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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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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Autumn Attunement – Seasonal Wellbeing

Autumn Attunement – Seasonal Wellbeing

As I’m writing this blog post, it is cold and grey outside and rain is pouring down. It’s the end of October and this weekend the clocks ‘fall back’ an hour. We are approaching the time of year when coughs and colds abound and we start to crave hearty meals and warm drinks!
Autumn has many positives – the colours of the landscape, the crisp weather and pumpkin flavoured everything! Although sometimes the effect that this change into the second half of the year has on us can be far from positive. The idea behind the Autumn Attunement is that any negative effects can be addressed to let you fully embrace the new season and everything it has to offer us!
So, who is this treatment for?
Well, it’s for you if you feel lethargic since the summer ended, if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or find it difficult to get going in the dark mornings. It’s also for you if you want to align yourself with this new season and welcome everything it has to offer us. Equally, if you want to spend an hour on self-care and supporting your wellbeing then this is the perfect treatment for you.
The Autumn Attunement has been designed to nurture each of your senses from the moment you enter the room until you leave feeling restored, energised and balanced. After the treatment, you can extend the benefits by using the specially designed Autumn Wellness Guide that I created. I have made this available to download from the website – just click the link in the latest newsletter to access your copy.
So if this sounds like something you could benefit from, just send an email to Rachael@atlastherapies.co.uk to arrange an appointment.

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Womens Health
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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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