Monday, 30 March 2015
I must admit that I haven’t done a lot of the writing yet, so this will be an interesting part of the journey for me.
Perhaps this is another reason why I have found myself drawn to study massage. There I’ve experienced our body has another language, and indeed its own wisdom, which I’ve truly come to respect. And it is the things that we come to respect that we tend to listen to. So how could we listen to it?
One way is a quite simple method which everyone can do. It’s the practice of Self Abhyanga, or Warm Oil Massage, as recommended in the Ayurvedic texts of India. Ayurveda, which means Knowledge of Life, is about 5000 years old, but it is still in practice in India today. Its scripts contain a very in-depth and holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Its aim is to help restore balance, on the physical, emotional and mental level. It states that “Daily Abhyanga pacifies our temperaments; relieves internal fatigue; provides better stamina as well as sleep; enhances the complexion and luster of the skin; and indeed it nourishes all parts of the body, promoting its longevity”.
Whenever I find myself feeling out of balance or out of sorts; this practice becomes a part of my life. The recommended time is in the morning before your shower. What’s’ really lovely about this practice, is that it doesn’t need to take long; indeed, even 15 minutes every morning can be enough to help restore yourself. In the crazy kind of way that we use coffee to get us going at the start of our day; this approach seems to offer us the opposite! It pacifies and calms the nervous system, and it sets a quieter and more internal tone for ourselves. I advise you to keep things simple, using only natural oils, such as Jojoba, Coconut or Almond. My personal favourite is Jojoba Oil, which is a similar to that of the skin, for it absorbs straight away, and leaves hardly any residue.
Start first by warming your bottle of oil in a cup of warm water for a few minutes. This is in keeping with the Ayurvedic tradition, where the oils are always warmed. In the meantime, if you don’t want to use the oil in your hair, and it’s not necessary, start with your scalp, using the pads of your fingertips, and massage it in smooth circular motions. Pay close attention to the areas of your temples where you might experience some tenderness; this is very beneficial to help relieve any migraines or headaches. Using the fingertips of both hands to smooth your forehead from the center outwards towards your temples, do this 2-3 times. Then starting from the midline of your face again, gently pinch your eyebrows between the thumbs and forefingers and repeat it. Work along the areas of the jaw, the chin and your cheekbones.
Now using your warmed oil, continue your massage throughout your body. Do the hands, the arms, and shoulders and your torso using long strokes. Then go to your feet and work your way up.
Apply light pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart. Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails. Circular motions over rounded areas such as your head or joints, and straight strokes on straight areas such as your arms and legs, work best.
After you're done, relax for 10-15 minutes, letting the oil and the massage do their magic. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. During this time you could read something relaxing or uplifting; maybe sip one of your favourite herbal teas and listen to some soothing music. If your schedule doesn't allow for a daily massage, try to squeeze it in at least three or four times a week. You'll find it's worth it!
Saturday, 7 March 2015
I was very lucky to have been brought up in a family who were very aware of natural healing methods and one of my earliest memories was of my mother massaging my stomach when I had a tummy ache.I am eternally grateful to my parents for the love they instilled in me for the arts of natural healing . My interest in the human body and health care grew as I did and I started my first formal education into this field aged 20, nearly ten years ago. Since then I have gone on a journey that has taken me across the world and back. This journey has been spiritually enlightening, wondrous, maddening and sometimes terrifying in its intensity. I have been blessed to have met incredible teachers along the way from the monk in Thailand who taught me about meditation and Thai massage on a dirt floor to the wealthy spa owner in Queensland who taught me the art of facials and body scrubs in the most heavenly spa you can imagine to the countless clients who have allowed me to work on them, they have certainly been the best teachers of all.
I had spent many years in employment and although this has been an important part of my career path I felt a couple of years ago that I could serve my clients best from a place of self employment. The transition to self employment can be very challenging and isolating and there have been times throughout the process that I have wanted to give up. How ever I truly believed that self employment is in the best interest of my clients and I. It creates more room for creative expression, It allows a closer bond between therapist and client and it eradicates the risk of exploitation.
I had never heard of a massage co-op until I moved to Cork at the end of last summer. As I was starting to set up my new practice here my good friend and now colleague Gillian asked me if I would be interested in joining a co-op that she and five other women had recently set up. Of course I jumped at the chance, having moved to a new city meant that I was starting from scratch so this seemed a good opportunity to meet people in my field and have a beautiful treatment room to work out of in the inspirational and well know Dervish. Little did I know then exactly how lucky I had been to have found this incredible group of women. They welcomed me into their therapeutic community with lovingly open arms. I have been able to add them to my increasingly long list of teachers and I hope for my contributions they have added me to theirs.
Working as part of a Co-op means that instead of one mind we have six, We have six times the amount of enthusiasm, Six times the amount of knowledge , inspiration and creativity. We are able to skill share and we all make an effort to have regular treatments from each other, these treatments not only provide us with much needed mind and body work but also gives us an opportunity to learn from each others treatments which adds to the communal well of knowledge.
We all meet up for regular meetings, these usually start with friendly banter and chit chat until we eventually put our six minds together to discuss our new ideas and inspirations for the co-op . These can be from the mundane to the wonderful, from how best to bring in new clients to the co-op to what artwork to decorate the room with to what charity events we next want to support.
Even though I have spent a lot of time working and traveling on my own and would consider myself as very independent, since joining the co-operative I have come to see the benefits of working as part of a team. I have even begun to see it as a metaphor for how I would like to live my life in general. I have started to accept help and support and offer mine more freely, this has made my life richer and more enjoyable in every way.
So from us here at Dervish Massage Co-op we wish blessings and encouragement to strengthen the community that surrounds you in what ever form that takes.