What is a postnatal massage?
'Isn't it just like a normal massage?' I get asked?
Well, yes and no.
Which sounds like a cop-out. Let me explain.
For up to a year after the baby's born, you have extra progesterone circulating in your body. These people who say 'you'll be back to normal after 6 weeks.' Don't listen to them!! Your body is going through massive physical changes (oh, you noticed! Sorry), not to mention all those hormones, emotions and um....tiredness going on. Sorry, I mentioned the T word.
The T word isn't actually the reason I adapt a postnatal massage to suit you - more on that later -, but it is the reason you may put off a much-needed session. The effort involved with actually arranging child-care, putting on clothes, getting out of the house at something approaching the right time, it feels like climbing a mountain in the early days, weeks, months.
So here's the deal. I don't care what you look like. I have had people arrive in their pyjamas, hair unwashed, covered in baby vomit (isn't there a nice euphemism for that somewhere, oh I remember, spit up. Nice!) I have had people arrive so tired that they fall asleep on the couch within 5 minutes, I have had people arrive late, with babies unexpectedly in tow, I have had babies on the couch because they would not settle.
And I have had people leave feeling not just better, but refreshed, rejevenated, able to take on the next few hours or days. Because the postnatal period is not a piece of cake and sometimes you need a little help in whatever form you can get it.
It's also a complete back-breaker. Carrying a baby, picking up a baby, awkward sleeping positions, feeding positions, with a body that has already been through labour, you deserve a little pampering!!
The actual massage takes these things into consideration. I know that you may leak, that you may be uncomfortable laying face down for any length of time. I also know that you probably have sore shoulders, back, pecs, neck and even arms from carrying and feeding. I understand that you are tired and sore.
Most of all, I understand that you still have progesterone in your system. This excludes some deep massage in some people, and some stretches. Again, in some people. I would be able to assess this when you are on the couch. There are also specific stretches we can do to relieve neck, back and chest tightness from feeding.
So in short, postnatal massage is for any mum or dad (yes, dads get tired too. They deserve some pampering too) with a child up to a year old. Because I genuinely believe it takes this long to get back to anything resembling normal. It takes into account the extra progesterone in your system. For some people this massage may resemble any normal massage, for others we may need to adapt things like pressure and position.
So, as I say, yes and no.
Why does my stomach gurgle when I have a massage?
So, stomachs and gurgling. My clients always think it’s a bad thing, they are always a little embarrassed. NO!! It’s a good thing, it’s a normal thing, and it means you are relaxing, which is completely underestimated in our society.
It’s all about the sympathetic and para sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight, the stressed or relaxed body states. Truthfully, life is so hectic, so busy, so highly charged, that most of us go round in a state of semi-tension all the time, and this puts great strain on our bodies.
The stressed physiological state is autonomic, which means we cannot control it.
It was designed to deal with big dangers, sabre-toothed tigers for example. It automatically prepares the body for action: increased heart rate, adrenaline production, glucose produced from the liver, blood pumped to the muscles and away from non-vital processes like digestion, anti-diuretic hormone to stop you needing to pee whilst you’re busy running away (or fighting if you’re really crazy). All of these things happen automatically, we have no control over them in the presence of a potential threat, nor do we have complete control over what we perceive as a threat.
We also have no control over when our system goes back to a relaxed state, and this is where it becomes damaging. Every day we are triggered, we have demands at work, our kids are acting up, we have deadlines, commitments, responsibilities. And the stress response keeps kicking in, and never quite going back to resting. Our blood pressure, hormones, insulin production and other vital processes can all be affected.
We NEED down-time to give our bodies time to recover. So the next time you are on a massage table and your stomach starts gurgling, know that you have given your body a gift, the gift of coming back to a non-stressed or parasympathetic state, where you can just rest and repair. Also know that it will make me very happy, this is how I know I have done my job.
Tibetan Massage and Chakra Balancing
When I went to train last year, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was (obviously) based on an ancient Tibetan system of healing, and I knew it encorporated a lot more than massage. In fact expert practitioners can treat the whole body, a little like Chinese medicine or Ayurveda.
I just did the shortened version: clearing the aura and chakra with Tibetan bells, head, hand and foot/ankle massage, and most intriguing of all, acupressure points.
The concept is to realign the energy in the body, through sound healing and acupressure, and it is incredibly relaxing.
The acupressure pressure is surprisingly light, and all of the main energy meridians are activated, thus stimulating all of the organs in the body: brain, liver, kidneys, spleen etc. According to Tibetan tradition, these all represent different diseases in the body, so it stimulates self healing and balance throughout the body.
It is a surprisingly powerful treatment, whilst being very gentle. It is one of the stillest treatments I do, despite - or possibly because of - the bells, and people tend to go to a very deep relaxed place or even drop off.
Last year people at the Ivinghoe pamper and shopping party were able to fully relax and switch off even in a noisy hall. Most reported that after a couple of minutes they no longer heard the noise at all.
Chakra balancing is a very specific use of reiki. Reiki is a Japanese art, and it balances the flow of energy in the body. It can also release energetic blocks and work on emotional or physical pain. I have noticed that my reiki is particularly helpful for sore knees and emotional issues such as grief, stress and anxiety.
The client lays on the couch fully clothed with a blanket and pillow, nice and comfy. If they happen to drop off the healing still works the same. Some report seeing colours in their mind’s eye or receiving insights to a situation or problem. Most report feeling calm and peaceful afterwards, and often get a restorative night’s sleep.
The practitioner will have their hands on or off the body, and where there is an energetic block, will feel heat or tingling. The client may feel it too. The practitioner will generally stay in this area until the heat or tingling diminishes and the energy feels like it is flowing more freely.
In chakra balancing, this healing will be directed to the main 7 chakras, in order to realign the flow of energy through this meridian. It may be that some chakras are empty, and some over-full, and the balancing will help rectify that. People report feeling more grounded, calmer, more at ease in themselves, or having more energy.
Intuitive Healing Massage. What it is and how it can help you.
The first thing to say is that I might yawn a lot. Not because I am tired but because I am clearing energy. This is the main thing about intuitive healing massage: it shifts energetic blockages in the body like nothing else. It pulls out stuck emotion and allows the flow of energy (the Chinese chi) to circulate again. So you feel better. End of story.
Wow, that was a short blog!
OK, seriously, the low-down. For you it’s similar to any other massage. We have a discussion, you let me know which areas you would like to focus on, whether you have any aches and pains and how you want to feel afterwards. So far, so normal. You lay on the couch as normal and I massage according to what we have agreed and what pressure you want.
This is where it begins to get interesting. At the points in the body where there is stuck energy, I will yawn. Sometimes loudly, voraciously, gulping in great deep breathsl. I apologise for that. Sometimes I might even burp. I apologise for that also. It’s actually a well-known thing that healers do, and not something I generally do any other time. Sorry if this is freaking you out, I can’t explain it either, but I do know it works. It releases something that other massages can’t reach. Ha ha ha!
So that’s the healing bit. It literally releases stuck energy and realigns the flow of energy in the body.
The intuitive bit is kind of what it says on the tin. I might be drawn to specific areas. But more importantly I will feel when the healing is complete in these areas. Normally it’s when I stop yawning. But I also get a very specific feeling. I may as well just tell you all my quirky crazy secrets. You’ve made it this far.
I feel a pressure in my solar plexus whilst the healing is going on. Sometimes it’s in my heart, sometimes it’s a specific emotion moving through me. Generally I find it hard to take a deep breath until the healing is complete, like my chest is being compressed. Sometimes it’s really uncomfortable or even painful. The things I do for you guys! I will continue massaging one area, or come back to it until I feel that the healing is complete, generally when I can breathe easily again.
All of this time you are just having a relaxing massage. Well I hope you are! I’ve never actually thought to ask anyone whether they also experience these sensations. You receive the physical benefit of the massage but also the emotional and energetic healing.
The healing tends to give you whatever you need: this might be an energy boost or some down time. You might feel very tired or get an extra good night’s sleep, or just feel better aligned, more buoyant or free from pain.
It sounds pretty good doesn’t it, and it is! So why don’t I do this for all my massages you ask? Well I like to give people choice and not everyone wants it. Some people just want a deep tissue massage, and that‘s fine by me. Though more and more it’s creeping in without me asking for it to happen. If I start yawning in your massage, at least you now know why!
How to set powerful goals not resolutions
How have your New Year resolutions been going? Personally I'm not too keen on them, they smack a little of 'not good enough, must try harder' and I always hated those reports!
Also people often think that the work itself is to come up with the resolution and just throw it out there like one of those balloon messages. If you're lucky it'll come back to you from some exotic location.
If you're anything like me, this means that I am constantly disappointed that 'lose weight' and 'get fit' don't automatically translate into losing 3 stone and running the marathon by next month. After that I kind of give up.
So what's the missing ingredient? How do you turn your resolutions into results?
It's the how. One simple, very powerful word. HOW are you going to lose weight? HOW are you going to get fit? HOW slim, how fit do you want to be, HOW are you going to motivate yourself and HOW soon do you want it to happen? Quite a lot to think about but if you want things to happen, you have to set actual goals, not vague resolutions.
And it's only the first week of January: it's not too late to go back and do it again.
The last time I set serious resolutions was 2012. Why? Because we had committed to walk the High Route, a serious Alpine challenge between Chamonix and Zermatt in September of that year.
I started the year in the normal fashion: get fit, lose weight.
By April it was obvious that nothing was happening, I hadn't changed my diet and was exercising maybe once a week. The High Route is amazing, beautiful and remote. It's also challenging: 2 weeks of 1000 to 1500 metres of ascent and descent each and every day. That's like going up and down Scafell Pike once or twice a day for 2 weeks. I was a long way off being ready!!!!
So I sat down and answered the questions:
How? Running. Also give up all carbs except for fruit
How often? (be realistic): At least 3-4 times a week. Also at least one 10-20 mile walk every month.
How am I going to make sure it happens? Do I need a weigh in, a reward, an accountability buddy? In my case all I needed was the fear! I used to imagine being half way up the mountain and not being able to go on. That was enough!
How slim/fit do I need to be? Lose one and a half stone and be able to run 5 miles at a decent pace or 7 miles at a jog.
Also my big why? So that I wouldn't make a fool of myself, I wouldn't end up having a heart attack en route, and I would actually enjoy it.
I didn't achieve everything and maybe I shouldn't have STARTED with a twenty mile walk! (If you saw someone crawling back from Marsworth that summer, it was me!) But I did it! I did enjoy the trek. I was slow, but I didn't make a fool of myself and I didn't have a heart attack. And it was one of the best things I have ever done.
If there's something you want in your life that you don't currently have, you need to get real. You have to set goals. You have to set things up to fully support and motivate yourself. You have to make it happen because airy fairy resolutions and intentions, quite honestly, are just for fun.
Until next time. In love and light.
'Resolving emotional and physical pain'
Healing Stories, Birth Stories, EFT, Massage, Reiki
1:1 emotional healing also available via Skype
Tel: 07717 471 584