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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 14 2018 09:00AM

WNT founder Jennie Duck and absentee massage therapist writes a blog about blogs and encourages you to have a browse of historic blogs to get a feel for individual practitioners' approaches

One of the things we do as a team at WNT is contribute towards a monthly blog. This is partly to offer some tips, insights and ideas to all of you lovely clients, but it is also to help give you a flavour of us as individual therapists.

Choosing a therapist to go and see can be a bit daunting – ideally you want someone you warm to and feel safe with. Of course you want a treatment that fits your needs and preferences, but arguably the connection you have with the practitioner is a strong determiner of this. I have had massages where my enjoyment of the company of the therapist has made the after effects of the treatment last way longer - I think this is because I have been more relaxed during the session, because I have felt able to laugh, moan or cry as needed in that environment, because I have felt understood and some sort of solidarity, and also because all of those things have meant my body was able to trust the therapists hands to do what they needed to do!

I know each of the practitioners well and what I love about the blogs is that they really reflect the personalities and treatment approaches of the practitioners. I have spent several hours of late putting links to historic blogs on the profile pages of each practitioner and it has taken all the longer to do that fiddly task as I have been re-connecting with my colleagues and friends through reading their words. Which has made a mundane task a nourishing experience!

If you have any uncertainties about who to see and / or you’re interested in finding out more how one or all of our practitioners works then I urge you to go and have a browse. There is a wealth of information in there and you can really get a feel for the individual approach and personality of our varied, lovely, thoughtful, wise and skilled team of practitioners.

Find our blogs on our profile pages- click on a practitioner to get to their profile page

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 4 2018 09:00AM

West Norwood Therapies founder Jennie Duck shares a phrase that is in the forefront of her mind this springtime.

Lately this quote has been buzzing round my head. It seems to originate from Plato, though google has a few sources claiming it!

It feels important to me to keep this in mind at the moment. I know so many people who have been having a rough time of it, with all sorts of challenges to face and crosses to bear. And that’s just in my little orbit, there is a whole world with people living with pain, in poverty, in conflict zones and the list goes on.

All of our little interactions with people matter – in fact I’ve been listening to some interesting research lately that shows that the quality of our relationships and interactions can literally have an impact on our physicality and longevity, of course more so in our intimate relationships, but also those day to day snippets of conversation, eye contact, smiles and acknowledgements. (Elissa Epel and The Telomere Effect)

And how do we know what is going on in the world of each person we pass in the street, each shopkeeper we buy from, each car that pulls out in front of us and makes us want to honk and yell? Perhaps when someone is grumpy or careless they are simply rude or annoying, but perhaps they are sad and in pain, perhaps there is something they are struggling with that is making them distracted or out of sorts and they are not coping. Perhaps they don’t have a suitable outlet for their feelings and so it slips out in other ways.

Kindness can essentially show compassion, even if we have no idea what is going on for someone or have any real understanding of what their life is like. I think it also makes the giver feel better, a positive way of engaging with the world and often a smile will trigger a responding smile so we might spark off some joy.

My colleagues Audra and Philippa wrote their last blogs respectively on Spring detoxing and Spring into Life – both of the saying that Spring is more of a ‘new year’ to them than 1st January. So perhaps we can make a ‘new year’s resolution’ to step out with a little more kindness and see how it makes us feel.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jan 31 2018 02:44PM

Massage therapist and West Norwood Therapies' founder Jennie Duck considers if doing less can help her lead a fuller life

2017 seemed to be a year that, figuratively speaking, bit a lot of people on the ass. For me, bereavement and illness were a huge part of it and that inevitably compounds an appreciation of just how short life can be - and how precious it always is.

It was also a year of big change for me, not least with a move up to rural Scotland with my husband and toddler son. We now live at the end of a track in an old mill house by the river with 15 acres to play with. A far cry from our small London flat and compact little garden!

Now we have a big adventure ahead – which begins with endless lists. Rooms to paint, floors to sand, furniture to build, gardens to create, woodland to explore, family to visit…not to mention work to do, meals to cook and a toddler to play with (the best bit) and keep a routine going for.

So, lots to do and the knowledge that we cannot take life for granted. How do I respond, cram as much in as possible?

Before Christmas I agreed with my husband to have a bit of time to myself each morning – it’s better for us all this way ;-) I wanted to use this time to think, to explore the countryside, go for walks, do some yoga, wake up slowly with a nice cuppa, have a bath, do some writing, send some messages, do a bit of work, polyfill some gaps…by the end of the first week I was frustrated and using my time poorly. I couldn’t do all of that! And wanting it all meant I had done none of it properly and was starting the day in a jumble.

So now I do two things each morning: wake up slowly with a nice cuppa (well, 2 cuppas really…) and some yoga. If we’ve had an early start there’s sometimes time for some other bits, but generally letting go of the multitude of aspirations has really helped me get the most out of the ones I am giving space to. Instead of starting the day in a jumble I have a relatively clear head and can focus on my family and tasks.

Life is short, walk slowly. I heard this phrase in a massive Kenyan church tent many moons ago and lately it has been at the forefront of my mind. How much importance we place on doing more, seeing more, exploring more…but what about time in there for all the processing that needs to follow and absorption of any experience – good, bad and all the grey ones in between. The big life events of last year have left ripples and a strong residual sense of being buffeted around: last year was too much, too fast and it wasn’t helpful to have so much happen at once. Much of this was beyond my control, but perhaps this is one of the lessons life is teaching me.

Of course the work in the house needs to be done and I do LOVE painting (the 20% reward after 80% of effort goes into prepping…) – but it will and in good time.

Life is short...I will try to walk slowly!

By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 9 2017 08:00AM

West Norwood Therapies' founder and massage therapist Jennie Duck shares how a recent injury that has put her out of action has encouraged her to reflect on looking after herself in the same way she advises her clients.

I am a big advocate for regular treatments to help maintain healthy wellbeing and I encourage my clients to consider having massage or other therapies as a matter of course rather than waiting for an injury. In promoting sports massage in particular, the message is that if you take care of your body and condition it for what you are expecting it to do then the chance of injury is greatly reduced. In sports training this can be obvious – you know you have worked your legs with that run and those squats, so it makes sense to have them massaged to help stretch the muscles and boost circulation. But what about the impact of spending 8 hours at a desk? Or, as in my case, the impact of carrying, bouncing, lifting, breastfeeding and snuggling a growing baby…

Well, it turns out the impact can be fierce! I have developed an injury called De Quervains – inflammation of the tendon sheath of the tendons connecting my thumb to my wrist, which manifests as intense pain on pretty much all movement of my right wrist and thumb (I’m right-handed). it is a condition that tends to affect new mums whose ligaments are still lax and who are using their bodies in new, relentless ways – breastfeeding, rocking, bouncing, cuddling protectively, carrying in a sling, bending and lifting, wrestling squirmy crawlers to get nappies changed…all of this while more tired than you’ve ever been and with less sleep to build the strength and resilience to cope with the new demands on your body.

So, I wish what I had chosen to do was to have treatments every couple of weeks to help myself counter some of this impact. The other benefit, as well as the immediate physical boost, is the help to “tune-in” to your body that a treatment gives. Have you ever had a massage where you’ve said to your therapist “I didn’t even realise I was tense there” when they worked on a specific point on your body? Well that process is helping you to get a feel for your body and to get more of a sense of how it is absorbing strain. Often the parts that we are aware of hurting are the final cogs in the chain, yet it’s the earlier cogs that have led us to this point of pain.

I knew I had some niggles – my lower back was permanently aching, my shoulders were stiff and I had some pains in my elbow after particularly restless nights. But I somehow – despite this being my vocation and livelihood – subconsciously decided that regular treatment was an extravagance with my reduction in working hours and tight schedule with family and work.

So I didn’t do as I would advise anyone to do and listen to those niggles. And the upshot is that now I have had to stop massaging – and any self-employed person will attest that cutting off your main income stream is a tough call to make. So all that ‘saving’ from the ‘extravagance’ of having regular treatment is now upended by my loss of income. Added to which I now need more treatment to help it heal! (I will write another blog soon about my treatment, which has been great - acupuncture is really helping the inflammation, osteopathy is helping me get everything back in order with some massage providing relief too)

Lesson learned! And I will stick to my advice to clients to look after yourself and maintain wellbeing when you have it. Injuries are painful, frustrating, time consuming and costly – please do practice what I preach!!!

Welcome to our blog where we share tips, advice and thoughts from our fantastic team of experienced practitioners

Historic blogs can be found on practitioner profile pages - they are a great way to get to know us!

NB some old social media links bring you to this page, so please use tags or profile pages to find older blogs