Is it called “work” when you enjoy it so much?

With January at an end and February beginning, I have had so many opportunities in the past month to experience just how extraordinary my career path is and how grateful I am that I do what I do. I have great gratitude for what it is I do to earn my living, to have the opportunity to do work that I absolutely love. At times I wonder if my reasons aren’t selfish because of the benefits that I receive in offering holistic health sessions to clients and dance classes to students.

789It is so rewarding to see clients come out of their sessions in less pain and often feeling relaxed and more peaceful than they have for quite a while. Through having a hand on their muscle, joint, ligament, etc. I can actually feel the unwinding and healing process begin as their body and mind relax and unwind. The human body always amazes me at just how much it can heal on its own once given the chance and sometimes a little guidance or direction. Clients that allow themselves to embrace such a relaxed and trusting state that they actually feel safe enough, at times, to fall asleep. The trust they put in my abilities to facilitate their healing journey is truly humbling. I learn so much from each and every one of them.

In dance classes, the laughter shared amongst the participants…there is so much laughter every single class is filled with it! (and we all know that releases really positive endorphins into our body). The wisdom and stories and life experiences that women share with me during sessions or at classes crosses all age barriers and leaves me in wonder.

Within my classes I am witness to women providing a type of support to each other that erases any abdvdayboundaries of class level or ability, and includes everyone whether beginner or performance level…the clapping and cheering for each other in sharing the dance, life transitions, trying something new despite feeling intimidated, the reassuring touch on the arm or encouraging words when frustration takes over in trying to “get” that move. The creativity and inspiration that is shared whether it is the tweaking of a dance move or a new costume idea or a different way to tie on a hipscarf. That look that crosses a dancers face when she is “getting” that move or feeling a physical or emotional shift within…it is usually gone in a flash but really, an honour to be witness to.

I am allowed to watch women blossom in their self confidence and self esteem. I’m included as they feel the muscles in their body begin to tone and develop in new ways and they know they are walking a little taller in their posture. I see the smile that passes between them and a loved one at haflas and events when they share that part of themselves outside of the safety of the class room. Through the past 12 years women have come and gone from the classes that I teach, for many reasons, each of them have left an imprint not only on the way that I teach dance but also upon my life.

I have a deep and heartfelt gratitude to those I’ve learned the stylings of belly dance from, especially Latefah as she set me on this path of joy and encouraged me from the start. I’ve learned from so many throughout North American, who have taken the time to share their joy and passion for dance!

I have the deepest gratitude to those who have shared their love of holistic health, some of the toughest teachers … but those have been the best in encouraging me to learn the body from inside out and all spaces in between and others who have taught the awakening of emotion and energy and then the gifted ones who taught me to work with the balance of all 3 … body, mind and spirit.

hand It is not lost on me how the two career paths I have chosen work synergistically with each other. How one supports the other and the knowledge I glean from one can be used to support those participating in the other. Students of dance can draw upon my knowledge of the human body and how it works while clients can draw upon my level of understanding in movement, stretching and strengthening. It wasn’t an intention, they have just ended up that way and for that I’m so grateful!

I am often asked if I’m tired after sharing a health session or a dance class. My responses is a definite no. The exhilaration that runs through me afterwards as perhaps, maybe, in some small way, I may have had an impact upon that person through helping them, dissipates any tiredness.

You can discover more about my work by visiting http://www.handtohealth.com and http://www.abbotsfordbellydance.com

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Clinical Reflexology…Where Touch Imitates Nature

Clinical Reflexology for those Vulnerable Feet (& Hands)!

Humans are the only mammals on earth to wear shoes and keep our feet covered most of the time.

We wear shoes that decorate our feet, give us added height, keep us dry and warm, let us run over any surface … BUT through this we have lost touch with the natural stimulation our feet receive when walking barefoot. It seems also, that because we usually keep them under cover, some of us feel squeamish, uneasy and even vulnerable when having our feet uncovered, exposed and touched.

Reflexology is so much more than a foot massage. Our feet have over 7,000 nerve endings and are a map to the entire body.

From a holistic practitioner’s point of view I realize and honour that when I hold your feet in my hands, I hold your whole being.

Each of the nerve endings in both your feet and your hands, correspond to different parts, glands and organs of your body, thus creating a map and a mirror for how your body is doing. (see Historically Healthy Feet) Through stimulating these nerve endings with very specific thumb and finger techniques I offer more than a foot massage, I offer the benefits of a skilled Reflexology session.

The benefits of Reflexology have been known to us for centuries though we seem to have forgotten many of our ancestors natural remedies and cures. This non-invasive holistic treatment is one that has survived the test of time and scientific research as a way of restoring our bodies to their normal functioning state of well-being. Studies have shown the benefits of Reflexology to include:

  • Relaxation – which begins as soon as the session starts and encourages our body’s natural healing abilities to kick in. There have been numerous studies using EEGs to track the brain’s activity and to show the relaxation effects of Reflexology.
  • Improved Circulation – increased and improved flow of blood and lymph means that the flow of Oxygen and Nutrients to cells as well as the removal of wastes and toxins is improved. This facilitates the body’s natural detoxifying processes and encourages homeostasis of bodily functions.
  • Pain Reduction – there have been multiple studies performed with people of all ages and in all states of health which have clearly shown reduced pain as a result of Reflexology. It has been shown to be of benefit for Post Operative pain, Arthritic pain, Tension Headaches, Back Pain…
  • Mental Well-being – relaxation encourages stress release which in turn has a positive effect on the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Insomnia related to stress is also shown to be reduced.
  • Cancer Care – Reflexology compliments cancer care and can be an aid in easing the pain and nausea associated with treatment.
  • Plantar Fasciitis Relief – a very painful foot condition often caused by standing for long periods of time, poorly fitting footwear, muscular weakness, etc. is helped by Reflexology in that it stretches and loosens the ligaments and muscles of the foot while also reducing inflammation and pain.
  • AND – as tension and stress are released and blood flow improved Reflexology helps with digestive disorders, colic, constipation, hormonal imbalances, symptoms of PMS and Menopause, teething, migraine headaches, respiratory and sinus conditions, etc.

Why Clinical Reflexology?

The results you gain with Reflexology are as good as the Reflexologist that you have your session with because it is more than just a foot massage. A good session requires not only a natural talent but skill and training in the specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. You are placing not just your feet or hands in my care, you are placing your body there.

Is it going to hurt? In spaces where there is congestion of nerve tissue or chronic pain it will likely feel tender or hurt as my fingers go over that area. The pain stops when the pressure is removed and gradually decreases each time I pass over that area…the soreness will reduce with successive treatments as your body’s condition improves. The pressure that is used is always adapted to each individual’s tolerance and is not pushed beyond that.

Will it tickle? Not usually because of the pressure that is used. However, for those with highly sensitive feet there is the option of Hand Reflexology.

Natural Reflexology occurs whenever we slip off our socks and shoes and walk barefoot upon the earth. While walking on sand or small pebbles we receive stimulation of  the nerve endings in the bottoms of our feet. Experience it yourself …take some time to close your eyes and notice the sensations the next time you walk barefoot upon carpet, wet grass, dry sand, the cement of a sidewalk… Breathe and notice how other areas of your body feel as you walk.

There are many who have realized the benefits of a Reflexology session…share the story your feet have told!