Top Image Credit: Alannah Avelin
We’re excited to share a new series with you in which I get to chat with some of our awesome Essentia ambassadors and share their knowledge with you!
This month we’re happy to introduce you to Catherine Garceau: Olympic Medalist, Performance Catalyst for Champions in Sports and Life, and Author of Swimming Out of Water.
We hope you enjoy learning more about Catherine Garceau & her work:
Stef: Hey Catherine, we’re excited to feature you this month and get the chance to introduce your work to our community! It’s been great to learn more about your story, your work, and how you connected with our trusted leader Jack. Also great to have you on the Essentia ambassador team!
Catherine: Happy to be sharing my journey and Essentia with everyone, it’s definitely been an interesting road to get here. My Essentia journey came with a few synchronicities, which I always love. When I moved to Chicago early 2016 I wanted to get the best mattress possible because I know how important sleep and recovery are, especially when you’re an athlete, a high performer, or have any sort of illness you want complete resolution from. What I didn’t know until I read more about Essentia’s history and founder, is that Jack and I, both from Montreal, had lost our fathers to Cancer at the same time, both in April of 2013.
When Jack and I finally met in person, I saw how deep Jack’s inspiration to create the healthiest non-toxic mattresses went… and so did our instant friendship!
His father’s illness being part of the drive and success of Essentia mirrored the confirmation I got from my dad’s passing – that my work with emotions, and health-restoring performance tools, was needed. My father had been so out of touch with his body that his lung cancer had spread to his bones and was severing his spine by the time he felt the pain as ‘bad enough’ to investigate…
Stef: Wow. I didn’t realize this about you and Jack’s fathers. The instant connection makes a lot of sense now knowing your story, and that your father was also a major driving force for your work. Can you tell us more about how you started?
Catherine: When I started coaching, I focused on women with emotional eating. I already knew I wanted to help others overcome struggles I had encountered post-Olympics, but I discovered much more along the way.
“How can overcoming depression and eating disorders be harder than winning an Olympic medal?”
This question led me to investigate the ‘shadow’ of achievement in many ways, and discover that ‘drive and willpower’ are nothing compared to the complex web that creates true health, happiness and well-being, let alone sustainable high performance.
Stef: So true! So what is the work you do now?
Catherine: The Catalyst Performance System is the result of over 15 years of trial and error on myself, and of careful attention to the best tools in personal transformation and performance. Mostly, I saw the opportunity to combine physical fascia, muscle, and meridian work, with emotional, epigenetic clearing. It’s complete and powerful for those who commit and open up to the whole process. I’ve seen it create major shifts for a range of high performers, from CEOs like Jack to college athletes, Olympians, and pro athletes. New life and lightness are always felt as a result.
Stef: Wow, that sounds very all-encompassing. Jack is back training to compete in the South Beach Triathlon for the second time, what will you be doing with Jack to help him achieve this goal over the next months?
Catherine: My primary goal for Jack is honor of self. We often think ‘balance’ is key, but that’s often a delusional objective of ‘perfect balance’. Rather, I believe that high performers like Jack are always living on some edge and honoring self, in this case, does bring greater balance between work, health/fitness, and family but it’s done so by becoming more aware of and honoring all of his true values. In the space of two sessions, we’ve already identified some limiting patterns, their drivers, and what strategies may enable him not to feel ‘guilty’ to take time for himself, or on the flip side, not give up on himself for the sake of the company.
And… as someone who knows first hand the power of chocolate indulgences, I wasn’t surprised to find out that I was working with a fellow Nutella lover 😉
For most clients, my work weaves itself into a comprehensive experience (offered in the form of 3-day intensives in Chicago or in the client’s city), during which I use these 4 pillars.
A form of Thai massage (or as my little niece calls it “I walk on human beings”). 3 days in a row of this work (or even 2 sessions – a week part like Jack just experienced) creates a huge shift in the fascia and health of the tissue. It’s also a great time to connect with my client. The tissue so often mirrors some of the individual’s emotions (worries, frustrations, etc). The hamstrings also happen to be the Bladder channel in the Chinese Meridian theory, so it calms the emotional system down, and the client tends to feel more free and open to discuss whatever might be going on for them.
Reflexive Performance Reset (RPR)
When I was first ‘activated’ which is another term used for this body of work, I felt such a deep change in my ability to breathe into my diaphragm, that I instantly knew I wanted to be trained in this. Luckily, the originator of the method was in my city the following month, so I quickly learned and started using it with my clients. The 2 biggest benefits of the resets (performed as a form of acupressure) are the body’s ability to lead from a deep diaphragmatic breath (which induces a parasympathetic response), and the re-sequencing of ‘what’ drives movement in the body, thus getting the body out of compensation patterns, with the glutes and psoas doing their job.
Here’s just a quick overview of what athletic performance and threshold look like before and then 6 days later, having used the resets. It’s dramatic for athletes, and it’s just as amazing to feel what a deeper breath pattern and performance state can do in the rest of your life.
The 3rd part of my work is a form a stretching that transcends what the normal person thinks of when we hear “stretching”. It’s based on several principals using dynamic contraction techniques to stretch both the muscle and the fascia lines. Knowing the meridian system at play is a bonus that allows us to prioritize states and changes desired by each client. In addition to improving strength and range of motion, many important body/mind connections are felt and activated, which feeds the transformational process even more. I found this line of work for my own body, and I was lucky to be trained by and continue to learn from the best innovators in the field.
Tapping – EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques
This part is not what I lead with, especially for my athletes, but it paradoxically becomes one of their favorites (once they get over their skepticism or their need for instant results). Tapping has been subject to many scientific studies including for sports performance and is now being used in hospitals, by psychologists, coaches, and therapists. It’s simple and profound in creating lasting behavioral changes.
During our second session, Jack told me he hadn’t touched Nutella since we ‘tapped’. “It felt silly to even think about it”, he told me, Loved getting this text last week:
For more information about Tapping, how it works and how you can try it right now, click here.
Stef: That is quite a program, Catherine it is clear your passion, and unique work is awesome. You clients must love the process, I can tell Jack is in good hands as he trains for his next triathlon!
Catherine: Thanks! I love how much Essentia’s mattresses provide parasympathetic support, and the constant innovation coming out of Essentia. I know there is a lot of science unfolding as you guys work with pro teams and Jack is also working on a solution to minimize the negative effects of cell phones which is awesome.
Body out of stress = out of fight or flight = better performance = faster healing & recovery. Essentia mattresses and my work follow the same train of benefits. I love what Jack has created. I love the quality of sleep I experience nightly, and I love being a champion for Jack taking care of Jack, as much as he does his company and his family.