Gentle reminder – time for a foot soak!

How often to you give your feet a treat?

We’re an interesting species, particularly when it comes to excuses. “I don’t have time.” “I’ve run out of Epsom salts.” “It takes too long.” “All the towels are in the washing machine/dryer.” “The dog needs walking.” Etc.

Watching television, Netflix, or You Tube is a great time for a foot soak. Commercials are great time-keepers. We can dry our feet during one, hit pause, or pause the PVR when we’re done.

Whether it’s Gehwol Foot soak, plain Epsom salts or Epsom salts with herbs or drops of your favourite essential oil added, your feet will thank you.

The moment we immerse our feet in a bowl of hot, scented (or not) water, several things happen. We immediately drop into parasympathetic mode – the rest and repair state of the body. We benefit physiologically and emotionally. Our blood pressure drops as we breath slower and toxins are expelled via the skin on the soles of our feet (the skin is the largest organ of elimination). We give our shoe clad, walking weary feet some non-toxic muscle relaxation.

Fifteen to twenty minutes is ample time to give our feet a delicious soak. When finished, give your heels a gentle polish with a pumice stone or heel file, then rub some lotion all over your feet.

I wish you a happy, healthy foot soak!

Warmly,

Brin

The Health Series: #7 Gardening Your Life

Welcome Verna Gregson, a part-time and temporary resident of planet earth, to this month’s Health Series!

Gardening Your Life

We all love to garden. We enjoy seeing the plants grow and flourish, the flowers bloom in their radiant glory and the foliage become healthy, vigorous and lush. We cherish the renewal and rejuvenation of life as our garden moves from one season to another, regularly revitalizing itself and its purpose. To assist our garden in this transformative process, we cut away the dead areas that have not survived the rigors of winter’s cold or summer’s heat.   We carefully inspect the foliage to ensure it is strong and healthy and, when we find shoots that have struggled too long or too far from their center, we lovingly cut them back and allow the plant’s energy to return to its core and foster growth closer to its own heart. We assess the shape of the plant and the pattern of its growth to ensure it is moving in a direction that is safe, strong and appropriate for its own wellbeing. When we see areas of deviation or misdirection, we gently reorient our garden’s growth to a more positive path.

Perhaps we should apply this same gardening philosophy to our own lives. Regularly we should examine our own life process and remove old elements that are no longer vibrant and have lost their purpose for us. We should check for items or behaviours in our personal journey that have ceased to be important or have moved away from our primary focus. They may be draining energy or sapping our vitality and, by removing them, we can concentrate more vigorously on those items that foster and encourage positive growth. Also, through quiet contemplation and reflection, we might allow ourselves to observe the shape and direction our lives have taken, thereby determining if we are moving on a course that is safe, strong and appropriate for our own wellbeing. If not, we can make changes. Think of your life and its journey as a garden and tend it with loving care.

Verna Gregson
April, 2017

Reflexology as pain management

If you’ve read my bio you know reflexology is part of my monthly pain management program. For those who haven’t read my bio, you can click Here.

I experience reflexology as a modality which immediately drops me into the parasympathetic, or rest and repair, mode. This is the opposite of the sympathetic mode; known as the fight or flight response. Due to our hectic lifestyles, I believe most of us reside in the fight or flight mode.

During a reflexology treatment, my breathing slows, I become calmer, I experience my muscles soften and relax, particularly my neck and shoulder muscles. Tension causing pain and worries drop away. I’m filled with a sense of peace and well-being.

I am allowing my body to do what comes naturally. That is: return to a state of homeostasis, or balance.

Reflexology is more than a simple foot massage.

A reflexology treatment is a specific sequence performed on reflexes corresponding to every organ, part, and gland of the body. A treatment improves circulation, assists the lymphatic/immune system, reduces inflammation, and promotes a deep sense of well-being doubly fostered by a sense of trust and connection via touch with the practitioner.

My friend, and fellow practitioner, Suzanne, gives me my monthly treatment. We usually go for lunch afterward. She delights watching me fade. A term I use when my body is saying, “Enough! I need to go lie down for a while – now!” Harold Tuxedo Cat and Rupert Sharpei love my reflexology treatment days. We all have a delicious restorative afternoon nap. This downtime further enhances the reflexology treatment.

What monthly pain management program(s) do you have? What does downtime mean to you, and how do you experience downtime? You can post your remarks on the Comments/Q&A/Videos page.

I await Friday with anticipation. It’s my monthly reflexology treatment; an integral part of my health regime. Whoop!

Warmly,

Brin

The Health Series: #6 Needles are not the point.

I’m excited to share this month’s essay on acupuncture with you. Introduced by teacher of personal development programs, practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a treasured friend, Jane Olynyk.

Introduction

I was fortunate to learn about energy, acupuncture and healing from the two incredible men who wrote this article. Jock McKeen, a physician and acupuncturist, and Bennett Wong, a psychiatrist, pioneered the relationship between body, mind and spirit incorporating both eastern and western forms of thought into their unique approach to healing.

They proposed that the relationship with ourselves and each other are the foundation of healing, whatever methodology used.

Their work continues on at The Haven Institute on Gabriola Island, of which I have the honor of teaching at.

Jane Olynyk, DTCM, Registered Acupuncturist

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Needles are not the point

A Proposal for a Dialogical Understanding of Acupuncture Therapy, presented at the 6th International Congress of Chinese Medicine, San Francisco, April 28 , 1997.

Most acupuncture theory is mechanistic, proposing that release of energy comes through insertion and manipulation of needles. Yet, the efficacy of treatment varies with different clients, and with different practitioners. Why is this? There is no widely accepted explanation for these variations. Usually, emphasis on practitioner training has been on better point location or more or less stimulation.

We propose that the client – not the practitioner or the needle – does the healing. This occurs when the client becomes open and vulnerable, responsive in energy to the self and the environment. When a person is open, the energy fixations that underlie disease states can release.

The personality is an expression of habituated conformations of the pattern of the energy body. Personal attitudes and habits can rigidify into chronic muscular and connective tissue tension – producing “blockages” in the energy, which manifest as illness. Illness is an expression of frozen energy, occurring when the energy body closes, or rigidifies. To heal, the person needs to thaw. The factors in the personality that encourage blockage are field dependency and roles and obligations, where the person is satisfying demands external to the self. A person opens up in intimate dialogue with self and others. Thus, the challenge is to help the client to establish intimate relationships with the self, and with others.

The release that permits the thaw can come through a variety of approaches. Acupuncture and moxibustion help to relieve blocks that permit freeing of the energy. In psychotherapy, clients can release pent-up psychological distress, with accompanying energy expression. Reichian breathing work involves unblocking of the energy fixations, with expression of feeling and relief from chronic tension. This can facilitate the opening of the energy body to encourage healing. We have found that deep breathing is very important to achieve maximum benefit from an acupuncture treatment.

Healing occurs in release of tension, with a reduction in fixation of energy. In a dynamic concept of energy, it is not the operation of the needle, but rather the life style of the client that facilitates healing. The relationship between client and practitioner is central to the healing process. The technique of the needle, or the application of electricity are not what make the release – it is the client himself or herself, in the relationship.

Any operation at the points functions as a suggestion to which the client can respond. Indeed, in the proper dynamic, one could sing to the points and help to facilitate release. The factors that the client offers in opening up the blocked energy are breathing, confidence in the relationship, and becoming personally responsible for self and life style.

In our work, we have moved to an educational model, where people can learn to discover themselves through open communication in a group setting. In this environment, acupuncture, breathing and other natural approaches are adjuncts to the life style change that underlies health. Holding back from other people through “walls” and roles is an expression of energy blockage, which can ultimately express itself in illnesses. Abandoning oneself to others, as occurs in compliant, dependent relationships (“fusion”) results in confusion within the self which is often solved by control and defensive mechanisms that further freeze energy. Self-defining boundaries are necessary in maintaining full and healthy energy patterns.

Much of our work involves facilitating communication, and developing skills for releasing the self through open, direct expression. All of our work is done in group setting now; the facilitation of communication is most thorough in this milieu.

Sometimes there is an initial catharsis in the group process; the more substantial work for the individual involves adopting a life style of open and honest communication. The healing comes when people learn to resonate with themselves and each other.

People can learn to heal themselves by learning to release blocked energy through breath and clear interpersonal communication. Their ongoing dialogue with family and friends can establish a pattern of openness that facilitates high level wellness. In the process, people learn to have compassion for themselves in their deepening relatedness to life.

Jock McKeen and Bennet Wong,
March, 2017
The Haven · www.haven.ca · info@haven.ca · Toll free 1-800-222-9211

Spring ahead!

With the time change tomorrow, I can’t help but think about Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I think this winter has dragged on long enough, thank you very much! I long for warmer weather, easy footwear, and enjoying more outdoor activities. Though, I’m not quite ready to put away my winter gear, my Lems Primal2 and SoftStar sandals wait for me.

If you are new to minimalist footwear, I encourage you to start slow. Build up your wearing time gradually. It took at least a year before I was out of heeled shoes completely. Today, even slippers with the smallest heel cause me lower back pain within minutes.

When looking for summer sandals, look for a pair with a strap that goes around the ankle. Flip-flops and strapless shoes are terrible culprits for creating hammertoe as the only way to keep them on your feet is to grip with your toes.

If you’re determined to buy a fashionable pair with a heel, keep in mind, any time we wear a heel, we are changing our musculoskeletal alignment which in turn alters the other body systems. There are seven body systems: Nervous System, Endocrine System, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Urinary/Renal System, Immune and Lymphatic Systems, Reproductive System, and the Musculoskeletal System. When one system goes out of whack, in this case, the musculoskeletal system, all the other systems will follow suit, to some degree or other. Believe me, I work on people to help undo a lifetime of poor footwear choices, by reducing their pain, and bringing their body systems back to a state of homeostasis.

For those of you who think heels don’t hurt our bodies, here’s a graphic.

The figure on the left is no heel. The middle figure shows exactly how a heel throws our body out of alignment. The figure on the right shows how we curve our spine, move our ankles, knees, and pelvis, to correct our body position. Not only is it bad for us, it’s exhausting!

This image is from Katy Bowman’s book Whole Body Barefoot. She suggests, “Want to experience the math for yourself? Go to a free-standing bookshelf and put this book under either the right or left side to see how far the bookshelf tips. ”

It’s an interesting exercise!

In other news, there are a few changes to the website. I’ve added the videos to the Q&A page and hope to add more videos over time. Please ask questions!

You may notice changes to my teaching schedule. My February class was the only course this year. There are many great RAC (Reflexology Association of Canada) teachers. Check out the RAC BC Chapter website to find a teacher near you.

I’m on Instagram! You can follow me at: brinjacksonreflexology.

I’ve added a page for a monthly promo/giveaway. I hope you’ll check to see what’s on offer each month!

I enjoy hearing from you, so please keep the questions coming! You can reach me at: info@brinjackson.com.

I wish you a delightful Spring!

Warmly,

Brin

P.S. I receive no kickback by mentioning Lems, or Softstar. They are shoes I enjoy wearing. I reference Katy Bowman, Biomechanist, for the wealth of information in her books and website.

The Health Series: #5 Reflexology by Suzanne

I’m pleased to introduce this month’s guest, Suzanne Partridge. Suzanne has been the Reflexologist at The Haven on Gabriola Island for 23 years. She had a practice in North Vancouver at the same time for 18 years. She has been invited to work with people in China several times. Suzanne currently lives in Nanaimo, B.C.

Welcome, Suzanne!

Reflexology by Suzanne

I received my training in Edmonton, Alberta in Touchpoint Reflexology in 1992, but wasn’t totally satisfied, even after I was certified. I always had more questions than my teachers could provide for me in ways of energy blockages as I “saw” them, and so I put is aside except for family and close friends.

I went to The Haven in December 1992 and took my first Come Alive and then the Phase Programs: 1, 2, and 3. It was during Phase 3 that I was introduced to the Chinese Five Elements and had all my previous questions answered, relative to energy, meridians and Yin/Yang.

Yin/Yang – the ancient Chinese symbol of energy opposites.

An internal flow towards balance, known as “Chi”, the life energy, the constant evolvement of change. Energy is change; the vibration of all matter all the time. Just as ice melts and turns into water, or as a person’s heart rate registers joy and fear.

Chi, the life force, is a notion of the energy being able to flow freely throughout the body via meridians, always seeking optimum functioning.

Reflexology, yet another ancient Chinese belief, is that all the body’s parts, functions, and organs, can be accessed on the sole of a person’s foot.

Reflexology can determine if, and where, energy blocks may exist, and assist the person to release it to regain energy flow – and health.

I embrace and work with the Chinese Five Element theory in gentle manipulation.

Reflexology as I offer it, is also a guided tour of the body’s energy flow from the eyes to the internal organs – all from the soles of the feet.

I will often suggest or ask for a picture or metaphor (something of nature, that is given to me silently) that can more fully describe the sensation or constriction and thus, in this way, I may assist the person to understand their situation and take the responsibility of dealing with, or appreciating themselves more effectively.

In Health,

Suzanne, February, 2017

Ready!

I’m ready for the upcoming RAC (Reflexology Association of Canada) Foot Intensive Reflexology Course beginning February 6th – 13th, 2017 held at the Haven on beautiful Gabriola Island, B.C. As well as our teaching room, I have reserved an on-site ocean-view suite which sleeps six. This room is complete with full kitchen facilities.

There is still space available if you are thinking of joining us. You have until Friday noon to register!

Warmly,

Brin

The Health Series: #4 Feldenkrais and You.

I’m pleased to introduce this month’s guest: Gwen Spinks.

Gwen is a Feldenkrais Practitioner and Dance instructor. Gwen completed the four-year Feldenkrais Method™ training in 2012. Gwen is here to talk about Feldenkrais & You. Learn more about Gwen on her website: gwenspinks.com or Instagram: gwenspinksart

Feldenkrais Method of Movement is based on the work of Israeli physicist, engineer and martial arts master Moshe Feldenkrais (1904/1984), and is now taught around the world.

The Feldenkrais Method™ is grounded in anatomy, physiology and physics. It is also informed by the latest research into movement and human development. Bringing these disciplines together provides us with a model for learning new movements and can be applied to learning any new skill we are learning. Ordinarily, we learn just enough to get by.

In the Feldenkrais Method™, we learn from our own unique ways of moving. As we become aware of how we do all that we do: act, sense, think, and feel, we gain a great range of ease and skill. We empower ourselves by asking and answering a simple question: Is there a better way to do this? and it is a physical way through to the emotional body.

I believe that all our physical pain has an emotional component. When we are willing and able to look at our pain/illnesses/injuries as something that has manifested from our emotional traumas, then we are willing and able to release both the physical and emotional pain.

As a dance teacher (Ballroom, Latin, West Coast Swing, etc.) for almost thirty years, I have seen many people quit dancing or not start at all, because of their fear. Mostly, it comes down to control, trust, or intimacy. Facing their fear on the dance floor is a huge challenge – how they move reflects how they feel in their body. It also reflects how they hold their traumas (which is where the fear starts).

The Feldenkrais Method of Movement has been the key for me to help people unlock the connection between their physical and emotional pain bodies. This helps them to literally move through and release old habits of how they hold and move physically, emotionally, and mentally. The result for most people is greater mobility not just on the dance floor, but in their life, and that mobility/flexibility/ease of movement comes pain free. It can be a scary journey, however, the benefits are amazing.

Gwen Spinks, January 2017