End of August News Letter: Importance of Self-Care & The Work of Byron Katie coming to Hamilton this Sept. 25-27th.
As I sit in my Mom’s house this late summer morning in the SouthEast, USA, listening to crickets chirping, I have much to reflect on and share, mainly in regards to doing self-care. My recent move out of The Sacred Balance clinic and trip to the USA has shown me once again just how profound and life changing a simple 5 min a day technique can be.
Many of you have heard me say this, doing self-care is like brushing one’s teeth. Like brushing teeth there can be dire consequences for not taking care of one’s body. In this case, increased cramping and digestion distress….Even I can lapse, sometimes, to follow my own advice. Through the chaos of a big move finished the night before getting on a long international flight and some other events in-between, like signing a new office lease, my body reminded me what can happen when self care is neglected.
This move meant I spent a lot of time lifting and moving heavy boxes and bags (which I encourage all women to do minimally or not do at all ) and then I sat idle for long hours on an international plane ride. Not a good combination for one’s pelvic health, especially a woman’s. What happened later was excruciating, I had a come back, with vengeance, of so many health issues, including one of the most severely painful periods of my life. The good news is it was a very short episode of pain, much shorter than in my past, however, the first 1hr or two was so painful, I couldn’t move with this sensation of nauseousness b/c I was in so much pain, which the nausea was a new sensation… After that cycle, I immediately started doing my self care again and since have been doing so much better physically, including an improvement to my digestion which was also starting to go askew during the move and travel. Actually before the move and travel, things were doing so well down in my belly I thought I had a little leeway when it was time to move and travel. Not so, and my body told me so quite loud and clear.
I share this story with you, because even though you may have come to me for some issue or another, the real power lies in your own hands and dedication to your own health. I’m just a guide and coach, helping you co-create your optimal health or achieve or get closer your own health goals. I’m also understand why some Arvigo Therapy practitioners only continue to work with long term care people that are compliant in doing diligent self-care. I also share this story to hopefully encourage everyone that has come to see me for an Arvigo treatment to keep up with his or her self-care. A good gauge for Arvigo Self-care is doing the treatments at least 3 times a week, with 5 -7 times being better. Remember, ladies, do not do the lower belly portion of self care when bleeding or if you have an IUD/Merina or other kind of abdominal implant. And of course, do not do self-care while pregnant. Men, you can do the self care each and every day.
Here are a few announcements for the end of Aug.
First, for the first time ever in Hamilton (to my knowledge) my partner and I are hosting two Byron Katy, The Work facilitators from Waihiki Island. For those of you that do not know The Work, it is an amazing and deceptively simple method of questioning, reducing and hopefully eliminating stressful thoughts. Valli and Gramya are amazing people and have been doing the Work for years. It saved their marriage and certainly has improved the quality of their lives. I can also attest to the profound nature of The Work, as both Sam and I’s quality of life and relationship have been greatly improved by practicing this process. The Work is a great tool for any stressors in one’s life and is even more powerful done in a group of like minded people moving towards their own deeper sense of peace in life. Come alone, with a friend or partner and question any thought and stressful life event. Meals are including as part of the tuition fee. Lodging is separate from the class fee.
Click this link to find out more:
25-27 September 2015
Friday 25: evening 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
(please arrive 5.45 p.m. for registration & 6 p.m. start).
Saturday, 26: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday, 27: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Contact Dr. Sam with questions:
111 Peachgrove Road
Second, Sam and I have found our new office space. We’ll be practicing out of Anna Goodwin’s clinic and we are super excited to be part of Anna’s committed team of other health care providers. The new clinic address is:
31 Pembroke St.
Hamilton Lake, Hamilton, 3204
Across from the YMCA
Third, I will be doing treatments starting on Sept. 22nd. You can email me at ElizabethsTherapeuticMassage@hotmail.com with any questions or concerns that come up while I’m gone or to make a booking. Sam will being treatments again starting Sept. 6th.
Until then, may you be well and full of abundant health.
Arvigo Massage Treatments Days in Atlanta/Athens, GA-USA starting Aug. 23 - Sept.13th + Aug. 29th Presentation on Vaginal Steam and Female Reproductive Health
Treatment Days & Locations Thanks for checking back in. Treatment location and days have been set. See
below for the different options. Please book sooner than later, as days and times are limited.
1.Atlanta, GA Location : (in the KirkWood area, near Decatur)
*Sunday Aug. 23rd.
*Sunday Aug. 31st
*Monday Sept. 7th
*Sunday Sept. 13th
2. Athens, GA Location : (in Athens, GA)
*Saturday Sept. 5th
Vaginal Steams and Women's Reproductive Health Presentation Saturday, Aug. 29th from 4pm - 6pm at the
Decatur Healing Arts studio. Cost is $30 / person or $10 off each for mothers and daughters or friends that
come together. This event is meant to be very informative and give a little demo of how you can do vaginal
steams in the comfort of your own home + other take away health suggestions and information. Evening will
be very informative, includes a short break with light nibbles and refreshments and is appropriate for ages 14
years and older. Topics covered
• Vaginal Steams
• Pelvic organ prolapse (especially uterine)
• Digestion complaints
• Natural conception
• Chronic miscarriage
• Painful periods
• Low back ache
• Anxiety & depression
• And more......
Please RSVP by calling 404-378-6288 or registering on this
Space is limited!
Thanks for reading and stay posted for any updates or changes. Looking forward to seeing people out and
please pass the word along.
It has come clear to me after having worked as a massage therapist for over 9 years that relaxing and being able to relax is a skill and state of mind no different than being able to cook or drive a car. It’s a skill often overlooked and not emphasized in Western Culture, such as here in New Zealand, or anywhere else considered ‘developed’. Like any skill, the art of relaxing must be cultivated and practiced in order for one to become proficient, though some of us are born with more skill in this area than others. Similar to knowing how to cook or drive a car, relaxing is a valuable life long skill. So valuable, I feel, that relaxing is as important as brushing teeth or eating a balanced diet. Often this skill is overlooked or not valued because relaxing is seen as doing nothing, however, your body is doing so much to keep you healthy when you relax that can only be done while seemingly doing ‘nothing’. Below is just a small sampling of those many health benefits.
For starters relaxation decreases heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and muscle tension (Cite 1, McKinley Health Center). Examples of relaxation activities are meditation, prayer, yoga, walking, running, or fishing. One study suggest some people with epilepsy would be better able to manage the epilepsy with stress reduction techniques over medications and are perhaps misdiagnosed (Cite 3, Huffington Post). Most importantly, relaxation decreases stress and there are new studies showing that a daily relaxation practice of about 20-30 min per day actually turns on different sets of genes, those responsible for countering the effects of stress on the body such as inflammation (Cite 3, Huffington Post ). These benefits are deepened with relaxation practiced over time and interestingly those that practice relaxation often handle stressful episodes of life better than those that do not have a relaxation practice (Cite 2, Online Time Magazine).
People that practice relaxation often have better sleep, memory, learning and immunity. One study shows that people under constant go and stress are much more likely to catch a cold (Cite 3, Huffington Post). Relaxation helps engage different parts of the brain related to good judgment making, learning, memory, and motivation to keep going when things do get stressful. Relaxing helps protect the heart and helps protect the mind by lowering the risks of stroke, heart attacks, dementia or Alzheimer's (Cite 3, Huffington Post).
On a final note and from a masseuse point of view, it’s actually easier for me to do my job when clients are relaxed. Many of the moves in massage therapy are built using the body weight and mechanics of the joint of a relaxed client. A floppy leg, arm or head is much easier to manipulate and work then a tight and ‘helping’ client. In my experience, some clients don’t even realize they are helping or holding up their arm or head. Some of those tensions the client has come in for relief on could possibly be managed by the client with just a little more relaxation practice at home. So next time you are on a massage table let your arms, legs and head go, but only if you feel safe and trust the practitioner. You will have a better experience and you’ll be doing your body and health a favor. Remember when you are doing ‘nothing’ your body is actually doing quite a lot to keep you healthy and happy.
Cite 1: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/units/health_ed/relax_benefits_tips.htm, May 23rd, 2015
Cite 2: http://healthland.time.com/2013/05/03/relax-its-good-for-your-genes/, May 23rd, 2015
Cite 3: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/stress-awareness-day-relaxation-benefits_n_1424820.html, May 23rd, 2015
The Art of Relaxing Plus Up Coming Women’s Talk, May 28th, 2015
Written by Elizabeth Stein Feb. 26th, 2015
*Please note I’m not a doctor nor am I a midwife. This article is written for people who are generally healthy and have an intact uterus without slings, IUDs, or other foreign devices such as Mirena’s, Pessary, NuvaRing’s or the like. Do not do a steam if you are bleeding, or are on your period, are pregnant, or suspect you are pregnant. Always consult with a doctor or trained health care professional if in doubt, as by following any of the suggestions in this article, one is assuming his or her own risk and liability.
Vaginal steams are a centuries old home/folk remedy used around the world especially in South America (called Bajas) and in Asia, such as in Korea (called Chai Yok). Traditionally these ‘hip baths’, as they are sometimes called, were used after child birth or for fertility and/or menstrual issues. In Asia, they were also used for beautification as it’s the equivalent of getting a facial for the down there region.
Seriously though, vaginal steams are a wonderful and very nourishing ancient tradition to bring into the comfort of your own home. They are cheap and can be created with household items. One could buy or have made the special wooden steam stool too. Essentially a vaginal steam chair or stool is a seat with the middle cut out that has about 2’ of space between the floor and the hole in the chair, similar to a normal chair or stool. During a steam one sits bare hipped/ bare bottomed over the hole in the stool with a pot or bowl with lid on of steeped, steaming herbs placed underneath the hole in the chair. One would then wrap a towel or sheet around the hips, chair and steaming herbs to seal in the heat and steam. Once the chair is pr epared and the steam towel seal created then one reaches down carefully to tests the steam first by lifting the lid just a little, then, if the temp. feels good, the lid is removed. The steam from the steeped herbs rises up and bathes the vagina and the hips. During a steam, one often keeps their socks on and their upper body clothed as it’s important to stay warm during the steam. If you don’t want to do this at home, you can go and find your local Korean Spa and have someone else prepare the steam for you, usually costing in the ball park around $45 USD.
Some of the additional benefits of steams are helping with mild prolapses of the pelvic floor organs as the steam rising up, and sometimes into the vagina, causes little, micro contractions of the muscles in the pelvis, thus toning the pelvic floor organs (uterus, bladder, pelvic floor muscles). The micro lifts are an instinctual reaction by the body moving away from the heat. The contractions are so small, so micro, one does not perceive them. However, sitting over the steam is often a very relaxing experience for women. Also, steams performed with certain herbs act as a uterine lavage, which is to say, steam acts as a uterine cleanser, causing any old unshed uterine lining to soften and expel with the next menstrual cycle. It is often, this old left over lining in the uterus that is, or in at least part, what contributes to menstrual cramps and sometimes fertility challenges too. For reasons that can be varied such as past accidents and traumas, or even genetics old lining can remain in the uterus for months, years or decades. Steam baths alone prepared with herbs, can aid in removing the old lining and when combined with certain forms of body work such as Arvigo Therapy, are a powerful combination in self healing.
After about 1 to 3 months of steaming a few days before menstruation begins, some women notice extra debris being expelled by the body with their next menstrual flow. These extra debris are usually old lining finally being expelled from the body. Old debris can look like coffee grounds, extra chunks and clots of flesh, and sometimes a thick dark blood more the consistency of chocolate syrup. This might sound gross, but as they say in the Arvigo Therapy world, “a bad tenant is better out than in”. Your body will thank you in the form of feeling lighter, clearer and less cramps with your next menstrual flow.
Ideally one would plan a series of steams, 3 to 10 steams, just before the start of the period for a period of three months, then as needed. This uterine lavage effect is how it helps women who have had a baby. Traditionally a mid wife would decide when the time was right for a mother to do a series of steams to aid her body in expelling all the birthing debris. Make sure if you have had a recent birth, that you work with a birth care provider, such as midwife, as the heat and warmth also causes extra bleeding that is not appropriate at all times. Steams have also been traditionally used for hemorrhoids and mild vaginal infections.
When doing a steam, make sure to have a quiet space and set up a time when you will not be disturbed. If you live with others in the house, let them know and ask them to respect your space. Make sure to test the steam on your wrist similar to testing a babies milk bottle that the temperature is warm and comfortable. There should be no burning, nor should there be any coolness. Once seated over the steam pot, test the steam first by cracking the lid of the pot a little before committing. If the prepared steam feels a bit cool to start with, add a little hot water from a boiled kettle to bring the temp of the water back up. Sit over the steam until it feels cool which is about 10 to 20 min from start time. The total prep. time from collecting herbs to steaming lasts about 45 min. to an hour. Allow yourself time to rest and take it easy after a steam. Ideal times to do a steam are before bed or on a light work day.
On a spiritual and psychosomatic note, it is said vaginal steams aid in the purification of one’s body and soul, similar to a sweat lodge experience, helping a woman claim her own physical and psychic space on her own terms. From my own personal experience, I found my first few vaginal steams to be profound. With warm steam rising up on some of my most vulnerable and tender areas, I found it impossible to be anywhere else but right over my steaming herbs. It’s a wonderful practice for 100% presence. Also, during my first few steams I had memories of two past boyfriends, that were not optimal choices in my life, and with those memories coming to the surface, they disappeared like steam. On one of those occasions, I experience what felt like deep muscle and tendon realignments in my hips and thighs, snapping back into a healthier alignment with those unpleasant memories drifting away. I have felt lighter and freer ever since and still enjoy my steams today.
Common herb choices for vaginal steams are Oregano, Thyme, Rosemarie, Sage, Basil, Calendula, or edible Marigolds. All of these herbs would have been traditionally used by the women of South America. Any edible, organic/spray free mild kitchen herb or flower can be used with the exception of mint. It is advised not to use Mint or mint family plants. Also, when you do a steam keep your feet and body warm after a steam, as some of the traditional healers of the South Americas believed walking on cold and/or wet surfaces and being in drafts caused prolapsing and weakening of the pelvic organs especially in women. Do NOT use Essential Oils of any kind. Essential Oils are TOO STRONG. You might even try using some local and gentle wild herbs such as plantain, yarrow, clover, or dock. Once you have collected the herbs simmer them for about 10 to 20 min. with lid on and let cool for another 10 min. before testing the temperature.
Again I will state some cautions. Do not do a steam if you have an IUD of any kind or the like or if you are pregnant. For women with slings consult your doctor. Do not do a steam if you are on your period and use caution if you are a heavy bleeder as the steam can cause more bleeding.
And lastly, enjoy your steam and let it be a sacred space for self nurturing and honoring. You may even try steaming with a group of girl friends or going to your local Korean spa!