The start of my Journey
The first “a-ha!” moment in my Sophrology journey happened in my home country, Switzerland, when I was 15 years old: I was standing behind the wooden door of my Sophrologist’s practice, nervously waiting for my turn. Subject to a lot inner tensions that I was unaware of, my body was the one showing symptoms of constant intense tiredness. Even my lovely family GP didn’t understand as everything was “fine” with me: I was studying, competing in basketball and discovering life. He just said I think you need to see that lady Sophrologist. Sophro… what? I didn’t know that the next 5 sessions (and many more in the years to come!) would not only completely transform my energy levels but also hugely influence my life!
Guiding me through simple exercises involving breathing, dynamic relaxation, body awareness, powerful visualisations and meditative practices, she beautifully supported me in discovering what was happening within me and gave me tools to overcome this huge tiredness I felt. She recorded the practices and asked me to use it daily to carry on at home in between sessions. Every day at lunch break for just 15 minutes, I was going through this simple process and so I was starting my journey of self-discovery. I was getting stronger day after day and by the end of the 5 weeks, I had understood why I was tired and most importantly I had started to build that new positive connection with myself and understood that even difficult situations could be turned positively. I was slowly but surely starting to understand how to be in the driving seat of my life.
As Eckhart Tolle rightly says: « if you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place ».
During the next few years, Sophrology became a central part of my life, allowing me to open up a new space within, in a gentle but deep way. Everything I was living through would come under the Sophrology lens, creating a sense of freedom and supporting me through exams, relationships, sport etc…
My Sophrologist told me: “one day you will be a very good Sophrologist”, but at the time Osteopathy seemed more appealing because it was more “medical” and this is how I further dived into the understanding of the body’s own ability to heal.
I think my early life experiences with Sophrology shaped my first steps as an Osteopath to be convinced that body and mind are so closely bound and that an efficient approach to health needs to include both. In Osteopathy, I further trained and specialised in women health, pregnancy and babies. I then went on to study Sophrology notably with its Founder Professor Alfonso Caycedo. During my 11 years practising as an Osteopath, a lot of the restrictions I used to find in my client’s bodies could be improved by various osteopathic techniques. But for chronic issues or the reoccurring restriction patterns, the solution was often in the client’s experience of life, his behaviour, in unresolved emotions or even his food habits.
It’s now been 15 years since I graduated from the osteopathic school in the South of England and 25 years that I have been practising Sophrology. I have dedicated a lot of time to self-development alongside with other therapeutic methods and what I do in my own practice and my approach to good health has been shaped by this. I myself went through a lot of healing on many levels and have recently become a mother. This all helps me understand the uniqueness of each body, each mind and each situation and use the information I receive from my clients and from my colleagues in a beneficial way for each client.
Body and Mind
My experience as a practitioner and also working on myself showed me the way we experience life events, our beliefs, emotions, and the behaviours we have learned particularly through the family plays a big role in how the energy flows through the body and how our posture looks and therefore the level of health we have in the body.
So naturally, after years of working with Osteopathy, and experiencing how much a few sessions of Sophrology impacted positively of the client’s body and life, I decided to focus more on Sophrology. I enjoy the fact that in each practice both body and mind are used to explore consciousness and that the client is given tools to feel more in control of his life experience. I also refer many of my clients to Osteopaths and other complementary therapists as their work blends so well hand in hand with Sophrology and they help the client make more progress.
It’s because of my experience working with clients that I have discovered a need for a highly tailored holistic service for pregnant women in London:
• There are so many complementary approaches that it might be difficult to know where to start and what is most beneficial with which issue
• To have a highly tailored and professional service
• To include body and mind in the approach
• To support all types of birth even when a women has chosen a more medicalised root.
This is how [email protected] started.
Your Pregnancy Journey
Each pregnancy is unique: whether you choose to have a natural or an assisted birth, there is plenty you can do to feel more empowered, more confident in your body’s own capabilities to cope with the pregnancy and to feel less anxious about giving birth and labour pain you may experience.
As the body changes through its hormones production and a growing bump, the posture, the tissue elasticity, the way you breathe, digest food, sleep, think and feel about yourself is constantly evolving.
Your spine now carries more weight and this puts additional pressure on your bones, joints and muscles. Breathing from the diaphragm becomes more challenging as the baby takes more space.
The body has a natural ability to adapt but sometimes there can also be some difficulties giving rise to a wide array of symptoms making the pregnancy uncomfortable, the typical ones being :
• Low energy levels
• Nausea, heartburn, constipation
• Aches and Pain
• Lack of sleep
• Stress and anxiety
• Shallow breathing
• Decreased mobility
You may be feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of work and home life, and whilst being pregnant anything may make you feel more emotional. Knowing how to manage stress is so important during pregnancy to allow you to feel good about yourself and to provide a nurturing environment for your baby to grow.
Because each person is different, the same method doesn’t work for everybody. This is where [email protected] can direct you to the appropriate help after the initial consultation. We use a wide range of techniques like Osteopathy, Nutrition, Sophrology, Acupuncture, Massage, Homeopathy, Reflexology and we will help you find where to start and which therapies to combine together to have the maximum benefits.
Being healthy, relaxed, confident and mobile are essential qualities for a healthy birth so everything you will do during your pregnancy to feel good will be positive for birth and recuperation after birth.
At [email protected], we are here to help you have a healthy pregnancy, prepare for birth and give your baby the best environment for growth.
The Benefits of Collaborative Work
I believe that a therapist should be as specialised as possible and work collaboratively with other therapists to provide a holistic approach to her clients. If one master one therapy very well, then that therapeutic approach can certainly go a very long way, especially if the client already has a healthy lifestyle. But for many clients, the amount of stress they are under is so high or the issue so chronic that it is necessary to support life changes they are going through on different levels and therefore using different approaches. As we know, pregnancy is also one of those times in life where one should be particularly careful to be as healthy as possible to provide the best start for the baby and therefore a multi-disciplinary angle is also very valuable.
When working collaboratively around a client, it is interesting to also notice that a client will decide to share different types of information and details depending on the therapist she visits. She will probably talk about one particular issue when she visits an Osteopath, then a different one when talking to a Nutritionist, an Acupuncturist or a Sophrologist. The information she will bring to the practitioner often depends on the questions the therapist asks or often what the client believes she should share for the purpose of a particular therapy.
With prior client consent, being able to communicate between practitioners allows to gather a wealth of useful information that will make the whole therapeutic approach more efficient and tailored to the client’s situation and needs.
[email protected] provides this high-quality multi-disciplinary approach all under the same roof in Mayfair, London: each practitioner is highly qualified and experienced within the field of maternity and enjoys and understand the value of collaborative work for the client’s benefit.
[email protected] wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t met with the 58 South Molton Street Well-Being Business Centre Founders, Michal and Noam Sagi, who have created a beautiful and professional environment for therapists to work and collaborate. In this supportive environment, I was lucky to meet and partner with two wonderful therapists and women, Amberin Fur, who is our Osteopathic Consultant and Angelique Panagos who is our Nutritionist. Together we have given life to the concept because of a common passion about the field of a therapeutic approach to pregnancy and a desire to make this important time of life as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Pregnancy: a Fertile Time of Life
Going through pregnancy, birth and postpartum myself recently has deepened my understanding of the whole process of giving birth and allowed me to learn what therapies are available out there and how best to use them. I feel extremely privileged to have been able to look after myself and be looked after by highly competent complementary therapists: this has been beneficial on all levels and still is. My baby has certainly benefited too, giving him the best chance to start life in the healthiest conditions. Life is a journey, and pregnancy and becoming a mother is an important part of it.
Pregnancy is a time when women tend to feel more sensitive and vulnerable. Physical, mental and emotional changes happen continuously as a woman goes through a total reorganisation of her body, she becomes a parent for the first time, and sometimes she embarks on a change in career or working patterns. Because of all these constant mind and body changes throughout the 9 months of the pregnancy, complementary therapies can really make a difference to a woman’s wellbeing. With the right gentle and caring support, it is a time where a lot of healing can take place. Complementary therapies will not only support a woman to address the possible discomfort experienced during pregnancy and help her remain balanced and healthy, but it can also transform this journey into one of inner discovery and renewal.
At [email protected], all our therapists are not only highly experienced in their fields and able to support the body and mind aspects but they also have a deeper understanding of the wider transformational process in which the woman is going through.
Preparing for Birth
Feeling prepared and ready for birth and motherhood is a huge asset to have. With Sophrology women are learning to feel confident and happy through the changes pregnancy brings and learn to enjoy the beauty in the moment. They learn to await the birth with a positive and relaxed outlook and learn simple pain management techniques and ways to support their body and mind all the way through to the big day. They also prepare mentally for the time after the birth, for example for breastfeeding or the inevitable lack of sleep. The essence of the Sophrology birth preparation approach is to develop your own inner resources so that, no matter what happens during the pregnancy, a woman is able to cope and feel secure and resourceful in any situation. Of course, we prepare the brain and body towards an “easy” physiological birth but also feeling confident that we can deal with a more medicalised birth (whether by choice or through circumstances). We also aim at a positive and meaningful birth experience by working with the perception a woman has of it, either during the pregnancy but also afterwards, looking back at it. The more preparation she has done, the more able she will be to transform the event positively, even in the case of a complicated birth. These are the typical requests when women come and meet me :
• Wanting to get ready for birth and learn tools to feel confident and prepared for all types of birth
• Dealing with stress may be related to work, family, a house move or even a change of country
• Dealing with physical discomfort
• Lack of sleep and tiredness
• Preparing for motherhood
• Preparing for medical interventions
Watch this video explaining how BeSophro can help you through your pregnancy and birth preparation.
Combining Sophrology with Osteopathy, Nutrition or other complementary approaches will be the most effective way to be ready in body and mind and to enhance recuperation after giving birth. At [email protected] we also want to make sure that women access the best care, so we also collaborate with great midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, practitioners and medical consultants.
Nurture, Support and Inform
As a practitioner and even more since becoming a mum, I really value the nurturing and supporting role of complementary therapies during pregnancy and early motherhood. A professional approach within the complementary sector needs to be safe for the mother and the child and be effective at helping the complaints or supporting the woman’s needs. Too often pregnant women are overwhelmed by the pregnancy process, with a sense of fear and that they are not sure what is happening or feeling powerless. As a Sophrologist, my role is to empower my client. To do so, listening is key to tailor a practice that will support them in finding the resources to deal with their situation. Our role is also to inform women about their possibilities to support them in making the right choices for themselves or their future baby.
At [email protected], we believe that highly professional and friendly support has nurturing effects. This is so important for a woman that will soon spend a lot of time nurturing a new baby!
Highly Tailored Multidisciplinary Approach
Each woman is different: her lifestyle, her wishes, her body, her mind etc… so it seems very obvious too to make sure she receives the right care at the right moment. At [email protected], we are assessing those needs by taking a very in-depth health questionnaire and constantly checking and adapting the program to suit the client all through the pregnancy and beyond. We have created different packages that a woman can experience as little or as much as she wants of the combined approach. For more info and to book an initial consultation (free 15 minutes consultations are available):
Also if you would like to meet [email protected] core team, Angelique, Amberin and myself and listen to our talk, we will be at the Private Pregnancy UK Show, Saturday and Sunday 21-22 May, in London Mayfair. For bookings: http://www.privatepregnancy.co.uk/show/tickets/