Cheering Foot-Bath Recipe

Cheering Foot-Bath Recipe

The story behind my cheering footbath 

I wrote about my Cheering foot bath over on instagram today and wanted to share the secret recipe with you here so that you can benefit too! Last week I was fairly ill and after being miserable for number of days, I needed to do something to lift my spirits. My first go to is usually an aromatherapy bath, but our apartment only has a shower… I didn’t want to let that stop me, so I adapted! I pulled out the basin and went about the magic of making an aromatherapy footbath. Here it is if you want to do the same…

 

You will need:

Epsom salts |quantity depends on the volume of your tub, there’s usually a guide on the packet

Essential oils | 4 drops of essential oils (I used a Provençal blend of rosemary, lavender and cypress)

Additional Extras |not required but lovely nonetheless! Dried rosebuds/ petals/ lavender

For best results, spend a moment before submerging your feet breathing in the aromatic steam. If you feel comfortable in doing so, you could breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4 then exhale for 4. This is so calming and nice way to signal to your body & mind that you’re ready to relax.

 

Note – feel free to substitute different essential oils. I wrote a guide to oils that are safe for pregnancy here and how to use them. Even if you aren’t pregnant, you can stil use it to reference different oils.

The great thing about this is that it takes hardly any time to prepare and then you can enjoy the benefits while doing other things… nothing too strenuous though, I’m talking about reading or watching Netflix! The oils really lifted my mood at a time when it was difficult for me to feel much more than lethargic and off-kilter. 

I truly believe that these little things that we do for ourselves on a regular basis can have such a profound effect over time. When you spend twenty minutes on something like this, you’re showing compassion for yourself and acceptance of where you’re at in this moment.  At the heart of it all, I think that speaks to our deepest needs – to be listened to, understood and to be accepted.

 

 

Categories: Aromatherapy, Holistic Health
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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.

Physically

– 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. 

 

Emotionally 

– 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 🇫🇷

Hello!

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 https://bit.ly/2G3VTfs ✨
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: Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Pregnancy, Reflexology, Stress, Womens Health
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Understanding the Stress Response

Understanding the Stress Response

What is Stress?

Stress can be described as pressure we feel when the demands placed on us exceed our resources. Sometimes, this can be positive and stress can be used as a motivational force for example – helping us meet deadlines or react in dangerous situations. Other times, stress can threaten our wellbeing and challenge our ability to cope with everyday life.

There are multiple sources of stressors – environmental, emotional, chemical & nutritional. Some examples include: moving house, financial worries, loss, pregnancy, excess alcohol or vitamin deficiencies.

When you are exposed to stress, your body reacts in a few different ways. Firstly, it has a short-term response (often known as the flight or fight reaction) which helps you to cope with any immediate threats. Your body releases hormones which increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels while diverting blood to the essential organs like the heart and brain.

If the stress is maintained, so is the body’s stress response. This adaptation to stress causes continued increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, poor digestion, inflammation and a weakened immune system.

If the stress continues long-term, the body becomes exhausted and depleted. Drained of resources, there often can be a worsening of any ongoing health complaints or recurring illnesses. People often experience a type of ‘burnout’ and are forced to rest due to ill health.

If you are suffering from stress, you might be experiencing a combination of some of the following symptoms;

  • feeling overwhelmed, irritable, ‘wound up’, anxious, scared or lacking in self-esteem
  • You might find that you are constantly worrying, find it difficult to make decisions or concentrate
  • Physically, you could be suffering from headaches, muscular pain, dizziness, tiredness and trouble sleeping

Often in our everyday lives, we are exposed to at least one stressor and we adapt and cope with this. However many of us have to respond to multiple sources of stress on a daily basis. This has a massive impact on our ability to cope and, over time, leads to the deterioration of our ability to manage stress.                

Coping mechanisms

  • Becoming aware of our reaction to stress
  • Talk to someone about your feelings and concerns, don’t be afraid to ask for help or speak honestly about your problems
  • Try to maintain healthy habits like exercising (swimming, yin yoga, cycling or brisk walking are especially recommended) and eating a balanced diet
  • Prioritise the things most important to you and try to eliminate the less important things
  • Making time for fun and relaxation

Recovering from Stress & How Reflexology can help

Reflexology aims to restore and maintain the body’s natural balance (homeostasis) which is disturbed by the effects of stress. Reflexology calms the mind, body and emotions allowing harmony to be restored to the body systems.

Relaxation affects the body in the following ways:

  • Decreasing adrenaline levels, blood sugar levels & cholesterol levels
  • Increasing immune system functioning
  • Calming emotions
  • Reduces muscular tension
  • Improving digestive system functioning
  • Slowing breathing, increasing lung function

The effects last much longer than your treatment duration, often still being felt days and weeks afterward. Coupled with lifestyle changes and other appropriate care, reflexology can be a long-term solution to stress and anxiety.

Click here to book an appointment to help manage stress.


Categories: Stress, Womens Health
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Atlas Therapies Launches New Service

Atlas Therapies Launches New Service

Bespoke Aromatherapy Blends.

Alongside offering reflexology and massage, Atlas Therapies has developed a new service to help you benefit from aromatherapy outside of the clinic!

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who wants to benefit from the effects of aromatherapy in a more flexible way
  • Women going into hospital to give birth – take a rollerball or room spray with you to create a more comforting environment (you can use the same scent during your pregnancy at home to enhance this effect)
  • People who have sensitive skin and can’t use many pre-blended aromatherapy products
  • People who would like to use aromatherapy to help with specific emotional and physical health issues
  • Women practising hypnobirthing who are looking for a pregnancy suitable massage oil
  • People who don’t have time for a treatment in the clinic
  • Someone looking for a special gift for a loved one – you can purchase a gift voucher for this service

How it works

Following an email consultation, a bespoke blend of essential oils will be created especially for you. Your blend will be created based on the symptoms and conditions that you wish to manage and for their therapeutic effect on mind, body and emotions. You can choose to have your bespoke aromatherapy blend made for use as a bath & massage oil, rollerball or room spray.

Personalised advice will also be given on how to use your bespoke blend at home and information on the oils included.

Great! How do I order?

Just email rachael@atlastherapies.co.uk and request a consultation form for Bespoke Aromatherapy. Once I receive your completed form, just pay via Paypal then I’ll get to work creating your very own blend! Choose to have the oil sent out to you or collect from my clinic.

Categories: Aromatherapy, Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Pregnancy, Womens Health
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How To Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

How To Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Aromatherapy and, in particular, essential oils have many benefits to offer during pregnancy. With a little caution, they can be used safely and positively throughout the whole of your pregnancy to help maintain your wellbeing and naturally manage any issues you experience. This guide will cover how to use adapt aromatherapy for pregnancy. This post details some of the safest and most effective oils you might want to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Essential Oils Safely
Dilution – Essential oils are sold in their highly concentrated form and therefore must be diluted prior to use. In aromatherapy, dilution is measured in percentage and a dilution of 1% or less is recommended for pregnancy. This equates to one drop of essential oil in 5ml of base oil (almond, coconut, olive, avocado, jojoba oil etcetera).
Skin sensitivity – Your skin can become more sensitive during pregnancy so it’s a good idea to patch test oils 24 hours before first use. To do this, just create your blend, add to a cotton bud and swipe onto your inner arm. Monitor for any itchiness, redness or irritation at the site.
Light sensitivity – Due to increased melanin stimulating hormone levels in pregnancy, your skin can be more sensitive to the sun. Citrus oils can cause further light sensitivity so make sure that your exposure to the sun and/or sunbeds is limited for up to 24 hours after using.
Smell sensitivity – Throughout pregnancy you will have a heightened sense of smell. Some oils that you liked previously might now smell overwhelming to you. This is another reason that a dilution of only 1% should be used.

How to use Essential Oils
Diffuser – fill the diffuser with water and add up to 4 drops of essential oil
Massage – use 1drop of essential oil per 5ml of base oil then gently massage into skin or book an appointment here.
Bath – Dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 5ml of base oil then add to your bath

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Pregnancy, Uncategorised
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