Massage + Bodywork
Photo by Emma Freeman
I recently had the honor of attending the Upledger Institute’s Craniosacral Level 2 workshop here in Minneapolis. It was a blast! It deepened my understanding of Craniosacral therapy and taught me more techniques to be utilized when working with clients. I want to spend this newsletter talking a bit more about Craniosacral therapy so that you can get a sense of whether it might be beneficial for you. I’m finding that it can be a missing link for some clients, especially those that work with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, headaches and jaw pain/TMJ disorder.
What is Craniosacral therapy?
Craniosacral therapy focuses on the craniosacral system that comprises the membrane and cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Assessment of the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid helps to find areas of restriction in the system and gentle techniques are used to release these restrictions. Releasing restrictions in the craniosacral system allows for a more robust and even rhythm which is correlated with increased vitality and less pain. The pressure with these techniques is very light. This does not mean that it is less beneficial. Craniosacral therapy can be done as a stand alone appointment or incorporated into your massage or shiatsu sessions.
A little bit more about what I learned in this workshop
In the workshop, I learned about Energy cysts which are areas of fascial restriction in the body that are formed due to trauma. Energy cysts can be problematic because they require the body to shift how it functions around this blocked off area. This can cause compensatory patterns in movement and/or pain. Energy cysts can be formed anywhere on the body and addressed in a couple different ways. I also learned some techniques that are done in the mouth to affect the facial bones. This can be super helpful for someone that has had an injury or surgery to the face or restrictive dental work like braces. I learned how to work with the structures in the mouth gently (with gloved hands) to release restrictions.
The more l learn about all types of bodywork the more I deepen my understanding of how the body works as a whole. In all sessions, it’s important to me to work on the area of concern (where you are feeling pain or tension) as well as other areas in the body that may be affected or affecting this concern. As always I’m happy to chat more about Craniosacral therapy and bodywork in general.
I’m ready for fall, are you?
For me, this summer has been a time of traveling, growth and change. It’s all been good and necessary, but it’s felt like a lot of doing. I’m looking forward to settling and reestablishing routine into my sphere in the coming months.
My practice has fully transitioned to the new space at Ascent Acupuncture and I’ve had a couple weeks to begin settling it. Let me tell you, the new space feels really grounding and nourishing. I’m now offering appointments 4 days a week (instead of 3). This has allowed for more space in my schedule to take on new clients and for existing clients to be able to get in with shorter notice. If you are ever needing last minute care please reach out. I sometimes have cancellations and/or some flexibility.
In the middle of October, I’m planning on attending another Craniosacral therapy training. I really appreciate this work and have found it especially helpful for clients that struggle with headaches, jaw pain and/or chronic pain in the head, neck, back and hips. If I haven’t explored Craniosacral therapy with you and you’re interested please ask me about it at your next session. You can also read this blog post with more information about what Craniosacral therapy is and what a session is like. I’m looking forward to learning more and continuing to incorporate this work into my practice. I’m also planning on starting a 11 month herbal studies program in January with Lise Wolff, an amazing local herbalist. More info to come about that.
But before doing more doing, it seems important to take some time to rest, settle and reorganize. In Chinese Medicine, the fall is connected to the Metal element and the Lungs and Large Intestine organ systems. It can be a great time to give these systems a little extra support through the breath, elimination and structure. This can be considered physically and energetically. This is a wonderful time to clear out and reassess your goals, habits and belongings. To reestablish routine and structure around your life. It’s also a time to reconnect with your breath and your body. I have been finding it helpful to spend a little time each day to stop and notice how I am breathing in and breathing out. Letting thoughts pass through. Grief is also connected to the Lungs and the fall can be a time when grief is more present. Noticing this and tending to it can be powerful. I hope you are having a nice beginning to the fall season and I look forward to continuing to work with you.
In case, you haven't heard, there are some big changes happening to my business in September.
I'm moving locations!
Starting September 1st, all massage + bodywork sessions with me will be held at Ascent Acupuncture located at 4100 Grand Ave South in Minneapolis. I’m excited to continue my practice in this beautiful space only a couple blocks away from the current Wellness Minneapolis location. In the new space, I will be expanding my hours from 3 to 4 days and plan on being there Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. My hope is that this will create more spaciousness in my schedule and increased ease in booking for you. Any packages or gift certificates with me will be transferred to the new location. I will no longer be able to honor any Wellness Minneapolis gift certificates that were purchased before August 2020.
Appointments after September 1st, can be scheduled using this link or through my website. I encourage you to follow me on instagram. Please note that there is no receptionist on staff at Ascent Acupuncture. All questions and inquiries can be directed to me at email@example.com. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about this transition.
Feeling lots of gratitude for Wellness Minneapolis
I feel really blessed to have been invited into Wellness Minneapolis 6 years ago by Jesse Haas and Dr. Barrett and to have had the opportunity to build my practice with a wonderful team of practitioners. I’m so grateful to all of you that have seen me at Wellness Minneapolis and gotten to share in the wonderful community that was cultivated there.
If you are interested in learning more about the changes at Wellness Minneapolis and their decision to move out of the 4450 Nicollet location follow this link to read the heartfelt announcement from the owners.
And finally, I look forward to continuing our work together at Ascent! Appreciate you so so much!
I wanted to do a little introduction/reintroduction to my practice for those that are new to working with me or are interested in starting.
My name is Amy. I use she/her or they/them pronouns. Sessions with me are held at Wellness Minneapolis where I have been practicing for quite awhile now. I started off my journey as a therapist by studying shiatsu and massage at Centerpoint Massage and Shiatsu School & Clinic in St Louis Park.
Since graduating, I've enjoyed expanding my bodywork knowledge and toolbox by doing various trainings in Chi Nei Tsang, Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation and Myofascial Release. I love learning about different bodywork modalities and their philosophies and techniques. Practicing multiple modalities is a bonus for my clients because it allows me to cherry pick techniques from a variety of sources and address your concerns from multiple angles. I'm happy to explore different modalities and/or blend them until we find a form that works for you. You can check out the Services page on my website to learn more about the modalities that I practice.
I appreciate working with clients that have a variety of goals for their session. Sessions with me tend to address your goals from a physical and energetic standpoint. Lately, I've been enjoying weaving more Craniosacral work into my sessions specifically for neck, shoulder, back and hip pain, TMJ disorder and headaches. I'm looking forward to doing some more training in Craniosacral therapy in the fall. I also enjoy learning about herbalism and local plant medicine, painting, spending time with my partner and dog, walking, camping and generally being outside.
For February's newsletter, I wanted to share a meditation for working with the energetic heart. This meditation is commonly taught, so you may have heard of it before. It's called the loving-kindness mediation aka metta meditation. It's relatively simple and doesn't need to be a large time commitment, but can be a profound tool for growing compassion for yourself and others. This article by Thich Nhat Hahn on Cultivating Compassion is a wonderful resource to learn more about the practice.
I have found the transformative nature of this meditation to be cumulative over time. I would suggest trying to commit to a daily practice for at least 40 days. One thing that I have found exciting in my own practice is how much I look forward to picking people to send extra love nuggets to each day.
Here is a link to a video I made with my favorite variation of it. There are a lot of resources and scripts that can be found online. I have found it helpful to try out different variations before settling on what feels most meaningful for me.
Happy meditating and sending you so much love,
I hope you are enjoying the additional daylight each day and that your holiday season went well. I’m a little late on the “Happy New Year” train, but I wanted to say it anyway. Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in this next year and beyond.
I'm continuing to feel super grateful to be practicing, to be busy, and be able to provide some much needed support to clients during this time. I deeply believe that massage + bodywork can be a potent therapy for navigating tough times. Over the past year, I've been incorporating more Craniosacral and Myofascial work into my practice. I’m looking forward to deepening my understanding of these modalities and hopefully doing some more training in 2022. As always, I’m continuing to learn more about Chinese Medicine and herbalism and am stoked to read a couple books on these subjects that I got for Christmas.
I'm starting to plan the newsletters for this next year. Is there anything that you have been wanting to know more about in terms of pain and stress management, benefits of massage + bodywork, at-home treatment/self-massage, and/or Chinese Medicine? I’d love to hear what you are interested in learning more about. Please reply to this email and let me know!
I'm continuing to mask and have clients remain masked during sessions. Their is an air purifier in the room and the table + room are being sanitized between clients. There is also extra time between clients to allow the air in the room to circulate.
I do have a 24 hour cancellation policy, but do not charge anyone that has to cancel within 24 hours due to illness (including COVID symptoms or exposure).
Please don't come to your appointment if you are: experiencing COVID symptoms, know that you have been exposed, or if you or someone you share a dwelling with is waiting for test results after a potential exposure. Also please don't come in if you are feeling sick, in general. It's not great to get bodywork when you are unwell. Your body needs time to focus on healing from what is making you feel unwell.
I am always happy to discuss the situation before your appointment if you are unsure about whether you should come in. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read about what to expect when you come in and COVID 19 procedures here.
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexel
Gift certificates are available if you are interested in gifting a massage + bodywork session to a friend or family member for the holidays. Gift certificates can also be a great way to show appreciation for coworkers, childcare workers, teachers and/or anyone that's been helping you out. Please email me directly to purchase. I will send you an invoice to be paid online and can mail the gift certificate to your or the recipient.
A couple homemade gift ideas
Here are my favorite scented epsom salt and sugar scrub recipes. They are super easy to mix up and are such a treat. Great for anyone that doesn't need a lot of "things."
Relaxing Epsom Salts
2 cups epsom salt
1 teaspoon carrier oil (almond, olive, grapeseed or jojoba)
15 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl until oils are evenly dispersed. Transfer to glass pint jar. Label and decorate jar.
Instructions for use: add 1/2 cup to hot bath, swirl to dissolve.
*lavender essential oil can be swapped out for other essential oils. Check out this article on which essential oils are safe for the bathtub and which aren't.
Peppermint Body Scrub
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons carrier oil (almond, olive, grapeseed or jojoba)
10-14 drops of peppermint essential oil
Mix ingredients until evenly dispersed. Transfer to 8 oz jar. Label and decorate jar.
Instructions for use: scrub a small amount over skin in the shower. Rinse off. Be sure to wash hands well before touching face or eyes.
I also wanted to shout out a couple local makers and service providers if you are looking for more ideas.
Locally owned gift shops that feature handmade gifts and local artists:
Rock Paper Scissors Goods
I Like You and I Like You Too
Deb at Lustre Skin Care
Moon Palace Books
Cabinet of Curious Clay
Please support local small businesses this year (and every year)!
Happy Holidays from me to you!
It feels like the transition into autumn happened overnight. Welcome, Autumn!
Summer is fun AND I often appreciate getting back to a more routine and calm pace in the autumn. A couple other things I love about autumn: Halloween, my partner’s delicious butternut squash soup, seeing the leaves change into vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges, putting on sweaters, and getting to celebrate my anniversary at Wellness Minneapolis!
Since it will be my 5 year anniversary this year, I’d like to take you for a little walk down memory lane. In 2016, I set up shop at Wellness Minneapolis when they moved into the current location at 4450 Nicollet Ave. Halloween was my first day and I remember being really nervous and excited.
During school, I had pegged Wellness Minneapolis as a place I wanted to work at after I had practiced for awhile and honed my skills. This was my 5 year plan, but then an opportunity to join the team came approximately 6 months after I graduated and I had to take it! I had been practicing shiatsu (and some massage) while I finished the massage portion of my school. I have some real world experience under my belt, but not much. Starting a private practice felt daunting and super exciting. With the help of the Wellness Minneapolis team and the support of you as clients, I've developed into a much more confident and grounded practitioner over the last 5 years.
One of the things that I have always appreciated about Wellness Minneapolis is the fact that it’s a team of practitioners. That means a team to bounce ideas off of, refer to, plus share marketing and resources with. Dr. Barrett and Jesse Haas have built a wonderful community. I feel honored to have worked with so many amazing practitioners and staff over the last 5 years.
I also appreciate you!! Over the last 5 years, I have worked with 600+ clients. That’s 600+ different people. I feel super grateful to all of you that have come in as clients and worked with me. I’ve learned something from each and every one of you and especially appreciate those that I have gotten to work with over long periods of time. There is something magical about bodywork and I’m so fortunate to be a part of your healing journey. Thank you for supporting me and my business. Looking forward to more bodywork magic in the next year(s).
As we move into the transition between the outward (yang) energy of summer and inward (yin) energy of fall we find ourselves in the sweet balance of the Earth element. This is a great time to reconnect with a feeling of balance, grounding and nourishment.
The organ systems that are associated with the Earth element, the Spleen and Stomach, are responsible for gathering in the food and drink that we consume and transforming it into energy to be dispersed throughout the body. This function connects these organs deeply with the digestive system and our sense of nourishment. Proper functioning of these organ systems means that we have abundant energy to sustain our activities, digestion is smooth, and our bodies are supple and strong. If there is imbalance in the Earth element, digestive dysfunctions such as bloating, gas, IBS, GERD, Acid reflux, diarrhea and constipation can occur.
A great way to support your Spleen and Stomach organ systems is to focus on what and how you are eating. Here are some general tips for supporting the Earth element in this role:
The Earth element is connected to the overall energy of a person. Chronic low energy could be attributed to weak Spleen Qi (energy) due to it's inability to efficiently transform food and drink to energy for the body. Weak Spleen Qi can also show up as weakness in the muscles and limbs. Supporting your Spleen Qi through the tips above can help. Additionally, adding strength training to your exercise routine can be a great way to support the Spleen organ system. In general, light/moderate exercise each day is optimum. Over exercising can be depleting for some people.
The Spirit of the Spleen organ system is the Yi or the Intellect. It is connected to our ability to focus, concentrate and memorize. Supporting your Spleen organ system and the Earth element as a whole can be a great way to bolster these abilities, especially if you are in school or a job that demands a lot of mental engagement. Consider limiting social media/news and establishing boundaries around screen time.
When in balance, the Earth element is connected to the feelings of openness and fairness. When imbalanced, the Spleen is prone to worry and anxiety. Excessive worry and anxiety can also deplete the Spleen over time. Learning healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with these emotions if they become excessive can be beneficial. Therapy can be a great tool for this as well as journaling. I sometimes like to do a simple breathing exercise where I focus on breathing in for a count of 4 and breathing out for a count of 4. Once I have evened out my breath, I focus on breathing out any worry and anxiety and breathing in openness and fairness. I also enjoy the Transforming Anxiety podcast by Kelly Hanlin McCormick that focuses on looking at the way we think about anxiety.
I hope this info and tips are helpful as we move into the late summer season! Please reach out if you have any questions or feedback.
Earth Element Associations
Season: Late Summer
Sense Organ: Mouth
Balanced emotions: Openness and Fairness
Imbalanced emotions: Worry and Anixety
Photo credit: Dustin Humes on Unsplash
With the heat wave a couple weeks ago, the summer solstice and today's steaminess, I'm feeling the effects of the Fire element hard and fast this summer. That means that my Heart organ system is feeling it too. I'm thinking that you might be feeling this as well. In this month's newsletter, I'm going to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about the Fire Element, the Heart organ system and share with you some of my favorite Heart love tools.
In Chinese Medicine, summer is associated with the Fire Element. This means that the qualities of the Fire Element are most pronounced. It is also the time of year to spend extra attention tending to the ways that this element presents itself in your own body. In general, imbalances in an element or the organ systems associated with it tend to be more pronounced in the season of that element.
Other associations with the Fire Element:
With COVID19 restrictions loosening and the case numbers going down, the opportunity to make up for lost connecting time is here. That coupled with the usual Minnesota summer energy, there is a lot of outward movement happening. This can feel really good and also intense for some of us. This is where tending to our Hearts comes in. For me, there is a delicate balance between connecting and taking breaks. Finding this balance can be a great self-care tool. Some other ways that you can connect with and support your Heart this summer (and always) are:
I hope you found this helpful and enjoy trying out some of these Heart love tools. If you already have a Heart love toolbox I'd love to hear what is in it.
Amy Daws is a trained Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, Chi Nei Tsang and Craniosacral therapist. She is a nerd at heart and loves sharing what she is learning about with her clients.