Stepping Back & Moving Forwards – Some Changes

Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to actually take some positive steps forward. Seems strange as we are often encouraged to just move forward without looking back.

Reiki Master Teresa Graham, Calgary AB

When life is not flowing smoothly but instead is constantly hitting bumps and boulders I feel encouraged to sit in meditation (usually off in nature somewhere), and tune into what is feeling “off” and why.  In that quiet space I can often come up with not only some answers, but also what changes I need to make to shift the flow and create more balance and harmony in my world. It’s similar to how I assist clients during a Reiki session to shift into a healthier balance and flow in their lives. Practicing what I preach.
Since 1995 I have owned my own business in the holistic healthcare field, and while it’s been challenging I’ve always enjoyed that. While I’m still able to offer this for my clients and students in B.C., since moving to Calgary it’s changed. My parents were both self-employed entrepreneurs as is my son. It seems to run in the blood.

Reception Teresa Graham RMT Calgary

And so my recent meditations have me realizing the need for taking a step backwards while also stepping forwards in serving my clients in Calgary. Changes are afoot!

After August 15th my business, Hand to Health, is what I will be working under in providing Massage Therapy and Holistic Therapies to clients. Finding a space within a collaborative group of health professionals that is welcoming, peaceful (sound-proof rooms), professional and very much in tune with what I wish to offer. The same services and sessions in a holistic, healing environment.

I have been blessed through the past two years to have been a part of the amazing team at Atmosphere Health. It’s been a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to have had it. Being only 5 minutes away at my new location, it is my intention to continue to refer clients to both Dr Paul Semadeni and Andrew Dulcamara for their Chiropractic and Acupuncture care. They are both amazing healthcare providers in their fields!

Calgary NW Massage Therapy with Teresa Graham, RMT

My last day of seeing clients at Atmosphere Health will be Thursday, August 15th. Taking Saturday the 17th to participate as a Massage Therapist at the Ride to Conquer Cancer, my first day of seeing clients at the new location will be Tuesday, August 20th.
My days and hours will be the same with some flexibility to work later for those established clients who require that.
Teresa Graham, RMT at Hand to Health, Calgary AB
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Why Am I a Massage Therapist?

NW Calgary Massage Therapy with Teresa Graham, RMT
A question I’m asked by clients often is why did I choose to become a Massage Therapist?

One thing that I can say for sure is that it’s a choice I have never regretted, I love what I do as not only a Massage Therapist, but also sharing all of the other Holistic modalities I’ve trained in.

My second career, after office administration, was as an Interior Designer, a job that really nurtured my creative, artistic side. While on site during a design project I fell from a ladder and because of that fall I booked in for my first Massage session. There was no turning back.

Massage Therapy brings well-being to body and mind

That first Massage left me in awe of how it eased the pain, helped me to heal and moreso feeling just how connected the parts of my body were. I had to learn more!

I signed up for a weekend course “An Introduction to Massage”. I was fascinated with

Holistic Massage Therapy with Teresa Graham, RMT Calgary

Massage brings well-being to mind and body

how it felt to work with another’s muscles and feel them release, to see the glow of wellbeing and peace that crossed their face as they completely relaxed. The course wasn’t my first steps in incorporating holistic health practices into my lifeAs a young, single mother I was interested in organic, holistic nutrition and participated in meditation daily. Yoga had been an interest since my teen years.

While on the waiting list to get into Massage Therapy school, I studied ReflexologyReiki, Fitness instruction, Aromatherapy and Colour Therapy. Loving how each of these could complement each other and the holistic wellbeing for myself, my family and others. Did I mention that I love to learn?
My journey into studying Massage Therapy seemed the next logical step on this path I was traveling and I have loved every aspect of practicing it through the past 23 years. Honestly I can’t see myself ever fully retiring because of the joy I experience doing work that I love, with incredible clients.

Calgary Massage Therapist Teresa Graham, RMT

Teresa Graham, RMT

Massage and other Holistic therapies are a continual opportunity to learn and expand my skills. Through the past 18 years my practice has turned to specializing in treating women through all the differing phases of their life journey…but that’s another story for another blog, someday.

It’s weird but I have a sense of gratitude for that fall from the ladder, because it led me to this amazing career!

Planting the Seeds of Understanding Holistic Health

A holistic health colleague and I were discussing ways to promote our businesses last week and how to get our messages of wellbeing out to the general public.

What we couldn’t decide was whether approaching potential clients from the viewpoint of emotional wellbeing was the best way to share, or if physical wellbeing was better. Why was this a dilemma for us? I think it lies in the fact that we, as therapists, look at wellbeing from a holistic point of view, while mainstream media presents to the public a very “physical symptoms and dis-ease picture” viewpoint.

From a Holistic Health viewpoint one strives to have a balance of wellness in the body, the mind and the spirit.

holistichealth

Some believe that a disease or a physical symptom actually begins in Spirit. That Spirit is attempting to give us a message to make a change or eat differently or take steps toward wellness. It is when we don’t listen and engage with that message that a symptom will move to the mind and then the body, showing up as disease, pain, skin irritation,

When one takes the time to pray or meditate regularly or communicate with Spirit in a way best for them, and take action, it is thought that the mind and body then stay in a space of health and wellness.

In researching what the public is searching the internet for, the focus is very much on disease and symptoms labels such as Fibromyalgia, Plantar Faciitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, PTSD, Stress, Back Pain, Menopause symptoms, Cancer, Anxiety Disorder….

While there is no disagreement with the labels, a holistic therapist looks at each client as an individual and how those symptoms are specifically affecting them. How they are feeling, that day, on an emotional and physical level.

massage therapy in calgary with teresa grahamWhen a client comes to see me for a Massage Therapy session and lists their problem as Back pain. I’m  assessing, as they move, how the pain is affecting their movement, is their spine appearing to be out of alignment, any signs of swelling or inflammation in the muscles, are they in emotional distress from the pain, what is it keeping them from doing, is it affecting their sleep, are they clenching their jaw or sweating from pain, how are they describing it, what words are they using…

Why so much in the way of assessment? I’ve probably already seen 3 other clients that day with Back pain and I guess I could treat them each the same way BUT is that really going to be beneficial for each? It might be but likely not. I assess because I want to know how this is affecting their overall holistic wellness and I want to treat them in such a way that all levels of wellbeing are addressed.

I may find as I’m working with them that the pain began after an emotionally upsetting day. As they talk about this during their session the muscles will often open up and let my hands work out the pain and tension of the emotion. They may cry, laugh, get angry as the loosening muscles allow the emotion to be released…which is wonderful.

While they are likely of the mind that it was the massage that loosened the muscle, I’m more likely to believe that releasing the emotion was much more beneficial.

dsc_0061That was only one of the 3 clients that day with Back pain. What about the other two coming in with completely different circumstances but the same symptoms. Perhaps baby gaining weight is putting excess strain on the pregnant woman’s back muscles, or they slept in an awkward position, or the busy teacher is stressed out and clenching their muscles.
​That is why so much assessment happens.

plantaseedSo in getting back to the original dilemma around promotion, we wondered how to best get that message across as holistic therapists. I think what we decided was to go for the symptoms and use the language that potential clients understand, and then begin to plant seeds, educate and present the ideas that encompass holistic health and wellness.

That isn’t to say we would try to change people. Each person has their own beliefs around health and wellness and what is best for them in the way of therapies. Each individual knows their body far better than I, and their beliefs bring them the holistic wellness they feel comfortable with.

As a therapist, it is up to me to honour and understand, learn from each client and adapt my therapy session to best meet their needs, and at the same time share knowledge about how the body works and it’s amazing abilities to heal through holistic wellness.

 

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.

TURN IT AROUND

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?

GET THEM OUT!

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.

MOVE FORWARD

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.

Hand to Health at Atmosphere Health…here we go!

Super thrilled to be offering sessions at this dynamic, patient focused clinic beginning Tuesday, September 5th! Check out http://www.atmospherehealth.ca to discover more about what is offered and about the knowledgeable and experienced healthcare staff. I look forward to seeing you soon.Teresa Graham RMT Calgary

Radical Self Care – I’m learning, exploring…and you?

Iworkpict always seems that I have to get that universal kick in the butt before the concept of self-care crosses my awareness. In complete opposition to what I encourage with my clients. Yes, guilty of doing, more than being.

A recent round with a cold/flu virus knocked me back…again…seems this year I’ve caught everything that is going around. I probably should have received the message the 2nd time around with a cold but it took this last knock for me to sit down and reassess. My body had been talking pretty loudly before the virus…knowing I needed to do more yoga and meditation, take more time for soaks in the tub and “do nothing”time. But as many of us do, I kept putting it off until I “had the time”. Well the universe made sure of that.

This time I paid attention. I took time to review just how busy I had been through the last months and in that business had neglected my being. We all get caught in the hamster wheel of “busyness” but I was more than a little surprised to see just how many hours I was logging in with work tasks each week. No wonder I was achy and sore given that both my jobs, holistic therapist and dance instructor, are so physically demanding. I let that number of hours echo around in my brain for a few days realizing I was the only one who could make the changes needed for a more balanced life.Holisticentrepreneur

What I find tough in that is how much I love the work that I do and how difficult I find it to say no when a client has injured themselves and is in pain, or a student is working with a choreography and has hit a wall. I realize that I’m not very different to a lot of others in the varied personal service industries, if you’ve been at it for any time at all it is likely because you have a passion for what you do. But again, I’m brought back to I tell others; if you get sick or disabled and can’t work what is going to happen in the different aspects of your world?

So what changes have I made? With both businesses I’ve reduced the number of hours that I am making myself available. Saying no is difficult so I’ve decided during the off hours I will stay away from the computer email messages and turn the phone off. A little self preservation that will go a long ways and I KNOW that in the long run, I will have more to give to both others and myself. It is the first in a few steps that I need to implement but it is a start!

(for my adjusted hours at Hand To Health please click here)

What steps are you taking, right now, to look after you?

Self Care & Stretch…do you?

Hand To Health AbbotsfordI probably ask about your self care time at pretty much every holistic session. While your sessions with me count as self care it really is a practice that needs to be followed daily.
Making it a habit isn’t really that difficult….here are some easy tips to bring self care into your daily regime AND they take 15 minutes or less!

  1. Snuggle with your pet, child, a warm blanket
  2. Go for a walk outside
  3. Close your eyes, for just a few minutes, and take some slow deep breaths
  4. Turn on some favourite music and…dance to it, sit down and just listen, fill a bathtub with water and bubbles and slip in, cook a favourite meal, bake, sing along, etc.
  5. Meet with a positive and supportive friend for coffee
  6. Eat your breakfast in bed
  7. Sleep in
  8. Stretch or do some yoga
  9. Light a candle, incense or place your favourite essential oil in a burner, pull out a good book and enjoy
  10. Take a nap
  11. Give yourself a hug
  12. Book a holistic health session for yourself – massage, reiki, reflexology…
  13. Make your favourite snack and watch a movie
  14. Give yourself a home spa session
  15. Book some time to spend on your favourite hobby
  16. Colour, journal, draw or paint
  17. Eat a meal, mindfully
  18. Hug a tree or ground/earth yourself11

…just a few things to get you started! What ideas do you have for self care?

And next blog…the other thing I nag clients about “Do you stretch?”