Robina Wilson from Body Equilibrium, shares her personal journey with yoga and holistic therapies, and how she combines these with conventional sports massage – the body, mind and emotions are all interconnected.
What impact did yoga have on your life, physically, emotionally and spiritually?
I got into yoga when I was living and working in London. I was commuting everyday on the tube and found that prolonged periods of studying were causing me loads of issues with pain in my lower back. I went to see the doctor and was referred for physio on the NHS and I also saw a private physio. I really struggled to do the exercises the physio gave me and like a lot of people, I gave up, meaning the issue never really went away.
It was only when I started doing yoga that I was able to really address the issue and significantly improved my back health.
Having started as a physical practice, I gradually found myself more drawn to the spiritual and mindful sides of yoga. I stopped practicing the really fast-paced, active, Ashtanga or power yoga styles and instead, immersed myself in restorative yoga and relating my yoga poses to my knowledge of the muscular system which I gained from my sports massage and personal training/corrective exercise training.
I work now on the premise that the movements should be functional for the body and mind. Putting the body into the rest and recharge state rather than the fight or flight response that so many of us seem to spend our lives in, is the key!
Why is the holistic approach to wellbeing and fitness so important to you?
Nothing works on its own! The body, mind and emotions all feed into one another and affect one another. I can always tell if a client has been stressed at work as they show signs of tension through the body – maybe their shoulders are hitched and tight or they may have tightness in the jaw from grinding their teeth etc.
Our minds are so powerful in setting the tone for the day – if we wake up feeling angry/tired/grumpy etc. it’s going to show in how we move and how we speak. Sometimes physical ailments are made worse by how we feel on an emotional level. So it’s important to consider all these aspects when working with individuals.
What therapies do you offer your clients?
I offer sports massage therapy and corrective exercise, which are exercises that they can incorporate to help correct postural issues or post-injury. I do myofascial cupping, sports taping, and use massage guns and IASTM (instruments assisted soft tissue massage). I use techniques like passive stretching, soft tissue release and muscle energy techniques.
My holistic therapies include pre and post natal massage, holistic facials, reflexology, Indian Head massage and Reiki healing.
How do you navigate between disciplines or choose to practice a specific modality on a particular client?
It depends what the client has booked in for and also how receptive they are to considering holistic therapies. Many of my sports massage clients are athletes or sports people and are coming to see me so I can work on a specific injury or issue.
Sometimes I use more holistic tools such as hot stones on them and they tend to love it. More and more people are becoming interested in holistic wellbeing so I do often get asked for a blended treatment where I might do some massage over and then do a little reiki healing over the affected area at the end of a treatment. I use essential oils when I massage so even if someone doesn’t necessarily believe in holistic work, they are still getting the benefits.
My holistic clients know that when I do reiki I always draw on other modalities so I will use things like essential oils, crystals, reflexology, maybe use the oracle card and discuss spiritual practices that could assist the client.
What are our biggest stress triggers and what impact do you believe stress to have on our lives?
Work tends to be a big one but I’d say the impact of Covid and lockdowns has been a massive one over the last couple of years. Working from home has massively impacted people, whether that’s from being lonely to having a bad back because they are not sitting in an ergonomic chair at a proper desk.
Stress can quite literally ruin your life. You can be awake at night because you’re worrying about what may or may not happen. It’s the cause of so many illnesses and issues in the world today. I’d say we’ve been in a pandemic for many years and that’s a stress pandemic! It’s just not been discussed enough and ways to help people simply haven’t been explored. I would love it if people could have holistic therapy prescribed by doctors as I know it would help.
Do you feel everybody should have massage therapy on a regular basis, and not just those with backache etc..?
YES! We all have posture issues whether we are aware of them or not. Plus, massage is a really good way to help you relax and have a bit of chill out time which we definitely all need.
What can you tell us about your work with schools and within the corporate world?
I have worked with the local council, and a local secondary school staff on wellbeing days. I also used to teach a yoga class to secondary school teachers. Teachers are amongst some of the most stressed people I know and they often don’t know how to take time out to destress.
I really believe that workplaces have a responsibility to help their staff access wellbeing schemes and sessions. If you’re happy and less stressed at work you’re going to be less likely to need time off and more likely to enjoy what you do.
Where do you see yourself and Body Equilibrium in the not too distant future?
The ideal would be to grow the business so I can get some other therapists on board and working with me. We all have different specialities so it would be great to get people whose work would compliment my own. That way, we can help more people and offer a wider range of treatments.