In this interview, we delve into the insightful world of Heather Creson, a seasoned health and wellness professional with 16 years of experience. Heather sheds light on her unique approach to health and well-being, emphasizing the importance of addressing root causes rather than merely chasing symptoms. She explains the profound impact of posture, diaphragmatic movement, and head position on overall health, revealing how these seemingly simple factors can influence the vagus nerve, inflammation, and lymphatic circulation. Heather also shares her perspective on the role of breath in maintaining cellular balance and offers practical insights into self-lymphatic drainage techniques. Her holistic approach empowers individuals to take charge of their own health, debunking common misconceptions and fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of well-being.
[Q] How do you assist clients in achieving better health?
I help clients by addressing the root causes of their health issues rather than merely alleviating symptoms or following a rigid script. As a massage and bodywork professional with 16 years of experience, I’ve observed a common problem in my industry – a tendency to focus on immediate pain or tightness without delving into the underlying reasons for these symptoms.
For instance, many people wake up with a stiff neck after long hours at a desk. They may resort to anti-inflammatories or massage. While this provides short-term relief, the pain often returns shortly after. Others may use foam rollers or lacrosse balls to alleviate recurring knots and tension.
The issue lies in treating symptoms without addressing the root cause. This limited approach fails to consider the bigger picture, resulting in recurring problems. This pattern isn’t exclusive to my field but affects various areas of therapy and medicine. Whether you’re dealing with frequent illnesses, chronic stress, digestive problems, pain, or weight concerns, there’s typically an underlying reason for these recurring health issues. Relying solely on localized treatments, pills, diets, or supplements won’t resolve the core problems.
To better assist clients, I had to shift my perspective. Instead of solely focusing on where they experienced discomfort, I began exploring why they were experiencing it. This transformation not only changed my approach to massage and bodywork but also influenced how I address root causes of a variety of health issues. Rather than fixating on isolated issues like muscle pain, joint problems, digestive troubles, or headaches, I started considering how the body’s systems work together to facilitate healing. This shift allowed me to help clients in more profound and comprehensive ways.
[Q] How do you initiate the process of identifying the root cause of symptoms?
To start, it’s important to shift the focus away from symptoms and diagnoses and look at the cellular level. I’m not a physician, so I don’t diagnose or treat conditions. Instead, I delve into what’s happening holistically at the cellular level.
For the body to heal and function optimally, it requires the ability to generate healthy new cells. To create an environment conducive to this, three key factors are essential. First, cells need to effectively eliminate waste and toxins. Second, they must adapt to stress. Finally, they require a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients. This might sound simple, but in our toxin-laden world, cells often struggle with excess toxicity, making it difficult for them to absorb the necessary nutrients.
The inability to efficiently remove waste and toxins, coupled with chronic stress, dehydration, poor nutrition, and insufficient oxygen and nutrients, creates a breeding ground for sickness and disease. That’s why it’s essential to approach healing from a holistic perspective rather than merely addressing surface-level symptoms. Different symptoms may have distinct names and diagnoses, but at their core, they often stem from unhealthy cells lacking the essential elements needed for healing and vitality. Even if you eat well, stay hydrated, and take supplements, it doesn’t guarantee those nutrients reach your cells if they’re surrounded by inflammation and toxicity. If cells can’t absorb nutrients, those nutrients pass through the body unused, essentially resulting in costly urine.
The health of your cells depends on their environment. To recover, you must change the conditions both within and around your cells. Achieving this involves two crucial steps. First, you need to reduce the body’s toxic burden, eliminating existing waste and toxins while minimizing further exposure. Second, you must provide oxygen, hydration, and nutrients. Importantly, this sequence matters. Clearing toxins and waste from cells is the initial step, reducing cellular and physiological stress, and creating an environment where cells can receive the nutrients necessary for healing.
To embark on this cellular healing journey, there are three critical phases to prioritize before introducing additional measures like extreme diet changes, exercise, or stress management techniques. These phases form the foundation of the healing process. The first phase centers on clearing your drainage and detoxification pathways. The second focuses on stress regulation, and the third emphasizes optimizing oxygen and nutrient delivery. These phases are fundamental to establishing a solid foundation for cellular healing and enhancing your body’s resilience.
The first step, which I particularly emphasize, is clearing the drainage and detoxification pathways. When people hear “detox,” they often think of ineffective products or trendy green drinks. I’m referring to the remarkable detoxification systems already present in your body. But before your liver or cells can detox, you must ensure your drainage pathways are clear, starting with your colon. A blocked colon can lead to backups throughout your system, resulting in toxic accumulation that negatively affects organs, glands, tissues, and cells, contributing to persistent symptoms.
If regular bowel movements are a challenge, effective detoxification becomes hindered, leading to toxin buildup and health problems. True detox and healing don’t begin with expensive supplements or trendy cleanses; they start with the body’s ability to eliminate waste, beginning with the colon. Other critical drainage pathways include the liver, skin, and the lymphatic system, which is closely connected to the glymphatic system, responsible for removing waste from the brain and spinal cord. All these systems work together in a specific order to clear waste and toxins down to the cellular level. My expertise in the lymphatic system, developed over 16 years in massage therapy, allows me to address this aspect in a unique way compared to other healthcare professionals who may not have the same hands-on perspective. While they often recommend exercises, rebounding, and dry brushing, they may overlook some highly effective areas of the body.
[Q] Why is the lymphatic system so crucial for overall well-being?
Visualize your lymphatic system as a vibrant aquarium teeming with a diverse array of plants and colorful fish. The water in this aquarium remains crystal clear, continuously infused with life-sustaining oxygen. Within this pristine environment, life thrives, and the fish are exceptionally healthy. The conditions within this tank are meticulously upheld by an underlying filtration system—a network of pipes, filters, and pumps. While perhaps not the most glamorous aspect of your fish tank, this filtration system is absolutely essential for maintaining the health of the aquarium and its inhabitants. It diligently filters out waste, debris, and toxic accumulations, ensuring that the aquarium remains a vibrant and nurturing habitat for the fish.
Now, envision what transpires if the pumps in this filtration system stops functioning, and the filters become clogged. The water stagnates, turning cloudy, and unsightly green algae begins to envelop everything. Consequently, your fish start falling ill due to oxygen and nutrient deprivation. Even if you were to empty the tank, scrub it clean, and reintroduce the fish, without addressing the filtration system’s issues, the aquarium would inevitably revert to its unhealthy and diseased state.
Within each of us exists a comparable filtration system—the lymphatic system. It operates continuously beneath the surface, nourishing every single cell in your body. Closely intertwined with the immune system, it serves as a protective barrier against illness and disease. Furthermore, it purges waste and toxic buildup from within and around the cells, establishing a healthful and thriving environment for them to flourish. This profoundly impacts every facet of your well-being. Among its primary functions, the lymphatic system operates as an internal waste remover, ensuring the elimination of toxic accumulations from within and around your cells.
Consider the satisfaction of deeply cleaning your home. After eradicating grime, dusting, tidying up rooms, and emptying trash cans, a renewed vitality permeates the space, producing a pleasant and nurturing environment. Conversely, contemplate attempting to clean your home while neglecting to remove the trash. Regardless of how immaculate everything else appears, the garbage would swiftly pile up, emitting a putrid odor that pervades everything. You might light scented candles and use air fresheners to mask the stench, but your home would never truly be clean until the trash is disposed of.
In the context of healing and bolstering resilience, numerous components exist. One of the initial steps involves effectively clearing your lymphatic system to eliminate waste and toxins. This underscores the importance of the colon because it provides an avenue for waste and toxin removal from the body. Additionally, a healthy liver plays a pivotal role since it contributes significantly to detoxification as well as lymph production.
Modern medicine often falls short by examining individual systems in isolation and prescribing remedies for specific symptoms without considering the broader interconnectedness. Genuine well-being is achieved when all systems operate harmoniously together, and isolated approaches frequently fall short of delivering the desired outcomes.
[Q] How do you assist people in maintaining their health?
I appreciate this question because it aligns with my philosophy in massage and bodywork. While clients often rely on me for their well-being, I aim to equip them with the tools to take control of their own health. Life can be unpredictable, and circumstances change, so I want to empower individuals to maintain their health independently.
One of the first areas I address is posture. It might sound like advice from your grandmother, but posture significantly impacts overall health. I encourage people to focus on sitting up straight, which allows the diaphragm to descend correctly during inhalation. This proper diaphragmatic movement helps regulate the function of the vagus nerve, the master nerve responsible for managing stress and the body’s inflammatory response. By improving diaphragmatic movement, we reduce inflammation and enhance vagus nerve function, ultimately managing the body’s stress response. Additionally, the diaphragm serves as a pump for the lymphatic system, which lacks its own pump. By emphasizing posture and diaphragmatic movement, we promote the movement of lymph.
Another crucial aspect is head position. The lymphatic system drains into the subclavian veins located behind the collarbones. If we maintain a forward head posture, perhaps due to habits like sleeping with elevated pillows or excessive phone and computer use, it can impede lymphatic flow. Realigning the head over the body and maintaining a centered position over the spine alleviates stress on neck and shoulder muscles while improving lymphatic flow. This alignment can also positively affect the vagus nerve, which exits the skull around the angle of the jaw. The vagus nerve connects to vital organs such as the lungs, heart, liver, and the entire digestive tract. Addressing posture can impact vagus nerve function, influencing various aspects of our health.
I emphasize the importance of taking deep breaths in through the nose and elongating the exhale. An imbalance between carbon dioxide and oxygen levels can disrupt cellular function. Rapid breathing leads to excessive oxygen in the bloodstream and inadequate carbon dioxide, which is crucial for dilating capillaries and ensuring oxygen delivery to cells. Slowing down the breath helps maintain this balance, ensuring cells receive the oxygen they require instead of being in a state of chronic hyperventilation.
I also teach individuals self-lymphatic drainage techniques. While visiting a lymphatic therapist can be beneficial, our lymphatic system operates continuously, requiring more frequent attention. I provide quick routines that take less than five minutes a day to facilitate efficient lymph movement.
Exercise and a tailored diet that aligns with an individual’s physiological needs are fundamental components of health maintenance. However, I don’t prescribe a specific diet since it varies from person to person. Instead, I collaborate with individuals to identify dietary choices that work best for them, considering their unique requirements.
Additionally, I incorporate thoracic foam rolling into my techniques to open up the thoracic spine, benefiting the neck, shoulders, and lower back. This practice enhances myofascial release, ensuring that the fascia surrounding nerves and lymphatic vessels remains in optimal condition. Taking care of the fascia promotes lymphatic flow and supports nervous system function.
My approach is centered on empowering individuals with knowledge and practical techniques to maintain their health. I emphasize posture, breathing, self-lymphatic drainage, exercise, and personalized dietary choices to address individual needs and promote overall well-being. Instead of merely addressing symptoms, I aim to enhance the body’s functionality, targeting the root causes of health issues and empowering people to manage their well-being independently.
[Q] Do you come across any myths or misconceptions from people seeking your assistance in terms of your methods and their expectations?
Absolutely, one of the most common misconceptions I encounter is the belief that I possess some kind of magical healing power and that I can single-handedly heal them. However, this is far from the truth. My role is to empower individuals to heal themselves and equip them with the necessary tools. During sessions with me, whether it’s a massage or any other form of therapy, I can only offer guidance and instructions. The responsibility lies with the individuals to implement these practices into their daily lives.
I assign them homework and provide recommendations, expecting them to take action. It becomes apparent whether they are committed to the process and they witness results based on their efforts. Shifting these expectations and helping people realize their active role in their healing journey is a crucial perspective change that I aim to instill in my clients regarding my work.
[Q] How can individuals access more information about your work and services?
For those interested in learning more about my work and the services I offer, you can visit my website at www.defyyourlimits.com. On the homepage, you’ll find the initial step, which involves taking the “Root Cause Assessments.” These assessments help individuals identify potential underlying root causes of their health conditions. They cover a broad spectrum of symptoms and lifestyle factors that could contribute to health issues. Going through these assessments can provide valuable insights that individuals might not have considered before. It serves as an excellent starting point for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of their health.
Furthermore, on the website’s resources page, you’ll discover “Detox Debunked,” a three-day podcast series that dispels common detox myths. This podcast introduces individuals to the concept of clearing their body’s drainage pathways and adopting a holistic approach to their health, rather than focusing solely on isolated symptoms. It’s a valuable resource for those interested in comprehending how various aspects of their health are interconnected.
To access more information and explore these resources, please visit my website at www.defyyourlimits.com.