Bounce incontinence- a very personal adventure 

Today I have a new nemesis, well maybe nemesis is too strong a word, but I definitely found a contender that needs to be conquered. My bladder. 


We’re all friends here right? This is a safe space we’ve created. So shouldn’t we just stop holding it in (figuratively mostly) and talk about the problems of the pelvis, after all it’s the bowl of humanity. It holds life, but then It’s got to go on functioning way further than birth.
Now, for a while I’ve seen this lurking on the horizon. Having to stop and sneeze whilst walking because well, sneezing and walking and activating my pelvic floor has all been one challenge two many. Yes I can do two out of three- but three out of three? Turns out it’s a big ask…
So today, I took my little Bear out to one of those great big huge trampoline parks. I blimming love them, and whilst I have on occasion taken the precaution of a panty liner due to my pelvic floor not being happy when I have a cold (silly pelvic floor) I’m generally A Ok. Not bloody today though, totally not bloody A bloody OK. Jumping up- fine. Landing- well, too much information perhaps but y’know…
And I hear this all the time from Mums and women over 40, all looking at those damn garden trampolines in distain, muttering under their collective breathes “not bloody likely”. But I WANT a garden trampoline, and so does the Bear and gosh damn it, if I’m getting one for her I want to be able to play on it myself.
The irony is, sorting problems like this is my job and my intellectual passion. The double irony is, after a 30 hour labour, a shoddy episiotomy, a back to back baby and an over exuberant obstetrician, I thought I’d already put in the work to sort out the ‘bladder stuff’ months after Bear was born. But now, three years on and it’s lurking again.
What went wrong I hear you cry? For me, as I said before there were warning signs, all indicating that my pelvis was on the wonk: Historic knee pain recurring; that sneeze pee; the definite feeling that one leg is longer than the other. Dammit, dammit, dammit! Add to this recent mental stress and emotional family upset, driving long distances on a more than usual basis and working a physical job and really I should have taken more care of myself. 
But what am I going to do? Give up on fun? Grow older gracefully? No way, uh uhh! I will be booking mŷself in for Myofascial release sessions- I owe that to myself and to the good folk who own those fantastic trampoline warehouses. Self care will help along the way too, but I have a deep feeling that it’s time I put myself in the hands of other caring compassionate therapists and let them work deeply into the restrictions. If previous experience with my wonky pelvis stands up, then it shouldn’t take too much treatment to put the bounce back into my pelvic floor (and the pressure off my bladder!)
If any of my ramblings resonate with you, that’s great and you should know that we are really not alone. I did a survey of my American tribe (how British is that, if you want to know about a taboo ask someone who doesn’t live in your country!) Anyways, I asked various questions about children, age, incontinency, discomfort during intercourse etc and the results were surprising. Over 60% of the sample (of around 20 women) reported back with sneaky pee issues and pelvic floor unruliness. Does that surprise you? SIXTY PERCENT!!
Even if we don’t shout out loud about it, maybe we should at least have a quiet chat…because there is life to be lived and fun to be had to the fullest of our potential and wouldn’t it be shame if we stop doing due to something so solvable? 
Big love,

Cx

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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.

Exhausting. 
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,

Cx

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)

Cx

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 http://www.thrivesheffield.co.uk

Big love, 

Carrie

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,

Cx

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,

Cx