I have provided a brief summary of the treatments I provide in order to help you think about what treatment might be most suitable for you.
The term ‘holistic‘ comes from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. The holistic approach takes a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual experiences into account and works to facilitate physical and mental relaxation and healing. The aim of holistic massage is to restore balance within the body and mind and promote a sense of well-being.
A variety of techniques may be used, such as stroking, kneading, draining or pressing the soft tissues of the body. These techniques relax muscles, increase oxygen supply in the blood, release toxins from muscle tissues and aid lymphatic drainage. Cultures from all around the globe have used massage for centuries to relieve pain and anxiety, stimulate circulation and tonify systems within the body. Holistic massage can be used to help the body rediscover its natural balance and healing mechanisms.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense areas of the body, such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.
Some of the same massage strokes are used as in holistic massage therapy but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain. Where there is chronic muscle tension or injury there are usually adhesions, which are bands of painful, rigid tissue in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation, limit movement and cause inflammation and pain.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions in order to restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles. These techniques are helpful in reducing pain and discomfort in the body and help to break down adhesions and scar tissue in the muscles caused by long term tension, poor posture or injury.
Reflexology is a holistic therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from new-born babies to the elderly and frail. Treatment is generally of the feet, although hands can be worked on also. Clients sit on a reclining chair and remove their shoes and socks. The therapist uses their hands to apply pressure to the feet, lower leg and sometimes to the hands. The experience is usually deeply relaxing.
Reflexology is based on the Chinese principle that there are points on the feet and hands – known as reflexes. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet and these connect with various parts of the body. Recent research, (Manzanares J), suggests that ill-health or imbalance in an organ or area of the body manifests in the feet in a complex of excess nervous tissues. The special finger and thumb movements used in reflexology help to untangle these neural adhesions and restore the body’s ability to heal itself and re-establish homeostasis.
Benefits of reflexology
The short-term benefits for the body include: release of toxins, increase in circulation of blood and lymph, relaxation of tense muscles, improved breathing, calming of the mind and a re-balancing of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The longer-term benefits of reflexology tend to be a sense of greater relaxation, balance and well-being. These may be experienced at the first treatment, or make take longer to become apparent. The signs of improvement that people tend to notice are: improved sleep, increased ability to manage stress, greater energy, a stronger immune system and a greater sense of balance and health.
Reflexology can be helpful in speeding recovery after injury or surgery and may help with the symptoms of a range of different conditions including headaches, poor digestion, stress, anxiety, bladder conditions, high blood pressure, menstrual difficulties and menopause.
Reflexology is not an alternative to seeking medical advice, but can work alongside other medical treatments.
Reflexology can support women during all stages of their pregnancy journey from pre-conception to post-birth. It can help to calm and relax mind and body, reduce pregnancy-related symptoms and support the woman in her preparation for birth and the arrival of her baby.
What does treatment involve?
Pregnancy reflexology treatment will include an initial consultation which will consider the woman’s health, diet and lifestyle and the implications this may have for her treatment. It will be important to find out about the progress of her pregnancy and any medical issues or symptoms that she may be experiencing.
Treatment can begin at the start of the second trimester when the pregnancy is established. It can help promote relaxation and increased energy as well as supporting the woman with feelings of stress and anxiety. There is some evidence that Reflexology is linked with more a positive experience of labour and birth. (Valiani M., 2010)*
Reflexology can also address any particular concerns and may help to alleviate common pregnancy conditions such as:
- Morning sickness
- Backache and sciatica
- Sleep problems
- General aches and pains
Reflexology may not be appropriate if there is a history of premature labour, severe hypertension, placenta praevia or recent vaginal bleeding. If you suspect any problems in your pregnancy it is important to contact your doctor or midwife.
Reflexology For Priming Labour from 37 weeks onwards.
Although there is no hard evidence that reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it can help the woman’s body to prepare for labour and promote relaxation at a time when anxiety levels are often high. Regular treatments at this time can leave women feeling more confident, calmer and better prepared for labour.
Pregnancy and birth involve massive physical, hormonal and emotional changes and Reflexology can help to restore emotional balance and boost recovery after the birth. The first few weeks of a baby’s life are likely to be tiring, demanding and sometimes stressful. Facilitating relaxation and helping the woman’s body to re-balance and heal will enable many mothers to feel more calm and at ease in their new role with their baby. If women can’t get time to have a treatment on their own, this is something that they may do whilst cradling and feeding their baby
* A recent research study has shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour and reduced the length of the first stage of labour. (Valiani M et al – 2010 “Reviewing the effect of Reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour of primiparous women” Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15 Dec p302-310)
Reflexology Diploma in Preconception, Pregnancy and Post Natal Care with Louise Keet from the London School of Reflexology, 2019.
Massage in pregnancy can be a wonderful experience. It can help a woman to relax and it provides support at a time when her body is going through a period of massive hormonal and physical change. Massage treatment can relieve aches and pains and also support the woman emotionally so that she can feel more relaxed and at ease. It provides an opportunity for the woman to focus on her body and her baby: and to unwind and prepare.
Benefits of massage
Massage often begins in the second trimester when the pregnancy is more established. Swedish massage is the recommended method as it relaxes muscle tension and facilitates lymphatic and blood circulation. Pregnancy massage can reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression, as well as relieving muscle aches, sciatica and swollen joints. It improves cardiovascular health and research suggests that it can improve labour outcomes and the health of the new-born baby.
Body position for treatment
Many professionals consider the best massage position for a woman in the later stages of pregnancy is side-lying as this avoids placing pressure on the vena cava which supplies blood to the heart. Cushions and blankets are used to support the belly and to help the woman to feel as comfortable as possible.
It is important to seek care from a trained prenatal massage therapist as they will understand how to position you safely and prevent strain to the uterine ligaments. There are also some health conditions which may mean that massage is not appropriate or may need to be modified. Contraindications include: diabetes, extreme morning sickness, pregnancy induced hyper tension, (PIH), pre-eclampsia, previous premature labour, severe swelling or high blood pressure. If you suffer from any of these conditions you will need to seek medical consent for massage from your medical practitioner or midwife.
Trained with the London School of Massage, “Massage in Pregnancy and Labour”. This course is accredited by the FHT, (Federation of Holistic Therapists) and the CThA, (Complementary Therapists Association).
Indian Head Massage
Indian head massage is based on the Ayurvedic system of healing which has been practiced in India for over a thousand years The aim of Indian head massage is to release stress that has accumulated in the tissues, muscles and joints of the head, face, neck and shoulders.
What does it involve? The client remains fully clothed and sits in a chair for the treatment. The therapist uses a range of different movements including application of deep kneading and friction movements over the neck, shoulder and scalp areas. Some of the strokes are stimulating and others are soothing and relaxing. Pressure points on the face are also used. The session will usually last from thirty to forty-five minutes.
What is it good for? Indian head massage is especially good for relieving stress, tension, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, migraine and sinusitis. It is a deeply calming and relaxing experience which likely to leave you feeling energised and better able to concentrate.
There are a number of conditions where Indian head massage should be avoided, and so it is important to discuss your health history with the therapist. If you have had any major illness or surgery it is always advisable to seek the advice of your GP or regular medical practitioner prior to treatment.
Seated Acupressure Chair Massage
Seated acupressure chair massage is a gentle and non-invasive treatment which is suitable for most people. Clients remain clothed and relax on a special portable massage chair. The treatment lasts 30 minutes.
How it works: Pressure points on the head, neck, shoulders, spine and lower back are stimulated to improve the flow of energy throughout the body and balance and strengthen the body’s muscular, circulatory and nervous systems and leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed and energised.
Benefits: Seated acupressure massage works to improve mental focus and concentration and is excellent for relieving stress and tension and for loosening knotted and tight muscles. It can help with conditions such as: backache, repetitive strain injury, headaches, migraines, fatigue, eyestrain, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and stiffness in the shoulders and neck.
Is it suitable for everyone? Seated acupressure massage is suitable for most people. However, it would be important to let me know if you have any recent fractures or sprains, or if you suffer from any long-standing medical conditions. (Treatment would be unsuitable for those with acute musculoskeletal conditions, severe cases of Osteoporosis or Thrombosis).