I recently went to the opening of Templa Wellness, a center offering integrative care and counseling. One of its co-founders, Carol Cano, encouraged me to try out an integrative bodywork session. Cano, who is of Basque and Native American descent is a certified eastern practitioner in shiatsu and traditional Thai medicine. She also specializes in mental health, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and medical life challenging illnesses and physical injuries. Even if I am not suffering from anything in particular she explained to me that it would be an overall good way to see how I “am” in my current state, and that one treatment could give me an insight on my physical, emotional and even mental state. I laughed nervously about the “mental” bit, but I booked an hour and a half in my Blackberry for my first session later that week. The day of my session I was given some herbal tea to sip as I filled out my assessment form. It took about 10 minutes to fill out the form because you really had to stop and reflect to see if you had experienced (or were still experiencing) any and all of the symptoms indicated. It even asked about food cravings, and it did surprise me a bit that I did have a craving for salty and sweet tastes, but not sour ones. There are other things that you may discover, or in my case, re-discover about yourself when filling out the form, an “aha” moment or two, as you trace back your sleeping patterns and/ or your eating habits. Once I handed back the form to Cano, she looked it over (as I continued to sip my tea) and explained to me her initial findings when scanning over my form. Erratic emotional patterns, she explained, could be a symptom of a malfunction in the liver (the liver is considered the seat of the emotions, and this is where we store a lot of our anger or frustration in). The liver is also affected by a very indulgent diet (fatty foods, alcohol) and I nodded my head solemnly as I know that I’m a true foodie, and too much of a good thing is never good.
After a couple of minutes of her explaining her findings, Cano led me to a quiet room where I was to undergo my bodywork session. As I lay down face down on a big comfortable bed, Cano prepared the “moxa” or moxibustion, a cigar-like looking “stick” made out of Chinese herb mugwort ( Artemescae Volgaris) that she would use to help stimulate and balance out the flow of qi (“life force”) in my body. “I’m not going to apply it directly on your skin,” explained Cano (just a note, the moxa is actually “lit up” like an actual cigar so the tip gets quite hot). “I will hold it half an inch away from your skin to stimulate the meridian points. You will definitely feel heat so just tell me if it gets uncomfortable.” As the moxa slowly sailed over my body I did feel the heat, and I verbalized which parts along my back felt “different” to the other points (there are 12 meridian points along the back I was told) and Cano made a note of which ones they were so she could come back and work on them after.
The heat wasn’t uncomfortable but I did notice a tingling on the right lower side of my body as the moxa passed through the center of my back (the bra line) and the lowest part, near the sacrum. I assumed this was another indication that the organs in my right side were probabl
y in need of some adjustment as well. What followed next was a rather intense, deep muscle massage where Cano’s strong hands seemed to iron out any stiffness I had, especially in my shoulder and neck area (the price for carrying a heavy bag and pounding the keys of my laptop all day). I flipped over and the same thing was done, this time though, the massage was a lot more intense, I felt the tightness more in my chest area, and to be honest, it had me squirming from the pain. Yet, I knew I had to go through with this particular sequence, because if there’s one place I did not want to be blocked was in the heart area. (Like most Filipino families, ours has a history of heart disease.) After the session was over, Cano intimated to me that every patient is different, some are okay just after the moxa treatment and some light body manipulation, but in my case, she followed her intuition and went for a deeper therapy, she even aligned some of the muscles in my legs (I could actually see her doing it, and felt it) and told me to stay lying down and to breathe deeply in order to ground myself before standing up. As I exited the room, I glanced in the mirror and noticed that my face was glowing, a healthy flush had spread over it, and my eyes were noticeably brighter. I also noticed, with even more amazement that my shoulders and neck didn’t have that burning feeling they normally had toward the end of a work day, I also felt no more aches in my legs from being in heels for many hours. Cano later explained, “The benefit (of integrative body work) is to bring balance to the body, mind and spirit and to address any of the client’s issues. Another benefit is to address the psycho-spiritual energetics of the body which will create more happiness and well being in one’s life. “ When one’s meridians, or energy centers are blocked (for whatever reason) one goes through a stagnation that may show up as an illness, disease, pain or even just discomfort, the worrisome part about it is that these are just some of the warning signs that your body and you need some balance ASAP. Anyone and everyone can try out an integrative bodywork session, it is primarily for those (like myself) who would like to seek out holistic care instead of going to a traditional doctor, although, I was told, the sessions can complement or even support findings by an allopathic practitioner. As I was aware that I had just done my energy bodies a tremendous favor by opening them up and clearing them, I hurriedly booked my next session, even if the session didn’t necessarily feel “good” (in the spa-with-candles kind of way) I knew it had definitely resulted in me feeling and being better. * * * For more information on Templa Wellness, go to http://www.templawellness.com or call 576-4476.
A new holistic approach to finding balance inside and out SOUL TRAIN By Katrina A. Holigores (The Philippine Star) Updated April 15, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments