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Nature & Nurture Therapeutic Massage - Massage for the Soul
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Recent Posts

The Role of Mothers
Active Birth & Postnatal Support
Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage
Myrhh - Commiphora Myrrha
Negative Media Attention


Essential Oils
Good Health & A Sense of Self
Hawaiian Massage
Introduction to Nature & Nurture Therapeutic Massage
Massage Practitioners in the Spotlight.
Positive Affirmations
Pregnancy Massage
Preparing for Birth
Touch Is A Powerful Sensation


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The Greater Toronto Spring Fair

The Greater Toronto Spring Fair

Saturday 11th October from 10am - 3pm

Nature & Nurture will be having a stall at the Toronto Spring Fair next weekend. This is an opportunity for people to be able to have a personal chat with me (Zoe) about what N&N has to offer. It is a time to try a couple of taster treatments, get a general feeling of what is available and whether I may be a suitable complementary therapist for you.

I am looking forward to meeting you and I hope that you may take a few minutes out of your day to stop and say hi.

Tea Tree Oil - Melaleuca Alternifolia

TEA TREE (also known as Melaleuca Alternifolia)

It has been a little while since I have made a post and one which covers the ever wonderful benefits of an essential oil. I have decided to share with you some knowledge about Tea Tree.

Tea Tree is a clean and fresh smelling oil that is used for its anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities. People often find that
it has a medicinal scent which is probably related to its common topical and household applications. It can be applied successfully in very low dilutions but it is also used neat. Users need to be cautious if applying neat as it can irritate those with sensitivities.

Tea tree leaves were actually being used as a healing tea by Indigenous Australians long before Europeans arrived. It wasn't until the 1920's though that an Australian chemist discovered its medicinal qualities. Arthur Penfold found Tea Tree oil to be an effective means of disinfecting wounds and stopping fungal infections. He was indeed a very important chemist recognised worldwide. He was mainly regarded for his knowledge of the essential oils of Australian flora.

During the Second World War Australian soldiers carried Tea Tree oil in their first aid kits. I do too, alongside Lavender. They are the two main oils I often wouldn't go traveling without.

Basically, Tea tree is a great immuno-stimulant and is perfect for many ailments from acne, to dandruff, head lice, athletes foot, candida, cold sores, ringworm, colds & flu etc. In times of illness it is a great oil to diffuse in an oil burner to limit the spread of infection through the air. NB. Best mixed with either peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils.

Just like Lavender the applications of this oil truly are remarkable. As mentioned above it is a great little bottle to add to the first aid kit. You could also put Tea Tree oil in your laundry cupboard (if you prefer it to Lavender oil ) as it too will help to freshen up your washing - especially if you have smelly work/sports wear. It can also be used to remove chewing gum/tar and other sticky substances from clothing.

Tea Tree oil blends very well with: Atlas Cedarwood, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint & Rosemary.

Tea Tree can cause skin irritation. It should really be used in lower dilutions to begin with. For an adults bath only 3 drops need be added to gain some therapeutic benefit. As with the use of all essential oils some research needs to be done before application.

Writings from Denise Leicester - Ila Spa

The founder of Ila - Denise Leicester (who I mentioned in my previous post) writes a little more on the topic of chemicals in products in her own blog.

This is certainly something that people should be thinking about as the skin is our largest organ and dalily it is assaulted with a barage of lotions, potions and pollution. It is from my own negative experience with commercial products that led me down the path I am on today. I love aromatherapy and it is a wonderful joy that I receive from creating my own blends. If you can't make it yourself be sure to ask the right questions about what you are purchasing. You'll realise that you don't need half the things in your bathroom cabinet and what you do have is probably a waste of money.

I will soon be making products to purchase. If you are interested before I have anything available up on my site please contact me to see if we can come to some arrangement. I am happy to make small quantities to order.

Product Choice

To successfully operate a small, part time business takes a lot of management. For Nature & Nurture much thought is given to purchases that need to be made, such as what products to choose.

Although in an indeal world I would love to be able to offer clients organic products I know that it would not be viable for my pocket or yours. I am also aware from experience that the 'organic seal of approval' does not always mean the best product available. I had the pleasure of working in a spa that used products painstakingly created with care and love from ila ( Their products are not organic but are labelled 'beyond organic'. The reason behind this is that on their quest around the globe, searching for the most pure and ethical ingredients they realised that some plants, although given the organic approval, were grown in undesireable locations. Roses from Bulgaria can be found in fields beside roads with heavy traffic (causing all sorts of pollution and contaminants to land on these living, breathing organisms). In the U.K. the Soil Association certifies these roses organic but that is only really addressing the absence of chemicals used in the soil.

I use Plant Essentials based right here in Australia because I would like to support an Australian business. I have been bery pleased with their range, their service and their oils.

Below is an extract from their website:
"Where possible we source local, organically farmed & wild crafted ingredients, or we search afar for top quality community produced ingredients. We use recyclable packaging, & most products can be refilled in store for a discount. These products are not only better for the environment, but better for you. We prefer to choose cruelty free products & ingredients. We are constantly looking for ways we can limit our impact on our precious environment. Using plant derived raw, organic & simple safe ingredients for all the family. With No animal testing. No parabens, No sulphates, No synthetic preservatives, No mineral oils."

I'm happy with that and I hope that you are too!

Education - The Art of Sacred Belly Binding

So at the moment I have been quite busy with family life and other aspects of maintaining my massage business that I have neglected my blog a little. It is pleasant to be able to sit down and write when it doesn't feel forced. I often find that I have little time for thoughtful, reflective writing but right now I am able to sit for a while and I have decided to share one of the activities that is currently keeping me busy. This activity is a course in the Scared Art of Belly Binding.
Have you ever heard of this? I hadn't until I was invited to participate. It is a beautiful treatment to be learning about with the aim of giving something special to both the learner and the future receivers. It is through my journey on this course that I will be able to provide a treatment that is unique to me and tailored individually for my clients.

In countries such as China and Malaysia 'belly binding' has been practised for many generations. Simply put it is the process of weaving a long length of fabric around a woman's torso (postnatally) from a little above her pubic bone to just underneath her breasts. The idea behind it is that it enables a woman to maintain good posture after birth, help with the contraction of the uterus and support the musculature of the abdominals. Numerous other benefits have also been noted but I would say that these three are fundamental to a new mother's postnatal care.

As a holistic therapist the course that I am studying incorporates an extra element  - the process of ceremony and the celebration of a woman from maiden to mother. It involves nurturing her after 9-10 months of carrying and bringing a new soul into the world. In Western culture the importance of caring for our new mothers has been lost. A great deal of time and energy is focused on the pregnanct woman but once the baby arrives a new mother's emotional and spiritual health is often ignored. Is it any wonder that our rates of postnatal depression are so high? Not all women seek help so the figures could be greater but they currently stand at 1 in 7 mothers diagnosed in Australia with the condition. (See;

From a personal experience I realise how beneficial touch can be after birth. I have written about it's power at any time in a person's life and I advocate the importance of holistic massage rather than always opting for being fine tuned through chiro, osteo and remedial etc. At this particular time in a woman's life the need for receiving touch, feeling loved and honoured is extremely important; if not for the wellbeing of her but the baby and their family as a whole.

The art of sacred belly binding for me is a reminder that it is okay to take time out for one's self, most especially when so much of our own time is taken up with the giving of ourselves for others. That 'giving' needn't be only at home but also in the workplace, our communities or other such daily commitments. 

I am very much looking forward to completing this course and being able to offer it to those that will benefit from receiving it. It is essential to remain in the world of education when working as a massage therapist and I will admit that it is no chore to do so. I hope that the time I invest in my studies will be of benefit to you or your loved ones. Please keep an eye out on my blog for future updates regarding the completion of the Belly Binding course.

Pregnancy Massage


Today I have decided to inform you about the pregnancy massage that I offer my clients.  A number of conversations recently about this modality have made me think what a great idea it would be to share this topic with you.

It would appear that the general impression that most women have is that they need to have something wrong with them to be able to receive a pregnancy massage (or any treatment for that matter). Simply put - this just isn't the case! Why wait until you feel out of sorts before coming to relax? Why not remain relaxed and in a great state of health, using massage as a means to achieving that? It's a perfect place to be in preparation for the achievable but hard work that labour will soon bring.

A friend and co-worker (Claire) got me interested in studying the specific pregnancy course that I chose and whilst I was pregnant, with my first child, I received frequent massages from her. Claire and I worked in a Spa and if we ever found ourselves without clients scheduled in Claire often utlised that vacancy by providing me with gorgeous pregnancy treatments. From that time on I was fascinated. After such a great pregnancy and birth I thought that it was a modality that I could share with my own clients.

I studied my diploma with 'Well Mother' based in Windmill Hill, Bristol, England. Our teacher, Suzanne Yates, now has a very long history in working with pregnant clients in a variety of settings (including hospitals). She teaches not only to massage and shaitsu practioners but also to midwives, doulas and birth educators; travelling to numerous countries imparting her knowledge. In her words, via the link below, is what the Well Mother approach is about:

From a personal experience I found the treatments that I received very relaxing and I used them as a way to connect with my growing baby. They allowed me to remain calm and enjoy a trouble free pregnancy.

I find it a shame that most of the women I speak to feel that they should only receive a bodywork treatment if they have something to be 'fixed.' Many have even questioned how beneficial a massage can be as they are so accustomed to being referred to chiropractors and osteopaths.  Yes, for some pregnant women the changes their body undertakes while carrying a child, other than an obvious growing belly, may be only subtly percieved. They need not always cause pain and discomfort.  Massage can aid these women too though. The very act of being touched and nurtured oneself can have great  physiological and emotional effects.

During the best part of a 9 month pregnancy the focus can appear to be fixed on the wellbeing of the baby, the woman is often neglected and the approach can be a very medicalised affair. It is easy for the magic of what is occuring to be removed from the experience.This type of care often carries over following the birth and can leave mothers feeling very misplaced as their role may seem trivialised. Time spent gently encouraging the body and the mind to relax is paramount in helping mothers and mothers -to- be in remaining in a positive frame of mind pre and post natally.

Without a doubt this form of massage also has its benefits on an anatomical level. Shiatsu is incorporated and slow, fluid mobilisations of the limbs can be used to open up areas of stiffness and fatigue. The treatment can be performed  lying on one's back (in the 1st trimester)  on one's side (2nd & 3rd trimesters) or resting on an exercise/birthing ball. The use of an exercise ball is great for working the back and opening up the sacrum, especially towards the end of a pregnancy when the way in which a woman carries her baby may change (we've all witnessed the pregnancy waddle). It is also a brilliant position to adopt for labour and I like to use it to demonstrate to birth partners how they can be of support during the birth process.

Not only is this pregnancy massage suitable during all trimesters of pregnancy it is also available to women post natally. The female body continues through a process of changes after the baby's delivery. The uterus contracts back to it's original size, the gained suppleness (in preparation for labour) is lost and many hormones remain busy helping the mother to nourish and connect with her baby. Post natal massage after delivery by a caesarean section is still possible, by allowing a woman to rest on her side, rather than on her front or back. There is no need to wait for many weeks for a treatment if one is required sooner and babies are welcome to join their mothers. All mothers can gain from the use of acupressure points; implemented to relieve tension from continual lifting, carrying and feeding a baby. General massage strokes can be used to soothe and release sore muscles and stiff bodies, encouraging an awareness of post pregnancy posture, creating a sense of self again.  

Women who are experiencing diffuclties conceiving may also benefit from one of these treatments, which can be adapted to suit the situation. Visualisations, healing and a space for grief and acceptance assist women undergoing fertilisation management or who have encountered loss through miscarriage.

Sometimes when we wait to 'fix' something the damage has already been done. It can take a lot of effort and commitment to to regain a sense of normality again. It is my hope that in reading this you may consider this as a treatment worth trying, even if only once, so that you may know whether you are truly missing out on something important on your pregnancy journey. Maybe you know of someone who would enjoy one of these treatments? Pregnancy and parenthood are definite  times of giving, sometimes it makes sense to create equilibrium and restore balance to the ones that have been providing. Don't you think?

Lavender oil - Lavendula Angustifolia

LAVENDER (also known as Lavendula Angustifolia)

This is an essential oil with a household name. Lavender is used by so many that I have decided to write a little about this well known essential oil.

Lavender is a fresh, sweet oil that many people are aware of for use with insomnia. It may also have the opposite effect though as it can be used as a stimulating oil.
Literally 2 drops are all that is required when using to relax before bed.

Lavender is also known by many to have great skin healing properties. It was actually an accident which caused burning to the skin that created a greater interest in essential oils for their therapeutic use. A French chemist named, René-Maurice Gattefossé burnt his hand in his labratory. The first vat of liquid available was what he stuck his hand into - it contained the essential oil of Lavender. He was surprised to notice the effect the oil had on cooling the burn and aiding the healing process. I too can attest to this from personal experience.

Lavender has also been known to be used for it's anti-septic and anti-fungal qualities. In World War II a French surgeon, Jean Valnet, used it to treat wounded soldiers.
The applications of this oil truly are remarkable. It's a great little bottle to add to the first aid kit. You could also put it in your laundry cupboard as it helps to freshen up the laundry - especially if you have smelly work/sports wear.

Lavender blends very well with most oils.
It is used greatly in cosmetics, perfumes, soaps, insect repellants and teas.

Lavender can cause skin irritation and some people may feel nauseous from using it. I find it a very heady oil at times, it can be overpowering. This oil needs to be used sparingly and diluted preferably with a carrier oil (olive oil is suitable).

Vetivert Essential Oil

VETIVERT (also known as Vetivera Zizanoides)

Vetivert is a strong and woody oil with sweet, honey like qualities. It can be known to be very calming and balancing. It is often used as an anti-anxiety aid and to treat depression. It blends extremely well with Jasmine, Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Petitgrain and Rose. It can overpower a blend so only a little is needed. I choose to use it time and again and find that it works beautifully in unison with my favourite oil; mandarin.

Vetivert is often used in cosmetics, perfumes and body soaps. In ancient times it was used in the Far East as perfume, often by men as it does not have the floral scent that many other essential oils share.

It is not known to have any cautions and is non-sensitising, nor-irritating and non-toxic.
As with mandarin I truly love this oil and I often choose it for my clients.

Mandarin Oil - Citrus Reticulata

I have decided that I would like to share with you some of my favourite essential oils as I have a great love for aromatherapy.

To begin with I would like to write a little about:
MANDARIN (also known as Citrus Reticulata) from the Rutacea Family.

It is a beautiful, fresh, citrus oil that can be very warming and uplifting. It is often used as a sedative as it has a very calming effect. It blends extremely well with other oils (especially when using for a massage) and can lift a heavier blend to make it more pleasurable. It compliments both the summer and winter seasons because it's such a refreshing oil.

It is often used in cosmetics, perfumes and body sprays. It has no known cautions or side effects and can even be used (further diluted) for small children and babies.

I truly love this oil and I often choose it for my clients when i'm creating a blend for their massage treatment.


 "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor."
The President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica.

I just quickly wanted to add this quote today as it resonated with me and it goes nicely with a TED talk that I watched last night. Link below:

Adam Baker - Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love.

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