Keeping well in Summer

TCM Seasonal Series

TCM summer blog post

Change can create challenges in our lives and a big one that we are all experiencing right now is that of the of seasons – from spring in to summer. 

I wrote a blog post earlier this year on supporting yourself through Autumn from a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective and a lot of people found it useful, so here is the Summer Edition!

Five Element Theory

Firstly, a simplified and brief explanation of the TCM therory that this guide is based on; the theory of the Five Elements. Qi (energy) is split in to five elements which are metal, earth, fire, water and wood. The theory being that we need harmony between each element for health. If one element is deficient or excessive, then we will experience illness or dis-ease. 

Summer from a TCM Perspective

Each element has characteristics from the natural world assigned to it which provide guidance on how to balance this aspect of our health. Summer is the season associated with the element of Fire. The emotion of joy when in balance. When in excess, the emotion is restlessness and when deficient, apathy.

Summer is a very Yang time of the year, which is associated with movement, activity and action. The organs linked to the Fire element are the Heart & Small intestine. 

It is associated with the colour red as well as growth, social activities and celebrations. 

Symptoms of Fire Imbalance 

  • Perspiration (too much or too little)
  • Rashes/Hives
  • Insomnia (and disturbed sleep)
  • Palpitations
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Anger

Practices to Support Balance

As the taste associated with Fire is bitterness, you could incorporate foods with this quality in to your diet eg endive & swiss chard. Bitter vegetables support digestion and remember that the Small Intestine is the organ associated with the Fire element. Try to eat foods that are in season and locally produced.

Keep cool by adding cucumber and mint to water and staying hydrated. Eating more fruit and veg generally will help with this too. It’s best to avoid hot, spicy and greasy foods.

The Heart is also associated with Fire and Summer, so this is the perfect time to practice using your intuition and ‘following your heart’. In TCM, the heart isn’t just a physical organ, it also houses our Shen, or our spirit. 

Swimming, yoga and meditation are the perfect antidotes to the fiery restlessness that summer can bring, and great for connecting to ourselves and tending to our inner fires. 

I hope you have found this interesting, and let me know your favourite ways to cool down in the summer!

Categories: Uncategorised


You might remember that back in November I attended advanced facial massage training, which was an incredible experience and equipped me to offer facial Gua sha and Thai herbal poultice massage (which you can read more about here)

The beauty of these treatments are that they have so many benefits – not just on a surface level, but also on an energetic and physiological level too. They align with the philosophy of ‘slow beauty” which I really subscribe to here at Atlas. If you haven’t heard of this concept before then let me briefly explain: health & beauty are in reach for everyone. Sometimes we just have to do a little nurturing or rejuvenation to reveal it. Imagine yourself as a candle that just needs to be lit! Our bodies respond so well to relaxation and healthy, supportive practices because we are living organisms that can repair and regenerate – we just need to give ourselves that time and understanding. This is beauty inside & out.

Each Signature Facial will consist of an opening ritual of herbal foot bath and tea while we complete a wholistic health consultation. Your skin will be treated to cleansing, exfoliation, masking and hydration using cruelty-free and vegan, organic, botanical skin care products chosen for their efficacy and safety. You will experience advanced massage in the form of warm herbal poultice, gua sha and manual facial massage. Each facial is personalised to give you the best results and afterwards you will receive suggestions on how creating your own beauty ritual at home.

Keep an eye on Atlas’ Instagram & your inbox to hear when they launch & to book in!

I would love to hear what you think about this new offering, just reply to this email to let me know – happy to answer any questions you have as well 💛

Take care,

Rachael x

Categories: gua sha, facials, herbal poultice, slow beauty
Wholistic Facials at Atlas

Wholistic Facials at Atlas

Since working with Dien Chan Zone (Italian Facial Reflexology) and seeing the effect that working on the face can have for the whole body, I was keen to add advanced facial massage techniques including facial gua sha and herbal poultice facial massage to my treatment offering. In November I traveled to London to undertake some intense training in these modalities and it was more than I hoped it would be! When I got back to the treatment room, I jumped in to practising case studies to really get to grips with the technique and the results have blown me away.

Warm Herbal Poultice

Herbs wrapped in organic muslin, steamed until hot & aromatic then massaged over the face and neck using a variety of specialised techniques.

Massage with the herbal poultice is based on the philosophy of traditional Thai Bodywork and works on the skin, fascia, muscle and sen points. The body absorbs the heat and herbal goodness which reduces muscular tension and pain, stimulates circulation, increases lymphatic drainage and soothes and conditions the skin. You will notice immediate improvements in the look and feel of your skin.

The Facial Gua Sha and Herbal Poultice massage have immediate results (listed below) that become longer lasting and more profound the more often they are applied. The benefits aren’t just on a skin/surface level but on a deeper level too, working with the muscular, lymphatic & energetic systems to create radiant & glowing complexion.

Facial Gua Sha

Facial massage technique using a small, flat gemstone combining a unique blend of facial massage therapies that clears stagnation, releases tension and promotes the flow of nutrients which feed the skin and repattern the way it ages.

This is really quite incredible because at the moment, most “anti-aging” treatments and other skin therapies are quite harsh on our skin and don’t do much to enhance the function and health of our largest organ. Quick fixes that create long term problems.

The modalities that I am introducing to Atlas follow the “Slow Beauty” philosophy of revealing your inner beauty – not with injections, peels and fillers but with healthy food, skincare, massage,  and lymphatic drainage amongst other things. When you think of slow beauty, you should think nurturing, soothing, calming and nourishing. It’s these things that create long lasting and sustainable change in the health of our skin and sets us up to age healthily.

Benefits of Facial Gua Sha & Herbal Poultice Massage:

Works on three levels; muscular, lymphatic, energetic & emotional

+  Muscular Benefits | Lifted cheeks, eyes & jawline, contoured cheekbones and jawline, eased tension in jaw, temples, cheeks & forehead

+  Lymphatic System Benefits | diminished dark circles & puffiness, reduced inflammation and inflammatory conditions such as rosacea and acne, creates a vibrant, radiant & glowing complexion

+  Energetic & Qi | prevents stagnation of energy, improves wellbeing, whole body benefits as many meridians in the face pass through other body systems

+  Emotional | relaxing, soothing, nurturing, calming, encourages ‘rest & digest’ state which is a healing and rejuvenating state, self connection and mindfulness

The Atlas Signature Facial debuts next month. Sign up to receive Atlas emails to be the first to hear when they launch.

Categories: Uncategorised
“It helped me sleep better, cured my worries & soothed my aches & pains” – An interview with pregnancy reflexology client and Lipstick & Loathing blogger, Gillian

“It helped me sleep better, cured my worries & soothed my aches & pains” – An interview with pregnancy reflexology client and Lipstick & Loathing blogger, Gillian

After the excitement of welcoming baby Ellie into the world,  Gillian from the blog Lipstick and Loathing managed to spare some time to share her experience of pregnancy reflexology with Atlas Therapies readers…

So how did you first come to hear about reflexology and what made you want to try it in pregnancy?
 Whilst pregnant I had issues with hip pain & sleep was in short supply. I tried pregnancy massages but I felt that it didn’t really leave me feeling as relaxed as it should. When I was looking at the different options, I came across an online forum for pregnant ladies who were discussing the benefits of reflexology. I could relate to so many of their pregnancy woes & decided I needed to give it a try. 
What made you choose Atlas Therapies for your treatment?
I read the reviews & all the information about Atlas Therapies & after speaking with Rachael via email, I knew it was the right choice. 
Tell us about the treatments you had, did you enjoy them? Was there anything you weren’t too keen on?
I had reflexology in my third trimester. I loved it! I used it not only to help with my aches & pains, but also as a time for me to clear my head & completely relax. 
Did you feel that reflexology met your expectations?
I didn’t know what to expect from reflexology, but it’s safe to say I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I benefit from deeper, more relaxed sleeps, I also left feeling a sense of renewed energy. Something that was in very short supply toward the end of my pregnancy! 
Is there anyone who would you particularly recommend reflexology to?
Anyone who loves massage but wants a feeling of total zen & relaxation. Reflexology delivers these things without the discomfort of getting undressed in front of a stranger. 
And finally, what advice would you give someone thinking about trying reflexology?
Go for it! Go with an open mind & be prepared to learn things about yourself & your body. 
To read more from Gillian, find her blog at –

Categories: Pregnancy, Reflexology
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Keeping Well in Autumn with TCM

Keeping Well in Autumn with TCM

I have relied on Five Element Theory to inform this blog post so just to give you a quick overview, Five Element Theory is a framework used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help classify all natural phenomena. It is used as a foundation to many practices, such as tai chi, feng shui and acupuncture amongst others. You can read more about the theory here (recommended, it makes for very interesting reading!)

Autumn and how it can inspire us 

According to the Five Element Theory, the energy of Autumn is represented by the element of metal. But, before we look at what the Metal Element represents, lets look at what we can learn from Autumn.

  • Leaves falling – letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore
  • Less visible growth – less focus on outwardly directed energy (yang) 
  • Leaves falling back to earth – energy inward (yin) to support future growth 

The Metal Element

Metal = Autumn in TCM, so lets look at what Metal represents within each of us, among other things:

  • Self worth (‘precious” metals) and recognising our innate self worth separate from external status symbols
  • Realising what is most important (‘precious’) to us.
  • Within the body, Metal represents two organs which we can focus on in a figurative and literal sense. Firstly,  the large intestine where there is the idea of excretion or letting go of what we don’t need. 
  • It also represents the lungs. We can associate this with inspiration (in physiology, ‘inspiration’ means inhalation!).
  • The lungs and the metal element are also tied to the emotion of grief in TCM.

How you feel when out of balance

If we have an imbalance in our Metal element then we might experience:

  • Being unable to see our own innate self worth and so pursuing external status symbols.
  • We might be unable to express grief or unable to let go and experience longing.
  • We might experience skin issues (interesting because we know that skin issues can be linked to digestive & respiratory health, which mirrors the organs of the Metal element in TCM).
  • We might have constipation or slow digestion.

How to Achieve Balance This Autumn

Let go

Clear out clutter in your home, work and anywhere you spend time. Make sure you stay hydrated, this aids healthy elimination on a physical level. 

Take stock of what is important to you

Create clear boundaries, think about what you won’t compromise on anymore, what is essential for your health and wellbeing? How can you make sure you have space for this? 

Eat in harmony with nature

Plenty of root vegetables and warm foods – think soups, stews and roasts rather than juices, smoothies and chilled salads. 

Reflexology or Dien Chan Zone

If it feels like ‘Metal” aspects are out of balance for you, then Autumn is the perfect time to receive a treatment that promotes balance. You will be most receptive to treatment in the corresponding season.  

Categories: TCM
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Symptoms as Communication

Symptoms as Communication

Earlier this week I posted on instagram about how our body communicates with us through symptoms. Any symptom that you experience is a message your body is trying to communicate to you – ‘Hey, this thing is going on, please can you pay attention to it?’ 

Pain is the last resort that your body turns to. Generally we can see imbalance in how our body’s are functioning (or not functioning) well before we experience pain.

For example, you might get a headache out of the blue one day but before that, you had noticed that your neck was a little stiff and you woke up in the morning with a tight jaw from clenching your teeth 

“What we resist, persists” Carl Jung 

When we pop a painkiller, or drink, or use another numbing method – what we are doing is trying to silence and block out the pain – block out that message that our body is shouting at us. Effectively shutting our eyes and sticking our fingers in our ears. I get it, I’ve done this in the past and it has its place – it helps us get by when we don’t have the time or other resources to really deal with the issue but after a while, it harms more than helps. I also understand that sometimes it can be intensely uncomfortable to be ‘in your body’, especially if you have experienced trauma so please don’t feel ashamed if this is you at the moment. 

It becomes a game of Whack-a-mole, silencing one symptom only to have another pop. We end up resorting to more and more invasive and extreme methods of symptom management like surgery, or more and more powerful drugs. Sometimes this is because we haven’t found the right person to help – how many times have you heard of a woman’s pain being disregarded and minimised by their GP?

Now, I am not saying that allopathic medicine, surgery and pharmaceuticals do not have a place – far from it. It is not the point of this post to disparage those in any way and I have seen the life saving and life changing effect of all of these things. However I do think that all to often, we end up trying the ‘quick fix’. The problem being that these ‘quick fixes’ don’t actually fix anything, they just mask the symptoms and allows the underlying cause to continue to develop. 

The thing is, in my experience and from the experiences of the people that I work with, I know that what really helps is a wholistic approach to healing. This is the magic of reflexology, after your treatment I share things that you can do at home to help manage your symptoms and this way, you become your own healer ✨

Categories: Holistic Health, Reflexology, Womens Health
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Committing to Change

Committing to Change

Committing to Change 

Getting the results you want takes commitment & consistency is the key to creating change.

In my experience, the best results I see are in those who have a course of treatments in a fairly small timeframe – roughly one treatment every 5-7 days, over the course of a month. I was intrigued as to why this was and put this post together to share what I found.

Relaxing in to your treatment

Firstly, it’s easy to over-think and stress during your first treatment. Especially if you haven’t had reflexology before.

“Is this going to work for me?…what’s going to happen next?….when will I come back?…what does my diary look like?….I’ve got so much to do this week….is it okay that I feel this sensation?”.

 I know from my acupuncture experience! It makes it really difficult to get into that lovely parasympathetic/yin/relaxation state which is so essential in allowing your body to achieve balance. You’re in fight or flight rather than rest and digest. A lot of my work is about helping you to get in to that healing state and teaching you to achieve that at home, out of the treatment room. I really believe that it is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. You might be interested in reading about the stress response here. By the time you come for your second session you know what to expect, you’ve already experienced good effects of your last treatment and you’re more able to allow your body to relax and be receptive to the treatment.

Developing a therapeutic relationship 

Secondly, the relationship with your therapist develops over time. Over a course of treatments, I get to understand you and your life better therefore I can offer more effective and practical support.

But it’s a two way street! You also get to understand me better! While there is a lot of valuable information that I can communicate the first time we meet, there is still a lot that just wont fit in to one session (especially if you have a chronic condition). It can be totally overwhelming if you try to cram it in, which I definitely have! 

Chronic issues 

Many people come for help with chronic issues that don’t just have one single cause and have developed over a long period of time. Therefore it makes sense that one session, of any modality, isn’t going to turn things around within that first treatment. I will say, as a piece of good news, although it might take longer to feel better, generally the improvements are more sustainable when achieved through wholistic means. If you have an acute condition, it generally resolves much quicker.

Working with the body

It’s not a coincidence that we often work together over one month. Doing this allows us to sync our sessions to work with our body’s (roughly 28 day) cycle. 

You’re also probably aware of that piece of research that says it takes 21 days to implement or change a habit. If you only have one session – which is only one session out of your week, month, year – it might not be enough to create a long lasting change and won’t deliver what you want it to. 

Finally because three to four weeks is enough time to implement a change, it makes it easier to evaluate and reflect on how you feel afterwards. this then informs what we do next which might be switching to a maintenance programme. 

As a reminder – everybody’s plan is different and will be created with you at your first appointment after consultation and treatment. If one session is all you can commit to at the moment, it will still benefit you short term! 

At their first session, generally people feel a deep deep sense of calm. Often people comment that they feel like they’re in a pleasant dream-like state.


– your blood pressure will drop, your pulse will slow, your muscles will relax.

– you’ll feel like you’ve had a great nights sleep and will have a good sleep that night.

– less muscular tension

– you probably will experience an improvement in the symptoms you have came with. You might have a change in your perception of them too. 



– more patient and accepting

– optimistic

– relaxed 

– centred & grounded


“Not only was it an hour where I could relax and float away in to my own world, it also helped me sleep better, cured my worries and soothed my aches & pains“ GG, on pregnancy reflexology at Atlas.


I love hearing your opinions on topics like these so please let me know what you think! What results did you see when you decided to commit to change?

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Pregnancy, Reflexology, Stress, Womens Health
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Bonjour from France 🇫🇷

Bonjour from France 🇫🇷


I hope this letter finds you well – enjoying the last of summer and our transition in to autumn! I just wanted to get in touch and give you a few updates on what has been happening at Atlas, along with plans for the next few months!

Firstly, you might be aware that I have relocated to the south of France (a beautiful place called Aix-en-Provence, I highly recommend that you visit if you haven’t been already!). My partner was offered work on a project here and honestly, it just seemed like too good of an opportunity for us both to pass up – these offers don’t happen that often! So although the move has ultimately been a good thing for us, it has also meant that I had to take the difficult decision to step away from in-person client sessions for the time being. However, I am taking this time to really evaluate where Atlas is just now and how I can create new offerings that best serve you all!

So at the moment I am working on creating a way to work with people online, creating ideas for classes as well as various policies to make sure that you are taken care of (a loyalty & referral reward programme and packages). All of these things (and more!) will come to fruition in the next few months so although things might seem quiet on the surface, please know that I am still very much devoted to this work 💛.

Now that you’re all caught up, lets look to the future and what you can expect when I get back to the UK! In November I am undertaking training in a new modality of facial massage (please follow my instagram account to hear more about this soon) with a fabulous teacher who is coming from New York to share this skill. I’m really so excited to be in the first group of therapists learning this new technique outside of the US. It will work beautifully with the Dien Chan Zone facial reflexology that some of you have experienced already. After this, I will be back in Glasgow and open for treatments again from the end of November – I will notify you with more specific information closer to the time ☺️.

In the meantime, I plan on keeping in touch with you by email at least monthly and much more frequently on instagram so please follow me there for everything related to holistic women’s health. If you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions I encourage you to just reply to this email – it’ll come straight to me! If you feel comfortable, you could also maybe share with me some topics that you would like some advice and guidance on from a holistic point of view. This would really help me to develop some useful resources for you to access in the near future. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Take care and I’ll speak to you soon,

Rachael x

Categories: Uncategorised
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Introducing Courie

Introducing Courie

I’m so pleased to share this with you!

I have been working on this for a long time and I’m so happy to share with you Atlas Therapies’ first aromatherapy candle!

Ideal to destress and lovingly made by hand using my knowledge of aromatherapy, Courie is the perfect complement to your hypnobirthing, meditation or relaxation practice. Created to burn cleanly and slowly using soy wax, cotton wicks and infused with pure essential oils – Courie is not only safe to use, but also therapeutic.

The balanced aromatherapy blend is gentle and delicate, ideal for expectant mums whose sense of smell is more sensitive.

Mandarin | Uplifting, calms an overactive mind, eases nausea and stimulates the lymphatic system
Frankincense | Meditative, encourages deep breathing, focuses the mind and calms panic
Lavender | Soothing, pain relieving, balancing and encourages restful sleep


We are committed to providing eco-friendly products so your candle is packaged in a 100% cotton drawstring bag which can be reused or recycled. The votive can also be returned, reused or recycled.


“We wanted to create a calm and relaxing environment in our living room where we planned to have a home birth and the candlelight and frankincense scent worked perfectly. You couldn’t have been more helpful in ensuring we got exactly what we wanted and as well as smelling great, the candle looks beautiful too.”


Learn more

C O U R I E // to nestle or snuggle
Ideal to destress and unwind, the Courie candle is the perfect complement to your hypnobirthing, meditation or relaxation practice. ✨ Learn more at ✨

Categories: Aromatherapy, Pregnancy
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Coming Soon – Facial Reflexology

Coming Soon – Facial Reflexology

A few months ago, I came across Italian Facial Reflexology (Dien Chan Zone) as taught by Helen Black of Mirror Medicine. Intrigued, I decided to learn more about this ancient form of Reflexology that offers us another way to understand the body and encourage balance within it.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn!

Initially, I realised that it shared all of the things that I love about Foot Reflexology – namely, the way it induces deep relaxation in receivers as well as it’s view of the body as a whole. I also love that as part of your treatment, you receive a set of Facial Reflexology points to work on yourself at home between appointments which are in line with everything I try to do with my work at Atlas – I believe that you already have the capacity to heal and that my role is just to support you on this journey.

Conversely, I also loved the differences that it has from the Reflexology that I offer on the feet! I know that there are a number of people who would like to experience the benefits of Reflexology but can’t bring themselves to let anyone touch their feet – Facial Reflexology is going to be much more accessible to a number of people for this reason.

Facial Reflexology has a much quicker impact on the body systems too, often it might take a few sessions of Foot Reflexology to see a change in a long-standing, chronic condition whereas results appear much quicker with Facial Reflexology.

Lastly, Facial Reflexology is safe and beneficial to receive in pregnancy, if you are trying to conceive and at any other time. I realised that it would be a real compliment to my practice.

So with all of this in mind, I decided a quick poll of interest of interest from my clients was in order – everyone said they would love me to offer this! I decided to enrol in the next course offered in the UK. I can’t wait to develop my skills and to be able to offer a different form of Reflexology to you, which should be available to book in May. I will be sharing my journey through training on social media, so make sure to follow along here (link) if you are interested. While you are there, I really recommend that you follow Mirror Medicine to understand more about Facial Reflexology and it’s application, Helen manages to describe it in a much more eloquent way than I ever could!

Categories: Womens Health, Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Pregnancy, Reflexology, Stress
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