Class Review: Cannabliss

16th February

All that sitting at your desk leaving you with tight muscles and aches and pains? We sent our blogger down to Cannabliss, the newest addition to the Holistic Retreat category, to see what the joint approach of a recovery based class and CBD patches could do for her...

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When I decided to try Cannabliss, I thought it was a yoga class, so it was with some alarm that I entered the room to find everyone accompanied by foam rollers and lacrosse balls. It was my first hint that the “bliss” in the title might be of a different sort than the one I anticipated.

Cannabliss is a physical therapy class in the same vein as Rehab or S&M from days gone by. It aims to help your muscles and joints recover from days sitting at a desk or hours in the gym by targeting tight spots and getting everything moving again how it’s supposed to.

All this is done with the aid of a CBD patch – a patch infused with cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a compound found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, which contains healing properties without being psychoactive. You won’t be getting high from a CBD patch, and as instructor Firas says, if you find yourself craving snacks, that probably just means you’re hungry. I’ve been intrigued by the potential benefits of CBD oil for a while now, so this was a great opportunity to try it for myself.

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The aim of the CBD patch in this class is to reduce inflammation, thereby speeding recovery. We’re all given one at the start of the class to place on our arms or legs (I love that even a group of grown adults turns a bit giggly at the idea of sanctioned cannabis, even if it is the legal type), and advised to keep it on for up to 24 hours to reap as many benefits as we can.

Patches on, we then turn to the serious business of breaking down the knots and stuck muscles we’re all carrying around.

We start out with the inner thigh and groin area, stretching out to warm the muscles up before moving on to some lengthy foam roller sessions. My tight inner thighs affect both my running and yoga practices but I tend to put off proper rehab work, so dedicating some time to addressing that is very welcome.

The portion of the class focussing on the glutes turns out to be surprisingly sore – people’s faces were a treat! It’s at this point that Firas encourages us to try to keep our faces neutral, to assure our bodies and brains that it’s ok to relax into what’s happening and get the most benefit. Easier said than done!

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In a seated position, we’re instructed to put the right foot over the left knee, as though going in for an outer thigh stretch, and then to put the lacrosse ball under the right butt cheek. We then set about “painting” said butt cheek with the ball. I am genuinely astonished at how tight my glute muscles are – “tight” isn’t generally a word I associate with that area. I’ll be carrying on this particular exercise at home though, I’m certain it will improve my performance in other sports. We finish off by specifically addressing the most painful areas – that is, the tightest areas that could use the most attention - using the breath to guide us through some very targeted myofascial release.

My biggest revelation is an exercise to free up the shoulder blades. I struggle with that area following a car accident years ago, and it gets tight and sore very easily. Firas has us lie on our backs with the lacrosse ball on the edge of one shoulder blade, before moving the arm on the same side towards the ceiling, across the body and back again. After a minute or two, we all place both hands on our shoulders and move the arms to see the difference – the side I’d worked on was whizzing around like it was trying to take flight while the other side was still stiff and uncomfortable.

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While bits of this class were painful, it was the good pain of a great sports massage and I loved it. Everything felt more free afterwards, and I can see that attending regularly would reap huge benefits. I can’t say that I noticed during the class whether the CBD patch was having an effect – but the research is looking good, and anything that keeps my body moving and able to do what I want and need it to do is fine by me!

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