Aarti Feeling Inspired At 38000 Feet

image1I was inspired to write this blog by Mark, a client of mine who has been having McTimoney Chiropractic sessions for the last 21 years. In his session this week he stated that in his professional career (he works in the City) of the last 20 years he has flown 5 million “air miles” with just one airline alone and he wondered about the effects of that on his alignment. The “air miles” didn’t include other airline travel through work, or any personal travel; so in reality he had travelled over 5 million miles. We discussed the effects that flying has on the body and how to counteract some of these effects during the actual flight. Mark came to the conclusion that McTimoney Chiropractic has been a way of life for him and a lifesaver on numerous occasions when he has walked off a plane in pain due to the prolapsed disc in his low back. We recalled how he once came straight from the airport having come off a flight from Japan as his back had seized up en route. He has combined his sessions with Pilates, a stretch routine, tennis, cycling, skiing and cycling.

So a few days later after Mark’s session here I am at 38000 feet in an A380 plane on my way to Phuket, Thailand. I have always loved travelling to distant shores discovering new cultures, beautiful landscapes enriched with the most breathtaking scenery, colourful temples and roaming wildlife, meeting warm and friendly local people along the way and sampling their cuisine. My senses are fully awakened when I experience such delights, some new and some old and familiar. I am truly happy to be alive soaking in all that can and creating memories to be treasured. Most people that know me including the majority of my clients know my passion for travelling is as great as my passion for McTimoney Chiropractic and thankfully I’ve been able to combine the two successfully over my 27 year career in which I’ve been fortunate enough to visit over 50 different countries spanning over 4 continents. I have taken McTimoney Chiropractic to Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Europe.

A good traveller has no fixed plans and has no intent on arriving” 

Lao Tzu

My flight times have varied from 1.5 hours being the shortest to 14 hours being the longest and despite having travelled in business class twice, sitting for long periods in a confined space have had a negative effect on my own body resulting in back strain. My worst travel experience was 3 years ago from Delhi to Kathmandu where the plane took off 5 times as it could not land in Nepal due to adverse weather conditions so it kept returning to India before making another attempt. I kid you not – 5 times in total just to do that leg of the journey!! If it wasn’t for my calm travelling companion, Sachin, I don’t think I would have ever flown again as my nerves were shot to pieces on that flight and my body had tightened up due to the anxiety of all those attempts at trying to land the aircraft. The airline saying ” We hope you have had a pleasant flight” did not help the situation! We landed the next morning after the flight was finally aborted having spent the night at Delhi Airport. At that point in my life I was not meditating on a regular basis otherwise I’m convinced my reaction to the situation would have been rather different and more positive.

So here are a few tips for comfortable air travel that I use:

Stretch every few hours if you’re not able to walk up and down the aisle. The following stretches can be done standing or seated. Simply raise your arms and interlock the palms over your head. As you inhale stretch and extend the arms straight up, you should fill a movement from the shoulder blades over your head. As you exhale release the stretch. Follow this by doing the same stretch but taking the arms slightly back so getting a backward bend and stretching the abdominal muscles at the same time. You can add a side stretch in the same position so getting a side extension. Repeat all a few times.

Stretch the neck by taking chin to chest and then reversing by taking the head up. Go from side to side so chin to shoulder, followed by ear to shoulder on each side. DO ALL MOVEMENTS SLOWLY!! Repeat a couple of times.

Rotate your ankles clockwise and anti-clockwise. Alternatively flex and point your toes. Do calf raises by going on your toes.

Place a small pillow or rolled up towel in the small of your back supporting the natural curve of your lumbar spine.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks.

Keep in flight meals light to help reduce bloating.

Try meditating as it can be very calming helping immensely if you’re feeling confined or anxious. I love meditating in flight at such great altitude. It actually helps me to combat fatigue on the plane and after the meditation I often feel invigorated and revitalised.

If it’s been a long haul flight I will get a massage within a few days of arrival to help with releasing any muscle tension and combat jet lag. If I’ve arrived really late I will have a warm bath with Epsom salts or aromatherapy oils as this always ensures a good night’s sleep and helps to adjust the body’s rhythm to the new time zone of my destination. In my travels I’ve gone off road on dirt tracks on safari, hiked up mountains, ridden elephants, walked on ice glaciers, or paraglided I will have a McTimoney Chiropractic session on my return home to make sure my body alignment is good.

I can vouch travelling widens the horizons and can be done in comfort despite the confined space by following any of the above.

“Not all those who wander are lost”  J.R.R. Tolkien 

 

My Daily Routine as a McTimoney Chiropractor

image1I’m often asked by my clients how I implement into my life what I’m recommending them in regards to maintaining a level of optimum health and well-being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and not just in regards to a good body alignment. Good body alignment tends to follow when one’s life is in balance. My answer is simple and probably not unique and may even seem selfish to some. For some years now I have tried to practise a consistent morning ritual that is focussed on “Me rather than others.” What I mean by this is that I serve myself first before serving anyone else whether this is family, friends or clients. Sounds selfish right or even incredibly over indulgent? Let me explain my thoughts.

For my morning ritual to be successful I have to wake up on most days between 5am – 6am. This is the only way that I would accomplish all that I want to do before work whether work is client sessions, administrative tasks, client calls/updates, research, networking with other therapists and other projects that are non-Chiropractic related that I am involved with. My day starts with a visualisation exercise or meditation of 15/20 mins, a gentle yoga stretch at home or the gym for 1hr, shower, followed by a healthy breakfast or sometimes a simple fresh extracted juice. On some days I may be fortunate to listen to an uplifting podcast or read an inspiring passage from one of my favourite books that just gives me that extra enthusiasm for life.

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully” ~ Steve Maraboli

Now why would I sacrifice extra hours of sleep for the above; especially in the cold and the dark? The only rational reason for waking up consistently early is to do something that I genuinely would love to do. Otherwise it’s not going to work. I know from experience I’m more likely to stay motivated doing something that is going to directly benefit me and ultimately benefit all those that I interact with. Additionally I love the stillness and peace in the mornings, making it a favourite part of my day as I have always found this time to be exhilarating and creative.

Hopefully, the practice of these disciplines means that when “I show up” in all my interactions I will do so with a more thoughtful, insightful, patient and compassionate approach and a better capacity to serve others including my Chiropractic clients because I am demonstrating a commitment to serving myself first. Am sure some will view my behaviour as being “self-centred.”  However, I sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that this “self-service and looking after myself and my needs first” can potentially bring out the best in others including my clients.

“The trouble is you think you have time.” ~ Buddha

On the occasions I’ve continually failed to spend time on my routine, these are the days that I have made poor choices in my day to day life, where I tend to be less patient, irritable and my mood will be less upbeat. Thankfully as I recognise this and am aware of the effect I naturally try to avoid them. If I can’t manage the mornings I will find time during the day where I can manage one aspect of my ritual even if it’s a walk in some nature, or a hot aromatic bath and reflection at the end of the day.

Of course I realise not everyone will have the time that I have but I recommend them to find the things that they genuinely want to do and dedicate some time each day doing them even if its 10 minutes. In developing a daily valuable habit you will ultimately feel better in so many aspects of your life and at the same time nurture your soul. Trust me everyone around you will notice the difference in you and will want to know your secret.

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world” ~ Eckhart Tolle 

 

 

Aarti Shah on being a mindful McTimoney Chiropractor

image1As I write this I’m confined to my hotel room in Kuala Lumpa, Malaysia – I say “confined ” as earlier this morning I had the most dramatic fall on my hands and knees just narrowly avoiding my face outside the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpa. The Petronas Towers is a majestic building that tourists flock to for an amazing view of KL. Obviously I was not meant to be a tourist as I never made it inside the building. I was in total shock as to why I had landed on the pavement with tears streaming down my face and wondering if I had broken anything apart from my pride and ego. Kind passers by stopped to see if I was ok but all I wanted was the ground to open up and swallow me up inside as embarrassment set in. My husband, Mehul was in total disbelief too and deeply concerned about my welfare. We came back to our hotel and after assessing there were no broken bones decided that the best therapy for me was to rest.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters the most” ~  Buddha. 
This accident happened 5 hours ago. Whilst resting I tried to work out in my mind as to what actually happened and was this simply an accident? I believe not. I have been severely jet lagged since arriving 2 days ago – to the point of not knowing the day or date and at times disorientated and confused. I have travelled the world extensively to all time zones but never have I felt this way before. I believe this was a big contributing factor to my fall today. However, this was not the only reason; I was also distracted and not mindful of being in the “present moment” or in the “here and now”. This is the biggest irony of all as for the last month I have been mediating on a daily basis. Such has been my dedication that even on my flight out here I was mediating at 39000 feet! Having said that and in all fairness today I had not meditated prior to the fall but I meditated after which really helped me with the pain in my knees and to calm me down as well as reassure my husband that all was well. And it’s this meditation that has inspired me to write my latest blog. So what is meditation?
“Even in the midst of disturbance, the stillness of the mind can offer sanctuary” ~ Stephen Richards
My understanding of meditation is that it’s a practice where one trains the mind for a focused period of time upon a sound, object, movement or the breath in an effort to increase awareness of the present moment, which hopefully will help to attain a better quality of life, improve relationships, allow intense feelings to be experienced without getting caught up in them, give insights into challenging situations, reduce stress and promote relaxation. There are many studies available on the benefits of meditation. I have been meditating focusing on the breath. In a matter of a month spending as little as 10 mins a day to an hour on some days has given me an inner peace, an acceptance of situations that cannot be changed, clarity on life’s problems and on occasion answers to them and in all sincerity I believe it is making me a better McTimoney Chiropractor. 
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I have been promoting the benefits to my clients as many are trying to find a way to a better life and improved health. Most interestingly, some of my long standing clients as well as family and friends have commented on something being “different” about me of late but they can’t place their finger on it – I wholeheartedly believe it’s the meditating. When I take a record card of clients on an initial consultation one of the things I ask them is about accident history. Countless times I have heard from clients that the accident occurred due to a lapse in concentration or not being focussed – in other words not being in the present moment. Would a practice of regular mediation help them in the future to possibly avoid these accidents? I believe so or at least help them in their recovery post trauma.Of course if I had been in the moment watching my step and being mindful instead of being jet lagged, distracted and lost in thought I am convinced I would have avoided my accident. There are no McTimoney Chiropractors in Malaysia so I will have to wait to get aligned on my return. However, I will continue to mediate whilst out here as no doubt it will help me recover faster.
Mindfulness is about falling awake rather than asleep.” ~ Shamash Alidina

“Healing is a process not an event!!”

Healing is a process not an eventIt’s been awhile since I have written on here as I’ve dedicated this year to a rehabilitation program for my injured feet and it’s finally paying off!  All my recent blogs have been very personal to me and this one shall be no different.

I returned to my clinics in January 2016 full of renewed energy after spending Christmas and New Year travelling with my family to Kenya – the place of my birth. It was the first time in 40 years that my 2 brothers and my Mum had returned together after having left. It was quite an emotional visit and made me think how my life would have turned out had we not emigrated. I definitely wouldn’t have been a McTimoney Chiropractor in a third world country as my father would not have been able to afford the training and it’s very likely that we would not have even heard of McTimoney in Kenya like so many of its residents.

The trip was an incredible experience where we travelled through the countryside on rough roads full of potholes in fear of being ambushed as we had heard so many frightening stories; ferry crossings of 15 minutes that were overcrowded with vehicles, passengers and poultry and the fear of the ferry capsizing. Fortunately there were no incidents on the roads or the sea crossing; we didn’t encounter a single problem apart from water shortages and power cuts which added to the whole adventure of being in Africa.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Nelson Mandela

On returning we all needed McTimoney Chiropractic to straighten us up as the journeys in the African plains were quite arduous and exhausting and at the same time exhilarating. The rest over the holiday season helped immensely with my feet and whilst I’m not 100% I’m continually improving. Progress has felt slow at times but I’m really beginning to understand that “ torn tendons” take time to heal – a year minimum if its severe, thereby confirming “healing is a process and not an event.”

So going back to the last 9 months – these have been continually about rehabilitation, rest and running my clinics with the same passion as always.

The rehabilitation has come in many guises from physiotherapists that have shown me specific stretches and exercises to strapping the feet in Kinesio tape, a “taping technique” that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. Many professional athletes are using “taping” in their sports.

My sessions with my personal trainer Michael Prentice have primarily been about improving the functioning of the feet and legs, through improving proprioception in my ankles, overall balance, core strengthening to improve my posture further, learning how to walk again correctly and strength training in my legs using weights. Naturally as any brilliant trainer our sessions were about working the entire body but focussing on the legs.  By dedicating 3 hrs a week minimum to rehabilitation I was able to continue with treating my clients to maximum capacity – this was a dramatic improvement from last year when I had to reduce my work load due to wearing an air cast boot. Despite my injuries I have been able to swim 100 lengths straight in a 25 metre pool which equates 1.5 miles, (I prefer backstroke) as it’s great for alignment, cycle on an exercise bike (great for cardio and stretching/toning the legs), rowing (beneficial for endurance, cardio and upper and body workout) and amazingly I performed a “deadlift” of 80kgs – a wonderful boost for my confidence and morale as well as working the muscles of the back, glutes and legs.

The rehabilitation has worked beautifully and reinstates my belief as a McTimoney Chiropractor. It works on alignment, posture and confidence and all activities are balanced and not one sided. It helps to iron out any “compensating” effects of the body whereby I may be favouring one side of the body more – in my case the right side as I am right handed and also as my cast was on my left leg.

Exercise doesn’t have to come in the form of personal trainers or expensive gym memberships. It can come from walking outdoors, going to the local pool, and in some parks there are now out door gym equipment available. I’ve always felt that exercise and McTimoney work in tandem, side by side, used in prevention, maintenance and rehabilitation if injured. Throughout this year I have continued to have sessions myself so to aid my recovery from the torn tendon,  My clients that are still having sessions on maintenance and prevention twice a year confirm that their posture, mobility/flexibility continues to improve and more than anything they feel well in themselves.

When you are passionate about your life, your work and your health everything falls into place eventually – yes even my injuries start to heal. I was told by the surgeons that I would never recover and I would end up having surgery for the torn tendon and develop a permanent   “dropped foot”. Thankfully I refused to believe them and with the support of the right people, and having the right mind set of positivity I am proving them wrong. If I can do it anyone can!!

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage even if we have to dig a little to find it.”

Tori Ames

“Aarti Shah McTimoney Chiropractor Rides An Air Cast Boot!”

aarti shah   As we are in the last month of the year all of us have the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by, being grateful for any personal growth and development which often is bought about through times of adversity and personal challenges. In my last blog I wrote about the intense pains that I had in both my feet, one foot I thought being a sprained ankle and plantar fasciitis in the other. Despite my visits to my GP she felt that a referral was not warranted and she concurred with my diagnosis.

After nearly 5 months of unbearable pain where towards the end I could barely walk I decided to take charge by seeking the help of a Consultant Podiatrist who worked alongside foot surgeons and physiotherapists. Prior to this I had been seeing my McTimoney Chiropractor regularly who kept me well aligned and helped in reducing many of my symptoms, was having myofascial release work, had taken up Yoga to keep all the muscles relaxed and stretched as much as possible, was doing homeopathy, rehabilitation exercises for the legs and strength endurance of the upper body with my personal trainers, spraying magnesium oil and taking magnesium baths, icing, rolling a golf ball on the underside of the foot, resting, eating nutrient rich food and had taken up weekly mentoring/coaching based on my gene profile – so naturally I thought I was doing all the right things and I was getting relief but I was never pain free. I was about to learn a very valuable lesson.

CORRECT DIAGNOSIS IS THE KEY TO THE CORRECT TREATMENT”

 When I finally went to see my consultant at the end of August he asked me how I had managed to put up with such crippling pain?  I said “I thought that it was in my head as surely my plantar fasciitis pain can’t be this painful?”  At this point my “sprain” pain was slightly less in comparison – although both feet were in agony. He was astonished as he said it definitely wasn’t in my head and his concerns were quite worrying as the plantar fasciitis which was the correct self-diagnosis was the least concerning one even though the pain was so excruciating. I was sent off for 2 MRI’s, one for each foot and the diagnosis came in a few days later. It was definitely not what I or anyone that was treating me at the time was expecting.

I was immediately put in an “Air Cast Boot” – the one that footballers wear for 6 weeks as I was diagnosed with “Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction or PTTD” as well as a “tear” through this tendon – most likely outcome was surgery as the damage was quite extensive. To make matters worse I had “adult flat foot deformity” so I was beginning to lose the arch in my foot, which would eventually end up arthritic. All of this was bought about by “wear and tear”.  Recovery from surgery was up to 6 months. I was devastated at this diagnosis as I simply had not considered it to be a possibility especially the surgery.

6 weeks of immobilisation was going to be purgatory for me. My freedom was taken away from me immediately as I could not drive, or stand for long periods of time so treating clients was going to be difficult and I could not work out as I couldn’t get to the gym. I had to find the balance between rest and activity as total immobilisation was not an option in case I got a DVT (blood clot) in the process. At the time of the diagnosis, I felt that my outlook was bleak and I questioned why was I getting “injured” all the time? Last year it was a torn cartilage in my knee that took 9 months to recover. The consultant tried to reassure me by informing me that the only reason my tendon hadn’t totally ruptured was because of my fitness levels and that my pain threshold levels must have been exceedingly high to have put up with the pain for so long. A rupture would have resulted in immediate surgery, so there was a reason to be grateful that this had not occurred although in my shock I couldn’t see that at the time.

The other foot in the consultant’s words was “nasty plantar fasciitis” with marked thickening and swelling of the plantar fascia – the underside of the foot. His opinion was that this had occurred as I was putting weight through this foot to avoid the pains in the other, a compensating effect. I was to continue with stretching and icing and staying off my feet as well as keeping mobile, a fine balance to try to achieve. I left his clinic in my new boot feeling quite dejected trying to accept the result.

Within a few hours of leaving I was receiving offers of help. The support that I have had during this time has been incredible and humbling as I began to experience the generosity of so many kind people, some of them listed below to demonstrate how important it is to have a support network at times like this and how each one of them has helped me on this arduous journey to recovery. Their contribution has been invaluable and much appreciated.

Initially on wearing the boot I wanted to quit and hide as it was a hindrance, cumbersome and fatiguing me and my self-confidence had taken a severe knock. The day after my cast, when I was feeling extremely low and self-conscious, struggling to find balance as I hobbled about, one of my personal trainers came to pick me up at 7am on a Saturday to do a training session at my gym. His attitude was very much it’s your legs that are out of action not your entire body! This was exactly what I needed to hear to get me out of the victim mode fast. If my trainer was committing to show up, pick me up and train me, then the least I could do was take some responsibility by being ready to do as he asked and trust his ability and guidance to help me over the next 6 weeks. In fact both my trainers have guided, trained and encouraged me immensely over this period and I am indebted to them for going beyond the call of duty. At times in my sessions I have been frustrated and tears have been shed and at other times personal best scores have been achieved – with my leg in a cast!!

My weekly health coaching sessions have been a lifeline for me and I am grateful to my health coach for being so patient with me especially when I’ve not delivered. I have given him countless opportunities to quit on me so that I wouldn’t have to take responsibility. Instead he chose to stand by me and not allow me to walk away. He has undoubtedly shown me what it means to take responsibility no matter what the circumstances are. He has instilled in me that despite the adversity that I was facing this was a time for opportunity, growth and new discoveries. His suggestions and guidance have helped my recovery on a physical, emotional and mental state and in the process I have rediscovered my passion for art, creativity and writing.

My McTimoney Chiropractor and Myofascial Therapist made sure I didn’t get any further imbalances/misalignments due to the compensating going on in my body. I was beginning to ache in my lower back as a result of wearing the boot. Their care was precious, nurturing and healing and they gave me hope at a difficult time.

Thank you to my clients who have been incredibly patient and loyal as I reduced my work load substantially – their loyalty to me has been astounding despite my recommendations that I find them an alternative McTimoney Chiropractor. It has been extremely hard for me to take responsibility by putting myself and my health first but they have understood and sympathised far better than I gave them credit for. Who better to understand pain and what I was going through than the majority of my clients?

Lastly the support my family and close friends have given me throughout this has been immeasurable. They have helped me see light at the end of the tunnel and provided the love, laughter and humour along the way.

Unfortunately my cast didn’t come off at 6 weeks and I was disappointed to say the least. Within days of wearing it the swelling had significantly reduced and the pain had started diminishing.  The consultant was happy with the progress and pointed out that I had been saved from surgery but wasn’t quite ready to remove the boot. He recommended another 4 weeks of immobilisation and to continue with all that I was doing with my support network as they were key players in my recovery having a huge positive impact on me.

Finally at 10 weeks my cast came off! I was ecstatic and ready to do cart wheels except I was warned against it. I have started a course of physiotherapy recently and am confident that through rehabilitation and functional exercises I will overcome this injury 100% and come out at the other end physically and mentally much stronger. Improvements are already on the horizon with the arch of my foot returning and my confidence in my ability to do things growing.

It’s been quite a journey of ups and downs which has taught me that when faced with such extreme pain, the challenge is to be resourceful, positive, determined and courageous, and find a way to carry on. I hope that my readers feel inspired in knowing that despite the challenges and the curve balls that are thrown at them there is always a way of getting up again no matter how many times they have fallen.

“Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Never Falling But In Rising Every Time We Fall.”

Confucius

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Home 2The above quote by Jim Rohn – a personal development teacher is simple and easy enough to understand but how many of us actually live by it? As a McTimoney Chiropractor of 25 years’ service I personally have abused my body and even taken it for granted sometimes making huge demands upon it and not always thanking it for supporting me.

Last year I spent 9 months sorting my torn meniscus out [see blog of Oct 2014] – I thought that I had learnt my lesson well in learning to “let go” and “just be” but it seems not. Since early April this year I have been suffering with a sprained left ankle and plantar fasciitis on my right foot – I have never been known to do things by half!! These last few months I have struggled driving, using stairs, and even walking around my chiropractic bench. I have had sleepless nights due to the pain, many tears of frustration and despair and those endless:

“Why me moments?”

In my darkest hours I have had answers that I really didn’t want like:

“Well why not you? Are you anyone Special? Try listening to what your feet are saying!”

Or maybe I was just hallucinating/imagining all those answers?

I do believe that my feet pains haven’t just “happened” – I’ve had a close family bereavement having to say “Goodbye” to my uncle who was like a second father, and who I’m indebted to as he paid for my Chiropractic education – just realised that I wouldn’t even be writing this if it wasn’t for him! My Uncle Anil who passed away at the age of 65 really lived in the moment, took great care of his body, mind and spiritual being. He was hugely respected, admired and loved. We all miss him dearly and wonder how we will ever get over this loss. I don’t think we will – we will adapt around it. 5 weeks after his funeral my brother, Sanjay aged 49 had a second heart attack which he survived and he is doing well. Then a very good friend of mine passed away in a similar way to that of my uncle and for good measure I was betrayed by someone that I totally trusted. Please don’t see me as “victim” as I’m not and I’ve always seen myself as a “survivor” albeit a “shocked survivor” in the last few months.

So you must be wondering what have my foot pains got to do with any of this? Its mechanical pain right? Wishful thinking on my part too but as someone who believes:

“Everything generally happens for a reason”

I knew that I needed to reflect and meditate on the reasons why they were not improving significantly despite “doing all the so called right things.” More about my “structural foot” recovery in my next blog.

So a few weeks ago in the early hours of one morning two profound answers came to me like a bolt of lightning and it’s only after truly and wholeheartedly recognising and accepting these messages that I started turning a corner in making a recovery in my feet. They were:

“Stop digging your heels in” and “Let go, accept and move forward.”

Very personal and direct messages which had me laughing and smiling for days.

From February of this year I have been hell bent on “living life in the fast lane” by burying myself in my gym training, my work, my Nepal charity trip, my weekend trips to my family in The Midlands, my personal relationships and social life – absolutely no time scheduled for “quiet time”. Some days I have been exhausted beyond belief with two constant thoughts running in my head:

“What if my brother is taken away from us? Can life be so cruel and unfair?”

“What if I haven’t accomplished everything in my life that I set out to do?”

After all I was really experiencing first hand:

“Life is short and then you die.”

In an attempt not to “feel” my fears or even show my vulnerability to anyone I have a great knack for “literally leaving my body” – by this I mean I am able to detach myself from my thoughts, my fears and anything perceived as “negative” – it’s a great escape strategy so as not to have to deal with reality. Some would call it “denial” – I see it as “self-preservation”. My friend Mark, affectionately known as “The Colour Man” who has taught me all my colour work would say I am an expert in this and it’s my “natural place” to be especially in times of stress. In these situations I can still function and go about my day to day activity and generally no one on the outside would know what I’m doing.

However, reality eventually catches up with all of us and it can come in many guises –mine was pain. I was in so much denial about my grief, the feelings around my brother’s heart attack and the betrayal that only with the passage of time and understanding I knew that the pain in my feet wasn’t totally “structural”.  It was partly here to keep me “grounded” and in my body so that I face the reality of my feelings and the reality of my life. No amount of “leaving my body” allows me to permanently escape. I am on Earth for numerous reasons and whilst on Earth I do need to do as Jim Rohn states:

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

 

My Chiropractic Journey Of The First 25 Years

McTimoney Chiropractic Association AwardLast month I was presented by Bernie Martin, Chairperson of McTimoney Chiropractic Association with my 25 year service award to McTimoney Chiropractic. It was an absolute pleasure and honour to receive it especially as in 1989 when I graduated I never imagined getting through 25 years. And what a journey it’s been taking me all over the world.

I started as a young 21 year old full of hope and optimism wanting to solve the worlds “pain” through McTimoney – call me naïve too! However I have always wanted to make a difference to peoples’ lives no matter how small a difference that may be deemed. My mission was simple and still remains the same and that is that I will do my upmost best to help all those coming to me. Naturally I’ve not been able to help every single client; however, I have always had the intention of doing my best for them. This “intention” has led me to search for other ways of improving my life and that of my clients.

In my search I was interested in various other fields from Massage techniques including Aromatherapy and Indian Head Massage, an introduction to Bowen Technique and Zero Balancing, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Bach Flower Remedies, some I graduated in and some I did the introduction/foundation courses in. I undertook various personal development courses which entailed walking on hot coals and broken glass to colour psychology, meditation techniques and the Ho’oponopono Process.

I have read countless Mind Body Spirit books – “The Way of The Peaceful Warrior” and “The Journey of Socrates” by Dan Millman, “Entering The Circle” by Olga Khariditi and “A Fall to Grace” by Sandra Ingerman being personal favourites.

One of my greatest discoveries on my search was that of exercise at the age of 36 – I’m talking about “formal structured exercise” in a gym. Prior to this I was into walking, swimming and yoga only. I was concerned about how I would continue with McTimoney sessions over a long period of time. I discovered my first personal trainer who was a key factor in changing my health and fitness. I still work out with trainers doing weight training, cardio, yoga stretches and Pilates strengthening. This undoubtedly has led me to understanding my clients’ injuries and physiques better. Also I truly believe that “working out” combined with the other techniques I practice will sustain me for a long McTimoney Chiropractic career and a life of fulfilment.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style”

Maya Angelou

McTimoney Chiropractic in Earthquake Nepal

It’s really hard to believe that a couple of months ago when I left Nepal and House with Heart ( HwH ) the Children’s Home that I support and volunteer in that an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude would hit the country and kill over 7000 people to date. This death toll is expected to rise.

It’s hard to believe that not that long ago I was doing McTimoney Chiropractic sessions on the kids at HwH, teaching them about posture, how to walk and how to stretch as well as run around with them, celebrate Holi, and celebrate my birthday.

It’s hard to believe that some of UNESCO’s world heritage sights in Kathmandu from the 15th to 18th centuries that I have visited have come crumbling down.

It’s hard to believe that the Nepalese government ( or maybe not that hard ) at a time like this is taxing and delaying international aid reaching those that need it the most and are keeping it for themselves, their villages and their families.

It’s even harder to believe that the Hyatt Regency has been accused of turning away local Nepali people seeking refuge in their large luxurious grounds – shame on you Hyatt for you have lost a customer for life and undoubtedly will lose more.

However despite all of this the human spirit of giving, sharing, caring, being compassionate and praying for all of those that have suffered in this prevails and shines a bright light in the darkness that has engulfed Nepal. When the earthquake hit HwH was affected like a lot of places that were not left untouched. In true style and demonstrating generosity of spirit they opened their gates and gardens to their adjoining neighbours whose buildings had either entirely collapsed or were in the danger of being collapsed. The Hyatt could really learn something here! The home that had become my home in March had substantial structural damage with cracks, the solar panels were damaged and their water tank had shards of glass and was unusable so they were relying on rainwater until it could be replaced. The children and staff could not stay in the home as too unsafe, so they amongst their neighbours have been living in 2 tents pitched in the garden. We’re talking about 75 people crammed in 2 tents sharing 2 toilets that were thankfully built in the garden a few years ago. Thankfully they were better prepared than most and had stocked up on some emergency food supplies which is what they have been nourishing on under the rains of the monsoon season which has come early creating other problems.

Tragedy gives an opportunity for human kindness to shine. I have had countless messages of support from family, friends, colleagues and clients asking what they could do. In response to this I have asked for donations and have pledged myself as I truly believe in leading by example. I am grateful for the fantastic reply to this call of help and in particular to my clients who support my passion for taking McTimoney out to the world, especially to those who who are less fortunate than ourselves and who have already experienced so many challenges than most of us will ever see in our lives. I hope to return to HwH next year when I shall be using McTimoney again amongst the residents and staff whom I’m honoured to count as my family.

As Dailai Lama says:
“Serving and helping others out of compassion is non-violence in action.”

To donate www.housewithheart.org/donate.html

   house with heart nepal     house with heart

Aarti Shah McTimoney Chiropractor celebrates 25 years in practice with a torn meniscus!!

The end of 2014 marks 25 years as a McTimoney Chiropractor for me – a milestone that I never expected to reach when I graduated in 1989 only 21 years of age.

It has been a year where I’ve taken a fair amount of time off, some for pleasure and some due to pain. The pain being a torn meniscus (a tear in my knee cartilage) which eventually forced me to get off my feet and rest. And resting I am as I write this on a beach in sunny Spain waiting for the sun to go down.

I never fully appreciated how painful a torn knee cartilage is – how could I as I had never experienced one before. I have spent nearly 5 months since May doing rehabilitation exercises on it, icing it, have McTimoney Chiropractic sessions, ultrasound, painkillers,homeopathy, healing sessions, praying and maintaining my upper body strength in case I needed crutches if I had surgery.

For the best part I have tried my best to be positive but sometimes darkness has engulfed me with anger, frustration and pain and that all encompassing question, “Why had this had happened to me?”  With all the measures and steps that I had implemented for my recovery one would think that I would have been fully healed by now – no? Sometimes the best solution is to step back and do nothing. This is what I finally realised and was forced to do at the end of Aug. With 1 weeks notice to my clients I cancelled all my work for 5 weeks and ran away to the mountains in Spain. For the first few weeks I slept more that I can ever recall as I began to fully realise how exhausting and weary pain can be. Slowly over the weeks I resurfaced ready in time for my clients arrival to mark the 25 years celebration of my being in practice and their experience of McTimoney sessions with me. I was overwhelmed and honoured that clients would come to support me.

At inside Out Retreat Spain (www.insideoutretreat.com) my clients and I participated in juicing, detoxing, mountain walks, posture awareness, aquacise. Yoga, Pilates, inspirational movies and talks, alternative treatments and McTimoney Chiropractic sessions from me as well as just hanging out together.

Over the period of 4 weeks that I spent in Spain in September I felt rejuvenated, had lost weight through sleeping ( my knee was grateful), looked younger than I had done in a long time and was truly happy to be alive and virtually pain free in my knee – I’d forgotten how good it felt to feel well. The power of rest and doing “absolutely nothing” is underrated – for me it has been highly beneficial and productive in my healing.

My time away has only confirmed the power of McTimoney Chiropractic – one does not need ongoing sessions if clients are willing to participate in their own recovery through appropriate exercise, diet and nutrition and of course adequate rest as I found out recently

More than ever before I stand by my quote on my website by Plato

“Self – conquest is the greatest of victories”

 

 

McTimoney Chiropractic: Innate Self-Healing with Aarti Shah

Mctimoney Chiropractor Aarti Shah has been a McTimoney Chiropractor since 1989 and has been practising in London since 1994. She believes that the body has its own “Innate Self -Healing” ability and that McTimoney Chiropractic is a great facilitator of the healing process, thereby realigning and rebalancing the entire body on many levels.

What, when and where was your first experience of complementary therapies?

First experience of comp therapy was within days of my birth! Being Indian born it’s customary to be massaged as a baby and this was given to me by my grandmother who did both my mother and myself. As a result I’ve always loved massage.

What made you decide to treat others?

At school I was fascinated by the human skeleton and knew the names of all the bones by the time I was 12. At a young age I was keen to see how I could use this fascination. A few years later my aunt and my mother were both being treated by a McTimoney Chiropractor and it helped them so much that it led me to wanting to help others too and at the same time satisfy my curiosity of the bones,

What influenced your treatments the most?

John McTimoney’s philosophy of “Innate Intelligence” – that is the body has an inbuilt ability to heal itself with the right encouragement and tools.

Describe Holistic in less than 10 words?

Holistic – treating a human being as a WHOLE.

Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your journey?

John McTimoney – the Founder of McTimoney Chiropractic – if he hadn’t discovered the method I would not be where I am today. I feel totally indebted to him for giving such a great gift to the world.

What role do your therapies play in the way you live?

I’ve been in practice since 1989. I totally believe in alignment and balance where I incorporate it fully in my life. I exercise regularly, eat well, get adequate rest and relaxation, and get maintenance/preventative McTimoney treatments at least 6 times a year. I’m a firm believer of leading by example to my clients.

What do you hope your clients to experience when they get treated by you?

I expect my clients to be pain free or their pain to be substantially reduced within a few sessions. I expect them to have more mobility and flexibility and to experience a sense of wellbeing that is their birth right to feel but one that their body has forgotten about. With this sense of freedom and other recommended changes I expect them to lead pain free and hopefully more fulfilled lives.

What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?

It’s incredibly rewarding and humbling to see clients’ alignments change right in front of your eyes knowing that their pain is on it’s way out and that you have contributed towards it.

Do you eat ice cream, drink coffee or any guilty pleasures?

For me being human means being balanced so things in moderation and within reason are acceptable like ice cream coffee and other guilty pleasures.