6 Ways to Simply Spring Clean Your Life

As the skies fill with less clouds and more softly floating cherry blossom petals, energies that have been hibernating are now taking the stage, offering new life into all that we have been creating over the last few months. This is a time when we shed our layers, literally and figuratively, and make way for new and exciting moments. It’s important that not only on the surface we feel prepared for this seasonal and energetic transition, but within ourselves and the subtle layers of our beings.  Here are some ways you can ready your body, mind, soul, (and house!) for what lies ahead.

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1. Ditch the Un-used.

This is one of the biggest ways in which we impede the natural flow of growth and change. Holding on to physical items that we no longer use or care about not only clutters up our visible space, but contributes to maintaining ties with the past and getting in the way of our mental and emotional clarity. What’s better is that often these items can go to homes where they would be much more appreciated, helping more than just the state of our closets but those in need.

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2. Do the Lemon Water Thing

Just try it and see how you feel. Warm water with lemon every morning is a super easy and superbly beneficial way to clear toxins, reset the digestive system and you may notice clearer and more vibrant skin among other pluses! You may have heard the term ‘alkalization’ or ‘alkaline’ among one of the many health blogs circulating, and for good reason. What this basically means is that we are choosing foods and drinks that are going to bring our ever-changing chemical levels into a pH balance where our physiological processes run at their smoothest and our bodies become a place where disease is less likely to occur. Nowadays with the amount of toxic foods and lifestyles we are constantly surrounded with, our bodies can become too acidic, allowing health problems to develop because, quite simply, nothing is running the way it should. On top of giving you a Vitamin C boost, though it seems acidic, lemon is alkaline forming.

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3. Clear your E-Mess

This may sound funny (or a scary task) but those hundreds (or thousands) of emails that don’t seem to affect us to contribute as a bit of a dragging weight on a subconscious level. This goes for all those desktop icons that need purging, old voicemails, pictures that need archiving. Get rid of the bulk and see how head first you dive into upcoming projects.

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4. Get Fresh

Comfort foods have provided us with the strength and sustenance we’ve needed through this chilly time of year, but we’re moving on to fresher and brighter things. Incorporating bright, fresh whole foods into our warm recipes will ease us into more lively summer meals and pack a serious nutritional punch that will fire us up to get going. Go for the rainbow, and don’t be afraid to get creative with fruits and veggies you wouldn’t normally use!

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5. Banish the Dust Demons

In addition to looking desirable and creating a welcoming environment from which to grow, giving our nests a proper scrub will get rid of all the unseen dust, bacteria and allergens that take a toll on the immune system. The last thing we want is to be stuck with a cold when the sun’s shining!

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6. Get a Massage

When we’re freezing and stuck indoors, not only do we have a tendency to round our backs and shoulders as we shield our faces from the rain and get into poor postural grooves at the computer, but we can often hold onto this tightness long after the cold is gone. Think about how the body feels almost instantly softer when laying in the sun. Treating yourself to a tension-freeing session is the perfect way to jumpstart your momentum as we spring into the sunnier wave of the year.

Posted by admin at 9:39 am | comments | DIY, Healthy Eating and Cleansing Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

5 Restorative Yoga Poses to Hold You Over Until Your Next RMT Appointment

We all know that warm, relaxed (and of course sometimes a bit sore) sensation we’re left with after an appointment with an RMT. Tension that earlier in the day was the centre of attention is now taking the bench, and hey, our stresses seem to be over there too.

While nothing beats the skilled touch of an RMT, here are a few restorative yoga postures you can do at home to give you that ‘back to balance’ feeling in between sessions.

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1. Child’s Pose

The one yoga pose to rule them all, and for good reason! Not only are you alleviating spinal pressure in Child’s Pose, but you are simultaneously bringing openness into the hips, thighs and upper and lower back muscles, all the while in a passive position that can invoke a deep sense of calm and security. Child’s pose can also help activate your digestive processes, and provides us a welcome opportunity to turn inward and enjoy a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle.

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2. Legs up the Wall

A favourite of many, legs up the wall is one of the most beneficial and effortless postures in yoga and is considered deeply therapeutic. Simply inverting for a period of time everyday allows gravity to help regulate tension, promote circulation of fluids within all extremities, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure. You may find that holding this position for an extended length of time provides intensely relaxing effects. Try 5-10 minutes to start, and increase to as long as you feel comfortable with. Try placing soft pillows under the arms, lower back or neck for even more support. *Note: You do not need to lay on the hard floor for this to take effect. If your bed is up against a wall, do it from here for maximum comfort!

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3. Reclined Twist

They say you are as young as your spine is flexible. As the fluids in the spine don’t move by themselves and can be a storing ground for built up toxins and free-radicals, this is a great reason to bring a gentle spinal twist into a relaxation routine. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms out to the sides. Softly lower your knees to the right, looking over the left shoulder. Pause here and breathe deeply. Repeat on opposite side.

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4. Seated Forward Bend

All the feels of a morning stretch but at any time of day. Seated Forward Bend targets the back side of the entire body, while promoting digestion and washing away stresses as we turn inward. Approach this posture lightly, your body will do the rest. Close your eyes.

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5. Savasana

Although it is a pose of complete surrender and relaxation, this can make it slightly more challenging. Still the mind by focusing on each part of the body you are hoping to bring ease. Mentally relax this part, and move onto the next. If you feel the mind wander, just come back.

Enjoy knowing that with only a bit of effort, these poses are helping to revitalize the body and mind, restoring balance and promoting your wellbeing from the ground up.

Posted by admin at 9:05 am | comments | General Health and Wellness., Meditation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Reflections of a First RMT Experience

jairo-alzate-45540As a dedicated yogi and advocate for good health, and throughout much self research into various healing dualities, strangely, massage has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. Sure I’d had a few relaxing experiences in tropical locales that did seem to provide noticeable benefits to my state of calm, particularly during the session, but coming in to Soma Studio I was greeted with not only a different environment but an unanticipated approach altogether. Instantly upon my assessment with my RMT, I could tell that this was much more involved than I had imagined. While some come to massage for general relaxation and relief of your everyday tensions, some are drawn to it seeking to heal deeper rooted concerns, whether that is physical imbalance or injury, emotional trauma or a knot that just won’t seem to budge.

What remained intact through a treatment that continued to pleasantly surprise me was the encapsulating tranquil and comfortable atmosphere that was maintained the whole way through. Often times nowadays, medicine and remedial practices tend to take a sterile and unwelcoming persona, so much so that a lot of people are put off by say, going in for a doctor’s appointment, and I realized that this calibre of massage therapy was breaking that stigma, through the use of techniques and skills that stand before a backbone of in depth physiological science and first hand experience.

I briefly shared with my RMT my physical concerns, and she was receptive and very professional as she did a postural assessment. Meeting me back in the room, I was given an overview of what to expect, and that at any time to let her know if something was not working, or was. Due to my specific needs, my RMT started off with what they call ‘Myofascial Release’ techniques. This method uses no oil, as the therapist needs to be able to grip the skin, working not only with the muscles but the subtler layers of connective tissues, known as fascia, that can be the cause of tightness and discomfort. I immediately felt the difference in how my body was reacting to this practice, as it wasn’t just a specific muscle that was causing my distress but an entire cohesive area. Giving the utmost attention to the spots that I had highlighted and a balanced level of care to the rest of my body, I was impressed an intrigued by my RMT’s intuitive knowledge regarding pressure level, pinpointing muscles I didn’t even know were there, and fluid motion, even using an oil-free technique.

The session took a natural curve, beginning with lighter impressions and working up to a full on therapeutic treatment, before easing into a soothing finale to the upper back, neck, shoulders and head in what I would describe as ‘assertive yet reassuring wavelike movements’. I was left feeling light and fascinated by how accurate my RMT’s techniques had been.

Moral of the story, booking an appointment with an RMT may be just what you’ve been seeking to restore balance in the body, and can become an important ritual in a self care routine, that doesn’t feel like a chore in the slightest.

Many thanks to Tina at Soma Studio East for providing an excellent treatment from which to share the experience. To book an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist, give us a call or book online. 

Posted by admin at 11:52 am | comments | Massage, Massage Therapists Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Spinal Workshop w/ Laura Arpiainen

Laura Arpiainen is a very gifted yoga teacher and I highly recommend this workshop.
You will learn ways to help your spine be more flexible and agile like we were when we were young. That is one of the promises of Yoga: it restores the body to its original form.

Hope to see you there, I am not going to miss it.

Lori

Click here to register.

 

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Posted by admin at 10:45 am | comments | Uncategorized

Happy New Year Soma Clients!

 

My very good friend, Laura Fitzpatrick, RMT wrote this piece and I couldn’t have said it better.

All the best in the 2016!

-Lori Johnson, RMT

IMG_3143I always find it interesting how we create in our minds, such great expectations as the eve of a new year approaches. I am not a fan of new years resolutions. In fact, years ago, I set a resolution to never again make a new years resolution, and it’s been the only resolution that I have kept. I decided that I was done with setting myself up for failure, and with the negative connotation that I would surely be stuck with in the back of my mind, as yet another failed attempt to be a better me than I was in the previous year was coming to fruition.

So take a moment now and envision the past year. At the beginning of 2015 did you set a resolution? Perhaps you pledged to get yourself into better shape, lose weight or take better care of your overall health. How did that work out for you? What steps did you take to achieve your goals? How long did you work at them before they either faded into the oblivion of daily living or you actively decided to give up on them?

I think the problem with a new years resolution is that it rarely comes with a plan of action, often has a deadline, and in many cases is based on a feeling of inadequacy. So let’s make a change to not set a resolution, but rather to make a promise to yourself to design an achievable plan that results in your feeling better, feeling stronger, and will lead you to becoming the best person YOU are capable of being. This is about a journey, not a destination. It’s about developing a mindset, that regardless of age, injury, current fitness level or time constraints positive change is still possible.

There are several things to consider when making your plan. Start by asking yourself the questions that will help to determine your path. Take, for example: you have become less active over the last few years and your body is now beginning to feel the effects. Instead of just thinking “I am going to become more active this year”, ask yourself why you want to become more active. Is it because increased activity will improve your daily endurance? Will it improve your circulation and general strength? Will it promote a better mood as it increases your endorphins and therefore decreases aches and pains? When you find yourself answering ‘Yes’ to each of your questions, start to imagine what your body will feel like as you take steps towards these improvements. Envision yourself in the future, not by a specific date, but across time, how do you want to be? Be realistic, and then start to look at what small changes you can make to turn your vision into reality. What is your starting point? It may be walking up and down the stairs in your home or walking up and down the block. Start with small doses of activity and increase them slowly over time, as it feels right, remembering that a small amount of activity is far better than none at all. As you start the process, look at each step forward as a success!Each and every incremental step, is a step in the right direction.

Set yourself up for a lifetime of success. This is not about a short term fix. When you have moments of success, celebrate them in a healthy manner and let the momentum carry you. When the results come slowly or even plateau, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be human. Don’t give up! If you slip, accept the moment with honesty and envision once again how you will feel when you re-engage in your healthy process. Enlist the help that you need. You might include your doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, trainer, family and friends, or all of the above. You are never alone in your pursuit of better health.

This is not a resolution for 2016, but an act of self-love. It is a promise to yourself that you will live a life of vibrancy and vitality, with respect for yourself that not only continues throughout the year but throughout your entire life!
Fill every one of your days with positive thoughts, positive words, positive action and positive living.

I wish you a wonderful journey into 2016 ~ and beyond!

Posted by admin at 10:02 am | comments | Uncategorized

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

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Pamela Nadav has said, “There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” Preganancy is a remarkable journey that invites a woman to completely new terrain, and to explore facets of herself that she may have never uncovered lest she embarked up this journey. It’s a time of introspection and inner nurturing, a time when she learns the intuitive capacity she has for being a vessel of life, of caring, and of love. Yet so often, the adventure to motherhood is fraught with physical discomfort and emotional ups and downs! Because a woman goes through so many changes during this time, having a support network in place in the form of community, breathing classes, massage, and yoga, can give a soon­to­be mom exactly what she needs.

Preganancy is a time that prepares a woman to connect with her own intuition and
wisdom. Especially for a woman, parenting begins with conception, as the tools she
develops while carrying her child will be important ones she uses once the child is born
and growing. It’s a time that is meant to allow the woman to rely more fully on her
instincts, as these instincts are what give her the ability to move gracefully through the
birthing process, no matter what the outcome, and to parent in a way that is connected to
her deep inner knowing.

A woman’s body inevitably experiences a multitude of changes during pregnancy, which
can at times disconnect her from her own inner voice. As her uterus expands with the
weight of the growing baby, there is more stress on her back, neck, shoulders and
abdominal muscles. An aching lower back is a common sensation for many pregnant
women, while others may experience aching legs, sore hips, swelling and/or insomnia.

To reconnect inwardly, find ease in her body and mind, and reconnect with her spirit,
prenatal massage therapy is a wonderful way to lessen her discomfort. A massage during
pregnancy brings about a sense of well­being through relaxation, giving an expecting
mother a once again clear channel to her own intuition, as well as a feeling of being
settled and grounded.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

• Soothes tired and tense muscles

• Improves sleep

• Relieves muscle cramps, spasms and tension in the lower back, neck, hips and

legs

• Reduces the release of stress hormones

• Reduces heart rate and blood pressure

• Improves blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling (edema)

• Can improve labour outcome and ease pain

Soma’s therapists seek to support their pregnant clients by helping them to reconnect
with themselves, to feel good in their bodies, and to feel prepared for the adventure of a
liftetime. Our therapists are professionally trained prenatal massage therapists in
Vancouver who understand the needs of a pregnant body, which techniques to use, and
how to safely massage it to alleviate some of the discomfort. We recognize the
importance of positioning the body during a pregnancy massage not only for comfort, but
also for a woman and her baby’s well­being.

As well as pregnancy massage, our prenatal massage therapists are happy to share their
expertise in other aspects of prenatal care, from abdominal exercises to sleeping
positions to postural correction. And when the time is right and a woman is ready, Soma’s
therapists are also trained in postnatal massage.
“The most important thing a woman would learn over the years was that there was no
way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill). Let Soma
support you in your dynamic and exciting journey to motherhood, and feel the benefits
immediately!

 

By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

Posted by admin at 11:03 am | comments | General Health and Wellness., Massage, Massage Therapists, Pregnancy Massage, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , |

The Process of Letting Go by Lori

FullSizeRenderThe other day I had a timely and wonderful exchange with a stranger on the ferry. She and I started talking about one thing and another until we eventually fell into a meaningful conversation about empty nest syndrome. Her children are still at home with her but are beginning the separation process. It is not an easy time when your kids want friends more than family. I told her that my girls were already on their own and out in the world. She asked me how was it letting them go. My response was, “it was awful!” When it was time to let go, my head was saying that kids moving out of the nest is normal, and it’s a sign that they are well-adjusted and able to handle real life. But my heart was breaking! It honestly felt like someone I loved was splitting up with me. I experienced real grief, and I cried a lot. The emotions I felt were directly related to how well I had bonded with my girls, which is such a beautiful gift to me. But I had to deal with the loss as well. There are lots of books written about how to bond with children so they feel secure and loved, but there is precious little written about how to let them go when the time is right.

Throughout the process of letting go, I talked to other mothers, sharing my grief and tears. As women often do, I received an abundance of good advice, love, and support. A few of my big questions were, “what else can I do in the world that is as significant as raising children? How can I express myself now that they don’t need me as much? What else is going to be as rewarding?” I didn’t know the answers for a long time; I just had to sit with it, sit with myself, and begin to remember who I was before children. I had to ask myself, “what do I love? What do I like to do? What brings me joy?” As mothers, we often put everyone else first and forget to leave time for ourselves and our own development.

Asking these questions and sitting with the process within myself allowed life to unfold in a graceful way. It didn’t mean that I didn’t experience pain or even heartbreak, but it did mean that I was able to be fully present for the mourning process. In situations such as these, “the only way out is through,” and I trusted in my own capacity to find myself again, yet a version of myself I hadn’t experienced before. It reminds me of the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. The time spent in the cocoon is completely necessary for the metamorphosis to take place. When the butterfly emerges, she is whole in a way that she intuitively knew was possible, but had yet to experience.

I have come out on the other side and am reinventing myself slowly, learning to put myself first. The somewhat surprising thing is that my adult children are coming back to me, and we have a different relationship that is rich in ways I couldn’t have anticipated before. I am coming to life in a new way, one that is an authentic expression of who I am now, and not based on me solely identifying with the role of the mother.

Joseph Campbell says, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” I feel like this quote applies beautifully to this scenario. When I birthed my children and nurtured them through their early and adolescent lives, I had to let go of ideas of who I thought I was or should be in order to give them as much of myself as I could, in order to be the best mother I could. And when I let go of them so they could continue becoming the people they’re here to be, it took every ounce of myself to stay present in the midst of grief and sadness. Yet each step of the process invited me to a richness and fullness I couldn’t have experienced otherwise. It fills me with deep joy and gratitude to have had this amazing experience of giving birth, loving my children, giving them all I could, and then letting them go. This is not an easy task, but I have learned so much about myself through the entirety of the process and wouldn’t trade the times of struggle for anything. This is what life is about!

Another fruit of this beautiful process is the deep realization that I didn’t have children for anyone else; I had them for me. I wanted this whole experience so I could know myself. They don’t owe me anything. I chose to be their Mother, so the gift of their relationship adds to my life, but it isn’t my whole life. And now that they’re amazing beings in the world, living the lives of their making, I get to watch with a glimmer in my eye and a sweetness in my heart that are the gifts of being a mother. And now I am the butterfly, with its freedom, its fullness, and its deep content.

I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, amazing women I am so blessed to know! May each phase of your journey be blessed!

By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

Posted by admin at 11:08 am | 1 Comment | Uncategorized

Lessons from the Road by Cheyne, RMT

photo 3 (1)¡Buenas dias a todas los personas!

We’re almost back from our travels; we’ve seen so many places, met so many amazing people! Traveling is such a gift. Being able to work, supporting my partner Lila’s yoga workshops while on the road, has made it such an amazing journey.

We’ve been to the Interior, the Prairies, east coast United States, Hawaii, but mostly Central America, in the past seven months. We’ve taught workshops, yoga teacher trainings, took a two week permaculture course, lived with handfuls of Central American families, and traveled with some of our best friends to some truly amazing places.

From the deep wet jungle to the oppressively hot coastlines, what resonates most deeply for me after reflecting on the past seven months, and often what we all come back with after traveling, is memories of the people we’ve shared our lives with. It seems there’s a wisdom that comes with developing new routines. Playing soccer with the children in the dirt, howler monkeys in the trees, hand washing clothes, speaking a different language, listening to their stories… It seems we travel in search of something. Something beyond our lives back home; an inherent sense of humanity that crosses culture, language, ethnicity, even belief.

To be honest, the majority of people traveling for a few weeks from the west are there to drink. Some stay, and develop ways of bringing their Western luxuries and lifestyle to, quite frankly, these impoverished areas that are economically forced to serve them. Some people are searching for something better when they travel, more so when they move there, studiously avoiding whatever is left in their wake. Chasing happiness as a set of preferences that seems fundamentally unattainable. Others come with a beautiful sense of exploration, some with an inner churning, some come with a burning desire to help the world. Or maybe a mix of all of them. But that’s an essay for another time. Traveling deeper into Nicaragua, past the areas with these socioeconomic challenges, there’s a different vibe. Bustling sidewalks, kids playing in the dirt roads, hungry dogs looking for scraps, and the stare of unfamiliarity from the locals as they assume you’re not Catholic. Nicaragua. It’s in these places, and deeper into the jungle, that we came across new friends, some we eventually traveled with, and communities we visited that left permanent impressions on us. There are some amazing things happening everywhere, and many people to be inspired by. Sometimes you just have to look with the right focus.

After being on the road for what feels like a very long time, I’m sitting with some reflections before I head back to BC. Part of our intention on this journey was to gain knowledge and inspiration for some projects we have when we return home. For that part, we were overwhelmingly successful. Being able to share with yoga teachers the deeper physiology behind their craft and work has been super fun. But in the feeling of connection to people we’ve parted ways with, and others we can’t wait to see again, I’m left with something that’s quite hard to articulate. Being in developing parts of the world, working through times when we were seriously ill, broke, and seeking refuge at a Red Cross with dirt floors and questionable medication, comes with it some obvious perspective. I now care a lot less if there’s a coffee stain on my shirt or if the line is too long for my liking at the market. What comes to mind for me is that inherent sense of life and vitality in everyone, everywhere: the humble nature that pours out of the women in Nicaragua, despite the general lack of rights they’re subjected to. They’re not chasing a dream, they’re happy with what they have and the food and love they provide.

That proud vitality, and vibrant sense of life and happiness that we all know comes from something other than what’s material, is what makes me so excited to be home, to my family and friends. Doing the work I love to do, living in the city and country I love. We describe it as the mountains, fresh air, cherry blossoms… summer in Vancouver. But it’s the essence of what’s behind all of those things. It’s the virtuous life, and the communities we build that sustain us.

With grace and gratitude,

Cheyne Cameron, RMT

Cheyne will be returning to Soma at the beginning of April! Go online to book with him.

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Posted by admin at 9:12 am | 1 Comment | Massage, Massage Therapists, Meditation, Mindfulness, Soma News, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

Kaely is BACK!

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.46.47 AMHi Soma Clients!

We are so thrilled to welcome Kaely back to the Soma team! She will be starting with us at the beginning of March, Mondays at Soma East!

Book an appointment with Kaely through our online booking here.

Read Kaely’s bio here.

Welcome back Kaely!

 

Posted by admin at 10:48 am | comments | General Health and Wellness., Massage, Massage Therapists, Pregnancy Massage, Soma News, Uncategorized

EVENT: Normalizing Birth: Is the way we do birth bankrupting future generations?

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.16.33 PMThis looks like a great event! Details below if you would like to check it out.

“What has always fascinated me is the sense that the process of childbirth is far more than just getting a baby out. It is something that links us back through all our ancestors, and into the future, and we are all (mother, father, baby) irrevocably marked by it. It is also one of the few experiences left in society which, when undertaken physiologically, is ultimately unpredictable and uncontrollable and, as a consequence, deeply emotional. It takes all those who experience it authentically to the very edge of their capacity to cope, and it says to them, you can do this – and if you can do this, you can do anything. Getting it right is therefore profoundly important for the wellbeing of families, and for future generations. While I have always believed this intuitively, recent exciting evidence from epigenetics seems to suggest that there is biological evidence for the impact of labour and birth on way genes might be expressed for the child, and for their adulthood, and then their own children in the future. So, for all these reasons, the normal birth agenda is really important to me.” – Dr. Soo Downe

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

CFRI Chan Auditorium, BC Women’s Hospital

4500 Oak Street, Vancouver

 

6pm       Doors open and reception

7pm       Lecture

 

Please RSVP to Karen Gelb at karen.gelb@nullmidwifery.ubc.ca or 604-822-7998.

 

Hope to see you there!

 

 

Posted by admin at 12:19 pm | comments | Pregnancy Massage, Soma News, Uncategorized Tagged , , |