Friday, 27 May 2011

Catch Up.

It's been a busy week and I love weeks like the one just past; filled with offering great treatments to my clients and giving them fantastic results, studying with my close friends and having tea and cake with Mum. How wonderful!

Last Thursday I was going to pop down for an evening talk with Eyal Lederman, but in the end I just simply couldn't make it down to Brighton due to time. It was a shame as I was looking forward to hearing his views on Body Harmonics and Postural Assessment, but I am sure there will be another opportunity in the future to hear him talk and ask some questions.

I had a wonderful time yesterday meeting up with my study group and we had 5 hours of discussion on everything from Groin Strains, which is the subject for our assignment this month, as well as ideas on treating neck complaints and what we wanted to write about for our dissertations.

The subject of Massage Therapy within the NHS was bought up yesterday, which is a subject I would like to write more about in forth coming blogs as it is a very heated subject in the world of massage therapy. The main source of frustration for many therapists is: 'Why isn't massage therapy seen as a highly regarded skill that helps people with loco-motor (soft tissue) pain with in the NHS?' I think it is a question with multiple areas of exploration and it isn't a subject that can be blanketed with a simplistic answer. However, I believe it needs to be researched in some depth. We need to look at the roots of massage in the U.K; from the colleges that teach it as a low grade GCSE subject to enable anyone to carry out a Relaxation Massage, to areas of licensing practitioners as well as even our job titles. Our training needs to be raked over the coals to be refined so that we can see how our skills cross over and can stand equally along side Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors etc.

There is so much work to be done in England to enable people to be helped out of their soft tissue based pain and there are a lot of people working very hard towards that objective. It's a serious issue that no amount of Spa Whale Music, dried flowers or dog eared body charts can cover up.

So watch this space! Although it won't be my dissertation subject, it is one that I am very passionate about, so you'll hear about it in the near future no doubt. 

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today: Dermalogica's Climate Control! It's keeping my once very chapped lips smooth and flake free. 

Music in the Treatment Room today: I'm writing today, so I have my CD collection keeping my company. At the moment I'm listening to Anais Mitchell's Hadestown. However, Alison Krauss and Union Stations' Paper 'Aeroplane' will also be key to the mix this morning.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Celebrate The Summer!

This is just a quick blog to let you all know that I am offering clients 10% off all Massage and Skin Care Treatments throughout the month of July 2011!

It's just a small way of saying 'Thank You' for bearing with us as we move Cornerstone Therapies.

To take full advantage of this offer throughout the month of July 2011, simply email to reserve your time slot.

I look forward to booking you in for your treatments and seeing you soon.

Take good care,
Jenny xx

Saturday, 21 May 2011

It's Personal

Stress is personal. 

I think that this is the biggest lesson that I have learned in a long time and it's not anything that can be taught; you simply have to go through it yourself to experience it.

As you may know, David and I are moving house on June 2nd, which will be the second move in 6 months. It's been a tough time but I am sure that we will come out the other side of it with a big smile on our faces.

However, when life has got to me I have had to learn what allows me to unwind is something that is personal to the way that my body, mind and soul works. All the articles that I have read over the last few months suggest ways to unwind when life gets on top of one. They often suggest a nice walk in the woods, a picnic with a loved one, space in a quiet room with a scented candle, as well as the classic warm bubble bath! All these ideas are great and I have found them to be really helpful in the past as a quick fix that I didn't have to think of myself. I often find myself giving these bits of advice to my clients as well as I do believe that they can help in the immediate.

But when there is an on going amount to deal with over weeks and months I think it is fair to say that no article can really come close to knowing you and giving you personalized advice on how to deal with it all.

I likened the feeling of stress for me as 'Agoraphobia Of The Mind'; there would have been too much space to ponder if I wasn't doing anything. So I needed something to fill my mind and take away the thoughts for a bit.

For me I have found that I really need to move my body when I am feeling wound up. But a 'nice walk in the woods' has nearly destroyed me at times because it gives me too much time to think and I have found it hard not to dwell on the issues that have surrounded the house move and David's work.

Photo by By Έλενα Λαγαρία 
So I got in touch with Ryan, a personal trainer, and Sally-Ann who teaches adults to swim. These two people have given me movement with a purpose and the way that they get me to think about what I am doing with my body when I am moving gives me no room to think on other matters. The quick drills that they have put in place for me mean that I only have about a 3 minute time frame at the most in which to do things, leaving no room for anything else. For an hour and a half I get complete freedom from the stress that has been around, as well as an almighty adrenaline kick! This mental space from everyday pressure and the great all round health boost that it gives to my body has allowed me to cope a lot better with situations that arise suddenly.

The result has been a good one. No longer do I feel that I have no outlet for the pent up destress within me as I can simply walk up over the fields to Charterhouse Club and hit the pool and the gym. My climbing ability has improved, (which is for me the best physical outcome!), but I can now enjoy a walk in the woods for half an hour with out working myself into a stupor, have a bubble bath with a book (reading also help me not think about the day just gone), and I can enjoy time at the pub over a curry for a few hours with friends and laugh all the way through with out feeling self consumed.

The other aspect of relaxation for me is of course therapy! Sports massage, facials, manicures and pedicures have got me through and I am looking forward to some aromatherapy next month. If my body is in good order and my skin is looking radiant with health, all I have to be concerned about are the situations around David and the house move as everything else is taken care of.

Photo by: By Ben Gillin
I hope that you are able to find a way of coping with your stress levels that is personal to you. Keep doing the little things every day, like buying a bunch of flowers to enjoy in the dining room, or reading a paper at your local coffee house; just 15 minutes is better than nothing and all the small things add up to make a bigger picture. And keep talking with friends and family if you can. If you can't, I can personally recommend that finding a professional counsellor or psychotherapist can be a real help.

No matter what you are going through, I hope that the path you find through it is straight and true. I look forward to helping you along the way.

Take good care of yourself

Jenny xx

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today: My cold and hot stones; they have really helped with a client's acute muscle strain today.

Music in the Treatment Room today: Indian Ragas: 'Mater of the Indian Flute' Hariprassad Chaurasia

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Human After All!

Today I thought I would write a small blog after a client of mine asked me a great question: 'What coffee do you drink?'

It's not such an off the wall question as my early morning clients are regularly greeted to the smell of freshly made coffee. David and I drink it every morning. I know I should be drinking hot water with a slice of organic lemon and a cinnamon stick, but I don't really want to give up my cup of brain power each morning. We alternate our coffee from Illy to an organic blend from Red Roaster (my personal favourite), which is an independent roasting house in Brighton.

The other thing today which I want to share with you is that I went for a two hour training session yesterday morning and now I can hardly walk up the stairs without whimpering! I did an hour of Body Conditioning training, a 1 hour row class and then walked a couple of miles. It brought to mind that I didn't stretch much in the evening as we got busy. I can't stress how important it is to stretch properly after any exercise so that your muscles fibres can lengthen after being asked to contract a lot for increased power and energy.

You don't want to end up like me this morning; coming down the stairs on my bum to make coffee in the morning! 

Monday, 9 May 2011

What a great time!

 I have to confess to living a pretty idyllic life. I do a job that I love and can't imagine doing anything else. How many people can say that?! I don't take it for granted, but sometimes I feel it strongly; this afternoon is one of those times.

I have had the privileged of 'Nerding Out' (as David calls it) this week with some amazing people and I am still processing it all and I feel it will take a while to settle in the brain.

On Friday I spent time with Leon Chaitow at the New Medicine Group up in Harley Street to learn about Breathing Pattern Disorders (BPD) as it is a common condition for those in chronic pain. It was a fantastic topic to cover as it was not aimed at those who have lung based pathologies; (i.e. Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema etc.), but for people who are in pain or under a lot of stress and find themselves panic breathing.

If you know of people who have very tight neck muscles at the front of their necks, you can be pretty sure that they breath in a rapid way using only the top of their lungs. This puts a huge amount of strain on the muscles that allow us to breathe such as the diaphragm, pelvic floor, intercostals around the ribs, the neck muscles such as the scalene group and the sternoclydomastoids along with many others. The problem with panic breathing, or simply not using the whole of the lung, is that it means that you can end up breathing about 20,000 times a day! That's a huge amount for your body to cope with.

Why do we see this in people who have chronic pain and/or stress?

Well, it's simple really. Pain and stress puts our bodies into a fight or flight situation which means our brian gets us ready to fight an attacker or run away from it. To do that it needs a lot of adrenaline, oxygen and a bunch of other chemicals, so we breathe rapidly to make sure we are ready to go! When we get to the stage where this is happening all the time we get into a lot of problems with the rest of the body, putting more strain on it. And lets face it, if you are in pain and under stress, you don't really want any more in your life to deal with. The answer is to slow it all down!

In the treatment room there are some beautiful moves that I can do to help deal with trigger points (made of congested and tight muscles and fascia) around the ribs, the diaphragm, pelvis, hip flexors and neck, so at least we are dealing with any pain patterns that they are causing. I can also help calm your breathing down by stretching the muscles that have become tight through over work, especially your Psoas and Quadratus Lumborum, Scalene group and Sternoclydomastiod. The Trapezius and Rhomboids are also indicated with BPD, so I can make sure your fascia is released and at ease during your treatment session as well. I will also work on your breathing patterns with you (as always I give you homework to do!), and I will make sure that we soothe your mind and body before you leave so you are at a relaxed place, giving your body room to breath easily and in a relaxed manner.

Many people over breath as they think that they can't get enough air into their lungs, however a lot of the time it's all about getting the air out. There are some great exercises you can do at home that are based on Pranayama Yoga Breathing Techniques. If you have a Mac (is there any type of computer?!), iphone, ipad etc., there is a great app that you can down load so that you can learn as you just click here
You can also Google Pranayama and you can get some great ideas, blogs and books off the web if you wish.

You will be hearing a lot of this thinking and learning in the future as I think it is key for pretty much everyone I see and the techniques are wonderful for most massages, so no doubt you will be experiencing a lot of it too!

My 'Nerd Time' is continuing a pace as I am off to meet Eyal Lederman at the Jing Institute of Advanced Massage in Brighton on May 19th to learn about 'Body Harmonics'. I'm really interested to hear what he has to teach us as I have read a few of his papers on-line and he certainly is challenging some traditionally held views on body-work and it's always great to be moved on from where you are mentally.

So it's all go! I have also sent my 4th assignment off for my Aromatherapy Course with Stonebridge College, (is a distance learning college), so that is great as well.

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today: My dry body brush, Arnica Salve and Seaweed and Arnica Foaming Bath.
After the car bump 2 weeks ago, my body was looking rather bruised, but I feel that thanks to the Arnica and lymph massage from dry body brushing (twice daily), my bruises have recovered twice as fast as normal.

Music in the Treatment Room today: It's Monday; my day off! I popped into Guildford to have a very bright and bubbly chat with my Mum over coffee at 'Glutton and Glee' on Tunsgate Road. It gave me the perfect opportunity to say 'Hi' to Harvey at People Records on Castle Street. I am now enjoying the collection I bought;

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bonny Brighton

Well, it's been a bit of a week to be honest. Not only did I get myself bumped by another car last Tuesday, (the bruises on my legs are amazing!), but I also started the last part of my Advanced Clinical Sports Massage Diploma at the Jing School of Advanced Massage down in Brighton.

For the past 3 years I have been studying at Jing and have already graduated with my 260 hour Diploma in Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy and my Advanced Clinical Massage Diploma. The next 18 months will see my put the icing on the cake with a B-Tech Level 6 (degree level) in Advanced Clinical Sports Massage.

It has been a roller-coaster of time and I always find it inspirational to be surrounded by other like-minded and extremely talented therapists. We come from many different backgrounds but get to class with a thirst to learn more and to go one step further than ever before. It's a bit funky, but very enjoyable!

This week we where looking at starting our research project/dissertation as well as the cellular makeup of the muscles. This led many of us to really start thinking about what we want to look into this year for our own personal research and how it can relate back to what we do everyday at work: Help you guys out with your pain patterns! After all, this work has to be relevant to you. It would be a complete waste of time if it didn't further my knowledge of the work that I do.

I am still defining my research project, but it will centre around the effect that Clinical Massage and Stretching has on the performance of either dancers or rock climbers …..... Any ideas or input would be gratefully received! 

As David and I are moving house, and thus Cornerstone Therapies on June 1st it's going to be a little tight to get my first assignment in on time which is a case study on a Groin Strain, but hopefully I can get the background reading done next week and start writing it up during the middle of May.

This Friday I am off up to Harley Street for a study day with Leon Chaitow at the New Medicine Group. He is talking about “Pelvic, Thoracic (& Breathing) Dysfunction: Evidence Based Rehabilitation approaches”. I hope that it will really help all of you who see me with issues concerning restrictions in breathing as well as opening some doors in my thinking to other pathologies.

So, as a new season starts with the onset of summer, a new academic year picks up pace for me. I hope I can keep you up to date with everything and that you see a huge step forward as your treatments continue!

But for now, I think I shall pop the kettle on and get my newly acquired tome out and flick through the introduction.

What I'm loving today: The glistening morning frost as the sun burst upon a brand new day! The coffee was pretty good this morning too :) .

Music in the Treatment Room today: I have yet to start work, but the past four hours have been a compilation of Robert Plant, LifeHouse and Christian Worship CDs. I think I shall pop some classical chill out on to the pod-dock for today's treatments.

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