An extra dimension
Just a few months ago, in the latest edition of the FHT‘s ‘International Therapist’ Magazine, I read about Giuliana Fenwick’s massage technique that allows children and young adults living with special needs to enjoy a gentle and nurturing Indian Head Massage Therapy that doesn’t prove to be a sensory overload but rather allows them the time and space to think and be themselves with no preconceptions, no judgement, no labels.
Having made the decision, immediately after reading Giuliana’s heart-breaking yet heart-warming words, that I wanted to learn and share this technique, last week I made the journey down to Porlock, in Somerset, to Giuliana’s beautiful home and therapy cabin (the likes of which I’d never seen before; CPD in the most gorgeous of surroundings with stunning views down to the sea)! My view was that it would add an extra dimension to my massage work.
Over the course of two days Giuliana shared her knowledge and passion and her experiences of working with those with special needs since she first developed her technique, which is approved for teaching by the CMA (Complementary Medical Association). Myself and my fellow course participant were both moved to hear her recount the positives that working with these children and young people brings about. We were lucky to share time with (and practise the massage technique on) her caring, eloquent and creative son Ollie who, over the years, has overcome the darkest of times living with his autism and is now about to follow his dream and embark on a university career studying creative writing; something that he thought was beyond his grasp when his autistic ‘label’ prevented him from being allowed to access higher tier GCSE papers a few years ago.
In addition to the massage technique itself I learnt that being fully accepted and nurtured in this way can make the world of difference to a youngster living with a special need. Whether this be autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning difficulties, OCD, behavioural issues, psychosis, eating disorders, Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s, anxiety, depression or physical disabilities the benefits that Giuliana’s technique can bring have been documented in case studies now numbering in the thousands. Giuliana has worked with specialist schools such as Foxes Academy as well as mainstream educational establishments in Somerset and has made a huge difference to those whose lives she has touched, helping those individuals to ‘find their song’ – to find their passion, develop it and follow their dreams, even if their ‘label’ has previously held them back.
I’m thoroughly looking forward to merging my experience of working with young people (in a teaching capacity to date) with massage in this way, developing links with schools and colleges locally and to helping Giuliana’s technique touch more lives here in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. To see the positive impact that Ollie’s experiences can have on the lives of other young people, far from his home in Porlock, will be a real pleasure. Ollie’s autism, his own extra dimension, makes him who he is and I truly believe that all those children living with their own extra dimension, no matter what form it takes, ought to have the opportunity to sing their songs and be believed in!
If you would like to find out more about Giuliana’s work click here.
If you would like to find out more about Espalda Massage Therapy, click here.