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What do you know about Bowen Technique?  I recently had a session with local practitioner Natasha de Grunwald and it was wonderfully relaxing.   It is a very gentle yet highly effective treatment that can work wonders, and is safe to use on just about anyone, including pregnant ladies, newborn babies and those in considerable pain.  If you’d like to know more read on, Natasha has written all about this amazing treatment and is even offering a great introductory offer to you when you book.

Bowen Fascial Release Technique

Bowen is still a relatively new treatment.  It is not an ancient or Eastern practice, but was developed in the 1950’sNatasha de Grunwald Bowen by a man called Tom Bowen, in Australia.  Awareness of this effective, yet gentle hands-on therapy is growing, mainly due to the profound effects it can have without the practitioner using deep or prolonged pressure, manipulation or adjustments.

Bowen technique is a simple, natural and effective treatment that uses gentle rolling moves over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue, making it an ideal treatment choice for those who are in considerable amounts of pain, or have limited movement. Clients often report experiencing deep relaxation, enhancement in overall heath, improvement of function, pain relief, increased energy and better sleep patterns.

The Bowen moves are predominantly applied with the practitioner’s thumbs and fingers in precise locations around the body.  Recently the European College of Bowen Studies has been researching how and why Bowen works, and have been gaining deeper understanding through integral anatomy of the connectivity of the body and the importance of fascia. It is currently thought that Bowen technique seems to trigger the body’s own natural healing system by making a disturbance in the fascia, which then sends impulses to the brain along neural pathways. This starts a dialogue between the brain and the area that was worked on asking for a response.  The outcome seems to be that the body re-aligns and balances.

Bowen technique is safe for all people to receive, including newborn babies, children, pregnant women and the most fragile adults.  Because of the light touch of the Bowen moves, this technique is ideal for clients who find other types of treatment too aggressive, painful or invasive.

The History of Bowen

Tom Bowen believed in the bodies’ own innate natural healing ability and combined this philosophy with a gift of ‘seeing’  where someone had an imbalance. It is often said that he could take one look at someone and see not only where the problem was but where it was stemming from.  He would then apply some simple moves to the body, leave the client to rest before returning to see if there had been a response. Having seen a change happening he would finish up the appointment, perhaps asking the client to return once or twice more.  Although he had no formal medical training he ran a very successful clinic in Geelong, Australia, with many clients travelling a long way to see him. Here he would also see disabled people free of charge and he was known to travel many miles to see clients who could not get to him, sometimes even in the middle of the night.

Tom Bowen had six men who watched him work over the years, with whom he shared his knowledge.  Between them they continued practising and teaching his work.  Bowen Fascial Release Technique has developed further in the last 20 years or so, and has become the  ‘whole person treatment’ that is now becoming so popular.

Natasha first came across the Bowen technique many years ago when she worked alongside a Bowen practitioner as part of a clinic set up for the staff of Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. The profound effects of Bowen with such gentle touch captivated Natasha’s interest, leading her later to undertake the initial training, gain a qualification and continue to take advanced workshops with the European College of Bowen Studies (ECBS)

How does it work?

Bowen practitioners look for a response to the treatment and generally schedule an initial three sessions within three weeks, and Natasha follows this system with her own client base.   A client may initially respond to treatment in many different ways, from a complete recovery to an increase in the initial symptoms, and anything in between. What is noticeable, whilst these responses are occurring and changing over the weeks, is that the client often finds their general health, mental attitude, sleeping patterns and energy levels change, all of which indicate the body is on the path to health and well-being.

There are a couple of key aspects that make Bowen very different from other treatments, one of which is that clients should not receive any other type of hands-on treatment 5 days either side of having a Bowen session. This is because Bowen stimulates a healing response and adding another treatment into the mix can confuse the body, and is therefore not beneficial.  The second aspect of Bowen, which is unlike other therapies, is that after the practitioner has made a few Bowen moves on the client’s body, she will leave the room for 2 minutes. This is so that the client has a quiet and peaceful environment, without interruption or distraction, for his/her body to start the process of repair.  Most clients find that they become very relaxed and body-aware at these times and are often able to feel subtle adjustments around their bodies that they may not have otherwise noticed.

Natasha has her own personal  experience of the profound effects that Bowen can have.  Two days before her 40th birthday, she slipped a disc in her back.  Unable to participate in any of her normal daily activities due to the pain and weakness in her back, and being almost unable to walk, she called upon a Bowen practitioner, whom she had met whilst training for help.  She received the standard three treatments in three weeks.  After treatment one she was in considerably less pain, and her spirits were lifted. The effects of the second treatment were that she had greater mobility and strength in her back and was able to take slightly bigger steps with the aid of a walking stick.  After the third treatment she was able to walk carefully without the stick, and was able to start giving Bowen treatments to her clients again.  She continued having Bowen appointments every couple of weeks or so for a while  to ensure her back healed fully and regained the strength,  and as a preventative measure, because she realised how beneficial to her own health these regular sessions were and still are.  Two years on she has a monthly or six-weekly treatment which she describes as being maintenance appointments. It is because of these that she has had no further problems with her back or the rest of her body, and can regularly be seen running around Bushy park and at local yoga classes.

Natasha is running an autumn promotion for the first 5 funkymothers visitors who contactnatashadegrunwald2013 fm her.  She is offering a £30 discount when booking in advance 3 appointments.

Natasha practices in the local and at Natures Medicine in Hampton. 

She can be contacted on +44(0)7885 858579

Or natasha@degrunwald.com  www.natashadegrunwald.com

Dragon Drama Pic 1

Upon researching local drama classes for kids and young people I came across Dragon Drama.  Fascinated to hear more about what they had to say, I was lucky enough to spend an hour with Rossy Georgeson, Artistic Director of Dragon Drama, at one of their venues, the most visually stunning  Langdon Down Theatre in Teddington.

Dragon Drama has been established for 20 years now and the company is owned by the delightful Rossy Georgeson.Having grown up in a theatrical family in Ealing, Rossy spent a great deal of her childhood at the well-renowned local theatre – The Questors, where she enjoyed regular participation in the classes, in particular improvisation.   After school she went on to complete an honours degree in Drama at Aberystwyth University.  Rossy briefly pursued a career in acting before starting Dragon Drama in 1993.

Dragon Drama is not your typical drama class, there are no set plays or stories, children are encouraged to find their own artistic strengths in the journey at Dragon Drama with a huge emphasis on devising, improvisation and the skills of storytelling, and this is how it all begins.  Rossy encourages the children to have a free reign, she doesn’t consider that she “teaches” but facilitates the environment, allowing each child to shine and have an input in the formation of a creative piece of theatre.  Rossy feels that by encouraging children and young people to use their imagination it inspires team building, develops communication,and nurtures the imagination, allowing the children and young people to grow and perform in a more organic and natural way.

Rossy takes a great deal of her inspiration from Reggio Emilia, Vivien Paley’s book ‘The Boy Would Be A Helicopter’ in which Paley argues that storytelling and fantasy play can significantly impact a child’s academic and social growth.

Keith Johnstone, one of the world’s improvisation “gurus” http://www.keithjohnstone.com/ and The Improbable Theatre Company, http://www.improbable.co.uk/who focus on “open space technology.” This is a technique developed to support drama groups and theatre companies to encourage self-organisation in the creation and ability to collaborate and worktogether, therefore, forming a starting point for creativity and performance.  By harnessing these various schools of thought Rossy has provided a structure in which children have a  “free reign environment” fashioned to support each child as they grow in skills, confidence and age.

Rossy and her team of professional actors also coach the children towards attaining their LAMDA examinations.  For older students these exams are accredited and therefore count towards UCAS points. Dragon Drama children can start theirLAMDA tuitions from the age of five years old.  In addition to this Rossy also holds casting sessions, which are, of course, held in her unique way – the casting agents are invited in to view the children in their class performing as they would do weekly, so no huge pressure is involved. Dragon Drama junior actors include Bill Milner in  “Son of Rambow” and Floss Hoffman in “Burnt by the Sun” at The National Theatre.

Dragon Drama workshops take place on Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays after school and they also have summer holiday events.  The workshops are organised into age groups initially but this is not set in stone, it is dependent on the needs of the individual child.  The class sizes are also gauged to work best for the children participating, again Rossy will tailor a group to suit the needs of the children involved, ensuring that full attention is given to all.  Rossy runs all the workshops herself, and is assisted by her regular team of professional actors and Drama students.  This consistency ensures that there is a real family feel at Dragon Drama.  As Rossy says “Once a Dragon Always a Dragon”!

The Holiday Events will take place this summer starting with a one day workshop on July 25th 10.00 – 3.00for 4 – 7 year olds, and based at the beautiful Strawberry Hill House

Another date for the diary is set to take place between 29th July and 2nd August, whereby children will create a play in a week during their time spent at Dragon Drama.  Amazingly, the children will not only devise and write the play but will make the props and costumes (all with a focus on using recyclable materials) in addition to a grand finale of performing the play for parents and carers at the end of the week.

If you are looking for a drama class for your children, why look any further?  From Preschool to School Leavers, the facility at Dragon Drama is truly innovative, encouraging creativity and fostering individuality in each child and young person that has the good fortune to attend. 

For more information visit www.dragondrama.co.uk or call Rossy on 07590 452 436

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Delicious Moments

 

I had the pleasure of meeting with local Mum Anna Biro of “Delicious Moments” recently.  A true entrepreneur with heaps of talent, Anna makes some of the most delicious and eye-catching cakes I have ever seen, and I’m not exaggerating in the least!  Each one is hand-crafted and originally made, whether it be a large celebration cake or an individual cupcake.

Anna has always loved baking and until more recent years it was more of a hobby.  An Interior Designer by trade, Anna cake 13Anna worked for Next for many years, whilst she continued to bake in her spare time at any opportunity for her lucky family, friends and colleagues.  Even the Milkman and Postman receive Anna’s beautiful freshly made cakes on a regular basis!   Initially Anna started to bake cakes on commission, as people around saw her amazing and tasty creations they wanted to buy them for their own family and friends, for birthdays and other celebrations.  Gradually Anna was receiving so many orders it became impossible for her to juggle a full time job with motherhood and her baking requisites, and so she applied for part time hours and gradually reduced her permanent employment hours as her own business began to thrive.  Eventually she left her job as the “Delicious Moments” business was doing so very well and fitted around her family life just perfectly, giving her the freedom to spend more time with her son.

Anna cake 12Her creative talent truly shines through when she is designing and making her cakes, each one is a true work of art.  Firstly, she bakes with the very finest and well sourced ingredients – she only uses free range eggs and high quality flour, butter and sugar.  All of the flavourings she uses are authentic – vanilla pod instead of essence and real chocolate or ganache for her chocolate cakes.  Her recipes are all traditional and hail from her native Hungarian roots, and extremely high attention is paid to the flavour and quality of each and every cake baked.

Anna bakes all types of cakes to order and in addition to this alsoAnna cake 6 sells her cakes at a stall outside Robsons Butchers in Hampton Hill on a Saturday between 9am and 5pm.  You can also see her on her stall at Twickenham Green Fete on Sunday 7th July, so if you’d like to sample a cupcake or three you know where to go!  Her best sellers are carrot cakes, chocolate cakes and vanilla sponge but she does make a rather good fruit cake too – just perfect for Christmas.  If you do order cakes from Delicious Moments Anna also offers a free delivery on your order within a 3 mile radius (a minimum order of 12 cupcakes/large cake required)

If you’re looking for a party theme, Anna can also host cupcake birthday parties and can come along to your child’s (or your!) party with a batch of freshly baked cakes which are ready to decorate, and you can either choose to make the decorations yourself or she will bring some ready made ones along.   Each guest will leave with 6 of their own creations in a presentation box – just so cute!

Anna can also bake cakes for food allergy sufferers and quite frequently bakes sugar free, gluten free, dairy intolerant and egg free creations.  The only thing she cannot promise is nut free as nuts are stored in her kitchen.

Delicious Moments is still based at Anna’s home, and she can give herself a huge credit after her recent inspection from the Richmond Borough Principal Environmental Health Officer.  After receiving a five star award for cleanliness and hygiene, her systems were also documented for use by other Home Cake Maker Companies and feature as a guideline on their website.  What a meticulous lady she is – WOW!

Anna cake 4Currently Anna is having a website built and I will let you know when that goes live, this will help her showcase her fabulous cakes, as I hope to have helped her with here 😉

Please contact Anna Biro at Delicious Moments on 07985 718645 or email her at deliciousmoments@hotmail.co.uk 

We have a great Funkymothers offer on Anna’s Delicious Moments cakes whereby you can receive a 10% discount on a batch of cupcakes. (minimum 12) Just mention Funkymothers when you place your order.

Anna cake 1

A cake that Anna designed and baked for Teddington Hockey Club.

 

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I have always been a believer that exercise and relaxation are a key part of everyday life and enjoy fitness as an integral part of my daily routine.  However, there are times in our lives we need to redress the balance in the body and mind and take a more holistic approach, and I have discovered two practises new to me, which you should definitely be acquainted with, Bowen Technique and Thai Yoga Massage. 

Natasha de GrunwaldRecently I met with  Natasha De Grunwald, a local Mum living in Hampton Hill, and she has been practising Thai Yoga Massage for 24 years.  She initially discovered Thai Yoga Massage on a trip to Thailand in the early 90’s and has spent a considerable amount of time in Bangkok researching her training.  She has her own training school and practise based in Kingston and also practises at Natures Medicine in Hampton, as well as at home in Hampton Hill. 

Natasha specifically trained in two very different techniques to be able to offer clients a broad and holistic approach to achieving optimum health and well-being. With her client’s health at the forefront of her mind, and with her 24 years of experience as a practitioner, she carefully selects a treatment plan around the individual needs of each client she sees.

With both Thai yoga massage and Bowen technique, clients often report a reduction in the pain they may have been suffering with, sometimes for many years, whilst reporting that they have a general sense of heightened well-being and increased energy.  Our article today is all about Thai Yoga Massage. 

Thai Yoga Massage by Natasha de GrunwaldTYM1

Often known as lazy person’s yoga or applied Hatha yoga, Thai yoga massage is an amazing combination of reflexology, acupressure, yoga, and assisted progressive stretching.

The history of Thai massage dates back 2,200 years. It was originally taught and practised in Buddhist temples by local village health workers. The temples doubled up as health centres for local people to come for spiritual and physical healing. Thai massage was also passed down through generations of family lines, throughout Thailand and over the centuries. This contributed to it becoming the diverse and unique approach to body work that it is.

TYM2Given through the clothes on a floor mat, over 2 hours, each section of the body is thoroughly and repeatedly massaged and stretched. Thai massage starts at the feet and ends with a neck, face and head massage. The pressure throughout the treatment is carefully adjusted for each individual, but should be pleasant and deep. Natasha skilfully uses her feet, elbows, palms, thumbs, knuckles and forearms to apply pressure. During a general massage The recipient is massaged in four positions, on the back, front, side and sitting, whilst pregnant women are able to enjoy a full 2 hour massage lying on their sides with plenty of pillows around them for support and comfort.

Thai massage works on the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels of the body. Clients often report a deep sense of relaxation and an increased sense of general well-being, as well as feeling more balanced and energised, with these effects often lasting for many days. The combination of applied yoga and deep pressure allows the body and mind to relax. The client often falls into a deeply relaxed state, allowing the body to rest and repair.

TYM3On a physical level the joints are mobilised and the muscles stretched, increasing mobility and range of movement and releasing tension held in these areas of the body. The energy lines are continuously worked on releasing blockages on an emotional and physical level. Specific acupressure points are often stimulated to help with common complaints such as insomnia, headaches, back and shoulder pain, digestive disturbances, neck ache, poor posture or any condition where the body is out of balance. Thai Yoga massage is unique as it helps to relax the body deeply and at the same time can restore energy, and balance the body and mind. The overall effect is both calming and energising. The massage can also release toxins, support the immune system and increases a sense of well-being, as well as helping to improve posture and flexibility. The primary focus of Thai massage is to work on invisible energy lines that are in the body, similar to the meridian philosophy in Chinese medicine. In Thai massage philosophy there are ten main lines that are worked on. Most often they are worked equally to balance the flow of energy throughout the body. In some cases one energy line may be focused on more specifically as an addition to the other lines as a therapy for a condition, and certain pressure points may also be repeatedly stimulated. The dynamic stretching sequences are to stretch the lines, and the pressure work is to stimulate the lines, with muscular relaxation being a secondary effect of the massage work. ThaiTYM4 massage can be beneficial for anyone, no matter of age or flexibility. With the many techniques and stretches available to apply to the body, the sequence can easily be adapted for anyone to enjoy.

Clients who have limited range of motion, stiffness, soreness in joints and muscles, or who want to increase their flexibility or improve their posture can benefit from having regular Thai yoga massage treatments. Those clients who wish to relax and unwind will also find Thai massage very helpful, with the benefits lasting many days.

Many conditions can respond positively to Thai yoga massage. These include: Knee pain, back pain, whiplash injury, frozen shoulder, neck problems, depression and anxiety, migraines and headaches, insomnia and poor sleep patterns and lack of energy.

Natasha teaches Thai Yoga Massage to Practitioner Diploma Level at the London School of Thai Yoga Massage in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Parents with young children will often face the dilemma of needing to go back to work full time and finding a way of balancing this with being a full time parent does not always seem compatible. Often  a change of direction, building new skills and working for oneself can be an invaluable way of  creating the family and work life balance.

Being a Thai massage practitioner and teacher has been the ideal job for Natasha to have whilst her daughter was growing up.  She has been able to schedule clients and courses around the demands of being a mum and ensuring she is at the school gates each day at pick up time.

It’s great to find out that Natasha de grunwald teaches complete massage novices or existing therapists to become Thai yoga massage practitioners at a venue in Kingston, and that with mums and dads in mind she tries to schedule the day to run within school hours.

Training is over 9 months with London institute of Thai yoga massage, natasha’s training college.  The practitioner course is fully accredited, certified and recognised with insurance companies and governing bodies. This means that once students have qualified they are able to set up a practice, work in clinics, health clubs, salons or from home etc.

There are 12 days of training to attend, and then a break to do lots of practice at home on friends and family, before returning for an exam. The course is generally one Monday and Tuesday a month (consecutively) from 9.30 -3.00 each day. London institute of Thai yoga massage run 2 courses a year, one starting in the spring, and the other starting in autumn.

One of the beautiful things about Thai massage is that it’s so accessible for anyone to give or receive.   Participants on Natasha’s courses get to receive lots of massage during the course and also learn how to use their bodies to apply and vary pressure according to the needs of the individual.

The structure of the course has been very carefully worked out so that students can learn in bite sized and manageable chunks.  For example the first session is learning how to massage the feet, the second session would be massaging the legs, the third session the sequence of dynamic stretches and so on. Each day starts with a couple of demonstrations so that students can see how it’s done and get a chance to experience how it should feel, before they go off and work together to get stuck in exploring the moves and sequence. Natasha creates an exciting learning environment for her students where they can feel relaxed, have a lot of fun and learn a new skill for life.

Learning this ancient style of massage has other benefits for participants too as they often find they become physically stronger and more toned, this is due to the two hour massage sequence they learn being both dynamic and physical.  Students also find they develop awareness of their own bodies, and intuition for others, whilst also learning relaxation and breathing techniques and often report an increase in their energy levels and general well being.

Article written by Natasha De Grunwald, 5th June 2013. 

http://www.learntomassage.co.uk   email: ndegrunwald@icloud.com

My Daughter Holds the Key to My Heart

Ava woodland gardens

My daughter Ava is rather partial to keys.   This has become extremely apparent over her (nearly) 6 years.  In times gone by I have had to employ locksmiths to replace locks and keys at two houses due to her fondness of those tempting shiny silver and gold “trinkets” and her fascination with being able to get through a door or cupboard and close it again with a lock, time and time again.  She has spent possibly an amount of whole days, maybe weeks of her young life just opening and closing, locking and unlocking and she is well and truly “locked” into another world whilst she’s performing this task!   I’m not sure where this key fixation comes from but the magical keys seem to be the most attractive and enticing thing to her, almost more than any other toys we have bought her.

There was the time when we visited my sister.  Ava spent quite a lot of time by the back door in her “happy2013-05-30 13.11.07 key world” and whilst we thought we were keeping an eye on her, once we had gone home I received “the call” to let me know that they had searched the house over and over to no avail – the keys were gone and they couldn’t get out into the garden.  Not great in the height of summer for anyone, especially when they had load of washing to put out to dry.  So a locksmith was summoned the day after, I was a couple of hundred pounds lighter, yet thankfully my sister had freedom again!

On another occasion we visited a friend who had a beautiful (and really expensive) mahogany wardrobe which contained the entire collection of clothes, nappies and other day-to-day gubbins  required for her 1 year old daughter.  Again, imagine her dismay that when we left she needed to change her daughters nappy and the key was gone.  Locksmith number two was employed and more embarrassed apologies given by me.  The “triple fantastic” time came shortly after, we went to look at a house for sale and the owner let my children sit downstairs whilst showing my husband and I around the first floor of the property.  Sadly the house wasn’t for us and even more sadly we received a call from the estate agent the day after to ask if we could check and see if either of our children had taken the keys!  The poor woman had been unable to go out all day that Sunday after we left  as she couldn’t lock her door – Ava struck again!  Luckily for me, this time the estate agent had insurance to cover this type of damage but it remains to be said – the girl is incorrigible with keys and a rather typical pattern is emerging here.  My husband has a wardrobe in our dressing room which had  a key – again we were foiled by the child and have, what I consider ruined this gorgeous piece of furniture by adding a magnetic strip, therefore relinquishing the need for keys due to an incident when a suit was needed in a hurry and a break-in occurred once again.

We have bought many “secret diaries” with attached padlock and various locking type of toys, trinket boxes, etc etc for Ava, and generally  these toys are locked shut and defunct within hours of arriving back at our house due to lost/misplaced keys, so we have given them a miss for a year or so in the hope that my beautiful girl would grow out of the phase of the key.  I find the frustration is just too great and whilst I have tried to persuade her to part with the provided “spare” for safekeeping by me she will never agree and so another toy bites the dust.

This week my husband bought the children some presents whilst we were shopping in Kingston, my son chose 2013-05-30 13.11.10Bakugan, which may as well be under lock and key to me, as try as I might I just don’t get it!  However, we decided that Ava could have the pretty girlie pink box she wanted so much – complete with padlock and key, surely she had grown up enough to be allowed a toy like this now?  The toys were to be given to them as a reward for good behaviour and a half term treat.

The day before we gave them the toys I needed to go to the supermarket for a quick top up on supplies and dashed about trying to get the essentials as fast as I could – after all no children want to go shopping, especially on their school holiday.  When we arrived back at the house, imagine my surprise that they had managed to take home about 10 keys off the sardine cans – naughty little creatures 😉 Now maybe I should consider that bad behaviour but I couldn’t help but find it funny, although as an after-thought they were given a small grilling for their minor misdemeanour.

So we get to the day of the “present giving”

Funnily enough (and rather ironic) the day before I gave them the presents I had my own key incident.  Whilst rushing around between house and outdoor office trying to find art materials I’d saved for the children, I managed to drop the only remaining key to my office on the decking and this time it fell clean through – imagine my dismay!  I had had some very good news that morning though, so let the frustration pass and knew I’d resolve the issue – god knows – I’ve had enough experience in sorting out all matters key.  The tricky thing with this one is that it’s a  specialist key, I was unable to have a spare cut anywhere when I tried before, hence only having one now. (I can’t imagine where the other key went – can you?!)

I hatched a plan and asked a friend who is a carpenter to come over and cut out a small part of the decking with a jigsaw – which he did.  As he arrived I had just given the kids their gifts and was feeling a little torn as I helped him with the extension lead through the kitchen window and made him a cup of tea for his time and trouble in assisting me.  Yes – you guessed it, when I arrived back into the dining room, no more than five minutes after giving the new padlocked trinket box to Ava she had done it again!  The box was locked shut, I asked her where the keys were and not surprisingly she said “in the box!” Aaaaargh!  God help me, I just couldn’t believe it.

It took me nearly half an hour to pick that little sparkly bejewelled padlock, and guess what I used?  One of the sardine can keys from the supermarket!

The finale is a classic – less than 24 hours after receiving the present, she had broken the padlock and we are back to stage one again.  Bless.

  

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