What is Lomi Lomi?

In summer I attended a six-day professional training course in Lomi Lomi massage which I am now offering to all my clients. Some of you might be familiar with that type of massage and some of you might not.
Lomi-Lomi can be translated as rub-rub and is a massage practice or style that has developed out of the Hawaiian traditions and is also known as Loving Hands Massage. The deep connection and reverence for nature of the Hawaiian healing arts have created an approach that is suited to restoring the body’s natural resonance and rhythm. It works gently and yet deeply into the muscles with continuous and flowing strokes, allowing the recipient to enter a state of deep relaxation and surrender to nurturing touch. Lomi-Lomi works from the belief that memories are not just stored in the brain and mind, but also in every cell of our body. The long and continuous strokes are designed to help the body let go of its old patterns and behaviours.

Full-body and under-body strokes, as well as light stretches and joint mobilisations, are used to free up your energy flow with the intention of staying within your comfort zone. Added to that are stillness and holds which support the body with integrating the effect.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more. Check my availability here.

Connecting with yourself

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Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to create and stick with good habits? Sleeping, eating and moving well are key factors to leading a healthy and more fulfilled lifestyle. Knowing this, however, is not enough to motivate change.

We are becoming increasingly disconnected from our bodies when using modern technology and negotiating our man-made environment. The ability to feel into our bodily sensations is no longer required to live our lives. By becoming disconnected we literally lose sense of how we are treating our bodies.
We also lose the connection to our internal guidance that supports our decision-making, we no longer trust what we instinctively feel, we no longer trust our bodies and we have to become reliant on what others tell us. It’s easy to follow our own misguided thoughts and fears that are a product of our perceptions and past experiences, but not rooted in reality. It’s equally easy to follow all the distractions on offer and avoid our true feelings or what our bodies are trying to tell us.
We all are seeking connection but neglect to keep that important connection to our selves. How do we then re-connect with our bodies?
Re-connection can be created if we start by making a commitment to our selves, taking little steps daily, finding practices that help us to live more in our bodies rather than in the world of thought and distraction. Keeping up with a daily practice ensures a re-connection to our selves, revitalizing our bodies, our overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Check my availability here.

Lower Back Pain and Muscle Imbalance

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We acquire basic as well as new movement skills by stimulating and creating new neural pathways so that we don’t have to consciously think about how to move when a new skill is established. Once we have learned how to stand upright and walk, we know what to do without needing to think about it. Motor skills can also be lost over time when neural pathways are no longer sufficiently stimulated or required. Our tissues also adapt and create the strength and structural support necessary for movement, sometimes through shortening. Therefore we are always in the shape we are meant to be, in line with what we are asking our body to do.

It is very common for clients with lower back or hamstring issues to show inactive gluteus (buttock) muscles due to either prolonged sitting or other movement habits where those muscles are inhibited for some other reason. That is what a simple test I perform often demonstrates.
The body loses the use of this area if it hasn’t been activated well for some time. This will lead to overworking either the lower back or the thigh muscles as they have to compensate and work harder to make up for the insufficient or late activation of the glutes. In order to remedy that I will release any painful or tense areas in conjunction with prescribing exercises designed to re-activate the glutes so that balance is restored and the extra strain on the lower back and thigh is taken away.

If you want to check my availability please check here.

No pain, no gain. Does massage have to hurt in order to get results?

Some of the students on the Holistic Massage course at the Bristol College of Massage Bodywork, where I work, asked me the following question: Does massage have to hurt to get results? They had experienced the benefits of relaxation in massage but not sure how to approach remedial work as they had received treatments in the past that were sometimes unpleasant. So unpleasant, they felt unwell the next day and needed to recover from it. They thought that they had to create similar experiences for their clients. And they appeared very reluctant to work in that way but assumed it was necessary.

No pain, no gain, right? Sounds like old school thinking, and it probably is. Many people have been on holiday abroad and experienced something similar or been to a Spa where there was a heavy-handed routine.

I shared my views. And in my opinion, it is not desirable to endure high levels of discomfort when receiving massage. This is not how I work and not the kind of massage I would choose for myself. My preferred course of action is to reduce a heightened nervous system response before moving on to more focused work where it is needed. When body tissues are in a temporal or chronic state of excitement or stress, they receive an increased energetic input from the body. Initially, this level of energy needs to be reduced and toned down before working on specific areas. Inviting your clients to let go via surrendering to pain is forcing relaxation. It’s not a pleasant method for relaxing the body and possibly shows a disregard for clients. There are a few people who enjoy a great deal of pressure and discomfort. And it is producing results as well, but not really necessary. The nervous system responds faster and with more benefits to a subtle approach. Why shout at the body when it listens to much quieter stimuli and with fewer side effects?
As a therapist, I intentionally want to stimulate a new healing response in my clients. Creating a level of inflammation in tissues that have become stuck is part of that. Experiencing soreness afterwards is not required. I work by fine-tuning the level of discomfort with feedback from my clients when focusing on responsive areas.
This allows my clients to experience the point of release, slowly and gently. It is often accompanied by lightness, ease, and an increased range of movement in the body.
If you want to check out my availability, please do so here.

Why is it that my clients report a sense of lightness and free-ness in their tissues after remedial work?

When meeting new people, after a few laughs and shared stories the conversation will often end up with the question of what I do for a living.
One line that I’ve used in the past is that I fix people. If that arouses interest, I build on that momentum.

For a start, I don’t actually fix anyone. Remedial massage facilitates a process by which my clients have a good chance of tuning in and experiencing a change in their bodies. Even if those changes are temporary at the beginning, they can become the motivation for more changes later down the line, particularly if the issues are of a more chronic nature.

My remedial work is based on the anatomical understanding that the body is one interconnected unit and that when one part moves the whole body is responding. One of the main structures of the body to allow for this interconnectedness is the fascia, a type of connective tissue. It’s this tissue that holds absolutely everything in place as it wraps around individual muscle fibres, muscles, organs and bones. Any movement restrictions, aches and pains can often be traced back to changes in the fascia, which over time can become immobile.
Where fascia is not able to slide and glide freely, increased tension can be felt in that region and the normal flow of energy is interrupted. This can lead to pain and dysfunction over time and my remedial work focuses on those areas.
The Fascia and the nervous system are responding to mechanical forces when we move and they work to integrate the loads placed on our body. This responsiveness can be used intentionally in massage therapy by locking into the identified areas of tissue and waiting for a gradual release, which is triggered by the brain when discomfort or pain is felt.
When the body is stimulated through remedial massage it begins a healing process in areas of soft tissue inflammation, creating another response when the body might be stuck in an inflammatory feedback loop.
The re-introduction of movement and the separation of tissue layers that have become stuck allows for more blood and nutrients to feed the tissues, increasing the flow in the body leading to more movement and less discomfort.
A sense of release and lightness can be felt immediately after a remedial session.
Further changes can be experienced up to 3 days after treatment.
These are the first steps in the process of recovery and healing and to sustain any gains, changes in movement and postural habits need to be considered too.