Holistic Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Lucy Stein chats with Mark Wincott

Hi Lucy, thank you for doing this, please tell us a little about yourself and what led you to this path of helping others?
Hi Mark, no problem at all, lovely to speak to you. I left my 9-5 job eight years ago as I wanted more freedom and movement. I loved my job but I had developed neck pain; my body was telling me sitting at a desk in one place wasn’t for me.

I realised I had always been a helper and a peace keeper. If I could help a person or a situation in any way then I would. I was offered a Reiki session by a neighbour and loved it, and a while later I thought if I have this calling to help people why not get attuned to Reiki and see if I can help that way? It then just happened I met someone soon after by chance who introduced me to a Reiki Master, as usually happens with Reiki.

I was training and performing in circus so I developed a strong interest in the body and how to avoid injury. I travelled and performed and along the way I decided to also train in Massage Therapy as I wanted to help people avoid injury. I went on to complete nearly every diploma available and conducted my own research into chronic pain, trauma and yoga theory. As a Sports & Remedial practitioner I treat all types of pain every day. It’s wonderful to be able to help people in this way, especially in the current climate.

How do you feel your body work will help people in the current climate?
With the lack of physical connection and touch allowed at the moment, I think hands-on therapy is needed more than ever. During lockdown, some people hadn’t been touched or hugged by another person for three months, which has a big impact mentally and in turn causes physical symptoms. Humans are social animals; we evolved to connect with each other, and touch is an important part of that.

We are all carrying high or low levels of anxiety at the moment, whether we realise it or not. A lot of people are having crazy dreams which are our worries coming out in the night even if we feel calm in the day. Anxiety comes from not knowing what will happen or not being able to control it, which is pretty much the current situation in the pandemic.

Anxiety produces stress hormones which prime the body to ‘Fight or Flight’. These literally pump up the muscle fibres so a person can run away from a physical threat or fight it. The brain sees all threats as physical danger, it doesn’t recognise the difference between physical and mental stress. Mammals in the wild, after being chased by a predator, shake to reset their nervous system by releasing the taught muscle fibres and rest to recover from the exertion. Humans don’t do this and we have many stressors throughout each day because of our responsibilities and endless thoughts. By releasing the tension in the muscles and soft tissue, we reset the nervous system back to its restful state.

During our period of lockdown how did you keep yourself mentally safe?
I realised that everyone was going through the grief process. After the initial shock when our lives got turned upside down overnight, the first stage of grief is denial. This helped me understand people who think the pandemic is a scam or deny it exists. The next stage is anger; when you look at the rise of the protests in the initial lockdown period and beyond you can see this emotion play out.  Stages 3 and 4 are bargaining – the what ifs’ and If onlys – and depression, which of course a lot of us may have experienced, then finally acceptance.

I’ve seen a lot of regular clients in the acceptance stage since returning to work after lockdown, which is wonderful: there has been a lot less stress apparent in their tissues than before lockdown in some cases. Many people have used this time as a reset to examine what was and wasn’t serving them in their lives and have made positive changes.

But remember grief can cycle, so we can keep going back through the stages many times and that’s ok. If you feel like your emotions are all over the place at the moment remember it’s completely normal, be patient and gentle with yourself and reach out and connect to others as much as you can.

You’re based in East London, what areas of this part of town do you feel connected with?
I live in Hackney Wick where my old clinic was. I love the area because I can constantly see the water and of course there’s a great community there. I love taking long walks in Victoria Park and the woods. I have now moved my practice to Stratford, so it’s still very near.

For further information: www.re-volve.uk