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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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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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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The Alternative Gift Guide – Presents to Promote Wellbeing

The Alternative Gift Guide – Presents to Promote Wellbeing

A gift guide to help enhance your loved ones wellbeing this festive period.This list might also be useful if you’re having difficulty deciding what to get that tricky person who’s impossible to buy for – there’s always one!

 

Yoga Class Pass

Many yoga studios offer multiple-class passes or gift vouchers so that people can try out different styles of yoga and teachers to find what suits them best. Why not buy one as a gift for someone who is thinking about starting yoga?

For those people who already have a regular yoga practice, how about some yoga accessories? A new mat, towel, bands or blocks could revitalise their practice.

 

An Aromatherapy Diffuser

Diffusers are becoming more popular now and can be used to add fragrance in to the home or in a therapeutic way with specially chosen essential oils to address specific issues. Why not also gift a blend of essential oils too?

 

Complementary Therapies

Give the gift of relaxation this festive season with a voucher for one of Atlas Therapies’ treatments – choose the ideal therapy for your loved one, or choose the amount and let them pick for themselves. Guaranteed to make you very popular this Christmas!

 

Reusable Water Bottle

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated so a reusable water bottle makes a thoughtful and practical gift. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it also contributes to the recipients day to day wellbeing and there are so many modern designs available, you’re sure to pick something they’ll love.

 

Categories: Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health
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