Archive for the ‘my thoughts’ Category


| March 8th, 2017 | No Comments »

final Modalities Massage newsletter


Some gutsy learning

| May 26th, 2014 | No Comments »



  1. of, or relating to, the viscera
  2. relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect

synonyms: instinctive, instinctual, gut, deep-down, deep-seated, deep-rooted, inward



I found this definition online and it perfectly encapsulates the nature of the course I went on this weekend. The course was called Visceral Manipulation I and both of the definition options above speak clearly to the nature of the work we did this weekend.


The course reviewed the anatomy and physiology of the internal organs – and reminded me that the lungs, heart and brain – with all their accessory bit are a part of that viscera. Our focus though was on the gut organs this time. The other definition is very appropriate to as the work requires that you use your knowledge of the structure of the body and then release it to simply feel the body. I knew going in that for myself the need to be patient and quiet my mind in favour of listening to my body would be my greatest challenge.


I am very aware, with a kind of chagrined pride, that I tend to over-think things at times. I often have said that I am more comfortable in my mind than in my body – but I have also said that my education and practice as a massage therapist has balance that to some degree. This weekend was, for me, another step toward embracing that balance. I do not think that I will ever be someone who first speaks to how they FEEL, I suspect I will always first go to the place of THINKING, but I do believe my life is richer for the fact that I strive to improve the balance between the two.


What is all this work for anyway? What will it help and might you be one of the people that experiences this work when next you are on my table. There are many indications for this work, some are emotional or life related (stress, depression, anxiety), many more physical – including digestive issues, disease process or history in the body – especially those where organs have been damaged or altered – right through to pain patterns in the body, especially those that are persistent and respond to, but do not resolve, with direct massage. Quite a few of you might just be finding yourself experiencing something a bit different in the near future. If you are interested in this work specifically feel free to ask more when you are in next time or to drop me an email or call.


For myself, I had an interesting time on the receiving end of all of this work and will be bringing some of treatments into my own self-care regime. I am interested to see the way this subtle and progressive work unfolds within me over the next weeks.



April 2014 newsletter

| April 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

Here is my April newsletter, email me if you would like to be added to the list to receive these….


the flowers are up, new wheels are in and there are some dates to note as we move through spring and into summer….
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Spring flowers….

Spring is truly here again as my tulips and daffodils are telling me.  Easter is quickly to be upon us and I hope you all enjoy the long weekend.  With regards to Easter and the next little while there are several special closures and unexpected open days coming.  Look to your far right column to see the particulars.  Keep an eye on the Modalities facebook pagefor current information about when the office is open, what opportunities and events are upcoming, interesting tidbits and availability by the week.

In the middle column you will find upcoming events around town and another yoga workshop by Kathryn Kusyszyn.  The date of the nextaromatherapy direct order is tucked in there too.

Around the office I have begun stocking a small selection of products that may be useful beyond the aromatherapy products I make myself.

Below you will find some thoughts about my new bike….

In Health,
— Sheila Hobbs

Upcoming Events

Creatively United for the Planet
all day, St. Ann’s Academy

Native Plane Garden Tour
afternoon, led by HAT

Aromatherapy Order
until 6pm, Modalities

GMO OMG showing
7-10pm, Cinecenta

Align Your Spine yoga workshop
10-12:30, James Bay Community Centre

Spinnakers 30th Anniversary Party
3pm-11pm, Parking Lot

Victoria Goddess Run Weekend
all weekend,all over

Office Hours

Early Weeks
9am to 2pm
i.e. April 14-18

Late Weeks
11am to 6:30pm
i.e. April 21-25

Upcoming Closures
Friday, April18th (Good Friday)
Friday, May 16th (pro-d)
Friday, May 23rd (away for training)
Monday June30th
Tuesday, July 1st

Unexpected Openings
Monday, April 22 (Easter Monday)
Monday, May 19th (Victoria Day)

Summer Sneak Peek
The office will be closed the first week of August but that should be the only extraordinary closure.  I am planning some work on the interior and exterior of the house, so things may look shabbier before they get better but please have patience and it will get there.

New Bike

Recently I have been trying to makes some changes in life, one of them adding some needed cardiovascular activity.  I am blessed with a job that keeps me moving and strong, but never moving that fast.  My shiny, new-to-me, red bike with its sharp black basket, is aiming to fix that.

I got the bike for practical reasons – physical, environmental and economic – but what I didn’t fully anticipate was the sheer giddy joy it would bring.  My two predominant thoughts when I first was test riding bikes were: “okay, I’m really far off the ground” and “OOO, right, I can go FAST!”.  The latter is the one that has stuck!

My new wheels have pushed me a bit into a silly, playful mood I don’t often embrace and I have to say I have been enjoying it.  Taking the bike out has sometimes been hard work and other time a bit uncomfortable, but when I begin lamenting the panting breathes and rapid heart rate I have been able to stop and remember that giddy feeling.  I remember that I can go FAST – once I haul myself up the hill – and a big grins is plastered on my face.  The aches fade a bit, and I get to the top of the hill, and I go fast!

As we move through spring and into summer I hope that there is something in each of your lives that makes you want to grin a silly grin – and maybe even go FAST!

Copyright © 2014 Modalities Wellness, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have been into the office and gave me permission to contact you or you signed up for an account on my booking site
Our mailing address is:

Modalities Wellness

3103 Harriet Road

Victoria, Bc V8W 2G2


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February newsletter

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

This went out last week, so some of the upcoming is now just happened…but us you aren’t getting this in your inbox and want it let me know at

I’ll be away in March but otherwise just looking forward to spring!
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What’s in here?

Look to the right for upcoming events around town.
For those using online booking the new schedule has a bit of a trick to it.  You will stay in either the schedule (early or late) that you start in unless you back out to the big calendar view and go in again.  If time seems to be flying awful fast when you are searching, make sure you aren’t skipping weeks.  It is not an ideal solution but it is the only one that was reasonable to administer.
Someone recently offered me some support on the CityHub network, for which I thank-you, whoever you are, including noting that my “newsletter was actually interesting”.  If pursuit of living up to that praise I am including a brief article about connective tissue, posture and yoga – including a yoga workshop a colleague of mine is hosting this weekend below.  The less scintillating notes about my office policies will go up on my website.
Finally, there is a new email for me.  The will continue to work but I have created which should be pretty easy to remember if you’re trying to reach me electronically.

Enjoy and thanks for reading,
— Sheila Hobbs

Upcoming Events

Yoga for Scoliosis workshop
10-12:30, Victoria
with Kathryn Kusysyzn

“Wheat Belly” author
William Davies evening

7-9:30pm, Victoria Conference Centre

Dance Dance Renovation
8pm, Braefoot Community Association
a dance and silent auction to help build their new building

various, The Belfry

Pizzaria Primastrada
$25 3-course meal with $5 going to the Heart and Stoke Foundation

Festa della Donna
Pizzaria Primastrada
Proceeds to the BC Farm Women’s Network Scholarship Fund

Office Hours

Early Weeks
(17-21/2; 3-5/3; 17/21/3; etc)

alternate with

Late Weeks
(24-28/2; 12-14/3; 24-28/3; etc)

March 6-11

I will be off in Vancouver being an examiner with the College of Massage Therapy of BC

Extended Hours:
March 17-21

Max will be at a daycamp that is longer than school, so here are some extra times just after I get back.

Connecting Fascia, Posture and Yoga

Most of you know that I am a big fan of fascia, a significant portion of my practice focuses on the manipulation of fascia and the scars that bind and mis-connect it.  The short answer of what fascia is comes from one of my instructor back in massage school who said, “It’s the bag we walk around in”, a slightly less metaphorical definition is that it is the tissue that separates and contains the structures of the body allowing coherent movement of, and glide between, structures in the body.

Fascia is integral to posture because as our body takes on habitual positions and movements our body reorganized itself to accommodate those patterns and increase its efficiency.  The body will bind and shorten fascia to help passively maintain altered posture so that it doesn’t have to use muscle to hold position.  However, because fascia encloses those muscles, they can become shortened and thickened as they are crowded into the new form of their “bag”.  Overall muscle health and function can be decreased by these changes.

The kind of traditional stretching most of us learned in gym (elongate one segment of the body and hold 30 seconds) is aimed at muscle.  Muscles generally stretch over one, or at most two, joints and adapts very quickly to input.  Not a bad thing to do to re-establish length in a muscle that has been busily contracting in activity.  The limitation of this type of stretching to help alter posture is to short to impact fascia – both in time and scope.  Good fascial stretching involves prolonged time intervals (2+ minutes) and multiple, sequential segments, if that sounds familiar you may some familiarity with yoga.

Yoga promotes long stretches in combined movements of multiple body parts.  These movements mirror functional and fascial connections in the body and help us counteract the limitations created by repetitive movements and poor posture.  The yoga for scoliosisworkshop I have listed under the upcoming events is led by Kathryn Kusyszyn, who is an excellent instructor and experienced in several fields of study.  She is also part of my self-care team!  She has focused on the use of yoga to balance and untwist the patterns of scoliosis.  The workshop this weekend and those she has planned in future offer a good foundation not only for those with scoliosis but also for anyone who finds their body to be unbalanced from side to side – which is the majority of people.  We all have dominant sides and chronic postures that tend to push us out of symmetry and balance.  This workshop will help you begin to find tools to undo that imbalance and move yourself toward symmetry.

Copyright © 2014 Modalities Wellness, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have been into the office and gave me permission to contact you or you signed up for an account on my booking site
Our mailing address is:

Modalities Wellness

3103 Harriet Road

Victoria, Bc V8W 2G2


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Newletter for August

| August 27th, 2013 | No Comments »
New hours as Max begins kindergarten in September…
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Plenty of changes….

As you will see to the right there are several office closures coming up, and a change of hours that is happening in September when Max begins kindergarten.  The second week of September will be the restarting of my infant massage classes at the Mothering Touch as well.  Those classes will be happening on Tuesday from 11:30-12:30 – tell any new Moms you know.  The dust should then settle for the foreseeable future.

Lots of events coming up both here at the office and in the city, the end of the summer is looking pretty fun.

There is also an aromatherapy order coming up after I get back.  Again, the terms are my cost+2-% and more information can be found on the website.

— Sheila Hobbs

Upcoming Events

August 13-25:
Smalltown: a Pickup Musical
at the Belfry Theatre SKAM premieres a great musical (I saw previews)

August 21
Vino e Sputino
at Pizzaria Primastrade on Bridge Street

August 22-Sept 1
Fringe Festival
at various venues

August 28/13
aromatherapy order
from the office

August 30-Sept 1
Classic Boat Festival
in the Inner Harbour

August 31-Sept 2
Victoria Blues Bash
at various venues

baby massage
at the Mothering Touch

Office Hours

Wednesday, August 21 to Monday, August 26 (wedding)

Tuesday, September 3 (but open on Monday, September 2!) (family)

Thursday, September 19 to Monday, September 23 (being an examiner!)


Monday         10-5:30
Tuesday         9-5:30
Wednesday  10-5:30
Thursday       10-5:30
Friday              9-2:00

office hours are changing to better suit life as Max heads off to kindergarten.  I hope everyone can find times in the new schedule that suit them.

Wounds and stitches

On the weekend the Scout Canada group the boys attend were doing clean up at the Dragon Boat Festival, our big annual fund raiser.  During the final clean-up Sunday night Bernard managed to give himself a small puncture wound in the web space of his thumb.  His hands were dirty from the work and he so was the little knife he was holding so the on-site first aid people recommended a tetanus shot and, because of the location, a stitch or two.  Off to the walk-in clinic we went, a bit of a wait and some wincing later Bernard had his one stitch and his tetanus shot.

The purpose of that little recap is to lead into the question of: why stitches?  Largely stitches are used to hold wounds closed, obviously.  Other than to prevent nasty things from going in and/or blood from coming out why is that important?  It comes back to one of my favorite topics – scars – and in this case, their formation.  By keeping the raw edges of the wound close together you give your body the ability to reunite the edges of the wound rather than go through the process of scab formation.  This is beneficial because it results in less scar tissue.  If the cells at the edge of the wound can expand and multiply to fill the space without the need for an a scab you virtually eliminate scarring.  When the edges are too far apart for the cells to reach each other (this is not a very big gap at all from our macroscopic point of view), or if they have already gone too far in the scab formation process, you end up with actual scar tissue developing and that can be both less functional and less aesthetic.

Copyright © 2013 Modalities Wellness, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have been into the office and gave me permission to contact you or you signed up for an account on my booking site
Our mailing address is:

Modalities Wellness

3103 Harriet Road

Victoria, Bc V8W 2G2


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Prescription: Puppies

| September 27th, 2012 | No Comments »

I checked out a link on twitter today and loved the article so much I just had to write a bit about it

Written  by an animal loving leukemia patient the article shares her experience of getting ‘prescribed’ a puppy during her recovery.  She focuses on the many benefits she has experienced in her life and I think some of her points are ones that anyone who knows a cancer patient should think about.

 The puppy has provided a positive attention draw, she is no longer identified as the ‘bald-lady with cancer’, she is now ‘the (bald) lady with the sweet puppy’ to the general public and that is freeing, she is more than her diagnosis or disease, she is not just a receiver of care, but a giver of care.  

In her more intimate relationship with her boyfriend this has provided the both of them a focus for their attentions that doesn’t have to do with treatment or symptom management.  

Taking the puppy walking and to obedience classes also get her out into the wider world regularly, providing both stimulation (mental and social) and exercise (an important part of regaining her “normal” life).  

I particularly loved the idea of the comfort and cheer listening to the  puupy’s heartbeat and feeling his warmth bring to her.  I was reminded of new Mom’s being encouraged to hold their children close to their bodies to soothe them with their warmth, scent and the sound of their hearts.  Research has demonstrated that this snuggling lowers babies heart rates, reduces their stress levels and that they fuss less often – perhaps she is enjoying similar benefits.

If you know people going through cancer treatment – especially long and/or high-risk treatments – remember that though you and they need the opportunity to talk about the illness that your relationship goes beyond that and that they may already have had lots of opportunity to talk about their treatment.  Be open to talking about their disease and treatment but remember they are not just a patient, their your friend.

Once upon a time, because of the risk of cross-infection with your pet, or your pet bringing in dirt and contaminants the ill and the elderly were not encouraged to have pets.  In recent years that has been changing.  Cats, and sometimes dogs, can now be found in nursing and retirement facilities as group pets.  These animals provide the residents with company and entertainment.  HIV/AIDS patients, with their lowered immune function, were encouraged to give up pets they had, not  just avoid adding a pet, in earlier days.  Now the emotional and social benefits of having a pet to love and care for and to be cared for by have been show to improve immune function and reduce depression in patients.


More reading?…..

pets in elder care

you can even go to school to learn about it…

preterm infants (another immunocompromised bunch) and touch…



August newsletter

| August 20th, 2012 | No Comments »

Modalities Massage Therapy

August Newsletter


Dear clients, This Thursday, August 23rd, is the deadline for aromatherapy orders.  Check out the webpage on direct orders for the short list of products and pricing.  Contact me by phone or email to place your order. As always, orders should be in within a week and I will contact you regarding pick-up. Beginning in September there will be some small changes in my work schedule.  I will be teaching infant massage at Mothering Touch again but on Wednesday mornings and I will no longer be working at Achieve Health Monday and Wednesday mornings.  In terms of hours here at Modalities there will be only small changes and a continuation of the ‘temporary’ addition of Tuesday mornings.  New hours as of September 1/2012 will be:

Monday: 10am to 6pm Tuesdays: 10am to 4:30pm; one 7 pm appointment Wednesdays: 12:30pm to 4:30pm Thursdays: 9am to 4:30pm; one 7 pm appointment Friday: 10am to 6pm

I have been doing some blogging lately and wanted to share those thoughts with you. The following links will take you to them: food and drug efficacy and DNR and final wishes.

As we move into the fall I hope that we all have the opportunity to enjoy some more warm weather and sunshine. For those of you coming under the influence of school I hope your return to classes goes smoothly.

Best wishes,

Sheila Hobbs, RMT



Do not Ressusitate.

| August 20th, 2012 | No Comments »

Talking with my friend, Pashta, a death midwife, always leads to interesting discoveries. As a death midwife Pashta is interesting in all matters around death and dying and so took particular interest in the changes around medical representative and do not ressusitate documents that occurred about 2 years ago. One of the issues that arose in her investigation didn’t directly have anything to do with the legislation or the preparation, but with the execution. An article I saw recently got me thinking about that issue again and triggered some thinking.

Let’s say you have all you paperwork in order, everything is in place, all your family is aware and supportive of you choice to allow your death to occur without “extraordinary measures”, you are a DNR (Do Not Ressusitate). Now what? If you have already been admited into the hospital, hospice, extended care facility, palliative care room or some such place you are okay. The administration of such places ask questions about this on admission and your wishes and paperwork will have been duly recorded and filed. Great. Or is it?

When you are out there, busy living your life and something goes awry (think stroke, etc) is when you are most likely to require/be given some pretty extreme emergency procedures to deal with the trauma. How does your DNR come into play? You have a high likelihood of being unconscious or unable to communicate. Most of us wouldn’t be carrying our paperwork, those that might would likely have something in a wallet or purse. Are you willing to bet your life, literally, that your EMT and/or ER doctor or nurse in going to look in you purse or wallet?

How do you let everyone know to leave you alone? Give you something so you do not suffer and leave you alone? More and more people are trying to solve this problem by tattooing their wishes on their body. Generally located over or around their sternum (breastbone) where anyone performing CPR or defibrilation would be looking, or at the wrist as a permanent medic alert bracelet. But, before you rush out to your local tattoo artist, ask yourself this -how many doctors or EMTs will honour a tattoo? A tattoo is permanent, but is it legal? All medical professionals are bound to provide all lifesaving measures in the absense of orders to the contrary. Many doctors report that they would not honour a DNR tattoo.

With this dilemma we run into the problem that is the log jam of so many death related issues. Can you decide to die? In Canada it has only been legal to take your own life since 1972, there is only one person in BC who currently has any recourse to request a doctor to assist her in ending her life. We have the right to vote, to fight for our countries, to do stupid and dangerous things and to live, whether we want to or not, but not the right to die. No matter how agonizing, hopeless or plain pitiful our life may be, just getting the right to end it is almost impossible. Ironically, the sicker we get, the more infirm and less able we are, the less likely we will be able to achieve our end.

Make your plans, get your tattoo, but you better start making some noise too, if you want to be sure the papers will be found, the tattoo honoured and your wishes granted. There will have to be some profound alteration in the thinking of our lawmakers, our medical caregivers, and in our society before we can expect that effort will be made to find out our wishes before action is taken. Meanwhile, make sure people – doctors, your family, and friends – know that you know what you want, and that you are counting on them to make sure you get it.


Food and drug administration…

| August 15th, 2012 | No Comments »

I am not talking about the FDA (Food and Drug Administration – the entity in the US that approves food and drug sales) in this blog, or at least not directly, but the title just called out to me.  What I am talking about is how the food you eat and the drink you drink impact the drugs you might take.  I got inspired by a couple of tweets I checked out and re-tweeted that I found really interesting.

The question of food and pharmaceuticals, for most, likely brings to mind the little stickers you find on your prescriptions bottles or warnings on the labels of over the counter drugs that mainly circle around whether or not to have with food or alcohol and the safety of heavy machinery operation while using.  I recently was put on doxycycline, a fairly potent antibiotic, and for the first time had a warning about dairy food specifically.  Why do we receive these warnings?  We get instruction of food and drink consumption – both specific types and generally – because of  the risk of over or under-dosing.  Some drugs have greater impact with food, some less; certain minerals can alter how drugs work for all of these reasons we get little stickers and warnings.  This website has very complete information on drug interactions including foods.

How exactly do food and drink influence how drugs are absorbed and broken down in the body?  There are a few answers to that question but one of the main ones is – enzymes.  Enzymes are complex protein molecules that bring about cellular reactions within the body.  Enzymes are how we digest food and are used to speed up, slow down, allow or disallow various chemical reactions to occur.  Enzymes are produced by living cells and found in our bodies and in the things we eat and drink.  Some enzymes also are able to block each other from acting – they shut down other enzymes.  How drugs are processed by the body – especially how long they take to be broken down and absorbed impact how effective they are and how often and how much we need to take.

Alteration in drug processing in the body has profound ripple effects in terms of side-effects, efficacy and costs.  The more of a drug you take the more likely you are to have side effects so if the dose can be lowered you have fewer side effects.  The reason we often have to tolerate side effects is to ensure we receive enough of a drug to actually have it do the job it is supposed to do.  The longer a drug stays at an effective level in our body the more of an impact it can have on our system, slowing down the bodies natural breakdown of a drug into its components can allow a drug to do more.  Cost obviously ends up going down if we use less of a drug making lower doses desirable both medically and fiscally, especially in an era of rising medical budgets.  

The particular article I read was speaking of grapefruit juice and the cancer drug, sirolimus.  When ingested with grapefruit juice a one-third dose of sirolimus had the same effect.  This represents a huge cost savings and a potential reduction in side effects as the lower does was accompanied by fewer side effect.  Here is the interesting bit.  Some dosing is lowered and ordered with a particular accompaniment; in other case, like sirolimus at this time, you take more and are told to avoid the food/beverage that increases the effectiveness of the drug to avoid overdose.  I personally hope that current research will lead to increases the incidence of the former and reduces the latter.

The other interesting point that came up in the article is that not only will what you do or don’t take with drug impact their breakdown and bioavailability to your cells but it can also alter how your cells welcome the drug.  Recent studies have shown that pre-treatment fasting (of 2-3 days) by chemotherapy recipients increases the impact of the treatment on cancer cell, but even more delightfully, it reduces the impact of the same treatments on the healthy cells.  Basically, in healthy cell fasting creates decreased activity, basically the seek to reduce their consumption of fuel, in contrast cancer cells, which are already gluttons become even more ravenous when exposed to fasting causing them to absorb greater quantities of the chemotherapy drugs.

A 2-3 day fast is not a small thing but I suspect this news would be less daunting to the many cancer patients who have appetite loss as part of the symptoms or drug side effects.  The reward of less nausea, headaches, malaise, nerve damage and hair loss – just to name a few – would be a nice reward for a bit of fasting too.  Further, for those cancer patients and their families who face daily struggles to get enough food into themselves or their loved ones a brief respite would not be bad and all the parties could then focus their food efforts on their inter-treatment time.  The volunteers with the trolleys of cookies and juice that wheel through the chemo room though would become a thing of the past.

What I find most interesting about all of these pieces of data is that they can be implemented with minimal hassle, little to no harm and many benefits.  There is no costly drug research, no need for gene therapy the research I am talking about is from human and animal trials and new human trials are moving forward in several places already.  This is exciting as a new drug or therapy can take years and years to even reach human trial stage.  Plus, the cost of all of these options are negligible or well offset by saving.  Not very often is that the case with modern medical innovation.



The tweets I’m talking about:

fasting and cancer treatment

grapefruit juice and drug efficacy


Aromatherapy and a change in hours….

| May 30th, 2012 | No Comments »

Happy spring to you all,

I have decided to place an unscheduled aromatherapy order this Friday so if there are any essential oils, base oils, skin care products or the like you wish to buy from my supplier for the usual 20% mark up please let me know by Thursday night.  To see a selection you can go to the website.  Please note that the listed prices include the 20% mark up, but will have HST added.

As you all know I have been teaching baby massage classes at the Mothering Touch since September.  I have found it to be a lovely addition to my practice.  Due to lower numbers in the nice weather though we have decided to call off classes for the summer and resume in the fall on a new day.  What this means to you is that I will be adding Tuesday morning hours for the summer.  As of this coming week Tuesday hours will be from 10 to 5.  I will still be offering the Tuesday night time at 7pm.

I hope the spring is finding you and that you are enjoying the long, light evenings.

Sheila Hobbs, RMT
Modalities Wellness