|Posted on 22 September, 2017 at 8:40||comments (3)|
Myofascial Release for releasing trauma, mental and emotional hurts, as well as physical ailments.
There are many different ways of working with myofascia, the stuff that holds our bodies together. I use 2 different ways to work with fascia, a formal structured approach which is magnificent for releasing trapped movement and pain issues such as rotator cuff injuries, and a more fluid intuitive approach, which can be profoundly effective to release old traumas, especially the emotional and mental hurt associated with them.
The first is the client who came to me as part of a desire to take better care of herself generally. She was looking for a soothing relaxation massage session on a monthly basis. She had a lot of muscular tension that she was aware of in her back, neck and shoulders – a very common picture in modern society. As she progressed through these soothing sessions, she began to open up about some events in her life, and the low mood that she was experiencing. After 3 sessions, I asked her if she would be open to trying Myofascial release to aid the comfort in her neck which massage was easing, but not completely resolving. I explained that the therapy was very different to massage, as it does not use any oils and most of the moves I was planning to use would not be stroking or rubbing on her skin – but more moving her skin and underlying tissues against themselves. It is a very slow progress, because I have to listen to her body and wait for her body to release tensions in its own time, I can’t dictate the pace. I explained that I suspected that there was an old trauma trapped in her left shoulder area as it seemed to hold all the tension despite her being right handed and her experience of discomfort was right sided. I began working, having explained that she may feel nothing, or movement anywhere in her body or a sensation of opening and space, and may experience emotional responses too.
The first session, achieved greater space within her body and a sense of freedom of movement in the left shoulder and assessment of her range of movement demonstrated this. The second session of fascial work was just 2 weeks later, and she had a true release event. She was enjoying the relaxation when she had an overwhelming need to cry. As we had talked about the possibility of this happening, she knew that I would not interrupt her crying (as this can prevent the release coming to fruition), and she allowed the emotion to flow. I carried on working with her shoulder in silence, stopping only to pass her a tissue as she sobbed. Then as suddenly as it started, the feeling of grief passed and she stopped crying.
At the end of the session, she told me that her best friend had been killed in an accident when they were just 9 years old. She had not thought about her friend in many years, and had not realised that she still missed her, but the tears had started at the same time as the friend had come to her mind, and the shock and grief of that loss had overwhelmed her. It is possible that this early loss had affected her ability to maintain long lasting meaningful relationships, leading to 2 divorces and a feeling of having to be totally independent. Since that session, on a physical level, her shoulders and neck have not caused the pain and restricted movement they used to, and on an emotional level, she has become aware of her fear of loss, and overcome the obstacles that she put in the way to prevent becoming close to people, and is now embarking on a new relationship after being single for over 15 years.
Another client, in a very different situation, comes to me specifically for the physical release of emotional trauma. This client is very aware of his body and the mind-body link. He had been having counselling for depression, which had identified events in his childhood and youth with his father. He felt he had settled in his mind the issues that arose from these events, but suspected that his body needed help to release the emotional trauma. We worked fascially for about 6 months. To begin with, the fascial sessions worked wonders for his physical comfort and increased his ease of movement, particularly in his hip area, but no emotional release happened. Looking back, we agreed that it took him time to feel truly safe with me so that he could release the emotional turmoil trapped within his physical body. The day that he came to me, and that release occurred was a life changing moment for him. After the session, he felt that deep sense of space and connectedness in and about his body that we are all born with. For this client, knowing which events he wished to address was appropriate and helpful once he felt able to really trust me and the space I held for him. We continue to work together when he feels ready to address an issue, and also with regular massage to maintain optimal wellbeing.
A third client believed that trauma held her back from doing things in life now, but she did not have any recollection of any events that might be traumatic – she was not sure if there had actually been anything. During our session, she suddenly had a very clear memory of falling off a swing. She had sustained a fractured wrist in the fall, and her mother had felt incredibly guilty, and had sobbed more than her daughter about not saving her – my client had taken on her mothers guilt and distress, which she remembered being quite extreme. She went back home and spoke with her mother on the phone, and together they talked about that day, and she found out that her mother had been suffering with a bout of depression at the time and wasn’t able to deal with distress conservatively, and she had felt deep guilt about crying so much more than her daughter. The result had been that my client had felt bad about upsetting her mother so much which had lead to her having an overly high sense of self preservation, and had avoided any activities that might have carried risk of injury ever since, despite longing to partake in activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing and even horse riding. She has now taken up horse riding at the age of 48, no longer impeded by an unbalanced sense of risk and danger. She continues to work with me.
Myofascial release is one of a combination of therapies I use to work with my clients. Nearly everyone has experienced trauma of some kind, and with a multi-disciplinary approach, I am able to facilitate the kind of healing with my clients, that they express, nothing else can.
If you have been affected by any issues like, or similar to these, or just want to explore how myofascial release can help you or someone you know, please contact me to make an appointment. My clinic is in Alresford, near Winchester, Hampshire.
|Posted on 18 February, 2015 at 18:15||comments (2)|
Promoting release and self-healing using Myofascial Release Technique, Massage and Intuition.
This is a workshop I am doing at the Sun and Moon Festival later this year. If your interested in joining me, and 40+ other therapists running holistic health and well being workshops aimed at everyone who wants to feel and do and be better, not particullarly therapists (there is no acreditation with the workshops), then please do! Take a look at the official website here
I am Carol, and I love massage and bodywork with such a deep passion that I love to share what I have learnt. I began working with people in a health setting at 14 years old, helping at a local school for severely mentally and physically handicapped children. I went on to work voluntarily at a stroke rehabilitation centre and a residential unit while I was in higher education, before moving to Philadelphia, USA, as a teaching assistant in an international school for the blind and visually impaired, leading me to study Nursing at University College London. I stayed in nursing until I was a Senior Sister, and in 2010 left nursing and started in earnest on my massage and bodywork path. I use my intuition and extensive health knowledge as well as complementary health training and experience to help and to heal people.
I wish to share some techniques and insights to facilitate the healer in everyone to help and heal others.
Ground rules – kindness and confidentiality.
Assessment of groups aims for the session and existing knowledge base.
Basic understanding of the body, anatomy and physiology – observation in movement. This will also loosen everyone up and get everyone connecting with each-other.
Introduction to fascia, the effect of trauma; physical, psychological, spiritual on the fascial planes.
Exploring and playing with The Gloop – really, playing with gloop!
Clear a space within ourselves to enable our intuition and senses to flow and receive information. Breathing, grounding and awareness.
Time to help and heal! Working in pairs, one becomes healer, the other healed. Ideally everyone can lie comfortably, but sitting will work well enough. Clothed, start connecting with the head and lengthening the spine. Then exploration of where people have restrictions, tightness, pain or discomfort –using Myofascial Release Technique to improve the hydration of the Fascial state. Effective body parts to release are hands/arms and feet/legs as these can be exposed easily in an open environment, but necks, backs and shoulders can also be released if the situation is appropriate to the group involved.
This session will involve hands on practice in pairs or small groups and a sense of fun and exploration!
|Posted on 29 January, 2015 at 11:50||comments (0)|
Below is a reading that speaks wisodom, and needs no further explainination, other than to say it might be the best way you can live your life. Enjoy x
The author is unknown.
The Spirit of the River
It always seems as if the Spirit of the River was speaking to me, and telling me how, in its rapid, continuous course, it is setting an example to man how he can most wisely and happily regulate his life.
The water is so wise; when it comes to little banks and uneven places in its bed, it gently flows over them without making any bother about it, and this, says the river, is just the way in which men should treat the little unpleasantness’s and smaller misfortunes of life instead of allowing such things to distract and worry them, and perhaps even to alter their whole course of existence.
Then, when huge boulders of rock stand out into the stream, the river glides quietly round them, accepting them as necessary evils which must be endured, since they cannot be cured, which is the way in which men should treat the greater difficulties and hardship of their lives, instead of fuming and fretting, or sitting down in despair.
These are things that rivers never do, says the Spirit, and moreover, as they constantly move forward, they explore with their water every hole and corner within their reach, neglecting nothing, giving a kindly wash to everything that comes in their way, and holding a pleasant conversation with all objects, living or inanimate, with which they come into contact. So a wise man, and one who desires to make his life useful and pleasant to himself and to others, will always seek for information as he goes along through the world, will have a cheery word for his fellow-travellers, and be ready to do a kind and friendly action to any that require it. And, if he does so, just as the river grows broader and wider as it nears the ocean in which it finally loses itself, and merges its waters in the infinite space of the sea, so the man’s life will become grander and more noble as it approaches its close, and he will have gained the affection and respect of all those whose respect and affection are worth gaining, before the stream of his life, too, floats out upon the ocean of eternity.
|Posted on 24 November, 2014 at 20:55||comments (0)|
I have an 85 year old widowed gentleman who sees me for 2 hours every week. I asked him why he has massage. He has chosen not to write this himself, but has agreed to me preseying his words and has approved this text.
This lovely gentleman was widowed some 20 years ago, and has not remarried. His children are grown up and live many miles away. He has a good circle of friends, with common interests, and he sees them at least once a week, and has support when he needs it at home, helping him with shopping and cleaning. He is active and independent in everything he does (he just hates housework!).
When I asked him what he gets from our massage sessions, he smiled, but was lost for words. That was uncommon for such an articulate gentleman. He then explained that what our relationship to him means to him is impossible to explain, but also that it is his, for him and no one else.
He went on to say that he felt totally accepted, and in the most pure and perfect way, he felt loved and cared for and cherished. Now as a professional and highly qualified massage therapist, I know all too well why he was reluctant to say all of this – because it is difficult to say what massage can give without some people raising eyebrows and perverting the truth of the situation.
When this lovely gentleman lost his wife, he lost his best friend, the mother of his children and yes, he lost his lover. He lost someone to hold hands with. He lost someone to hold and be held by. With his children and grandchildren living so far away, who is there to hold him, to cuddle him or even give him a hug? He no longer has touch in his life.
I have learnt that touch is a very taken for granted sensation. Physical contact between people is a life giving force, that this gentleman no longer has access to beyond Christmas and birthdays.
Research into premature babies has begun to realise the vital role touch has on the life chances of mankind. Living in an incubator, with all the basic needs provided of food, shelter, warmth and hygiene, why is it that some babies fail to thrive? Because they lack touch. The staff and their parents see them every day, and they speak with them, giving them as much love as one can in words, but when the touch is withheld for fear of infection, the babies often fade away. Many of those that survive, have a tough time coping with the world when they grow up – and we are beginning to understand that the ingredient missing is loving, giving, pure touch.
The need for touch does not go away just because we hit a certain age, or just because of anything.
As children, if we are lucky, or even very average children, we are cuddled by our parents, or siblings (when they stop fighting us), our family and our friends. When we hit puberty and get too cool to hug our parents, girls (yes this is a sterio type but one most of us can relate to), hug their friends and boys who feel uncomfortable hugging often become more aggressive and more withdrawn and isolated.
Then we get to an age where we seek that closeness we had as children – we seek a partner. That can happen at any age but it starts in earnest around or just after puberty. We want someone to hold, someone to give us love and to give our love to. It is human.
So, back to my lovely gentleman.
He is not seeking a partner in me, his heart is still and always will be with his wife. Had that not been the case he might have remarried, after all he was only in his 60’s when she died, and he is a very intelligent and attractive gentleman. I am sure that he could have had a great range of ladies to choose from if he had wanted – but his heart will always be with his wife. It is something else that needs a special relationship that is completely accepting, and giving and touching.
He is by far from the only client I see who comes to the conclusion that what I am able to give, above all else, that they value most, is simple pure giving and loving touch.
There is plenty of research and science to support this emotional need with physiological facts – the effects of the hormones released during caring touch such as oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine….. These hormones create a feeling of well being, they promote a positive outlook and combat depression and feelings of isolation, they nurture community and belonging and a sense of self.
So, why does this elderly gentleman have a 2 hour massage every week? Is he crippled, is he recovering from a fall or surgery? Is he looking for a wife replacement or life partner? Or has he just simply become aware that he, like everyone in this world, is special, unique, beautiful, and deserving of love and care in its most pure and simple form?
This gentleman has massage because it reminds him he is human. Because it makes him feel human – connected to the world, unique, precious, beautiful, loved, deserving, cared for, accepted, happy, more comfortable, more relaxed, more mobile…….
To put these feelings into words, these reasons that everyone needs touch, is a very difficult task. I doubt that I have covered everyone’s reasons, I have only gleaned this from one client, but Please, Please, allow yourself to be massaged. Give massage (I find it the most wonderful gift to myself to give massage to others!). Hug, hold hands, even snuggle up with your cat or dog – we need touch so much in this world.
Someone once said – to guarantee world peace, make every world leader have daily massage. I add to that, that to really make the world better as well as creating world peace, make every world leader give massage – and while we are at it – get them to all massage each other!
|Posted on 21 September, 2014 at 17:45||comments (0)|
Welcome to Greenwood Therapies first ever blog!
As my first blog, what better subject to explore than my birth as a Massage Therapist, or should I say re-birth, from Depression to Holistic Therapist.
Many of you may have already read the About Me page on my website, which tells you about the physical therapies I have been practicing in a professional setting since I was 14 years old enjoying voluntary work, but what really made me seek Massage Therapy as a career and life long practice after years of being a registered nurse?
In short, I suffered, as so many of us do, with depression. My illness lasted years, and crippled my life at its worst, simply deadened me at best. I sank from a happy, optimistic, friendly and confident woman into the darkest of places where there was no joy, no beauty, no hope, no light. It was a slow progression, from an accumulation of events slowly chipping away at my life force. My marriage, and subsequent divorce, temporary places to live, jobs I hated just to make ends meet, physical illness, medication, threats and abuse all crushed my dreams and denied my love of giving – I was ruled by fear and anxiety, I had no self esteem, only feelings of isolation and abject failure. I was at the bottom of the deepest loneliest well, so deep that no light could be identified. It was complete darkness. My ever loving family and friends did everything they could to support me, but in the end, I broke. My first breakdown would generally be described as a mini one, in that I was not hospitalised, and after a week or two the medication kicked in and I carried on through the motions of living. I tell you, there is no such thing as a “mini” break down – it is a perhaps more a serious and severe warning that help is needed, immediately. Help that I, like so many people, didn’t get.
Citalopram deadened me, made me numb. It enabled me to function again, but at only the most basic level. It kept me going but on auto-pilot, zombie like. “The-lights-were-on-but-no-one-was-in” kind of thing. And that was ok, until an unresponsive dental infection had been raging for 3 months, causing excruciating pain, and a heart breaking appointment with my divorce lawyer broke through the numbness, and I ended up in hospital with an overdose. After years of struggling to cope, I just wanted to take a break, just to have a day without my heart, body and mind screaming in pain and fear.
I was put on different medication, it had a similar deadening effect, but this time I had support with counselling and was put on the waiting list for psychotherapy. A waiting list of years, but light was beginning to show at some distant point at the top of the well some thousands of miles above me. And that’s how things stayed for another year or so – numb but functioning, able to see a touch joy and a hint beauty, even if not to feel it. It was enough because I finally had some hope. I did everything I could to learn more about what I was going though, to find a way to get myself better. Admittedly, when stupefied with medication and depression, the best I could do wasn’t a huge amount!
Then I gave a friend a massage, he said I was so good I should charge. He gave me a massage table, and encouraged me to 'go for it'. I set up a business as a massage therapist. And I began to finally feel better. I loved giving massage – it made me feel happy and calm and relaxed, appreciated, useful. My health improved, physically and emotionally and mentally. I reduced my medication, and my mind returned a little closer to sparky and active. I researched, and discovered that although there was no legal requirement to have a formal qualification in massage in order to charge the public for your services, it is illegal to practice without insurance, and to get insurance, you needed to be qualified. So I trained with ITEC in Holistic Massage. Every week I would go to class and give and receive massage with my fellow students. I could not wait for each class day, and after each one I was stronger and stronger.
I was taught that massage can help alleviate depression (amongst other health issues), but it wasn’t until very recently that I realised that my training and massages did exactly that for me. I wasn’t earning any more than I did with my previous business; I worked just as hard physically, and a lot more mentally than before. My personal life was still incredibly challenging, but my fear and anxiety, my terror at life faded exponentially as the training and massage sessions went on. Within 6 months, I was off my medication, I was discharged by the community mental health team, and I had changed my whole life to one with laughter and beauty and joy!
This summer, having worked virtually solidly for 4 years, I had my therapy room created from the back of my garage. It took me weeks, and time away from giving massage. I spent time with my children and took a break from work. This should have made me so happy – I had finally manifested a dream, but anxiety crept in bringing a low mood with it. Because of my history, I am super alert to any change in mood as a warning sign. It made no sense. And then I realised, I wasn’t doing enough massage. I had gone from giving between 3 to 4 hours massage and bodywork therapy a day, to maybe one or two hours a week. I figured that perhaps giving more massage would again be the key to wellbeing. I worked with my family and friends, and with every massage I gave, I felt stronger. I had a few massages myself too, which were blissful! I had time when I could actually stop the world, take a break, escape from the pressures of living as a single mother, and unfunded entrepreneur, the Alresford FHT local support worker etc etc.... And when my massage was finished, I was actually relaxed and refreshed to cope with every obstacle and challenge life was sending my way. I thought clearer, I had more energy again, more vitality and above all, more joy.
So, what is it about massage that helps to lift the darkness of depression? It is a multitude of factors. To be accepted and received without judgement by your therapist. To feel your therapist give pure and simple caring love to you, and as a therapist myself, perhaps appreciating that my therapist saw my body as beautiful however I saw my reflection. To have care and tenderness, soft gentle touch, without feeling any need to respond in any way... and oxytocin!
I will explain more about the science and art of how and why massage helps to alleviate depression in my next blog. We will look at what oxytocin is, what it does, and why it is so important, along with other hormones like dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin.
Until then, I wish you beauty and joy in everything you see and everything you do.