The Big Sigh

Holistic Benefits of Sighing during your session.

The “sigh” is something I wait for, and eventually, in every holistic session, it comes.

​That is when I know that a client has given over to allowing the holistic session to work with them on all levels (mind, body and spirit)

The human sigh, while often a spontaneous occurrence, conveys a wide range of emotions and has an abundance of holistically healthy benefits. Our breathe impacts our emotional and physical state and the sigh can encourage a state of balance.
Benefits of Sighing

A sigh is the body’s reset button. Whether we’re releasing stress and tension, relaxing, or even in the midst of a panic attack, a sigh can trigger a spontaneous reset for mind, body and spirit. Sighing reminds us to breath more regularly, and often more deeply while at the same time encouraging us to come down a little from high anxiety.

Take a Moment:

  • Sit down for a moment or move yourself to a quiet space
  • Take a deep breath
  • As you release your breath, audibly sigh
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times

​How do you feel?

Release shoulder tension with Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary

​You’ll probably notice that your shoulders have moved down from your ears, your mind feels a little less foggy and overall, you feel “lighter”.

At the beginning of a Reiki or Craniosacral Therapy session I encourage clients to take 2 to 3 deep, slow breaths as it begins to encourage relaxation. However, I know they are in a deeper state of allowing stress and tension to release, when they sigh…and they always do.

​So let your body sigh…it’s Good For You

The January 2020 Holistic Challenge

Let’s explore together some ideas to improve our holistic well-being through 2020. The calendar below is filled with suggestions to help with that. Take one a day (you may need longer than a day for each step and that’s totally ok…take all the time you need), pull out a journal and explore what the theme for the day means for you, your life, your well-being.
You may find that some questions, suggestions, ideas resonate to stay as they are, or need to be changed up. The idea is to take a look at your life from a holistic point of view, and make some changes where you feel the need.

Each day you can follow along with the day’s theme on my Facebook page. I welcome your comments, suggestions, stories, ideas, questions, etc. with each post.

Challenge yourself, challenge others…the results will make a positive difference.


I plan to take the challenge, I hope that you will join me!

Seeing Your Massage & Holistic Therapist ~ The Top 5 Reasons for 2019

During 2019 I saw a number of clients in both Calgary and the Fraser Valley for a number of reasons. They brought some similiar issues to the treatment room for us to address.

The main problem being tackled (which displayed itself through symptoms) was a feeling of life being too much, too busy, too much to do, too much to take care of, too many places to get to… Too much was a common theme.

Here are the top 5, plus how we worked together to resolve them:

#5 Holistic Maintenance Sessions

Massage Therapy for well-being with Teresa Graham, RMT in Calgary NWRegular maintenance sessions are good for the body!

I have to admit that I was really excited to see Maintenance as a priority with many clients this year. Not really an “issue” but a really positive step. Many were taking the view that Massage Therapy and Holistic sessions are not just a luxury, but instead an essential regular part of maintaining mind/body wellness. 

In the past, so many clients wait to book in when they are at an overwhelmed breaking point or the ongoing pain has become intolerable. More and more though, are realizing the benefits of regular sessions, to ensure their body is feeling good the majority of the time, and they are more able to deal with life’s stressors as they come up.

Maintenance appointments were across the board for therapies including Massage Therapy, Reiki Treatments, Craniosacral Therapy, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology.

Massage Therapy and Holistic Sessions with Teresa Graham, RMT in Calgary NW

Booking regular maintenance sessions ensures feeling better, being able to deal with life stressors more easily and a stronger immune system

#4 Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain

Massage Therapy for Neck pain in Calgary NW with Massage Therapist Teresa Graham, RMTMassage Therapy helps to release tight neck muscles.

Technology is wonderful BUT it is really hard on the body. For those sitting at desk jobs working on computer all day, students studying, or those with more physical daily tasks, the upper body muscles seem to suffer the most through the past year.

Many mentioned their posture at work as well as repetitive strain issues with daily tasks. Massage Therapy was the  number one choice for dealing with pain through the back, neck and shoulders. Included with those sessions was passive stretching to encourage muscle flexibility. Plus we often had discussions about stretching at home along with ideas for better posture so that muscles are not over strained.

I did notice that those coming for regular Massage Therapy sessions through the year mentioned that they experienced less pain and fewer issues with headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms and enjoyed better sleep.

#3 Anxiety, Depression, Overwhelm, and feeling Disconnected

Depression, Anxiety, Overwhelm can be helped with Reiki in CalgaryNW with Teresa Graham, Reiki Master

While a number of clients would end their list of what is bringing discord into their lives with a statement of “well others have it worse, so I shouldn’t complain”, I was quietly thinking “Wow, you are really dealing with A LOT!”

So many have so much on their plates that it’s not surprising that the mind just can not keep up, and in it’s attempts to do so, becomes overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and depression. Honestly, I don’t think many people are realistic about just how much the body and mind can take. As a society we are pushing ourselves way beyond our elastic limits.

For too long we’ve pushed those feelings aside, jumped up after trauma to “soldier on”, lived in our whirling minds of getting “it” done and feeling disconnected from our body, and trying to pretend that everything is fine, while we’re actually falling apart.  It can be scary to allow yourself to fall apart, but it can actually create space for things to fall into place.

I witnessed a greater increase in those asking about and experiencing Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy. During those sessions clients experienced a full 60 minutes of peace, loving energy and unwinding.

Taking that time to get quiet left many saying that they felt clearer, stronger and were heading home to think more on what they needed to let go of and the steps they were going to take to put their well-being first…  It was amazing to be a part of those journeys through the year.

#2 Headaches

Headache relief naturally with Massage Therapy in Calgary NW, Calgary RMTNatural headache relief with Massage Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and Indian Head Massage

Whether tension or migraine there seems to be more and more people dealing with regular headaches. Caused by stress, weather changes, computer screen posture, hormonal imbalances with menstrual cycles and menopause…headaches were causing pain through the day, sleepless nights and feelings of fatigue and nausea.

Treatment choices included Massage Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and Indian Head Massage. All wonderful for creating relaxation and releasing muscle tension, these therapies also increase blood flow to the brain, encourage the release of “feel good” hormones and ease pain.

#1 Stress


The  most frequent reason clients booked in for sessions was Stress. Stress that was chronic, overwhelming and causing considerable issues, both physical and emotional. Life has just become too much! To much to do, to take care of, to deal with… Deadlines, bill payments, exams, school activities…

Clients booked for Massage Therapy to help release the tension in the muscles that were holding tight and to get the natural space back between the ears and the shoulders (no, they shouldn’t be attached to each other). Encouraging overall relaxation so that your stomach will release some of the knots was another reason for Massage.

Reiki sessions were popular to help ease the insomnia that was a symptom of stress. A session to help with deep relaxation in a quiet space. Where the thoughts stop whirling, the breath comes more deeply  and evenly, and life feels more in balance.

Craniosacral Therapy to help the fascia that has become tightly bound and to begin an unwinding process, allowing the whole body to just open up and breathe.

Reflexology because many found it encouraged the entire body to completely relax. Relaxation to the point of falling asleep on the table!

So what would be your reason for booking a Massage Therapy or Holistic session in 2019 and moving forward into the New Year?

Massage Therapy for Younger People

Youth sports Massage TherapyThe majority of my clients understand Massage Therapy to be a necessary  part of their health and wellness plans. Thankfully, those that use to view Massage as just a luxury are learning how helpful it can be. What I’ve been thrilled to witness in the past couple of years are the number of parents booking their teens and pre-teens in for Massage sessions with me.

My own son was 10 when I started studying Massage Therapy and as a growing teen, student and hockey player, he received regular Massage sessions to keep his muscles flexible and fit. Growing pains and muscle spasms were resolved naturally. He was also introduced to a healthy way to relax and rejuvenate during exam time, hockey tournaments and the other stressors of growing.

Massage Therapy for Students with Teresa Graham, RMT CalgarySports, technology and studying place the same stress on kid’s muscles as they do on adults. Posture suffers from bending over textbooks and computers in the same way it does when sitting at a desk job throughout the day. Neck, shoulder and upper back muscles become tight and tense, which can lead to pain and headaches, regardless of age.

Many clients say they feel taller and stand straighter after their Massage. The head pulled forward and chin tucked over a phone, turns into shoulders and head back and in alignment, with the loosening of muscles. It creates better awareness of just how good proper posture can feel.

With the stress of school grades, bullying, peer pressure, sports tournaments… kids need to learn ways to relax and de-stress that are natural and healthy. What they learn through their teens as coping mechanisms will carry them through the adult years in the work force. It sets them up to succeed.

While they may squirm at first because they are not familiar with the touch of Massage, young people soon become relaxed, calm and often fall asleep during their sessions. While easing muscle tension, massage also balances the hormones that are often raging during these years, boosts the immune system naturally, and encourages positive body awareness.


For the first session I often encourage parents to book young people in for 30 minutes rather than a longer session. It allows them to become familiar with how Massage Therapy feels, provides them a safe space to give feedback as to where they are sore or how much pressure they prefer with Massage. An adult is also always welcome to stay in the Massage room if that is what is more comfortable for a young person. Providing a space that feels safe is essential.

How I Change It Up ~ Summer to Autumn Selfcare

Helping Body, Mind and Spirit transition selfcare through the seasons  takes some thought and planning, but you can make it easier.

Autumn Selfcare Massage with Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary

Where I currently live Autumn comes roaring in with sudden colder temperatures and often some snow. Yet this season is still a favourite with the gorgeous colours of reds, oranges and yellows, and the crisp, fresh scents that permeate the air. My self-care routines do shift quite a lot for the Fall though, as I find myself spiraling inwards in both body and mind. 

Falling into Self-Care Activities

Self Care Activity for AutumnOutdoors is my go-to through most of the year if I’m not at work. While I still get out as much as I can the  chilling winds drive me indoors for many Autumn days.  That’s when hiking and nature walks shift to Belly Dance. The music goes on, the hip scarves come out and I shimmy all over the house. It lifts my mood as much as a hike does.  The yoga mat moves from the grass to the carpet and I stretch in and out of myself after a good dance workout.

This isn’t to say that I don’t go outside. I consciously switch up my daily routines to experience as much exposure to daylight as I possibly can. The light on the forehead stimulates the pituitary gland which is important for increasing serotonin (mood stabilizer) production. That’s to say nothing of the benefits from sunshine doses of Vitamin D and also, just how good it feels to be out in the fresh air.

But I do admit that the biting cold wind drives me indoors as the season progresses.

Self Massaging Autumns Dryness Away

Massage is good for moisturizing Autumn dried skin with Teresa Graham, RMT Calgary

This year the dry weather seems to have arrived a little earlier and my skin regime has already needed to change. Increased dry brushing to get rid of dead skin cells and LOTS of moisturizing. I make moisturizing a self-massage ritual. Usually coconut oil, blended with favourite essential oils and massaged into muscles, joints and skin. This increased and focused touch is a great way to improve body awareness plus skin that just feels good to live in.

For my scalp and hair I use warmed coconut or sesame oil to nourish and nurture. Wrapped up in a towel for a few hours my upper being absorbs all the goodness.

Lots and lots of Massage Therapy

Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary
Fall and winter are busy times for Massage Therapists and the need for my own muscle maintenance increases as my work load does. There are other reasons that I go more often for these essential, healthy sessions. With more clients coming in I ensure I am doing all that I can to keep my Immune system strong and healthy, and Massage Therapy helps with that. It also encourages me to relax and de-stress so that my sleep improves…all great immune boosting stuff!

With the shift in my activities I use my muscles in different ways and so those shimmying hips and dance leg muscles require some extra attention in staying loose and flexible.


Seasonal Eating Selfcare

Take care of you, naturally.Do you also prefer warm foods in your tummy when the weather is colder outside? There is nothing quiet like a steaming bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. Or starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and warmed fruit.

Preferring to buy local and fresh my self care nourishment includes lots of squash, kale, beets, carrots, apples and pears blended into stews, soups, oatmeal and other deliciousness. The addition of warming spices such as cinnamon, clove, curry, nutmeg speak to my soul this time of year.

Cozying up to Self Care

Cozy times for Autumn self careMy cat is the main instigator of this self care change. As the weather becomes colder she loves to cuddle up and I have to admit that the rhythm of her purr is comforting and somewhat meditative. So in preparation some extra blankets are on the couch, scented candles and incense are nearby, along with some good books and spicy herbal teas. 

Cozy times also include more bath time than during the summer. There is nothing quite like allowing that hot and healing moist heat to fully embrace my skin, muscles and bones. Comforting scents of essential oils and herbal tea round out this sanctuary for me.

While  my garden is hibernating my creative interests also move indoors and kitty often likes to sit and watch as I craft, sew, make candles,lotions, etc. and she purrs in approval of quieter times.

How do your self care rituals change through the seasons?

When you have to stay indoors rather than be outside, what do you do for self care?

Autumn Massage Sessions ~ The Healthy Benefits

The colder weather is definitely upon us and the season has quickly changed from Summer to Fall. Did you know that Massage Therapy can help you to easily transition between the seasons? There are so many benefits to receiving an Autumn Massage, here are just a few…

Massage Therapy Helps Relieve Anxiety, Depression and SAD

Massage Therapy with Teresa Graham RMT for Anxiety, Depression, SAD in Calgary

Ease Anxiety, Depression and SAD with regular Massage sessions

​Back to school, sports, indoor activities, the ‘9 to 5’, family holiday gatherings… all of these happenings are good, but they can leave you feeling overwhelmed and fatigued. Decreasing amounts of sunshine and daylight begin to take a toll on your mind and your spirit. Anxiety and Depression increase and can lead to exhaustion.

Massage Therapy helps to naturally balance your hormones. Lowering the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) while increasing serotonin (a mood stabilizer) and dopamine levels (helps to battle depression and increases clarity and focus).

Your Massage Therapy appointment gives your mind and body a “time out”. This is a great opportunity to rejuvenate and re-energize so that you can keep your life on track

Massage Therapy is a Natural Immune System Booster

This time of year we spend more time indoors and often in the close company of others, an optimal scenario for the spread of viruses. Preventative action can help you to stay healthy.

​Massage Therapy helps to boost your body’s white blood cell activity, which strengthens your immune system. It also helps you to sleep better, which always goes hand to hand with staying healthier.

Get a Better Nights Sleep with Massage

Massage Therapy brings better sleep with Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary

Sleep better after your Massage Therapy session

A good nights sleep leads to better health, eases depression and is a time for your body to kick into it’s innate self-healing mode. Massage Therapy helps to boost serotonin and melatonin production which are key hormones for regulating your sleep cycle.

Massage as a Stress Buster

Massage Therapy for Stress with Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary

Ease Stress with Massage

When stressed our heart rate and blood pressure increase and muscles become tense and tight. Massage Therapy will help to release your shoulders from your ears, lower your heart rate and decrease blood pressure. In a more relaxed state your stress becomes more manageable.

Reduce Pain and Inflammation with Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy for Arthritis in NW Calgary with Teresa Graham RMT

Good for Arthritis, Massage Therapy eases joint and muscle pain

Colder weather often brings an increase in muscle and joint pain, especially for those who deal with arthritis. Back to school/study/computer posture places more stress and tension on the muscles of the neck, back and shoulders which can lead to increased headaches, jaw tightness and muscle pain.

A Massage Therapy session increases blood flow to muscles, joints and connective tissues while helping to ease inflammation. Greater blood flow and reduced muscle tension eases stress on joints so that they are able to move more freely and with reduced pain. Massage helps to loosen the strained muscles that can become tense with studying as well as increased computer and desk time. Through releasing muscle tension the body moves into it’s better, more natural posture resulting in fewer headaches, joint pains and neck strain.