“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 – www.lipstickandloathing.com

Categories: Pregnancy, Reflexology
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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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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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Seasonal Wellbeing – Surviving & Thriving over Christmas!

Seasonal Wellbeing – Surviving & Thriving over Christmas!

The festive season is well and truly upon us! I hope you are all having a lovely time and enjoying everything it has to offer – from time with friends and family to delicious festive food and drinks. I know that for all the benefits that this time of year brings, there are a few downsides. It’s so easy to overindulge on everything, saying no (to socialising, shopping, eating, drinking…) is so difficult when you feel that you have to make the most of it because it only happens once a year!

There is often a lot of stress involved with trying to get organised for Christmas, feeling the need to please everyone and not to mention the financial stress that can affect us too.

Often these things combine to result in us feeling tired, run down and not at our best to enjoy the things we want to say yes to! With this in mind, I’ve put together a few tips to keep you glowing over Christmas and to start the New Year off in a happy and healthy place!

15492312_860682314068684_8213854764066920618_n“Prevention is better than cure” 

Balance

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about health and wellbeing, it’s that balance is the key! So enjoy that mince pie and mulled wine, but also cram lots of veg into your meals. Have a great time at your Christmas night out but also schedule a quiet night in to restore your energy later in the week.

You can always get by for a while if one aspect of your life is out of balance but if everything is then you will feel run down much more quickly.

Beauty Sleep

Good quality sleep is the key to enjoying yourself this Christmas and approaching events with energy and vitality. Your body loves a routine to help wind down at night so why not create a lovely ritual to encourage this? You could start by having a bath with some lavender essential oil and magnesium flakes added to it, listen to some calming music or a podcast and drink a cup of herbal tea. Finally, spritz your pillow with a sleep mist and you’ll find getting your beauty sleep a breeze.

Obviously, at this time of year it can be difficult to switch off and if you find that this is affecting your sleep, why not try keeping a notepad next to your bed to jot down anything that’s on your mind before going to sleep? You might also find that only drinking caffeine before 4pm can help too, as can getting some exercise every day.

 Hydration

The cold weather, central heating and air con during winter really affects our skin and hydration levels so ensure that you’re looking after your body inside and out by drinking plenty of water, fruit and herbal teas throughout the day. This not only helps your skin, but it also keeps your body functioning well and helps you to keep thinking clearly and feel energised.

If you find that your skin needs some extra help, you could try applying some rich moisturising cream or oils to your skin. Olive oil is great for chapped hands and feet, while sweet almond oil is lovely on the face.

Exercise

When it’s cold outside it is so tempting to stay indoors and hibernate and there is definitely a time for this, but make sure that you introduce some movement into your body every day too. This is also good for your mind and emotional wellbeing. You could go for a short walk during your lunch break to try and absorb some natural light, or wrap up warm and take in all the festive lights and decorations around town in the evening. A gentle walk after dinner has the added benefit of aiding digestion.

Extra Support

Finally, there is also extra support to be had in the form of herbal supplements, superfoods and therapies. You could try some Echinacea in a tea to help support the immune system or baobab powder added to a smoothie or your porridge for a boost of vitamin C.

Aromatherapy massage is fantastic for helping to energise and restore, or calm and balance depending on what you need. Reflexology is also a lovely way to spend some time on yourself and to achieve balance.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year!

Categories: Holistic Health, Reflexology, Stress, Uncategorised
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Natural Menopause

Natural Menopause

This month I have been re-reading a book by Dr Christiane Northrup called “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”. Originally released in 1995, it has been updated and reprinted many times since then and is a great reference book for all issues related to women’s health. The reason that I consult it so often is because it covers each topic from a holistic viewpoint and doesn’t just rely on the western model of health and care.

I have just finished reading a chapter all about menopause so have decided to focus this month’s blog post on the same topic since it’s at the front of my mind! Included is an overview of what the menopause is and natural ways to cope with the side effects.

Firstly, some background information on the menopause. This season of a woman’s life usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55. It can occur quite suddenly or over a period of 10 years and is caused by a change in levels of sex hormones, as well as the ovaries becoming less receptive to other hormones. Because of this, ovulation and menstruation become more and more irregular until finally ceasing.

Biologically, this means the end of childbearing but the symbolic beginning of a new chapter in the woman’s life and, possibly, the chance to focus on her own needs and interests again. In a culture that celebrates youth and fertility, it is easy to lose sight of the positive aspects of the menopause but it can be helpful to remember that menopausal and post-menopausal women have a wisdom, power and beauty that only come from experiencing this life stage.

 

Symptoms of the menopause and natural ways to cope

The symptoms of menopause that women can experience include: fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, decreased libido, decreased confidence, mood changes and hot flushes.

Making positive lifestyle changes can help in managing the symptoms, this includes supporting yourself with good nutrition. Including lots of whole foods and reducing sugar and caffeine consumption can help. Incorporating foods like soy beans that contain phytoestrogens can also help.

Sleep is another important aspect. Developing a relaxing night time routine to prepare yourself for sleep and aiming to be in bed by 10pm can help.

Getting some light to moderate exercise a few times a week is so beneficial to your physical and emotional health too, so try to find something  you enjoy and that leaves you feeling invigorated rather than depleted.

There are a few complementary therapies can help support you through menopause as well, including herbal medicine prescribed by a qualified medical herbalist. There are various herbs which can reduce the severity of symptoms. Reflexology can help you to achieve balance within in the body, reduce stress and improve mood, as can massage using specially chosen essential oils. You could also use essential oils at home in a diffuser or added to a bath.

Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration and ideas to explore more thoroughly and if you know anyone who might benefit from the information then share this blog post with them!

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Diet, Holistic Health, Menopause, Reflexology, Womens Health
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Five Reasons To Try Reflexology

Five Reasons To Try Reflexology

Welcome to the first ever Atlas Therapies blog post! I plan to write a new post each month with the aim of sharing useful information that you can incorporate into your own life – usually health and lifestyle reflecting the holistic nature of my work.

In this post, I wanted to shine a light on Reflexology. Recently I’ve had a surge in people booking reflexology appointment so to reflect this I thought it might be interesting to look at the conditions people use it to manage and the reasons why it works.

Firstly, I thought I’d share a little about my own experience. Reflexology is one of my favourite therapies to practice, but it wasn’t always this way! I always considered myself someone who understood that the mind and body were connected but I really struggled to accept the Eastern philosophy of reflexology, which sees the body reflected on the feet with channels of life energy flowing around the body.

I have to admit, I was skeptical.

However, as I read more and more about the therapy and saw first-hand the effect it had on my clients, something clicked! One day I remember it all fell into place and I became its biggest supporter! One of the main principles of reflexology is that the body has the ability to bring itself into balance and heal and we just support and encourage that process through reflexology. Strangely, this was exactly the way that I saw my role as a midwife when caring for women in pregnancy and labour. I was just the facilitator of a natural, beautiful process that women had the ability to complete themselves. Once I made that connection I felt so much more confident in my role as a reflexologist and its ability to bring about positive change in people.

Since I have started practising, people have come to me for reflexology to help with :

  • Pain and lack of mobility caused by arthritis
  • To help encourage the healing process following surgery
  • PCOS
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Stress
  • Physical and emotional symptoms of PMT
  • Physical and emotional symptoms of menopause
  • Common ailments of pregnancy – indigestion, backache, nausea, tiredness, oedema
  • MSK issues such as tense and achy muscles
  • Side effects of chemotherapy – nausea, changes in appetite, pain, low mood, isolation, lack of mobility
  • And as a preventative measure, as a way to maintain good general health.

Although the real benefits of reflexology accumulate over the course of a few sessions, most people respond well to reflexology immediately. Within minutes of beginning their treatment, it’s not uncommon to feel the muscles releasing tension and stress beginning to lessen. I feel privileged to be able to create an environment where people feel comfortable and safe enough to relax completely like this and find it one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

So what is it about reflexology that causes people to feel like this? After reflecting on it, I think that there are actually a few different factors that contribute to the effect.

  • It’s non-invasive. This is especially important for people who are ill and whose experience of healthcare can sometimes involve quite invasive – and sometimes what can be seen as violent- interventions like being jagged with needles, physical examinations, scopes etc.
  • Gentle but effective! There are specific techniques involved in reflexology which apply pressure to reflexes but generally, there isn’t too much kneading or manipulation required to bring about change. This can be important for people who feel quite vulnerable, emotionally or physically, when going through an issue that they are seeking help for. Also, as reflexology is a touch therapy it creates a feeling of being nurtured and cared for which is soothing in itself.
  • It allows for reflection on your own health. Having a period of time which is devoted entirely to your own wellbeing encourages positive reflection on the effects of your lifestyle on health and wellbeing.
  • It brings attention to areas that need some TLC. I often find that clients enjoy the ‘feedback’ session at the end of a treatment when we discuss things that I have noticed during the treatment. Sometimes this confirms a thought that they had and therefore creates a feeling of confidence in their ability to be ‘in tune’ with their own body.
  • It is a truly holistic treatment. By this, I mean that although I only work on the feet during a treatment, all of the body’s systems can be addressed. Also, reflexology is perfectly safe to use alongside conventional health care and medications and other complementary therapies.

Maybe this all explains the recent surge in popularity that reflexology has had at Atlas Therapies! Are there any other reasons you think could contribute? What is your favourite effect of reflexology?

Experience the benefits yourself and take 20% off your first reflexology treatment.  Quote ‘September Blog’ when booking.

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Pregnancy, Reflexology
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