From Thai yoga massage to assisted meditation, mentoring sessions to guidance card readings – Jasmine Dawes is a human one-stop-shop for all your wellness needs
HLN caught up with Tynemouth’s physical and holistic therapist to find out just how she can change your life
What exactly is Thai Accupressure Massage?
Thai Yoga Massage Therapy is an ancient healing art that combines acupressure and assisted stretching. It involves a wide base of traditional Chinese medicine and knowledge, and uses hand and fingertip pressure to specific points on the body to relieve stress, anxiety and physical pain. Think acupuncture but without the needles!
To give you an idea of what the process looks like, the client is wearing loose, comfortable clothing and is laid on a traditional floor mat. The thumbs are then applied to specific points along the body’s meridian lines, and my body weight is gently applied, in a slow, deep and rhythmic motion, into the nerve point and back out again, throughout the entire body.
This technique gets deep into pain points, bringing instant relief while also being an extremely soothing experience, as the client naturally falls into a deeply meditative state. I get awesome feedback, from fixing back pain to soothing anxiety, and the acupressure releases endorphins so that – teamed with an open, honest space for people to be themselves in – it’s a recipe for all-round wellbeing.
You also offer guided meditations, which may surprise some people who think it’s all about ‘quiet time’. What would you say the benefits of guided meditation are?
Guided meditations are particularly beneficial for those who are new to the practice, as they can provide you with tips and tools to help you learn when you want to try it alone.
I often begin with breath-work techniques that physiologically help the nervous system to calm down – which makes it easier for someone to sink into meditation. Other times I will gently guide people up into their own headspace, or down into their heart-space, to teach them how to truly ‘check-in’. Learning tricks like these can help people find their own flow, and it helps them recognise what particular techniques work best so they can drop into a meditative state more easily.
Guided meditations are also deeply valuable for healing purposes when we want to go a little deeper with our intention. From inner child healing meditations, to learning where you self-sabotage, there are wonderful guided meditations out there that give you a framework to follow. In my self-coaching program – ‘The Life & Mind MOT’ – I have 10 carefully-written and recorded guided meditations that are specifically designed to be constructive. Using techniques to silence the mind, I then bring in repeated questions to help my members get deeper into their psyches. When you surrender to the stillness and allow your answers to arise, powerful things can come through. One of my program members actually said she was greeted with the answer that she had had a year’s worth of psychoanalysis therapy trying to find in just the fifth meditation on my program! It’s this kind of stuff that makes my work so meaningful and fuels me to keep creating.
What do your guidance card readings involve?
My guidance card sessions actually started after I brought them into my retreats. They were simply meant to be a casual addition, yet holding that space with people ended up becoming the most helpful and profound part of their week. So I thought, hey! I need to bring these into my regular services.
We begin with a little self-reflection exercise, so I get an understanding of where my clients are at. Then they pull out seven cards; three represent their current state, three represent a future state and the card in the middle represents the obstacle, lesson or reminder between the two. Each card displays a word, which connects with them uniquely depending on their current circumstances. After reading the little book of wisdom, I open up a space for them to explain just how this resonates for them or what that word brings up.
I help my clients navigate their way around the full framework and they leave with often deep feelings of relief and a greater sense of clarity. It’s all about creating a safe space for people to take a step back from their life and really assess it – and because the client has the answers themselves, it’s a very empowering process
You also offer mentoring sessions – can these be open to any focus?
My mentoring sessions are very flexible, they can be focused around any area of an individual’s life that feels like it’s causing them distress, or even parts of their life that they simply want to excel further in. I have skills in both Counselling and Business, so I welcome mentoring on either or both.
I’ve supported individuals through depression, helped them explore their anxiety, provided relief around loss. I’ve guided people through narcissistic relationships, travelled with them through trauma healing and inspired and motivated others to start businesses. I really welcome individuals wherever they’re at and simply believe in them until they start to too.
Pre-COVID, I was only holding these sessions in person, but since creating ‘The Life & Mind MOT’ program, I’m now online and coaching people from all over the world.
Who do you think would most benefit from your mentoring sessions?
Anyone who has felt scared to go to traditional therapy, or anyone who’s wanting an alternative avenue. And potentially those feeling called to a spiritual path but don’t know where to start!
I pride myself on having zero judgment and being down-to-earth and approachable, so anyone who’s a little anxious about reaching out for support should feel safe to get in touch with me. As I’ve been on a journey with therapy myself, I know how much fear can come with starting the process, which is why I keep my presence informal and use tools to framework the sessions. Support doesn’t need to be scary – my sessions are often full of laughter!
Helping you find calm in your chaos’ is your tagline on Instagram – how important do you think it is for people to take some time out of their busy schedules for themselves?
Absolutely imperative! One of my favourite quotes at the moment is: ‘When things change inside you, things change around you’. I’m feeling huge effects of this right now.
My first tip is to get in a meditation practice in the morning, so you can literally ‘tune your inner frequency’ for the day. How you enter the day sets the tone for the rest of it and you’re literally in control of what you attract. So by taking a moment in the morning to ask yourself: ‘How do I want to feel today?’, you raise your vibration, attract positivity and take back the power over your reality.
My second tip is to use pockets of time to find calm in, instead of thinking you need lengthy sessions of yoga or meditation. It could be reading soothing affirmations while the kettle boils in the morning, taking three cleansing deep breaths before you exit your car to enter the office, or doing a couple of mindful stretches in the adverts. The idea is that you make wellness work for you, rather than against you, so you simply start to build habits.
On Instagram recently you’ve been a big advocate of stretching ‘intuitively’ – can you explain a little more what you mean by this? And can you give us any tips?!
Intuitive stretching allows you to make the rules and takes the pressure off ‘doing it right’. All it takes is getting down on the floor and finding what feels best. No-one knows your body like you do – how you slept last night, which twists and turns feel good, or how far you should lean into a painful spot. So make the rules as you go and enjoy!
As far as my tips go, I’d say:
- Put your favourite music on so there’s a natural flow in the background and you’re already vibing high!
- Start with something simple (an easy neck roll works well, or even a cobra stretch).
- Take your time – lean and stretch deeply and slowly into every single movement so you start to suss out your pain points.
- Don’t over-do it. There are no rules, but you must try and connect to your body to respond to what it needs. Be gentle and mindful throughout your flow.
- Dance if you need to, (it happens quite naturally when I start to move!). We’re here for a good time, so if you feel the vibe, follow it!
How has your work been impacted by COVID?
I was actually due to move my practice into The Yoga Loft in Whitley Bay last March, but as COVID had us in lockdown and I was gifted the time to create ‘The Life & Mind MOT, I’ve moved most of my business online.
I began working on the framework throughout the summer and had a couple of guinea pigs test it out. After such huge feedback from the first few trials, I realised I had created something golden. Having seen the improvements to people’s inner and outer worlds when they had completed ‘The Life & Mind MOT’, I realised this way of working really resonates with my soul and I want to continue coaching online.
When the restrictions lift, I’ll see as many physical clients as I can, as I really do adore the work I do in these sessions (and human interaction keeps me sane!) but at the moment it keeps shifting, so I’m just rolling with the punches! And I’m yearning to run some retreats in 2021, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed!
Home cooking and nutrition is also a big part of your life. What’s your go-to recipe when you need a bit of a boost?
Cooking is my absolute favourite thing in the world! It’s how I express myself artistically and creatively and often acts as a meditation practice for me too. My favourite thing is cracking open a decent bottle of red wine, putting some good old ‘70’s disco on and bopping around the kitchen playing around with flavours.
For a feel good boost, I love making my special breakfast: apple, cinnamon and hemp oats. It’s the most warming thing on a cosy winter morning when you need to give yourself some extra TLC. I sprinkle slices of apple with cinnamon and coconut sugar and bake them till they’re crisp. Then make the oats with Karma Coast’s hemp protein powder for an extra health boost and top it off with loads of whipped coconut cream. It’s self-care to the extreme! (And SO moreish!)
You’re based in Tynemouth, which is a gorgeous stretch of the North East. But if you were heading out and about for a day of unwinding in the region, where would you venture to?
Probably straight up the coast to places like Amble, Almouth and Bamburgh. The coastlines are beautiful and Bamburgh castle is just extraordinary. I like to stay near the water!
What’s one New Year’s Resolution you’d encourage people to stick with?
Release the pressure but stay consistent. That’s literally all it takes.