Written by Broadcaster & Jounalist Katie Puckrik
I expend a lot of effort in my life at the moment. Not a building-a-pyramid, digging-a-coal-mine kind of effort, you understand. It's not like I'm going to come down with black lung anytime soon. But sometimes transitions (even positive ones like career developments and moving to a new country, in my case), result in effort -- to keep productive, to keep creating, to keep on keepin' on.
Words come to me with ease, and I don't have trouble articulating my quandaries and concerns, to hash out my freak outs. But at a certain point, talking can backfire on me, heightening my anxieties instead of diminishing them. Excessive yak-yak-yakking results in petrifying my problems, not clarifying them.
So I seek release in non-verbal ways. I lose myself in the mysteries of music and perfume and nature. I surrender to the delight of small furry animals. I do a lot of yoga. As a moving meditation, the practice of yoga gets my head right while re-juicing the beef jerky formally known as my muscles.
And as much as I love yoga, in my toughest times, even that is an effort. On those black hearted days, what I crave is what I call the “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind effect”.
In the whimsically emotional Michel Gondry film, Kate Winslet and Jim Carey's characters submit to a quirky treatment to wipe out sad memories holding them back. Wouldn't it be great, I sometimes think, if I could just lie down and have my spirit re-tuned, Eternal Sunshine style? To reset my equilibrium and top up my formerly ever-present zest?
Jim Carey achieves a spotless mind.
Here's where comes in Debra Morrice's craniosacral therapy
I first stumbled onto Debra's craniosacral therapy (CST) at a trial offer at my London yoga studio last month. I was feeling jangled and depleted, and wanted to calm the squirrels running wild in my head. I'd read that CST is based on the premise that the body has a natural ability to heal itself, and the practitioner restores vitality through a subtle touch at key points including the cranium, spine, and feet. Kind of like a “massage” for the nerves by restoring the unimpeded flow of cerebrospinal fluid.
At the best of times, I present a challenge for body workers. Long-ago back surgery has resulted in ten fused vertebrae, with corresponding misalignment and stiffness throughout the whole of my skeleton. Between my teeth grinding and the metal rod in my spine, my my neck and shoulders don't stand a chance.
As a longtime devotee of deep-tissue massage, I wasn't sure if I would even “feel” CST. But not only did I feel it, within three treatments CST has absolutely revolutionized how I manage both physical and emotional stress.
Debra begins the session by asking how I'm feeling, taking stock of the areas in my body and emotions which require support and rebalancing. I lie down fully clothed on the treatment bed, and she places her fingertips lightly at the base of my skull. She's “listening” to the flow of my spinal fluid, and I gradually become aware of a subtle yet distinct pulse throughout my body.
Quite quickly, I stop being on high alert regarding what she's doing, our surroundings, outside noises, my never-ending to-do list, my cares and fears, all the anxieties burning my brain and draining my heart. My clenched jaw releases, my rigid neck softens, my pinched shoulders melt, and an incredible surge of peace and well-being floods my entire body.
The windmill of my mind -- at rest.
At points I feel myself floating away from the treatment table, bathed in a wondrous absence of fear and doubt. By the time Debra gently coaxes me back at the end of the hour-long session, I am deeply, deeply relaxed. Like I've been on the most luxurious, super-plush holiday in the universe. The wild squirrels are tamed, the disquiet is dissolved, my body feels easy and replenished.
I feel floaty and free, and it takes a few minutes and a glass of water to reconnect with the world. The first time Debra worked this magic, I was astonished. “Are you a white witch?” I blurted out.
She laughed and shook her head.
“The body will let go of what it's ready to let go of. I'm just creating the space for it to happen.”
I slept that night as if I had been bomped by a cartoon mallet. The next day, a passing glance in the mirror stopped me in my tracks: I looked...unexpectedly nice! Feeling careworn must be showing in my face, and it seems that along with its other results, CST produces a beautifying effect.
Visit Debra Morrice and help yourself to some “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.
NEW YEAR, NEW FACE?
JANUARY 7, 2015 BY ALEX
It’s this time of year when winter really starts to show on your face. And, you’re right, it sucks. As much as moisturising like a mad thing can help (add a few drops of face oil to help with the dryness caused by central heating and bad weather), your skin can really do with a facial in January. And I’ve found a great treatment that not only perks up your face, but is also ridiculously relaxing…
Debra Morrice is a trained CranioSacral Therapist at London’s renowned Life Centre, who also specialises in a course of skincare treatments known as Rejuvanessence. Using gentle fingertip massage to stimulate the muscles of the face, neck and skull, and provide lymphatic drainage, the treatment helps release tension and works on the skin’s connective tissue to make it more flexible. In addition, by focusing on acupressure points and using some craniosacral techniques, it helps soften expression lines, improves the natural elasticity of the face and releases blocked energy.
I tried one of Debra’s treatments late last year. Following a quick lifestyle questionnaire (all the normal – do you drink/smoke/exercise etc), Debra set to work massaging me into what was basically a completely zoned out state, which left me floating for the rest of the day. Even better, I noticed a subtle difference in my skin, with my tired eyes looking more awake and everything looking a little more ‘fresh’. To keep up the good work and see a more obvious easing of wrinkles and fine lines, a course of six sessions is required with each treatment focusing on a specific area of the face. Debra – sign me up.
As a special New Year offer Debra is giving W&W readers the chance to pay £420 for a course of six Rejuvanessence treatments when booked and paid for in advance. Please click here for contact details.
The Life Centre Newsletter December 2012
Rejuvanessence® for skin, mind and spirit
by Wilmien Bos
'I had a Rejuvanessence® treatment with Debra Morrice last Thursday which had such a profound effect on me that I have decided to write about my experience. I often attend treatments, but Debra 's treatment facilitated so much healing and release in me that I cannot wait to go back and see her again.
When I walked into my appointment with Debra I expected a pleasant face massage and facial routine, products on my face, perhaps a mask. I have not really heard about Rejuvanessence® much before but I found out that it was devised by Margareta Loughran who created a series of six facial treatments addressing the 91 muscles of the face and neck. By working on the connective tissue that encases the muscles, we create space for muscles to relax and they become more elastic and toned.
The consultation started with a few lifestyle questions from Debra. How much water do I drink? I was asked about my caffeine and alcohol consumption, diet, sleep, facial regimes. After this, I took my shoes off, lay back on the treatment bed and relaxed under a blanket. I was still chatting and Debra just started to hold my face with her fingertips and massaging gently. I instantly fell into a relaxed alpha state, where I was drifting in and out of sleep. Debra continued this gentle massage in specific areas on my face and I could almost felt as if water were running through channels in my body. I was deeply relaxed now. Debra later explained that this watery channels was the lymph and fluids moving decongesting the skin.
As my face was pretty well hydrated Debra did not need to use any oil, her fingertips were warm and calming on my face. I must have drifted in and out of sleep constantly and I could feel the subtle treatment working deep into my body, and all this through gentle massage and touch. It felt like a deep treatment for my whole system, rather than just a facial treatment. I now understand why they call this treatment an 'Angel's touch'. The delicate pressure from the practitioner's touch releases tensions in the connective tissues, facilitating the release of stress in the skin and restoring it's elasticity.
I slowly came back into full consciousness at the end of the treatment and Debra gave me a brief overview of my skin and entire system. I looked in the mirror and could see changes around my eyes and cheeks. My skin also felt velvety soft. I went home and had the most peaceful night's sleep in ages, and when I awoke the next morning (after 14 hours rest) my face was soft and radiant. I looked noticeably younger too! But above all this, I felt like years of tension and stress have been released from my face and from my spirit.
It is recommended to get six sessions of Rejuvanessence® where the first treatment is a general all over treatment and the consecutive treatments focus on specific areas of the face and neck. I can testify however that you do see results after only one session. This is now my new favourite facial, as you really get the chance to relax and release. I felt as if I experienced a healing on my face, but also my mind, body and spirit. I will be back to see Debra again soon. Buy a gift voucher today for a Rejuvanessence® treatment for someone special this Christmas
The Life Centre Newsletter January 2013
Stomach Detox Massage
Stomach detox massage is a massage to the soft abdomen to allow the release of stagnation and toxicity from the organs and surrounding tissue by increasing blood and lymph flow. When the organs cannot rid themselves of blocks the skin will take over this function. It is easy to remove toxins from the skin and muscles greatly improving the function of the organs. By clearing the skin around the navel first we are starting to detoxify the organs, lymphatic and circulatory systems, soothe the nerves and encourage the flow of energy.
When the lymph stagnates the immune system is weak. When blood is blocked with fat and sediment circulation is impaired. When nerves become tangled, impulses will not flow smoothly affecting sensation, moods and all responses. When chi does not flow growths can occur.
We can stimulate the skin to release toxic material.
The massage also addresses the superficial fascia, the muscles of the lower back, the organs of the abdomen and works the Thai energy lines up and across the legs and abdomen. Each successive treatment may work a little deeper depending on the ease and emotional and physical comfort of the client. This treatment is suitable and very soothing for people suffering from inflammatory disorders such as Crohn's or IBS, post surgery and post caesarean and childbirth and tissue damage to help prevent scar tissue and adhesions.
Benefits of Stomach Detox Massage includes:
- Detoxify and cleanse internal organs
- Releases the body of physical, emotional, and energetic stagnation at various levels.
- Improves elimination and stimulation of the lymphatic and circulatory systems.
- Strengthens the immune system, enhancing resistance to disease.
- Transform negative emotions
- Restore natural posture and structure
- Improve immune responses
The Life Centre,
In short: This small and friendly yoga centre offers drop-in yoga and pilates classes and workshops and an impressive array of holistic treatments on a tranquil residential road a tiny walk from Notting Hill Gate tube. Upstairs there are two simple but calming therapy rooms in a ‘quiet zone’ and a loft yoga studio that takes 15 people overlooking the rooftops. Downstairs you’ll find a little reception area with a shop, decent changing rooms for men and women with showers, and a larger yoga studio for up to 27 people with ceiling skylights.
Our Experience: Caroline Sylger Jones writes There’s an authenticity about The Life Centre that’s very welcome in a world of increasingly sophisticated yoga wares. I took a drop-in yoga class here with the American teacher Zephyr Wildman in the downstairs studio – it was carefully crafted and absorbing, a welcome diversion for my body after the busy world of meetings I’d come from outside. I also had a beautifully carried out deep tissue massage with intuitive natural health therapist Debra Morrice - it was a hot, sunny day, and we had the window open, but though I could hear a muted version of city life outside I felt totally in the moment, and able to relax and tune out in Debra’s expert hands.
More on the yoga: Book a series of classes or drop-in if you’re visiting the area – there’s a wide range of yoga styles and teachers on offer, all props and mats are provided. Classes cost around £15 for 90 minutes, and it’s £1 to hire a towel if you want to shower after. The house speciality is yoga therapy, where you are taught a tailored, helpful series of poses which are just right for your body’s particular constitution and needs. The centre also offers Yogacampus, through which yoga teachers and students can enrol on workshops, weekend intensives and a yoga teacher training programme.
What’s queenly: Women looking for pregnancy yoga and massage, or mother & baby/toddler yoga classes are particularly well served – there are even yoga classes for children. The range of therapies from visiting therapists is most impressive too – they do everything from acupuncture and thai abdominal massage to rolfing and reflexology.
What’s lowly: There’s no café or resting place to chill out after a class or a treatment.
The Life Centre is at 15 Edge Street, London W8 7PN, tel 020 7221 4602. There’s also a Life Centre with two yoga studios and a therapy room in Islington.
© Queen of Retreats