Self-care techniques that can help promote wellbeing
Now more than ever we are finding interesting and meaningful ways to connect with one another. Of course we want to continue sharing with you all that Boconnoc has to offer, but we also want to share with you some of the fantastic people who we admire locally that provide services which are useful, interesting, purposeful and nourishing. Whether that be health and wellbeing teachers, wedding professionals, local food producers and suppliers, crafts people, wildlife experts and more. We will be running a series of blogs over the coming weeks that will celebrate and highlight these areas, providing you with worthwhile content to enjoy and follow along with us.
First up is Tia Tamblyn who is a masseur with years of experience, she lives at the beautiful Botelet which is just down the the road from Boconnoc. Tia trained at the highly respected School of Bodywork in Exeter, gaining a distinction in the Complete Bodyworker Diploma, along with later achieving a distinction in the Remedial Massage Diploma. Tia has carried out additional training in deep tissue and Thai massage, as well as having qualified as an aromatherapist and in Indian Head Massage.
Tia takes a dynamic approach to massage, tailoring treatments to the needs of the client – whether it’s carrying out intensive deep tissue work to target specific issues or injuries, or a gentle treatment to promote relaxation. Tia is interested in understanding the individual’s unique physiology and targeting her work to promote health and wellbeing.
Botelet provides a calm and peaceful setting for receiving a massage. Treatment spaces at Botelet are varied and change with the seasons – a room in a historic cottage, an outhouse lit with candles and warmed by a crackling woodburner, or relax to the sounds of the great outdoors with an alfresco massage (weather permitting) atop a couch with heated under-blanket.
When not in the massage room, you will find Tia cooking, writing, running through the Cornish lanes, or on the beach with her husband and three young children.
Since the lockdown Tia has been running a series of online self-massage sessions on her instagram, so we thought we would ask her a few questions about what she does to share with everyone:
Please could you tell us a bit about your background in massage?
I trained in massage six years ago, previously I had been teaching but after having children I wanted to do something that meant I could work more flexibly and be at home. I had benefitted from therapeutic massage myself – either for relaxation and I used to do a lot of running so received a fair amount of deep sports massage – and was interested in how the body works, so it felt like a good fit. I didn’t realise though quite how much I would enjoy it, my fascination with the body as well as the mind-body connection grows the more I learn, and from starting out with offering massage treatments to locals and guests, I now also run massage training courses and workshops; I love sharing techniques with others for them to be able to make use of too, and it has meant I’m able to fuse my previous work as a teacher with massage therapy.
Why is massage an important part of life?
I believe that positive touch is so important for our wellbeing. There are so many ways in which it can support us, from working into an area of tense and knotted tissues within the body, to giving someone permission to switch off and relax (something that many of us struggle with, balancing work and family life) and feel nourished, and especially when I treat elderly people who live on their own, sometimes simply receiving a nurturing connection with someone else has such immense power, it’s a privilege to be able to support people in this way.
Image & header image: Holes in the World Studio
Please could you give us a little introduction to what self-massage actually involves/is?
During the lockdown era we’re currently in, I’ve been offering virtual self-massage sessions, sharing techniques with people to be able to massage themselves. It’s lovely how well received this has been, especially for people who are in isolation. It basically involves working either through the whole body or certain parts of the body and being the masseuse as well as the person receiving the massage! In these sessions I share techniques for working into the tissues and doing so in such a way that feels kind to the body to give, and good to receive. I also encourage people to utilise mindful techniques as they are doing this, so that rather than focusing their mind on the technique they are ‘giving’, once they feel comfortable using a particular stroke they then try to shift their mind into how it feels to receive the touch; in this way we can maximise the sense of receiving rather than simply focusing on giving – making it a little more like a traditional massage!
What are the benefits of self-massage?
The benefits are similar to that of a couch-based massage: aiding relaxation, improving circulation, offering the chance to work into tense or tired tissues, helping to reduce anxiety and promote wellbeing.
Why is it important to take time for yourself?
Right now many of us are taking a close look at our lives and reflecting upon whether the pace and practices that have become the norm are serving us well; what we can learn from this era of social separation that we may want to carry forward beyond. My personal reflections are that wellbeing in the broadest sense needs to be more integral to our lives rather than something we tag on the end of a busy week as a moment of calm. Whether that means reviewing or choices around work or other commitments and how they balance within our lives; spending more time being creative and nourishing our bodies and minds in whatever ways work best for us – walking, painting, dancing, yoga, writing, massage, reading, gardening; it seems to be that this broad view of self-care may well be something that we all realise needs to be more integral to our lives going forward – I know that I do!
Can anyone do self-massage? Do you need any experience?
Self-massage is accessible to everyone, and no experience is necessary. That said, if someone has particular conditions which mean that it’s best to avoid working on a particular part of their body, or they find movement difficult, then I can work with them to adapt a sequence accordingly. As a general rule, only do what feels good for your body.
How often would you recommend someone takes time out for a massage?
I find receiving a massage like having a re-set; it relaxes my body and mind, helps me to stretch out, find my ’tall’ posture and ease aching muscles. When I’ve had a massage, I normally find that by three to four weeks later my body is starting to droop again! Therefore in an ideal world I would suggest booking a massage roughly every month if possible, but I also appreciate that the time and financial commitment may not be feasible and that’s fine – I always suggest that people go with what works for them. With self-massage, as much as feels good for you! You can break it down and perhaps each evening spend a few minutes with a foot, head or face massage; or perhaps set aside an hour once a week for a more ’top-to-toe’ self-massage. Be guided by what works for you, and don’t make it into something that you feel bad if you miss doing; rather an added bonus for your body and mind when you are able to.
What are the key areas to focus on during self-massage?
The mid back is the one area that is hardest to self-massage (although there are a number of stretches that help to reach into the mid back, and standing beside a wall then leaning into a small ball that’s placed in your mid back area and allowing your back to roll over it is a good technique); every other area is quite possible, from the soles of the feet through the legs, lower back, upper back, neck, arms and hands, head and face.
Could you give us one simple self-massage technique that we can use at home?
One of the most simple techniques, which can also be very reliving, is to take a small ball (like a tennis ball that has gone slightly soft, you can also use a ‘physio ball’ which is a small plastic ball with small protrusions on the outside, which can help to work into the tissues of the body) and roll the sole of your foot over it while either sitting or standing. Try using different levels of pressure as you roll the ball, and work with small circles into any areas that feel as though they need it most.
Do you offer 1-2-1 online sessions?
Yes, I’m currently running free live self-massage sessions via Instagram approximately every two weeks (check my instagram and website for upcoming dates), and I’m also offering one-to-one sessions which are tailored to the needs of the individual, before we begin the session we do a consultation by email to find out if there are any areas of the body that are holding most tension, and any restrictions to take into account. During the session I guide the participant through a gently flowing sequence of self-massage techniques. See my website for further details – www.tiatamblyn.com
How are you spending your time during lockdown?
Right now life is a balance of being a mother to my three young children (our home educating involves spending a lot of time in the garden!), working on offering wellbeing at this time of lockdown through virtual sessions, a lot of cooking – I love playing with seasonal ingredients and have relished the opportunity to spend more time outside, foraging and familiarising myself with more of nature’s bounty – and I am also trying to make sure I take time out for reading, walking and staying in touch with loved ones.
The other element of my work is with our holiday accommodation here at Botelet; we normally welcome guests to self-catering cottages, a yurt and our wild camping meadow and although right now we are closed to visitors we are keeping in touch with guests and continuing with work in the background. We are very much looking forward to being able to open our doors once more, and indeed welcome back many of the Boconnoc wedding guests who stay with us, as we are located just a couple of miles along the quiet lanes from beautiful Boconnoc.
A huge thank you to Tia for sharing her knowledge on self-massage with us on the blog. We will be hearing more from Tia soon with one of her delicious, foraging recipes.