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On this episode of The Truth about Massage Therapy Podcast, Krzys interview Kerry Sheahan
BHP019 – How massage helps me comes to terms with ME.
Kerry Sheahan is the owner of White Grove Holistics and is a fully qualified, MTI and CNHC certified Massage Therapist, as well as being a Meditation Practitioner. Her ultimate goal is to help facilitate healing in the body and mind through the mediums of bespoke massage, and meditation.
Specialising in working with people who suffer from chronic health issues, including chronic illnesses as well as the effects of chronic stress, she has an in-depth understanding of chronic stress and its effect on the body both from an academic perspective and personal experience. Developing a disabling chronic illness herself in 2010, meant that her life and approach to life significantly changed. Kerry is passionate about helping others to address the effects that chronic conditions may have on their health and well-being and draws on both her academic knowledge and her life experience to create a unique perspective and approach to working with her clients.
Kerry holds a Biological Science BSc from Edinburgh University and PhD from University of Bristol and graduated from Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork in 2015 when she was awarded her Holistic Massage, Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology Diploma. She has personally practised meditation as part of her own health and well-being regime since 2010, and also studied Meditation as a modality during her training.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on, it doesn’t matter how bad things are, doesn’t matter how little energy you’ve got, or how ill you’re feeling, it’s actually something that you can feel, and actually just coming back and just letting go of everything and just focusing on your breathing, and can actually be really helpful in a lot situation”
Tag a Guest Game:
Sara Anderson, founder of The Well-being Studio in Clevedon
Links mentioned in this episode:
KRZYS: So, welcome Kerry and thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast.
KERRY: Hi Krzys. Hello everybody at Busy Hive lovely to be here.
KRZYS: So here at Busy Hive we like to start every show with our guest favourite quote, it’s kind of our way to get everybody motivated and excited for the rest of the show. So can you tell us, what’s your favourite quote and why?
KERRY: Well I find this one really difficult actually because I actually I got like a little book that I keep loads of quotes in, that you know sort of you know mean things to me at different times and that kind of things, but one that was really that really sort of sticks with me and It’s pretty much helpful in any situation, it’s actually just a really simple one, and it’s just brief, and I think the reason why that resonates with me a lot is because “It doesn’t matter what’s going on, it doesn’t matter how bad things are, doesn’t matter how little energy you’ve got, or how ill you’re feeling, it’s actually something that you can feel, and actually just coming back and just letting go of everything and just focusing on your breathing, and can actually be really helpful in a lot situation”. Yes, that’s my quote.
KRZYS: No, I like that actually, there’s one of the, I have a few tattoos on my body and one of the things I wanted for quite a long time just to her little tattoo somewhere when I can just see on my hand or somewhere, but, yeah exactly just brief I think it’s so simple but so much powerful like we through being massage therapists we explore a new breathing concept and, and just how changing the breaths can affect your body.
KRZYS: How can it affect your body, affect your mind and actually gives you, gives you time gives you time to breathe. You know the breathing techniques been used for many, many years by soldiers, the Navy Seals, S.A.S people, police everyone just to gain and practice the mental strength of being you know of, of, of…
KRZYS: Of control of control of control what’s you know what life threw so you just you know step back and have a moment to breathe.
KERRY: Yeah and it’s really powerful, because there’s obviously the ultimate concept of where you going, your mind you going, your body and where you’re going your body you go in your mind, so actually you can have a really powerful effect on your mind and what your emotional state is and your thought process by actually just coming back to the really simple process that your body does day to day without you thinking of just breathing.
KRZYS: And one of the quickest ways to actually you know control the nervous system responses.
KRZYS: Very very direct and very quick one, one of the biggest one just to by you know when you stress or when something just changing your life and you know just when you just work on your breath completely change the aspect of the nervous system.
KERRY: Yeah. Definitely!
KRZYS: Great! That’s a really good one. So, lets everybody take one (inhale) deep breath (exhale) ahh, much better (Laughter).
KERRY: (Laughter). (Inaudible 03:26) On that side.
KRZYS: It’s all nerves gone, it’s all great. So Kerry here at Busy Hive we really focus on the beginning of our journey, because we can really really learn a lot from it on the business perspective, personal perspective as well. So can you tell us how did you get started and how did you get to the point where you today?
KERRY: Cool, yeah absolutely. So, we go a little bit far back now number of years go back to two thousand and ten (2010), I’ve actually originally trained as a scientist. I was living in the southwest and working in the southeast, so I was commuting over seven hundred thousand miles a week, working nine to five (9-5) hours which were technically I was supposed to work nine to five (9-5) I was probably working nine till seven (9-7) (laughter) actually though. And, I got a virus in the August, I woke up one morning and I just felt like I had the worst flu ever, it was just awful I had a sore throat, temperature, I ached all over, and I did what most of us do I think, I took two days off work and then I went straight back to work, and I hit the floor running and I just carried on doing what I’d been doing. I was training to run a half marathon. I’m doing all the travelling and I noticed that as the months went on something just wasn’t quite right and it got to I think it was (yeah) it was October and everybody in the office was in still in just shirts and trousers skirts, and I would sat at my desk and I had my massive thick Michelin man style coat on, willy hat, willy scarf, willy gloves just to stop myself from shivering and I was thinking that’s something not right here. So I went to the doctor, they say oh it’s probably just the after effects of the virus you know give it some time you will be fine. So I gave it some time, and it got to December and I was having to go out to my car over lunch time to sleep because I couldn’t keep my eyes open at my desk, I was having to set an alarm and I was having to drag myself back into work. And I guess I just couldn’t keep my eyes open I couldn’t I didn’t have any energy to do anything. And, so I went back to doctors, and they signed me off for couple of months, and during this couple of months I thought that’s fine yes I just got a bit run down and I’ll go you know, I have this, this break I’ll go back to work it will be fine. And I had a couple of months off and I wasn’t feeling any better, in fact, I was actually getting worse and the doctor felt that I was, or that I had something called post-viral fatigue syndrome; which was bordering on becoming chronic, chronic fatigue syndrome or M.E. But, they felt they wanted me to go back to work so honestly how I was doing that you know they felt that actually, I’d be okay going back to work, and I was in a bit of denial as well, because I thought well you know anybody doing the amount of stuff that I was doing surely you know they just get run down and that’s what was causing it. I was you know I was pretty sure in myself that no it wasn’t you know this condition and if I just took some rest I’d be fine. Well, I carried on working for another two years. And then it became clear there I needed to take a break from work. Work was incredibly stressful and I was having to work five days a week and I wasn’t able there wasn’t the opportunity to cut that travelling time down or anything like that so I thought right okay, I’m going to take six months break and I’m going to try and find a job near home.
KRZYS: Hmm hmm.
KERRY: So, did that. Six months came and went, and I was at the stage where I could literally just move from sofa to bed, bed to sofa and that was it. And that’s when it really hit me that okay I think I need to go back to the doctors, and that’s when I got the formal diagnosis of M.E. So, that became a bit of a battle in itself, but as time went on and I sought help from different avenues. I started to get a tiny little bit of energy back, and so I decided that I was going to do a couple of different things just to try and get me out the house. By this point I’d spent about eighteen months in the house I hadn’t left the house by in eighteen months. I thought right I need to go out and do something. So I started with a pottery class and I did that and I suddenly enjoyed it, but again it was I left feeling tired afterward as well. So I thought well okay I finished that’s that. And then I thought you know what I’ve always loved massage, I always love having massages and I saw that The Bristol College Of Massage And Body was doing an introductory session on Holistic massage (Inaudible 08:41) and it was just a weekend and I thought you know what I’m just I’m just going to go I’m going to give it a go it will get me out the house, I’ll learn how to you know give my family some nice massages and yeah and then after that weekend I just absolutely loved it. I mean I can’t I’ve never done anything like that but I’ve enjoyed so much, and I came away feeling energized, I didn’t feel drained, I didn’t feel tired you know it was just like a sort of magic clock I found (laughter).
KRZYS: (Laughter). Great!
KERRY: (Laughter). (Inaudible 09:20) socket and just charge myself up a bit and I feel you know what, you know people do, do this as a job I wonder if I can, and so yes I ended up doing the Holistic Massage diploma with you. And just (yeah) it was the best experience ever I mean I just never had done…
KRZYS: Life changing.
KERRY: Anything like it. Yeah. Absolutely! I mean I’ve done so many different courses over the years, and so much of it training and I’ve never had anything that has made me feel so excited and so much fun and just, yeah it’s really hard work but, It’s not it doesn’t feel like it’s hard work, it feels easy because you’re just really enjoying it. So, yeah so I started developing my business while I was still training because I didn’t have many people close to me that I could practice on, so I started advertising manage to have a little bit of space at a local therapy center and started building my business from there. Got my website going and everything like that and yeah, so I haven’t looked back since really.
KRZYS: But. Yeah. Amazing story well I know I know Kerry we study together and with the journey your journey through it is definitely inspiring…
KERRY: Thank you.
KRZYS: And as well, exactly you know find finding the finding the thing finding the course and starting massage is was completely life changing as I mentioned and the best part is so you know from you was always a discovery that actually. Helping people I’m helping myself, because you know I was really I was you know doing something to relax people and that relaxes me…
KRZYS: And then help us discover our self and Help us to help us with our, our struggles and our sort of conditions or our lives.
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely! It is it’s really it’s so interesting that you can be doing something to help someone, but actually be getting just as much back from it yourself. It really is a two-way process its great (laughter).
KRZYS: It is amazing (laughter). That’s why we’re doing it (laughter).
KRZYS: So can you tell us in your, in your mind one of the challenges as a new therapist when you started?
KERRY: Yeah. So, For me, it was really very much balancing and basically feeling okay to put myself first, because when you’re someone that which I’m sure many of us are driven and a perfectionists as well, but also that we want to be able to help people, it can feel quite difficult at times to not just give your all and make yourself available whenever you know when each person wants you to be available and book people in you know as many as you can one because of the money, but two because you know you feel bad by asking them to wait a couple of weeks for an appointment and that kind of thing, so for me it was very much that battle of balancing that with knowing that actually I need to put myself first and I need to look after myself. So, yeah sort of reaching that and don’t get me wrong two years on it is still you know it’s still hard work there are still times when I find myself saying okay I’ll just you know I’ll create an appointment just to fit you in and then I think oh you know you know I shouldn’t have done that, but it is it’s developing the confidence I think to be able to think actually do you know what I need this and putting that in place so that then actually you can give more to your clients because you’re not running yourself ragged and not running yourself down.
KRZYS: Definitely! It’s where we, because we so passionate and we always, where we do this because you know we want to help people it’s…
KRZYS: Getting this experience and actually the idea to step back and think about ourselves a bit more so actually you know, yeah as you said not to not to book another client or not to stretch ourselves to give ourselves time. And I did that in the beginning and it’s still I’m getting better, but at the same…
KRZYS: I just you know specially, in the beginning, we just want to help everyone and everyone and it’s really hard to build a business so we you know grab every client we can and…
KRZYS: And then just discovering some new techniques on the way, how to talk to clients actually organizing our diary to instead of have be open you know whole week we can just you know be open be couple of days and it doesn’t mean that we don’t offer ourselves to in a wider range of days for the clients is just means we can book so you what it means we don’t have a clients Monday, Wednesday and Sunday we just put them on Monday in our air…
KRZYS: And that you know if it’s not you know clients will it’s always other way around when we think, we always think that we need to we need to adjust to the client’s diaries and their lives kind of the ways. We kind of do, however, it’s our work and it’s our diary and so you know if they want to see us that’s where I’m booking.
KERRY: Yeah. Absolutely!
KRZYS: For me, at the moment I’m just working Monday to Thursday because that’s what’s you know that’s what I can at the moment. Because of the life and you know I’ve many phone calls about you know working weekends or Fridays and I said I’m sorry I’m just working, and it’s just straight away I’m sorry I’m working only Monday through Thursday would you like me to look at diary in between those days’ and you know ninety people of you know ninety percent, well i would say eighty percent of people they happy to look at those days.
KERRY: Yeah, definitely. And I think one thing as well that always stuck with me that one of teachers said in college is the fact that you know, don’t sweat it, you will attract clients that work one with the way you work and two with your approach to massages as well, so don’t worry if you get people that don’t fit or don’t necessarily you know click with the way that you work, because you will build up a client base and in the end if you stick to your framework of what works for you that actually you’ll end up with a really good client base because they’ll all fit with how you want to work as well.
KRZYS: And exactly the same like you know sometimes clients book one session, then don’t re-book and you will worry what’s happened, actually nothing happened you know not everyone gonna like the way you work. Not all everyone will like your face or if you’re tatted or whatever you know like your appearance (laughter).
KERRY: (Laughter). Yep.
KRZYS: Exactly. And that doesn’t mean something but it’s just something you know just doesn’t fit and that’s fine. What I always said, they make a space for the people that actually want to drawn to me and people will you know kind of college Velcro people who stick with you.
KERRY: Yeah, and I think as well the thing is that really the clients are going to get much more out of it as well if you have that kind of rapport with them so actually it’s probably better from you know if there is a client that doesn’t necessarily fit with you and you think that oh you know actually they’d work really well with so and so that you know actually it’s okay to let clients go, because one it won’t, It will help with the balance that you have in your client base but also they’ll probably get it get more out of it…
KERRY: So that’s not to say that one practitioner is better than another they’re just different and different approach you seek different people.
KRZYS: Perfect. So let’s, let’s carry on and let’s move on to do big part of the interview. So, we usually choose a topic which of the conversation which is related to our you know work of our guests to our their lives as today, we want to, talk to talk about living and working with conditions and how that’s affecting us and how are we changing. What we want to bring some bit more information Kerry about your conditions because I think you will be as well great to get some more information. What it is and how affecting you know us and the people so can you explain, what’s M.E.?
KERRY: Cool, okay. So M.E. knowing this is a bit of a tongue twister, its M.E. is short for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis….
KRZYS: Oh thank you, cause I try to say that and it just didn’t work (laughter).
KERRY: (Laughter). Now I’ve actually written it down here because (talking simultaneously) so I know how to say it…
KERRY: So, now depends, what depends what country you’re in, there’s going to be lots of different names for this condition you’ve got (C.F.S.) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome. (C.F.I.D.S.) which is Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I think that’s the one that’s prevalent in the U.S. at the moment. And basically, It’s, it’s an invisible chronic condition and it’s really not very well understood at the moment, so at the moment a full diagnosis of M.E. isn’t what we would normally think of as a clinical diagnosis because it’s a diagnosis by exclusion. So, what happens is that they rule out everything else they possibly can and if nothing of that comes up then you get okay you’re now in the M.E.
KRZYS: Similarly what they do of the fibromyalgia if they can’t rule out anything else.
KERRY: Yeah. Yeah.
KRZYS: This is it.
KERRY: Yeah. So, interesting you know for fibro there’s been some stuff out recently where they’ve been talking a lot as well about the suggestions that studies are said that actually it’s to deal with some receptors in their circulatory system and that kind of thing so yeah that’s quite, quite interesting as well, sorry I digress (laughter).
KRZYS: Yeah. (Laughter).
KERRY: So, M.E. basically is this severely disabling disease that affects multiple bodies, multiple systems in the body, so that includes the brain the immune system, the endocrine system, so all our hormones, hormones systems, our autonomic nervous system, and our muscle, our lymph system, our cardiovascular system…
KRZYS: That’s quite a lot.
KERRY: Our digestive system. Yeah, basically and the difficulty is with that one diagnosing it, but also supporting people that suffer with it because at the moment there is no cure, there’s no cure and there’s no treatment as well, for it at the moment. So it’s that because so many systems in the body are affected, people have such a huge range of symptoms, so in many cases, it often starts with an acute viral illness so as in, as I had in my case. And it’s estimated that in the U.S. There is over a million people that suffer from it, over two hundred fifty thousand in the U.K. and over a hundred thousand in both Canada and Australia so…
KRZYS: That’s quite big numbers.
KERRY: The world wide prevalence. Yeah. Absolutely. So the world wide prevalence of it is that they think there is at least seventeen million people that suffer from it, and yet there’s no treatment there’s no cure. So it can affect, it can affect anyone it can affect people of all ages, all walks of life. And, there’s a list as I said there’s you know there’s, there’s no treatment for it really at the moment. So the kind of symptoms that people can have can range from mild to moderate to severe, so It can be things along the lines of just absolutely breaking fatigue, fatigue isn’t really a word that really sums it up which is why a lot of people that suffer from M.E. don’t use the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome label, because for them fatigue is just one of many, many symptoms that they experience but if you can imagine I don’t if you been to any of the castles in the U.K. and they have the big chain mail that the knights used to wear and whether or not you have to lift the chain mail up, It’s incredibly heavy. I mean how do you (Inaudible 22:42) I just don’t know, but if you imagine having your whole body covered in this chain mail and then being put in a swimming pool full of molasses and trying to move that’s what the fatigue feels like…
KRZYS: Oh wow! Okay. That’s very visual. (Laughter).
KRZYS: No, no, good good.
KERRY: Yeah it’s, it’s really hard to try because the thing is as well, with this condition is that unless you’ve experienced it it’s really difficult to understand it…
KERRY: So, yeah. We’re always trying to find ways to making it visually engage able. So, that’s just the fatigue, but then alongside that you have pain, so pain within your joints in your muscles. Migraines and headaches, you know even in your skin sometimes can be painful, so even someone just touching you can be incredibly painful. You have sensitivity to light, sound, noise, movement, so some people that are severely affected by it actually live their lives in a darkened room on their own with all the sound blocked out or the light blocked out because they can’t cope with any, any more than that. Then from the brain perspective we have what we term brain fog and it’s just (yeah) it affects your ability to hold conversations, it affects your memory so you can have a conversation with someone one day and then the next day they’ll mention something in relation to it, and you’ll have no memory at all that you had that conversation with them, or you’ll be watching a T.V. program and you will be thinking I have no idea what’s going on, because the last episode you just cannot remember at all. So, if you can imagine day to day functioning like that it’s actually really hard. And then you also get Immune flares so you’ll have the feeling like you’ve constantly got flu; so feverish, sore throat or your glands can be swollen. You can again sort of the pain coming in from that instance as well, and all of this can be happening in the background, you can have all of those going on and then it can be exacerbated so made worse by any kind of physical activity. But the difficulty is as well, is that the impact of the physical activity can sometimes not be seen until up to seventy-two hours afterwards, so you can suddenly have a massive what we would call an M.E. flare where you’re just completely knocked out and then you have to try and think okay, what happened over the last few days that could possibly have caused that? And, so yeah it’s, it’s very, very much a balancing act trying to pace. And people do go through cycles of it getting better and then it getting worse again, and it’s just kind of you know, you just kind of try to balance it really, and say yeah (chuckles).
KRZYS: So you know the whole condition how affecting it is pretty, pretty well. Damaging and kind of really we can really, really affect you. So how, how, how, because everyone’s different obviously. So how does that affecting you and your work?
KERRY: So I’m on the moderate to severe scale. So on a good day, I’m moderate and on a really bad day, I’m severe. So one thing I…
KRZYS: Do you, do you, so you, is it constant? Do you have like just the times where it just okay or not?
KERRY: No. No, it’s constant so It’s really strange because a lot of people with M.E. and chronic fatigue syndrome when people ask how they are, they often say, oh yeah you know I’m fine, and that kind of thing and when you’ve been ill for so long you kind of lose your marker of what normal is, so it just becomes you know part of you, but yeah there’s, there’s, there’s never a day when I am when I’m when I’m well if you like. So, moderate days I can see a couple of clients a day. But that will only be two days a week and so at the moment what I do is I work Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then I rest the rest of the time and I work two weeks, and then I take a full rest week. So if you can imagine say that’s to be able to see six clients a week, I’m resting. Rest directly all of that other time.
KERRY: And, so that means that I can do little things like I can pop out to the coffee shop, I can sort of you know sit up and you know watch T.V. and hold conversations and that kind of thing. I can’t exercise. In fact, to do the physical side of the massage that has become my exercise because to do any more than that I’d end up triggering an M.E. flare. So what I actually do is I tend to rest most of the time so I don’t really tend to get to take my dog out for a walk, my partner does that. And you know I don’t get to you know go out for general strolls or day visits or anything like that because the whole day would just be too much for me. But it does mean they’re you know I can bring in I could bring a little bit money and I could have an enjoyment of doing massage that kind of thing. And in order to be able to maintain that moderate level. I take a huge amount of nutritional supplements I rattle as I walk I take so many. But if I didn’t take those supplements, my baseline would be severe and if I get like, if I get a bug or a cold or anything like that then I start to dip in from the moderate to severe as well. So the severe for me is not being able to hold conversations, and not being able to remember things from one day to the next, that huge fatigue feeling that I mentioned all that chain mail and everything like that and really just trying to keep their light to a minimum, keep the noise to a minimum that kind of thing, so for me. Actually, one of the things that’s really important from a massage perspective is that I really you know I try very, very hard to make it clear that, if obviously in a nice possible way that if clients are not well, please reschedule. Because there’s obviously when you’re working with people there’s always that risk that you’re going to pick up a bug and that kind of thing. And a bug that affects for one, better phrase “normal people” for a couple of days would probably knock me out for about three weeks.
KRZYS: So, how, how, how massage and being massage therapist, change you, change your condition?
KERRY: So, for me I was on the process really of getting back in contact with my body. I think like many people I was just functioning as a mind before I got ill, and I was living in there getting through the work week so that I could do this at the weekend or getting through this point so that I could then go on holiday and have a break then, or getting through this point so that next year I could buy a house you know. I was always living in the future. And so part and parcel of trying to manage my condition was that I had to get I had to re-establish that mind body connection, and for me just one experiencing massage on a regular basis, but two, also learning about massage and how it worked and everything like that really helped to strengthen that mind body connection. Really helped me to check in with my body and notice the little red flags that my body sends up every now and then, and that’s really subtle and if you’re not careful you can miss them, but actually they’re really important because it’s like hang on a minute you’re pushing a little bit too fast, you know just take your foot off the accelerator a bit and then you’ll be okay. But, if you miss that red flag, you can go straight pass it and then you’re heading for an M.E. flare.
KRZYS: So why are we chatting about this because, as I say you know we as a massage therapist we gaining some super powers and to help people, but we actually we still you know we still people we still have our own struggles, our own conditions things we struggle with and if things you know don’t do the way we need to you know a want to make a work and actually massage can be one of the best things to help us dealing with the conditions, not as a giving massage, but as a taking having massage, but giving massage. It probably takes you know a lot of a lot of planning and organizations you already give some example of this how you plan a plan your schedule do you have any other examples for how, how you managed that working as a massage therapist?
KERRY: Yes, it’s quite a lot actually, you can break it down from a perspective of looking at it from both of the physical and the mental side of it as well, so the underlying principle for me is making sure that I’ve put my needs first as I said earlier, and the part of that and part of being able to provide a service to other people while you do that as you say it’s really good organization. Basically, I have say from a diary perspective, as we were talking about earlier, I have a set days in my diary that I’m working and actually, so that I’m not tempted to try and book someone in on another day I actually put a line through that day. So that as I’m flicking through it you know I’ve already given myself permission to not book someone in on a Wednesday because the line is through the diary I can’t write on it there is a line through it. So, and then I actually I have my my appointment slots in on a Tuesday and on a Thursday, and so whether I’m flicking through I can see where this space is, but I also and again this is really this is something that is hard work but it’s something that you know if you can get a handle on it again, it’s having that confidence to think no I’m not going to create an extra space that I ordinarily wouldn’t have, I’m going to suggest the appointment the week after. And that actually, that’s okay you are allowed to do that and don’t feel apologetic about doing that either, I tend to start out with I’d always say, oh I am really sorry you know, and I haven’t got an appointment till so and so, and again that’s a key phrase as well, is not saying oh you know I’m really sorry, I’m on holiday next week but then I can do the week after. What I can say is that I’m really sorry I don’t have any appointments available until.
KRZYS: That’s it, exactly! Clients don’t even; even if you have a you know free lots of free appointment and stuff, clients don’t need to do that, know that, that is what it is…
KRZYS: I don’t have an appointment for this week, however, I have some slot of appointment we can have a look for the next week, would you be interested in that? Simple as that, they don’t need to know your holidays, you’re ill, you’re sick, u want to walk a dog or just want to take a break or whatever just you know you busy.
KERRY: Yes, absolutely. And the thing is as well is that something that really, really sorts of hits home when you have a chronic illness is that doing nothing isn’t actually doing nothing because sitting and resting it’s actually really good for you. Whether you have a chronic illness or not, and it’s okay you know if you feel like you need to take a you know you need to take an afternoon off and you are allowed to take an afternoon off. If you know…
KRZYS: You can take your afternoon off lay down relax and listen to the Busy Hive Podcast.
KERRY: Absolutely! (Laughter).
KRZYS: (Laughter) Exactly.
KERRY: Thoroughly recommend that. (Laughter).
KRZYS: There’s one, (laughter) one I want to come back to the one thing you said, “Give yourself permission”. I think we liked that we actually, somehow we just don’t do that actually, say even say it verbally to yourself, I give myself permission to rest to not to do that to you know, just yeah, you allow.
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we I think as a therapist we can be incredibly hard on ourselves sometimes and I think we just need to have a little bit of compassion for ourselves, and you know just say actually its okay, its okay.
KRZYS: And. Exactly. And as you even mentioned it takes time and practice and experience you know we are a couple of years in the practice, not for many years. Well, we’ve done some stuff, some stuff and we have some experience of dealing with stuff by we still we noticed stuff and we get better at stuff, but it was still is you know it’s not something we you know we achieve right now, right here, next week it’s just something so small, like there is a saying don’t buy don’t eat whole elephant, or something that…
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely.
KRZYS: Just chew it in you know small, small pieces, just you know small step at a time. To practice this to get better, to you know allow yourself to, to, to be better and to do rest and to step back to, to, to look after yourself.
KERRY: Yes, absolutely. And I think the thing to remember is as well, is that you know there’s always going to be times that’s going to be a challenge that and you know….
KRZYS: Oh yes!
KERRY: And you can’t be hard on yourself, if you find yourself thinking, oh my God you know I shouldn’t have set that appointment next week, why did I try and squeeze someone in and then be hard on yourself over that. Because it will happen they’re still going to be situations I’m sure even many, many years down the line when we forget (laughter)…
KRZYS: That is, there is exactly. There is something what we call life and you think, you think it gets easier, nope. It’s not and life is challenging in every, every time. So, you know we just get better at it and we get stronger at it, but…
KRZYS: There’s always mistake, challenges and stuff. Well, that’s the part.
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely. (Laughter).
KRZYS: So, can you tell us because working with your condition and having tried to adjust and control like schedule everything, so how do you how do you talk to your clients? How do you work with your clients about it, about yourself and about the way you work? And, how they reacting?
KERRY: So I have. Because the way that I work and the kind of massage that I do, I actually, I’m actually specializing in people that have chronic conditions. So, I actually have on my website that I have experience of and interested in working with people that have M.E. and Fibromyalgia and that kind of thing, In terms of specifically talking about my condition that’s one thing that I haven’t actually done publicly in terms of like my website. I haven’t written the blog about it or anything at this point in time because I’ve never really felt how I can picture it right, and, in terms of sessions with clients. Because I mean you know as we all know this sort of the session is their space, so I don’t tend to volunteer information about myself unless it feels appropriate at the time. So I haven’t actually discussed it with a lot of my clients because a lot of my clients come for you know help with stress, help with you know different muscle problems, different pains and aches and stuff they have so it’s not always relevant, but in situations where it is what I have what I tend to do is I tend to sort of start by saying, “Do you mind if I share something with you that I think it may be helpful”? And then I tend to say that you know I have M.E., I’ve had M.E. for however many years. And then I’ll start to talk about what my experience of it is in relation to what it’s relevant to them, so, and they’ve always found the clients that I’ve spoken about that, we have found that you know really, really helpful and I’ve been very open to that. In terms of…
KRZYS: Well, I think the great way is to share your experience or you. Well, not into detail about your experience with, with your condition all the way, where you work in the blog. I think is great because it makes you more credit credible, makes you sounds like you still human, sounds like you actually and that you are an expert because…
KRZYS: You have this, what your clients do…
KRZYS: So, you actually you know they feel much more be able to feel that they you understand them more as you know therapist point of view.
KERRY: Yeah. No absolutely. And I think actually sort of speaking to Busy Hive about these kinds of things today is actually giving me a bit more confidence to maybe start to do that sort, that kind of thing I sort of spoken about it in a professional supervision. You know whether or not to go down that route and how I’d do it and I think that it’s definitely something that I’m going to do a little bit more. I think again it sort it comes down to the how confidence thing….
KRZYS: Hmm hmm. Of, course.
KERRY: Having the confidence to put yourself out there into you know that kind of thing. So, yeah I’m sort of. Yeah, I’m on that sort of (Inaudible 41:50).
KRZYS: Of course, because you know…
KERRY: Doing it more…
KRZYS: It is big thing, and you know to talking to about yourself about your, what’s the word? Your not weaknesses, your….
KRZYS: Your challenges. It’s really hard to actually open up and tell about you know that actually, you know, I don’t know, I have M.E. or I have depression, or actually, you know something like that, because we, you know we worry how are we going to be looked at, looked at but I think. It could be very therapeutic and you know just putting a few words about it in a sense that explaining would and that you know I still have it and that’s how affecting me and that’s how I can help you, because I understand…
KERRY: Yeah, and I think…
KRZYS: You know…
KRZYS: And even ,even…
KERRY: And I think…
KRZYS: Before putting in a blog just writing a piece for yourself. My help put few words about actually you know. You don’t have to put it there straight away, just write some words and stuff till you happy and more confident about it, just you know but actually writing something like that, in a sense sharing with people or clients. You know might be very, very helpful.
KERRY: Yeah, I’ve done that actually in the preparation for today…
KERRY: Sort of making a few notes and stuff like that and I think because there’s such a, they’re so many mixed surrounding M.E. So, it’s very much misunderstood and still thought of in quite a few circles as a psychological condition which is not to say that psychological conditions aren’t as bad, they’re just different, but M.E. definitely isn’t a psychological condition, and so trying to dispel some of those myths that it is actually a neurological and biological physiological illness. So, yeah I think it would be quite exciting actually to go down that route. (Laughter)
KRZYS: Hmm. (Inaudible 43:56) So we would be looking forward to, to read a blog. So…
KRZYS: Did you did you had to reschedule or cancel your appointments, because of your condition?
KERRY: So, I’ve had to. There’s been once or twice when I was first starting out, but I got the balance wrong. Now it tends to be more that I’ve kind of got the balance right as long as nothing else happens. So for instance if I get an illness, then I tend to do have to reschedule people, one because I’m ill, like anybody would but I tend to have to reschedule people for longer periods of time, so recently I had more of an M.E. flare and I ended up having to take a whole month off of work, which meant that I then had to reschedule people and that kind of thing. So…
KERRY: That was quite hard.
KRZYS: So, how do you, how do you talk to do clients? How do you, yeah, how do you reschedule them?
KERRY: So, what I tend to do is if it’s a short term reschedule, I contact them by phone. I try phone initially, so I can actually speak to the person if I can’t get a hold of them then I would send an email, but I’ll also leave messages by when I call and just explain the situation and say (Inaudible 45:16) I’m afraid I’m not very well today. The likelihood is if their appointment is today obviously I’m not going be able to see you today, my apologies for this, but I’d like to reschedule you if that’s okay. And, if it’s for another couple of days I would be saying the likelihood is that I’m not going to be fully better. And if it’s if it’s something like a cold then I would say, I want to make sure that I don’t risk passing the cold on. And that kind of thing, so that I’m saying very much from my perspective that I need to reschedule, rather than saying is it okay if I rescheduled? I actually phrase it as I need to reschedule…
KRZYS: Yeah. The wording is quite important…
KERRY: It is yeah. Because if you’re asking permission to reschedule, that can be seen that actually there’s a possibility to not, and still keep the appointment and actually, if you’re unwell you do need to reschedule and that’s absolutely fine to say that. But also say it from a perspective that you’re also not only you looking after your own well being but you’re looking after theirs as well because you don’t want to pass the bug on you know you don’t want to pass cold on that kind of thing. So from a long term perspective in terms of when I had to take the month off, and I kept it relatively vague in that I said that due to personal reasons I’m going to be closing for the month of May, but I’ll be reopening again in June. So, and what I also did was I found another massage therapist that I know that’s local that I’ve worked with that I really trust and I gave her details to my clients so that if they needed to see someone in that longer period of time that I wasn’t available they had somewhere to go. So that I knew that I wasn’t just saying well, I’m not going to be here you’re on your own.
KRZYS: Hmm. That’s a great idea.
KERRY: Actually, I’m sorry I can’t be here, but here’s some help if you need it, you know.
KRZYS: That’s a really, really great to be able to have, yeah, to find a fellow massage therapists who just in case, yeah, if something happened, if you get ill, you can actually you know as you said, don’t leave them alone just give them a choice.
KERRY: Yeah, actually. And I think that’s one of the things that helps when you’re not well. So, like what Sophie was saying back in her podcast earlier on in the year that community is really important because we do work on our own we are self-employed we you know we don’t see very many people in trying to maintain that community. It’s really good because there will be like, as we said earlier, life is going to happen. They’ll be instances where you’re not going to be able to see people and you know whether it’s because you’re ill or because of other personal circumstances, and it actually does take a lot of the weight off your mind if you know you’ve got someone that you can refer them on to in the short term. You know whilst you look after yourself.
KRZYS: Yeah, great. Really, great tips. So, Kerry, can you tell us give us some few tips about (Inaudible 48:13) because we all work really hard, and you know we over work. So, what would you suggest are a few tips to for health care?
KERRY: So, the thing I found really helpful is one obviously, it said in so many so many times in so many different situations that as massage therapist we are athletes and we do need to think of ourselves as athletes, with your physical job. You know we, there’s a lot of toll taken on our bodies so physically I think it’s really important to look after our bodies, so…
KRZYS: And we are going to forget. (Laughter).
KERRY: (Laughter). No we don’t, I mean again. So I’m saying this, but you know there’s going to be days when I don’t stretch before clients and I don’t stretch after clients and then I feel it you know. So, you know its different things like the normal care of stretching before and after…
KRZYS: That’s always won the big, big questions to the fellow massage therapists. So massage therapist talking to the massage therapists, so, hey when did you had last massage and they’re like, oh… Don’t remember. (Laughter).
KERRY: (Laughter). I know it’s so true, so it’s not deserted, it’s not just the stretching before and after, but it’s looking after your body outside of that as well, so whether it’s massage therapy, whether it’s going to see a personal trainer to you know sort of help strengthen areas in your body that are weaker. Having acupuncture that’s one of things I tend to do, if I have acupuncture just to help with aches and pains and balance in my body so that I can make sure that you know that kind of side. But then you’ve also got the mental and emotional side of being a massage therapist as well, so making sure that you know that you you give yourself permission to take rests as and when you need to, and also give yourself permission to let go of clients that aren’t necessarily in the same plane as you, aren’t necessarily the right fit for you, because they will drain your energy you know, and as nice a people as they may be, it isn’t that there’s something wrong with you or them it’s just there’s a miss match, because we’re not going to click with everybody. And so if you find that someone’s draining your energy you are you know it’s absolutely fine to pass them on to another colleague that may you know may be a better fit.
KERRY: And, also as well, scheduling make, make sure that you’re not going from client to client, to client, to client make sure you’ve got breaks in between. That’s one of the things that we’ll also sort of talk about later in terms of like you know when I say when we talk about meditation. But, what I tend to do is I schedule a fifty a minimum of a fifteen (15) minutes break in between clients. That so, that I can obviously change the room over and do everything else you know and write a little bit notes I need to, but it also says that I can do a short meditation in between each client, so that that gives me that mental and that emotional switch. That switches off client A and makes me open for Client B. And, it also helps as well that I also do a meditation at the end before I go home. So, that allows me to switch off and leave the client energy and the client you know everything that’s going on, client busyness, and not take that home with me. Don’t get me wrong you know we all have those clients that you know we get home and we find days later their energy is still with us, and sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not such a good thing. But, yeah if you can, I think that the key really is allowing yourself to do what works for you, so that you feel positive and energized and looking forward to work.
KRZYS: And thriving. That’s one of my next challenges on me, because the scheduling having this break, anyway I have a I see a certain amount of clients in a day and it’s always like that, and then I have always hour in between, between the clients, however, because I was a mobile massage therapist I usually use the time of my travel and getting there and organizing sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more. However, I set myself a challenge for and yeah I’m just working on it, I just need to sit down and look at my schedule properly to actually you know have few clients in the morning, but actually have a two hours break in the middle. And then work and few clients you know clients after, because I yeah, is needed (chuckles).
KERRY: Yes, you need a lunch break (laughter).
KRZYS: Everyone. Exactly! Need the lunch break (laughter).
KRZYS: So from, from the experience can you can you give us some example of common signs that we can notice that we are over doing it?
KERRY: Yes, so I mean obviously…
KRZYS: Because, it’s that sort of thing that’s usually what’s, what’s the problem is we just don’t notice the signs, and you know our bodies are amazing our body would tell us, however…
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely.
KRZYS: We don’t see that or we pass through that you know.
KERRY: Hmm. And, I think like we’ve so like I was saying earlier with regards to the M.E. I get little red flags come up, everybody will get that they’ll you know and those red flags will be different for different people. But, I think generally, obviously, if you’re getting to the stage where you’re getting aches and pains. Then you know you’re you know whether it’s how you’re using your body during a massage, or whether you’re just pushing your body too hard, that’s one thing so you know to sort of keep an eye out for, but also, as well, situations where by, yes okay you know there’s going to, we’re not going to have every single day where we get up we wake up in the morning go, yeah I’m off to work, woohoo! But, if you’re getting up and you’re finding that you are feeling basically, oh God I just I just I can’t do this, I just don’t want to do this. And you’re getting that more and more and more you probably need to schedule a break, or just schedule a holiday. And, yeah just you know if you’re finding that you’re not. I think it gets to the state if you’re finding that you’re not enjoying it, then there needs to be a change in some way. So, yeah whether it’s that you’re feeling drained by it, whether you’re finding that you’re not feeling so positive towards your clients’ anything like that. Then, yeah I think they’re sort of signs that okay you know you need to this sort of take a step back and think okay, what have I done for me recently? That’s usually the first place that I start, is I think okay because I’m doing all this stuff for everybody else; I’m helping all these other people. When, well when was the last time I did something for me? And, then that’s usually when I think oh yeah okay, well when was the last time I had a massage? (Laughter). And little bits like that. And then, Yeah, I sort of I suppose from my perspective, because I because of the chronic condition. I’m looking for little things as well during, during the sessions so, If I’m working and I suddenly notice that it’s feeling harder and harder to hold their arm at that angle, then I need to change how I’m holding my body. Rather than continue holding them and over strain my body I need to change the position that I’m standing in, If I’m one of the things I get if I get like a sudden flash of heat, a sudden flash of fever, and that’s a suggestion that I’m doing too much. So, sometimes when I get that maybe I’m putting too much of myself into the session, and so I need to take a little bit of a step back, just give a little bit of my, a little bit of space between me and what I’m doing. And, initially, I always worried that, that, that the client would pick up on this, that they’d notice this…
KERRY: That they, it wouldn’t feel as good (laughter). But, I mean there’s been days when I have thought, okay this is it, I’m going to have to really scale this back today and for me it’s felt like I’ve done very little. But, at the end, the client has said, “Oh my God that was amazing! That was that was the best massage ever”, and it’s like, but I didn’t do anything, and it’s just (laughter).
KRZYS: I think one amazing, I remember think when Sara Mark from our course, the amazing Sara Mark…
KERRY: Hmm hmm.
KRZYS: As always. So, that’s one thing to you know what just if you need to just you know if you feel you know just during the session just put your hands on the clients and just have a few breaths, it’s three breaths three breaths, three seconds, four seconds, it’s nothing. And just have re-adjust yourself have a moment for yourself, or even, you know and that’s I remember when she told me like, oh my God I can’t do that, how can I stop the session for a moment…
KRZYS: And, it took me quiets few tries to actually do that, and be able and, oh my God, and that’s fine. Clients don’t mind…
KRZYS: And, even you can just incorporate to stop and have a brief with your clients, and say you know what okay I’ll just pause for a moment, but can you just take you know a couple of few deep breaths for me. And you take those breaths with him. But, that’s for yourself actually you know. And, it’s just so good and gives you this moment to actually clear your mind or adjust your body, adjust your shoulders, whatever you need to and just have this moment for yourself and just to back and come into session. And that’s fine…
KRZYS: And it’s just little thing, but it is just so powerful to change the way you know you work and the reset yourself in a sense.
KERRY: Yeah, absolutely. And, one thing I found as well, working where I work with people with sort chronic health conditions, and also people that suffer with chronic stress and that kind of thing. But, actually, in a lot of situations obviously it’s different for every client that I do, but, less is often more…
KRZYS: Hmm. Yes.
KERRY: And, it’s amazing how much of an impact you can have by doing less rather than frantically trying to squeeze everything in (laughter).
KRZYS: Yeah, that’s very, very true. Kerry, you shared with us a lot today and I really appreciate you’re you know very inspiring, and your story and the way you work is give us give us a lot. I want to ask you one of the, our next big questions. So, if you woke up tomorrow morning but you still possess all the experience and knowledge you currently have, but your business completely disappeared, forcing you to start from basically scratch, from the beginning. So what would you do?
KERRY: So, for me, it’s just one really simple point which I think sums up pretty much all of the stuff that we’ve been talking about, and it’s, “Do what makes your soul happy”.
KERRY: So, every stage when you’re developing your business and when you’re putting yourself out there, always the very first question to ask yourself is, does this opportunity make me feel good? If it does great, go for it, if it doesn’t don’t worry there’ll be another opportunity another time which will feel better. So, always, yeah, always do what makes yourself feel happy and be gentle with yourself (laughter).
KRZYS: And breathe.
KERRY: And breathe, yeah.
KRZYS: Brilliant! Thank you. So, the next part is all about you, so, here we give you a moment to promote our guests so we you know whatever you want, your courses, practice anything you like, we will give you a little bit of the free style time. Here you go.
KERRY: Lovely. Thank you. So, hi everybody, hope you have been enjoying what been talking about so far. So, as well as, being a massage therapist though, I also work as a meditation practitioner, so, I started meditating as part of my own recovery back in two thousand and ten (2010), and it’s something that I really brought in to try and help manage the side effects if you like, in your life of having a chronic illness. But, actually as I’ve become a massage therapist I found that the meditation is actually really helped to support me in that as well, and I think it’s also given me that extra dimension to what I can do because of developing that ability to step back. Developing that ability to stay present, but also developing that ability to have my space and my client’s space and not allow that to intertwine to the extent that it drains me. So, I’ve been teaching meditation classes for a while, which I’ve been doing from the well-being studio where I work. But, what I was thinking was that in talking to a number of a different massage therapist, they’ve all said, Oh, I think that would be really great to do something like that to learn something like that. But, obviously, as massage therapist we are all spread so widely that being able to come along to you know in the person meditation classes can actually be quite difficult, and again giving ourselves permission to do that can be quite difficult as well. So and also sometimes if we’re looking for meditation to help us from a massage therapist perspective being in a class where there are people that could potentially be clients can often feel like a bit of a barrier to it actually being able to let go, and say what we want to say and that kind of thing. So, what I’m going to be doing and going to be putting together some meditation classes for just massage therapists, so it will only be massage therapists within the group. That way you can, you have the freedom to be able to say how things are affecting you in your practise. What you’d like to get from the sessions so that it can actually be tailored to what you need from a professional, as well as a personal perspective. And those meditation classes as well, won’t have to be a physical in the person attendance. What they’ll be doing is they’ll be run through Skype, so, you can attend when you know from wherever you are from the comfort of your own home or your own practice. And, there will be basically along the similar lines of the meditation classes that I teach at the moment in that it’s teaching; it’s basically creating a space for you to be able to develop a meditation practise that works for you. So, it’s not a must you must do X.Y.Z. it’s about finding what works for you, and developing that within a safe environment, and as I say this will be done over Skype. So, everybody can call in as a group. You can support each other as a group and you can also learn some principles of how to meditate and how to bring that in as part of your self-care practice. So, if anybody’s interested in finding out more about those or attending any of those it would be great to hear from you, Krzys will pop all of the information. Run to my website which will tell you a little bit about the kind of how my meditation classes run at the moment, there’s a whole there’s a type meditation and it takes you through what meditation is, will cut some of the myths surrounding meditation. And, then if you’d like to find out a little bit more, drop me you, can either contact me by phone or drop me an e-mail and I’d love to hear from you.
KRZYS: That’s amazing. Thank you. And, you know that’s why as I mentioned before we have a little surprise for you, for our listeners at the end, so, yeah keep listening. So the next part we call it tag a guest game. We would like to ask you who do you admire and why? And can you help us get recommendation for upcoming interviews with me here at Busy Hive Podcast?
KERRY: Brilliant. So, I’d like to recommend a close friend and colleague Sara Anderson, so, she’s the founder of The Well-being Studio in Clevedon, where I’ve been there since I qualified. As a trainee, I was looking for somewhere that I could rent some room space so that I could see clients to get all of my practice hours in, but I didn’t have space at home to be able to do it. So, I really needed space outside of my own home to be able to see people and even though I wasn’t qualified I was still training she took a chance on me and took me on board, and it was absolutely brilliant. She’s incredibly supportive and she really looks after all of the practitioners that work as part of The Wellbeing studio. So, she already had a really successful career as a nutritionist and a professional trainer. I think she’s been doing that for about thirteen years now. And, she founded the Well-being Studio back in two thousand and eleven (2011) and really what she wanted was a properly holistic hub of lots of different complementary therapists under one roof to offer a really client focused treatment base if you like. And, I think she’s really achieved that it’s a really calm supportive environment to work in, so, I think she’d be absolutely brilliant to chat to and inspire us as well. Even if it’s you know just from a personal training perspective to give us some physical tip and how we can look after our bodies…
KRZYS: Hmm. Great.
KERRY: But, I think as well, having set up that kind of environment and brought you know worked so hard to bring so many therapists together I think she would be really inspirational to talk to.
KRZYS: Oh, thank you very much. So, Sara, we will get in touch with you very soon (chuckles). This is great Kerry, thank you so much for joining me today. You give us a lot of great advice and inspiration. Let’s finish this show with your last piece of advice for Busy Hive listeners, okay. So, if you had just one thing to take out of this episode, what would it be?
KERRY: So, I think for me it would be, Be kind to yourself I think you know really it’s absolutely fine to put your needs first, and it’s really important to give yourself that space and that permission to look after you.
KRZYS: Brilliant. Thank you. So, how can we connect with you online?
KERRY: So, you can get, contact me either through my website, through my email address, I also have a Facebook page, Google page, a Linkedin page…
KRZYS: What’s your website?
KERRY: For my website its whitegroveholistics.co.uk and then Facebook is “White Grove Holistics”, and I can provide you with all the other links to Google and Linkedin and that kind of thing as well. So, yeah any of any of those formats, any questions about anything from today, anything like that always happy to help.
KRZYS: And, thank you. We are we going to put all the links about Kerry, about well her practise and her meditation classes on our on our show notes at BusyHive.co.uk/podcast. So, everybody here, as we have as you know as we mention we have a quite surprise for you. So, Kerry is gonna give us guided meditation for a couple of minutes of guided meditation. And, I’m going to just start with the question and then I just say nothing. So, as we mentioned when you did, did something for yourself, so now we want to do something for you. So, now we have a guided meditation with Kerry, just all for you Kerry.