Bodywork. Movement. Awareness. Breath.

Archive for May, 2012

A thought about sleep.

The theme of sleep has been on my mind lately. What is “normal”, what is “needed” and how to combine these with life as is with its many needs. This article  has been going around on Facebook lately and I found it an interesting informative read and honestly a bit of a relief.

Before having children my sleep pattern was jumbled due to freedom of choise. In my travels I was ever so exited to discover siesta as a norm. In Spain everything  literally shut down the hottest hours of the day, the shutters shut and later the streets and cafe’s are bustling tills late as people break up their needed rest into a few hearty chunks and now have energy these late hours. So much fun.

After having children it was the night feeding that woke me  on a regular basis. Then I have chosen to have night work a few times a week. When the kids at last slept through the night I sometimes had the need to just shake things up and stay up all night in creative pursuits or to gather with friends or to dance. To feed the soul at this soulful time.  Latest it is the 6 puppies that wake me with various needs at least once a night.  Broken night sleep seem to just be part of my life.  Naps are some of the most nurturing times for me and I adore when I am able to give myself this gift of time to quiet down in the middle of the day. Ahhhhh.

I know that  lack of sleep can make me ill, not to mention make me feel crazy. Too much sleep makes me feel sluggish and depressed (but it is a rare “luxury”). That said I realised with the little ones that the expectation of so and so many hours of uninterrupted sleep is the biggest issue for me. Then I resist the awakening  and get agitated and irritated when I am “needed”  at random hours. Argh!!  The irritation only adds to the stress and then I have a hard time falling back to sleep. If I am able to awake with acceptance, assured I will be able to go back to bed I am relaxed and then I actually do fall back to sleep much easier sometimes with the bonus of some great thoughts or realisations that I carry with me into the next sleep ( and if I am really lucky into the next morning) or the privilege of a moment noticing the sky or the scent at a time of the day that I otherwise would not have experienced. Adding to life , making it richer  for me.

I am a very light sleeper and in sharing life and home with other families and animals I get woken up on random times for random reasons all the time .  Obviously am not always thrilled about the interruption but I do my best to use it as an opportunity for awareness practice. To take note more than having a judgement around the awakening .  Sometimes I have to tend to the situation ( my children , my animals, someone checking in, emergencies etc).  Just as  often it is not my responsibility and I can merely notice … footsteps ( human, cat  or dog) , someone flushing the toilet, door opened and then closed, children laughing, child screaming, cat playing with toy, dog  jumping of the sofa, laundry started and so on. I attempt to relax in to taking note and letting it go rather than forming an opinion.

This is  a practice with which I attempt to meet life in general and obviously … I forget,get caught up in judging , opinions, expectations all the time often even without noticing.  Hence it is truly a practice. When I do let go though the reward is  much softening, continued rest and less stress and not to mention toxic moods and an expanding sense of freedom.

Night-time dreams , visions and thoughts tell me much about my self and life that I otherwise may have  missed.

What is you sleeping patterns and your thoughts around it?  Do you sleep enough , too much ? Do you worry about waking up  not able to get back to sleep and then experience just this. Could you se this awaking time as a blessing to tap into in place of a curse to cure? What practices could you do at this extra  time you are given that are beneficial to you. Do you allow your self the freedom to follow your natural impulse of rest when it come upon you? Does your lifestyle permit this? Is your diet ( includinc liquids ) and habits supportive or destructive to you resting patterns? Is there any minor adjustments that can be made if only even in attitude that may bring you closer to your natural resting needs?

I am curious to hear your thoughts …

Sleep as so many aspects of our life is not a one size fits all. We all have individual needs and these change with circumstances and seasons like everything else.  They may go unnoticed if we do not take a moment to reflect.  Can we become friends with sleep and rest and listen to our selves and our bodies and as much as possible take heed to what we hear and see what emerge as we do so.

Could it be that the  power available to us is proportional to our ability to rest and let go?

( I read something along these lines somewhere but can not remember who the quote is from..let me know if you know).

I think it may have some truth to it.


New skills and inspiriation.

I have been wanting to write on the history of Traditional Thai Medicine. Alas History is not my strength . Not that I am not interested.  I find it fascinating on so many levels and it gives great meaning and connection to the practice and the lineage of  medicine and healers. So much gratitude for the knowledge that have been passed down the generations. It is just that I have a hard time eloquently sharing the nitty-gritty details that matter and contrary to my great sense of direction I have a terrible  sense of time and memory of dates and years …in my life and in life at large….

It is simmering, I promise but for now it seem much more exiting that I have added a new skill to my “tool-box”. So without further ado I will share about this before any of the other techniques in Traditional Thai Massage

I took a course with my teacher and mentor Nikkie Manzie this weekend in Cupping and Scraping in the Thai Tradition. I love her!

It was fascinating and fun and today I am energized and inspired after the exchange of treatments we did. The technique is similar to what may be more commonly known from Chinese medicine and that seem to be reappearing in other medical fields today. It is an effective technique with great results when applied correctly.

Scraping is done by  repeated strokes with a scraping tool often made out of bone , wood or stone.  The repeated motion creates circulation and friction that allows for what is potentially held in the layers under the skin to release. Tension, pain, adhesions , toxins accumulated after injuries etc. This can show up a sha  which raise to the surface as red blotches and marks not to be confused with bruising. Contrary to bruising these marks are quick to leave  and actual bruising of areas are not ment to happen. Cold  can also surface and can then be massaged and given the opportunity to disperse and release  giving  freedom of movement and pain.

Cupping is the  technique of applying cups  in wich the air is heated and then  quickly applied to the body.  This creates a suction that will draw out whatever is ready to release through the skin.  The cups will work on a deeper level than the scraping. Toxins and blockages held deep in the body and organs can be accessed released through the skin this way. The cups can be made out of glass, bamboo, horn ,shells and other materials.

It was really interesting to see and feel the effects of the work we did . Different colors and markings arise through the skin and they tell us different things about what is going on in the body, where tension is held and what is held there. Even when not much is seen it is obvious that energy is moved. I experienced  a great relief in my shoulder that has been having a stubborn ace that seem to linger always. I have a lingering little tenderness but all in all I am pain-free and have much more mobility. To me it was extremely calming and relaxing as well.

It was funny to look around and see my classmates with these cups stuck to different areas of their backs. Like some odd science experiment. This practice is nothing like an experiment though as it has been in use for at least 5000 years. It has been widely practiced by professionals and laymen alike  in Asia for thousands of years. The skill was often passed on in the maternal lineage in the families.

I did not leave with big colorful suction marks as some may after this kind of treatment.  I felt lighter,  looser and more limber in my neck and shoulder, had a markedly bigger range of motion and I felt a little spaced out.  After being exhausted last night, today I am energized and inspired. Others in the class experienced great emotional releases and it is clear it is not at all only the physical that is affected and given a chance to heal.

I love that it is a safe and fairly simple technique with few contradictions that I can and will start using right away. I bet my children will find it amusing and interesting and it could become food for some good story telling.

I have a friend who when sharing how their day had been with his son, said that he had been abducted by aliens. His  son was doubtful untill he showed him all the marks on his  back where they did their “experiments”. Both his son and his friends  jaw then dropped and they took him on his word.

It is true the marks can look intense and alien to us. They are not painful though, neither will they stay long. You may be sore as after a real deep massage as the treatment is deep. You may have to explain why you look like you do to those who are unfamiliar with the treatment. You will most likely also share how effective it is in relieving tension and pains that seem hard to relieve in other ways. That said it may not be your treatment of choise the days before your wedding or so.

As of now the biggest downside is that I can’t cup my own back. I will have to find people who are willing to work on me as I am hooked and I want more. Relief of a pain that has been around pretty much chronically is no little feat and I want to continue the release and healing that has begun there. The learning has only just begun.  I can’t wait to share this with anyone who could use this kind of treatment and anyone who may be interested.

Thai-Massage – in brief.

Traditional Thai-Massage share its origin with Yoga and Ayurveda several thousand years back. As a Therapy it has evolved in Thailand for hundreds of years and is an integral part of  Traditional Thai Medicine.

The Massage is done on a mat on the floor with the client fully clothed.  The treatment consists of palming ,stretching and accupressure  along a series of pressure points and energy lines (sen-lines)  so as to give desired effect. Often a series of assisted stretches that are similar to many yoga poses will be part of the treatment. As the stretches are assisted and the client is fully relaxed and passive a much deeper freedom of movement and a deeper level of relaxation and exploration can happen both physically and mentally. Sometimes hot or cool, salt or herbal compresses are used to soothe aching muscles and old or new injuries. The sequence,  the quality of touch and the choice of postures are tailored to most benefit your current need.

The Treatment can be invigorating active and deep if needed or  soothing calming and restorative if that is more appropriate.

A wonderful therapy to open up energy blockages, for pain relief and to restore mental-emotional imbalances.

Thai Massage is suitable for almost anyone and complements most other therapies and health regimes .

I highly recommend seeking out a qualified practitioner close to you. Thai Massage may just become the best thing you ever did for your self.

Please wear comfortable clothes you can move in for the treatment.