…which basically means she helps people tap into the wisdom of their bodies and out of their conditioned patterns. Her aim is to show people how to bring mindfulness to the way they’re living so they can create their best life. Passionate about helping people optimise their bodies so they can be a clear channel for all they want to experience and create in this world, Eleanor brings together wisdom she’s gathered from the worlds of yoga therapy, massage, corrective exercise, strength and conditioning, sports, hypnosis, meditation, trauma processing and Buddhist psychology…
“One of the most basic ways that our physical bodies can harbour stress and limit our freedom is with tension. We all know what it feels like to experience stiffness in the body, but when we spend our lives in the same few positions, that stiffness can become our default; we just get used to being the person with a tight back or hips! If we don’t take our joints through full ranges then we lose the ability to do so — hence the saying “use it or lose it”.
To help my clients release this tension, I’ve developed an approach to myofascial release mostly based on my study of sports massage, functional movement and corrective exercise.
So what actually is myofascial release?
The myofascia is the connective tissue that wraps around each muscle fibre, as well as encasing each muscle. It connects ‘chains’ of muscles together into integrated patterns throughout the body. With an understanding of these chains, we think less about stretching individual muscles when it comes to creating functional movement. To lift something off the floor or open a door, we use a whole sequence of muscles. To achieve a movement, some muscles have to lengthen while others shorten — so we must look at the whole integrative team if we want to improve the movement. Myofascia forms in sheets of tissue, and when healthy these sheets slide and glide over one another to allow smooth movement. When we are inactive, these sheets become adhesive and stick together. Think of candle wax: when there’s no heat, it hardens.
To release this we can create heat in the body through movement (or a hot yoga room!) and then stretch the tissues. That’s why practices like yoga can be so helpful in developing freedom in the body.
But when things get really stiff, we can add some external pressure to get things moving again. Massage encourages that ‘slide and glide’ of the myofascia — just picture rubbing together two sheets of plastic stuck together with wax until it starts to melt (anyone used at-home wax strips???). Massage is also particularly effective for what most people think of as ‘muscle knots’. If you’ve had any injuries or long-term muscle imbalances, certain muscle fibres chronically contract and the connective tissue bunches up to create these hard lumps as a way of protecting the injured or weak area. These are called trigger points, and can be very sensitive to touch. Adding pressure feels sore in the moment, but can eventually help decrease the contraction and allow some fresh blood into the area for healing to occur.
Obviously it would be lovely to get a weekly massage to sort all this out, but there’s still plenty we can do for ourselves to get the myofascia flowing — and there’s real benefit in getting to know your own body. In this workshop I’m teaching at Ebb&Flow, we’re going to look at the chains of myofascia to see why tightness in, for instance, your left armpit might be contributing to your lower back pain (that’s genuinely a very common example!).
We’ll then explore these lines experientially through movement, breathwork and self-massage with tennis balls. We’ll focus on the areas where we most typically hold tension, and are most effectively addressed with these techniques: shoulders, back, hips and feet. But, as you’ll now appreciate, these techniques address the body as an integrative system, no matter where you may be feeling symptoms.”
Eleanor has a Level 5 Diploma in Sports Massage and Remedial Therapy, Level 1 Certification in Integrative Movement Science, and multiple certificates in yoga and yoga therapy.