unicorn therapy

Since my little "episode" last weekend I have been trying all sorts of things to relax my body and mind, and generally calm myself down. I have had a pretty straightforward week at work, with just the odd bit of tension, but have had to cancel a few social engagements which always makes me feel a bit guilty.

As a sure fire way to relax my little body, I decided to make an appointment to see my holistic therapist. She is I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. I started seeing her a while ago now, when my shoulders and neck were in lots of pain and I couldn't work out a way of making them stop by myself. It was pretty much my last resort as nothing I had tried was helping, and by that point I was spending most nights in a sobbing pool of pain.

I have to be honest: initially I was sceptical, and it was the word 'holistic' which put me off. My little head had, apparently, assigned hippie-ish connotations to the word, which made me suspicious and apprehensive, and I simply didn't trust it. I'm not sure quite where this came from, and after doing a bit of reading realised that holistic just means "as a whole": physically, mentally and emotionally. I probably should have worked that out for myself. The other major concern of mine was that I hate people touching me, especially on my back or neck. This has been an issue since I was very young and, if anything, has got worse as I have got older. The weird thing is that I love hugging people, even strangers, which involves quite intimate touching on the back, but I cannot stand any other back-touching. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Fortunately, I had known Charlotte as a friend for a few years, so although she was now entering a new role in being my holistic therapist, I already had a lot of trust in her. Plus I figured it might help me get over it after all this time.

At the start of our first session we sat cross-legged on a duvet spread out on the floor of my studio (I love that my studio is big enough to fit an entire duvet spread out, and forget how lucky I am to have that sometimes) and discussed what I wanted from the session. At first it was a bit weird trying to describe what I wanted, and I felt as though I should be more formal. I didn't know how to approach this new relationship, patient to holistic therapist, and I didn't know what to expect or what I should say, so I nervously jabbered on about my shoulders hurting but not really understanding why, even though I did kind of understand why. The main objective of the session in my mind was just for my shoulders to stop hurting, I couldn't think of anything emotional that I felt needed healing, I just wanted the pain to stop... yeah, like anything is ever that simple!

In our sessions she uses aromatherapy oils (my favourite being geranium oil - which is apparently very balancing) and starts by
instructing me to imagine various things (it changes every session): imagine being somewhere calm, relaxing and safe, imagine a journey to somewhere you feel safe, and sometimes just to imagine specific colours, or the entire rainbow spectrum one colour at a time. Sometimes in my "safe places" I am in a cave by the sea, or on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, and often in my "calm and relaxing" type imaginings I am riding a unicorn and galloping through pink candy-floss clouds. I had never realised how much of a girly girl I am before this... crazy subconscious.

After lots of deep breathing, and visualising/attempts at visualising, she starts massaging my aching, knotted muscles. Occasionally it kind of hurts, but it feels like a necessary, almost satisfying pain and I know that it is helping so I just try to ease into it and breathe through it. Towards the end I have to stop myself from falling asleep - her voice is so soothing and my muscles are so relaxed, I just feel like a gloopy pile of jelly.

In our most recent session I was instructed to visualise the colour red: the deepest red I could imagine, and to let it surround me, envelop me and embrace me. Oddly, I'm not very good at the colour-imagining stuff. You would think being a visual artist that colours should come easily, but the only colours I am good at visualising are orange, yellow and blue. Even greens, my favourite colour in the world, are a huge struggle.

So, red: the first thing I thought of was a dragon's eye, then the dragon's eye became a beautiful sparkling ruby. After that I imagined a sea of red Skittles (oh what a silly mind I have) and finally, a volcano. Now, I suppose a lot could be read into that if you were choosing to psychoanalyse me, especially the volcano bit, but she doesn't psychoanalyse me - she spiritually analyses me. I was curious as to why she had chosen just the one colour, rather than the rainbow that we often do, and she explained that red was the colour that represents the core chakra and that it is the base colour. If I find it hard imagining the base colour, it means I am not able to open up to the others (which all have their own attributes), or emotionally sound.

To end the session we do stretches and evaluate. With my love of lists and OCD tendencies, I greatly enjoy the evaluation part. I am sometimes given tasks, which if I fail to accomplish makes me feel as though I am letting her down, so I always try really hard to complete them. Sometimes they are physical things like drinking more water, remembering to stretch every day, remembering good posture, to stop sleeping in the middle of the day (I do love naps) and sometimes they are more mental or emotional tasks, like writing in a journal, making mini tick lists every week so I don't get bombarded by too many things, drawing something every day, breathing deeply etc.

I genuinely never anticipated that I would get so much from these sessions, but they are one of the most positive things in my life: they help me better understand myself and my limitations, they help me by giving me an outlet when I need to get stuff of my chest, they act as a mini-escape from the stresses of everyday life, they help focus and they motivate me, plus they stop my physical pain. Charlotte is warm, accepting, knowledgeable, informative and non-judgemental. She is a fantastic listener, a fantastic massage therapist and a fantastic friend.

If you would like more information about Charlotte or her massage, her website is here. I highly recommend her if you are a blocked creative-type or just need to relax. This is in no way a sponsored post, I do genuinely see her every fortnight for massage therapy and she is amazing at what she does!

1 hellos:

Claire said...

I'm so glad this is helping you, sweetie. Charlotte is a very talented girl!


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