December 15th, and 22nd at Seaton Village Massage, 12-3pm
please RSVP or you may book an alternate time for pickup.
Check out my handcrafted goodies at Wildrose Magnolia.
Oh how I love Tracey Ullman and yes, I have had somewhat similar malfunctions in my long career as a massage therapist! ://vimeo.com/156098305
Who knew we could garner great wisdom from those tedious inflight safety demos? That one line that begins all trips "please be sure to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others" can also serve as a reminder in life that if we ignore our own needs we jeopardize not only our health and wellness but also the ability to assist others. Unfortunately many folks, especially parents and caregivers, feel that self-care is an act of selfishness and in turn find themselves feeling burnt out, depleted and depressed. However with a shift in perspective, seeing that our own sense of balance and happiness has importance, we can then serve as a model to our children, our community and ultimately cultivate a more harmonious and fulfilling life experience.
If you're gasping for air you aren't going to be useful to yourself or anyone else!
Find your own sanctuary from stress and allow time for the things that feed your soul and refill your tank. It'll be helpful for you, your family and for the world at large.
Hey YOU, go take a HIKE!
Well who doesn’t feel better after some time spent drinking in country air, touching the papery bark of a birch tree, listening to the murmuring of a cool creek, surrounded by wildflowers, rocks and even, I don’t know, a bunny hopping along…..mmm, so peaceful….can you imagine it?
Maybe it’s time to circle a date in the calendar to take such an excursion, let’s see, I think I have a free weekend in what …six weeks?
For us downtown dwellers, finding such stress-relieving tranquility can seem difficult in this speedy and crowded environment. Yet here’s the thing, our city is built on a network of rivers and ravines and they aren’t kidding when parks & rec refer to it as ‘A City Within A Park’. Not only are our residential areas green and lush (when I moved back after years in NYC I felt like TO was Amazonian!), there are a plethora of great hiking paths that cross right through downtown.
The Cedarvale Ravine and Beltline is a favorite of mine, I walk it several times a week with my dog and for the time I am surrounded by nature, complete with tall trees, wildflowers, trickling water, rocks and even wildlife. I treat this time as (what I call) a ‘Silent Retreat in the Big City’, often I listen to meditative music or guided meditations or just pay attention to the birds and surrounding sounds as I clear my mind and soak in the thriving abundance of the natural world.
Some folks make these experiences the exception and if lucky might even take a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to some remote part of the world. However we have a similar opportunity right here under our nose that’s free, always available and even life changing, a pilgrimage at your doorstep so to speak. No flights, no packing, no expense, no scheduling and open 24/7.
So, what are you waiting for?
*Above photo is from the Beltline Trail
*Below are from Leslie Street Spit Trail
Even after twenty four years as a massage therapist I l still love ambient, spa-like music be it Tibetan, Indian, or by composers such as Brian Eno , Arvo Part or Max Richter, these soothing sounds are a huge part of my life.
When working with a client or crafting skincare products I most often have meditative music playing in the background. Heck, I even have ambient music on my headphones while I grocery shop! I find it calm my nerves, helps me to focus, allows me to think (and feel) outside-of-the-box, and even to cash in on a great-nights sleep. Not too shabby! In my practice I’ve even prescribed guided meditations and binaural beats to clients to reduce stress in their own lives for years and with great success. So naturally I’ve been haranguing my musician husband to compose and record some music for me in this genre for quite some time. For those who don’t know my husband, Charles Spearin, he’s been a long time contributor to Toronto’s fabulous music community with his bands Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene, Feist and more.
Guess what? He finally did!
I now have original, one-of-a-kind dreamy, spacious, mind expanding, body detoxifying, life affirming, reveal your inner genius, full body massage (zoo badda do dahh!) music to share with you during your treatment at my clinic. The album is ninety minutes long and will assist in your healing by working it’s own musical magic.
I am hoping that this will be an ongoing project, so to all my musician friends, I’ve got your number....
So, what are you waiting for? Book your appointment today!
Every now and again the stars are aligned and a bucket list travel opportunity happens. This was the case when it was recommended that my husbands band head to Iceland this winter to do some recording at Sundlaugin; a recording studio built inside a converted swimming pool (just imagine the acoustics!). The inspiration was to mix things up and bring in new creative energies to their upcoming album. So being the thoughtful guy that he is, my husband insisted that our girls and I come for an extended family vacation.
Uh, OK let me think about it.. ha, the decision was a no brainer! I flew solo with our girls on an overnight flight traveling in Icelandic Air's newest plane the Hekkla Aurora. Who knew planes could possibly be so charming? Wondrous Icelandic poems adorned the pillows and blankets while a simulated Northern Light display on the cabin ceiling gently lulled us to sleep. Well kinda, unfortunately my Magnolia gets severely motion sick….I won’t say anymore…well only that my girl is a trooper.
Once in Iceland we embarked in the most exhilarating experience of our lives! Our initial reaction was that we had somehow landed on the moon. The extraordinary landscape is truly otherworldly. It seemed each time you turned your head the view changed dramatically and the weather to match. We felt a beckoning call leading us in the direction of new adventures. Oh, we were game!
First up was a visit to the renowned wonder of the world the Blue Lagoon. Driving up to the location we all started cheering and flapping when we caught a glimpse of the unbelievable blueness of the water. The lagoon is mother-natures own geothermal spa, a giant lake-sized hot tub if you will. Folks travel from around the globe to bathe outside in these healing waters soothing a variety of itchy, irritable skin conditions. Once submerged in the water we slathered mineral rich mud all over our faces and basked in the warmth of the sun with a tropical drink in our hands. Wait, did we just jump out of our story and into the caribbean ocean? Nope this is pure North. Horizontal hail pelted our heads the whole time.
Each time our family travels, we set our sights on horseback riding trails. Iceland was absolutely a one of a kind experience as they have only their very own breed of horse on the island. These look like horses from the Hobbit or Game of Thrones, well actually these are them. One of our hard working horses moonlights as a cast member of the latter popular TV show. The horse farm we visited is called Laxnes, run by a jovial Icelandic equivalent of Zach Galifianakis. Photos hang on the stable walls with the likes of John C. Reilly and Ben Stiller yukking it up with the owners letting you know you’re in for a really good time! We rode through the breathtaking mountains feeling like empowered Walter Mitty, Viking badasses.
My biggest hope for this trip was to see the Northern Lights. At the beginning of 2015 I was declaring this to be the year of ‘light and color’, I’ve been gradually bringing Chakra work into my massage therapy practice and have found increasing resonance with color. I could only image how awe inspiring it would be to see essentially the earths aura on full display. We were disappointed that a night at the lovely Northern Lights Inn did not render a glimpse. Instead though, one early morning in our Reykjavic air bnb apartment I was feeling lucky and yanked open the blinds at just the right moment to catch the lively colourful Aurora Borealis painting the sky. Pure magic! Mostly emerald green swirls, splotches and wisps pulsed across the sky. I fell back to sleep with a feeling of alignment with all that is and my Chakras fully cleansed…Om.
The Icelandic people are beautiful. Their features and their hearts radiate an enduringly kind yet mischievous, subtleness and elegance. These are brave souls. The harsh winters do not keep them from frolicking outside in the elements. Icelanders are regularly outdoors half-naked in swimsuits during the winter season. They delight in their homeland hot springs while many of us western snowbirds flee, as if insulted, to southern climates. The dramatic landscape is always warm and welcoming deep down at its core- this land is the energy centre of the world for goodness sake!
Volcanic activity and geothermal energy is a way of life here. Heat? They’re practically giving it away! Incredibly the magnificent heat producing volcanos on this tiny island may offer renewable energy solutions in further places such as England. Even just hiking around the lava fields is like being a flea on a tea kettle. If not careful you may literally be scalded by steam spraying from the mountain rocks!
There may also be an entirely different species living amongst the rocks and caves. According to the back of the seat in front of me on Iceland Air, fifty-four percent of the islanders believe in Elves and Trolls and at times go so far as to have land examined before construction begins. This coming from a majority of critical thinkers of which thirty-four percent of the population hold university degrees. I’m sorry to say though that we did not meet any Elves on this trip.
Iceland you are a treasure and my family thanks you for the awesome adventure.
Chocolate Super Food Just in time for Valentines!
I’ve got issues when it comes to chocolate…let’s just say my love runs deep! Thankfully I prefer the organic dark variety that does have some nutrition to it and is not crazy high in sugar. Though combined with having two tweens in the house who’ve taken to baking it seems our cupboard is always full of sweets (ok kinda fabulous!). Unfortunately, when it comes to the abundance of chocolate and treats in our household the two grown-ups (Ma & Pa) have poor personal moderation skills. So I have recently explored making my own chocolate that is low in sugar and containing some smatterings of nutritional value. To my surprise it is dead easy to make quality vegan raw chocolate that offers super-food heath benefits and tastes amazing! I can make the following chocolate peanut butter cups in a flash while doing laundry, cooking dinner and/or helping with homework. I then store them in the freezer to be consumed with total exuberant joy and utter satisfaction!
A double boiler or microwave
1 ½ cup Organic raw cacao powder
¾ cup Organic raw cocoa butter
Pinch of Himalayan (high mineral content) Sea Salt
½ cup Quality peanut butter
A couple tablespoons of Maple Syrup (adjust according to desired sweetness)
Mini cupcake liners
*I use a bit of raw coconut oil because I always have tons but it’s not necessary OR you can substitute it for the cocoa butter if that’s what you have on hand.
How to make:
Simply melt approximately ¾ cup cocoa butter in double boiler or Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.
Remove from heat and add about 1 ½ cups cocoa powder, a few tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt then stir well.
Fill a tray with around 50 mini cupcake liners then fill them up about ¼ full with melted chocolate and pop into the freezer a few minutes until solid.
Remove tray from freezer and place a dollop of peanut butter over the cold chocolate then cover with the leftover chocolate.
Place back in freezer. I actually find storing them there to be the most ideal and they taste yummy cold.
This literally takes me 15 min to make.
Raw cacao- High in antioxidants, reservatrol, phenethylamine (feel good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love), Omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin C, Iron, amino acids and it is the highest whole food source of magnesium. There are many more compounds yet to be discovered in this live super-food!
Raw cocoa butter- Contains loads of C, E and B vitamins. Also this butter is high in oleic acid (like olive oil) and polyphenol which has numerous health benefits.
There you have it, organic and raw cacao peanut butter cups that give the candy version a run for their money! Speaking of money, some of the ingredients like the raw cocoa butter and raw cacao have a high price tag, however you can truly make a tone of chocolates with them. I’m already at 100+ peanut butter cups (yes I still have issues!) and still have half a bag of cacao left. I'm now having Valentines Day Inspirations ....hmm...
I have noticed more and more that my clients are requesting massage therapy for their children or teens for a variety of reasons. Parents are realizing that their health benefits extend to the whole family and more importantly that their youngsters are prone to the same musculoskeletal stressors that they are. It seems today that children are involved in many more afterschool programs such as dance, karate, swim or tennis, spending much more time on computers and dealing with all the emotions involved in growing up.
They too feel the stress and strains you feel, tightness in their neck and shoulders, or even trouble sleeping.
I have also worked with teens who besides physical aches and pains are dealing with all too common anxiety issues. Introducing your child to self-care gives them the tools for recognizing and processing stress. Massage therapy by its nature counteracts the
qualities of aggression that we may be exposed to in life.
I feel that booking a treatment with your trusted R.M.T. can be a great experience for your child. I received my first professional massage at the age of seventeen and I can clearly remember the profound effect that it had on me, I felt truly relaxed and a deep sense of wholeness. I spoke to my massage therapist after my treatment remarking on how centered I felt and believe me I was no stranger to anxiety as a teen. It was in fact an empowering experience as I learned that I simply did not have to succumb to the effects of stress or feeling overwhelmed. By the age of nineteen I was enrolled at Sutherland & Chan!
Research has shown time and time again how beneficial massage therapy is to premature babies by encouraging their growth and development, below is a list of additional benefits of therapeutic body work for your children:
-Promotes a healthy body, mind and spirit
-Calms the nervous system
-Great stress buster
-Soothes growing pains
-Heals muscular injuries
-Improves quality of sleep
Have you ever wondered just what kind of oils are being used on your body when you receive a massage? If so you can always ask your therapist, and kinda should. Your skin is your body's largest organ and it absorbs approximately 70% of what we put on it, think smokers patches, birth control patches or any other transdermal patch and you get the idea. Well I've gotta tell you that often in spas and
clinics the oils used are not the best quality (we're talking parabens and mineral oil) I should know I've worked in many! As a therapist I have acquired skin irritations myself from using some of the standard massage oils, creams and gels that contain synthetic ingredients. I have also found when being on the receiving end that I have experienced breakouts as well (back acne? ugh!), I often feel the need to shower off the oil immediately. What nonsense, a massage should not only be healing to your musculoskeletal system, but to your skin as well. I think we're all starting to come around to the beautiful nourishing plant based oils that mother-nature has to offer. I have found using oils such as pure avocado, coconut, cherry kernel, jojoba and many others that my skin is balanced, soft, clear and I dare say, radiant. Quality oils
should never be washed off, they're beneficial to our skin and with the subtle use of organic essential oils....Heaven!
Above are some of my hand blended massage oils that I use in all my treatments and are available at
http://wildrose-magnolia.com or at my clinic.
copyright © 2014 Susannah Spearin
My name is Susannah and I have been a Registered Massage Therapist for over twenty- nine years and I love what I do!