Sometimes, things not going according to plan, is all a part of the bigger plan. When Maria Allen was forced to bring her marathon running to an abrupt halt due to an injury, she knew that it was officially time to slow down. She began practicing yoga and massage therapy to aid in her healing and started to feel the ways in which releasing physical tension can help the body to let go of emotional tension.
A former actress, Allen’s newfound understanding of the importance of the mind-body connection inspired her to change course, secure her title as a licensed massage therapist and open REAL and Powerful, a practice dedicated to healing and well-being. The acronym REAL stands for: Relax, Embody, Allow and Let Go. Allen’s mission is to provide clients with hands-on bodywork and to actively guide them towards more comfortable and joyful ways of living. Allen encourages her clients “to see their imbalances as information, a guide map for what’s needed to get back into their strength and vitality. When the body and mind are ‘heard’ and treated with patience and acceptance, space can be made for natural healing to occur,” she says.
Allen offers services ranging from traditional deep and light full body massages to craniosacral treatments, assisted stretching, guided meditation/mindfulness sessions and slow inspired movement instruction.“ It’s quite spiritual for me to hold space for people and my intention is to be a conduit and to be able to listen. Not just what they say, but to listen to their body with my hands and to follow what the body is saying,” she explains. “The body has the power to heal itself, but sometimes it gets stuck. Deeply listening to the body is something that I learned from acting. If you don’t listen to your scene partner, you won’t know what’s next.”
Massages are individualized to treat chronic or acute pain, tightness and enhance range of motion. Craniosacral therapy, she says, is a gentle hands-on approach used to identify strain patterns and imbalances in the body and helps to alleviate physical, mental and emotional tension and pain.
Treatments can enhance the function of the central nervous system and allow the body to recalibrate. Craniosacral treatments can be helpful for anything from sore knees and hips, to gut issues, to PTSD and anything else that stems from a systemic imbalance. Assisted stretching includes both static and dynamic stretching along with resistance work. Meditation/mindfulness sessions can be done while sitting, lying down or even walking for those that prefer to be moving. Slow inspired movement sessions are performed on a mat and similarly to a yoga session, help clients use a combination of movements and their breath to release both physical and mental tension.
“Sometimes a client will get up and say something like, ‘I had no idea that this part of my calf was tight until you started massaging it’,” says Allen. “When people take the time for restorative work, they realize how much they need it and it’s often not even the reason they came in.”
Book a session with Maria Allen realandpowerful.com Sessions take place at her office within Wellness Insights at 745 Post Rd, Darien,