complementary therapy

Reflexology vs Insomnia

Reflexology vs InsomniaDo you suffer from insomnia? Then you may be interested to know that one of the most common texts I get from clients the day after their first Reflexology treatment is one telling me how incredibly well they slept!

Disordered sleep patterns are something that we all struggle with at one time or another, affecting our daytime energy levels, our mental alertness, our memory, our pain levels, our moods, our relationships and our wider health.

With a myriad of possible causes, sleep disorders present a real problem to the medical community, with over 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills given each year in England. But despite the very real temptation of a quick fix pill, medication only offers short-term relief.

So, what is Reflexology? And why does it help us sleep?

Reflexology focuses on stimulating or sedating reflex points on the foot, which relate to the whole body. So a relaxing foot massage becomes a treatment for the whole body and mind.

The practitioner is able to focus the treatment on reflexes that will help the individual. In a client with insomnia she might concentrate on the reflexes of the endocrine system to mediate the effects of stress and promote better hormonal balance. Or she may focus on reflexes to release deep tension in the muscles, and to calm a busy or anxious mind. For each person, the focus will be a little different, addressing their specific needs.

A Reflexologist sees your whole body reflected in the reflexes of your feet and works those reflexes to create an effect across the entire body – and mind.

Reflexology ExeterIf you’ve never had Reflexology before, it can be hard to explain just how deeply relaxing and restorative the treatment can be. It can feel as though someone has pulled a plug and all of the collected stress and tension in your body has drained away. And not just the obvious tension like tense shoulders or a furrowed brow. Tension that you didn’t even know you had, until it was gone!

I would liken the restorative effects of Reflexology to pressing the ‘restore factory functions’ button on your phone! Or the ‘switch it off and switch it back on again’ theory of computer care! The effect to the body is quite renewing.

As our stress drains away we experience a raft of physiological and psychological changes. The heart rate decreases, breathing becomes slower and deeper, raised blood pressure is lowered, digestion improves, and the ever busy, anxious or racing mind feels calmer at last. The body is no longer in survival mode, instead it is able to rest, repair, heal and find it’s own balance, just as nature intended.

“The ability of the body to maintain its health and overcome illness is, in fact, among nature’s most remarkable feats.” ~ Donna Eden

A release of stress, a relaxed body, a quiet mind; the perfect set up for us to enter human’s inbuilt ‘rest and repair’ mode – sleep. As a Reflexologist, I have often worked with clients to break the cycle of insomnia and I know that Reflexology has so much to offer in this area. And I still love getting those texts the next day!

If you suffer from insomnia or disordered sleep, I offer Reflexology treatments by appointment in central Exeter, and home visits throughout Mid Devon, including Crediton, Tiverton, Silverton, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Witheridge, Cowley, Tedburn, Bow  – and everywhere in between!

 

The Dorn Method – What to expect

Backphoto with LogoA Dorn Treatment begins with a good look at your spine and the (apparent) length of your legs. You will have opportunities to see any differences yourself, and right from the beginning of the treatment you’ll learn ways that you can keep your hips and back aligned.

The Dorn Method does not use manipulation, so there is no clunking or painful adjustments. Instead, the treatment is led by you, the client, who is guided to gently move your legs, arms and head to aid the realignment of each joint.

It’s important that you are comfortable and pain free throughout, so lots of communication between you and the therapist is important. Your therapist will help you learn simple exercises to use at home, and tricks to help avoid future problems.

The idea is that you don’t have to have to come back and see us too often – though of course, you may send your friends!

The treatment ends with a unique Breuss Massage, which is a spinal massage focusing on nourishing and aligning the spine. It’s a very gentle, relaxing and soothing form of massage and is the perfect way to end a Dorn Method treatment. .

Dorn Method treatments are now available in central Exeter, Devon!

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You may also like to read: The Dorn Method – A new approach to back pain

The Dorn Method – A New Approach To Backpain

spineIt’s no secret that I am a big fan of this ‘new’ approach to treating back pain. For one thing, the Dorn treatment completely transformed my own back, and in addition, this approach makes a LOT of sense to me as a Complementary Therapist.

It’s all about creating alignment in the body, from the (apparent) length of your legs and the tilt of your pelvis, to the very base of your skull. Freeing up each joint and allowing it to glide back into its natural position. There is no painful manipulation of the joints, instead, the body remains relaxed and gentle movements are made that allow the joints to return to their natural alignment.

Your Dorn practitioner will not only help you to realign your spine, but will also teach you how to avoid ongoing back problems in the future. By learning simple daily exercises (2 minutes a day) you can help your back to realign and stay aligned. The idea is that you don’t need to come back and visit us too often!

And then there are the fringe benefits! Working on spinal alignment has some potentially wonderful side affects because the nerves which eminate from the spine supply the whole body. Not to mention the fact that finally being free from back pain has the potential to improve your energy levels, your moods, your sleep and even your relationships!

 

“As with all complementary therapies, it’s about creating the perfect conditions for the body to return to its own natural balance.”

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Dorn Method treatments are now available in central Exeter, Devon.

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You may also like to read…

The Dorn Method – What to expect

 

My Dorn Story

Dorn Logo Thomas ZudrellMy back had stood up to life pretty well until I became pregnant! But a difficult pregnancy, a tricky epidural and the challenges of motherhood caused it to unravel rapidly.  Fast forward 6 years and I was strangely quite used to the discomfort. Propping my hips up with pillows at night. ALWAYS doing my yoga. Shuffling in and out of bed etc.

Strangely, I would never have said I had a ‘bad back’ I guess it crept up on me and I didn’t realise how ‘adapted’ my life had become, until the day the pain disappeared!

Driving home from my second Dorn treatment my body felt amazing. My hips felt so even in the seat, my spine had a lovely fluid feel to it. Bliss!

That night, I had a very strange night’s sleep. Every time I came to the surface and prepared myself to shuffle my hips into a new, less painful position – I got such a big smile on my face. I could just roll! Effortlessly! It had never occurred to me that comfort would feel so good!

And so life changed. I noticed that I could stand up for long periods of time with out shuffling from foot to foot, I noticed I no longer crossed my legs all the time (in fact it would feel a bit weird to do so) and I noticed that I no longer wanted to twist my spine and hips when I curled up on the sofa. I even had a few complements about my posture!

One other thing…

I’m a bit wary of miracle stories as there is ALWAYS more to them than meets the eye. That’s true in this case too. Of course I didn’t live ‘pain free’ and happily ever after! I did exactly what we would all do – I got used to feeling good and I stopped doing my daily (2 min/day) exercises! Then I noticed I was crossing my legs a little at the ankles. Then I lifted a bag into the car in a funny way…. Well you can guess what happened!

Lesson learnt. A few more Dorn treatments, a renewed effort with my Dorn exercises and things feel good again. It was inevitable really wasn’t it!

Dorn Method treatments are now available in central Exeter, Devon.

You may also like to read…

The Dorn Method – What to expect

The Dorn Method – A new approach to back pain

Seasonal Treatments for Busy Mums!

Right now is the busiest time of year for many of us, and I suspect that Mums are top of this list! So I’m encouraging you to take a break and treat yourself to a pre Christmas Reflexology massage.

iStock_000000787215SmallThe energy of the winter is all about slowing down, replenishing our energy store and pausing to reflect. But the run up to Christmas rather gets in the way of all this! Reflexology is a wonderful antidote to this seasonal stress, so I’m encouraging you to book a pre Christmas treatment to help you replenish your energy, rebalance your body and get in touch with the more peaceful energy of the season. After all, you deserve to enjoy the festivities too!

And as an extra incentive, there is a little Christmas wellbeing gift for everyone who books a Reflexology treatment between now and Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Reflexology – mapped on the feet

What are your feet telling you?

It is always fun to study the foot maps with my clients! It is a great opportunity to think about where our body needs a little extra support and how we can provide it. I thought I would share some of my favourite maps!

This foot map is one of my favourites and was brought back from Nepal by a friend in ’98, when I was first studying reflexology. It clearly shows that various significances are attributed to different parts of the foot in other cultures too. Beautiful colours.

Nepalese feet

It looks quite different from this more modern version that I keep in my clinic…

foot map colour

Reflexologists use maps like this to ensure that each of the reflexes, corresponding to each part of the body, is gently worked. We note reflexes which feel congested or depleted, and use massage techniques to create greater balance across the systems. Often we find that what we see in the foot, is reflected in the body – or visa versa!

feet meridians

Because my background is in Energy Medicine (Jin Shin Jyutsu and Kinesiology) I also have the Meridian maps (above) in my minds eye while I am treating. The meridians are channels/pathways of energy which begin or end in the feet and hands, and promoting a smooth and balanced flow of energy through these channels has a wonderful effect on our health and wellbeing.

 

Give your feet a treat!

I offer Reflexology treatments by appointment in central Exeter, and home visits throughout Mid Devon, including Crediton, Tiverton, Silverton, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Witheridge, Cowley, Tedburn, Bow  – and everywhere in between

 

Reflexology – What To Expect

Thinking about visiting a Reflexologist?

Devon based therapist, Nikki Baker MAR, introduces this popular therapy and explains what to expect when you have a reflexology treatment.

Reflexology Exeter DevonReflexology is a wonderfully relaxing form of foot massage, which not only helps us release stress, but also has many health benefits too. Reflexology approaches health and wellbeing by looking at the person as a whole, and seeking to create the optimum conditions for the body to repair, re-balance and heal itself.

When you go for your first Reflexology treatment the Reflexologist will take a history of your health and wellbeing and will invite you to talk to them about what it was that prompted you to book the treatment. People visit a Reflexologist for many reasons….

  • You may need to manage your stress levels better – perhaps for the sake of your health.
  • You may want to try a holistic approach to raise your energy levels, reduce pain, improve sleep or tackle a specific health problem.
  • You may be feeling overstretched, run down, or coping with difficult circumstances.

Once the Reflexologist has explained a little about the treatment, you will be invited to remove your shoes and socks and lay on a massage couch, perhaps covered by a blanket, and maybe with a bolster under your knees to allow the lower back to rest comfortably. It’s important that you feel really comfortable, so that you can fully relax.

Reflexology Exeter DevonThe treatment itself is a specific form of foot massage which stimulates reflex points across the feet. The main thing to say about this is that it is not tickly (or painful). People often worry about this! In fact, the treatment is extremely relaxing. So much so, that you may even fall asleep – which is absolutely fine!

People can and do experience such a wonderful variety of health and wellbeing improvements while receiving a course of Reflexology treatments. As a therapist, my focus is on helping the client to get out of the ‘stress response’ (fight or flight), and on stimulating or sedating reflex points that that promote health, balance, repair and emotional wellbeing.

After the treatment the therapist will advise you to drink plenty of water and to take it easy, in order to get the greatest benefit from the treatment. You may well feel quite different to when you arrived. Deep relaxation shifts us into new thinking patterns, and you may feel very calm and peaceful. My clients also frequently say that they sleep very well after a treatment! If I had to sum up Reflexology? I’d say…

Reflexology is a wonderfully relaxing experience, in a safe environment, where you will be able to let go of stress and allow your body to shift from ‘stress response’ to ‘healing response’.

I offer Reflexology treatments by appointment in central Exeter, and home visits throughout Mid Devon, including Crediton, Tiverton, Silverton, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Witheridge, Cowley, Tedburn, Bow  – and everywhere in between!

Images courtesy of Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

My Top 5 Flower Remedies for Mums

Flower remedies are such a powerful way to work with our emotions. I often see my Kinesiology clients make big emotional shifts when they find the right remedy. I use them myself lots too. Which got me thinking…There are certain remedies which lend themselves very nicely to the challenges of parenthood! I thought I’d share my top 5 flower remedies for Mums!

Flower remedies help us when we get ‘stuck’ in an emotional rut. As a vibrational remedy, they cause stuck energy to shift, and emotions to transform. 

Impatiens: This is a Bach remedy and it’s great for those days when patience completely escapes you! You feel easily irritated and totally frustrated with the kids and others around you – especially if they are not doing what you say or being very slow. You feel distinctly fidgety and restless, wanting everything done NOW! Your temper may flare too, although it quickly subsides.

I think my experience of motherhood should be sponsored by this remedy! It is great for slowing you down a little. As you feel yourself relaxing your perspective shifts; it feels very much like ‘zooming out’ on your scenario. You regain your ability to see the big picture and are able to reconnect with your calm, diplomatic and good humoured self. A very calming remedy.

Oak: This is another Bach remedy and it’s for those times when fatigue overwhelms you and your strength wanes. You keep struggling on, feeling that you have no alternative. After all, you are the one who has to stay strong, the one that everyone is relying on – and ordinarily you are very capable, strong and reliable. So you keep plodding on, probably feeling quite stressed, and as your energy dips, perhaps a bit depressed too.

I think any parent will recognise this scenario and that feeling that there is no solution because you just have to keep going. I feel that Oak helps to break that cycle in two ways. Firstly it helps to restore that core of energy inside you, which has a very grounding affect. Secondly, and perhaps as a result of feeling stronger and more grounded, it brings about a feeling that it would be OK to stop, and take a break once in a while. A very grounding and restorative remedy.

Five Corners: This is a Bush remedy and it is great for tackling self esteem issues. The way we perceive ourselves can be such a fluid thing, and most women will recognise that feeling of sinking into a spell of low self esteem. It feels as though our outgoing colourful selves do an about turn and retreat into hiding. That pervading feeling that we are just ‘not attractive’ takes control. We choose drab clothes, darker colours, and we hide within.

This lovely remedy comes from a vibrant, sparky shrub that very confidently shows its beauty! It helps us get back in touch with that very strong centre inside ourselves. From here rises a powerful, confident energy, and our life force flows again. We recognise our own innate beauty and it shines in our spirit, our eyes, our posture, and our energy. A very empowering essence.

Hornbeam: This is a Bach remedy and I call it the ‘Monday morning remedy’! It is great for that ‘groundhog day’ feeling that you sometimes get when there are small children around, and endless routines overwhelm your usual sense of energy and joy for the day. It’s a feeling that can grind you to a halt, creating inertia and procrastination and maybe even causing you to doubt your ability to face the daily tasks – even though you always do.

This remedy has a wonderful ability to break through that very dense, heavy energy and bring about instead a wonderful vibrant, lively and joyous feeling. Handy for a day of childcare! It also seems to bring a clarity and purpose to our thoughts and actions. A very energising and uplifting remedy.

Red Chestnut: This Bach remedy is for those times when our natural anxiety for our little ones becomes overwhelming. It may even cause natural worries to appear magnified. Most mums will recognise this feeling – it is an intense worry, maybe even a fear for their wellbeing, that takes you over and often you just can’t shake it off. You know it’s not helping, and worry that your children will pick up on your anxiety.

Red Chestnut frees us from the overwhelm of these feelings. Of course we may have concerns for our children, but our natural concern is balanced, and comes from a place of calm. Our children pick up on our confidence and we are able to calmly support them and provide the security they need to handle their own troubles. 

Some tips for using flower remedies

Finding the right remedy: Basically, you’ll know when you find the right one. You’ll recognise the description perfectly! And yet, another day you’ll read the very same description and it will mean nothing to you! (recommended book for beginners)  If you have a friendly local Kinesiologist 😉 you can get them to help you find a remedy using intuitive choice or muscle testing. This is a great way of getting feedback from your body/unconscious mind and can be very insightful.

How to take the remedy: Pop a few drops of your chosen remedy in a cup of water and sip it throughout the day. The flower remedies will work their magic while you get on with your day. I often feel that the key with flower remedies is little and often. It’s a vibrational remedy. So immerse yourself in the vibration!

xxx

Explore Flower Remedies through Kinesiology. Appointments available in central Exeter, Devon.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY

30 Everyday Ways To Use Essential Oils

A few friends have told me recently that, much as they love their essential oils, they never use them. I like to enjoy my favourite oils at every given opportunity! So I’ve jotted down 30 ideas to inspire my friends to use their favourites more often. Hope they inspire you too.

  1. Vacuum cleaning. Pop a few drops of your chosen oil on the filter of your vacuum cleaner (the one where the warm air blows out) and you’ll scent the home while you clean.
  2. Washing up. Add a few drops of something refreshing to your warm washing up water (Keep Grapefruit, Neroli or Lemon oils by the kitchen sink). It will freshen up the kitchen after cooking too.
  3. Pre-bath body oil. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to 30ml of base oil (sweet almond oil or similar) and apply to your body before sinking into a warm bath. Don’t slip! The warmth will encourage the nourishing oils to sink into your skin as you relax. My favourites are Rose, Jasmine  or Rose Geranium.
  4. Mountain Breeze Spray. I can’t find the original source for this wonderful spray blend but it’s a great spray for freshening up a room, relieving nausea or sickness and is amazing if you feel hungover! Make up a spray mist bottle and keep it in the bathroom cabinet. 3 drops of Lavender, 2 drops of Peppermint and 1 drop of Clary Sage in 100ml water.
  5. Spider deterrent. Add some peppermint oil to water and spray around skirting boards, doorways, window frames etc. With any luck the spiders will choose someone else’s house!
  6. Car diffuser. You can buy a car diffuser that plugs in to your cigarette lighter or you can put a drop of oil on a cotton wool ball and secrete it near a hot air vent. Try one drop of Rosemary oil to keep you alert on long journeys.
  7. Travel cleaner. You know that ‘icky’ feeling you get when you’re staying away from home and the bathroom or kitchen seems… well, ‘icky’? Try taking some oils with you to wipe over the surfaces and freshen things up a bit. I like Sweet Marjoram or Lemon Eucalyptus.      Tea Tree, Lemon, or Lavender would also be good as they have antibacterial properties.
  8. Anxiety attacks. We all know that scents can trigger memories, right? So why not make use of that? If you’re prone to anxiety then keep some of your favourite calming oil in your handbag. Use it when you meditate or soak in a relaxing bath to create a strong association with peace and relaxation – then it’ll really help to calm you if you have an anxiety attack. Clever eh? Try Chamomile German, Sandalwood or Frankincense.
  9. Carpet cleaner. Mix a few drops of your chosen oil into a tub of bicarbonate of soda. Sprinkle the bicarb over the carpets and leave for a few hours or overnight. Vacuum. The bicarb absorbs bad smells. The oil scents your home with nicer ones! (Good for car carpets and upholstery too)
  10. Bites and stings. Lavender. Need I say more?! It is one of the few oils that can be used directly on the skin without dilution so pop a bottle in your handbag. We try it on everything, and it often helps!
  11. Burns. This is a controversial one. Never put any oil on a serious burn. For serious burns follow first aid common sense and use cold water to draw the heat out from the skin. Having said that, I have personally found that for more insignificant burns (the kind you get while cooking and try to ignore!) a little dab of Lavender is very effective in taking the *sting* away. Try it on unbroken skin – at your own discretion!
  12. Mouse deterrent. Mice hate Peppermint too! Drop it on cotton wool balls and leave it where you suspect they may be. With any luck they’ll pack their bags and move… next-door maybe?
  13. Radiator diffuser. Chuck out those horrible artificially scented room fragrancers! Instead, put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton wool ball and pop it behind your radiator. Easy.
  14. Insomnia. The classic oils for insomnia are Chamomile Roman, Lavender, Sandalwood, Clary Sage…perhaps blended with a little Neroli? I also love Benzoin, Rose and Jasmine. It’s an individual choice though. Try relaxing with different oils in a hot bath before bed. If they relax you (you’re looking for that lovely soporific effect!), you could also put a few drops on a tissue and tuck it under your pillow. Sleep tight!
  15. Nit deterrent! If there are little people in your life who are exposed to nits try putting a few drops of tea tree oil in the family shampoo. It won’t get rid of them if you’ve already got them. But it’s a very effective deterrent as they REALLY don’t like it!
  16. Bath. This is the obvious one I suppose. But it’s a great time to practice mixing your oils. Top, middle and base notes – have a play!
  17. Kitchen surfaces. If you like to avoid using harsh chemicals and antibacterial products then essential oils are for you! Many have gentle antibacterial properties and leave behind a great fresh smell. Use a few drops in a bowl of warm water and a good eco cloth to wipe down the surfaces. Try Lemon, Tea tree, Melissa, or anything else that takes your fancy!
  18. Festive scents. Clove, cinnamon and orange are my favourite Christmas scents. Drop some on a tissue and seal inside a plastic bag with some pine cones. Leave somewhere warm for 2-3 hrs. Then use the scented pine cones in your Christmas decorations!
  19. Ant deterrent. Guess what? Ants hate Peppermint too! You know what to do!
  20. Perfume. Every found yourself choking in someone else’s perfume cloud? There are some strange scents out there right?! If you’re going for a more subtle effect on a night out then try adding a drop of one of your favourite essential oils to some base oil (sweet almond oil or similar) and apply it sparingly to your neck, chest and arms. It will make your skin look healthy and glowing too. Try Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang… or any of your favourite blends.
  21. The Child Calmer! Babies and children respond quickly to essential oils and other remedies, so use sparingly and refer to your book for safety measures. The classic soother for most little ones is Chamomile Roman. Have it around at their most chilled times – before bed, in the bath, at naptime. That way you’ll create a lovely association and you can use it to help soothe them if they are unwell or very upset.
  22. Meditation. If you meditate, practice yoga or enjoy any other calming rituals then consider using an essential oil to enhance your practice. Certain oils are useful in raising vibration and helping us to ‘tune in’. Try Frankincense, Patchouli, or Sandalwood and use an oil burner to diffuse them into your practice space.
  23. Period pains. A warm bath with Clary Sage is heaven, but if life’s not going to allow you to climb in to a bath and switch off for a few hours then try 1 drop of Clary Sage in 30ml base oil and massage into your tummy.
  24. Studying. If you’re studying then using oils like Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemon or Vetivert will really help to promote clarity and alertness. Plus, you can pop some on a tissue and take it into the exam with you to jog your memory.
  25. Furniture polish. Olive oil with a few drops of lemon essential oil. A great nourishing polish for wood with a good scent too.
  26. Greenfly spray. Again, if you want to avoid using chemicals this is a great one. Simply put a few drops of Peppermint, Lavender or Cedarwood into a spray bottle with some water and give them a good soaking. They REALLY don’t like it *cue evil snigger*!
  27. Tics and pets. Now, you have to be very careful with this one as you don’t want to get Thyme oil directly on the skin (and definitely not near eyes or mucus membranes). However we have used it with great success on our cats when they have come home with a tic. Use a cotton wool bud and smear some Thyme oil onto the tic (without getting it on the pet’s skin or letting them rub at it). The tic will simply shrivel up and drop off! So would I if someone put Thyme oil on my back – ouch!
  28. Insect repellent. Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavender and Mint are the classic oils for repelling insects, but be aware that you need to find the right repellant for where you are.  We found that Lavender worked better against the sandflies in New Zealand, but we always use Citronella when camping in the UK. Experiment, depending on where you are going.
  29. Bathroom cleaner. A few drops of Lemon-eucalyptus or Tea Tree can do wonders to freshen up a bathroom. Use a few drops in the toilet or with your eco cleaning cloths.
  30. Wash the floors. You know how the house feels different once you’ve cleaned the floors? This is a great quick fix for lifting that mucky heavy feeling from a building. Wash the floors with your eco mop and pop a few drops of essential oil in the water. Try something refreshing like Lemon, Peppermint or Bergamot. Otherwise try whatever you feel drawn to.  You get the idea… be creative!

So I hope that has inspired you to get your favourite essential oils out of the cupboard and really enjoy them! I’ve not been precise about amounts or measurements because they will vary for different oils. Just make sure you have your book (Recommend: Aromatherapy for Home Use by Christine Westwood £1.99) around and always check you are using them safely and appropriately* – but otherwise be creative! Try different things and maybe even have a go at blending different oils together.

Have fun!

xxx

We are delighted to say that we can now sell you essential oils through www.pureremedies.co.uk!

*Most oils need to be diluted and some are not appropriate for use on the skin at all. Some oils are not suitable for children, babies, pregnant women or people with epilepsy. Please double check using a reliable book (as recommended) before use.

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at www.freedigitalphotos.net