Why I write in Scots by Nip Nebs author Susi Briggs

I have so many hats and croons it is sometimes tricky to know which ones to wear on any given day!  I am a storyteller, Music Matters leader, poet and singer in a blues band! Today I want to write about being a children’s author who writes in her native Scots language. 

Folk sometimes confuse Scots with corrupted English and think of it as slang. This is a very disempowering way to look at how we express ourselves daily.  Some folk confuse it entirely with it being Gaelic as they do not realise Scots is a language in it’s own right.

If you are in Scotland reading this – open yer lugs (ears) and you will hear around you many people speaking some form of Scots.  Some folk speak it broader than others. Some voices are linked to particular dialects such as Doric (North East) Glaswegian (Glasgow area)  – we have hunners o dialects! You might hear phrases like,

 “Did ye get tae the shoaps fer yer messages?”  

“There’s nae wey I will fit intae them troosers!” 

“Whits fer ye will no gan by ye.”

Most Scots speakers have no idea they are speaking a language. We have been told for generations to speak “properly” which in turn suggests our usual form of communication in Scots is not proper at all. This has been the sad truth for generations.  Believe it or not there are elders in your community who were skelped at school for speaking in their natural tongue of Scots.  Generations of people took elocution lessons to learn how to speak “properly” as there was a very real discrimination. It was believed that you would get nowhere in life talking in Scots.  

Generations were not taught to read or write in their ain language and that is why it appears quite strange tae write or read in books. That is a sad truth.  However – this is changing for the better! 

The Future

Schools now can teach Scots as part of the curriculum and as a nation it is no longer normal to be shamed for talking in Scots. It is also not just a January staple taken out the drawer for school Burns Night recitals and competitions.    

Flavoursome Scots

I have always been a writer. I was only ever taught to read and write in English.  So to read anything or try to write anything in any other language, even one ye speak every day is completely alien. I wrote a lot of my earlier stories in English. One of which was called The Wee Sleepy Sheepy. 

The word “wee” was the only Scots word in it. I sent it out to publishers and received many rejection letters. The final rejection letter stated “…please resubmit your story without the Scottish flavour to be considered again for publishing.”

They were offering me another chance if I was to take out that word “wee”

I was livid! How dare they compare my language tae a pot noodle seasoning! That wee “wee” word meant muckle tae me!

So I rejected them and set about writing in Scots from there on in.  The first thing I did was to translate my existing stories using a very limited Scots language dictionary I found in a charity shop! I translated The Last Berry which lead me to explore the beautiful words for ice and frost.  This lead me to remember Jack Frost from my childhood. The magic of frosty mornings and from there Nip Nebs was written. 

I showed this to my dear friend and artist Ruthie Redden who then created the beautiful illustrations. Publishers Curly Tale Books saw our work in 2017 at an exhibition and offered us a publishing deal.

© Illustration Ruthie Redden © Text Susi Briggs

By 2019 Nip Nebs was shortlisted for Bairns Book o the Year at the very first Scots Language Awards and Nip Nebs and the Last Berry was published using Scottish Government funding from the first ever Scots Publishing Grant.  We got a special mention in Scottish Parliament during the indigenous languages debate.  This year Nip Nebs and The Last Berry was shortlisted for Bairns Book o the Year at the online 2020 Scots Language Awards.  The Bairns Book o the Year Scots Language Award winner was Hans Christian Andersen Stories in Scots by various writers including myself.  Published by Itchy Coo and edited by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson.  True pioneers for writing in Scots for weans.

Also I would like to give a special mention for Mrs Kerr who won Teacher o the Year at the Scots Language Awards 2020 and St Andrew’s Primary School in Dumfries who were shortlisted for Scots School o the Year. I was blessed to have worked with them on a lot of Scots language projects from home during Lockdown.

The Year of the Pandemic

Despite the pandemic I have been working from home on various Scots language commissions from creating short films of original stories for Scots in Schools website and the Nithraid festival.  During Lockdown I set the task for weans tae illustrate some of my stories at home. Some of the illustrations are featured in the videos linked below. Currently I am working with BBC Scotland for Scots Language educational resource content as well as creating engaging work with local primary schools such as St Andrew’s Primary School in Dumfries.   

Wheesht  https://youtu.be/OMLbFsvL-SU

Yum https://youtu.be/QXWdQkgEi7c

During Book Week Scotland I plan to create a week long Nip Nebs Shenaniganza which will include various visits and engagements with local schools and the long awaited launch of the audio books of the Nip Nebs series. 

The Nip Nebs audio books are narrated by Gary Lewis (Outlander, Billy Elliot)  The music and soundscape created and mixed by Alan McClure.

For signed copies of the book please contact Susi directly and if yer lucky you will get a free Nip Nebs Scots Word Pixie too! 

The Nip Nebs series of books can be found in most good bookshops and local outlets. Please see www.curlytalebooks.co.uk for local stockists or to buy online.

Links to all social media pages are found via www.nipnebs.com

Neal’s Yard Remedies – Top 5 Baby Products

Looking after our Baby’s skin is so important, especially in the early days. We want to use the best, high quality products available to us and Neal’s Yard Remedies uses certified organic ingredients with no ‘nasties’ in their products such as alcohol, petrolatum or preservatives which can dry out and damage skin. Recent research has suggested that the use of harsh ingredients on our skin as babies can lead to later allergies and eczema. As a Baby Massage Instructor I suggest using only water for the first 6 weeks to allow skin to develop in those first few weeks and then introduce high quality products after to help with dry skin, to use in massage, for nappy rash and any other ailments. Here are my Top 5 products for Babies, and all these products can be used by the whole family-

Grapeseed Oil

This light, fragrance free oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, and leaves your skin with a satin smooth finish. Mildly astringent, it helps to tone, balance and condition your skin while regulating its natural moisture levels. Easily absorbed, it’s perfect for a light massage and nourishing your skin from top to toe. This is the oil I use in Baby Massage classes and highly recommend this as a first product to use on skin, it glides and absorbs easily. When doing Baby Massage this one is also great for your own hands and will leave them feeling soft.

  • For all skin types, including children and sensitive skin types
  • Rich in linoleic acid (Omega-6), which is an essential fatty acid
  • Easily absorbed and fragrance free

Organic Baby Massage oil

This oil smells beautiful and suggested for bedtime baby massage as it has a very light scent of that Lavender and Chamomile to settle, sooth and calm the nervous system. If you prefer the pure baby massage oil with no essential oils you can view that here.

Our 100% organic baby oil is Allergy Certified and gently softens, nurtures, and soothes baby’s dry and delicate skin. It gently softens the skin for a soothing, bonding massage. Infused with chamomile, rose and lavender essential oils, it’s perfect for baby’s delicate skin.

  • Nurtures and soothes
  • Fragrance free
  • Ideal gift for new parents
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologically Tested
  • Free from synthetic fragrances, colours, parabens, and non-GM
  • Certified 100% organic by the Soil Association
  • Hypoallergenic and Dermatologically Tested

Baby Bath & Shampoo

Enjoy bath time with this gently cleansing wash for skin and hair. Relaxing organic lavender essential oil is blended with mild, vegetable based cleansers to care for baby’s delicate skin.

  • Gently cleansing
  • Lightly foaming
  • For delicate skin and hair
  • With relaxing organic lavender essential oil

Organic Baby Balm

Soften baby’s face, body and bottom with this 100% organic, Allergy Certified balm. A fragrance-free blend of soothing and nourishing shea butter and botanical oils, it’s perfect for baby’s delicate skin.

This is our award winning staple product and can be used by the whole family. It is 100% organic.

  • Fragrance free, softening balm
  • Ideal gift for new parents
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologically Tested
  • Free from synthetic fragrances, colours, parabens, and non-GM

Eucalyptus Salve

This skin-softening salve can be used to clear the head with the purifying scent of pine and eucalyptus essential oils. I suggest this with the chest and arm massage when babies have the cold or are congested. It can be used for children and adults too so another staple product to have in your home through the winter months. You can put this on a tea towel over the radiator for that aroma to flow round the house and for older children and adults this is wonderful melted into the bath too.

  • Soften the skin and help clear the head
  • A deeply aromatic salve
  • Made with 100% organic ingredients

I will always highly recommend all these products and they are all in my own home used regularly. I am your local Neal’s Yard Remedies consultant and you can contact me anytime at rosewtherapies@gmail.com. You can shop below or click on each product title and you can get these amazing products delivered directly to your door.

Top 5 Products for ‘Maskne’

We have now been wearing our masks in shops and indoor areas since August and they are playing with our skin. We can feel the breakouts around our chin and neck, they are popping out on our cheeks and with winter coming in we can feel the dryness setting in. I think it is safe to say that we may be wearing our masks for some time, and this will play havoc on our skin. Investing in a great skincare routine will help.

Now more than ever we can look after our skin with the top 5 products for ‘maskne’ but first a few tips –

  1. Use a good quality mask made from natural materials like cotton or silk. Avoiding the disposable masks is a good idea as they can irritate skin and are less breathable and they are also destroying the planet, especially our sea life.
  2. Cleansing thoroughly twice a day can help to remove the build up of dirt and grime under our masks and even better, do a double cleanse in the evening to really get all our make up and dirt washed away.
  3. If you are having a breakout wash your pillow cases, make up brushes, flannels and sponges in a hot wash to cleanse them thoroughly. (Do this with your masks too)
  4. Drink lots of water (in the colder months this can be herbal teas, Bright Start is my favourite just now)

Neal’s Yard Remedies

We use the highest possible percentage of organic ingredients as they are kinder to the earth – and kinder to you. Using ethically sourced herbs, botanicals and essential oils, our experts handcraft potent blends of love, science and nature.

Top 5 products for ‘Maskne’

  1. Calendula Cleanser

This gentle and mild cleansing cream washes away make-up and everyday impurities to leave your face feeling fresh and clean. Ideal for dry and sensitive skin types, the blend of organic calendula and jojoba is enriched with natural skin-conditioning botanical oils to soften and soothe. Double Cleanse in the evening – Use a pea sized amount on your fingertips and do gentle circles round the face to loosen make up and dirt and gently rinse. Then do the same again and add a little exfoliation in by using a flannel to rinse and deeply cleanse the skin ready for toning and moisturising.

  • For dry and sensitive skin types
  • Gently cleanses with skin conditioning botanical oils

2. Rehydrating Rose Toner

Our best selling Rehydrating Rose Toner balances, cools and hydrates normal and sensitive skin types. With naturally refreshing damask roses and a delicate floral scent, this award winning customer favourite tones your face and primes your skin to better absorb serum and moisturiser. This is one of my favourite products and I am never without one.

  • For normal and sensitive skin types
  • Cools, refreshes and hydrates
  • Primes skin before moisturising

3. Orange flower facial oil

This award winning, skin-quenching facial oil replenishes dry skin types. With nourishing neroli oil, distilled from the blossom of the bitter orange tree, and a blend of omega and antioxidant-rich botanical oils, it also helps to protect against premature ageing, making it beneficial for younger skin.

Facial oils replenish your skin’s natural moisture levels while helping to protect it from future moisture loss. They’re useful in cold, dry weather when chilly winds and central heating may take a toll on your skin, or during the summer months when your skin may be feeling particularly sun-parched.

  • For dry skin types
  • Replenishing and nourishing
  • Balances skin’s natural moisture levels
  • Contains antioxidant rich essential fatty acids
  • Dermatologically Tested

4. Reviving White Tea Facial Mist

This beautifully light facial mist leaves skin feeling instantly hydrated and soothed. With antioxidant-rich white tea to help counteract the effects of pollutants and cooling organic aloe vera, it’s perfect for a refreshing spritz when you’re on the go. Top Tip – Keep this facial mist in the fridge and it is so refreshing when you use it. It is also great for setting your Make up too.

  • Hydrates and soothes
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Can be used over make-up
  • For all skin types

5. Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is one of our top ten bestselling natural aromatherapy oils. Organic tea tree essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and gives a stimulating and invigorating aromatherapy oil. This can be used as a spot treatment with a carrier oil. Top Tip – Drop 2 or 3 drops of the Tea Tree oil into the inside of your mask (at the bottom of your mask and not near your nose) This will be an on the go treatment keeping skin cleansed and fresh, whilst also doing the same for your mask.

(Fair for Life – We’re proud to be the UK’s first health and beauty company to achieve Fair for Life certification. Fair for Life are one of the world’s leading independent social and fair trade accreditations. Our fairly traded Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil is certified Fair for Life.)

  • Key benefit: Cleansing
  • Latin name: Melaleuca alternifolia
  • Country of origin: Kenya
  • Blends beautifully with: eucalyptus, lavender and lemon

I love all these products and this is what I have been using for the last couple of weeks, my favourite, to be honest I love them all but the Reviving white tea facial mist has really reduced the irritation I can get in my skin when I have a breakout and straight out of the fridge it is so refreshing. What products will you try?

Rachel at Rose Wellbeing Therapies is your Neal’s Yard Remedies Independent Consultant and if you have any questions or queries you can email rosewtherapies@gmail.com anytime.

Anxiety, Fxck you

Anxiety as a child – I am scared to make new friends, it is hard to be shy but introverted I am. Will I fail at school, my handwriting is not the best, these shoes are not as cool as the rest, my hair doesn’t sit right. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Anxiety as a teen – I am still not ‘cool’, I don’t fit it, will anyone ever love me, will I pass my exams, I have no true friends, I am the only girl who can drive, the boys race me and I can’t keep up, acne…you drive me crazy, make up – why does my make up not look as great as everyone else’s, frizzy hair I really do care, my body is changing how do I deal with this?, I am bleeding what the hell, this hurts, the pill what?!, I have to do this with a boy…really?, Eating, being sick, eating, being sick bleurgh. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Anxiety in my early 20’s – Uni is hard, I don’t fit in, Where are all my friends, he broke my heart, I hurt myself, I feel guilt from hurting others, alcohol..too much, make up – still can’t get that right, acne…get the hell outta here, depression – its dark down in this hole, help me out, it hurts, its hard to breath, my jeans don’t fit, I’m skint. Travelling – lets do this, its nerve-wracking on this plane alone, will I make friends, will I fit in, I am lost, where is my lodge, fly home 3 months later, a job? where is all the money? help. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Anxiety as a parent – What? a baby human, don’t make me go home not knowing what to do, how do I feed? when will I sleep? routine…where do you find that? He feeds all the time, teething, bathing, changing, groups, walking, how do you fit it all in? he cries in the night, what is wrong, he bumped his head oh my god, weaning…what on earth…where do you start, he is moving, on the go, be careful, don’t get hurt. nursery, crying and settling in, the Mum who refused to leave him, settled at last, oh no now school, homework and books, reading and meetings, parents night, assemblies, fundraisers and dressing up. Am I the mum that fxcks it up. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Anxiety in my 30’s – acne – be gone I tell you, a new partner after being single so long, will he cheat or will he lie? Bills, how do you pay them all? a job, the stress, the nervous breakdown, the panic attack before going out, meeting new people scary as hell, putting up selfies…so very rare, deep breathes, yoga and slowing down, I know you are there anxiety, deep down in there bubbling away. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Finding my own way now, I see you inner child coming out to play, sometimes cute and sometimes in despair, I am here to parent you now to subside your fears and look after you year after year. Anxiety, I hear you, I feel you and I respect your fears but now it is my turn to take back control. I will slow my breath, sit down when I need, let go of my fears, look into the unknown with less heavy in my heart and ill guide you to a place of more freedom, more joy and more fun. Anxiety, Fxck you.

Rachel

Motherly Love and D&G Baby Loss Awareness

Having created our collective book, with many stories of loss throughout, we, as co-authors wanted to find a charity that would be of significance to our local community. On a post shared asking for which charities we could raise money for D&G Baby Loss Awareness was the only charity to be mentioned therefore I contacted them on behalf of us all. I was in contact with Lauren, who was very excited that we chose this particular charity. She shares her story with us.

In March 2019 following the loss of my son Robbie, with family and friends I decided to fundraise for a SIMBA Tree of Tranquillity, I had previously enquired if they had any plans for one in Dumfries and Galloway back in 2017 after we lost our daughter Taylor, when I lived in Livingston, West Lothian, but unfortunately they didn’t have any plans to install one. I then contacted them and told them our plans and asked how much we would need to raise. We set a target of £18,000 to cover the cost of a tree, a personalised SiMBA bench and money to cover the cost of landscaping and to cover the cost of leaves. 
Becky started a JustGiving page after she set herself a target of completing 2 tough mudders over the summer, and within 24 hours we already had £1,000! She later went onto raising just under £3,000! We then realised we had the support of the community backing us, we set up the ‘D&G Baby Loss Awareness’ group and thought of other ways to raise the money, we had people hold bake sales, we held a race night, various sporting events and we held ‘The Little Footprints Ball’ in October 2019, raising over £7,000. In total we have raised £27,289 for SiMBA, the tree will be installed in the Crichton Gardens later this year, and bereaved families can request a leaf to have engraved and attached to the tree. 
In total I have lost 5 pregnancies, and we want to make sure that anyone and everyone who has suffered any type of pregnancy loss, can have the tree as somewhere to go and to remember and reflect. 
Now we have fundraised for the tree, we felt there was still areas that could be improved, and have a few ideas on what we could do, to make this awful experience even a little easier to cope with. 
Lynsi Mills and myself have became ambassadors for an organisation called CRADLE. We will be providing comfort bags for women who are admitted to the hospital following pregnancy loss, and provide them with toiletries and signpost them to the support that is out there.

The book Motherly Love in a Pandemic: Sharing stories of Motherhood during a global crisis will donate some proceeds from sales to D&G Baby Loss Awareness and Rose Wellbeing Therapies will offer continued support to the charity starting with a ‘virtual raffle’ in the coming weeks. We hope that when our in person support is up and running again that we can provide further support.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness week starts every year on the second Monday in May – in 2019 from 13 – 19 May.

In a world that is increasingly opening up to – and understanding those with – mental health issues, it’s no surprise that Mental Health Awareness Week is now a firmer fixture on calendars around the UK and beyond. It’s organised by the Mental Health Foundation, and focuses on a major issue each and every year.

It is a fantastic way to open up, to bring awareness and to help and support those who need it. It can also be a way to become a helper, a supporter, someone who could be a shoulder to cry on.

Having a baby is a big life event, and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.

Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new mental health problem or another episode of a mental health problem you’ve experienced before. These are known as perinatal mental health problems.

I, personally, had experienced mental health issues when I was younger and these were highlighted again after pregnancy and the birth of my Son. Parenting is hard, very hard and it is the most tiring job in the world. It is important to have the support you need around you and to open up about how you are feeling, to your partner, friends or family.

What can you do if you feel low?

*Talk to someone – Your Partner, Your Best friend, Family. Don’t forget the support you can get from your Health Visitor or GP.

*Take some time to relax, don’t worry about the ‘chores’, deep breaths, a cup of tea or meditation. If you are lucky enough to get some time, have a bath. There are some lovely music playlists or podcasts you can listen to.

*Practice Yoga – Short sessions can be so helpful and can help to achieve a mind body connection. It can help to give your thinking mind a rest. Find a local post natal yoga class or Mum and Baby yoga class.

*Involve your baby in relaxation – Baby Massage is a great way to do this. Create your little love bubble around you and do a sequence which you both enjoy. Giving a massage releases oxytocin, producing feelings of bonding and love. This also helps to reduce cortisol (our stress hormone). This will also do the same for baby too.

*Get outdoors and go for a walk, especially on the warmer days. Vitamin D can reduce feelings of low mood and nature is good for the soul.

*Spend time with your friends, go for a walk together, come along to a baby group, or just relax in each others company and talk to each other.

*2019’s Mental Health theme is ‘Body Image’ – Let go of the need for your body to go back to the way it was before. Know that you are beautiful exactly as you are.

I love Yoga with Adriene. She has a very calming teaching style. Some of her videos are so relaxing and make me feel so much better on a low day. Her videos can also be done with Baby near by.

Mediation does not have to take up a long time. 10 minutes out of your day can make you feel a little lighter and more able to cope with your day.

Where can I find support?

*Always seek support from your Health Visitor or GP

*Talk to your family, ask for support. Tell them how you feel.

*http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/ The Pandas Foundation is a great place for support – You can go on their website. Call 0843 28 98 401
9am – 8pm – 7 days a week Calls cost 5p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.

*I am available for support at any time – Email: rosewtherapies@gmail.com You can get email support or if you would like a private Baby Massage/Support session within your home or mine get in touch now.

Know that no matter what your a great Mother and a you can do this!!

I am always here for any support you may need.

Namaste

Rachel.

Why Baby Massage?

Why should parent’s choose to do a Baby Massage Course?

See the source image

The First 1001 days.

Pregnancy, birth and the first 24 months can be tough for every mother and father, and some parents may find it hard to provide the care and attention their baby needs. But it can also be a chance to affect great change, as pregnancy and the birth of a baby is a critical ‘window of opportunity’ when parents are especially receptive to offers of advice and support.

The evidence shows that:
*Ensuring that the brain achieves its optimum development and nurturing during this peak period of growth is vitally important, as the foundations of the babies’ mind are being put in place.

* From birth to age 18 months, it has been calculated that connections in the brain are created at a rate of a million per second! The earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development, and have a lifelong impact on that baby’s mental and emotional health.

* A pregnant mother suffering from stress can sometimes pass on the message to the unborn baby that the world will be dangerous, so that as a child he or she will struggle with many social and emotional problems. The child’s response to experiences of fear or tension have been set to danger and high alert. This will also occur at anytime during the first 1001 days whenever a baby is exposed to overwhelming stress from any cause within the family, such as parental mental illness, maltreatment or exposure to domestic violence.

*There is longstanding evidence that a baby’s social and emotional development is affected by their attachment to their parents.

*At least one loving, sensitive and responsive relationship with an adult caregiver teaches the baby to believe that the world is a good place and reduces the risk of them facing disruptive issues in later life.

[An excerpt from “The 1001 Critical Days, The Importance of the conception to age two period” Durkan et al (2013)]

This is amazing and insightful research we have which takes us back to basics in terms of bonding and attachment. Attending a Baby Massage course can create a bond with your baby which, in turn, allows baby to make secure attachments to parents/caregivers. This creates positive connections in the brain which can build emotional resilience that takes us through life. Creating these secure attachments within those critical 1001 days can impact on how healthy our relationships are as adults and how we interact with the world around us.

We also feel more confident and relaxed as parents having learned these techniques in a course that can enable you to use the ‘power of touch’ throughout the childhood years.

Every time you use this power of touch with your baby and children it is releasing oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone which connects us and creates those secure attachments, builds trust and develops and enhances emotional resilience. As the parent oxytocin is also present when these close connections are taking place, not only making you feel connected, feeling love but also reducing stress levels and making you feel more relaxed and in tune with your baby.

If we take away this idea that baby massage is another ‘chore’ we have to do as parents and really come into a sense of connection and relaxation it can be the most enriching experience we can have with our babies. It can help you come into a state of mindfulness and connection.

Tips –

  • Baby Massage is not another ‘chore’ you have to add to the list, it can be a treasured time for both parent and baby.
  • Little and often – My courses are always baby led and young baby’s may not be able to tolerate a full body massage everyday, short sequences throughout the day can be easier and it can become more natural for parents. Are you sitting in a waiting room? A little hand massage is great! Have they just had their immunisations? Do a little reflexology for settling and improving sleep.
  • Never feel like baby has to lie down on their back for a massage, they may not settle like this. In my courses we learn different ways baby may like to be positioned for massage.
  • Before doing a massage take a take a deep breath (or a few!) and create a ‘love bubble’ around you and baby and only focus on them for those few minutes…this may also mean putting your phone away so we don’t burst the bubble.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and settled. The more settled you are the more baby will be. Grab a cushion, a cup of tea, put on relaxing music, wear your comfy pj’s!
  • Talk, smile and sing to baby….we can be creating those amazing baby conversations from such a young age which enhances speech and language development.
  • Enjoy it!! They grow up so fast…..treasure your ‘Love Bubble’

Baby Massage courses are available in Dumfries, Moffat and online, click below for more details.

Oh my ‘Thai’…

I had become interested in Thai Massage after I had one locally, in Dalbeattie with the lovely Noi. It really interested me as it was so different to, what we call, ‘regular massage’. I then discovered it again on my Children’s Yoga Teacher Training with Caytenna and after we learned a simple but effective sequence on our training I immediately went home and wanted to try it out with my Son and my Partner. I always like to read and learn new things and decided after I started doing Baby Massage to incorporate this into my business. What better way than to create a short workshop for parents.

Introduction to Thai Massage

Thai Massage was developed more than 2,500 years ago by Jivaka Kumar Bhacca. Bhacca is referred to as ‘The Father’. Thai healers give thanks to the Father doctor before and after every massage. It originated in Northern India and comes from a combination of Thai, Chinese, Indian and Souteast Asian culture.

Jivaka Kumat Bhacca gave many thanks to his mother, as she gave him his first massage. Mother’s are honoured as they too will receive their first massage from their Mother’s but also the first massage they may ever give is to their own babies. I think this is where, for me, doing a workshop came into my mind. I will always want to find ways to honour Mother’s.

Nuad Bo Rarn, literally translated as “ancient massage”, is a unique and comprehensive style of bodywork. Unlike its western counterpart, Nuad Bo Rarn, or Thai massage is performed on a mat on the floor and the client is fully clothed. Thai massage combines acupressure, yoga and massage to create a truly holistic massage experience.

There are two styles of Thai massage, Southern style or Wat Pho style and Northern style. These two styles of Thai massage come from the two original schools of Thai massage. Southern style originated at Wat Pho in Bangkok and Northern style comes from the Old Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai. Both schools are still in operation today.

Although both styles of Thai massage have the same basic foundation there are considerable differences between the two massages. Southern style focuses primarily on acupressure and energy lines and employs a much stronger pressure. Northern style is slower and gentler (yet this is still a very strong massage) and focuses more on the yoga like stretching. Northern style Thai massage is what is most commonly practiced in the United Kingdom. In my workshops we will be learning Northern style Thai massage.

More recently, I had started some training with Mark Perren-Jones from Australia. This led to me learning more techniques and sequences. He also emphasised the benefits of Thai Massage for Babies and Young Children, ping….yet again…this concluded that creating a workshop would be a fabulous way to do something different and to give parents tools which will benefit them and their children for many years. I also attended a short workshop….yes I dragged my partner along for the ride….in Glasgow and we learned a lovely sequence as a couple….aaaawwww!!

Benefits of Thai Massage

  • Relaxes Muscles and relieves pain
  • Treat energy blockages
  • Increases Muscle flexibility
  • Improves Joint motions and postural alignments
  • Improves the immune system
  • Regulates digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Healthy development of body mind and spirit
  • Encourages deep & longer sleep
  • Beneficial to the muscular & Nervous system

What to expect from the Workshop

I have developed this workshop on my own and it is something I hope parents come away from feeling like they have learned something new and that it will be part of their family routine or for fun for many years to come. We will do the workshop over the course of 1 1/2 or 2 hours and it will be very relaxed and of course, baby and child led.

We will discover a little history of Thai Massage before learning a full body massage incorporating stretches, kneading, strokes and massage which can be fully clothed or not. This can range from babies from 6-8 weeks up to teenagers and adults. I will also incorporate some added in techniques for older children and adults to take away with you and try out at home. I hope you enjoy the workshop just as much as I have creating it! And, if you know me well enough, you will know there may be a little gift added in. 🙂

To find out when the next workshop is on, check out Facebook or send over an email to rosewtherapies@gmail.com.

A Touch of Wellbeing

“Touch has a memory” John Keats

This quote is profound and gives us a clear understanding of why touch is so important. We remember when we have been touched kindly and this makes us feel safe and secure.

In the womb the sense of touch is all around, floating then moving on to a more massage type touch as baby gets bigger and fills the womb. This gives our baby a safe and secure environment where they are protected.

So why should this be any different outside the womb? Babies, once they are born, still need the same safety and security they had. When Parents hold their baby they have that reassurance that they are still protected. Without touch babies can feel insecure, frightened and therefore unable to thrive or survive in their environment.

Touch is our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading this compassion.

The main theorist, John Bowlby (1958), devoted extensive research over many years to the concept of attachment theory and believed there is an evolutionary component to attachment and that it aids human survival. More recently, Suzanne Zeedyk believes wholeheartedly that babies come into our world ready to connect. “The capacity to be an engaged, relational being doesn’t happen some time later in development, such as when children walk or talk or start school. The capacity is present from birth. Babies share in mental and emotional experiences. This means that how we, as adults, relate to our babies matters” (2012)

The first 1001 days of life are critical to enrich babies lives, and their brains. Nourishing and nurturing activities, such as baby massage, help grow their emotional intelligence, resilience and emotional regulation.

“Touch is as important to infants and children as eating and sleeping” Tiffany Field (Touch Research Institute)

So why is touch so important?…………

The skin is the largest sensory organ in our body and not only acts as a shield, exudes anti-bacterial substances to prevent infection and manufactures vitamin D. It is also a huge sensor packed with nerves keeping the brain in touch with the outside world.

As touch is so important to our wellbeing, then you can see how baby massage fits into all of this. Massage stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin (‘The LOVE hormone’) and this has a pain relieving and calming effect. It also promotes the bonding between parent and child and stimulates the skin. This generates all the feelings of love and protection. Massage also prevents baby illnesses by improving the immune system and can aid digestion and sleep.

Touching, holding, comforting and massaging our babies enables them to thrive and have confidence in the uncertain world around them.

For me, baby massage was the first course I went on with my Son and it was by far my favourite. It gave me confidence as a new Mum, I met some other Mummy’s and it went alongside all my childcare qualifications….I could now put all my knowledge of theory into practice. To this day, my now 10 year old, still loves a massage and this is a way to maintain that close attachment with him. It is a technique which has benefited us no end throughout the years.

Rachel

Transition

2018, what a year it was. It made me question everything. I was tired, exhausted in fact. I ended up leaving two jobs, jobs I potentially loved but my body told me otherwise. I was a Manager in a preschool and in the end, I was running on empty and lack of support in the field really made me hit a low. I had to go off sick as my joints seized up and my mental health took a turn for the worst. I thought having time to recover would help but this did not seem to be the case even by the end of the year.

I had always had the feeling that the whole 9-5, working for little money and feeling so stressed all the time was not the way I wanted to live but seemed stuck, trapped somehow in this way of thinking. Maybe this is why I spent so much time travelling and volunteering abroad, to find that escapism. I needed to change something but feeling so ill can make that difficult. I had been practicing yoga for about 4 years and loved the way it could make me feel better on the hard days. I had attended a few classes down in Carlisle and started going to a few of their workshop days alongside my at home practice with the wonderful adriene on YouTube. I still love yoga and now have a wonderful teacher at an evening class in a local, very beautiful, hall. I had always wanted to do some training in yoga and what better way to do this than to do Children’s yoga so I decided to look for some training. I did lots of research to find comprehensive training which would go along with my childcare qualifications. I decided to go with Caytenna Rodendas from Madrid, I am so glad I did. The training was intense and tiring but exciting. We were up in Glasgow and I meet some amazing people. I am building up my confidence to run classes in the region.

The idea of doing baby massage had been there for many years as I loved it with my son and it was the first parent group I attended and still do massage with him now, and he is 10. The support of my partner enabled me to go on and do my training. I loved it, it actually helped to start my healing process within myself. I was still feeling really ill and he drove me down to Scarborough to do my training, not only that he looked after my Son all day too. On my course we only had two of us and it was in a beautiful old church full of crystals and it just made me feel good. I passed my course with an A and feel quite proud. This training gave me enough confidence to just go for it and so Rose Wellbeing Therapies was born. I spent December just setting up this business and trying to recover. As I have been doing lots of reasearching and learning it has ignited a passion in me to go back to helping and supporting families in my local town having previously worked in a Social Work role for 6 years.

It has been such a strange and surreal ‘transition’ into 2019. I have started all this with no money and only faith. Maybe the fact that I have the most amazing supportive partner who is always chasing my dreams with me, and paying the bills, is why I can attempt all this. I feel tired still and have my low days but I hope that the ‘transition’ into this New Year will be where I change my life and the families and children around me.

Rachel