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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 29 2019 07:29PM

Sports massage therapist Lauren O'Sullivan shares her fabulous experience massaging at the London marathon in aid of the NSPCC this year, we're proud of her efforts and enthusiasm :-)



Last year I volunteered with NSPCC, giving post event massage at the London Marathon 2018. It was such a fulfilling experience that this year I went back for more and I couldn’t wait to put my green t-shirt back on! As you can probably remember, 2018 was the hottest London Marathon ever recorded. Water stations started running out of water and medical teams had their busiest year treating heatstroke. This year already looked to be shaping up for a stark contrast on the weather front. With strong winds and heavy rain dominating the weather forecast, I prepared to massage some soggy windblown runners!


Waking up this morning to calmer winds and a nice fresh feel in the air might have tricked some runners into thinking they were still dreaming! Pretty ideal weather conditions for long distance running. So far so good. I was feeling positive as I walked through Trafalgar Square and looking forward to working with Chris and the team again. After a quick hip loosening demonstration, Chris talked about posture and how to maintain good form. It’s all about keeping that chest forwards and proud!


At around 12:45 we applauded the first runner into our massage area. There was then a slow trickle of runners for about half an hour before the trickle turned to a steady stream and all 20 massage therapists were working flat out to ease the aches and pains. The atmosphere in the room was absolutely buzzing; you could almost feel a physical energy to it. Congratulations and elations never ceased and every time someone came up to me, no matter how exhausted they were, they had a smile on their face and such a sense of pride in what they had just achieved. Not one person was moaning or grumbling about any pain they were in, their achievement seemed to lift them above it.


At events it is likely that you will be massaging through clothes and there are several techniques to achieve great results with this. One of them is simply compressions and you can even try these on yourself (mainly on the legs) after a hard training session, event or performance. Simply use the heel of your hand or make a fist and press down on the muscle using your other hand to create the force, holding the compression for 10 - 20 seconds. Vibrations can also be another useful tool, as well as pin and stretch – compressing a muscle when contracted and then slowly extending the muscle whilst keeping the compression; something I like to use on the hamstrings especially and it can be done passively or actively.

Conversations with the runners sometimes verged on hysteria due to adrenaline and exhaustion! However the main topic of the day was their appreciation for the overwhelming support they received: from the crowd, from the charity, from their friends and family and from us! Times didn't matter. They had just run 26 MILES. I chatted to one runner who was running a marathon for every month of the year...that’s 314 miles this year! What an incredible human feat let alone the amount of money raised for charities. The 500 runners for NSPCC today raised £1.1 million between them. What an amazing event to be part of.
Conversations with the runners sometimes verged on hysteria due to adrenaline and exhaustion! However the main topic of the day was their appreciation for the overwhelming support they received: from the crowd, from the charity, from their friends and family and from us! Times didn't matter. They had just run 26 MILES. I chatted to one runner who was running a marathon for every month of the year...that’s 314 miles this year! What an incredible human feat let alone the amount of money raised for charities. The 500 runners for NSPCC today raised £1.1 million between them. What an amazing event to be part of.

Even though it was a long and tiring day, I went home ecstatic and full of inspiration from everybody I had met, runners and volunteers alike. Just knowing that I had helped some of those amazing people in some way gave me my own sense of pride and achievement.


If you ever get the chance to volunteer with a charity at an event like the London Marathon, DO IT. You’ll find me massaging next at the Windrush Aquathlon on Sunday 30th June at the West Norwood Therapies stall. If you’re racing come and see me for some post event massage! If you’re there supporting, come and say hi to some of the team – we offer a whole range of complimentary therapies and classes.




By West Norwood Therapies Team, Dec 6 2018 02:00PM

Aromatherapist Veronica Massa looks at some festive essential oils and shares the wonders of her festive aromatherapy massage oil blend. You can almost smell it as you read!


Looking at an essential oil blend that embodies the spirit of Christmas and

introducing Festive Aromatherapy Massage.


Aromas evoke memories and feelings, bring us back in time or to the present moment.


Scents can set an atmosphere and create a special moment.


Many smells are associated to Christmas and childhood memories that make us feel good. The scents of Christmas are so familiar that become part of the Christmas tradition, embodying the festive period.


The warmth of the festive season is captured with spicy/sweet essential oils that evoke the smell of ginger biscuits, the smell of pine from the Christmas tree, the smell of clove and orange of a pomander and the delicious fragrance of fruity spice in mulled wine.


One of my favourite Christmas fragrance is the blend for my Christmas Bath Truffle (bath melts) combining cinnamon, clove, orange, patchouli and ginger, so delicious! A classic Christmas fragrance perfect for the spice lover. If you are one of them, experience a Festive Aromatherapy Massage, be immerse in the Christmas spirit with these essential oils that will spice up and warm up your body and spirit. A real boost to your circulation, (both blood and lymphatic), your immune system and will also help with tensions and aches … in case you feel those too… The festive aroma of these oils will create a joyful atmosphere, an add-on to your massage experience.


Let’s take a look at these essential oils from an Aromatherapy point of view and get to know them better.


How do these oils influence our psyche, mood and emotions?


Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllata), probably mostly experienced for toothache, Clove has an anaesthetic effect. A warming oil, it helps with circulation, digestion and any condition associated with cold. It also helps relieve arthritis, rheumatism and sprains.


It is a mental and physical tonic and in terms of TCM, it tonifies Qi. If you feel things are stagnating in your life, Clove could help declutter and de-touch not only from material things but also believes and ideas about how life is or should be lived. Call for Clove when you need a change, open to new possibilities and attract new “clean” energies in your life. Get rid of what doesn’t serve you anymore and Clove will support you in the process of decluttering with the inner strength you may need.


Cautions: Potential skin irritant.


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) warming energies are useful to relieve aches and chills in the early stage of colds and flu and for recovery afterwards when you feel debilitated. It is a great tonic for the Winter months especially for the elderly. Great warming oil, it stimulates the circulation and the digestive system, supports the immune system and relieves pain.


Its fiery energy gives a boost to whom has lost vigour and courage and bringsa sense of connection to the present moment.


Cinnamon bark can be a skin irritant so be careful!


Ginger (zingiber officinalis). Its scent will increase your determination and clarity. When feeling confused, undecided, demotivated, lacking in will, vitality and inner strength, Ginger will support, encourage and reconnect you to your will power and inner confidence. With ginger, the realization of your projects will feel a lighter task as you will feel more optimistic to manifest initiative and take action.

Ginger properties are warming and therefore beneficial for circulation and the digestive system, respiratory system and the reproductive one. It has also a warming and stimulating effect on the lungs and can treat chronic bronchitis.


It supports with lower back pain associated with muscular fatigue.


Ginger energy tonifies the kidneys and the heart.


Orange (citrus sinensis). Much loved by children, this sweet citrus will help them to sleep and will settle a belly ache. Just like cistus oils in general, the cheerful Orange uplifts the spirit and brings joy, warmth and a smile on the face of those who feel depressed, nervous, anxious and struggle to sleep.

Reach for this oil when life gets too serious and you forget how to laugh. Or if you are feeling self-doubt and fear when faced with new challenged and decisions to make.


In terms of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Orange helps for conditions related to Qi stagnation, especially in the liver, stomach and intestines. In fact it is one of the best oils for the digestive system.


Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) warm and sweet qualities are beneficial for stress related conditions, the perfect oil for this time of the year! If you are someone prone to overthinking and worrying, who spends too much time “in the head” (too much mental activity), who feels “out of touch” with your body and also your sensuality, then this oil is for you! Patchouli will help you to come back to yourself. It is grounding and centring when you feel mentally and physically tense and detached not only from your body but also your creative expression. It helps alleviate anxiety, nervous strain and depression.


It will also help you with *Qi deficiency in the spleen and pancreas, leading to fatigue and tummy problems.


Patchouli reminds us to be in our body and take care of it especially when we put too much importance into the mental/psychic dimension while we are engaged on a spiritual path, it helps us to put things back into balance between the physical and the spiritual.


*Qi energy being the vital force of the body and mind, which moves and makes things move and it is the source of all bodily activities.

BIbliography:
BIbliography:

Battaglia S., The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2005

Mojay Gabriel, Aromatherapy for healing the spirit, 2005 (Gabriel is my Aromatherapy and TCM teacher)

Zeck Robbi, The Blossoming Heart, Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation, 2014 (3rd edition)









By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 28 2018 02:11PM

Sports massage therapist Lauren O'Sullivan shares some information to help you choose the right massage treatment for yourself. Come along and meet Lauren and some other members of the WNT team on Sunday for our open day with hot mulled apple juice and baked treats - YUMMM!

I am a Sports Massage Therapist. Does that mean that I must restrict myself to this ‘type’ of massage? No. As practitioners we are constantly learning and updating our skills and we may take a workshop or further training in something slightly outside of our normal ‘type’ of massage. Each therapist, no matter what type of massage they deliver, uses a whole range of techniques. Therefore there is often a lot of overlap between the different ‘types’ of massage – differences between massage therapists can be as large as the differences between types of treatment.


If you are curious I would recommend that you try a few different massage treatments with a few different therapists and get a feel for how they differ. A good massage therapist should listen to your needs and preferences before any massage and deliver it tailored to you. However that being said, if you know you want a nice relaxing massage and your reason for going is stress related, an invigorating and most likely painful sports massage is probably not a wise choice. Really ask yourself why you are going for a massage and what you want to get out of it.


Receiving a massage can feel like quite a vulnerable experience; you may be feeling exposed and may not be used to the level of physical contact by a stranger. This is completely normal. Don’t let it stop you from being assertive and confident to ask for what you want. Be clear and direct with your needs and receive the best massage for you.


If you are wondering where to start, here’s a rough guide to what to expect from each type of massage out there (all offered at West Norwood Therapies):


Swedish massage: “the most commonly used form of classical Western massage, generally performed in the direction of the heart, sometimes with active or passive movement of the joints. It is used especially for relaxation, relief of muscular tension, and improvement of circulation and range of motion.”

Deep tissue massage: “Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia.”

Aromatherapy massage: “bodily application (as by massage) of fragrant essential oils (as from flowers and fruits) for therapeutic purposes”



Sports massage: “A massage which addresses specific needs of athletes/sports people. It’s techniques include Swedish massage, cross-fibre friction massage, deep-compression massage, trigger-point therapy. Massage can occur pre or post training/events or just as maintenance, to enhance performance or promote healing.”


Indian head massage: “Indian Head massage includes massage of the shoulders, upper arms, neck, scalp, face, ears & rebalancing energy flow, it relieves upper body tension & restores joint mobility; soothes, comforts & gives you a deep sense of peace and calm.


Pregnancy massage: “Benefits include easing aches and muscle soreness, promoting relaxation, releasing endorphines and helping to balance hormones, especially helpful to both mother and baby.”


Tui na massage: “Tui na is a dynamic and flexible form of massage, routinely practised alongside acupuncture. A variety of massage techniques, gentle body manoeuvres and stretches are combined in an individually tailored, wonderfully relaxing or invigorating treatment.”


Piqued your interest? Massage can help with a whole host of things from muscle imbalances and aches to stress –related discomfort. Why not come down to our open clinic day at Feast this Sunday 2nd December and meet some of the therapists. We would love to answer any questions you may have over some hot mulled apple juice and some baked treats!






By West Norwood Therapies Team, Sep 6 2018 10:17AM

Massage therapist and yoga teacher Erika Zettervall considers the meaning of home and how we can find this within ourselves.


Home and away - went home for summer and then came back home.


The downside with self-employment is you don’t have holiday, but the upside is you have the freedom to take time off. For the last couple of years I taken a longer summer break and gone on a road trip “back home” to Sweden. It is a long drive and it feels far, but I love it, the journey gives you time to reflect and adjust. The transition from here to there is a gradual whilst traveling through different landscapes, crossing over bridges, going down through long tunnels and sometimes adding surprise diversions, both literally and metaphorically. The shifts and changes in the environment passing whilst meditating on where you are, where you going and where you’ve been. It takes effort and focus just like a meditation.


Many Londoners are like me, born in one place and moved from different counties or countries, stayed on and made a life here. Visiting your old home can throw you off kilter and bring up memories and questions. We might experience nostalgia and longing, or become reminded of why we left in the first place. The sense of being a different person or version of me in the different places, a bit confusing, conflicting or even frustrating. In my case there is a recurring questioning and pondering whether or not I want to or should return to live over there. At times an outsider everywhere and at times home is anywhere. These two polarities have become easier to encompass over the years thanks to my practice of yoga.


The word yoga has many definitions but ‘to yoke’ is universally used and can be take meaning to balance and that is a form of bridging. ‘Skill in action’ is another definition. Lately meditation has been the focus in my practice taking a seat every morning. This has built a greater confidence in belonging /feeling at home, bridging life here and life in Sweden. Meditation cultivates contentment and inner peace, but also builds resilience for opposing feelings and creates a capacity for space and inclusion.


The question of belonging is very current with the intense focus on identity. It is all prevailing in politics, media and popular culture. Earlier this year I heard and interview with Brene Brown talking about belonging and quoting Maya Angelou:


“You are only free when you realise you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great,”


She then explains:


“We confuse belonging with fitting in, but the truth is that belonging is just in our heart, and when we belong to ourselves and believe in ourselves above all else, we belong everywhere and nowhere.”


It may sound corny but home is where the heart is, when you are content you are at home. With inner peace we are at home wherever we are and with whomever we are. Instead of either or, us and them, this or that, there can be bridges, balance and acceptance. So when I long for home it might be the seat I am looking for.


It great to be home.

















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