Taking a ‘buffer day’

A quick post for you at a busy time of the year.

I have been treating an older couple for a number of years, who have taught me so much about growing wiser with the passing years. Often in the therapeutic world we are taught that we need the teach our patients all about ‘leading and pacing’, but I have often found that for most people with long term pain, it just makes them feel worse to be told this, slightly patronizing and limiting .

Well my wise older couple don’t pace and lead. Insead they have what they call a ‘buffer day’ – these days are for regrouping and relaxing, catching up on anything that’s been neglected recently, to make themselves more ready for the other things in life which make them smile, whether that’s a longer walk, trip shopping, or off on an aeroplane to some sunshine. I have shared the buffer day theory with many of my patients, who totally take it on board; it has stopped them trying to cram too much in, as they plan in their buffer day rather than crashing or burning out. They find it empowering and has helped them manage their pain states much better – I hope it helps you too.


Leaning into the ‘pause’

Autumn, I truly enjoy the changing leaves, the rich colour that comes, so varied in shade, I love just this time ofyear. For me it brings reflection, reminds me that nothing is set in stone. There is always the possibility that nothing has to stay the same, we can be inspired to be brave. It’s also nature’s way demonstrating renewal and rest.

We find in the practice that the hardest challenge for most people is the take a moment for themselves, checking in with ‘efforting’, inner dialogue of ‘well I just have to’ and ‘I don’t like to so no’ even if they are tired over worked. What stops us from just ‘taking a pause’ this could be just a little sit down with a cuppa, and tune into your own breathing, or in a window space and view the world whatever that is. Giving time for gathering, reflection. We have read this spring   Shondra Rhimes , ‘A Year of Saying Yes’,  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Yes-Dance-Stand-Person

We have been recommending the chapter on saying YES! to saying NO!, Shondra invites us always ask ‘is this good for me’. So in this season of change and chance, we can be brave, step a toe into putting ourselves first. As we are kinder to ourselves,  we often find we have the energy to give to others without it feeling draining, or feeling resentful both can be unhelpful to our nervous system.

Our Stories inform our work as body work therapists

As I was preparing for the upcoming, Introduction to the Hendrickson Method, there a number participants who are fairly new to body work. It caused a deal of reflection within me, wondering when body work and movement became embedded with myself.

I believe we have to know our own story before we can hear another’s, its understanding where we are from.

I am from Bradford born on the 21st August 1959, on a hot summer’s night, disappointing my parents deeply as I was born a girl, with as I am told ‘twisted legs’. For the next four and a half months my Mum took me the physiotherapy department each day, where the therapist would massage my whole body starting at my big toe, up the front of my body down the back of my body. Then they would place my legs on splints and bind, them after 4 months they were straight. Then it is told I was walking by the time I was 9 months old.

I grew up in a very emotionally, at times violent abusive household, took the form in many ways. I learnt to watch how my parents and extended family moved, I soon worked how what movements meant danger, how to keep myself safe and ‘head them off at the pass.

I never did academically achieve or shone at school. I did notice that I had a huge curiosity for the world how it worked and the people with in it. My thoughts as a 12 year old what we were all just kind, and listened to people the world would be an easier place to be my senior school headmaster asked of us what did we want to be, he said he had great expectation of all of us not just the bright ones !! I knew deeply heart felt on my part I was here to help people.

These early life stories shape us, inform us as we walk through life for better or worse, we chose how and what we learn. Certainly as therapist I believe they inform the treatment’s we offer.



Enjoy moving :-)

It was 5 years since seeking help form Claire Sparrow, Polestar Pilates instructor, owner of Chapel Allerton Pilates, a year since teaching my own classes.

As a child I always enjoyed moving, I enjoyed how it felt getting out of breath and recovery from that, I loved the walk to the top of the hill for the view, walking through fallen leaves, sledging and my favourite was my wooden surf body board. However when it came to competitive sport lots of enthusiasm on my part, but poor hand coordination left me always the last one to be picked in teams sports, and hearing  from teachers when frustrated with other children not been jolly at games,  ‘look even Susan Middleton is trying’, . I won’t pretend there hasn’t been dark days when I just wanted to be best at something!!

As an adult I still love the feeling movement gives me, a walk on the Chevin (local beauty spot). Climbing the hill just for the view, cycling along a sea side estuary. My amazing time with Claire who challenges my beliefs about my perception of my body. Encouraging me to take steps that might not have always happened. The results are far reaching, I stand taller than I ever have, new energy, and a renewed joy within myself, deep pleasure at feeling stronger to climb a hill, to paddle a boat, and just to breathe easier.

Then I get to share this with people I teach in my classes, it has been a profound privilege to watch peoples trust in me, seeing them move freer, losing some of their fear about moving, seeing them stand taller and smiling.

As a practice we offer Hendrickson Method, Physiotherapy, soft tissue mobilisation, all great technique’s to help us out of pain and injuries, all made more successful with movement, which could be a gentle walk, a gentle swim, Pilates, yoga, cycling, walking your dog, dancing it out in your front room to your favourite dance tack on your own (a secret special one of mine) just so it make you smile on the inside.


Introduction to the Hendrickson Method

We have an Introduction to the Hendrickson Method coming up in October.


It has led to a great deal of reflection. Over the last 27 years I have been on many training courses, learning lots of soft tissue techniques and manual therapies. My initial training began at the Northern Institute of massage and my first teacher was Beryl Harper. Her hands on work was inspirational. The main message Beryl wanted to convey was that we are successful when we are able to show empathy and compassion towards others through the treatment provided. There all lots of techniques out there for us as therapist to access. I wanted a technique that would allow me to work WITH the person not ‘AT’ the person.

The Hendrickson Method allows me to work across the fibres in a gentle, precise way that broadened the fibres, and access the fascia within the muscle without over challenging the body neurologically.

Both David Butler and Tim Beams research supports my findings with body work.

http://www.noigroup.com/  http://www.painandperformance.com

As I began the work on my own posture, I gained a greater understanding of how to enable my patients into accessing easier movement for themselves. http://polestarpilates.com

So our aims at an Intro are:

To gain an understanding and science of HM soft tissue mobilization.

  • How to talk to patient to enable them to feel comfortable and confident in the therapists’ skills and intension.
  • How to integrate movement into our HM treatment.
  • How to enable the people we work to make the best choice for themselves