Archives for the month of: March, 2013

That’s a question I get asked quite regularly by my clients.  After assuring people that i NEVER get stressed (ha, as if!) I go through my list.  I am lucky to be surrounded by a multitude of natural health practitioners that I am able to “body swap” with.  That expression usually gets some funny looks, pretty simple really, they treat me for free, I treat them for free.  You just need to mention in passing that this or that is happening and you get instant attention – man, it’s good to have contacts!

At the first sign of back pain I jump on the table of any of the osteopaths I work with.  No waiting around to see if it sorts itself out, first available appointment – I’m there.  I can’t work if I’m in pain and if I do, the person on the table will be the one to lose out.

If I’m feeling under the weather or not sleeping or have been bitten by some insect (I react badly to grass ticks which seem to seek me out) then I go see the homeopath downstairs and she usually flings a remedy at me.  Or some sort of supplement.  Or a herb.  Basically I’m in her hands – I know she’ll always find the perfect solution for me and by the next day I’m on the way to feeling myself again.


Have I ever mentioned that my best friend is a kinesiologist? We have this great relationship where we go and learn something then use each other to try out a technique.  I made her so sick once when I was studying at college and needed bodies to practice on … and she’s still talking to me.  I basically overstimulated her lymphatic system and the effects were so immediate that she had to stop at a chemist on the way home and they wouldn’t allow her to drive home!  She felt fantastic two days later I might add.  It was an excellent learning opportunity for me to not be quite so overzealous.  She’s never returned the favour – instead, she’s always managed to make me feel better.  Bless.  I think kinesiology is the most amazing tool for finding out what the real trigger behind a stress is.  It’s a bit like watching a detective show on TV – the practitioner uses yes/no questions and your muscles to find where the body is holding stress.  It can be quite revealing and I learn something about myself each session.  And of course I feel better.

Then there are the times where a new crystal necklace is just the ticket – there’s a great shop down in Manly that keeps me happy.

Oh, and did I mention chocolate?


My Lymph Node Transplant

I suggest that those of you who get a little queazy with medical details should maybe not read this post, as I will give details of surgery!

Firstly I am still in hospital and only allowed to the bathroom keeping my leg straight, otherwise sitting with leg up or on the bed. At the moment I am only allowed to bend leg to 30 degrees, let me tell you getting in and out of bed is a real trick!!! Cellulitis appears to have made its last stand by coming up around the knee incision, so some very strong IV antibiotics. I am tired but in no pain, as areas appear numb, but as of yesterday my sense of humor returned and I think my “positive mojo” is back! In the last couple of days I had truly thought myself a lunatic to go through with this!

I have said before…

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It may seem from my writing that I only see people with major illnesses, but actually, a good percentage of what I do is massage for stress relief.


I use different techniques according to how the person is feeling and what they would like to achieve.  Some people are remedial massage people – that’s what works best for them to relax their muscles and get them feeling fighting fit.  It always amazes me when I’ve finished a really deep massage that I personally think would have been quite painful (good pain that is) and the client says … “oh, that was so relaxing, I was falling asleep”.  My reaction is usually one of shock … “but I’ve been sticking my elbows into you, how could that be relaxing”. Just goes to prove we’re all different.  I’m partial to giving a moderate massage, deep but not digging in, working on spots that are tight with stretching or circular movements to release them.

Every now and then I get mums with young children who come in and they give me that look of terror that says “I’m so stressed I don’t care what you do – help!”.  My go-to treatment in that case is always craniosacral therapy.  I did my training with the Upledger Institute, here’s a link to their FAQs page,  People ask me what they will feel and I honestly can’t tell them as it’s so different for each person, but what is consistent is that clients get off the table and say a variation on “dunno what you did but I feel like I’ve slept for a week”.  Some people can’t articulate what they felt and that’s ok.  Others have emotional releases – laughter, tears and all in between.  Some fall straight to sleep.  Others remember events or people they haven’t thought of in ages.  No session is ever the same.

For many I use a combination of therapies.  What works really well is to start with some massage, say half hour to the back and neck followed by half hour of craniosacral.  This is what I offer those who are used to remedial massage but who want to try something new and it usually ends up becoming their regular massage combo.  I occasionally throw a bit of Reiki in at the end to balance the emotions and send clients out feeling like they’re floating. Mmmmm.

Stress relief is definitely one of the strongest benefits of massage – book yourself in for one today!

Last week I posted before and after photos of one of my elderly clients on Facebook and it generated a lot of interest.  I’ve been seeing J for a couple of years.  Her GP asked me to go to her house to help her with her lymphoedema after she suffered a stroke.  When I first started working with her she was pretty much bedridden with nurses coming each day to check up on her.  In fact, there was a system – you’d ring the door bell then let yourself into the unit with a key hidden in a plant pot, putting the key back for the next person.  I’d spend an hour clearing her legs, helping to reduce the swelling.  As well as lymphoedema she had arthritis in her knees and restless legs.  I was stunned that she was allowed to live on her own at this stage, so soon after a stroke.  Boy, did she put those fears to rest.  She is one strong cookie and each week she got stronger and within a few months she was up and walking (with a walker).  She’s achieved this with the help of neighbours in particular, who check up on her daily, running her to doctor’s appointments, doing shopping for her and even brining her freshly made coffee in the mornings.  There are some amazing angels in our lives, quite often they are not blood relatives but the friends we’ve gathered around us. 

A few weeks ago i noticed that an old wound was weeping and I suggested she put Betadine on it – this is something I learned when volunteering at Manly Waters Hospital.  She said she she’d put pawpaw ointment on it and I explained that the ointment would cause the wound to weep more, put Betadine.  I avoided the area as it was red and painful and the leg was swollen.  The following week I noticed the wound and swelling was worse.  I asked if she had put the Betadine and she looked puzzled and said she’d put pawpaw ointment.  This raised alarm bells for me.  J’s memory has always been sharp, even at 87.  

ImageI knew she was seeing her GP the next day so I called and mentioned my concerns about infection and memory.  She was scheduled to have her thyroid out the following week so it was important she had any infection under control.  She was put on antibiotics the next day when she went to the GP, had her surgery the next week and I treated her the following two weeks.  And here’s her improvement – not bad for an 87 year old!  Just shows how amazing the body is when given the right conditions to heal.  She’s now considering buying a new motorised scooter so she can get herself around the neighbourhood and not be beholden to others.  At 87!  Champion.


Goodness, have I just written the words “bladder weakness” on a public forum?  Surely that’s a topic that is not open to discussion in public – it’s just something that a whole lot of women (and sometimes men) put up with quietly.  According to the Tena website (and I only mention them because I’ve seen their ads on TV, see, advertising does work!) “1 out of 3 women experience the Unexpected Leak”.  One in three!  That’s a huge number. 

From what I’ve seen in my clinic the most common cause is pregnancy and childbirth.  Tena says “pregnancy, physical activity, medical conditions, being overweight or simply getting older”.  What a depressing thought – getting older is enough to cause bladder leakage?  OK ladies, better get started with those pelvic floor exercises – I’m doing mine now, can you tell?  How hard is it to concentrate on doing them properly?  I always start with good intentions and it’s as if I can be distracted by the slightest thing … oh, there goes a butterfly!  There is no doubt that those exercises are very beneficial at strengthening our pelvic floor muscles and we should definitely be doing them regularly.

I had someone come in to see me on Saturday who had been to an introductory course in the Emmett Technique and the instructor had mentioned that there is a bladder move and my client said her ears pricked up.  She’s 60 and has started noticing some light bladder leakage and has looked at the treatments for more severe cases and just doesn’t want to go there.  And who can blame her?  The thought of going to see a bladder physiotherapist scares the bejeebers out of me and bladder suspension surgery sounds even more horrendous.  Saying that, if I had to, I would because they can help you get your life back.  Imagine being able to sneeze, laugh or jog without having to think about whether or not you will have an embarrassing leakage.


But I digress.  My client wanted to try the Emmett move to see if it made a difference for her.  After discussing her medical history we decided to do a full Emmett lymphatic treatment, followed by the bladder release and some general lymphatic drainage to help her eliminate toxins.  The bladder release is quite powerful and often you only need one treatment, but of course I can’t guarantee that result, so we usually suggest a wait and see approach – if you see an improvement but it’s still not right, then come back for another session.  If there’s a remarkable change, come back when you feel the need.  She asked whether to continue her pelvic floor exercises – definitely!  As she left she said she felt different and promised to let me know how she went.

Well, I had a text on Sunday morning at 8.30 am … “thanks, it’s a great improvement.  Will see if another visit is needed as days go on.  Very happy!”

Another success for the Emmett Technique.