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
Tags: , , , , , , ,
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
Tags: , , , , ,
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
Tags: , , , , ,