The saying ‘a pain in the neck’ is used in many contexts these days but for many people the discomfort of pain in the neck is a very real and daily occurrence, particularly if they have recently or at some time in the past suffered a whiplash injury.
If a whiplash injury has occurred – and bear in mind something as seemingly innocent as stepping hard off a kerb or somebody bumping into you can trigger a whiplash – and subsequently settled, it can be reawakened by awkward posture when sleeping, carrying out a particular or repetitive activity or another trip, fall or other impact.
Because of the nature of whiplash, where the soft tissues of the neck are suddenly wrenched into an unnatural stretch, there is also the possibility of damage to the bone and this should always be checked out before seeking hands-on therapy. Once fractures have been ruled out it is recommended to seek treatment during the ‘sub-acute’ phase – not immediately after the trauma but from 48 hours to 7 days after, where gentle mobilisation can start to encourage the muscles back into a state of relaxation and healing.
As we touched on in ‘Shoulders up to your ears?‘, tight muscles around the shoulders can have great impact on your neck leading to headaches, jaw pain, ear pain, facial pain, dizziness and greatly reduced range of movement – particularly noticed in driving when trying to look over your shoulder.
As well as the muscles we looked at previously there are the scalenes and sternocleidomastiods to consider – those at the sides and front of your neck. The scalenes in particular are susceptable to shortening and tightening if good posture has been compromised and can lead to all of the above pain patterns. In addition to the discomfort from the muscles themselves the cervical (neck) spine can become out of alignment which results in similar pain patterns.
There is a condition known as Wry Neck, or Torticollis, which literally means ‘twisted neck’. This can due to other factors but it commonly occurs where people wake up with a painful, still and twisted neck from sleeping awkwardly or after spending long periods of time working at a computer or games console while sat at a bad angle with inadequate body suport. Wry neck can ease and settle in a few days with rest and painkillers but gentle mobilisation exercises and massage can help greatly in the acute stages.
Pain in the neck area can be very specific, or localised, or it may feel vague as it is referred from what are known as trigger points on the muscles – tight areas which feel knotty and tender that can be released through trigger point therapy. As the tight muscles shorten, putting tension onto the tendons and ligaments of the structures they are attached to, this can cause severe localised pain. It is important therefore to not only work on the points that feel sore but to check the rest of the muscles and surrounding soft tissues for tightness.
A combined approach to release the soft tissues and realign the spine is an effective way to treat this kind of neck pain. The Spinal Release treatment would assist in the early acute stages to encourage the tissues to relax and restore range of motion – important for the healing process – then the Dorn Method and Massage Therapy would also be appropriate to assist further release and correction.
The Jaw Release treatment targets all these areas from the top of the shoulders, the whole neck and jaw itself to release tight muscles and feel for spinal imbalances. It is proving highly effective with results being achieved quickly – in some cases a major difference is being felt after the first session.
All the above treatments are available with Natalie at Ananda Clinic in Tonbridge.
For the first time in weeks my spine feels totally free – free from tension, free from discomfort, free from compression. And what has happened to enable that? A weekend in Brighton with The Jing Institute of Advanced Massage refining my understanding of spinal restrictions and receiving some rather fabulous bodywork as part of the learning process!
Many bodyworkers (with the exception of course of osteopaths and chiropractors) have a great fear of working with the spine. I remember some of my early massage training where it was emphasised that you don’t work directly on the spine (what, is it going to fall apart if you touch it?!) and it took some years of tentative exploration and gentle experimentation to convince me that actually the spine is a pretty robust bit of our design.
I have since learnt some great massage structural release work as well as undertaking advanced Dorn Method training and am now using direct spinal work in many of my sessions.
The spine is a very complex structure which has evolved in a very specific way to allow us a wide range of movements and great degree of flexibility. However, as it contains numerous joints and interconnecting parts it is also vulnerable to postural stresses and trauma through injury. These factors can lead to soft tissue imbalances, rotation and/or displacement of the neck, pelvis or vertebrae, locking of the sacrum and sacroilliac joint and rib displacement.
Unless there is a genetic or surgical reason why the spine has been set in such a way it is usually possible to effect some sort of release and realignment through soft tissue manipulation and gentle mobilisations. These techniques can also be used for acute muscle spasm and chronic pain patterns as they help release the muscles that are protecting the injury or weakness which allows range of movement to be restored and thus aids healing.
Rehabilitation exercises between sessions enhance the treatment and aid recovery. Come and try a Spinal Release Treatment and see for yourself how it works.
Reproduced with kind permission from The Jing Institute of Advanced Massage Training:
The Seven Secrets of highly successful Bodyworkers
New article by Meghan Mari and Rachel Fairweather (with acknowledgements to Steven Covey for his inspirational book: The Seven habits of Highly successful people)
What makes a really GREAT bodyworker?
During my fifteen year love affair with bodywork I have practised, taught, studied and received massage in many diverse parts of the world including the UK, USA, Europe and Thailand. I have known bodyworkers from many different disciplines and walks of life, from the extreme ends of the “New Age” to the resolutely scientific. I have experienced people working with muscles, bones, auras, Qi, cranial rhythms, Sen lines, meridian lines, manipulating organs, fascia, using movement and stillness. I have seen healing happen through working on the body, off the body and in the deepest layers of the body.
From all of this it has become apparent to me that some bodyworkers “make it” – they are successful, happy, have the practice they desire, feel like they are travelling their life path, and are financially content in whatever way that means to them. Others never quite seem to get there, their practises don’t flourish, clients don’t come back to them, they are scraping a living emotionally and financially.
So what is the difference? What makes a truly great bodyworker? It seems no single quality alone will suffice. I have seen highly gifted and intuitive therapists burn out rapidly as they become overwhelmed with the practicalities of running a business. I have seen therapists who are successful business people and know their anatomy inside and out but who have no sensitivity of touch or ability to relate to clients.
This article attempts to distill the essence of some of those qualities I have observed in the therapists who are living and loving their life and work to the full – the Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Bodyworkers.
Secret One: Enthusiasm
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” Emerson
“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm; it moves stones, it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity and truth accomplishes no victories without it” Bulwer-Lytton
Great bodyworkers LOVE what they do. They are excited, animated and energised by their work. They love to talk about it, read about it, let others know how great bodywork is. And their enthusiasm doesn’t just stop at the bodywork; they are energetic about all aspects of their practice; how they can make their clinic room the most restful and appealing to their clients, how they can design a great business card or leaflet, how they can find the best clinic or colleagues to work with. Enthusiasm is contagious, your clients want to know that you believe in what you do, they want a piece of what makes you buzz. If you are bored by your work, your clients will know and, lets face it, who wants to be around someone who is jaded .
One of my first teachers said to me “I have to constantly find ways to stop myself getting bored with massage”. That is what good bodyworkers do- they are fascinated by the body, always finding new ways to achieve better results with their clients, looking for new techniques. If you are still doing the same routine you learned five years ago, chances are you will be bored. So if you are jaded with your work, go and get some training, find new ways to work, move, break out of the box. Find a colleague to swap with and learn some new techniques. Read a great bodywork book. Surf the internet for inspiring bodywork sites. Rediscover your passion for your work and watch your practice grow.
Secret Two: Perseverance
“Victory belongs to the most persevering” Napoleon
“ I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident, they came by work” Edison
“ If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all” Michelangelo
Like these famous characters, successful bodyworkers know the value of hard work and perseverance. Great therapists “keep on keeping on” when things are not going their way, pick themselves back up after mistakes and failures. No matter how talented you are, building a successful practice takes time, work and perseverance. Don’t expect the phone to just start ringing when you qualify; you need to put in effort and good old fashioned elbow grease to get those clients. Remember the old adage “If you love what you do you’ll never work another day in your life”. So love your vocation, work hard at it and enjoy the journey.
Secret Three: Be open to new learning
“As for me all I know is that I know nothing” Socrates
“ To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge” Disraeli
The fascinating paradox is that great bodyworkers “know their stuff” yet at the same time are comfortable with “not knowing” and are always striving to learn more. Taoist sages claim that “one who does not know actually knows, and one who knows really does not know”. To be empty, to recognize how little we know is to be abundant. Successful bodyworkers are always open to new learning, and recognise we are always beginners with so much to learn. There is a wonderful story in the book “ Beyond Shiatsu” by the inspirational bodyworker and teacher Ohashi as follows
“In the 1970s I gave some sessions to the late prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn. After one of them she said she was attending ballet classes for beginners. I asked her “ Why are you- a famous, top ballerina- taking a beginners basic course with 18 year old kids. She said “If I don’t take this class every day, I can tell it in my performance; and if I don’t take this class for 2 days my choreographer can tell and if I don’t take it for 3 days, an experienced audience can tell”. This is the essence of mastery – to always be open to new learning, to seek out inspirational teachers and mentors, to use their experience to give you shortcuts to the success you desire.
Secret Four: Great Touch
“ Good bodywork is 90% perception and 10% technique: (Christophe Somer; Rolfer)
Successful bodyworkers have great touch. Their work has focus, sensitivity and connection. The term “listening touch” coined by Rollin Becker describes this perfectly. Good listening touch is different than knowing lots of techniques- skills are important but if they are carried out with lack of focus and feeling, your work will be ineffective. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing sports massage, relaxation massage, aromatherapy, shiatsu, craniosacral work or Thai massage, the therapists who get good results and retain clients have great touch. This doesn’t mean they were just born with it: like everything else, good touch and sensitivity comes from application, focus and experience. Good teachers will teach you not just technique but how to touch – how it feels to palpate a tight muscle, restricted fascia, stagnant energy or the gentle tide of the cranial rhythm. Receiving bodywork yourself will teach you what feels good and what doesn’t. Cultivate your sense of touch by being fascinated by the body and its hidden rhythms and find yourself a good teacher whose touch thrills your senses.
Secret Five: Outcome orientated treatments
Successful bodyworkers are focussed on the outcome of their treatments not just what style or techniques they offer. If a client wants to relax, a good therapist doesn’t just launch into the same old tired routine but digs into their toolbox of techniques and finds what they can use to make this unique individual relax. This may well be entirely different from what will be needed to enable the next client to achieve deep relaxation. At Jing, our medical massage courses look at how to reduce pain within 1-6 treatments from a combination of advanced techniques including trigger point, myofascial release and stretching. Being outcome orientated builds practices and retains clients as they know exactly what they can expect to achieve from the treatment or series of treatments. Being outcome orientated also relies on good consultation and assessment skills so you know what your client needs and expects.
Secret Six: Graceful Body mechanics
“ The energy is rooted in the feet, developed in the legs, directed by the waist and expressed trhough the fingers” (Tai Chi classics)
You can spot a good bodyworker a mile away from the grace and ease of their bodies when they work. They are focussed and at one with their work. Just watching them makes you feel relaxed. At Jing, we place primary importance on teaching our students great body mechanics. You will learn to move with ease and fluidity and to avoid techniques that place strain on hands, necks, backs and wrists. Learn the dance of massage, moving according to the principles of Tai Chi, using breath and energy and from a firm rooted foundation.
Good bodyworkers also understand that “less is more” and use graceful body mechanics to move from a position of ease:
“ Over and over again people come to me and they tell me, you just don’t know how strong I am. They say “strength” and I want to hear “balance”. The strength idea has effort in it; this is not what I am looking for. Strength that has effort in it is not what you need; you need the strength that is the result of ease” (Ida Rolf, founder of Rolfing)
Secret Seven: Know your worth
Successful therapists know their worth and charge appropriately for what they do. They understand that money is just a unit of energy and that if you are not charging appropriately for what you do, this is a quick route to exhaustion and resentment. Good bodyworkers are able to feel confident about re-booking clients as their treatments are professional, appropriate and outcome oriented.
The Jing Institute of Advanced Massage Training is an organisation dedicated to excellence in all aspects of postgraduate massage training. Based in Brighton, we offer courses around the country. Our courses include longer qualifications in advanced massage including our revolutionary BTEC Level 6 (degree level) in Advanced Clinical and Sports massage and 1-2 day CPD courses in Hot Stone Fusion, trigger point, myofascial release, stretching, pregnancy, on site, living anatomy and many others. Please call or check our website for further information and course dates.
Tel: 01273 628942
Copyright Jing Institute of Advanced Massage . Text Rachel Fairweather.
This has got to be one of the most commonly presenting areas of pain and discomfort that I’ve seen in the clinic since I began practicing massage therapy. It is not uncommon for clients to arrive with their shoulders literally up to their ears – and in a great deal of pain because of it.
The largest muscle in this area is the trapezius – a key postural and movement muscle – and sitting underneath this is the levator scapula, a deeper muscle that allows the upward movement of the shoulder blades.
The trapezius muscle is a broad muscle which attaches to the base of the skull, lays across the back of the neck, down to the upper shoulders then extends down to your mid back. The upper part is one of the most likely muscles to get sore knots or “trigger points” if you are under stress or have been carrying heavy loads.
Pain originating in the upper trapezius may be felt as a burning sensation in a particular area on the muscle itself but also commonly refers up the neck, into the jaw, along the side and into the front of the head causing a tension band headache.
The levator scapula runs from the lateral (side) processes of the upper vertebrae of the neck (C1 – C4) to the inner ‘corner’ edge of the shoulder blade. Its function is to allow the raising of the shoulders and also sideways bending of the neck. Pain in the levator scapular is often felt as a sharp pain in the top of the shoulders or up near the base of the skull and it may feel gristly and knotty around the shoulder blades. There may also be soreness in the side of your neck.
So why do these muscles hurt? Your head can weigh around a stone - and is balanced on top of the small column of bones that make up your neck. The muscles supporting it are constantly working to keep your head in a neutral position that causes the least stress on the whole area. Now imagine what will happen to that fine balancing act if your head is frequently tilted forward or to one side. Or you repeatedly carry a heavy bag on the same shoulder. How much stress would that place on the muscles at the back and side of the neck?
Postural stress is one of the commonest causes of upper trapezius pain, especially for computer users who have a tendency to jut the chin forward to better view the screen and those who regularly ‘cradle’ the phone between their ear and shoulder. Over time the muscles become shortened so mobility becomes restricted. This can lead to minor tears when they overstretch and subsequent scarring in the soft tissue - this is the gristly knotty bit you can feel in a tight muscle. The surrounding muscle then tightens to protect the injury site and before you know it a large part of the muscle has shortened, tensed up, and you have a large and painful knot protecting the original injury.
So how can this be prevented? Well, the first thing is to check your posture and eliminate any bad posture or habits that are placing unnecessary stress on your upper body. Check the height and alignment of your computer screen, ensure your car seat is the correct height so you don’t have to lean forward, get a hands-free headset if you spend long periods of time on the telephone. Swap your single strap bag for a rucksack, or if you really can’t bear to part with it frequently swap it to the other shoulder.
Massage therapy is by far the most beneficial way to reduce muscle tension as the hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues boosts circulation, releases muscle holding patterns, breaks down scarring and knotty areas and realigns the muscle fibres so they can once again glide smoothly and freely the way they are designed to. Also for this area the targeted Jaw Release treatment is highly effective especially for the referred pain patterns mentioned above. By working directly on the soft tissues and spending time gently releasing and lengthening the muscles, the body is able to re-balance and find a more neutral way to be.
If these pain patterns sound familiar then why not try some massage therapy and see if it can help you feel more comfortable.
Continuing with the back pain series we are moving up to the shoulders, looking at problems that can occur with tightness around the shoulder blades.
The shoulder blade (scapula) is covered in a muscle group known as the rotator cuff. This is a group of 4 muscles that help hold the humerus (upper arm bone) into the shoulder socket and facilitate the wide range of movement that such a shallow joint allows.
These muscles need to have a certain tightness to allow them to hold the joint in a stable position, but when the rotator cuff becomes excessively tight the muscles can shorten and become easily strained or torn.
This can lead to problems such as localised pain or deep dull ache, feeling tight and uncomfortable in the back and front of the shoulder and across the collarbone or down the arm, numbness, weakness and restricted movement of the shoulder and arm. Left untreated this can develop into what is commonly known as ‘frozen shoulder’ where the surrounding muscles tighten, the joint capsule ‘locks’ and movement becomes severely restricted and painful.
Tight rotator cuff muscles generally respond extremely well to massage and physical manipulation, although working them can be somewhat painful. The opposing muscle group to the rotator cuff are the Pectoralis (pecs) muscles at the front of the upper chest, running below the collar bones. These can get tight due to lifestyle and poor posture – sitting at a computer for long periods, carrying heavy bags always on the same shoulder, sitting hunched fowards etc – and when these tighten and shorten they pull the shoulders forward into a round shouldered posture which places the already hard working rotator cuff group under additional strain.
Treatment for pain in the rotator cuff should therefore also include examination and work on the upper arm, shoulder and pectoralis to release the whole area in a balanced way. Gentle stretches and strenghening exercises will then continue to release tension or build strength where needed.
To prevent overusing the rotator cuff, practise engaging the larger and stronger surrounding muscles to assist with shoulder strength – the latissimus dorsi that wraps over the lower part of the shoulder blade and down towards the ribcage, the rounded deltoids of the outer ‘corners’ of the shoulders and the large percotralis muscles of the upper chest. A simple exercise to help align the shoulders correctly and release tension is to draw the shoulder blades together towards the spine, then downwards. This also engages the larger muscles of the back to help with strength which can help rest the smaller muscles and avoid overstraining.
Also try laying on your back (with only a small or no pillow) and allow gravity to drop your shoulders backwards towards the floor which will gently stretch out the pectoralis muscles.
If you are struggling with pain in your shoulders or any of the pain patterns mentioned above come for an assessment and discuss what treatment options would be most appropriate for you. Both Massage and Dorn Method can be beneficial for such pain.
In this next installment of the Back Pain Series we jump up a little to the upper back and problems associated with tightness and misalignment in this area, and the similarity to the more localised Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Most common in women between 20 and 50 years of age, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is an umbrella term to encompass pain in the neck, shoulder and arm. For this article we will look at non-specific TOS which is usually triggered by trauma to the upper body or repetitive strain/overuse injury.
The pain is usually a dull, aching pain felt anywhere from the neck, through the shoulder to the arm and hand. It originates from compression to the nerves and/or veins running between the neck and the upper ribs, through the clavicles (collar bones) and down through the armpit. The compression may occur along any of these points and pain or tenderness may be felt locally at the compression site or radiate down into the arm and/or hand. This may be accompanied by pins and needles or tingling in the 3rd and 4th fingers, the palm of the hand and in extreme cases a weakening of hand grip.
The pain associated with non-specific TOS usually worsens with activity and improves with rest. Physical therapies to help release overtight or strained soft tissues can be beneficial as can a programme of gentle stretching, strengthening and using hot and cold therapy. If poor posture is the cause then learning correct posture can improve symptoms by removing the stresses on the soft tissues. A postural assessment and necessary correction can also help by realigning the body and therefore reducing the presure on overcompensating areas.
Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome are similar to those more commonly associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Another repetitive strain/overuse injury, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) also presents with pain, numbness, tingling and pins and needles in the hand, thumb and 1st and 2nd fingers. It is usually caused by compression to the medial nerve in the front of the wrist. This runs through a small compartment called the Carpal Tunnel and if this becomes inflamed due to overuse it reduces the space for the nerve to pass through and pinches it. Due to the similarity in symptoms of CTS and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome it is important to check the neck and shoulders on any client presenting with these symptoms even if the pain is felt locally at the hand/wrist.
Rest is often advised for CTS with the wearing of a splint to keep the wrist stable and prevent overuse, however this may in turn lead to loss of muscle and strength in the arm and wrist which can lead to further problems.
Cold packs can be applied to help reduce inflammation of the wrist and massage of the arm, shoulder and neck can help to relax muscles that may also be involved. Depending on the level of inflammation, gentle massage directly over the carpal tunnel area may also help to release, soften and stretch out the soft tissues that are contributing to the compression. This can be particularly beneficial in the very early stages before the swelling becomes too bad.
As with any symptoms that persist or worsen there is no substitute for medical advice and you should check with your GP if you are concerned about your health.
In this second part of Lumbar problems we are looking at the more serious conditions of Degenerative Disc Disease, Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis.
Degenerative Disc Disease
The term Degenerative Disc Disease sounds frightening and permanent. However, it is not as serious as it may suggest. As we get older our spinal discs start to degenerate. For some people this will result in chronic pain, most commonly in the lower back or neck, yet for others there will be no physical discomfort at all. The ‘degeneration’ occurs as the disc’s water content reduces and it starts to lose its spongy quality and shrink. This subjects it to greater pressures from the vertebrae which can lead to tears and the build up of scar tissue.
There is some debate within the medical community as to the actual cause of pain with this condition, with some suggesting that the pain is due to inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the damaged disc, and others looking more to the vulnerability of the nerve roots in the affected area. The pain pattern reported is often a persistent low to moderate ‘baseline’ pain with intermittent high pain flare-ups (described as the back ‘giving out’) following particular activities. Acute episodes can last a few days to a few weeks before settling back into the low level chronic state. The pain may stay localised in the lower back or there may be pain, numbness and/or tingling down the leg. This makes it a very difficult condition to identify as the pain pattern can be similar to Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome.
This seems to be a condition that is more common amongst the 30′s and 40′s age group, and whilst the disc will continue to deteriorate the pain usually does not get any worse over time.
Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease includes physical therapy such as Dorn Method and McTimoney Chiropractic, both of which gently help realign the spine and rebalance the body to help minimise irritation to the surrounding soft tissues and nerves.
Osteoarthritis of the spine is a more serious and permanent condition, most common in people over 50. It is associated with Degenerative Disc Disease as the stresses placed on the vertebrae of the affected area can, over time, develop into osteoarthritis. The under-lubricated joints rub against each other leading to damage of the protective cartilage and the formation of painful bone spurs. That is not to say however that one will automatically lead to the other.
Symptoms commonly include pain and stiffness in the affected joints which can also lead on to secondary muscular tension and restricted mobility. Lower back pain is typically worse first thing in the morning aftar prolonged immobility overnight, easing off during the day with normal movement and then worsening again as the day goes on and the joints become inflamed.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include ageing, being overweight and physical trauma or prolonged stressing of the joints over time. There may also be a genetic disposition.
Osteoarthritis also occurs in the facet joints of the spine, small joints that assist with flexibility and stability of the spinal column wihch can lead to Spinal Stenosis.
Most common in the over 50′s, Spinal Stenosis occurs when extra bone is laid down as a reaction to physical repetitive stresses on the spine. When this is laid down between two vertebrae and where the nerve exits the spinal cord, then eventually the nerve is compressed and extreme pain on extension is felt .
The name comes from the Greek word meaning ‘choking’. In the neck (cervical spine) pain in the arms is experienced due to the nerve compression. In the lower back this can lead to sciatica and leg pain, which worsens when walking. The symptoms may fluctuate in severity, easing when at rest or when leaning forward - for example leaning on a shopping trolley to get relief from the pain is a classic sign of spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis pain management includes ice for the inflammation and heat to help relax the surrounding muscles. Massage therapy is also very effective to help release the muscles associated with back and leg ache.
In the words of Gerry Pyves, NO HANDS Massage creator, a great reason for having a massage is NURTURANCE!
“From the moment of birth until our death we experience less and less touch. You could say that our ‘touch quota’ steadily reduces from the moment we are born!
Yet touch is one of the primal needs of every human being. Safe touch that demands nothing of us is probably the most powerful touch there is. That is why NURTURANCE is one of the major reasons to have a Massage. We all need to top up our touch quota.
There is nothing that soothes the mind or soul more powerfully than Massage. You can take all the therapies in the world and wrap them up in a sack and bung them into the river when it comes to finding anything that comes even close to the rich smorgasbord of touch that is Massage.
Massage quite literally represents a tsunami of sensory nerve stimulation to the body and mind. As a consequence of so many nerve endings being stimulated at the same time, we experience literallly hundreds of benefits.
Perhaps the most important reason for giving yourself the nurturing power of Massage and touch is simply getting a bit of extra support on this difficult journey called life. No matter how you look at it, being human is tough.
Massage can soothe your journey. Every human being needs and deserves the support that Massage can provide on life’s journey. It’s really that simple.”
If you need a reminder of how nurturing a Massage can be, or you want to try it for the first time, book yourself in for a NO HANDS Massage treatment with Natalie at Ananda Clinic. Click here for more details.
So, continuing with the Back Pain series, we move up to the sacrum – the large flat bone right at the base of your back and then up to the lumbar vertebrae, the five large flexible bones at the bottom of the spine.
The sacrum consists of five bones that are fused together to form a flat, triangular shape. This is a very important part of the spine as it is a connecting point for the back of the pelvis bones on either side, the base of the spinal column at the top and the coccyx below. There is little movement within the sacrum itself but each of the joints to the other bones are under a huge amount of stress as they form part of the pelvic girdle upon which our whole upper body is supported.
The sacrum is an attachment point for many of the deep muscles in the buttocks, particularly the gluteus group, the piriformis, the core stabiliser muscles of the lower back and the hamstrings of the back of the leg. As you can imagine, if any of these muscles tighten and shorten there will be an effect on the sacrum, often a tilting pattern that then puts the lumbar area under strain.
Pain in the sacrum may be a hot, sharp pain or it may feel more a dull ache. If the pain has been caused by muscular tightness – poor posture or a sedentary lifestyle can be contributors to this – then a physical therapy may be all that is needed to give those muscles a hand in releasing the tight holding pattern they may have got stuck in. Highly effective treatments include Massage, using a TENS machine or a regular exercise and stretching programme to encourage the muscles to release and relax back to ‘normal’ function.
Sacral pain may also be due to damage to the ligaments that hold the structures in place and keep the attachment points strong. The ligaments that connect the sacum to the illium of the pelvis – the sacroilliac joint – can be susceptable to the usual soft tissue injuries of strains, tears and inflammation. Sacroilliac joint pain commonly presents as pain in the very lower back, the buttocks and sometimes radiating down towards the knees. It may also refer as groin pain in the front of the pelvis. These type of injuries may be the result of a trauma such as a fall landing hard on one buttock, jarring or occur over time due to a leg length discrepancy or repeated, long term, poor posture.
The lumbar section of the spine has to be strong enough to support the weight of the body above as well as flexible to act as a shock absorber during movement, so these five lumbar vertebrae are larger than the rest of the bones that make up the spine.
Due to the extreme stresses this section of the spine is exposed to, it is a common area for back pain to occur. Muscularly, the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae take a lot of the strain and these often become extremely tight, or hypertonic. Muscle spasm frequently occurs as a protective reflex and the back ‘locks’ up. Massage is extremely effective at treating this, especially NO HANDS massage which gently helps these muscles to release at a deep level and find a more neutral holding pattern in their own time.
More serious problems of the lumbar spine include slipped (prolapsed) or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, infections and tumours.
Prolapsed discs occur when the disc, which acts as a cushion between the vertebrae, gets squeezed out of place - one article I read described it as being like a burger sliding out of the bun!! – and presses against the spinal cord. Herniated discs are similar but the strong outer casing of the disc tears and the soft tissue bulges out. Both can cause severe symptoms – including pain that spreads to the buttocks and legs, tingling or numbness, muscle spasms or weakness – but equally both can present no pain symptoms at all.
The severity of the prolapse or herniation will determine the treatment required – low level prolapse can be manipulated back into place through stretches or physical therapy such as Dorn Method or McTimoney Chiropractic. If more severe, surgical intervention may be required to repair the damage and prevent reoccurance.
As well as disc herniation and prolapse it is possible for the vertebrae themselves to slip, a condition called Isthmic Spondylothesis. We are lucky enough to have a guest blog from Caroline who has kindly written about her experience of this, the initial symptoms, the gruelling treatment that followed and finally the surgical intervention and life afterwards. Caroline has been a massage client of mine for a number of years now as well as receiving regular osteopathy, both of which help manage her pain and mobility. You can read the blog here.
In the next installment we will look closer at other pathologies of the lumber spine including degenerative disc disease, arthritis and spinal stenosis.
I received this lovely email from a client following the newsletter on Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome. Paul has been coming for regular treatments for a while now and shows a real understanding of the importance of allowing things to heal and repair at their own rate. As impatient as we might be, we cannot hurry the body’s own processes along and gradual release and realignment can often lead to much longer term results than a quick fix. Well done Paul, a great client!
Thanks for your email.
The Sciatica or Piriformis article is interesting, It seems to make me feel better just knowing where the muscles are and how they work in relation to nerves etc. sort of gives you the feeling of being in the “driving seat” rather than just a victim of random pains!
I think that just knowing these things makes a big difference to how we feel about what’s going on in our bodies, and as I said, gives us more of a feeling of being in charge of them, or at least some understanding of why things are happening.
I’ve been doing lots of the stretches that you mentioned along with other stretches most days now and I am pleased with the results.
I think that was a good thing you said about “gradual progress” when we last met. I was definitely being too impatient and the funny thing is that, along with the massage treatment, since I relaxed about the whole idea of increasing flexibility back to what it used to be the progress has been a lot more rapid. It seems like I am a good 10% looser now. Funny how it works isn’t it?
Thanks for a great treatment last time, I felt really good following that and think I have experienced some differences since; particularly last week when I noticed a lot of changes in posture/muscle tension and I am really pleased with how things are going!
Having a great week so far this week, hope you are too. Looking forward to my treatment on Friday.
This guest blog has been kindly written by Caroline to share her experience of Isthmic Spondylolisthesis. Her journey has been a long and painful one but she always has a smile on her face and is a constant reminder that even the toughest challenges can be overcome with determination and a positive outlook. Huge thanks for this Caroline.
I’ve always been healthy and without any major injuries. I do remember that I always had back ache, just a niggle, occasionally annoying. It didn’t stop me doing anything, I regularly attended a gym, took part in spin classes, kick boxing, cycling, aerobics, rowing, trim trail circuits, climbing walls, you name it, I tried it. I was never a GI Jane contender, but I was willing to give it a go and have a laugh and enjoyed being active. There were degrees of discomfort, but a good stretch, a twist or even lying on the floor, throwing my legs over my head always released vertebrae’s with a satisfying cracking noise. I’d move on and forget about it until the next time.
In January 1993, at the age of 25, I joined the Metropolitan Police. Various injuries on and off duty, were dealt with and recovered from. Although a major left ankle injury in 1999 took numerous surgeries and a fairly long time to recover, it’s never been quite right since. While waiting for public transport in early December 2005, (I’d been out for an early Christmas drink!), I realised I couldn’t straighten my leg or place my left foot on the ground properly. My whole leg and lower back hurt. It felt like a sharp stabbing numbing painful sensation, which I’d ignored for such a long time, as it wasn’t interfering in my everyday life too much, until now, it was no longer possible to ignore, I was in pain and I didn’t know why. I went to see a work physio, he examined me and immediately declared me unfit for duty and shipped me off to get medical treatment. I saw my GP, who referred me to a Consultant Othopedic Surgeon, which I saw within days, as fortunately I had private medical insurance. A must for a serving Police Officer, injuries are an occupational hazard, a definite case of when not if!
My diagnosis following extensive prodding and poking, x-rays and and scans found that I was suffering from a condition called Isthmic Spondylolisthesis of L5/S1 with back pain and L5 nerve root pain. My L5 vertebrae had slipped forward, over my S1 vertebrae by about 3mm. My lower back was completely in spasm, even a gentle touch would make the muscles pulse and jump, hospital doctors would bring their students into see my quivering back muscles. I deteriateted quickly, the pain was unbearable, the pressure on my spinal cord, the nerve endings, the mis-alignment of my spine eventually made it impossible for me to stand up straight, I was bent forward, and I had no feeling from the waist down, I couldn’t function. I was soon on a cocktail of painkillers, muscle relaxants and other stuff. I was confined to bed, my mobility became extremely limited. I’ve never known anything like it. My orthopaedic surgeon admitted this condition was outside his field of expertise and thus I was referred onto an orthopaedic specialist in London.
Further extensive examinations followed. It was decided that I move into London Bridge Hospital for observation and comprehensive physiotherapy treatments , it was thought that they would try a non-surgical route. With the treatments and a serious of spinal nerve blocks, the condition may correct itself. I spent the next five months either in hospital or at the Police convalescent home. Both were great, I underwent physiotherapy twice a day, mobility and exercise classes, massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and numerous epidurals. It wasn’t successful.
In July 2006, I underwent a L5/S1 instrumented fusion with Click X and Gill procedure with decompression of the bilateral L5 nerve roots with bone grafting. No, I didn’t know what it meant either, but it sounded serious, it hurt like hell, and I was unable to sit down for 8 weeks after the surgery, and had to learn to walk all over again!
I was extremely lucky to be able to return to the Police Convalescent Home for post op care and three further in patient stays to get me back on the road to health. I was off work for about 18 months. My life had changed.
My mobility was drastically reduced, I gained weight, and I was really grumpy! I was advised to start doing pilates to strengthen my core stability muscles, so as to protect my back. I learnt to swim with the aid of floats, so as not to move my back too much. I started walking/hiking, eventually I was achieving many miles, I even volunteered to take a neighbour’s dog along with me, it seemed such a waste to not share the exercise with a more than willing companion.
My physiotherapist helped me, but most importantly, introduced me to Natalie and BMoreNatural. As my muscles were easily fatiguing, going into spasm and locking up, even after doing a small amount of activity, I needed her help. I was also fortunate to find an absolutely fabulous physiotherapist, Annabelle, who I trust completely. So with the help of Annabelle and Natalie, participating in Yoga, walking, swimming, having regular maintenance treatments and a lot of hard work, I’ve improved. It’s not been all plain sailing by any means. I had a relapse in 2008, after having a violent sneeze, which required minor surgery, numerous more trips to the convalescent home. I’m not pain free either, my L3/L4 vertrebraes are permanently swollen, as they’re under extreme pressure and taking strain through the spine which their not meant to perform, but I manage, I’ve adapted to my condition. I’ve been educated, and continue to learn about my body and its workings. Humans are amazing machines. I try to explore new avenues and keep and open mind, like trying The Dorn Method with Natalie.
Unfortunately, my police career ended in June this year, after I had been declared unfit due to ill health to perform the role of an officer. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but nor does anyone else!
These are stretches I commonly suggest to my clients who present with Piriformis Syndrome. I have used these very successfully myself and continue to do so when I get a recurrence of this condition.
With all these stretches ensure you go into them slowly, hold the stretch without bobbing or rocking and slowly release. You are only looking to take the stretch to the point where you feel a gentle pulling or replicate the symptom – if any other pain occurs or the original pain worsens then stop doing that stretch.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
The simplest of these is to sit on a chair (dining chair is a good height) with your feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and slowly start to lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 5-10 seconds then gently release. Repeat 2 or 3 times on each side. You may find that one side is more flexible than the other but it is important to always stretch both sides.
Laying Piriformis Stretch
Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring the ankle of one leg up to rest over the knee of the opposite leg (as with the sitting version) and gently pull the thigh of the ‘knee’ leg towards your chest.
Hip Flexor and Hamstring Stretch
As well as the piriformis muscles it is important to stretch out the opposing muscle groups. This is easiest done with a small knee cushion in front of a chair seat for support. Kneel on the cushion with your left knee and place your right foot in front of you. Keeping your right knee directly over your toes (no further forward) gently slide the left leg backwards until you start to feel a stretch in the front of your thigh/hip. Use the chair or sofa arm to support yourself. This stretch can be extended by raising the arm on the side of the back leg upwards (eg left leg back, left arm reaching up).
Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds and then place both hands on the floor either side of your front foot. Gently rock backwards (keeping your knee on the floor) to stretch out the back (hamstrings) of the forward leg. This is a very deep stretch so go into it slowly and gently. Repeat the whole stretch 2 or 3 times each side.
I would suggest trying to do these stretches at least twice a day after you have warmed the muscles up a bit – avoid stretching as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, move a bit first, walk around and get the muscles moving before stretching them out. Always work to your limits and go into each stretch slowly, hold still for 5-10 seconds and come out slowly.
Low back ache. Pain or dull ache in the buttock. Stinging, aching, tingling or throbbing down the back of the leg and possibly into the foot…. You can feel the symptoms all right but what is the problem?
Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome may present with all or any of the above, which may be on one side or both. They both affect the sciatic nerve but the origin of the problem is different for each condition.
Sciatica includes the above symptoms but the pain is generally on one side only and is more intense in the leg than the back, particularly the front of the lower leg. Additional symptoms of sciatica include sharp pain rather than a dull ache, numbness and weakness in the affected area which is determined by the location of the compression. This compression may be caused by a misaligned vertebrae, tightness in the surrounding muscles of the lower back, or a slipped or herniated disc.
Piriformis Syndrome develops when the piriformis muscle becomes tight and shortened and irritates the sciatic nerve that runs behind it. The piriformis muscle is a deep muscle running horizontally from the sacrum at the base of the spine to the inner edge of the thigh bone. The sciatic nerve runs vertically behind it and may in some cases run through the fibres of the piriformis muscle. As you can imagine, if this muscle becomes tight it will cause a compression on the sciatic nerve which results in any or all of the above symptoms. In Piriformis Syndrome the symptoms include increased pain after sitting and when walking up stairs or an incline.
Treatment for both can include physical therapy such as deep tissue massage and spinal manipulation, such as Dorn Method or chiropractic. These work to release soft tissue tension and where necessary allow the realignment of bones. Once the muscles have been released and the body has realigned the symtoms usually reduce or disappear quite quickly. Piriformis Syndrome can also be helped with a stretching programme to release the affected muscles and reduce pain. See the ‘Stretches for Piriformis Syndrome’ page for more information.
In most cases the above treatments can be effective in treating and eliminating pain from Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome. However, if things do not improve after the recommended course of treatment (usually 1-3 sessions) then it may be necessary to be referred to your GP.
There are a few more symptoms that should be assessed by a medical professional as soon as possible as they may indicate potentially serious conditions. These include dysfunction of the bowel or bladder (inability to control) and loss of sensation in the legs. If weakness or numbness persist then medical attention should also be sought. If in any doubt consult your GP.
To book a consultation for Dorn Method or Deep Tissue Massage (Natalie) or McTimoney Chiropractic (Janet) please call Susan on 01732 850 695 or use the above links for more information. Please ask for the Practitioner you wish to see by name to ensure you are booked with the right person.
‘Back pain’ is a very general term that can be used to describe a diverse range of symptoms. Back pain falls into the sub-categories of lower back pain, mid back pain, neck and/or shoulder pain, sciatica, chronic, acute…. there can be soft tissue damage, disc movement or herniation, misaligned vertebrae, other illness or disease… as you can see there are many possible reasons why you have back pain.
Often trying to pinpoint the actual pain site can prove difficult and frustrating for the sufferer, especially when there are referrals to the limbs, the opposite side of the body or the pain only hits when carrying out a very specific movement. The pain can hit in an instant and trying to work out what the trigger was may be difficult.
For a client coming for treatment for ‘back pain’ it can be very confusing if they are unable to locate where they are feeling the pain. They know it hurts but they can’t at that moment put their finger on it. They just want some relief from the pain.
There is also a fear about the level of pain they might be feeling. It can therefore be a surprise to discover that higher level pain does not necessarily equate to a more serious problem. For example, a simple muscle strain can be extremely painful as the soft tissues surrounding the injury site become fatigued from the protective spasm and the pain site stiffens resulting in the tight muscles compressing other soft tissues and nerves. What might be a relatively small muscle tear then becomes a big problem resulting in high levels of pain, immobility, inability to find comfortable positions to sit and sleep and all the associated problems that brings.
Compare this to a more serious herniated disc that may cause no pain at all and go unnoticed for a long period of time.
This is generally considered a short term pain that can last from a few seconds to hours over a period of a few weeks. These are typically injuries such as muscle strains, misaligned vertebrae and general postural muscle tightness. If left untreated, acute pain can become chronic.
This is pain that persists for more than three months and may have a very gradual onset that gets progressively worse over time. It may come and go and the level of pain may vary each time. This type of pain is common in low back issues especially.
I have had many clients coming for treatment for ‘back pain’, both acute and chronic, who find a great deal of relief from a massage or Dorn Method treatment. Both of these approaches work to release the soft tissues that might be protecting an injury site to allow access to the deeper levels.
By slowly releasing the muscles a layer at a time with massage and gently working with the body to realign the spinal vertebrae we are not forcing anything or ‘fixing’ the problem, rather you as the client and myself as the practitioner are working together with your body to help it find it’s natural state of balance. Only when the body is in better balance can it start to let go of the holding patterns that might be causing the pain.
It is extremely important during these sessions to work on both sides of the body, not just in the area where you are feeling the pain. This is because pain can sometimes be ‘referred’ pain – for example, the muscles in the left side of your shoulder have tensed up because of poor posture or overdoing an activity. You might not feel pain in your left shoulder but because they are overtight you will start to get a body imbalance. This means the muscle on the right side will have to work harder to correct the imbalance resulting in fatigue and overcompensation injury. You will then feel the pain in the right side although the root of the problem is actually the left.
In many cases soft tissue work such as massage and gentle spinal realignment like Dorn Method can quickly reduce your pain. Ideally you would need to come for 2 or perhaps 3 sessions no more than a week apart to allow the release and rebalance to begin. Once you are out of pain regular sessions can continue the recovery stage and help you return to a state of balance and wellbeing in the long term. These follow on sessions may only need to be 3-4 months apart but will prevent you getting into a ‘feel better/stop treatment/relapse’ cycle (for more on this see the post ‘Road To Recovery’).
As with all things health related there is no substitute for medical attention and if symptoms start to worsen or do not improve over time then you are strongly advised to visit your GP. In more serious cases back pain may indicate an underlying issue such as disc degeneration, tumour or other illness so if you notice any of the following in addition to lower back pain then consult your GP: bowel or bladder dysfunction; severe abdominal pain; vomiting; fever; pain, numbness or progressive weakness in legs; sudden weight loss or history of trauma to the pain site.
Reference taken from the article “What causes lower back pain” at ilowerbackpain.com with thanks.
You have come for a treatment and have left hopefully feeling better than when you arrived! As you start to improve you have a decision to make. Do you continue with maintenance sessions to allow the body the time and support necessary to fully heal or do you stick with a one-off session and abandon the investment made so far? Decision time!
I feel better, I don’t need any more treatments!
If you decide that one session was enough because you feel better, you are setting things in motion for a ‘feel better/stop treatment/relapse’ cycle. This simply means that you have ended the treatment before your body is fully healed (despite feeling better initially) so you go back to your normal levels of activity but with your body in a weakened state. This places it in a vulnerable position for further injury, strain, spasm and whole-body imbalance issues. So at some point, maybe weeks or months later, your pain returns and eventually you seek a further treatment. You feel better afterwards so book no further treatment and re-enter the cycle.
I feel better, but will continue with a regular programme of care.
If you choose to continue with ongoing care you will find your visits become less frequent and although the progress will be less dramatic, the ‘feel better’ phases will occur quicker and last longer. You will also be taught and encouraged to continue self care exercises to allow you to take back some control and manage your care between sessions.
A long term care programme.
By recognising that taking care of your body is a lifelong commitment, and not just something you do when things go wrong, you will start to understand the importance of receiving regular treatments even if things feel ok.
In the early days after a treatment you will usually feel a bit better, the pain should have decreased and your mobility will start to improve. If you choose to stop treatment at this stage the relapse cycle is not too far ahead of you!
However if you follow up your initial treatment with a further one at your Practitioner’s recommendation you will be setting yourself firmly on the ’making progress’ stage where you should continue to see noticeable improvement after the second session. At this point again you need to decide whether to continue with treatment or risk the relapse cycle.
By returning for a third treatment, usually 1-3 weeks after your second session, you should be starting to feel much better with most if not all of the original symptoms and pain gone. This is the crucial time for committing to a long term care programme as stopping treatment now is still leaving you vulnerable.
By this stage your Practitioner will usually recommend sessions months apart rather than weeks. Typically a follow-up would occur around 3 months after the third treatment with an ongoing plan of 3-6 monthly ‘maintenance’ treatments. You may or may not have any pain when your 3 month follow-up is due but by attending this appointment your Practitioner can check your alignment and quickly recognise any potential issues that might be in the early stages of developing. By treating them at this stage the problem is not allowed to build up and is unlikely to become an issue.
By continuing your treatment plan and undertaking the recommended self-care exercises you will find that your body continues to improve over the following months. This is the time that you will be retraining and supporting the key muscles through correct posture and alignment, which leads to improved biomechanics, better balance and strength and ultimately an enhanced you that is able to function at your best. Now who wouldn’t want that?!
I hope this has helped you understand the reasons why Practitioners encourage you to return for follow-up sessions. We have learnt this for ourselves usually from personal experience and it is our responsibility to help our clients understand what they can do to take care of themselves. There is nothing more frustrating than a client who has arrived in agony leaving their treatment feeling considerably better, then not following up on their treatment plan only to return weeks later with exactly the same issue causing them pain again. Most back pain is treatable – and more importantly preventable – and we hope we can help you on your Road to Recovery.
For more information on pain relief through massage and the Dorn Method please use the top menu or click here.
Here we are again, almost a year to the date from last year when I was laid up with a broken toe…. this time it’s recovery from surgery to have my appendix removed that is keeping me off work.
However there is something different this year, something I was struggling with last time… and that is my acceptance of the situation, that as much as I would like to have the control to change it there is nothing I can do about it! This time I have been happy to rest, take things at my own pace and let nature take it’s course in my recovery – not to keep trying, testing and pushing to see how far I can go and how quickly I can speed up the process.
This year I am also fortunate enough to be sitting in glorious sunshine as I write this as opposed to the cold and gloom that was last March. It’s true, a sunny day makes you feel so much more positive about things.
This enforced rest has got me thinking about the time of year and why it might be that twice now I seem to have been directed to enforced rest periods! It was a busy winter for me at work with the training and subsequent introduction of the Dorn Method to Ananda and helping look after Janet’s chiropractic patients in her absence, so perhaps it was just my time to slow down, regroup and prepare for a (hopefully) very productive Spring and Summer!
Certainly the energy is shifting and you can feel that we are on the brink of the new growth surge, so I am happy to make the most of this opportunity I have been given to take it slowly, ride with it and see where it takes me.
I have realised over the last year in particular that the Universe generally has a way of getting us in the right place at the right time, however much we might want to fight it, however much we might resist seeing that it is where we are meant to be at that particular moment in time.
Acceptance is a hard discipline to master and probably for most of us it will be a lifelong quest. However starting the journey to acceptance makes it possible to realise that we do have the power to take control, espeically to take control of our minds and thought processes which can go a long way to removing the stress out of a situation.
I found a site with some great quotes on Acceptance which I thought you might find interesting – click here to visit.
I spent last weekend in the beautiful Stratford upon Avon attending the Dorn Method Advanced Training weekend and I have am still marvelling at the power of this incredible way of working.
For something so gentle and simple to apply the results are dramatic and the self care exercises are proving very popular with my clients who are reporting great benefits from doing them between sessions.
If you are struggling with back ache, headaches, migraines, RSIs, postural aches or are simply feeling ‘out of balance’ then come and try a Dorn Method treatment with me today. For more details please click here.
The Dorn Method is a gentle, effective and safe way to correct misalignments of the Spinal Column and other joints, helping relieve back pain, neck pain, headaches, hip, sciatica, jaw, knee and shoulder pain and many more problem areas. It is also a true self help treatment, free of unpleasant side effects, completely safe with no medication being required. People who come for treatment are shown very simple tips and techniques to take away with them so they can help themselves to stay pain free.
Dorn consists of a range of simple exercises and techniques which aim to help joints and vertebrae slip back into their natural positions. In addition, a very gentle spinal back massage (Breuss Massage) is given to safely stretch, align, energize and relax the spine.
A range of simple after care exercises will also be provided for you to take away and practise in order to help you benefit in the long term. For example, you will be shown a simple but effective short exercise to perform each day to help you keep your hip and lower back in place.
The Dorn Method offers long term benefits
The Dorn Method is a combination of three parts, which together provide an excellent maintenance and preventative joint care system designed to look after your body over the long term.
As well as the actual treatment, which focuses on looking for and correcting imbalances within the body, Dorn also promotes the use of better posture in day to day life. For example, simple suggestions include not sitting crossed legged or not slouching whilst seated in front of the computer at work; these are typical bad habits we fall into, and which over time can lead to health problems.
Dorn also teaches a set of simple, easy to learn self-help exercises which are designed to be taken away and practised at home to maintain balance in the body and good health over the long term. A few minutes spent each day for example on a simple leg length correction excercise, will help to keep the hip joint in place, and the spine sitting straight.
The Dorn Method (60 mins £40) now available at Ananda Clinic with Natalie
BMore Natural @ Ananda
Please visit www.bmore.net for more details.
Image Copyright The UK Dorn Method Centre, Stratford upon Avon. Not to be used without prior permission.
Those of you who come to the clinic for massage will know the answer to this and understand why I give them water to drink before and after their treatment. For anyone who is new to bodywork and has been advised to drink plenty of water after treatment the reason is that it can really help to ‘flush through’ any toxins that have been shifted and reduce or eliminate any post-treatment soreness. This is particuarly important with the NO HANDS® that I do as, despite being a gentle treatment to receive, it works on a very deep level.
The importance of this was reiterated to me recently when I had an chiropractic session – the treament immediately relieved my lower back pain and as soon as I got home I drank a pint of water. I felt great for the first few hours but then forgot to drink and began to get achy and tired. A few hours later I had another glass of water and hey presto, as soon as I started rehydrating myself again I felt better. Simples!
On the occasions when I haven’t drunk enough water after a bodywork session, be it massage or chiropractic, I find that the following day I feel sore and achey – almost flu like. Drinking plenty of water in the hours following a treatment really makes a difference and reduces the likelihood of this or even eliminates it altogether.
So now you understand why we suggest drinking plenty of water after your session you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to do it!
This time of year, as we move out of summer towards autumn, always brings my awareness to the seasonal changes of nature. We have been through the high energy new growth of spring, have enjoyed the long light days and the fruits of our labours with the summer harvests and now things are starting to show signs of slowing down in preparation for the autumn and winter months ahead.
Autumn is a time of transition, an opportunity to reflect on the bounty of summer and all it has provided and to allow natural seasonal changes to occur. We see a very visual demonstration of this in the autumn leaves when they change from the summer greens to flaming reds, golds and browns before falling to ground when the tree enters it’s dormant state. Autumn is nature’s time to start slowing down, to let go of the high demands of summer and prepare for the winter, leading into a time for reflection, resting, regrouping and ultimately starting to plan and lay down the foundations for the following spring.
As humans we are often tuned out of the cycles of nature due to the high demands of life, but this time of year in particular is a special time to reconnect with the earth energy. We can see the evidence of the change of season all around us in the leaves as they start to fall, the flowers having a final bloom before resting, the cooling and shortening of the days and the general feeling of slowing down. Next time you are outside try and take a few moments to be still and notice the shift in energy. Feel the cool breeze on your face, hear the rustling of the leaves as they fall, observe the changing light, the longer shadows as the sun eases into it’s low winter pattern, the faint smell of woodsmoke in the air….
Autumn is a lovely time of year and by connecting with seasonal energy it can be even more wonderful. Nourish your body with warming soups made with the root vegetables that are abundant now, feed your soul with the sights, sounds and smells of the season and go and release the inner child in you and run through that pile of golden leaves on the ground or make a pumpkin lantern for halloween!!! Above all enjoy it
Firstly my apologies for such a long time between this post and my last. There has been a lot happening in my world and it’s been hard to get into the right mindset to concentrate on my blog. But things are calming down now so I hope to resume business as usual for my readers and will concentrate on putting together some informative posts for you in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience and continued support.
So, events over the last few months have taught me that patience and compassion are vital in dealing with loved ones! No matter how hard it seems sometimes, if you truly and unconditionally care about someone most issues can be overcome. It has been challenging to say the least and at moments it felt like there must have been easier alternatives…. but as things improve and I can see the bigger picture I have to say that the choices I made, whilst by no means the easiest, feel like they were the right ones.
Whilst in the thick of it I saw a post on good old facebook that read along the lines of this: ‘It’s not the event that matters. It’s what happens afterwards that counts’. This has been something of a mantra to me in recent weeks and has allowed me to take a step back from the drama, try to look at things with a wider perspective, see the bigger picture. We are all human and we are all fallible. What makes us special is our capacity for compassion and ultimately forgiveness.
If you are struggling with a life drama try to disengage yourself from it for a short time, put some distance between yourself and the emotionally charged situation. If other people are involved have you considered things from their perspective and their reasons? This is one of the hardest things to do when all you feel like is ranting and wallowing in anger, resentment, bitterness, self pity and whatever other negative emotions become all-consuming during such times. However hard it might seem try and look at the situation from a third person point of view and just see if anything in your perception changes. Even the slightest change can have an effect as it allows us to open our minds to the possibilities.
Above all bear in mind that what you feel deep down is what matters. By all means take others’ input on board and consider all viewpoints but remember that this is your life and ultimately you have the power within you to make yourself happy.
Sometimes we have to be selfish and put our own needs first. Those who truly love us will accept whatever decisions we make without question.
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I am not generally a patient person. When I make a decision to do something I want to get stuck in as soon as possible and will be fidgety until the opportunity arises. So this last fortnight on crutches has been a hard lesson for me in learning my limitations and having the patience to deal with them! Being my usual stubborn self I am walking around on my injured foot when it feels better, ignoring the fact that a bone is still broken and it needs to rest. I then spend the next day regretting my actions and promising my foot that today it will rest.
Then an hour later I get bored and decide I really need to go and sort out some paperwork or hobble upstairs to get something really important and forget (or ignore) that I am not supposed to be weight bearing on it. Being on my own during the day whilst hubby is at work has forced me to take a moment before setting off on a mission to assess whether it’s really vital that I do it right now or whether it can possibly wait until I am in that area of the house. Being so used to just jumping up to get something or walking from room to room with armfuls of bits and pieces has caught me out a few times, as I get to grips with the logistics of something as simple as transporting a cup of tea from the kitchen to the sitting room on crutches!
Together with this I am looking at the gloominess outside, listening to the rain falling and wondering if my allotment is ever going to get planted this year. I’m inwardly thankful that it is still so chilly as that allows me to reason that it would be prudent to wait another few weeks until the ground warms up. I’m still in that mentality that I need a reason to make me feel better about it – I am trying to master the art of simply accepting the situation for what it is, but for someone so used to getting up and doing when the urge strikes it’s a tough one.
So my lesson from this injury is most definitely patience, with a good dollop of acceptance. I have another couple of weeks to get my head around this and put it into practice by which time I hope to be super chilled and relaxed and raring to get back into the clinic.
As we are all acutely aware, 2009 was a year of challenges for many. From job losses, crashing investment funds and home repossessions it was doom and gloom – exacerbated by media sensationalism. However this has also been a time where many have turned to their inner reserves and discovered that changing their perception has enabled them to not only cope with the hardships thrust upon them but also found ways to thrive in these tough conditions.
In the midst of all this, the one thing we can control is our mind. Our thoughts are precisely that – ours. We all know the brain is a powerful thing and whilst some have learned to master their thought processes, many still succumb to fear and anxiety and allow this to control their lives. The person who can turn a negative situation into an opportunity is the person who will sail through tough times, secure in the knowledge that they can indeed cope with anything.
Positive thought is something that doesn’t cost money, needs no special equipment and can be done anywhere – essential criteria for leaner times! It is a skill that needs to be practiced and mastered and the more you do it the more naturally it will come. Start with small conscious changes to your thought patterns – recognise when you use the words ‘can’t', ‘won’t’ and ‘haven’t’ in negative situations and see how you can turn it from a negative thought to a postive one, for example: ‘I haven’t got enough money/time/energy’ – now wouldn’t that be more empowering if you changed it to ‘I have all that I need and trust that my needs will be met’? You may not feel that you have all that you need at that moment in time but the power of thought can actually reprogramme your mindset to believe that you have exactly that, and the more you practice it the more you will start to live in that contented state of mind.
NLP is a powerful technique that can help us retrain our minds to embrace positive thought and break those negative thought patterns. If you would like to know more contact Beverley Hamilton at Positively Life Changing.
In November I completed my year long NO HANDS training with a totally amazing weekend learning an array of treatments that take place fully clothed, both on the couch and in the massage chair. Over an intensive four days we immersed ourselves in the NO HANDS world and emerged blissfully relaxed, energised, enthused and definitely feeling the effects of the latest addition to the Colon work!!!!!
The NO HANDS Reflex Treatment
Stimulating the reflexes of your feet is as ancient as touch itself and can affect your whole body. Based on the principle that your foot represents your whole body, millions of people all over the world have experienced the powerful therapeutic benefits of Reflex treatment. The NO HANDS Reflex treatment takes it one step further. Experience the power of your reflexes being worked WITHOUT PAIN but deeper than you have ever felt! With the use of clear hand signals you remain in charge of the session so it is neither too deep nor too light for you.
The NO HANDS Chair Massage
This is an amazing way to get a NO HANDS Massage – whilst remaining fully clothed! You sit in a specially designed chair and get all the benefits of powerful Massage. Using the ‘Gentle Giant’ of NO HANDS, it is possible to work deeply through clothing (without pain) to help you to release tension, recharge and rejuvenate. Because it is so portable I can bring this chair to the venue or workplace of your choice and can offer special group rates for you and your colleagues or friends.
The NO HANDS Detox Treatment
This is a powerful clothed treatment which combines working specific reflex points in your feet with the deep and powerful NO HANDS Colon treatment. This stimulates your body’s own natural instinct to de-toxify and cleanse itself. It is particularly good for those times in your life when you just know you need a good ‘clear out’.
I am delighted to be able to offer all these treatments now, with the Chair Massage being an ideal treatment to take ‘On Site’ into offices, conferences, pamper events etc. For further information and contact details please visit the main site www.bmore.net.
If, like me, you are into setting goals and planning projects, then here are some tips to help you get your goals clear in your mind and start working towards them. Setting resolutions in the New Year is a great way to get motivated but sadly most resolutions seem to be broken by the middle of January! Try to assess whether the change you want is actually something that can be changed (for example, improving your diet) and if you have a lot of changes you want to make divide them into categories such as ’must have/do’, ‘would like’ and ‘if I get time’ to help you prioritise them.
Make your goals SMART – this is something that crops up a lot in goal setting workshops and stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. These are essential ingredients for successful goal setting and can help you determine whether it is something you are actually serious about doing or just a whim! By being clear in your mind what it is you want to achieve, how you can measure your progress, how achievable and realistic it is and when you want to achieve it by you can monitor your journey and take the relevant action to stay on track.
When you have a clear idea what it is you want to achieve, take a moment and close your eyes and really immerse yourself in the outcome. See your goal, feel it, touch it, taste it, live it…. enlist all your senses to make this vision as real as possible. Think to yourself that you are already experiencing this outcome, you already have it. As well as concentrating on the result keep reminding yourself of the motivation for setting this goal. Keep your affirmations in the present tense to add power to the vision.
Then try to take daily action, no matter how small, to work towards your goals. By breaking them down into bitesize tasks it is much easier to take action immediately and not feel too overwhelmed. Try and do something every day, even if it’s just reading through your goals and action plans. Little action often = more likely success! Doing something each day keeps the idea fresh in your mind and can be really good for building momentum to get the bigger tasks done. It also keeps the goal in our conscious mind so that when we are presented with choices we can take the option that will help move us towards our desired outcome. Try to keep things on a manageable scale to avoid getting overwhelmed by what needs to be done – being over-ambitious could prove disheartening and you will be more likely to give up.
Keep the language you use positive. Rather than focusing on giving something up (smoking, unhealthy diet etc) reword it for a positive outcome, such as following a healther lifestyle or eating to nourish your body. This way you are not giving yourself a message of deprivation but a positive addtion to your life. Also be aware of using the word ‘should’ – work out if you really want to make the change or whether you are doing it because others are putting pressure on you. This will make a huge difference to your success.
Every time you reach a goal give yourself a reward – cross it off the list and treat yourself with something that makes you happy. Whatever motivates you and will give you some drive to get to each level can be a reward but avoid replacing one bad habit with another – for example if you’ve stopped smoking don’t make the reward alcohol, or if you’re trying to adopt a healthier diet avoid food treats as your reward. Treats such as a trip out, a new book, a massage or a home spa evening can all be good rewards along the journey. Whatever lifts your spirit and helps you towards your goal.
Above all keep the process fun and enjoyable – part of the success of goalsetting is enjoying the journey and keeping your energy high and enthusiastic. If your goal journey starts to become a chore it may be time to go back to your plan and have a rethink. Remember it’s perfectly ok to change your goals along the way! What may seem to be the thing we most want to achieve at the outcome can sometimes lose it’s appeal as we work towards it and see the reality of it – this is not a failure, it is a brilliant learning process that will help us find what it is we really want!
Although the new year began on January 1st you can start working towards your goals at any time – the warmer days of spring may be more practical for starting an outdoor fitness regime for example, or you may have a particular time of year that you favaour – choose a time when you feel strongest to begin your journey for the best possible start.
Good luck with your goals and have fun!
Stress is experienced when there is an imbalance between the demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. The level of stress a person may feel varies from person to person, or example, something which may be extremely stressful for one can be a mere hiccup for another.
Stress is not always a negative thing. Some people thrive on stress and even need it to get things done. When the term ‘stress’ is used in a clinical sense, it refers to a situation that causes discomfort and distress for a person and can lead to other problems, such as anxiety and depression. At this time of year there is a lot to think about, plan and organise and it can sometimes get overwhelming.
5 tips to deal with stress over the Christmas period:
Avoid conflict – if you are going to be spending time over Christmas with people you struggle with, try to avoid trigger conversations or situations. For example, if a particular subject always ignites tempers, quickly steer the conversation in another direction to avoid the usual pattern.
Relax – make sure you give yourself some time to relax and try to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. The run up to Christmas can be extremely stressful so try to take regular time out doing something that lifts your spirit such as a walk in your favourite place, snuggle up with a book or come and have a blissful massage to ease away tension!
Eat well – a nutritious diet is important all through the year but it’s easy to overdo the rich food at this time of year. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid an excess of sweet and fatty foods – treat yourself during the festivities but try not to overindulge!
Keep regular hours – with family and friends visiting it’s easy to fall into a routine of late nights and later mornings! If you can keep your sleep patterns as normal as possible for most of the time you will find you feel more balanced and better able to slip back into your usual routine after the break.
Enjoy yourself – it’s important to make time to have some fun and keep a balance in your life so if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed take a few deep breaths and take a moment to regroup. Remember this is the ‘party season’ so try to keep things lighthearted and have fun – you deserve it!
Above all enjoy the time you spend with family and friends and take some time to be thankful for all the blessings in your life. No matter how big or small they are, no matter how hard life can sometimes seem, we are surrounded by wonderful gifts and if you can remember to take a moment to look around now and again and appreciate the wonder of life it will make the hard stuff more bearable.
Natalie, BMore Natural
As we move into November we are heading towards the end of autumn and into winter. The nights are long, the weather sometimes isn’t great and it’s very easy to let our healthy intentions lapse in favour of comfort foods and snuggle-downs in front of the TV.
Here are some tips to help keep you at your best over the coming months whilst maintaining a natural approach to your wellbeing.
1. Keep lots of fresh fruit and veg in your diet. Although it’s tempting to snuggle with comfort food you won’t be doing yourself any favours. I find it harder to keep my fruit quota up but with veg it’s easy as I make lots of hearty soups with fresh veg, lentils and chickpeas. Be adventurous with your ingredients and season with spices, herbs, fresh stock and lots of pepper. Yummy!
2. Maintain some kind of exercise routine. Ok on a cold winter evening it may not be your idea of fun to haul yourself down the gym (it’s not mine anyway!) but try to make time on sunny days for a brisk walk or try a new activity with a friend or partner – what about dancing or mountain biking? And of course for us gardeners there is always plenty of clearing and digging to be done!
3. Get plenty of rest. Sleep is important to help our bodies heal and repair themselves and not getting enough sleep can deplete our immune systems. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night try lavendar sprays, a warm bath or a herbal sleep remedy. Rest during the day is also important, just taking time to clear our minds and rest our bodies even for a few minutes can make a difference to wellbeing.
4. Take supplements to help beat colds. Zinc, Vitamin C and Echinacea are all good immune boosters. If in doubt consult your health care professional. If you are susceptable to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) it is important to try and spend time in natural daylight each day.
5. If the winter is really getting you down try to think about projects for the spring to change your focus and give you something to work towards. Rather than setting new year resolutions think about longer term goals and how you can work towards them. Giving yourself plenty of time to research, plan and start taking action can make the goal more achievable and help pass the long winter evenings.
If you have any tips for staying happy and healthy through the winter feel free to post a comment below.
Stay warm and keep smiling
A good de-clutter can work wonders for your wellbeing! There is a lot of truth in the saying ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ and this extends not only to a workspace but also your living environment. Just have a quick think about your home, particularly the main living areas – do you have cupboards or drawers full of things you never use but ‘might need someday’?! Clutter can affect the energy of your home, in Feng Shui these areas are viewed as blockages that can slow down energy of the home and create stagnant energy ‘pools’ of negative energy.
Living amongst clutter and these stagnant energy pools can have a draining effect on your own energy and mindset but making the decision to tackle it can really life your mood – 11 years after moving into our house we are finally getting around to some serious (and long overdue) refurbishment. And it feels fantastic – not only something to plan and look forward to but also taking the opportunity to have a thorough clear out of all those things we’ve been hanging onto ‘just in case’ we might need it!
Tackling the clutter can be done a small step at a time – start with a pile of paperwork, a drawer or a cupboard and gradually move around the room and then the rest of the house a room at a time. Small changes can make big differences and you will feel the energy of each area lifting as you clear it, which in turn will lift your energy.
Once you have cleared the clutter you can get the energy moving again by smudging the room with sage sticks, wafting the smoke into each corner, then open all the windows to blow out the negative energy and allow the clear fresh energy in.
Give it a go – this weekend start with a small clearing project and see how it feels – let me know the results!
I have long been a fan of the humble tennis ball as a self-massage tool – from the soles of your feet to those tight spots between your shoulder blades, most tight areas can be gently eased in this way.
The simplest one to try is rolling the ball around on the floor using the sole of the foot, this massages the connective tissue that as well as leaving the feet feeling fab can help to loosen other parts of the body.
Sitting on a chair and placing the ball under your hamstrings (back of thigh) and letting the weight of your leg apply steady pressure can be great for easing tight muscles, and positioning the ball at various points on your gluteals (buttocks) whilst sitting or laying down can help with lower back and sciatic problems – use with caution and apply the pressure very gently to start until you become accustomed to it.
The best one for me is placing the ball around the edge of the scapula (shoulder blade) or the edge of the flat sacral bone (at the very base of the spine – make sure you avoid direct pressure on the spine) whilst laying on the bed and allowing the weight of the body to apply steady pressure on the tightest areas – absolute bliss after a long session at the allotment!
Start with light pressure and gradually as you get used to it start to increase until you find the level that works best for you. Hold each position for a few minutes until you feel it start to release – if at any time the pain level increases cease working on that area. As with any treatment, if you have any medical conditions please do check with your GP or specialist before trying any of these out.
As I was enjoying a massage today it dawned on me that whilst my body was dutifully relaxing, my mind was busy chattering away. It’s something that happens periodically and prompted me to write a short post to offer some suggestions for dealing with it.
I find that I wander off onto completely obscure topics or have a song lyric in my head. I don’t know why or how – but in they pop and until I make a conscious effort to silence my mind there they go round and round. So once I had acknowledged that I was busy holding a conversation with myself, I made an effort to focus on the music and let my mind follow the rhythm of that rather than conjuring up more snippets of chat. It was hard initially, I kept returning to the random thoughts but gradully found myself getting more absorbed in the music until soon I was so relaxed in body and mind that I started to doze.
On this occasion the music worked well for me but often I find it harder to switch off. Imagining myself in a completely dark space can sometimes help to clear my mind (I get so absorbed in the visualisation that the chatter stops) but also picturing a word in your mind can shift the focus enough. If you’re trying to get to sleep, visualise the word ‘sleep’ and spell each letter slowly over and over again until you start to feel relaxed.
If you’re not a fan of visualisations or have a lot on your mind that is churning round you could try a ‘mind dump’ each evening before you go to bed. Keep a large notebook handy and take a few moments to write down everything that is going around in your head. Everything – no matter how insignificant it seems, just transfer it from your mind onto paper and as you write tell yourself that all these thoughts are now on paper so your mind can release them safe in the knowledge that they are all there if and when you need them.
If you have any other techniques you’d like to share to help clear your mind please feel free to add them as a comment.
As a massage practitioner, I use various deep tissue techniques to help break down scar tissue and realign muscle fibres to help eliminate tension and assist recovery after injury. It can be painful and it may take a little while, but ultimately it can minimise or eliminate the risk of longer term problems, especially when used to treat sprains and strains.
I sprained the inside ligament on my knee when I fell awkwardly skiing in Germany a number of years ago and the pain was unbelievable! It felt like someone had stuck hot pins in my knee and I could put very little weight on it – which was a bit of a problem as we were not even a quarter of the way down the run! With the help and patience of my husband, we made our way excruciatingly slowly down the mountain.
As soon as we got back to the car I grabbed a ball of snow, wrapped it in a plastic bag and applied it to my elevated knee for a while, followed by using my scarf to apply compression. Within minutes of stopping moving it had seized up – which made getting up the 2 flights of stairs in our accommodation a great feat of bum shuffling!
Anyway, it became apparent the next morning that this was not a temporary problem and my skiing week was over so we managed to find a sports injury clinic where they diagnosed a sprain of the medial ligament (torn badly but not completely severed thankfully) and I left wearing an extended knee brace which remained on for the next 10 days. This was followed by intensive physiotherapy and massage for the next 3 months which completely restored all function, movement and strength in that knee.
Many minor injuries, if treated quickly and correctly, can heal completely and give no long term problems. However, left untreated, small injuries can manifest into long term problems that may then take extensive treatment to correct. Such examples include muscle and ligament sprains and strains.
If an injury site includes general soreness, swelling and/or bruising and is tender to the touch you may have a muscle strain. When these symptoms occur around a joint and include pain when weight bearing then you may have a joint sprain. Both of these can be self treated in the initial stages and they react very well to the immediate application of ice packs which can reduce the pain and minimise swelling and bruising (do not apply ice directly to the skin as this may cause ice burn). Despite the injury to my knee it swelled very little and there was no bruising – both of with I attribute to the ice and compression treatments.
Use the RICE guide – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Use ice for short periods until the skin turns white then remove until the colour returns and repeat this several times. RICE is typically recommended for around 24 hours during the acute phase. Elasticated bandages are useful to apply compression, use with extra padding around the injury site.
After care of sprains and strains includes treatment such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic and deep tissue massage. These forms of treatment should only be used once the acute stage has passed (usually 24-48 hours) and are highly effective at re-mobilising the area and correcting the alignment and function of the bones and/or soft tissues.
If the symptoms persist then you should visit your GP or if you suspect a break or fracture has occurred then get yourself straight down to A&E for an x-ray.
It really is worth seeking advice on what may seem to be a small injury (even something as innocent as tweaking your neck when you reach for something on the back car seat can lead to later problems) and get it treated straight away. It could save you a lot of pain and discomfort in the future.
I was given this advice during a tarot reading and it immediately struck a chord. I used to meditate regularly and give myself time to sit and ‘just be’ but in recent years I have found that progressively harder to do. I’m not sure why, and I find now that I am unbalanced and my energy goes in strange cycles of either totally up or very low. On the low energy days I have learnt to give myself a break and indulge in my desire to do little with the knowledge that on the high energy days I will get enough done to cover the low energy days. A downside of this is that on the high energy days I find it hard to settle and am constantly feeling a need to do things.
Whilst this does sort of work it’s not an ideal situation in the long term so I needed to find a way to redress the balance. When I had this reading the cards pointed to meditation and allowing myself to ‘be’ on a number of occasions so I took the hint and started to do something about it. When you take the time to just sit and be with yourself it’s amazing what happens!
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and sit quietly. Try to clear your mind, but if thoughts occur don’t fight them away. Acknowledge them and move them aside to return to later. Keeping the internal chatter quiet is very hard to do and takes a lot of practice so start with just a few minutes and gradually build up to a duration you feel comfortable with.
Either keep your eyes open and just be aware of what’s around you (this works well sitting in the garden or out walking) or close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Enjoy being fully present in that moment there and then. Sometimes I set myself a question before doing this and use the quiet time to see if anything comes to mind – it’s a useful way of checking how you feel about something or finding ways to move forward when you feel blocked. The important thing is to just allow it to happen and don’t try to formulate thoughts and feelings, just acknowledge them when they arrive then let them go.
Learning to ‘sit’ with things and trust your intuition (or gut feeling) is a very effective way of living to your values and only doing things you are totally comfortable with. You will quickly learn how you respond to certain situations and circumstances and become more intuitive in your decision making. More importantly allowing yourself to just ‘be’ for a few minutes or longer a day will help you to relax more and become more focused and present in your life. Enjoy!
I’d be interested to hear your experiences with this so have fun with it and feel free to post me a comment with your feedback!