‘I called Spike a magician on our third session, as just her presence and getting me to become more embodied brought me to a completely different – more pleasant and regulated state.’ – H Andrejkova
I’m a Bodymind Practitioner and Mental Health Trainer with over 30 years’ experience of working with human minds and bodies, including my own. I trained in advanced bodywork and embodied trauma healing, and I teach Thai massage and deep tissue massage to practitioner level. I trained with NOI Group in approaches to persistent pain; with Dr Rick Hanson in Positive Neuroplasticity; with Steve Haines in Tension, Stress and Trauma Release Exercise (TRE), and with Ralf Marzen in using bodywork to heal from stress and overwhelm. Several other practitioners working at the cutting edge of neuroscience, biomechanics and trauma relief have provided additional training and mentoring throughout my practice. I try to move naturally every day, eat good food, rest a lot, play a lot and laugh a lot.
‘Our bodies know they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless.’– John O’Donohue
‘It is not our expertise, but rather the wisdom gained from our own suffering, vulnerability and healing that enables us to be of real assistance to others.’ – Frank Ostaseski
I believe the most crucial component I bring to this work is my insight through personal experience. Much of my adult life has been spent not only working with others to provide embodied healing from pain and distress, but also exploring effective ways to heal my own anxiety, trauma and pain. I only use methods that I have found to be effective both for myself and my clients, and that are grounded in evidence from neurophysiology. I’ve been through the fire in my own life, and these days I’m largely healed as a result of the embodied healing techniques I now share with my clients.
I grew up in Leeds, and was a serious, shy and introverted child. I was also deeply anxious through most of my childhood, and experienced depression into my teens and twenties. Dancing was one of the things that got me through; somehow I knew that movement was a key to feeling better. I studied hard at a big inner city comprehensive school, and was accepted into Cambridge University where I gained a first class degree in English Literature. Shortly afterwards I moved to London where I studied shiatsu for 3 years and was introduced to yoga and t’ai chi. Yoga became a daily practice and passion.
I worked as a shiatsu practitioner in various community centres before becoming involved in a wider range of health projects. In my late twenties, after being pushed too hard in a therapy group, I experienced a psychotic episode which drove me deeper into anxiety and depression. After some long, hard searching for help, I entered a two year group psychodynamic therapy programme at St Ann’s Hospital in Tottenham. The programme taught me much about mental health and interpersonal dynamics, and a few years later I became an established workshop leader, training groups across the UK in mental health awareness and wellbeing. For eight years I led a monthly support group for friends and family of people with severe mental health issues. In collaboration with psychologists, mental health nurses and service users, I began to use body based practices and tools from positive psychology to support people recovering from anxiety and depression.
Alongside this work, I developed my private bodywork practice, training in advanced Thai massage, sports and remedial massage, and myofascial release and eventually setting up my own massage school. But some question marks about both the eastern and western theories led me to explore contemporary pain science, and this study, alongside some deep learning about the physiology of trauma, revolutionised my approach to bodywork.
I discovered that a gentle practice of compassionate, embodied healing yielded better and more lasting results for clients with persistent pain and anxiety than either solely cognitive or solely hands-on approaches. I began to seek out experienced, science-based mentors in pain, anxiety and trauma relief, and to read as much contemporary research as I could digest. The findings of neuroscience resonated with me more strongly than either the psychological therapy I had experienced, or any of the previous bodywork models I had learned. For the first time in my life I began to feel truly excited, hopeful and well.
Under supervision, I began to offer a wider range of healing approaches to my clients, and I found that many people experienced the same positive changes that I had. This work remains deeply nourishing and supportive to me; it is a daily practice and something I aim to offer to clients with integrity, sincerity, and a warm-hearted wish that you too may be well.
For more information or to book a treatment, do email me: firstname.lastname@example.org