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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Specialty Bodywork

This information is to help offer a better understanding of types of Ayurvedic and other Specialty Bodywork Treatments offered by Nicole Telkes.  

I offer the following Treatments but have also had training in Zen Shiatsu, Mayan Abdominal Massage and Structural Massage.  This information is for clients to understand the techniques that are applied during their treatments.  Clients may have a sense of the type of treatment they would like to experience, but Nicole will guide you through your choices to make the best one for your situation.  You can go here to see rates for specialty massage offerings shown below.

The goal of Ayurvedic bodywork is to balance the Doshas, or Ayurvedic Body Constitution.  The doshas can be assessed by looking at both the Prakruti and Vikruti.  One assessment looks at your base constitution, determined at birth and the other at your current state of imbalance.  After assessing this, along with whatever symptoms you are coming to the session with, a holistic treatment plan is offered.  I do an assessment blending Ayurvedic Concepts, Greek, Chinese, and even Physiomedicalism to come up with a good treatment strategy for you.  Take the Dosha Quiz here or here 

In my practice, I offer an eclectic approach to Ayurvedic Bodywork.  I specialize in North American Herbalism, so though I have been trained in the traditional Ayurvedic offerings, many times I incorporate native herbs and bioregional plants that I have picked myself and made into preparations.  I do love the traditional Ayurvedic Hands On Treatments because there are so many unique and wonderful ways to apply herbal therapeutics within session.

As a bodyworker and massage therapist I offer the following treatments:
These treatments can be gotten on their own but for maximum effectiveness and results, they should be part of a larger treatment plan.  Incorporated into some of these treatments may be some basic massage, tuning forks, aromatherapy, sound therapy, meditation, chakra balancing, and even tarot with followup herbal and dietary guidelines.

  • Clients may receive Guidelines for Home Pancha Karmas/Cleansing. More Here 

  • Marma Massage-1 hr: 
Marma is a Sanskrit word meaning hidden , or secret. By definition, a marma point is a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints. Yet marma points are much more than a casual connection of tissue and fluids; they are intersections of the vital life force and prana, or breath.The idea behind massaging the marma points is to cleanse blocked energy, also called chi, by either arousing or calming the doshas. Like a television with three channels, each marma point has three receptors that align with the three doshas. During a marma-point massage, the points are stroked in a deliberate sequence using specific essential oils.  More here
Benefits of marma massage;

• all the benefit of abhyanga massage
• strengthens the organ systems and tissues
• regenerates tissue
• relieves physical and mental blockages of energy
• helps remove excess ama (toxins)
• prevents aging
• improves lymph
• increases the protection from vata disorders
• nourishes the body
• encourages good sleep
• improves physical stability
• balances the dosha
• helps easy flow of energy through the energy channels. 
• helps to release blocked energy helping prevent disease. 

  • Marma massage with Udvartana 1 hr

This herbal massage treatment includes a full body  massage and full body exfoliation using herbal powders, and salts or sugars and oils to exfoliate and deeply cleanse the skin. The herbal powder/scrub is applied all over the body with therapeutic oils using specific massage movements.

• ideal Cellulite busting treatment
• helps remove lymphatic toxins from the body
• helps remove excess subcutaneous fat (liquefying & burning it up)
• exfoliating & deep cleansing to the skin
• ideal weight management treatment 
• increases basal metabolic rate
• deep cleansing & softening to the skin 
• helps with blemished & oily skin
• helps rid the ama (toxins) from the body
• helps improve muscle & skin tone
• has also all the benefits of abhyanga massage 
• it tones up the skin and muscles after child birth or weight loss
• eases joint pain

  • Marma Massage with Pinda Sveda - Herbal Boluses 1 hr 

(Pinda means herbal bolus…….Sveda means steaming)

This deeply invigorating thermal massage is performed using small muslin bags filled with ayurvedic herbs. These herbal muslin bags are heated and are used to foment the body to produce sweat. The fomentation helps absorb the herbs into the body through the pores in the skin. The body is massage, pummelled and kneaded with the herbal linen bags to clear the body and the mind

This invigorating massage is helpful for the following problems;

• tension & stress
• deeply cleansing and hydrating the skin
• detoxifying
• cellulite
• glowing complexion to the skin
• pain relief including muscular
• chronic pain
• lower back pain
• sciatica
• neck pain
• joint and arthritis-related problems
• reduced local swelling and muscle/joint stiffness
• aches and pains
• sports injuries
• relieving stress
• revitalises the body
• energising the body
• helping mobility
• restoring appetite

  • Abdominal Massage (30 minutes)
Drawing from Ayurveda, Zen Shiatsu and Mayan Abdominal Massage. A powerful non invasive abdominal massage to improve tone and purify the area. This is the ideal treatment for weight loss and digestive problems, pregnancy, and after birthing.  Herbal Steams may also be a part of this work.

• detoxifying
• ideal for post pregnancy toning
• weight loss management
• bloating
• irritable bowel syndrome
• constipation
• heartburn
• indigestion
• low digestive fire (low appetite)
• IBS, crohn’s, colitis
• skin toning

  • Natural Facials Incorporating Marmas( 30 minutes or 1 hr)
During this anti-aging facial the face, neck and shoulders are massaged with ayurvedic oils to suit your skin type using specialised techniques. The facial gives the skin a smooth texture and appearance, together with a healthy glow. This is a natural and effective method of reducing wrinkles.  Types of Products and Formulas used on the skin reflect the doshas and any individual situations that need addressing.
Technical details:

During the treatment marma points are gently massaged which are energy centres in the body. Marma points are connected with each other by energy channels (nadis). Under normal circumstances, energy should flow uninterrupted through the energy channels (nadis) while passing through the marma points. Energy tends to get blocked in marma points due to external influences like stress, tension and lack of rest etc. Blockages of these points will also result in early aging. So one of the aims of the traditional ayurvedic facelift massage is to keep these energy centres and channels free of such blockages so that there is uninterrupted energy flow through them.

There are 37 marma major points in the head and neck area and 98% are vata reducing points. Excess vata will produce wrinkles so by massaging the area with specialist techniques, vata is reduced therefore wrinkles are reduced. Vata dosha is dominant in old age this means that there is vata dosha excess during this period of life.

Ayurveda says, ‘that as long as one is able to pacify vata dosha, one can prolong life and keep old age at bay’.

So with this facial the therapist concentrates on all vata dominant points of the head and face region to pacify the vata dosha.

• it relaxes the face muscles
• it stimulates the microcirculation and lymph flow,
• it promotes the regeneration of healthy younger looking skin,
• it also activates the natural metabolism of the skin tissue and improves muscle tone, thereby improving the skin’s natural capacity to retain moisture
• to help uninterrupted energy flow through energy channels
• anti aging
  • Foot Treatments(30 minutes or 1 hr)

Foot treatments include a herbal Foot bath with fresh and dried herbs, a foot scrub with handmade all natural ingredients, massage, and hot towels.
This traditional Indian foot massage treatment is extremely soothing and relaxing, awakening the vital energy areas in your soles including feet, calves, knees and shins. It is a rejuvenating experience that releases deeply felt tension and leaves you relaxed and balanced. Marma points (energy points) are massaged during this treatment intensifying the healing process of the body. Ideal for stress related problems!  

• reduces stress & anxiety
• nervous conditions
• helps with insomnia 
• detoxifying
• helps reduce oedema
• helps reduce inflammation 
• helps with arthritis & rheumatism
• improves varicose veins
• helps hypertension
  • Karana Purana - Ear Therapy (15 minutes)

Warm therapeutic oil is poured into the ears to lubricate the delicate filaments of the ear canal. It helps dislodge impurities and sharpen hearing. This relaxing therapy helps many ear related conditions it especially ideal for neck and jaw tension, ringing in the ears, itching and dryness in the ears and much more. Our senses are connected to the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). Hearing is connected to space and air so it is an area where these elements or vata collects. Hence the treatment is very effective in reducing vata in the body. 
This ear therapy can help the following conditions;

• brings healing energy to the reflexology points on the ears
• alleviates restlessness and nervousness
• brings better sleep and helps with insomnia
• Increases mental clarity
• reduces jaw and neck tension
• calms vertigo
• helps with balance problems
• vata related problems (vata headaches etc)
• reduces ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
• helps with congestion 
• helps with excess ear wax
• ear ache
• deafness
• excess dryness in ear nose and throat
• palpitations
• neck pain

  • Kati Basti (30minutes)Head Massage--Usually incorporated with a Shirodhara Treatment
Experience the classic Indian Head Massage as it has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Using treatment oils to nourish the skin and hair, this therapy involves massage of the head, face, neck, shoulders, upper back and arms. Massaging the scalp stimulates the flow of blood to the hair follicles, improving the supply of nutrients needed for healthy hair growth which can in turn help slow down the balding process. Indian head massage can help stress-linked problems like headaches and eyestrain and other ailments.

Further benefits;
• helps with stress related ailments
• balances the central nervous system
• promotes mental clarity
• improving concentration
• restores joint mobility
• improves blood and lymph circulation 
• ideal for office workers prone to tension
• helps reduce vata dosha
• works over the chakras and marma points of the upper body

  • Shiro Dhara 30minutes (within another treatment usually like head massage-kati basti/ karuna purana, or other)

A stream of soothing therapeutic warm oil is poured rhythmically across the forehead, this settles the mind and profoundly relaxes the central nervous system. It helps soothe and rejuvenate the mind & nervous system instilling a sense of deep meditation and relaxation.
This ancient treatment can help;
• relieve stress/stress related conditions & anxiety
• improve Insomnia
• calm an agitated mind
• alleviate mental exhaustion
• rejuvenate the face and soften worry lines
• regulate mood and depression disorders
• release stored emotions
• improve concentration, intelligence, self esteem and confidence
• stimulate cognitive memory
• strengthen the immune system
• regulate the endocrine system
• stimulate the secretion of serotonin & melatonin
• benefit nervous system diseases, nerve disorders, paralysis etc
• benefit many diseases connected with the head, neck, eyes, ears, nose and throat
• regulate the hormonal system by working on the chakras
• invigorate the physical system and mind
• sharpen the sensory organs
• cool the body and relieve pain.
• encourage endorphin production in the body
• relieve fatigue, anger, chronic headaches & burning sensation in the head & neck
• Improve digestion and constipation
• sharpen the sense organs
• hypertension, ulcerations & inflammation in upper body
• premature greying or loss of hair
• excessive sweating
• excessive sleep
• lethargy
• remove build up of mucus in the body
• weak digestion & low appetite
• anorexia
• high cholesterol
• diabetes
• balance the 3 doshas by working on the marma points
• awaken the third eye 
• increase spiritual awareness & intuition
  • Basti Therapy - Warm, Medicated Oil Pours that Bathe An Area 20-30minutes

(Basti means a bladder or something that holds)

Basti treatments involve applying warm therapeutic oils to a specific contained area (using a freshly made dough ring) on the body and allowing it to penetrate. This bathing therapy creates very deep, penetrating heat that allows the healing qualities of the oil to profoundly infiltrate the surrounding tissues, nourishing and strengthening the muscles, bones, ligament, tendons and nerves etc. The basti therapy works also over chakras and marma points releasing blocked energy and rejuvenating the area.

 Lower Back Warm Oil Bath

This basti assists with ailments such as;

• lower back ache
• osteo arthritis & osteoporosis
• nerve related conditions
• sciatica
• prolapsed disc
• chronic & acute pain
• paralysis of lower regions of the body
• lumbar spondylyosis
• degenerative spine changes compressed discs,
• hip pain & abdominal pain
• vata related problems (lower back is seat of vata)
Neck Warm Oil Pour

This basti assists with ailments such as;

• neck, upper back, shoulder aches and pains
• chronic pain in neck region, frozen shoulder
• cervical spondylosis
• osteoarthritis & osteoporosis
• cervical nerve conditions
• stress related conditions
• blocked energy between shoulder blades
• blocked emotions of the throat
• helping emotions be expressed
Heart and Lung Warm Oil Pour
This basti helps nourish, strengthen and balance the heart functions and rejuvenates the heart area. It also helps to nourish the lungs, clearing channels in the lungs and heart and prevents them drying out.

It also assists with ailments such as;
• nervousness, anxiety, fear & grief
• palpitations
• high blood pressure
• chronic fatigue syndrome
• multiple sclerosis
• heart conditions
• respiratory problems (asthma, bronchial asthma, bronchitis, wheezing etc)
• extreme vata problems
• emotions of deep seated anger and sadness
• helping emotions be expressed
Abdominal Warm Oil Pour

• bloating
• constipation
• detoxifying
• indigestion
• weight loss
(usually done with abdominal massage)
Knee Warm Oil Pours(can be done on ankles, wrists elbows etc)

This basti assists with ailments such as;

• arthritis
• knee pain
• osteo arthritis
• osteoporosis
• rheumatism

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Choose Quality Herbal Products

By Nicole Telkes, Practicing Herbalist

Director of the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine Austin Texas

 Buying herbs can be tricky: Herbs are regulated through the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).  Just because the industry is regulated, doesn’t mean that everything on the shelf is of the highest quality or even what it says it is.  In general it’s good to ask a lot of questions when it comes to purchasing supplements.  Many formulas on the market are “kitchen sink” style, where everything natural that could possibly work is thrown in hopes that something may work.  Buying herbs from trained herbalists is very different from buying herbs from the herb industry.  The amount of energy and love that goes into making fresh, hand-picked extracts is immeasurable and cannot even be compared with large herb companies (oftentimes now subsidiaries of pharmaceutical companies).  Whenever possible, support small herb companies, local herbalists and local herb growers.  The herbs you obtain from smaller suppliers will most likely be fresher, more potent, more sustainably harvested and include weedy, local herbs that are not often found in the market or large health food stores.  Just because something is “natural” does not make it safer or better.  Herbalists are able to distinguish when and what herbs may work better for an individual and amend recipes to an individual’s unique situation.  Take care to purchase Organically Grown herbs, or those grown in pesticide-free gardens.  Make sure that any herbs that you buy that are “wildcrafted”(taken from the wild) are picked under strict conservation guidelines.  Over harvesting of many popular market herbs have led to them being placed in “At Risk” or “Threatened” status by United Plant Savers, a group dedicated to the conservation of medicinal plants .    It is very important to know where your plants came from and use as many weedy alternatives to exotic plants that are brought into the country.  Many times herbs coming from overseas are irradiated upon entering the country.   A great website that gives information on additives and preservatives, and levels of toxicity for is the Environmental Working Group at

Dried Plants:  Look for vibrancy in the plant matter, good color, and strong smells.  Old herbs look and smell worn out.  Sometimes if they are dried at the wrong temp(too high) they will be a little brown.

Tinctures: Should smell more like the herb then the menstruum it is preserved in.  Dark colors and deep and pungent in smell.  The color will vary between green, brown and black.  Different plants need different percentages of alcohol to extract.  Make sure the plant was extracted properly based on its constituents.

Oils and Salves: Should also vary in color and smell.  Salves should vary from green to brown in coloration.  Sediment ensures there were actual infused plants in the blend.