Recently, I took a trip to Canyon Ranch Spa in Miami to relax and recharge, and I met an amazing woman. Her name is Michelle Maniaci, and she’s a licensed physical therapist, energy medicine practitioner, and belly-dance-for-healing instructor. She works at the ranch, helping people to incorporate the amazing healing power of deep breathing into their daily lives. My time at the ranch was relaxing overall, but it was my sessions with Michelle that pulled together my whole experience. She was able to be completely in tune with me, and I fell in love with her nurturing heart. Using a variety of different tools in my sessions, she left me feeling revived, alive, and balanced, so much so that I wish I could have brought her back with me to New York!
Of course, she remained in Miami, but I returned with some new habits that have now become an important part of my life. According to her, thoughts and emotions may increase our stress response and work against our healing if they don’t come from a loving and grateful place.
“The strength of our immune system determines how effective our innate healing mechanisms function,” she says. “ Our diet, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions-even the quality of our relationships, our living environment, posture, breathing pattern, and connection to a higher source-all influence our self-healing abilities.”
Michelle says that emotional healing benefits physical healing of any injury, whether it’s a scrape on your ankle or breast cancer. “I worked with a woman who was going through chemotherapy for a lump that had been discovered in her right breast,” she says. “I was teaching her how to breathe, fully engaging her diaphragm muscle, the primary muscle of inspiration. While she was learning this, she said she felt her cancer was somehow related to her resentment towards her mother. Her ability to expand her rib cage increased while she visualized holding her mother’s hands and telling her she forgave her for not loving her enough in the ways that she had so longed for as a little girl.”
Michelle instructed the woman to trust that her mother was exactly the way she needed to be to help the woman become the person she was as an adult. “With tears in her eyes, she continued to let go of the sadness in her heart and replaced it with love and compassion. Her chest muscles softened more and more after every breath, and by the end of our session, she looked and felt more alive and warm than ever before.”
While I was at the ranch, Michelle encouraged me to take time to breathe fully and completely, which engages the body’s healing powers. It relieves stress, improves circulation, assists proper digestion, helps eliminate toxins, releases anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and helps release feel-good hormones. In addition, it helps me attain a state of unity and wholeness within myself and the universe.
“All we need to do is open ourselves to allow the healing process to occur,” Michelle says, “as it is always happening to us within. Something as basic as just being mindful and fully present in every moment and learning how to fully and freely engage the respiratory diaphragm muscle are two powerful steps in a more healing direction.”
Since my time with Michelle, just from my breathing alone, I’ve noticed shifts in how I feel. I thank Michelle from the bottom of my heart for teaching me to trust myself, my breath, and my journey!
For more information on how to maximize your breathing abilities for healing and processing of emotions, contact Michelle at www.nurturingmoves.com.