, their personal story and everything that they're carrying whether that's physical, mental or emotional.

No two treatments within the same day are ever the same because we're all so different and no two sessions with the same client are ever the same either because what we bring to the massage table in terms of what's happening in our lives, how we're feeling and what's physically happening with our body is constantly changing from week to week, month to month and so session to session; and this is why having regular massage/bodywork is important for our overall well being.

What we bring to the massage table

Perhaps since your last massage you've been doing some heavy lifting or have spent too long sat at a computer; maybe you've been practicing an instrument, gardening, decorating, training for a marathon, working out more in the gym or maybe just not moving enough.  As you bring your achy and sore body to the massage table, the session will be more focused on those problematic areas of your body.

Or maybe life has been getting on top of you and you come to the massage table feeling tired and emotionally fray; you just want to press 'pause' for an hour or so to feel nurtured, rested and restored.  Perhaps you're crazily busy and your family are driving you mad; you can feel the stress and tension in your body and you just need a really good massage to 'get in there' and release it.

So whether it's physical, mental or emotional, regular massage/bodywork is a great opportunity to just dump everything that we've been carrying and leave it on the massage table! 

As well as physically releasing muscular tension, aches and pains bought about by what ever we're doing with our bodies on a day to day basis; the techniques used in massage such as stretching, kneading shaking/vibrating are all aimed at getting the body to 'let go' of emotional stress (some of which we've been carrying for years) because holding on to that **** is not good for us!

Sometimes just being in the treatment room alone can feel like a little retreat away from the world where we can feel safe.  Clients often open up about what's happening in their lives and their problems because it's healing to let it out without the fear of judgement of that it will go any further.  I've had many clients who after the massage just burst into tears and this is really powerful and healing because there's a sense of release, that they're able to move on in some way.

After a massage session we leave the table feeling lighter as if a weight had been lifted.  We feel more at peace with ourselves and with the world around us; and as one of my clients recently said 'that's a pretty good place to be!'

What I bring to the massage table as your therapist

It's a real honor to be a massage therapist because out side of my little treatment room I'm actually quite shy; but I must have treated hundreds of clients over the years and I feel so privileged that I've been able to help so many people with my work.

Whether you're just passing through, having had just 1 or 2 sessions with me or whether I've been treating you for years; it's my intention to try and tune in the best I can to whatever you're bringing to the table in that particular session; and use my experience and the skills I have learned (and continue to learn) to creatively provide the best massage I can.

For me giving a massage is an opportunity to be fully present in the moment; it's like a meditation where I completely loose myself  in what I'm doing and hope that the client looses themselves too!  Beth Jenkins and all that she personally carry's is left outside of the treatment room.
I'm not performing a cookie cut out massage whilst thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner; instead I'm tuning into how much pressure to use and to which techniques are needed in order to bring about balance and help with whatever you've brought to the table.

I offer a tranquil space in which to escape the world for an hour or so, a really good massage (!) and the opportunity for you to just drop everything you've been carrying and leave the session feeling lighter in body and mind; and more at peace in your life.