Empowering Self-Care for Women

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Self Care and Inner Wisdom

Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a choice and it’s at the core of how we can better support ourselves through life’s ever changing journeys.

The wisdom is within and sometimes, especially in times of change stillness and gentleness are needed more than ever to be able access these gifts, and to replenish the sparkle and best of you. Replenishing your own cup means you’ll be a more magical version and better serve yourself (as well as those around you).

Transformation

We live in a culture that doesn’t support change. Most of us have been bought up in a world where menstruation and menopause is seen as a biological disadvantage, making women emotional and unreasonable. For most of us, Menarche (a girl’s first bleed) may not have been truly acknowledged or even celebrated. Often, there isn’t much guidance around this Rite of Passage.

It may have been a welcoming initiation into Womanhood and in many tribal traditions a young woman’s menarche would be celebrated as part of a community gathering. A simple ceremony can be created and there are many ways that this or any transition can be celebrated or honoured.

We live in a world where ‘PMS’, perimenopause and menopause are viewed as annoyance and an inconvenience (don’t get me wrong it’s the real deal!) but our essence along with those pesky hormones deserve nourishment and there are ways to support this. Time out, holistic therapies including massage, acupuncture, kinesiology and homeopathy help ease and support these transitions without suppressing feelings of grief and other emotions.

Plus, it can be a time of profound transformation and exploration and often our body’s way of telling us to go within, reconnect and be with ourselves.

“The only constant thing in the world is change” India Arie

Observe and Awareness

Welcoming and embracing every aspect (even the not so ‘pleasant’ feelings) can be empowering and transformative. By becoming menstrual aware it can help the way the approach of a cycle and life itself 

The Inner Seasons

Just as the seasons of the year, a woman’s cycle and life journey has seasons within it. It applies to menstruating and non-menstruating women. Moving through inner Winter, Spring, and Summer, Autumn and back to Winter. There are also stages within a woman’s journey that sit within a season for a period at a time. Each phase gifts insight, resources and challenges that help you grow.

Inner Seasons in Brief

Winter – Moontime/Bleed – Wise Woman (approximately day 27 to day 5)

Inner Spring – Pre-Ovulation – Goddess/Maiden (approximately day 6 to day 11)

Inner Summer – Ovulation – Nurturer/Mother (approximately day 12 to day 19)

Inner Autumn Pre-Menstrual – Wild Woman/Enchantress (approximately day 20 to day 26)

All women experienced varying cycles so please don’t overthink or worry about the exact days, it may mean you have an irregular or no menstrual cycle at all. The principles are still the same and the idea is to connect with each season of your cycle, within your life and to yourself.

Inner Winter – Bleeding Phase (Moontime) – Archetype: Wise Woman, Visionary, Crone,

A time of inward reflection, to slow down and be still. Winter is a time of surrendering, of hibernation and looking after ourselves. Inner Winter can provide great insight. We are naturally more intuitive during this phase. Did you know!  A great time to let go and release all that does not serve you well, to find inspiration, set intentions. A natural season to connect with your spirituality and pay attention to any insights in your dreams.

Embrace, Wisdom, Surrender, Rest, Reflect, Nourish, Explore Inspiration and feelings

Inner Spring – Pre-Ovulation Phase – Archetype: Maiden, Goddess

Refreshed and energised, and ready to start going back out into the world. An optimal time to take note of any insights and ideas gained in ‘Winter’ and put inspiration into action. Think new projects, collaborative efforts and re-entering a phase where you feel like being more social.

Inner spring, just as the seasons of life is a time for re-birth, vitality and new energy.

New Ideas, Warrior, Create, Playfulness, Renew, Be Gentle, Be vulnerable

Inner Summer – Ovulation Phase – Archetype: Mother, Healer, Nurturer

Summer heats things up, metaphorically and physically! It is the ideal time to reconnect and say ‘hello world’. The perfect time for collaboration, hosting, having important meetings and being a social butterfly and even asking for what you want.

‘Super-Woman’, Expression, Connection, Full of energy, Relationship building, Self-celebration, Holding space and nurturing others, Playful, Flirty

Inner Autumn – Pre-Menstrual Phase – Archetype: Wild Woman, Enchantress, Priestess

Feeling more inward and agitated. If able to, begin to schedule some time out and dedicate it to self care. Autumn is the time to be more gentle and loving with you (at a time when it might not feel like it but is most needed). Align with any feelings and don’t make any sudden decisions based on current emotions or insights gained. Take it into winter and be with it, in surrendering when spring comes you are more restored and replenish to take action.

Insight, Lower energy, Discernment, Separation, Grief, Boundaries, Less Focus, Disconnected from the World and loved ones, Strategic

A little Boost

1%. Can you give just 1% more for yourself today? Surrender a teeny bit or choose to create more space for what is needed. Dedicating self-care and an extra dose of love when needed the most, whether it is an extra few moments snuggling under the duvet, being gentler and more forgiving with you or enjoying a guided yoga nidra meditation! It really doesn’t have to be the image of the most calm and a serene looking woman sat in lotus pose meditating for an hour (meditation can feel messy and emotional!) and it can take all forms. It could be a few moments of mindfully softening the breath and the chest, allowing the heart and body to ‘ahhhhhhh’ it out.

Some of the things that I do; grab a spot in my favourite, snuggest corner of the sofa, I surround myself with a blanket and lots of cushions, enjoy an English brew (cinnamon and cloves is a must!) in a pretty cup and put on one of my favourite playlists (currently the gorgeous sound of Sirgun Kaur), or I’ll go for a walk in the park in my warm layers, pop my phone on aeroplane mode, and know that the world around me will not fall apart if I take 10 minutes out for a little restoration.

Also, find and be with women that lift and nourish your spirit!

Nurturing Massage with Rebozo Wrapping

 “Touch was never meant to be a luxury. It is a basic human need. It is an action that validates life and gives hope to both the receiver and the giver the healing of touch is reciprocal” ~ Irene Smith

This quote embodies everything that the power of this beautiful therapy is. There is something so deeply relaxing and nourishing about being rocked, held, ‘swaddled’ and massaged with love.

  • Giving the space to go within and deeply relax
  • Reconnect with all aspects of you
  • Deeply nurturing for any emotional time
  • Calms everything down
  • Restorative and Grounding

Skevi’s treatments are beautifully healing and unique, offering a sense of inner calm. Empowering women and helping them to re-connect to the body and the womb, where all creation begins. Be it new ideas, inspiration or new life. It can also encourage stagnant energy or emotional blocks to be released. A deeply nurturing and restorative therapy perfect for every woman through any stage of life.

 About Skevi

Skevi is a soulful and intuitive practitioner working with women to enhance wellbeing. This includes Holistic treatments, Fertility and Womb Massage Therapy, Pregnancy and Postnatal services. She has over 16 years’ experience in the world of wellness and creates a beautiful, nurturing and safe space for women to reconnect to themselves and their womb.

Skevi is based in North London and offers both clinic and mobile appointments within Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and parts of Hertforshire.

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http://www.puretherapylondon.co.uk

 Suggested Further Reading

Menstrual Seasons:

Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer

Code Red by Lisa Lister

 

 

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Emotion, the Body and Wellbeing

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I have spoken before about the mind and body link: we are a spirit, which is separated from the body. The spirit communicates with the mind. The mind communicates with the physical brain. The brain communicates with the body. So it is clear that everything is connected and can impact each element of us, particularly our physical, mental and spiritual health.

It is now widely acknowledged that a large percentage of our illnesses are stress-related – stress has been implicated as a major factor for heart conditions, depression and rheumatoid arthritis and more. Of course it is important to know and address what causes the stress in our lives. You can see my blog post all about stress here

Much of the stress in our lives is actually as a result of unresolved emotional issues. Even if we are not aware of these unresolved emotions; they release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that can have a detrimental affect on our body.

Emotions can and do get trapped in the cells of our body – they can take many years to reveal.

We experience emotions with every activity we undertake. It can be the response to a particular situation such as fear if we are involved in an accident or extreme joy for an achievement. Sometimes, seemingly insignificant incidents may have caused a subconscious response that we might not even aware of.

Did you know that both conscious and subconscious memories could be linked the emotional response to events in our life? At time we are aware of what trigger an emotion for example, a song on the radio that we associate with a particular event. Other times a sudden sense of depression is triggered, for which there is no clear conscious trigger – usually because there is in-fact a subconscious trigger linked to a past event.

Our bodies are not machines that can just keep on going through long periods of stresses without any affect. It is often not until we stop that the body can then be given the space and time to show its imbalance through symptoms, which we need to listen to.

I always say “the body has the answer” and when I treat a client, I look at all aspects of a person – including the emotional aspects. When I am able to identify emotional blockages often the client knows what emotional stressor is affecting him/her, particularly it a present situation that their body is responding to. Other times are past emotions or traumas or at time they may be unsure what it could be. Lately, I found myself helping client clearing emotions that are present from when they were carried in the womb! Or there have been occasions where we have found it is an emotion that it has carried down through generations in the bloodline.

I have even found that the person is carrying emotions that are not actually their own but maybe of a partner, a parent and/or a siblings.

It is very difficult to determine the full impact of unresolved emotions. There is so much to discover. But when they are identified balance can be regained.

For me, it is a privilege to help my clients understand how much a particular emotion has impacted them, whether consciously or subconsciously, and it is highly rewarding for them experiencing the feeling after the emotions have been addressed and taken to conscious mind and dealt with.

If you believe you may have unresolved emotions impacting your wellbeing or if you are suffering with physical symptoms and are unable to gain relief please do get in touch to find out how Kinesiology can help you.

A reflection on my journey through cancer

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10 years ago today, the 6th June 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed forever.

Of that day, I remember that emotionless radiologist delivering the news and my numbness, the inability of thinking straight and me looking into the void until mum brought me back to reality; we needed to act swiftly. Within 2 weeks I had already undergone surgery, was set on a course of 26 radiotherapy sessions and 5 years of HTR.

The initial shock was quickly put aside and an emergency mode in place. Life had already taught me that crying in these circumstances is not productive and as an antidote I started planning my next stage in life which included returning to London and accepting an offer to open a Law firm office in the City. The enthusiasm of returning home helped me overcome the first few months and allowed me not to think too much about the pain and the fears, which were conveniently pushed deep in a remote part of my mind. Back home, it took quite a few months for reality to hit.

Although, the oncologist warned me about the medication’s side effects, I was not prepared for the full impact and my health started deteriorating rapidly. Not only that, having to come to terms with the fact I was facing a life threating disease, those repressed emotions started to manifest in the form of depression, lack of energies and a constant debilitating back pain. My quality and social life were almost not existent and for the next couple of years all my energies were preserved to go work.

It was then, that a friend introduced me to the person, who became my healer, mentor and trusted friend. By only entering his therapy room I knew something had shifted, for the first time in years I felt at peace and I had found someone who understood what I was trying to say; my journey through quantum healing, kinesiology and craniosacral therapy had started.

Within 6 months my back was realigned and pain-free. Cleansing my system via nutrition and the introduction of food supplements helped to keep the medication’s side effects at bay. Yet, the real turning point was when I started to fully realise the impact that traumas can have on our health; one day I suddenly understood why I developed cancer. The whole impact of early traumas, which had never been addressed, came back with vengeance and my body was not able to cope any longer.

For the past 7 years I have worked hard on my physical and mental health. Nutritional support has been added to my diet, more physical activity, meditation and regular healing sessions have worked wonders; even though the path has not been always easy and pain-free.

My self-esteem has increased, my anger has disappeared, and my energy level is unrecognisable. Still at times, like today, memories, pain, fears are haunting me but I know, it is all part of that journey with no return.

Becoming a Kinesiologist was the result of this journey; it is my profession and my passion because I now know there is another way.

If you want to get in touch please email me at Barbara@equilibriumvitae.net

 

Gut Health and How it Affects Physical and Mental Health

The 29th May is World Digestive Health Day and I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to you about gut health. As a Kinesiologist I use muscle testing to understand what is going on in your body and your meridian system. My work encompasses principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and other techniques that support physical and emotional healing and getting your body in balance. This includes looking at nutrition and gut health.

Avocado Berries Gut Health

Have you considered the expression “you are what you eat”? Or more appropriately we could say, you are what you digest.

Until recently doctors didn’t understand the link between the gut and the brain and they treated them as two completely unrelated parts of the body. Neuroscience has moved on and various news reported in the mainstream press have shown the scientific proof that the gut and the brain are in-fact very linked. Many doctors now refer to the gut as the “second brain”.

The new evidence reveals that there is a direct communication between gut microbiome (the microorganisms in a particular environment) and brain. The microbiome has direct communication to the brain and they constantly exchange messages. The highway between gut and brain is called the Vagus nerve – it is the longest cranial nerve running from head to stomach and it has the widest distribution area of all nerves in the body. This nerve connects the body in a way that means what affects our gut will affect our brain. If you are not eating the “right” foods, or indeed not getting all you need from your food [see my post on supplements here] then it stands to follow that this will not only affect your gut, but your brain too.

Our microbiome are completely unique to us and no one can have the same make-up as ours – similar to our unique fingerprints. Yet unlike a fingerprint, our microbiome can change and change fast – based on factors such as medication like antibiotics, lifestyle, diet and more. These changes to our microbiome will have knock on affect to our brain and our body.

It is emerged, for example, that significant stress can produce dysbiosis (this is a term for a microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body, such as an impaired microbiota – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysbiosis) in a very short period of time. Meaning, that the response to mood or emotion it will impact the balance of our microbioma.

There are studies that show autistic children have distinctly different microbiome compared to neurotypical children. Read more about this here.

Mainstream science is reporting what Eastern and alternative practices have believed for some time that beneficial bacteria in the gut may replace the need for antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. These new developments could mean some “depression and anxiety” is seen as symptoms and not illness.

I have seen clients suffering with low mood, depression and lack of self-esteem – the majority have seen great improvements after balancing the gut with different Kinesiology techniques as well as looking at their diet introducing probiotics, looking at food intolerances and lifestyle.

If you are keen to explore the gut and brain link, or simply want to find out more about how I can help you, do get in touch Barbara@equilibriumvitae.net

 

 

What is Stress and How can Kinesiology Help?

Stress Kinesiology

Do you have trouble sleeping, have headaches or an irritable bowel? Are you low in energy and are you frequently catching colds and viruses? You could be stressed.

We have all heard the word “stress” and have probably even described ourselves as stressed at some point in our lives. Personally, I hear it from someone at least every week – from clients describing their symptoms to friends’ posts on social media. We are surrounded by stress – mothers explaining they are stressed out with the children, bosses complaining they are stressed at work, people distressed from a relationship or family life under stress.

The word itself, ‘stress’, carries negative connotations and there are many causes of stress. Everyone has different stress triggers but some typical major causes of stress can be bereavement, family break-ups and divorce, financial problems and illness or injury.

You might have a general idea of what you think stress is but a lot of people don’t realise the impact stress can have on our physical and mental health. Stress manifests differently in a lot of people and symptoms can range from constipation and bowel issues to general aches and pains. But beneath the surface chronic stress can be doing even more damage.

Under stress our body reacts as being under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode. Fight or flight is actually a response we have brought on by stress hormones, namely, cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.

Adrenaline causes your heart to beat faster and raises blood pressure. Cortisol can interfere with the function of the inner lining of your blood vessels that can cause plaque build up in your arteries. This increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline and increases blood pressure and blood glucose.

Chronic stress often results in high blood pressure and heart diseases as well as weight gain too, but this isn’t all. It interferes with your entire immune system so your body struggles to do the job of keeping you protected and healthy.

Chronic stress even causes epigenetic changes. For those you who haven’t heard of epigenetics, it is the ability of the DNA to change itself and how it is expressed, but that is for another blog post. Stress triggers systemic inflammation that is the culprit for various chronic diseases such as colitis.

The link between stress and detrimental events in the gut is well documented. Stress can affect your gut in numerous ways including:

  • Lessened nutrient absorption
  • Decreased oxygenation to your gut
  • Significant drop of blood flow to your digestive system – this in turn leads to a decreased metabolism

Scientists and researchers are finding out more about our bodies all the time and we now know that our gut and brain are in constant communication. More and more studies are being conducted and they are showing a strong link between gut and brain.

You may have noticed in the news that more emphasis and attention is being given to diet to treat depressive and mental health illnesses. This is in response to this new found evidence about the gut and brain link.

In this day and age we know that stress is unavoidable so we need to find ways to prevent it to become chronic.

As a Kinesiologist I look at:

  • Diet – certain types of food and alcohol can increase stress
  • Lifestyle – help clients to find ways to have me time without feeling guilty
  • Restoring the body’s alignment using multiple technique
  • Emotional stress release technique

These are just some of the areas I can look at to treat someone suffering with chronic stress. Most importantly, I start peeling off the layers to get to the root cause.

Please contact me at Barbara@equilibriumvitae.net if you want to discuss any particular issue.

 

The Importance of Energy Free Flowing in our Meridian

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As a Kinesiologist I look at all aspects of a person – physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual, to identify imbalances in the body. This means I work extensively with meridians and energies.

The meridian system, also known as the acupuncture system, has its basis in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on a set of interventions designed to restore balance to human beings. What is referred to as illness by Western medicine is considered to be a matter of disharmony or imbalance in TCM.

People come to me for a variety of reasons – with chronic pain, issues like IBS or even emotional illness, but people also come to see me without adverse symptoms. This is to keep their body in balance and free of energy blockages in order to prevent a physical manifestation of the blockage.

We have 12 meridians that are named according to their corresponding organs (stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidneys, triple warmer, lung, large intestine, bladder, liver and gall bladder) and two additional meridians known as governing vessel and central vessel. If you are experiencing some digestive problems it is likely your stomach meridian has an energy blockage!

So what are meridians?

Meridians carry energy throughout the body much in the same way arteries carry blood. Energy is our life force. Energies flow through these meridians accessing all parts of the body and are responsible for all the body’s major organ systems.

If the energy flowing through is imbalanced in any way, the system it fuels is jeopardized and this may result in disease. This is why it is so important to remove any blockages and make sure that the energies flow freely in our body.

We can think of the meridian system as a giant web, linking different parts of our body together.

The meridians main functions:

– to connect the internal organs with the exterior of the body

– connect the person to the environment and the universe

– to harmonize the yin and yang principles within the body’s organs and Five Elements;

– to distribute qi (pronounced chee) within the body

You may have heard of yin, yang and qi, but perhaps you don’t understand that they are.

One of the objectives of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to keep yin and yang in harmonious balance within a person.

Yin: Often symbolized by water or earth, the yin is associated with femininity, darkness, passivity, receptiveness and the night; while Yang: Often symbolized by fire or air, the yang is associated with masculinity, light, activeness and the day. Both forces are equally necessary in nature and in human well-being, and neither force can exist without the other.

Taoist teachers also believed that there is a third force, primordial energy or qi (also spelled chi or ki). The interplay between yin, yang, and qi gave rise to the Five Elements of water, metal, earth, wood, and fire. These entities are all reflected in the structure and functioning of the human body.

The energy flow in our 12 meridians follows a specific time schedule with qi being more prevalent in different meridians at different times of the day. For example, the active time for the Liver Meridian is 1am – 3am so if you are waking up at this time every morning it is your liver telling you that it needs looking at!

This could be on a physical level and you may be need to be detoxing or it could even be on an emotional level showing that you may need to deal with anger in your life – as one of emotions associated with the Liver Meridian emotion is anger.

One important difference between the development of medicine in China and in the West a doctor might be interested in body weight, height and symptoms, the Chinese medicine practitioner looks at a patient holistically. Treatment will work to correct imbalances and disharmonies in the flow of qi.

Our bodies communicate with us and guide us to the root of the problem, but too often we don’t know how to listen or don’t understand what they are saying. My advice is that your body has the answer.

If you would like to find out how I can help you, or want to know more about meridians and energies please get in touch on Barbara@equilibriumvitae.net

Electromagnetic frequencies – the invisible danger to our health and wellbeing

Electromagnetic frequencies

The safety and danger of Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) exposure is a controversial subject.

But what is EMF? In summary it’s an energy radiated from objects in the form of electrical and magnetic waves that can travel through space. The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible electromagnetic energy.

Some people believe that these EMFs are completely safe but EMFs are a non-natural energy and researchers have connected EMFs to health problems such as behavioural changes, memory loss, as well as DNA damage, chronic inflammation and also fertility problems.

I’ve seen that around 95% of my clients present with health implications caused to some degree by EMFs exposure.

Radiations are invisible to the naked eye but this does not make them less dangerous. Poor electrical wiring triggered massive joint inflammation in my 12-year-old female client. Another of my female clients started developing Alopecia after power cables were left uncovered for months for repair in her street.

Teenagers can lie wide-awake until late hours due to stress of EMFs exposure. Children are often up to 1,000 times more sensitive to low-frequency EMF fields such as mobile phones, Wi Fi and computers when they are asleep. A TV screen in your bedroom will radiate energy all night, even after it has been unplugged.

The telecommunication and electronics industry undeniably have a huge conflict of interest against consumers becoming aware of the impact of EMF exposure. In fact, they might even be in denial.

Currently, the claims by mass media that the low frequency EMF exposure is safe are based on the fact that there is no direct evidence showing that certain sources of EMF exposure are safe (or unsafe). The International Agency for Research on Cancer has already categorised low frequency EMF radiation a class 2B possible carcinogen. However, harmful effects of EMF radiation are not limited to cancer.

Here are some practical things to put in place to mitigate the effects:

  • Keep all electric appliances out of the bedroom (clocks, TV’s, computers, stereo, electric blanket)
  • Make sure that you move your bed if there are electrical appliances plugged in on the other side of the wall where your bed head is located. This is very important because whilst we sleep, we move into unconsciousness and our body relaxes and in this vulnerable state, research indicates that we are 100-150 times more open to damage from EMFs than when you are awake!
  • Replace your alarm clock with a battery-operated device
  • Always sit more than 1.5 metres away from television sets.
  • Do not use or own a microwave, and be sure never to look through the doors of a microwave oven in operation or stand in the same room when one is in use;
  • Switch off your Internet router at night
  • Do not work with your laptop on your lap

Unfortunately, due to the high coverage of mobile phone and power line networks, it is virtually impossible to avoid man-made EMF exposure. EMFs can easily penetrate walls and our bodies. This is why it is so important to make the changes recommended above that we have control over in order to mitigate negative health effects.

If you are concerned about EMFs and the impact on your wellbeing or would like to find out more from me please be in touch with me Barbara@equilibriumvitae.net