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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Dealing with Holiday Stress? There’s Fusion Therapy for That!

by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer 


The holiday season is a cherished time of embracing traditions, creating memories, and gathering with friends and family members. But while these make for an enriching and meaningful ambiance, the pressures of decorating the home, hosting guests, cooking meals, purchasing gifts and managing social events can undermine that “holiday spirit.” In the midst of balancing these hectic demands, it’s essential to carve out the space to maintain your own wellness and funnel stress through a nurturing outlet.         

The effects of mental strain on the physiological structure can be arduous and extensive.  “When the body is stressed, the muscles tense up reflexively,” enumerates Gena Lewis-Schibler, LMT and senior partner of Fusion Therapy in Sarasota. “This feeling of tautness can trigger additional reactions within the body and even promote stress-related disorders. For example, both headaches and migraines are often associated with chronic muscle tension concentrated in the shoulders, neck and head. 

The heart and blood vessels comprise two elements of the cardiovascular system that work together in providing nourishment and oxygen to the organs. This activity is also coordinated within the body’s response to stress which can increase the heart-rate and emit stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. 

Stress also prompts the nervous system’s fight-or-flight response. This is automatic––no matter how efficiently the mind thinks you are coping with stress. The fight-or-flight instinct disrupts the body’s digestion of nutrients and ability to unwind. It also obstructs the ‘feel good’ hormones like dopamine and serotonin. This elevation of stress hormones and blood pressure causes an adverse impact on both the mind and body. 

Soothing an overtaxed system is more critical that ever around this time of year to avoid burnout or sickness as the holidays approach. Put yourself at the top of that agenda––‘things to take care of today: me!’ People often fill their schedules with others-focused activities, but you are more equipped to help others once you’ve taken care of yourself 

Remember what the flight crews on airplanes recommend––‘put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting the passengers around you.’ So be intentional about scheduling time for self-care and bodywork. You deserve to feel healthy and refreshed during the holiday rush. My favorite natural stress relievers are dry salt therapy, massage, bodywork and tons of water. I also find that spending time in nature calms my nervous system, Lewis-Schibler remarks 

While there are diverse, wide-ranging channels for stress management, it’s not enough to just focus on the noticeable symptoms. Lewis-Schibler expounds, Addressing muscular discomfort is important, but it’s often just a ‘reaction’ to deeper issues in the body caused by trauma which is the reason Fusion Therapy offers a fusion––hence our name––of advanced bodywork modalities.  

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle hands-on treatment that reduces tension both in and around the spinal cord which can be a hidden factor in many health challenges. Visceral Manipulation is a technique for the organs and their associated structures which helps to alleviate stress patterns and structural distortions in the body. 

Myofascial Release is another hands-on method that decreases tension within the body’s fascial system. Fascia resembles a spider web that extends from head-to-toe without interruption. Stress gradually tightens the fascia, causing the body to lose its normal range-of-motion which results in painful movement.  

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy facilitates the removal of toxins, while assisting the body in absorbing nutrients. It stimulates the immune system and aids the nervous system in decongesting the body’s fluid which increases energy, reduces pain and emits happy hormones. Neuromuscular Therapy is a specific form of massage designed to break up the fibrotic tissue and release trigger points to treat muscular injuries from sports, car accidents or whiplash. 

Energy Work activates the body’s bio-electric system to remove pressure and heavy energy blocks that limit your own natural healing capabilities. In addition, Dr. Bruno Chikly’s Brain Therapy is a non-invasive approach to releasing traumas within the brain, spinal cord and other related pathologies. 

“We also offer Dry Salt Therapy to both adults and children. This modality has been proven to help with numerous respiratory ailments such as asthma, chronic ear, nose or throat illnesses, bronchitis and sinusitis, emphysema, and allergy, cold or flu symptoms. Dry Salt Therapy also relieves anxiety, mental strain, insomnia and nervous instability. Breathing in micronized salt particles can help the body recover from physical exhaustion and fatigue. It also strengthens the immune system, while promoting relaxation, calmness and mental clarity––all within a span of just 45 minutes.” 

To make these benefits accessible to our local community during the season’s hustle and bustle,” Fusion Therapy is offering a brand new inventive just for the month of December. Normally we are closed on Mondays, but throughout this month, we’ll be open for special ‘Massage Mondays’ from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

Our menu services include therapeutic massage, relaxing massage, Thai massage and sacred Lomi massage. In addition, our massage, dry salt therapy and other bodywork modalities are still available during our regular hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This expanded schedule is intended to help our clients find more time to unwind and care for themselves,” Lewis-Schibler adds.   

As the seasonal festivities––and the obligations that come along with them––kick into high-gear this month, don’t overlook the necessity of prioritizing your own health. Stressful circumstances might threaten to derail this “most wonderful time of the year,” but an investment in well-being can sustain mindfulness, balance and tranquility––even if your list needs to be checked more than twice!     


Gena Lewis-Schibler is a skilled licensed massage therapist and esthetician. Her massage training spans across numerous modalities including pranic healing, aromatherapy, sound healing, Reiki, lymphatic drainage, Craniosacral therapy and physical fitness. She is also a co-owner and senior partner of Fusion Therapy, located at 7069 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 941-921-7900 or visit 


Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog features practical tips for embracing an active, nutritious and empowered lifestyle.  





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