Meet: Tim Harwood, Massage and Reiki

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Tim Harwood is complementary health therapist who provides treatments that work on the body and mind. He has been with Clerkenwell Islington Clinics for 2 years and also works from Hitchin and Stanmore.

How did you come to Massage and Reiki?

I came to Reiki before I came to massage as I lived with a Reiki Master (J E Honey, who also created Emotional Realignment Therapy and The Honey Healing Method) whilst he was learning and he used to practice on me.  I particularly remember him working on my ankle after I sprained it really badly paintballing and it really helped to ease the pain.  Eventually I asked him to teach me to do it and attuned me, my partner and house mate to Reiki level 1.  I then didn’t use it a much (not much call for it working in telecoms) until 3 years later when I was persuaded by Karen Janes (my housemate) to develop my skills and complete my Reiki Level 2, the level I stayed at until I decided to become a full time complementary health therapist
I came to massage via a round about route having always enjoyed giving people shoulder rubs, and learning first hand how good massage can be for bad backs caused by sitting over a computer all day.  My very good boss suggested that I should learn something outside of work and I enrolled into an evening class doing an introduction to swedish massage and I loved it.  Everyone said I was really good at it, but that was going to be it to start with, until I was made redundant.  I then decided that the world was giving me the opportunity to do something that i really loved: massage and reiki.  So i enrolled at the London School of Sports Massage and completed their diploma and the rest is history. I am now still realising how massive the subject is and think I will continue learning more about massage/bodywork/ energy work for many, many years to come.

Who or what inspires you in your profession?

I am inspired by my reiki teacher, Karen Janes, as she was the first person I knew who gave up a traditional job to do something that she really loved.  She is still doing it and has developed so much.  But saying that I am inspired by a lot of practitioners I meet through work, at seminars and on courses who have been doing it for ages or are still very new at it and have the enthusiasm of their subject, and i respond really well to that.

What is your favourite bone/muscle?

I love the sphenoid bone, which is a butterfly shaped bone that sits a the base of the brain cavity.  I just love the name and shape of it, though I really started to appreciate it during my Myofascial Release course and the impact it can have on so much even though it is so delicate.
My favourite muscle is a tricky one as they are all rather marvellous, I do love the trapezius muscle (the kite shaped one that forms the shoulders) as it does so much, but causes so much problem with the way that we sit and do things and so it gives me lots to work on. But then theer is the pectoralis minor that works opposite to the traps and can be a major contributor to pain… I just like all muscles.

What is it that you love about what you do?

I love the fact that everybody I work with (and the client is always part of the process) is different.  They may be another case of “my neck hurts! can you massage my shoulders?” but the actual cause of that can be so different from one person to another.  There are similarities between people but as their body records the way they’ve used (and abused) their body over the years and this impacts what is going on to cause the issue they’ve come to see me about.  Everybody is a challenge that I love working on, a jigsaw that i have to unpick.  It means that it is always interesting.

What area of massage are you most interested in?

This changes so much, at the moment I am fascinated by the fascia that surrounds the muscles, bones and organs of the body.  I love the way that it appears to hold memories of previous traumatic events and working with it can help it release the issues.  This feels very similar to the releases that Reiki and Emotional Realignment Therapy/Honey Healing Method produces on the energy body that it feels like it is a meeting between the two area of my work.  There is a lot of research going on into at the moment so from the continuing learning side it is also really interesting.

How long have you been practicing?

I did my Reiki level 1 seven years ago, but that is more about working on yourself, my Reiki 2 was three years later.  Whilst I got my massage certificate 2 years ago after a years training.  This year I’ve managed to do my Reiki Master/Teacher and also become an Integrated MyoFascial Therapist.  So I’m still learning.

What do you think is the most important thing about your treatment?

I do my best to work with the person that is on the table and provide them with the best treatment that they want and need at that time.  Whether it be a more relaxing massage with some reiki as well because they’re stressed to a more vigorous massage because they have areas that they want to work on specifically.

Tell us something that people don’t know about massage?

It doesn’t have to hurt to be doing you good.  Though I do try to tell most of my clients about this, but they have an expectation that it will be incredibly painful.  However, there are times when it can be intense if we are working on something stuck, but it should feel like it is doing good and they’re able to relax into it.

Where did you study?

I studied massage at the London School of Sports Massage with Mel Cash after doing an introduction through the Waltham Forest Adult Learning evening classes.  Whilst I learnt the Myofascial Release work through Myofascial Release UK.
My Reiki I learnt from Karen Janes, who’s based in Salisbury and J E Honey who trained me in the Emotional Realignment Therapy and Honey Healing Method that he developed.

Where do you see your practice in 5 years’ time?

Still doing what I love at Islington & Clerkenwell Chiropractic & Complementary Health Clinics, as they have so much potential for things to grow and develop here for me as well as for the clinic. I hope to have gotten to a point where I have fully integrated the various skills I have into my treatments, I also want to be helping others to become less stressed through teaching Meditation and teaching Reiki to lots of students who then come to a regular Reiki Share.  Other than that I hope to still be enjoying what I do.

What has been you most interesting case? 

There have been a number, but ones that the client is amazed at how things have changed, in ways greater than they imagined.  I worked with a mature lady who had fallen and hurt the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder so badly she could hardly move the arm.  I did a number of sessions with her and each time we made significant progress, and now her range of movement is back to what it was, she’s back to doing the Pilates that she adores.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I love to be out in the garden growing fruit/veg/flowers and then cooking.  I also love doing yoga.  Reading is great for a dark evening or a rainy day.  Whilst I love visiting museums (especially the British Museum)  and art galleries to get my creative side boosted.
But then I don’t seem to have much spare time at the moment.

Find out more about Tim on his website