Movement: Can It Be Part of Your Mental Health Process? Absolutely. It should be. You know, we have all these different practitioners that we see for various issues: the doctor, the acupuncture, the physio, the chiro, the massage therapist, the naturopath, the counsellor, the chinese medicine specialist….who am I missing? Often the body gets broken down into various systems. One practitioner helps you with your emotional health: that’s me. Then another helps you with your physical health. Sometimes it’s all we can do to try to heal. The body is complex and there are so many systems that it’s hard for one person to master it all.
However, it’s important to recognize that the body is interconnected and you can’t truly treat one part of the body without considering it as a whole. There is an emotional connection to physical injuries; and a physical connection to emotional injuries. As much as professionals try to separate us, the human body is both physical and emotional; some would say we are also spiritual.
Pairing counselling with movement can be so vital for some people’s progress and healing journey. I recently started seeing a movement specialist (a kinesiologist). It has been a great experience so far.
Shenoa, very much like her name suggests, is like no other professional you will ever meet in your journey to recovery. There is nothing average about this women who started Ascend Movement to help people in all different kinds of circumstances. First of all, you won’t find anyone more passionate about the healing power of movement and exercise. Shenoa makes it easy to get on board with using the things she teaches you. She makes working out fun and she helps you understand why you’re using certain movements and how it will help your body recover and heal.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
One of the things I appreciate most about Shenoa is that she will never do the same program with another client. She tailors every movement to me and what’s going on with my body. She finds movements that feel good and allow me to experience relief in the moment.
If you’ve been living with pain for a long time or even a short time….you know it can really wear on your emotions. She’s a kinesiologist, not a counsellor. However, Shenoa knows the power of doing nothing, more than, holding space for people’s pain, no matter whether it’s physical or emotional. She has such empathy and compassion for those she works with and it shines through her work and the way she talks to her clients.
She understands the intricate connection between the emotional world and the physical. We recently were talking about the benefits that could come from clients who are working just with a physio or kinesiologist, also working with a counsellor to unravel the mystery behind what emotional experiences could be influencing their bodies.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT
It’s never a dull moment in Shenoa’s studio. You won’t ever be bored in one of her sessions. She taught me this new way of deep breathing called “crocodile breathing”, which instantly puts me into a state of relaxation. The most interesting thing I’ve done in Shenoa’s studio is sloth crawling. Not only is it soooooo fun, but apparently it helps rewire the brain. Shenoa doesn’t just use movements you are used to or common movements you will see anywhere else. She loves to read and research; this makes her an exceptional ‘movement experimenter’. She is always trying to figure out what movements and ideas fit for you.
The thing is Shenoa isn’t just another practitioner. She really cares about your journey and your progress. She treats everyone with such care and kindness. She’s given me back a sense of agency and power in my own life when it felt like all control was taken from me. She doesn’t encourage healing from a static position of just rest you’ll get better. Although she recognizes the importance of both rest and relaxation in our daily lives, she also recognizes how important it is to ones emotional and physical health to get moving again. Before going to Ascend Movement I was starting to feel pretty hopeless about recovery, but Shenoa gives me the courage to fight back and not just sit still and do nothing.
Movement is so powerful in healing the body. However, I strongly believe that if you don’t trust your practitioner, or they haven’t created a sense of rapport with you, no amount of movement is going to heal you. It’s the combination of movement paired with the emotional support that propels us forward. We need each other. Humans are built for connection and we need connection with others for our bodies to heal. There’s lots of prescription medications for pain available to you. However, prescriptions won’t heal you like movement and connection can.
EMDR is a type of therapy, that I use with my counselling clients, that uses bilateral movement which stimulates the brain and helps the brain heal itself. It’s a complex model to explain but simply put: EMDR uses movement (specifically eye movements) to help you heal. It’s a model that understands how bilateral movements within your body can actually trigger a healing process within your brain. EMDR is a model that recognizes how the physical brain and the emotional brain are intertwined. You can read more about it on my approach page.
MOVEMENT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Sometimes physical challenges can really get you down. It’s imperative to find ways on your journey to keep moving forward. It’s key to find a way to not let your brain and nervous system determine how you think about your pain. Shenoa has taught me how to listen to my body. This body awareness helps me acknowledge the pain, while also discovering what my nervous system needs at that moment. It helps me think about pain from a different perspective. Half of the battle in our brain is not accepting all the information our brains give us; but instead finding alternative healing perspectives.
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