Over the past 23 years here at The Quiet Space massage therapy has evolved into broad categories. The various descriptions are tailored towards outlining the potential outcomes rather than a ‘textbook’ description of what actually happens on a physical level to your muscle fibres,metabolic reactions etc.
The use of simple language is intentional and hopefully facilitates an easier understanding for all readers. In my experience over the years simple language is also more appropriate in the attempt to describe the multi dimensional effects of body work.
Nevertheless a wide variation of techniques and approach is used during your massages and can include for example: trigger point, myofascial stretching, neuro muscular, reciprocal inhibition, facilitated stretching, lymphatic drainage, cross fiber friction and so forth.
(Photo taken in July 2000 at the original Westferry location)
GENERAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
That is pretty much what it says. If the idea of a massage seems appealing as you are feeling a bit down emotionally; a little 'under the weather' physically; not inclined or able to exercise, or feeling 'stressed' for whatever reason, I can pretty much guarantee that it is absolutely great for your general health and wellbeing. Massage is very adaptable to the individual. This is one of the few generally agreed benefits of massage. Try it for a few months and see for yourself!
I would also say that a therapist in independent practice will over the years encounter many conditions and illnesses. We know what a healthy body feels like and are alert to signs that it is time to have a check with a doctor.
This consideration was part of my original training. Back then and In the first few years of practice of course it was all just theory. It takes years to gain meaningful experience and I will admit that since I became -and then left nursing- that I would acknowledge that the time in the NHS did in fact greatly enhance that and add another layer to the knowledge.
Old photo of current treatment room
MASSAGE FOR PREGNANCY
Massage during pregnancy is as individual to you and the day of your appointment as any of the other type of massage sessions. I have always taken my long term clients right from the conception through to the due date. For most of those who are unknown to me prior to their pregnancy, I normally prefer to wait until the first trimester and first scan has been completed. It is up to you.,
Early stage reasons for seeking a massage tend to be the normal ones we all have: tight shoulders, day to day stresses. As the pregnancy progresses, lightening up heaviness in the legs and easing back pains and swelling of extremities are common outcomes. The week or so before due date is often all about deep relaxation and calming.
Information on positioning.
Anyone who has been here to The QS will tell you just how comfortable lying on their side propped up by lots of pillows is (if you are with me from conception you can stay face down for the back massage for the first couple of months if you want to) Once the bump gets a bit bigger lying on your side is very. comfortable and I find that people get very relaxed very rapidly and frequently go on to implement the method of positioning to facilitate sleeping better at home. The last half hour of your massage is semi reclined . My couch is a very well padded fully adjustable steel hydraulic. There have been several weekly clients over the years carrying twins and triplets.
The image above of a pregnancy yoga class taken at The Quiet Space premises number 2 many years ago c.2006.
If you really cannot find someone to mind the baby whilst you have a massage, and are wondering if you can bring them along. I am always game to give it a go. (It has probably only been successful maybe 10 per cent of the time though.) The babies seem to be waiting just until you are really relaxed and then I think they sense that and become restless. But it works sometimes we can always try!
The better option though is to let someone mind the babe and take an hour for YOURSELF.. This will allow you to check in with your body which you have probably been ignoring as all your focus goes to your baby.
Just think about it for a few minutes.. You have probably spent a lot of time staring down at them and lifting, bathing and feeding at awkward angles making it next to impossible to use good posture. So aside from spending all your time hyper alert to every sound, your arms and back are probably sore. ( this baby is getting a little heavier each week...who needs to go weight lifting at the gym?!) Once they are a little older (and heavier but still not yet able to move around under their own steam), you have no doubt developed the habit of carrying them around on the same hip more often than not. These are just a couple of good reasons for a post natal treat.
If you have had a C-section and are wondering if you need to wait until you have had the all clear from your midwife for moderate exercise; everyone is different. Some new mums come along within a few weeks,others may need to wait a little longer before feeling comfortable lying face down once again. There is usually a way to make you comfortable and a soft gentle massage will still be beneficial.
I enjoy working with new mums in those first few months as they slowly reclaim their bodies. I think it is hugely beneficial.
If not ready to lay face down but feeling a need to relax, think about coming along for a Reiki session.
Photo taken at original premises c.2001. That bunch are now in their 20’s!) maybe with little ones of their own. I have actually last year in 2022 finally met one of our ‘Quiet Space babies’ for a massage. Who knows perhaps the next one could be a pre natal!
SPORTS EXERCISE AND INJURIES
After 20 plus years there is a pretty long list of sporting endeavours!
There are dancers of many genres, swimmers, karate enthusiasts, kick boxers, cyclists, marathon runners, netball players, pole dancers, ballerinas, weight lifters, golfers, tennis players, gymnasts, rugby players and many others. Not to forget all I have learned from my own personal athletic efforts and injuries over the years).
I work with all levels from enthusiastic amateurs and novice (or maybe not so enthusiastic yet ...!) through to professionals. Not everyone is an elite athlete.. or even an enthusiastic hobbyist.
Maybe you simply have discomfort from a postural habit either daily activity related or imbalances from a previous injury. We all have numerous imbalances in our bodies that normally pass unnoticed until we begin to challenge ourselves physically beyond normal activities. Even if it is just simply pain and discomfort from prolonged sitting at a desk or a long day in high heels or a stint in the garden or moving furniture!
For those who do have a very dedicated activity and have highly attuned body awareness, a sport massage should be more than just a general rub down and a few exercise suggestions..You are here to get a massage not a work out... A background in your chosen activity gives a common ground for discussion, helps you feel you will be understood, and is an opportunity to share your enthusiasm for your activity, but it does not particularly qualify or infer an ability to give you a ‘sports specific’ massage.
The ability of a therapist to palpate, broad experience of the many aspects influencing your body and agreed treatment goals with the knowledge and skill in how to utilise various techniques specific to your massage session are the most influential criteria..
A ‘sports’ massage session here is a massage which will help you work towards achieving a mutually agreed goal respecting and taking into account your current level of awareness and your personal estimation of need. A therapist who wants to work with you should for example be able to highlight to you subtle imbalances that affect balance and power such as weight placement or core musculature issues, as well as addressing the more obvious large external muscles. The aim of the treatments will always include helping you to find new ways to improve strength, stamina, fitness and coordination, along with all the other standard pre, post or training matters.
Sports massage does not replace physiotherapy or other modalities but the skill and palpation of an experienced therapists hands and whole body approach possible during an hour massage is a very valid contribution to you for enhancing your activity and recovering from injury. Each discipline or type of exercise works your body in a different way. For example: The muscular tone, type of fitness and neuro musculature response and mentality..is very different in a swimmer, a kick boxer, a polo rider or a weight lifter not to mention all of our different body types.
Sports and Exercise do not automatically equal injury but lets be honest: injury and soreness are just part of sport and exercise even if you only sprained your ankle dancing in your stilettos..! Accidents happen, soreness and imbalance happen. Professionals have whole teams of specialists looking after them,committed amateurs have no one really until things start to go wrong. By the time they seek advice they have often gone a long way down the wrong road! Regular massage is geared towards enhancing your performance and therefore enjoyment and can sometimes help avert an injury that has been building up unnoticed. (more about sports massage)
There are many medical conditions that can benefit from massage. In my experience, this past twenty years, if you want a massage there is generally always some approach we can take that you can both benefit from and enjoy. Unfortunately training of therapists in England is very unequal and GP's are rightly wary of referring or suggesting massage to a patient with a long term or acute medical condition.
Massage is very adaptable. It can relax, it can be used to stimulate or to soothe your nervous system, it can boost circulation or have minimal impact. It depends on the skill and experience of each therapist.
If unsure please discuss with your GP or Consultant, but you do not need a referral, I am able to decide and explain or discuss with you whether massage is appropriate or in some cases not. However, if advised by your healthcare professional against it please follow that advice.
Over the years I have worked with many types of illness and long term conditions including Chronic Fatigue, Paralysis, Multiple Sclerosis, High Blood Pressure, Cancer and Depression.
As a side note it is absolutely gobsmacking what people will leave out in the initial consultation. Notable ones have been open heart surgery, a donated kidney, type one diabetes, early pregnancy to name just a few!
The majority of reasons for which people have been drawn towards a Reiki session here have seemed to be for a diversity of mental and emotional issues rather than physical.
Some examples are work related stresses; as an aide to mental clarity and decision making; acceptance of a serious illness; bereavement; relationship problems/emotional distress; studying hard for exams; or on one occasion, nerves before a driving test!
Here is an Interesting link to current medical research on Reiki
There are many types of 'healing' in the alternative health world but a Reiki session here is non directive. An egotistic prescriptive approach to channelling Reiki would impose an unnecessary limitation. How much Reiki flows is actually under your own control. A Reiki practitioner is a channel-you can think of it a like turning on a tap. In my role as the 'tap' the less I focus in on what I think you need, the greater the flow and abundance will be available for you to draw on.
Therefore the sometimes powerful effects from the seemingly effortless simplicity of a Reiki session are dependant upon us both. The tap's (ie the practitioner) ability to open up as a channel and the receivers capacity or ability to receive. You will never get more than you can handle.
It is fair to say that nearly everyone no matter what comes up for them in a session will also feel very relaxed and peaceful after a Reiki Session.
Posed image for The Wharf Newspaper when they came to write about us back in 2000
YOGA, SELF KNOWLEDGE AND REFLECTION
I discovered yoga back in 1992 I think! I started out alone at home while living in San Francisco with a wonderful book and experienced the benefits for myself without any preconception. From them on I became an ashram, class and workshop attender and maintained a personal practice which also included meditation and pranayama, study of texts and mantras and so forth up until around 2012. Currently I still find myself drawn back to using the tools I learned. when I need to rebalance and set a new direction in life. So I am confident that I can understand what you may be trying to 'achieve' or experiences you may be having in whatever style is currently capturing your attention.
As you may be discovering Yoga can be so much more than the popular physical practice it is today. For many the path of self knowledge taken during any period of intense or longterm regular practice will eventually enhance your internal body awareness and consciousness. As your awareness of the more subtle energies begin to stir you can benefit from receiving a massage from someone who can perceive and understand what you are experiencing as that heightened awareness and sensitivity evolves from within you. This kind of massage work and indeed my own personal experiences during massages I received myself many years ago at a favourite ashram provided the inspiration for the name The Quiet Space.
Taken by me at our 2nd premises c.2008
(more about massage for yoga)