How to ‘be’ in times of extraordinary circumstances…

… also known as coping when the shit hits the fan.
At the moment my family is experiencing a moment of death/not death, my mum is dying…or is she?? Prolonged illness is agony, I can’t even start to fully imagine how it must feel to be living in a bodily system that is failing. The thought of my functions shutting down around me whilst my brain is fully dancing still, the anger and frustration of being stuck inside a non compliant shell, makes me feel all the sadness that I ever knew existed and then a new level, followed by the grateful selfish sense of I am so lucky to be fully alive and fully here to enjoy all this.
For us family, we are on a roller coaster, that we did not willingly buy a ticket for and quite frankly want to get off. Watching my mum muster up all her tenacity, her dignity and strength to fight off infection caused by a ‘future proofing’ operation, being aware that some days she looks like the closest to death on the ward, followed by the miracle of her looking chipper, improving, better. We went from hour to hour, dreading phone calls, to day to day, worrying about her future, to week to week knowing that the hour to hour and the day to day may only be moments away. We can go from Everything is bad, her body is unable to cope with the peg feeding tube, to nope, s’okay! turns out it was just gas in the turn of an afternoon.

These are compelling moments in life, all of us will experience them to some degree or another. Not just death, our careers, our relationships- the shit can hit the fan in myriad ways. The question is, when you don’t know how long the haul is, how do you cope? 
Stress can make your concentration span very short, so advice such as meditating for an hour isn’t going to cut it. It’s not the kind of situation that makes swanning off to the spa for the day conducive for many. In fact in times of direness, being with others can be overwhelming, when you are already processing so much, the thought of rehashing it over and over again to an audience can feel isolating.
In times like these short hits of respite are required. Nothing tough to do, just simple stuff. These are a few that I call on when the going gets tough and my brain takes a walk:
Meditate or listen to music with headphones, it brings your attention closer to you. If you drift out, it’s easier to redirect your focus back to something that is there in your ears right now.
Take off shoes and socks and get your feet on the ground. Having different textures, temperatures and sensations can fell amazingly grounding. Put your senses in the soles of your feet, it takes the weight off your brain and can be wonderfully distracting. There is something about being outside in the air that helps clear your head, and if the grass underfoot is warm, so much the better.
Stress requires breath. You may not be able to fully attend to a long breathing meditation, nor may you want to, but here’s the joy of it: simply breathing fully and deeply into your belly stimulates a thing called the vagus nerve. When this is switched on, your brain receives signals that it has to obey- these signals tell the brain to stop pumping adrenaline around your body (the hormone responsible for the stress response) and starts to produce a calming hormone, noradrenaline. Take a deep breath everything the thought enters your mind. Better still, set ups reminder on your phone that goes off a couple of times a day. 
Take a walk, even if it’s just ten minutes, take a walk around the block, or to the shop but go the long way. Make sure your head is up,and take stock of your surroundings. Too often she we are overwhelmed we stare at the pavement as we move, once we are looking around at our environment is forces us out of our heads and back into our bodies.
Drink water, please drink water, be kind to yourself and drink more water. It will help you retain clarity of thought, boost important systems such as your immune system and help you flush out stress.
Watch funny films, kids cartoons, listen to comedy, surround your senses with laughter and brightness. Maybe stop watching g the news for awhile- especially if you tend to shout at it.
If you experience anxiety or panic attacks, it can really help if you find someone to talk through the feelings that go with these. If there is no one to talk to, write about it, the very act of writing (not typing, but by hand, cursively) can help you examine when the logic lies and where the rationality is lacking.
All in all, in times of stress, acknowledge that you still need to care for yourself. No matter what the situation is, you can help others better when you attend to your needs first. 
Sometimes, the best option is to put yourself in someone else’s hands. Massage is so incredibly helpful in these times. To be treated and nurtured, with no necessity for you to converse or interact is bliss. An hour in a warm soft room is a fantastically balancing thing. 
I would love to hear about your methods when times get tough- would you share them in the comments below? 
Big love,


Drink the water (dammit!)

You see this….

You see this here….

It’s a glass of water. But you knew that, right?

What it really really is, is….wait for it….a sign of bodily miscare.

What???? Is that a thing??? (Possibly not, I feel like I just made the word up, but…)

This is the glass of water that your therapist brought in to you after your MFR treatment. The glass of water you didn’t drink.

And why does that matter? Why does your therapist raise a wry eyebrow (unjudgementally of course) when they discover it untouched? Well, maybe I should take a moment to explain. 

Now, what I’m about to tell you holds generally true to anyone who has had a massage, but I’m going to fascinate you with a little extra Myofascial pizazz. The reasons why we ask you to drink water after your treatment are multiple: the increased blood flow that massage gives you, is now currently rushing all sorts of old crap around your body for you to eliminate. Whilst your number one reason for Not drinking that water maybe that you don’t want to need a wee before you get home, Our number one reason is that we would really, really love you to have a wee and get on with the important process of flushing it all out.

Number two is you are dehydrated. I was going to say possibly, or probably, or maybe, but nah stuff it, you are dehydrated. Cups of tea may give you fluid but also give you extra stuff to flush. And let’s not even start with coffee,purh-leeese that might be wet but it ain’t gonna hydrate you (although it may have other health benefits- read the book How Not To Die for more info)

But here’s the Myofascial zinger, oh it’s a goodie. By using a gentle pressure and a sustained hold, your MFR therapist is courting your brain. Within every cell, tiny pressure  sensors called Golgi apparatus are feeding back information to your brain about its current status. It’s something along the lines of “Oooh, that’s weird, I feel strangely tight. I don’t seem to be able to wriggle free. Hmmm, I wonder if that tightness is coming from inside of me or outside of me? Well, it’s not changing, in fact it’s been like this for a while now, it must be me. Whoah, what if all the gooey gel in the cell has gone hard. That’s going to make it tough around here. I need some assistance here….Hey Brain, help me out will ya?” That is totally the conversation. So the Brain, who likes things to get well and be healthy, leaps to the assistance of the cells Golgi apparatus, and sets off a healing response. Here’s the good bit, one of the supercool things that it does is send out chemicals that change the way the cell wall acts. The cell wall becomes more receptive to fluid (hydrophilic), so it starts to let water from the blood system into the cell. This water makes the gooey gel in the cell, known as the granular substance, softer and more squidgy. Before you know it, the cell is plump, and happy and able to perform its tasks more effectively. That means that every cell in your body can be plumper, healthier and more effective. Do you see where I’m going here…?

How cool is that???

Myofascial release will make you feel thirsty, it’s your brain telling you to drink more because there’s all sorts of awesome healing stuff going on. Which means that needing a wee is a marvellous inconvenience.So, if you’ve gone to all that hassle of finding a therapist, getting yourself booked in, turning up for the appointment, and having the treatment, wouldn’t you also be able to find 2 damn minutes to drink the water? Pleeeease.

Big love, (and drink up)


Headaches? Tight jaw? Gritted teeth? Sinus stuff? Watch this…

The Pterygoid is a trick some thing, implicated in ear pain, jaw locking and popping, pain whilst chewing, cheek and sinus pain, vision distortion, eye pain, stuffiness in your ears, discomfort swallowing….need I go on??

And yet it’s so easy to treat by yourself.

Here’s an easy to follow video giving you the low down of how to do it.

I’d love to hear about how you get on, and if you need any further help or support please reach out to us at Thrive Clinic & Studio

Big love, 


Getting it all out.

As children we are taught to pipe down and moderate our decibels. But sometimes as an adult we need to break out of this safety zone, we need to be noisy and express ourselves- unfortunately this can feel odd, even attention seeking. Here I’m going to tell you about how to use your sound as a tool for your self care

Where you think it is…

Ida Rolf, born in New York in the 1896, was the creator of Structural Integration, more commonly known as Rolfing. Rolfing is concerned with realigning the fascia through a series of treatments. As you can guess it shares a lot of commonalities with the Barnes method of Myofascial Release. But whilst I inform I also digress…

I love this quote, I love to think about it in my head in a strong New Yawk accent (I wouldn’t do it out loud- it would be pitiful- but I was so pleased that she was born in New York). The jist of the quote is the jist under pinning Myofascial Release. Where your pain makes itself known, is not necessarily the same as where your pain started. 

Low back pain? Look to the piriformis in the buttocks, or the psoas at the front of the body. 

Elbow pain? What’s the glute function like?  

Knee pain? Check ankles, up to the pelvis, leg length – oh yeah and give the elbow on the same side some attention!

Headaches? How tight are the pec muscles of the chest? Is the head pulled forward? What about the jaw- does it feel clenched at night?

Now, the above can sound a little strange, non linear and downright nonsensical. But these are the kind of things that run through the brain of a curious Myofascial therapist (does that explain the slightly quizzical look on my face as I’m processing all the visual information, written history and verbal content when I’m working with you?). We take it all into consideration so that we don’t just treat the pain (but we do that too), by working this way, we get to the root cause and you get to live your life in a more comfortable way.

If this sounds like a different approach to an all too familiar problem maybe you’d like to know more? Get in touch and we can chat about finding a way to see where the ain’t is.

Big love,


How’s your hunger? 

Recently I was listening to my business mentor talking about Entrepreneurial hunger. She described how, for her, there’s a sliding scale from “I could eat” at the bottom, to “I’m hungry” and then at the top “I’m famished starving”. The scenario ran that you were more successful in your business based on your level of hunger- the drive to create and implement at speed and with efficiency and effectiveness.
Now, at the time, I tried not to judge myself for being in a room of obviously ‘famished’ business owners, whilst I felt that I was only between peckish and hungry.

It was on the shuttle on the way back to the airport that my thoughts started drifting and I was thinking about Myofascial Release and about the physiological responses we experience during stress.

Our instinctual physiology is such that when we are experiencing stress, naturally our body focuses its energies and attention down to methods of survival- freeze, fight or flight. And what’s one of the first processes that gets shut down? Our ability to digest. 

Now, let’s expand this a little. I was attending a business school meeting. Why would a massage therapist be attending a business event? Well, for me, whilst the hands on therapy part of being a therapist comes naturally and fulfils me in a very real and satisfying way. But, if I’m being honest and real with you (I’m sure by now, you won’t mind me exposing my vulnerabilities a little) I find the day to day sustaining of a business- the marketing, the finances, the insecurity of being self employed and all that goes with it, challenging and sometimes downright stressful. Trust me, it’s never going to be the thought of a psoas release that keeps me awake at 4 in the morning. It’s the business of Business is MY personal sabre tooth tiger. 

It struck me that for many of us, maybe it is our level of fear we are experiencing that is clouding our ability to feel how ‘hungry’ we really are? Not just physical hunger, but mental hunger too. How often does the overwhelm of every day life put us in a state of mind that we can’t think about the future because we are trying so hard to manage the present? 

I travelled a long way to attend this meeting and yet, I perceived myself ‘only’ as being hungry… In one particular session, where we outlined and discussed the goals we need to achieve to move towards the bigger vision of our business, it showed me how much fear I was sat in. Buttons were pushed, tears were shed, snot was wiped and pens were inadvertently thrown. The big scary animal had roared once again!

In nature, many many moons ago, as wild animals we would have frozen as a reaction to the impending threat. Then we would have assessed the situation and made a decision “Do I fight? Or do I run? Or can I play dead? What will give me the best chance of survival?” But once we were past the big scary sabre tooth tiger, the first thing we would do is to ‘thaw out’ and literally shake off the excess adrenaline. We see animals do it all the time. Thawing out is the third stage in the cycle of stress and trauma response. In modern life, we quite often miss this third stage: we forget to shake it off and we forget to give ourselves permission to breathe deeply and relax wholly. This can leave us ping ponging between stress and reaction, stress and reaction. We never settle down, and so our hunger never kicks back in. 

Learning what our stressors are is an important first step. Then taking time to unpack them, feel into them- seeing if there is an obvious theme and using rational thinking to extract the deeper nub of what’s going on. From there, finding tools that allow us to move into the third stage at vital. Especially ones that will serve you a life time. From counselling, meditation and mindfulness, to breathing techniques and body work, there is a vast array of techniques that can aid your thawing process and deliver harmony back into your world. 

I found that when I give myself permission to be scared and acknowledge that there are things that will never be my natural forte, it stops me from stepping into the place where I feel overwhelmed. Asking for help can be tough at times (I know this, from deep experience) but ultimately rewarding. Anything that helps break the cycle and gives you space is good. I can heartily recommend starting with your breathing, it’s free, it’s easy and you can do it anywhere (I recommend you do!). You can find an little video here on my self treatment page that talks you through a diaphragmatic breathing technique-I’d love to hear how you get on.

Til the next time,


For the therapists…a list, that is also a love letter…

I think about what it is to be a massage therapist a lot. You’d almost think it’s a crazy amount. I LOVE what I do.  To the point of when I go to the pub with friends of friends and the inevitable work conversation comes up, when they say “What do you do?”, I say “I’m a Myofascial Release therapist”, then they look blank, and I then say “It’s kind of like massage, I work with the connective tissue system as much as the muscles to help ease out restrictions and injuries, then I do some stuff that resynchronises your brain with your muscles…” And 9 times out of 10, the blank look turns into a slightly excited one and the next line is usually “Oh! Really? Well, I have this niggle going on with my shoulder/knee/back/hip etc etc” Then we talk about that niggle for a while.

Now for a lot of therapists that’s where the conversation ends and everyone goes back to drinking their pints….but with me, by this point I am in my zone- there will be muscle testing, shape throwing, and activations happening and usually a step towards resolving whatever niggle was troubling them. 

Some would say that I should probably just carry my business cards more often….

Any ways, so the other day I was thinking to myself…if I could tell other therapists all the things that have made me a better therapist, what would they be?

This became a little list of 55 ways to become a more awesome therapist!
1. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon when you wake- the lemon, although acidic, creates alkaline conditions in the body

2. Diaphragmatic breathing – learn to do it for yourself, teach it to your clients. 

3. Get really clear about who you would like to work with all day, every day. Once you have clarity and start putting it out there they will come, and they will pay you lovingly and loyally (even if you’d work with these people for free!)

4. When you wake up, list three things that excite you about your day ahead

5. Learn to meditate

6. Trust your gut, not sure why you feel like you want to work on some ones feet even though they came about neck pain? Trust your gut and work there.

7. Keep it in mind that low back pain often starts at the front of the body in the hip flexors

8. Read Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine

9. Read What’s in your Web by Phil Travolocci

10. Read Psychocybernetics

11. Journal. What are your dreams? Take time to feel into them

12. Develop your sense of feel. Place a hair under a sheet of paper (even better get someone else to do it) then use the subtleties of your finger tips to find it. Then try two sheets of paper, three sheets of paper and so on.

13. Read Happy pocket full of money- yes, it’s a book about money, but it’s also a book about quantum, manifesting and abundance.

14. Drink more water! And tell your clients to do so too

15. The psoas is a beautiful muscle. Learn how to palpate it, how to release it and how your clients can do the same

16. Learn about the fascia and how this amazing web can torsion and pull through the whole body

17. Take a workshop on posture assessment

18. Learn about the pterygoid muscle and how to release it – you can change a clients life, from headaches, to head forward posture, to teeth grinding g at night

19. The acetabulum the femur sits in to form the hip joint is positioned toward the front of the pelvis. This means that as the pelvis torsions, one acetabulum will look lower than the other. Most times this is the reason for a client to have “one leg longer than the other”. Very rarely is it due to the length of the long femur bone.

20. The pelvis acts as two halves of three bones. These two sides can rotate together, shear against each other, tilt anteriorly together, tilt posteriorly together, and rotate against each other- this last one can lead to a long leg and a short leg

21. At the end of a day make a habit of listing three things about the day that you are thank you for. Gratitude is a great way of raising your personal vibration

22. At the end of every treatment ask your client to take three deep breaths in and out. Invite them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. At the same time, place your hands on their feet, in your head say “I bless you, I bless you, I bless you. I release you, I release you, I release you”. On the third in breath lighten your hold on the feet, and remove your hands entirely on the third out breath. Swipe your hand in front of your belly to cut the energetic cord before stepping out of your clients energy field. Flick fingers once you have left their space

23. If your client is feeling light headed on standing, ask them to place the palms of both hands on the floor for a moment and take three deep breaths.

24. Before walking into the treatment room, take a moment to breathe in deeply through your nose. At the same time visualise the breath pouring into you through the top of your head. As you breathe out through your mouth, visualise the breath flowing out through the soles of your feet connecting you from Universe all the way through to earth.

25. Before you start each day of treatments, light a candle and ask the Ascended masters, highest of high, spirit guides and spirit beings to join you and offer you Devine guidance and help so that you can work in a more beautiful graceful loving way.

26. It’s not about the money! Shift your attention away from the numbers on your bank balance and instead create positive focus on ways you can serve your clients better. When you add more love, and more value, those digits on your statements take care of themselves.

27. Low days and dark moods can be brightened considerably by listing all the things you can possibly think of to be grateful for. Whether it’s a sunny day, a beautiful leaf, the breath in your lungs and the blood pumping around your body – there is always some little thing to be grateful for.

28. It’s ok to say no to a client. If you don’t feel like you are the right therapist for the , let them down gently, and offer them alternatives/names of therapists who may be a better fit. You don’t have to be all things to all people.

29. Recognise when chatting in the treatment room is keeping your client away from their healing. Quite often a chatty client is distracting themselves and you from the work they really need. Guide them to feel into their body and/or to focus on their breathing.

30. Teach your clients how to treat the soles of their feet with a tennis ball. It will help soften the fascial web all the way up the back line of the body, right over the top of their head and up to their eyebrow!

31. Over tight hamstrings can be lengthened by massaging the jaw- start at your masseters and rub up to the brows

32. You can demonstrate the power of positive thought to a client by asking them to rotate their upper body without moving their legs. Do this with arm extended in both directions to get a base line of their rotational flexibility. Now ask them to do the same whilst thinking about things that make them really happy. Then repeat whilst thinking about things that really stress them out. How much further around can they rotate with happy thoughts in their mind?

33. If you are looking at a client with elbow pain- check their latissimus dorsi, as well as their forearms and bicep longus attachments.

34. Read Healing Ancient Wounds by John F Barnes

35. Learn how to myofascially self treat with a foam roller- teach your clients.

36. A soft rubber 4″ ball can be one of the most helpful self treatment tools ever.

37. Antibiotics strip the gut of good bacteria. Recommend that clients take a good probiotic (not something sugary like actimel), cut down on sugar and processed foods.

38. Also, try Prebiotics these are generally, fermented, live foods such as sour kraut or kombucha, all of which keep the gut in tip top condition.

39. Ask clients “What would be a more positive and healthy way for you to act, believe and feel about this right now?” when they find themselves in stuck patterns of thinking and repetitive behaviour.

40. Don’t be afraid to write your clients letters. Actual proper ones, with stamps and envelopes. It’s lovely to receive mail and a carefully thought out letter which doesn’t reek of selling is a lovely way to reconnect and say Hi, how are you?

41. Make this your mantra “I am positively expecting great results, no matter what I see in front of me. The Universe is rearranging itself, in my best interest right now”

42. Ask. Believe. Receive. 

43. Ask your clients for testimonials on a regular basis. Prospective clients will believe actual clients far quicker than they will believe you- even if you are saying exactly the same thing!

44. Keep learning. Take courses, read books, stay curious. A expert is someone who knows a lot about an increasingly small range of things. Mastery is about deepening your knowledge and your knowing, without sacrificing your curiosity. 

45. Learn to discern the difference between your clients truth and your clients story. It’s a thin line sometimes, but an important one- their story will be the one they peddle to anyone that will listen. Watch for its self limiting beliefs – they’ll be woven in so tightly that sometimes even your client won’t be able to spot them. But when you gently coax them into the light, real healing can take place.

46. When looking at posture, don’t forget to assess at how they look stood up and how it differs when they lie down. Gravity plays a big difference in the torsioning patterns of the body.

47. Read How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger

48. Play, pretend and fill your life with magic

49. Tell people you love them, and hug them with every cell in your body

50. Learn about Ho’oponopono

51. Tell Yourself that you love you every single day- even when the day is getting messy, in fact especially when it’s all going wrong! Believe it and treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you’d like others to treat you with

52 Get treated on a regular basis

53 Take a Be Activated course with Douglas Heel

54 Learn, love and explore the wonderful world of Fascia. There are so many ways to learn, but is a great place to start

55 ahem, Facebook like and follow Thrive Clinic & Studio, and specifically for therapists take a look at my Facebook page Treatment Unicorn for more entertaining insights into how to know, grow and love what makes you uniquely awesome as a therapist. 

It is by no means an exhaustive list, although potentially exhausting, and if you’ve gotten to the bottom of it, well…bless you.

Until next time!