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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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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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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Five Simple Ways To Improve Your Wellbeing This Spring

Five Simple Ways To Improve Your Wellbeing This Spring

Spring is officially here! I love everything about this transitional time of the year – the first bulbs that poke their way out of the earth, the lighter days and the longer nights. But more than any of this, I love the energy of spring. It’s the time of year when we start to feel more optimistic as we cautiously head out of winter and into the new season. Spring feels like a promise of better things to come and I find it easier to make changes to my habits and routines at this time of year. Below you will find the five things that I’ll be doing over the next few months to improve my wellbeing this spring season.

  1. Eating more fruit and veg!  As the chilly winter weather starts to dissipate, I don’t feel the need to fortify myself with as many heavy stews and soups as I did over the winter. For me, warmer weather = salad. This website has a calendar showing what is in season in Scotland for each month of the year which is really helpful in preparing your meals.
  2. Use the optimistic energy of spring to renew resolutions made in winter over the new year. It can be hard to stick to those plans of exercising more and eating healthily when all you want to do is hibernate so why not use the new season as a chance to revisit your resolutions? You could try a new outdoor exercise class or recipe.
  3. Spring clean! This can apply to anything in your life. Declutter your home, open the windows and let out stagnant energy. Work in your garden or spring clean your wardrobe by repairing and storing your winter clothes and accessories so that they are ready to go next year. Then, update your wardrobe with some new season touches if needed.
  4. Connect with loved ones. The longer days and lighter nights mean more opportunity to socialise and spend time with friends and family.
  5. Bring some joy into your everyday life – appreciate the spring blooms, enjoy the seasonal fruit & veg and notice how the lighter mornings make you feel more awake each day.

Let me know what you thought of my tips and comment below with any suggestions of your own!

 

Categories: Holistic 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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