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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 8 2019 03:04PM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi shares some thougths about 'wellness' - what it is and how we can take simple, attainable steps towards achieving it.



In 1948 the World Health Organisation defined health as ‘not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’. This sounds great, aspirational and perhaps impossible.


One approach might be to make small affordable, realistic changes over a sustained period to optimise mental physical and social health. Wellness might be about cutting down, exercising, scaling up, downsizing, recycling, repurposing, cleansing, purging or whatever you think will help you stay as fit and healthy as you can within your means. Wellness can be about addressing changes to your diet or exercise routines which you have always meant to get around to but never seem to have the time. Make a small change right now rather than waiting for the “ideal time”. Get off the bus, start a class, ring a friend, bake that cake, start that hobby. As a yoga teacher I often hear people say things like “I would love to do yoga but I am not flexible enough”. I say, find the right class for you (this may take several attempts), start slowly and gently, keep going and you will get more flexible with the side benefit of learning relaxation techniques, getting stronger and you might even sleep better.


Schools are including wellness in the curriculum and we are beginning to teach children that mental as well as physical health is important for wellbeing. In an ideal world all the resources we need would be freely available, but sadly this is becoming less and less common. I was very saddened not to be able to continue working as an osteopath within the NHS due to funding cuts, but perhaps a regular commitment to exercising, getting more sleep, and planning more leisure time to name a few examples could make a big difference to how well you feel, and decrease the chances of needing medical or other therapeutic intervention. If you do need some input I can help signpost what you could do to get back on track.


Start now, keep going and good luck. Yinka.



By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 27 2019 02:31PM

Aromatherapist Veronica Massa considers the power of violet essential oil in the complex and painful process of grief and shares a meditation to do with this sacred oil


Violet colour has the faster vibrational frequency and the shortest wavelength in he entire spectrum. The therapeutic qualities of the colour are mirrored by the essence of the flower Violet


After reading the deeply touching blog on Grief written by Jennie Duck, I was impelled to share a wonderful helper from the flowers kingdom, much valued in herbal medicine and in the Sacred Oils age-old lineage.


Sacred Oils have a very ancient history, dated back even earlier than dynastic Egypt, when they were used for guidance, healing, rituals, celebrations and divination. They are a small, very special group of essential oils regarded for their special energies and sacred attributes.


Sacred Oils were also used to help the dying cross over to the other realm and prepare them for burial. In the Bible Mary Magdalene, High Priestess trained in the knowledge of these Precious Oils poured perfumed and costly Spikenard oil on Jesus to prepare him to pass over. The honorific anointing with aromatic oils is an act frequently mention in ancient time’s literature.


Sacred Oils are Healing Masters, some of them with a very high vibrational frequency that can reach very deeply inside of us and re-arrange our vibrational frequency to match theirs. They have the ability to help at a Soul level and harmonize and support profound emotional challenges and pain such as grief.

Violet Oil has been used by Felicity Warner for about 3 decades in her beautiful work as a Soul Midwife, “she who assists the dying to pass over” and exit this physical plane. Her work also supports the family and loved ones in their process of grieving.


Violet oil is so valuable for extreme, inconsolable grief, helping to release the pain and heal the wound, gives comfort and strength to a broken bleeding heart. It embraces us and guide us through our healing into acceptance.


Below is a Violet Sacred Oil meditation channelled by Felicity. Creating sacred space and sinking into a meditative state, prepare yourself to invite in and respectfully ask for Violet’s help. Meditate with this Healing Helper as you go through you healing process of acceptance and surrender to the divine plan. You can smell the oil; put a drop of diluted oil in the palm of your hand and breath in deeply and slowly cupping your hands to your nose; sweep your hands around your body: your aura (energetic field). You could also diffuse the oil in the room. Continue this practice daily for as long as you need.


Violet Meditation

“Call on me when the pain of deep grief is unrelenting, when the crying and the state of missing a beloved has become a deep, raw wound that nothing seems to heal.

I’m gentle but strong. I ‘ll release you from the deepest pain of your soul’s suffering. Even holding a bottle containing a few precious drops of my essence may bring a soothing shift in your heart. You’ll heal and greet joy in your life once more. I’ve a soothing and high vibration. I’m a powerful gift from the Earth that will hold your soul in a place of total love and release.”

Felicity Warner, Sacred Oils, 2018





By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 13 2019 11:30AM

Massage therapist and yoga teacher, Erika Zettervall, shared some thoughts on sleep and how such a simple thing can be so complex! And touches on yoga nidra - the holy grail of sleep...



A great part of our lifetime is spend sleeping - almost 1/3 provided we get 7-8 hours of it per night. We all know how good sleep is essential for maintaining health and good mood. Sleep plays crucial role in maintaining the nervous system (the brain in particular).


This week it is World Sleep Day highlighting the importance of sleep and there will be plenty advice and information around and good advice but as with everything it’s not what we know or the volume of information that makes the difference but how it is applied.


So simple and yet at times illusive, difficult and near impossible to attain. Just lay down close your eyes relax and drift off into sweet slumber.


In English we say fall asleep, implying a letting go. We also use the term dropping off when going to sleep, indicating a motion of fall and that how it often feels in the mind. Relinquishing control we trust we will wake up again (on time) and we that we can safely drop into the unknown where the subconscious can and will make itself heard and seen in the form of dreams.


Dreaming is fascinating, it can help you understand yourself, but can also be very intense, loud, vivid, frightening and disruptive. To ease and begin to understand deeper parts of my mind my therapist encouraged me to practice directing the dreams so that when becoming aware of dreaming, I began to direct the situation in the dream. This often happens without actually waking up and is so called lucid dreaming. I was also encouraged to go back to dreams after awakening from them and dropping back in and create a different outcome. It has the effect of softening and calming of the mind and therefore better sleep. The mind is powerful and the times when we can’t let ourselves fall into sleep or wake up (4am with a start), the possibility to let go from the grip of wakefulness is out of reach. Thoughts churning, we can end up tossing and turning searching in for the switch that allows us to loosen the grip and allow the sink/fall or drift back into sweet slumber. The more agitated we become sensory input appear sharper harder and/or louder and we can become hypersensitive, hypervigilant or hyperaroused. Us humans are wired to be on guard alert to dangers, this is necessary for survival and safe keeping. The problem for us is when it hijacks our minds unnecessarily and/or for prolonged times.


How do you improve the quality of sleep? Create routines and learn to relax would be my short answer.

Set the scene, take care of the physical space and body - regulate the intake of stimulants such as food (big meal near bedtime and type of food such spice and garlic), drinks (alcohol, coffee) and visual stimulus such as movie/television/or social media. Read in black and white or give the eyes a rest and listen to audio book.

Treat your bed and bedroom with respect and as the place for rest. Simple things such as making your bed every day and caring for sheets and bedding. Investing in good quality and looking after it you spend a lot of hours in bed after all. It set an intention of the importance of rest.


Create routines, keep bedtime but also keep set getting up time some say that is more important than going to bed. Lying-in is not great for establishing healthy sleep patterns or for making up lost hours of sleep. We humans like a rhythm respond well to regularity even if we tend celebrate impulsiveness in our society.

Soften sensory input from sound and light. Some sounds are hard to regulate living in a crowded city where people’s life goes on in close proximity. Softening can be achieved in form of textiles, insulation and white noise like a fan. When we think of light Black out curtains might be good, but if there is a small gap the light gets focused cutting though like laser beam through the room, so softening by a fabric or shutter that create shade light.

But then think of the content baby or pet or people for that matter to whom this does not matter they just switch off and sleep.


To switch off we need to relax. To relax deeply takes practice. Perhaps it shouldn’t be that way but I don’t think there is an exaggeration in saying most of us struggle with it. Tiredness and lack of sleep is very common and instead of rest ending up with a false relaxation that occur when we get stuck watching television or searching the internet, still feeding sensory input through our eyes and stimulating the brain.


I don’t think there is a better way to get better at relaxing than to practice Yoga Nidra. It’s very easy and accessible either through class (Emma does one weekly) or through apps (Sanctuary for example) or through internet. Yoga Nidra so called yogic sleep is not sleeping but systematic relaxation, which leads to deepest level of effortless awareness that’s possible where there is no judgement or movement in mind or thought and no mental chatter to accompanying experience. It’s the deepest level of rest with awareness. It’s methodology for relaxation and will lead you to sweet zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz














By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 20 2019 10:00AM

Sports massage therapist and budding swim-star Tessa Glover shares the next stage in her journey towards the Windrush Aquathon in June.


Last week I was fortunate enough continue my swimming training for the Windrush Aquathlon at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. Wow, what a place! Of course my (now fellow) Windrushers have been training there for a number of years and know what a wonderful experience it is but I had never been on an activity holiday before let alone to an entire sports complex like this. There were so many sports and classes to choose from and I went with tennis, boxing, golf, squash, TRX, various body workouts and swimming.


As swimming is my main focus, I took a 1-2-1 lesson and participated in the beginners front crawl session. Both were incredibly helpful and covered breathing, kicking, body position, arm position (all in 25 minutes). Phew… but it was made much easier by carrying out the drills in 25 metres instead of the full 50 metres as it wasn’t so daunting. There was also the major plus of being gloriously HEATED in all three Olympic sized pools!


So every day I headed to the pool and carried out the DRILLS that I have been working on.


1. Sink downs to help fully empty the lungs before taking a new breath.


https://www.triathlete.com/2014/12/training/try-it-sink-downs_67701


2. Popeye breathing (with half of the face still in the water, suck in air from the side of the mouth). So that you don’t turn your head and neck too far out of the water.


3. Catch-up arms to help you work on “long and straight” body alignment, from the tip of the outstretched, extended arm down through your shoulder and side all the way to your feet. This drill can also help with breath timing and assisting in learning how to delay starting the pulling until the body is in a good position.


4. Using a float held with both hands, face in the water to concentrate on leg kicks. Relaxed feet with big toes brushing each other, knees soft and working from the glutes to kick. Making sure your feet break the surface of the water and you feel the water on the dorsal and plantar sides of your feet.


5. Arm position. With a pull buoy, concentrating on keeping your arms wide as you take your strokes so that your hands don’t cross in front of your head. Tips of the fingers enter the water first, elbow slightly raised and bent. Imaging you are zipping up the side of your body with your thumb as you return your arm under and out of the water for the next stroke.


6. Body rotation. As you reach for each stroke, rotate the body as if head, neck and back are all on a pole and turn as one. Windrush coach Audrey Livingstone suggests imagining you are rotating in time to a waltz. It really does work!


Asking a friend to film you swimming is so helpful as you can analyse your stroke and then work on the areas you need to improve on. Here’s my latest attempt. I’m aware there’s a lot more to work to do as I’m still finding the breathing difficult and am out of breath after 16 strokes. BUT that’s double what I could do before so I’m staying positive. Any hints and tips are always appreciated.


Watch Tessa's video on her front crawl progress





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