• Reflections of a First RMT Experience

    jairo-alzate-45540As a dedicated yogi and advocate for good health, and throughout much self research into various healing dualities, strangely, massage has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. Sure I’d had a few relaxing experiences in tropical locales that did seem to provide noticeable benefits to my state of calm, particularly during the session, but coming in to Soma Studio I was greeted with not only a different environment but an unanticipated approach altogether. Instantly upon my assessment with my RMT, I could tell that this was much more involved than I had imagined. While some come to massage for general relaxation and relief of your everyday tensions, some are drawn to it seeking to heal deeper rooted concerns, whether that is physical imbalance or injury, emotional trauma or a knot that just won’t seem to budge.

    What remained intact through a treatment that continued to pleasantly surprise me was the encapsulating tranquil and comfortable atmosphere that was maintained the whole way through. Often times nowadays, medicine and remedial practices tend to take a sterile and unwelcoming persona, so much so that a lot of people are put off by say, going in for a doctor’s appointment, and I realized that this calibre of massage therapy was breaking that stigma, through the use of techniques and skills that stand before a backbone of in depth physiological science and first hand experience.

    I briefly shared with my RMT my physical concerns, and she was receptive and very professional as she did a postural assessment. Meeting me back in the room, I was given an overview of what to expect, and that at any time to let her know if something was not working, or was. Due to my specific needs, my RMT started off with what they call ‘Myofascial Release’ techniques. This method uses no oil, as the therapist needs to be able to grip the skin, working not only with the muscles but the subtler layers of connective tissues, known as fascia, that can be the cause of tightness and discomfort. I immediately felt the difference in how my body was reacting to this practice, as it wasn’t just a specific muscle that was causing my distress but an entire cohesive area. Giving the utmost attention to the spots that I had highlighted and a balanced level of care to the rest of my body, I was impressed an intrigued by my RMT’s intuitive knowledge regarding pressure level, pinpointing muscles I didn’t even know were there, and fluid motion, even using an oil-free technique.

    The session took a natural curve, beginning with lighter impressions and working up to a full on therapeutic treatment, before easing into a soothing finale to the upper back, neck, shoulders and head in what I would describe as ‘assertive yet reassuring wavelike movements’. I was left feeling light and fascinated by how accurate my RMT’s techniques had been.

    Moral of the story, booking an appointment with an RMT may be just what you’ve been seeking to restore balance in the body, and can become an important ritual in a self care routine, that doesn’t feel like a chore in the slightest.

    Many thanks to Tina at Soma Studio East for providing an excellent treatment from which to share the experience. To book an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist, give us a call or book online. 

  • Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

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    Pamela Nadav has said, “There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” Preganancy is a remarkable journey that invites a woman to completely new terrain, and to explore facets of herself that she may have never uncovered lest she embarked up this journey. It’s a time of introspection and inner nurturing, a time when she learns the intuitive capacity she has for being a vessel of life, of caring, and of love. Yet so often, the adventure to motherhood is fraught with physical discomfort and emotional ups and downs! Because a woman goes through so many changes during this time, having a support network in place in the form of community, breathing classes, massage, and yoga, can give a soon­to­be mom exactly what she needs.

    Preganancy is a time that prepares a woman to connect with her own intuition and
    wisdom. Especially for a woman, parenting begins with conception, as the tools she
    develops while carrying her child will be important ones she uses once the child is born
    and growing. It’s a time that is meant to allow the woman to rely more fully on her
    instincts, as these instincts are what give her the ability to move gracefully through the
    birthing process, no matter what the outcome, and to parent in a way that is connected to
    her deep inner knowing.

    A woman’s body inevitably experiences a multitude of changes during pregnancy, which
    can at times disconnect her from her own inner voice. As her uterus expands with the
    weight of the growing baby, there is more stress on her back, neck, shoulders and
    abdominal muscles. An aching lower back is a common sensation for many pregnant
    women, while others may experience aching legs, sore hips, swelling and/or insomnia.

    To reconnect inwardly, find ease in her body and mind, and reconnect with her spirit,
    prenatal massage therapy is a wonderful way to lessen her discomfort. A massage during
    pregnancy brings about a sense of well­being through relaxation, giving an expecting
    mother a once again clear channel to her own intuition, as well as a feeling of being
    settled and grounded.

    Benefits of Prenatal Massage

    • Soothes tired and tense muscles

    • Improves sleep

    • Relieves muscle cramps, spasms and tension in the lower back, neck, hips and

    legs

    • Reduces the release of stress hormones

    • Reduces heart rate and blood pressure

    • Improves blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling (edema)

    • Can improve labour outcome and ease pain

    Soma’s therapists seek to support their pregnant clients by helping them to reconnect
    with themselves, to feel good in their bodies, and to feel prepared for the adventure of a
    liftetime. Our therapists are professionally trained prenatal massage therapists in
    Vancouver who understand the needs of a pregnant body, which techniques to use, and
    how to safely massage it to alleviate some of the discomfort. We recognize the
    importance of positioning the body during a pregnancy massage not only for comfort, but
    also for a woman and her baby’s well­being.

    As well as pregnancy massage, our prenatal massage therapists are happy to share their
    expertise in other aspects of prenatal care, from abdominal exercises to sleeping
    positions to postural correction. And when the time is right and a woman is ready, Soma’s
    therapists are also trained in postnatal massage.
    “The most important thing a woman would learn over the years was that there was no
    way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill). Let Soma
    support you in your dynamic and exciting journey to motherhood, and feel the benefits
    immediately!

     

    By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

  • Lessons from the Road by Cheyne, RMT

    photo 3 (1)¡Buenas dias a todas los personas!

    We’re almost back from our travels; we’ve seen so many places, met so many amazing people! Traveling is such a gift. Being able to work, supporting my partner Lila’s yoga workshops while on the road, has made it such an amazing journey.

    We’ve been to the Interior, the Prairies, east coast United States, Hawaii, but mostly Central America, in the past seven months. We’ve taught workshops, yoga teacher trainings, took a two week permaculture course, lived with handfuls of Central American families, and traveled with some of our best friends to some truly amazing places.

    From the deep wet jungle to the oppressively hot coastlines, what resonates most deeply for me after reflecting on the past seven months, and often what we all come back with after traveling, is memories of the people we’ve shared our lives with. It seems there’s a wisdom that comes with developing new routines. Playing soccer with the children in the dirt, howler monkeys in the trees, hand washing clothes, speaking a different language, listening to their stories… It seems we travel in search of something. Something beyond our lives back home; an inherent sense of humanity that crosses culture, language, ethnicity, even belief.

    To be honest, the majority of people traveling for a few weeks from the west are there to drink. Some stay, and develop ways of bringing their Western luxuries and lifestyle to, quite frankly, these impoverished areas that are economically forced to serve them. Some people are searching for something better when they travel, more so when they move there, studiously avoiding whatever is left in their wake. Chasing happiness as a set of preferences that seems fundamentally unattainable. Others come with a beautiful sense of exploration, some with an inner churning, some come with a burning desire to help the world. Or maybe a mix of all of them. But that’s an essay for another time. Traveling deeper into Nicaragua, past the areas with these socioeconomic challenges, there’s a different vibe. Bustling sidewalks, kids playing in the dirt roads, hungry dogs looking for scraps, and the stare of unfamiliarity from the locals as they assume you’re not Catholic. Nicaragua. It’s in these places, and deeper into the jungle, that we came across new friends, some we eventually traveled with, and communities we visited that left permanent impressions on us. There are some amazing things happening everywhere, and many people to be inspired by. Sometimes you just have to look with the right focus.

    After being on the road for what feels like a very long time, I’m sitting with some reflections before I head back to BC. Part of our intention on this journey was to gain knowledge and inspiration for some projects we have when we return home. For that part, we were overwhelmingly successful. Being able to share with yoga teachers the deeper physiology behind their craft and work has been super fun. But in the feeling of connection to people we’ve parted ways with, and others we can’t wait to see again, I’m left with something that’s quite hard to articulate. Being in developing parts of the world, working through times when we were seriously ill, broke, and seeking refuge at a Red Cross with dirt floors and questionable medication, comes with it some obvious perspective. I now care a lot less if there’s a coffee stain on my shirt or if the line is too long for my liking at the market. What comes to mind for me is that inherent sense of life and vitality in everyone, everywhere: the humble nature that pours out of the women in Nicaragua, despite the general lack of rights they’re subjected to. They’re not chasing a dream, they’re happy with what they have and the food and love they provide.

    That proud vitality, and vibrant sense of life and happiness that we all know comes from something other than what’s material, is what makes me so excited to be home, to my family and friends. Doing the work I love to do, living in the city and country I love. We describe it as the mountains, fresh air, cherry blossoms… summer in Vancouver. But it’s the essence of what’s behind all of those things. It’s the virtuous life, and the communities we build that sustain us.

    With grace and gratitude,

    Cheyne Cameron, RMT

    Cheyne will be returning to Soma at the beginning of April! Go online to book with him.

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  • Infant Massage Workshop with Kaely Brittliffe, RMT

    Picture 14Soma RMT Kaely will be teaching an infant massage workshop starting on Nov 26th! Here are some of the benefits of infant massage:

    • Promotes bonding and attachment between you and your baby
    • Promotes relaxation and decreases stress in you and your baby
    • Relieves discomfort from constipation, gas and colic
    • Promotes better sleep for baby (and maybe you too!)
    • Stimulates brain development and sensory awareness for baby
    • Babies cry less, as the parent is more responsive to babies’ cues

    Three Tuesday afternoon sessions: 11:30-12:30
    November 26th, December 3rd  and 10th
    Location: Acumamas in Olympic Village  #301 West 2nd Avenue (2nd and Crowe street),Vancouver BC V5Y 1C9

    For babies three weeks to pre-crawling and their primary caregivers
    Cost $105, RMT receipt for $35 issued in baby’s name at each class

    Registration required contact Kaely at 604 889 9971 or kaelyrmt@gmail.com

  • New Soma Contest!

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    Hi Everyone!

    Do you want to win a 60 min massage at Soma? Yes, I think you do… here’s how!

     

     

    • Step 1: Like us on Facebook and you get your name added to the draw.  Click here!  If you already like us (yay you!) then you name has been entered already!
    • Step 2: Write us a review on Yelp and you get your name added to the draw AGAIN!! Click here to write a review!

    Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

     

  • Soma Studio Welcomes Susan Macrae, RMT

    Sue Macrae has been a Registered Massage Therapist since 1994 and during this time she has worked in various clinical settings as both a registered massage therapist and clinic owner. For the past 11 years, Sue has worked at Port Moody Integrated Health as one of the founding practitioners. A long-time East Vancouver resident, Sue is extremely excited to bring her practice and patients to the neighbourhood she loves to call home.

    Sue earned her degree in physical education from the University of British Columbia, and graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy.

    Her post-graduate courses and studies have focused on myofascial release, a specialized technique that focuses on the fascia of the body. By treating
    individual or groups of muscles and fascia concurrently, Sue can effectively release muscle tissue and improve stability, coordination and compensations in posture or movement. Other courses she has taken include core strengthening and stretching, and physioball exercises.

    Sue and her family (husband, two daughters, one fuzzy dog) lead an active west coast life. She’s an avid trail runner, cyclist, hiker, skier and camper. She also has an extensive background in aquatics. Sue also is an active volunteer in her daughters’ school, and also serves on the board of the Exceleration Triathlon
    Club operating at Templeton Pool.

  • Amazing Epsom Salt

    Epsom salt is vastly underrated. Most of us associate it with a relaxing bath, but did you know that epsom salts have all sorts of amazing health benefits—as well as beauty, household and gardening-related uses?

    Epsom salt has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for a number of ailments. Unlike other ‘salts’, Epsom salt has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul.

    What is Epsom Salt?

    Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.

    Why Epsom Salt Baths?

    Epsom salt baths are the easiest way to enjoy the health benefits of magnesium and sulfate, as both minerals are readily absorbed through the skin. After a deep massage treatment, we often give our clients a packet of Epsom salts because it draws the lactic acid out of the body, reducing achiness. For the same reason, these baths are great after a big workout or long run.

    The key is to use water that’s as hot as you can bear (unless you’re pregnant) and at least one cup of Epsom salt. Another important tip: drink two glasses of water while you’re in the tub to assist in the flushing process.

    Benefits of Epsom Salts

    There are many reasons why Soma Studio recommends Epsom salt baths to our clients. Some of the countless health benefits include:

    • Relaxing the nervous system
    • Drawing toxins from the body
    • Soothing back pain & aching bodies
    • Easing muscle strain
    • Reducing swelling & inflammation
    • Alleviating skin problems
    • Treating colds and congestion
    • Relieving symptoms of athlete’s foot

    It’s also a natural emollient, exfoliator and hair volumizer. Around the house and garden, Epsom salt can be used to soften towels, clean bathroom tiles, deter slugs, fertilize plants and keep your lawn green.

    Where to Find Epsom Salts in Vancouver

    Any pharmacy such as Shopper’s Drug Mart or London Drugs should carry plain Epsom salt. If you become a convert, you can find it in bulk at Costco and select stores.

    To up the relaxation ante, try naturally scented bath salts such as lavender, mandarin, sandalwood or ylang-ylang. These can be found at bath and body care stores such as Escents Aromatherapy – or it’s easy to make your own.

  • Pregnancy Massage: Stomach or Side?

    We’ve heard from many of our pregnant clients that they initially didn’t consider prenatal massage therapy to be safe or all that comfortable. It wasn’t until during their pregnancy massage at Soma Studio that they became more informed about how we approach this special type of massage.

    Safety, comfort and therapeutic effectiveness are foremost in any certified prenatal massage therapist’s mind. Positioning of your body is critical to all of these. While many therapists feel it’s better to position a pregnant body on its side, our Vancouver massage therapists feel it’s more beneficial to lie on the stomach (or ‘prone’). Here’s why.

    Massage in the Stomach Position

    Lying on the stomach in pregnancy massage is more restful and allows the therapist to better access your back and hips for a more therapeutic full body massage. When a pregnant body is pillowed properly and consciously, the spine is in neutral position and the back is longer. Similar to swimming, this position takes the weight off and makes you feel like you’re floating. After over 20 years of relying on this position and hearing consistently positive feedback from repeat clients, we know that it works.

    Massage with a Pregnancy Pillow

    A good pregnancy massage pillow support system can accommodate a growing belly as well as enlarged breasts. Soma Studio’s pregnancy pillows consist of several pieces: two large pieces with a half-moon ‘dip’ to support the belly as well as smaller rectangular pieces to support the shoulders—watch our pregnancy pillow video to see how these work. Our prenatal massage therapists work with each client to carefully adjust each pillow, ensuring the back isn’t in extension and for maximum comfort before starting the massage.

    Massage in the Side-Lying Position

    Many prenatal massage therapists choose this position because they don’t have access to a good pregnancy pillow system. In the past, some therapists have used tables with a hole for the belly, but the hole wasn’t padded or adjustable, causing the abdomen to dangle, stressing the lower back and creating discomfort with the stretching of uterine ligaments.

    While Soma Studio’s massage therapists prefer to use the pregnancy pillows, you still have the option of lying on your side—especially if your breasts are too tender or you’re suffering from nausea or congestion.

    No matter what position you’re lying in, your body will always let you know if it’s uncomfortable, with symptoms like nausea, overheating or pins & needles. Trust and listen to your body, and do what you feel is right for you.

    Learn more about prenatal massage therapy on our Pregnancy Massage page or please contact us with any questions or concerns.

  • First Week at Soma East.

    Well it’s certainly been a busy week for us here at Soma. Opening the new studio has been a lot of fun, and at times, very hard work! We’ve been getting to know the neighbourhood this week, including a fabulous Italian deli that has been family-owned for 43 years! Oh, the espresso, don’t get me started. Boccoli Salon, our next door neighbour, offers spa services, so you can treat yourself to a pedicure after your massage.

    We’ve had a lot of local moms-to-be come by to say hello and pick up a flier, and we’re looking forward to seeing some familiar faces from Soma West here this weekend. Reflecting on the last few months, we just want to thank you for your support and patience as we’ve readied the new studio for opening. It’s a new chapter for Soma!