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

25 years of Reiki practice

Reiki is loving energy, treatments in Calgary NW with Teresa Graham, Reiki MasterREIKI is an ancient Japanese healing technique

My connection with Reiki, from when I received my first session, through learning, sharing sessions and also teaching, has been a journey filled with twists and turns and a lot of lessons. Not all of it easy, but I think those experiences have made me a better teacher and practitioner.

Reiki is all about being open to allowing and receiving energy that is loving and healing. Deservability can raise it’s ugly head in whether we feel we’re worthy. That self-judgement is completely dissolved as we feel the vibrations of Reiki’s beautiful energy.Holistic health involves the mind, body and spirit

What has changed the most in my Reiki practice is a better understanding of how many different physical and emotional journey’s clients and students are on. They are as unique as the individual. Remaining open, without judgement but instead with acceptance, is a place that I have learned to greet each person with. This has spilled over into all of the holistic sessions that I practice and teach.

​While a lot of what I have learned and practiced is from textbooks and lectures, I’ve also come to the understanding of how important it is to embrace holistic healing, that if the mind is feeling out of  sorts, stressed and anxious, the body is likely reflecting that as well. Healing one without addressing the other usually leads to a temporary feeling of well-being, but in addressing both many clients experience better outcomes.

A few months ago I had a client book in for Reiki who was brand new. She had experienced trauma and said to me “I want to heal, but do I really have to talk with you about what happened”. “No, you don’t” was the answer. I knew that she would draw Reiki to those areas that needed healing and that I was simply there to support and facilitate that process. Twenty years ago I likely wouldn’t have had the same trust and faith, but I’ve witnessed it with too many to discount it now.

Calgary NW Reiki classes with Teresa Graham, VarsityLearn to share Reiki with others at a Level 1 Class

In teaching Reiki I find that students will struggle with what they are feeling when giving a session, moreso that they are not feeling anything or not feeling enough.

​It takes some time and practice to come to the understanding that sharing a Reiki session is not about what you the student or practitioner is feeling. What is the most important aspect of Reiki is what the recipient is experiencing and knowing that is enough.

Reiki, or the idea of working with energy, brings a lot of questions from clients and the public. I am always happy to talk with you and, if I can, answer any questions you may have about Reiki.  However, the best way to learn about it is to first experience it.


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!

Ouch My Neck! Why it Hurts & What You Can Do About It.

The Neck. Neck pain is one of the most common Massage Therapy complaints that clients come in to see me for. It’s such an amazing, flexible part of the body but when it hurts…OUCH!

Massage Therapy for the Neck at Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary ABFree movement of the neck when muscles are loose

Tight neck muscles can lead to pain, tension, headaches, jaw pain, pain in the shoulders, upper back and even the upper chest. There are 26 muscles in the neck that help to stabilize the upper body, allow us to look up and down and from side to side, let us bend our ear towards our shoulder, allow us to swallow and talk, and help to elevate our rib cage when we breathe.

It’s important to keep these muscles flexible so you can enjoy their full function and mobility!

Technology and Neck Pain

Massage for tight neck muscles at Teresa Graham, RMT CalgaryTaking a break from devices can help to rest your neck muscles

While the technology we have is amazing, it is probably the worst culprit and what brings Massage Therapy clients in to see me the most.

​Straining or holding our neck muscles as we look at computer screens for work throughout the day, or tilting the head down to look at phones and other devices, puts undue stress on our neck muscles unless we take time to care for them. If you’re regularly taking breaks from computer screens and your devices throughout your day as well as taking time to counter stretch the neck muscles, you may not be having issues. Unfortunately we can get drawn into the job or the conversation and forget to take those breaks.

This Neck Pain, I Just Woke Up With It

Massage Therapy for painful muscle spasms in Calgary NW with Teresa Graham, RMTPainful Muscle Spasm in the morning can be helped

No reason that you can think of as a cause, but when you woke up this morning you experienced severe neck pain. It hurts to move it, it hurts to not move it, your head feels too heavy to hold up… Has this happened to you?

Another reason I see clients for a Neck Massage is because of Torticollis (or Wry Neck), a spasm in the neck muscle. It’s likely that your neck has been tense and strained for some time but you may not have been paying attention. While you were sleeping you unknowingly moved into a position where the strain became an intense muscle spasm and because the muscle was already strained and fatigued, it’s now yelling at you. Torticollis can be very painful.

How Can I Help Your Neck Pain?

Massage Therapy in Calgary NW with Teresa Graham, RMTMassage helps to release tight neck muscles

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy can help to loosen all of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, upper back and upper chest. Clients often feel some immediate pain relief and notice increased flexibility and mobility.

Myofascial Release

A form of Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release focuses on encouraging the fascia around the muscles to loosen and release. Through rolling the muscles with the fingers, and gradually massaging in more deeply. The tightness begins to let go. Not usually recommended when the muscle spasm is acute, as it often feels too aggressive and painful.

Craniosacral Therapy

Gentler than Massage, Craniosacral Therapy will encourage the fascia that surrounds the muscles, ligaments and joints to gradually begin unwinding. As the fascia loosens the muscles have more room to move.

Spinal Touch

Through specific techniques Spinal Touch encourages good posture throughout the entire body to promote good spinal alignment. (read more about Spinal Touch here)

Hot Moist Heat

Muscles just love hot moist heat. It brings circulation to the area and can often encourage the muscles to relax. Getting into a hot bath to soak your neck and back muscles is the best way to apply this form of therapy. You can also place a damp hand towel in the microwave to heat up and place on the affected areas.


It’s important to remember that your neck muscles have probably been under strain for a period of time and they are unlikely to completely loosen with just one treatment.

Let’s work together to get them loose through regular therapy, some home self-care and stretches. 
Once loose we can create a plan to keep them that way!

Inhale, Exhale ~ Just Breathe

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath, without really realizing it? Perhaps I notice it more for myself because I am often reminding clients to “take a breath” while they are on the table.

With so many benefits, why wouldn’t you take a deep breath?

Deep breathing:

  • calms the mind and the nervous system bringing increased relaxation
  • increases your oxygen intake and that’s good for the entire body
  • exercises the intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs) and diaphragm
  • calms anxiety and stress
  • improves cellular regeneration
  • strengthens the blood and the release of toxins
  • ​improves digestion

There are many breathing techniques that you can experiment with, here is one…breathe
How and when we breathe has a direct impact on both our body and our mind so make yourself a note to “JUST BREATHE”!

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?

Spring Clean Yourself (Part 2) The Mental

(To read Spring Clean Yourself Part One click here)

Far more important than cleaning the house is cleaning up the hamster wheel of thoughts in your head that no longer serve you. Those disempowering thoughts, feelings and old worn out stories that come along with guilt, fear, anger, shame, regret, etc. that are taking up space and not paying rent to be there.


zzzTake a moment to decide how these old thoughts may be serving you in some way. Do they make you feel protected? Do you feel yourself to be lacking because of them? Is the idea of letting go of them scary? Why? Are these thoughts true?

You can begin to declutter the space these useless thoughts take up by looking for more positive thoughts to replace them with. Did you learn something from the old story? Is it a lesson that has served you well since? Does that old thought fit with who you are today?


zzzaLook for ways to get the thoughts out of your head. Put them down on paper with as much detail as possible (you may need some kleenex handy because this can often bring up emotions too. But, that is a good thing). Is everything down? All of it? Now burn that paper and watch those old thoughts disintegrate into ash. (you can type and delete but it is not nearly as powerful)

Are there scraps of old thoughts left churning around in your head? Go and do something physical and get out of your head and into your body. Notice how your body feels while you’re doing it. Notice your heart beat and the rhythm of your breath. Physical activity can be like a cleansing breeze for the mind, cleaning itself out while your focus is elsewhere.


zzdSeek out positive, uplifting people, experiences and activities to create new memories to think about. Get together with good friends and enjoy great conversation, open up a new thought provoking book, create a new adventure for yourself and just try new things.

Your mind will have a whole load of new and positive things to occupy itself with.