Therapy balls address and support the body, helping to reduce pain, release tension, nourish tissues, and address structural issues. They are helpful for regular self-care practice, to address chronic tension areas, and as a supplement to other integrative care.

A therapy ball can be rolled along a tight muscle or pressed into a trigger point, addressing the tissue in a way that is similar to bodywork. Because of its shape, the ball is able to stretch the muscle fibers in all three directions, working efficiently to release tension. With the right positioning, you can control how deep you are working with the ball in order to find what works best for you.

Therapy balls can also be used to support the release of deep tension in the structure of the body. When partially deflated, they are able to provide a unique support to complex structures, like the sacrum or diaphragm. This kind of supportive stimulation allows stabilizers to release and engage in new ways, and can help connective tissue adjust in order to create space and improve range of motion.

Balls are also able to stimulate blood, lymph, and nutrient flow in order to nourish tissues. A lot of muscle and nerve pain is related to restricted blood flow, usually because muscle tension is blocking circulation to those tissues. The pressure of a therapy ball squeezes older fluids out of the tissue so that a fresh supply of blood, oxygen, and other nutrients can flow back in.

Therapy balls are an effective component of integrative care. They are easy to use at home to address tension, muscle pain, and achy joints. Balls are also effective for prolonging and supporting the benefits of bodywork sessions, and are often incorporated in more complex ways into somatics classes.

Mindful rest and conscious relaxation creates a cascade of health benefits in the body. This is because our bodies and minds function best when they have a chance to reset themselves. Crucial processes for maintaining health engage best when we allow our bodies and minds to come into deep rest.

From a stress perspective, our biology is designed to experience stress as a response to an immediate threat. When that immediate threat passes, our stress response ramps back down and the body returns to a calmer, more relaxed state. However, modern stress involves few immediate threats and a lot of ongoing, low-level threats, which means that we don’t usually complete the stress cycle and return to the relaxed state.

This is why mindful rest is such a powerful practice. Our mind is one of our main means of assessing threats, and we can redirect that mental energy toward rest instead. Not only does it help turn off a driver of escalating stress responses, but helps to actively counter those responses with feelings of rest, relaxation, and safety.

When we consciously turn our attention to resting and releasing tension from the mind and body, it helps reset the nervous system. The heart rate slows, breath deepens, and blood pressure lowers. Tension begins to drain out of the diaphragm, the pelvis, and the neck and shoulders. As muscles relax, nutrients, oxygen, and blood are able to circulate more freely to nourish and repair tissue. When tension releases along the spine, vertebra are able to make subtle adjustments toward alignment. The nervous system is also able to turn down the volume on pain signals to the brain and improve regulation of body systems like digestion, circulation, and sleep.

The more we practice mindfully resting, the better we are able to teach ourselves how to relax. We are using neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to learn and change, in order to cultivate stronger paths to relaxation in the nervous system. Over time, this changes our habits and patterns of stress and tension, allowing us to return to a restful state more easily.

Mindful rest and conscious relaxation is a practice, which means that it is most effective when done regularly and on purpose. By peeling away layers of stress and unwinding tension, we are able to support the natural biological processes that support and create health.

Bateleur Camp, Timbavati Game Reserve

July 2020, 5 nights/6 days

The ultimate wildlife and healing experience in the heart of the African wilderness.

An epic outer and inner adventure for 5 nights / 6 days.

Time in the wilderness to re-connect with nature is life-changing. By integrating yoga and embodiment practices, you will return home with that sense of adventure, peace, and play deep in your bones.

The retreat is facilitated by Janice Cathey, Ha.Le founder, and Amy Attenborough, a South African private guide with a decade’s experience as a game ranger, who is also a life coach and yoga teacher.  

The retreat at a glance:

  • Access to an exclusive 25,000-acre concession of the Timbavati Game Reserve adjoining the 3.3 million acre world-famous Greater Kruger National Park, where we rediscover the true African walking safari. It’s the ultimate safari experience boasting big five game viewing, a multitude of smaller life, great birding and diverse habitat. Bateleur Camp is considered one of the premier walking destinations in Southern Africa.
  • Morning and evening walking safaris and game drives led by highly experienced guides and trackers. Guests can expect to track lion, elephant, giraffe and rhino, as well as other game species just as the early explorers did. An open vehicle is available for game drives as well, with opportunities to get even closer to the animals and provide ideal photographic opportunities.
  • Enjoy undisturbed wilderness and exclusivity. Bateleur has a very low density of vehicles for the size of the land it traverses. This means that you will be able to spend extended periods of time with animals and track on foot completely undisturbed by any other game drive vehicle.  This is true untamed Africa and it’s one of the few places left in Southern Africa where you can enjoy such an experience. The location, size, layout and ambience of the camp have all been chosen to complement these unique strengths.
  • An exploration of how the art of tracking animals can empower you to better track your best life.
  • Guided meditations to help you sink into the ancient wordlessness of the environment.
  • Yoga classes set amongst ancient trees in nature’s best yoga studio on the planet. We will carry our yoga mats out on our walks, allowing us to practice in some of the most remote spots in Africa.
  • Wellness workshops that empower you to nourish and heal yourself. You will return home equipped with tools so that even in the rush of the modern world, the peace of your holiday remains.
  • Plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
  • A profound spiritual experience designed to nourish your body, mind and soul.
  • Story telling around a fire and beneath a blanket of stars in the evenings in the camp’s tastefully finished, low-walled boma (circular outdoor area open to the night sky) with chairs set up around a central fireplace. Adjacent is the camp’s braai/barbeque area where food is often prepared by the chef on the open fire.
  • Delicious, wholesome South African home-style cooking served three times daily. Being in the heart of the wilderness, animals can be seen right from your breakfast table and your greatest concern is protecting freshly baked muffins from the grasp of a cheeky vervet monkey.
  • Accommodation in an incredibly comfortable, luxurious and yet totally eco-friendly camp accommodating up to 16 people.
  • Very spacious, comfortable safari units with a unique design. Quality linen, spacious beds and ensuite bathrooms provide all the comforts whilst the use of canvas walls allow you to stay connected to nature.
  • The camp follows a strict green policy and has a deep commitment to the preservation of this pristine ecosystem. Not a single tree was removed in the building of the camp and hundreds have been planted since it was built.
  • The camp is completely solar powered, herbs and vegetables are grown on site, wet waste is given to feed livestock in neighboring rural communities or used to make compost. All eco-friendly cleaning products and soaps are used, amongst many other eco-friendly practices.
  • Access to chemical free pool and guest area, which overlooks the seasonally flowing Timbavati river.
  • Regular 4-legged visitors that can be seen walking within the camp perimeter during the day include nyalas, warthogs and bushbuck. Elephants, buffalo and rhino can often be seen walking through the riverbed in front of the camp. And at night, anything shorter than an adult elephant can, and often does, walk through the camp under the cover of darkness.
  • On these safaris we fall in line with nature’s rhythm and find ourselves an integral part of it. There is no better place to remember your own true nature than in the wilderness. From this deeply aware and connected place we co-create with the healing of the planet. This is true transformational travel.

Investment:

$4500 for double occupancy and $4900 for single occupancy. This includes all accommodation, meals, non-alcoholic beverages, game drives, walks, activities, facilitation and transfer from Hoedspruit to the camp. Does not include flights to and from Bateleur Camp, alcoholic beverages, or gratuities. Prices are based on the exchange rate and may adjust. 

To book your place and ensure your spot on this Ha.Lé Adventure Retreat, a 50% deposit (non-refundable) is required. Only 6 spots available! 

Queleas: What Whole Do You Form Part of? from Londolozi on Vimeo.

Meet Amy Attenborough in this wonderful video about queleas (starling-like birds in S. Africa):

Sciatica is pain from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine, through the hip, and down the leg to the foot. The pain can be felt anywhere along the path of the nerve, and can range from minor to severe.

Treatment for sciatica involves working with the structures of the back and hip that may be impinging on the nerve. The piriformis muscle of the hip is the most famous cause of sciatic pain, but it is not the only cause. Our posture, the way we walk, how we sit, and other habitual body habits change how our muscles work together over time, and when those systems become imbalanced, the ways they compensate often cause pain.

Sciatica treatment focuses on releasing tension, freeing adhered tissue, and addressing the structure and range of motion around the sciatic nerve, as well as other related issues that are causing imbalance and stress in the body. Often, a combination of bodywork, acupuncture, and somatic movement can help reduce and often resolve sciatica.

Bodywork works with the tissues directly to free adhesions, restore range of motion, and reduce muscular tension that may be impinging on the nerve. It also increases blood and nutrient flow to the nerve, which helps reduce pain signaling. Bodywork is also able to address complex causes of sciatica, like neck or shoulder tension, that in turn is affecting the hips and low back and so contributing to the pain.

Acupuncture is proven to be effective for pain treatment, including sciatica. It helps tone the nervous system, turning down the volume on pain signals from the nerve to the brain. When the body has been in pain for a while, or the issue has become chronic, the pain signals can get caught in a feedback loop that gets worse over time. Acupuncture is able to safely reset this process, which helps the restore nervous system health.

Somatic movement, like yoga or feldenkrais, brings awareness to where and how the body moves in space. It helps reconnect the brain to movement patterns in the body, and to rejuvenate tissues through movement, stretching, and using a larger range of motion. This in turn reduces tension in the body and helps address dysfunctional movement patterns.

Sciatica can be persistent, painful, and frustrating. Effective treatment understands that it is the result of dysfunction in complex structures of the body and works to release tension, restore function, and rebalance the nervous system in order to manage the pain and create health.

If your feet hurt when you wake up in the morning, especially in the heel, then you probably have plantar fasciitis. It is a symptom of larger problems in how you walk, run, and stand. Though there are many ways to reduce the pain in the short term, effective treatment usually requires working with the structure of the body as a whole, especially the legs, pelvis, and back.

Plantar fasciitis refers to pain in a band of connective tissue along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel to the toes and is an important part of maintaining the arch of the foot. The arch needs to have just the right tension, neither too tight nor too loose, in order to best absorb the impact of the foot on the ground with each step.

Biomechanical issues like imbalanced posture, how you walk, or even the shoes you wear, are usually the main contributors to plantar fasciitis. Your connective tissue (fascia) runs all the way from the bottom of the foot, along the back of the calf and thigh, and continues up the back and neck to the head. Tightness anywhere along this path can in turn tighten the plantar fascia and cause pain.

Bodywork and acupuncture are effective treatments for plantar fasciitis, usually as a series of bodywork sessions supported by acupuncture (depending on the severity of the pain). Treatment begins with releasing tension along the full fascial lines of the body that connect with the feet. This includes working with both muscle and connective tissue to free adhesions and restore function. Treatment also works to increase blood and fluid flow to the plantar fascia, helping to nourish the tissue and reduce the pain caused by blood restriction. Nerve signal regulation also helps to reduce pain sensations while structural issues are addressed.

Plantar Fasciitis is a symptom of larger structural issues in the body, and can be treated effectively through bodywork and acupuncture. By working with the body as a whole, we can understand plantar fasciitis as a symptom of tightness in the back of the body, rather than only a foot issue, and resolve the dysfunction accordingly.

 

Acupuncture can be very effective for treating allergies. Instead of using daily or frequent medications to only suppress symptoms, acupuncture can help rebalance the immune system and other systems that are contributing to symptoms in the first place.

Seasonal allergies can be miserable, and we tend to strongly notice the sudden change in our sense of wellness. Acupuncture can provide an improvement of symptoms, often within a few minutes of beginning treatment. Continued treatments will work further to address the underlying imbalances so that symptoms continue to improve.

Chronic allergies can also be treated with acupuncture. According to Chinese Medicine, people with chronic allergies often show signs of spleen or kidney energy deficiency, as well as lung issues. Rebalancing these deficiencies while also using specific allergy treatment protocols can greatly reduce sensitivity.

Treatment for allergies focuses both on reducing the symptoms that make us miserable, as well as treating underlying levels of imbalance that caused the symptoms. After a course of treatment, some people find that it works best for them to come back a few times a year for maintenance. Often, treatment includes dietary and lifestyle recommendations. There are also some excellent chinese herbal formulas for treating allergies and strengthening the immune system.

Acupuncture treats allergies in a way that both works with the symptoms and the underlying cause, so that treatment can step down over time. It is an effective addition to other allergy treatments, and can help create health on multiple levels.