Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Make Your House Smell Like Christmas!

Festive Essential Oils
Photo by just4you.
Pine, Cinnamon, Clove, Bay leaves, Nutmeg, Juniper Berries, Lime, Orange, Lemon, Apple – these are all aromas that I associate with Christmas.

Essential Oils are available in many of these festive aromas (except turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts, and the like!) and can be used with a fragrance ring, oil burner, or diffuser.

My favourite winter spice blend is Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, and Lime.

Using aromatherapy essential oils around your home can add to the Christmas cheer and get everyone in the festive mood.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Using Affirmations for Healing

Using Affirmations for Healing
Photo by place light.
When you are ill, stressed, or in pain it is very easy to become negative about things improving, especially if you have been feeling this way for a long time. Using affirmations during these times can help you feel more positive and can even help you along your healing journey.

Affirmations are positive statements that describe a desired situation, for example, “It is easy for me to relax completely”. They allow you to consciously harness the power of positive thinking counteracting any negative thoughts and beliefs that you may have.

Below is a list of example affirmations for healing.

I am healthy - I am stress free - I love and care for my body and it cares for me - I am free from pain - I am filled with vitality and health - I am in control of my health and well-being - I am healthy in all aspects of my being - I am filled with energy to do all the daily activities in my life - My mind is at peace - I accept healing of my mind, body and spirit

Affirmations should be repeated many times (around 20 is a good guideline but you can repeat them as many times and as often as you like). This helps to impress the positive words on to the subconscious mind. Always believe that what you are saying is true and is happening now in the present. The more you believe, the stronger the affirmation becomes.

You could try repeating them first thing in the morning and again at night when you are in bed. Another great time for you to use healing affirmations is during a holistic treatment or when you are relaxing in a hot bath. You could incorporate them in to drawings or pictures and display around your house, write them in your journal, and even use them in conjunction with meditation and visualisation techniques – close your eyes and see yourself in your mind’s eye as a healthy, vibrant person, free from pain and stress, at the same time as repeating your affirmations.

Sometimes results happen straight away, but more often than not, it takes longer for the affirmations to take effect. Sometimes it might take days, weeks, months, or even longer, depending on your goal, how long you have held the negative thought or belief, how often you repeat the affirmations, and your desire to change.
You might like to use one of the affirmations above or you could even write your own. If you are going to write your own affirmations, make sure that you use the present tense, use the most positive words, and make them as short and precise as you can.

I regularly use a set of affirmations which stem from the Reiki precepts which I find very helpful – “Just for today, I am free from anger, I am free from worry, I am humble, I am honest, I am compassionate towards myself and others.”

Now you know the basics of what affirmations are, how they work, and how to write them you can apply them to other areas of your life – Affirmations for love, joy, relationships, daily living, spirituality, career, prosperity, forgiveness, stress relief – the list is endless!

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Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Wonder of Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm
Photo by Robbie1.
I first came across Tiger Balm a few years ago when holidaying in Thailand. I purchased the white version. I never used it while I was there but I wish I had as it would have stopped the itching of all the mosquito bites I had!

I haven’t stopped using it since I came back though. It has so many uses – a lot more than it says on the pot. I carry it with me everywhere.

There are two varieties of Tiger Balm available – white and red. Each has the same ingredients but the amount of each differs. The red version also contains Cassia. Tiger Balm Red is the original product and is better for stronger pain. Tiger Balm White is a gentler product but is still very effective.

Tiger Balm White has the following ingredients: - 8% menthol, 11% camphor, 16% dementholised mint oil, 13% cajuput, and 1.5% clove bud. Tiger Balm Red has the following ingredients: 10% menthol, 11% camphor, 6% dementholised mint oil, 7% cajuput, 5% clove bud, and 5% cassia. Some of these oils are used in aromatherapy.

Let’s look at these oils individually.

Menthol. It reduces itching giving relief from insect bites and stings. It is an analgesic so it can be used to relieve minor aches and pains such as muscle cramps, sprains, headaches and similar conditions. It is a decongestant helping with colds, coughs, respiratory problems and sinus conditions.

Mint. Because of its antiseptic and expectorant properties, it is beneficial in the treatment of colds and flu, insect bites and stings, asthma, and other respiratory problems. It is ideal for treating headaches, relieving nausea, motion sickness, and dizzy spells. It is an antispasmodic making it useful for cramps, muscle spasms, and tension.

Cajuput. Like the menthol and mint, cajuput oil cools down the body and helps with infections and fever. It is also a decongestant and an antiseptic helping with respiratory conditions. Not only can it give relief from itchy insect bites but it can also be used to ward off insects. It is helpful in skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Due to its analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-neuralgic properties, in can be useful in treating muscular aches and pains, gout, muscle spasms, cramp, headaches, period pain, joint pain, sciatica, neuralgia, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Clove Bud. Clove bud oil has very similar properties to the oils already mentioned. It is an analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-neuralgic and an insect repellent. It can also be used for acne, bruises, burns and cuts, and keeping infections at bay. It helps lift depression, improve memory, and helps lethargy. It is excellent for toothache – massage the outside of your jaw with some clove oil or tiger balm to ease the pain.

Cassia (also known as false Cinnamon). It is very beneficial for arthritis, rheumatism and other muscle and joint aches and pains. It can also help with fever, coughs and colds, and other respiratory problems. Cassia is found in the Tiger Balm Red.

When these essential oils are combined in Tiger Balm (or if you blended them yourself) they create a synergistic blend enhancing their properties especially the ones which are common to all the oils, for example, decongestant and analgesic.

Tiger Balm is for external use only and should not to be taken orally. Avoid contact with the eyes. It should not to be used on children under 2 years of age.

Tiger Balm contains no animal products and is not tested on animals. So no it DOESN’T contain Tiger!

So as you can see, Tiger Balm can help with a wide range of ailments from insect bites, to headaches, colds and flu to muscular aches and pains.

For further information on Tiger Balm, visit the official
UK Tiger Balm website.

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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches
Photo by pvera.
Most people will suffer from a tension headache at some point in their life. But for some they experience these headaches on a daily basis.

This type of headache can last from half an hour to several days and often grows in severity throughout the day. The pain can range from moderate to severe but is not usually accompanied with other symptoms like a migraine is.

Tension headaches can be caused by emotional tension, stress and anxiety; physical tension in the neck, back of the skull, and the scalp; and triggers, such as caffeine, tiredness, bright light, etc.

Here are a few things that can help with tension headaches.
- Compresses. Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to some hot or cold water. Place a small towel in to the water, ring out the excess water, fold in half and place on your forehead, and/or neck. Try using a gel eye mask which can be cooled in the fridge before placing over your eyes.
- Essential Oils. Peppermint, roman chamomile, lavender and eucalyptus are all effective essential oils for relieving headaches. Place 4-6 drops of your chosen oil in an oil burner, add a drop to a tissue and inhale, or add 5 drops to 10ml of massage carrier oil and massage in to your forehead, temples, and back of neck.
- Massage. A professional massage from a trained therapist can help with relaxation, stress relief and target any tense and painful muscles which could be contributing to your headaches. I would recommend either an Indian Head Massage or an Aromatherapy back, face and scalp massage.
- Exercise. Exercise is good for the mind, not just the body. Exercise provides a way for the body to release tension and pent-up frustration therefore helping with stress relief.
- Posture. Keep an eye on your posture when you are sat at your desk or at home in front of the TV as poor posture can put strain on the muscles in your neck and shoulders which can contribute to tension headaches. Also, when reading or using a computer, ensure there is adequate lighting so you do not strain your eyes.
- Meditation. There is a wide variety of meditation CDs available on the market today and these are a great way to spend some time relaxing and looking after yourself.

If you are unsure of what is causing the tension headaches, it might be useful to keep a diary to see if any patterns emerge. You may then be able to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and avoid any triggers which may be causing the headaches.

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Monday, 15 September 2008

Water – How Much Should You Drink?

Daily Water Intake
Photo by Chris2.
The recommended amount of water intake per day seems to vary quite a lot from source to source often making it a little confusing for everyone.

The body gets its water from three sources:
1. From drinks
2. From food, especially fruit and vegetables
3. As a by-product of chemical reactions within the body.

Adults need 2-3 litres of water per day to maintain a healthy body. Of this, approximately 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) must be obtained directly from drinks such as water, fruit juice, herbal tea, milk, etc.

If you are physically active or the weather is hot or humid, more water is generally needed.

Caffeinated drinks CAN contribute toward your daily water intake. Although caffeine is a diuretic, drinks containing caffeine will not result in dehydration if drunk in moderation. It is recommended that you do not consume more than 400mg caffeine in a day (3-5 cups of coffee depending on strength). This figure is less (300mg or 2-3 cups of coffee) for women during pregnancy.

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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Essential Oil of the Week: Clary Sage

Botanical Name: Salvia sclarea

Aroma type: Herbaceous

Note: Top

I have to be honest that I really disliked the smell of this oil when I first started training in Aromatherapy. I thought it smelt like hay! Over the years it has grown on me and it is now one of my favourite oils. Not because I now like the smell of it but because it is such a beneficial oil and has so many uses.

Clary Sage was known in the Middle Ages as 'Oculus Christi' - the 'Eye of Christ' and was a highly regarded medicine. It was also known for its ability to heal eye problems.

Its main properties are antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue (regulates menstruation), euphoric, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), sedative, uterine tonic, and nerve tonic.

Clary Sage is a necessary essential oil for every woman. It contains a hormone-like compound similar to oestrogen that regulates hormonal balance making it an excellent oil for menstrual cramps, PMT, heavy periods, irregular/lack of periods, endometriosis, labour pains, post-natal depression, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. No woman is too young or too old to appreciate the properties of this oil.

Men - don’t feel left out though as Clary Sage can be beneficial for you too. It can help with exhaustion, depression, digestive problems, respiratory problems, muscular aches and pains, migraine, high blood pressure, nervous tension, and insomnia.

It blends especially well with bergamot, cypress, lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, jasmine, pine, chamomile, geranium, juniper, and ylang ylang.

Clary sage oil is a strong sedative and should be avoided when consuming alcohol, as it can exaggerate the effects of alcohol. It is also advisable to avoid before driving or other activities requiring a high level of focus and concentration. It is a non-toxic, non-sensitizing essential oil, but in large doses it can cause headaches.

In many textbooks, clary sage is mentioned as being not a suitable oil to use in conjunction with the contraceptive pill or HRT. This is because clary sage is said to have oestrogen-like properties. However, in Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs, it says that it is very unlikely that the essential oils used in a massage would interfere with these as the hormonal effect that the essential oils have is likely to be far weaker than that of the contraceptive pill or HRT.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Skills Update

At the weekend, I attended a two-day course in Advanced Massage Techniques with TEACH (Training & Education in Alternative & Complementary Health) Therapy in Wales. The course was run by Joanne Perkins who is a registered Osteopath.

The course taught me how to assess whether a client has any postural problems such as scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis or pelvic imbalances; how to assess the spine for flexibility, tenderness, and mobility; exercises and stretches to help with postural problems and back pain; deep tissue massage techniques; and articulation techniques.

The course covered various muscular-skeletal conditions such as sciatica, arthritis, frozen shoulder, whiplash, slipped disks, etc and how to treat them with massage techniques, exercises, and stretches.

It was very informative and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait to go on the follow up course next year.

Information about courses run by TEACH therapy can be found on their website.

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Monday, 8 September 2008

Abdominal Massage for Menstrual Cramps

Abdominal Massage for Menstrual Cramps
Photo by hypertypo.
It is estimated that menstrual cramps affect more than 50% of women. The severity of this type of cramp can vary from one woman to the next and can range from mild to severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of a short duration while severe menstrual cramps can be quite debilitating and often interfere with a woman's regular activities for several days just before and/or during their period. Of the 50% of women who suffer with menstrual cramps, up to 15% would describe their menstrual cramps as severe.

Some women find that abdominal massage can help reduce the pain associated with menstrual cramps.

In this post, I will outline a basic abdominal self-massage routine for you to use.

Abdominal massage can be carried out while sitting, standing, or lying down. I personally use this self-massage routine while laying down as I find it more comfortable and relaxing. I would recommend placing a small pillow under your knees to take the strain off your lower back which can also be quite painful during menstruation.

The following massage routine is very simple to do and only takes 5 minutes! Carry out daily starting a couple days before your period and then continuing throughout to gain maximum benefit, or just use it when you are in pain.

Pour a small amount of massage oil into the palm of your hands and rub your hands together. You only need a 50p-size amount (approx. 1tsp) of oil in the palm of your hand to carry out the massage but this will depend on your size and your skin type.

Place the palm of your dominant hand (left hand if you are left-handed or right hand if you are right-handed) above your belly button and the other hand on top. At this point I like to take three deep breaths to help me relax and center myself.

Slowly rub your stomach with both hands in a clockwise direction starting from the lower right of your abdomen for 20-30 times. The clockwise direction is synchronous with the digestive pathway of your colon. Move your hands below your rib cage on either side of your torso and massage in a downward direction towards the groin 5-6 times. Finish by kneading the abdomen in a circular motion 3-4 times, again in a clockwise direction.

You may also find it beneficial to follow the abdominal massage with some massage around the lower back and hips.

Place both hands on your hips with your thumbs at the front and fingers facing each other on either side of the spine. Use your fingers to massage in a circular motion around the hips, across the tops of the buttocks, and around the sacrum area. Change your hands over so that your thumbs are now at the back. Use your thumbs to massage your lower back in the same circular motion as before. With thumbs placed either side of the spine, slide the thumbs outward toward the hips applying pressure as you go. Do this all the way down to the top of the buttocks.

Essential oils can also be beneficial for menstrual cramps. Basil, Clary Sage, Fennel, Geranium, Juniper, Marjoram, Cypress, and Peppermint are all excellent oils to use for this.

I would recommend blending 9 drops Clary Sage, 8 drops Geranium, and 8 drops Cypress with 50ml of Sweet Almond or Grape Seed carrier oil. Use this therapeutic blend to massage your abdomen and lower back. You will probably find that this amount will last you throughout your period.

Always perform a patch test before using the blend on a large area of the skin and body, especially if you have sensitive skin. Simply place a drop of the blend on the inside of your forearm and leave on over night. If any redness or itching occurs (this may happen instantly or appear the next day), immediately wash the area to remove the oils and discontinue use.

Abdominal massage is also beneficial for other ailments such as bloating, IBS, constipation, colitis, endometriosis, sluggish digestion, and stomach ache to name but a few. It helps tone the muscles of the abdomen and also relieves any tension held there.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Relieving Muscle Tension

With this technique you can learn to recognise where you are holding tension in your muscles and how to relieve it.

Find a quiet place to do this exercise away from distractions – unplug the phone, let people know that you want some quite time for 10-20 minutes. You might like to play a relaxation CD. Lie down on your bed, the sofa or on the floor. Use a pillow or small cushion under your head and neck and one under your knees to take any pressure off your lower back. Make sure you are lying comfortably with your legs slightly parted and your arms beside your body.

Take three deep breathes, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to 7 on the in breath and 11 on the out breath. Bring your focus to your hands. Clench them tightly for 5-10 seconds and then slowly release them for 20 seconds while breathing normally. Now bring your focus down to the toes on your left foot. Tighten or clench the muscles in your toes in the same way as you did with your hands and release. Then move up your left leg, across your pelvis, and up your right leg. Now come up the front of your body, working on the muscles of your stomach, chest and shoulders. Return to the lower back and work your way up the muscles of your back up to the shoulders. Relax your left shoulder, and work your way down the arm to your fingertips and then move on to the right arm. Now move up your neck, up the back of your head and over the top of the scalp, forehead and finally your face. Tighten and release all the muscles along the way.

As you relax each muscle, let go of any tension. If you feel any areas tensing up again, go back to that area and tighten and release again. You can also repeat this technique on areas that you notice have the most tension.

If you don’t think you will be able to remember the order outlined in this technique, you can start at your head and work down your body to the feet – it will work just as well. Alternatively, you could record the instructions on to a tape and play them back so that you can follow the order.

You can do this technique anywhere really – on the bus, in the queue at the supermarket, or sat at your desk. Not only does this technique help relax your muscles and helps with tension, but it also helps with relaxation and stress relief in general. If you did this exercise everyday, you would start to notice a real difference in how you feel. The more you practice relaxation, the more it will become second nature to you.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Types of Massage

Different Types of Massage
There are so many different types of massage available today and it seems like a new approach emerges every week. This often makes it very hard for people to choose which massage they would like and which therapist they should see. Many of the styles overlap with similar techniques, benefits and uses but each type also has its speciality. In this post I will briefly discuss the most popular massage techniques to help clarify things a little.

Swedish Massage. This is where all Western massage techniques started. Most therapists will learn Swedish massage techniques during their training. This type of massage can be both relaxing and stimulating depending on the clients needs.

Holistic Massage. Although this type of massage uses Swedish massage techniques, it is a lot lighter and slower and focuses on relaxation. It doesn’t use the tapotement techniques that Swedish massage does.

Deep Tissue Massage. This massage uses more pressure to access the deeper muscles and to help release tension and any knots that have built up in the muscles.

Sports/Remedial Massage. This type of massage is geared towards athletes and people who have injuries. It can help improve sporting performance, prevent and heal injuries. It uses stretching and mobilising techniques as well as the usual massage techniques.

Other special forms of massage. These include Aromatherapy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Trigger Point Massage, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and Myofascial Release. These may be used on their own or in conjunction with the massage types listed above.

The massage techniques listed above are Western techniques but there are also numerous Eastern massage techniques such as Thai Massage, Shiatsu, Tui Na, Ayurvedic, and Acupressure Massage.

Some therapists, like myself, have trained in various types of massage and will incorporate bits from each into their treatments and customise every treatment to suit the needs of their client.

When choosing which type of massage you should have, first think of your needs. Are you suffering from tension in your shoulders due to stress or sitting at a computer for long hours? Then try Swedish, Holistic or Deep Tissue Massage. If you are an athlete or do exercise regularly you might like to try Swedish, Deep tissue or Sports Massage. If you just need some relaxation try Swedish, Holistic or another special form of massage such as Aromatherapy or Hot Stone Massage.

It also comes down to personal preference so you might have to try out various types of massage before you find the one that you like and suits your needs the most.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Desk Jobs and Indian Head Massage

Desk Jobs and Indian Head Massage
Photo by cheetah100.
More and more people have desk jobs and work with computers than ever before. Many of us go to work day-in day-out and sit in front of a computer oblivious to the fact that the way our desk area is set up and the way we sit could be contributing to poor posture which may lead to back pain, neck and shoulder tension, poor circulation, headaches, eye-strain, wrist-strain and many more posture related aches and pains.

The muscles which are particularly affected by sitting at a computer are the two Sterno-cleidomastoid muscles which run down either side of the neck, the large Trapezius muscle that spans the neck, shoulders and back, and the two Deltoid muscles at the top of the shoulders.

One of the best ways to relieve muscle tension is massage. There are many different types of massage but one of the best for relieving muscle tension in the neck and shoulders is Indian Head Massage. Indian Head Massage is a non-invasive holistic treatment which involves massage of the upper back, upper arms, shoulders, neck, scalp and face.

Indian Head Massage can help to relieve pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders caused by poor posture and repetitive movements, increase joint mobility and flexibility in the neck and shoulder joints, relieve eyestrain and headaches caused by stress and staring at a computer screen, improve circulation, and reduce stress, tension and anxiety levels. To be effective, massage should be undertaken at least once a month.

Although Indian Head Massage and other massage techniques can help to relieve the symptoms associated with poor-posture, it is also important to correct the situation or behaviour which leads to the problem. It is well worth assessing your workstation and computer setup to ensure that it is suitable for you. You may find that your place of work offers ergonomic reviews or workstation assessments.

If you would like to find out more about Indian Head Massage and how it could help you, please visit the Balance Holistics website.

More information about workstation layout and working with VDUs can be found on the HSE website where you can download a free guidance leaflet.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Using Hot and Cold Compresses to Relieve Pain

Hot and cold compresses play an invaluable role in the management of pain. They are particularly useful in helping with acute pain, but are also beneficial if you are suffering with chronic pain. They can also help with stiffness and muscle tension.

Hot compresses cause widening of the blood vessels which in turn increases the blood flow in that area. It also draws heat to the surface, encouraging muscles to relax. The contrast of the cold compress causes the blood vessels on the surface to constrict causing blood to be pushed away from the congested and inflamed tissues. This blood carries away waste products and is replaced by fresh oxygenated blood which is full of nutrients which helps speed up the healing process. It also has an analgesic effect and helps reduce inflammation.

To make the compresses, you will need two small towels (when folded 2 or 3 times they need to be large enough to cover the painful area); two bowls; access to hot and cold water; and appropriate essential oils if using.

Fill one bowl with hot water - tap water should be hot enough, and fill the other bowl with cold water, again from the tap. If you are using essential oils, add 4-6 drops to the bowl of hot water. Soak one towel in hot water, and squeeze out the excess water. Fold the towel neatly to make a compress and place on the affected area for about three minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cold compress in a similar way using cold water. As soon as you remove the hot compress, replace with the cold one for one minute. Then repeat the sequence – three minutes hot, one minute cold, three minutes hot, one minute cold – for about 20 minutes or even longer if the pain is acute. It is important to always finish with a cold compress, particularly in any areas where there may be inflammation.

You can use hot and cold compresses individually. Hot compresses are good for backaches, rheumatism, IBS, menstrual cramps, arthritis, earache, and toothache; and cold compresses are good for headaches, neck tension, insect bites, sprains, gout, and strains.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Essential Oil Of The Week: Tea Tree

Botanical Name: Melaleuca Alternifolia

Aroma Type: Herbaceous

Note: Top

Tea Tree is another popular and well known essential oil which nowadays appears in many shampoos, conditioners, spot treatments, lip salves, cleansers, mouth rinses, antiseptic lotions, toothpastes, and bath oils.

Tea tree was named by Captain Cook’s crew, who brewed the small dark leaves and drank it as a tea substitute. The Aborigines first used it for its healing properties. During World War II, Australian soldiers were issued with Tea Tree oil in their first aid boxes as they recognised its powerful germicidal and antiseptic effects.

Its main properties are antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, cicatrisant (promotes the healing of a wound), expectorant, fungicidal, insecticidal, stimulant and sudorific (increases perspiration).

Tea Tree can help with the following conditions: fungal infections, thrush, athlete’s foot, colds / flu, cuts, burns, blisters, cold sores, nappy rash, insect bites, breathing problems, bunions, chickenpox, chilblains, dandruff, insect repellent, measles, cystitis, sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, muscular aches & pains, boosts immune system, boils, warts, verrucae, bacterial & viral infections, catarrh, coughs, ringworm, PMT, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Like Lavender, Tea Tree oil can be used neat on the skin - apply one or two drops directly to spots, cuts, insect bites, stings, cold sores etc. If you or someone you live or work with has a cold, to combat the spread of airborne germs place 4-6 drops of Tea Tree oil in to some water in an oil burner. If you suffer with athlete’s foot, Tea Tree is a must – it is an efficient way of getting rid of it without having to use heavy chemical products.

I recently scalded my hand and was in quite a lot of pain with it. I placed a few drops of Tea Tree directly on to the affected area and I also placed a few drops in a bowl of cold water which I kept plunging my hand in to. It really eased the pain and stopped the throbbing and burning feeling.

Tea Tree blends well with frankincense, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, pine, chamomile, geranium, mandarin, marjoram, and peppermint.

Although Tea Tree oil is non-toxic and a non-irritant, it may cause some skin irritation to people with very sensitive skin. It is also advisable to avoid long-term continual use of the oil.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Hopi Ear Candling and Flying

Hopi Ear Candling and Flying
Photo by nordlicht.
Are you jetting off on your Summer holidays but not looking forward to the pressure pain you get in your ears during take-off and landing?

Then why not try Hopi Ear Candling. It is an excellent treatment to have before you fly to help ease these symptoms.

When you take-off and land in an airplane, the altitude at which you are travelling changes quite quickly. When there is a change in altitude, there is also a change in air pressure. On take off, the air pressure decreases and on landing, the air pressure increases. Whenever the air pressure of your surroundings changes, the air pressure inside your ear has to adjust. To do this, the air trapped in your inner ear escapes through the Eustachian tube (a narrow tube that links the inner ear to the back of the nose and throat). The opposite happens on landing and the air travels up the Eustachian tube into the inner ear. When this happens, you feel your ears pop.

Most people suffer from ear popping during take off and landing, but some people experience pain and discomfort when their ears fail to pop due to congestion.

If you have congestion, especially in your Eustachian tube, due to a cold, sinus infection or allergies, your ears cannot equalise the pressure. This leads to a build up of pressure making your ears feel blocked and painful, and causes hearing to become muffled. It can also cause fluid in the ears.

Hopi Ear Candling helps to balance the fluids in the labyrinth and inner ear. This helps to relieve pressure in the ear and helps combat inner ear pressure pain associated with flying. Ear Candling also helps release any congestion allowing air to pass more freely in and out of the ears via the Eustachian tube which allows the ears to equalise pressure more effectively.

If you are due to fly and you are suffering from congestion, a cold, allergies or sinus infection, or if you know that you suffer with ear pain or discomfort while flying, I would recommend you have a Hopi Ear Candling treatment 24 hours before take off if possible. You may also find it beneficial to have a treatment after your return journey home.

More information about Hopi Ear Candling can be found here.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Using an Oil Burner

Using Essential Oils in an Oil Burner
Oil burners are a great way to benefit from the healing properties of essential oils and fill your house with pleasing aromas. It has many uses – for healing, as an alternative to chemical-laden shop-bought air fresheners, as a room disinfectant in the case of colds and flu, as a room freshener, and to eliminate unpleasant odours.

With an increase in the use of aromatherapy and essential oils, oil burners have become very popular. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and materials, and can be purchased from health food stores, chemists, department stores, new age stores, and on the internet. The type of burner you choose comes down to personal preference.

You can get metal and ceramic oil burners. I have both at home but mainly use the metal one. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. I think as long as the bowl on top is quite large and is far enough away from the candle it doesn’t matter too much what the burner is made from.

Some oil burners have a removable bowl and others are all in one. I personally prefer the ones with a removable bowl so that you only have to take that part to the tap to fill with water rather than the whole burner plus it makes it easier to clean in between use.

If you don’t feel comfortable using candles especially if you have children or pets around, you can purchase an electric “burner” known as an Aroma-Stream, which works by blowing air through a pad which holds the essential oils. It also means that you can use it at night to help you get to sleep or if you are suffering from a blocked nose or cold. The downside to the electric “burners” is they are quite expensive to buy, uses electricity, and you have to buy replacement pads.

Once you have purchased your oil burner, you will also need some small tea-light candles. Make sure that these are unscented otherwise they may mask the smell of the essential oils when they are lit. You will also need some pure essential oils of your choice and a lighter or matches.

Fill the top bowl of the oil burner with water. Add 6 - 8 drops of essential oil to the water. If you have a small room use less drops than if you have a large room. Stand the wick up on the tea-light candle, light it, and place in the base of the oil burner. As soon as the candle starts to heat up the water above it, the essential oils in the water will start to evaporate and the aroma is diffused along with the water vapour into the room.

Don’t let the oil burner burn dry as this can cause ceramic and glass burners to crack. When the water and essential oils have evaporated, either put the candle out or refill with more water and add a few more drops of essential oils.

Lighter oils (top and middle notes), such as lemon and lavender diffuse quicker than thicker oils (base notes), such as sandalwood and rose. You may want to top up the oil after a little while to maintain the aroma.

Some safety precautions. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Ensure the oil burner is secure on a flat surface and out of the reach of children and pets when in use.

The essential oils that I purchased along with my very first oil burner (way before I trained as an aromatherapist) were Lavender, Ylang ylang, and Eucalyptus. I have listed below some example blends for you to use in your oil burner.

As an insect repellent, add 2 drops each of Lemongrass, Lavender, and Tea Tree essential oils to a little water in the top of your oil burner.

To mask the smell of cigarette smoke, use 4 drops of Peppermint essential oil.

To wake you up in the morning, add 3 drops Grapefruit, 2 drops Rosemary, and 1 drop Peppermint essential oils.

To relax after a hard day at work, use 2 drops each of Lavender, Chamomile (I prefer Roman Chamomile to German and Maroc but it depends on what you are using it for as they have slightly different properties), and Sandalwood essential oils.

To help you study and improve concentration, use 3 drops Rosemary, 2 drops Eucalyptus, and 1 drop Peppermint to your oil burner.

I hope you get as much pleasure and healing from your essential oils and oil burner as I do from mine!

If you would like to purchase any of the essential oils mentioned in this post, please contact me for more details.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Professional Association Membership

After qualifying as a Holistic Therapist, I chose to join a professional therapists association called the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). It has the largest membership of any therapy organisation in the UK with over 21,000 members.

To ensure high professional standards, the FHT devised a Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. As a member of the FHT, I have agreed to abide by this code as follows:

• Acting in the best interests of my clients and treating them with respect
• Taking responsibility for my own actions
• Respecting other practitioners and health professionals
• Practicing only within the limits of my competence
• Making sure my behaviour does not damage the professions reputation
• Observing confidentiality
• Practicing within the law
• Maintaining high standards of hygiene
• Maintaining and developing my knowledge and skills

The FHT encourages all its Members to continue to improve their skills and grow their knowledge. Each year, I am required to practice Continuing Personal & Professional Development (CPPD) in order for me to stay a member of the association. I regularly attend workshops/seminars, talks, training courses and conferences. I also regularly read books, magazines, journals and websites related to Holistic Therapies, general health, and wellbeing. All these activities help to enhance my skills and knowledge in the therapies I practice, broadens my knowledge of holistic therapies as a whole, and keeps me in touch with current practices.

Although not part of the CPPD program, I regularly receive massages. I feel that this is an important part of being a therapist as it allows me to experience what it is like to be a client, to see how other therapists work, and it also looks after my own wellbeing.

By choosing a therapist who is a member of a professional association such as the FHT, you can be safe in the knowledge that your therapist
• is fully qualified and holds a nationally recognised qualification in the therapies they practice;
• holds a Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance policy;
• abides by a code of ethics ensuring professional practice and conduct; and
• is continuously honing their skills as a therapist.

More information about the Federation of Holistic Therapists can be found on their website.

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Monday, 4 August 2008

Essential Oil Of The Week: Lavender

Lavender Essential Oil
Photo by M@rg.
Choosing the right essential oils to use at home can be difficult - particularly with the wide range of essential oils available today. Each week, I will choose an essential oil that I find particularly useful outlining what it’s good for, how you can use it, what oils it blends well with, any safety precautions and any interesting facts about how the oil has been used historically. For the first Essential Oil of the week, I have chosen Lavender – my favourite of all the essential oils.

Botanical Name: Lavendula officinalis

Aroma Type: Floral

Note: Middle

Safety first! It should be used with caution if you suffer with low blood pressure as it can cause drowsiness so take it easy when you get off the massage couch. Those who suffer with hay fever or asthma may find that they may be sensitive to Lavender. Unlike the other essential oils, Lavender can be used neat directly on to the skin.

Lavender was used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to perfume bath water and was also burned as an incense to honour their deities. It has long been used to speed up the healing process. Since the 18th century it has been widely used in perfumes, soap, talc and pot-pourri.

Lavender is a very versatile oil with a wide range of therapeutic properties and can help with many physical and emotional conditions. Its main properties are calming, soothing, balancing, antiseptic, analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue (induces menstruation), hypotensive, nervine, and sedative.

Lavender can be used for the following conditions: burns, muscular aches and pains, headaches, fatigue, tension, irritability, depression, insect bites, anxiety, arthritis, athlete’s foot, bruises, chicken pox, poor circulation, colds, cramps, cuts, dandruff, hangover, cold sores, indigestion, insomnia, jetlag, measles, menopause, perspiration, PMT, rheumatism, stress, sunburn, thrush, fungal infections, migraine, cystitis, sprains, strains, rheumatism, bronchitis, earache, ringworm, high blood pressure, lack of / irregular periods, period pain, colic, asthma, diarrhoea, and flatulence. It also boosts the immune system. What a list!

It is an excellent first aid oil and I take mine everywhere with me. I use it on my temples and forehead when I’m feeling stressed, anxious or have a headache, I dab it on spots, insect bites, burns and cuts as soon as they occur, and it is excellent for helping you get to sleep. Just add a couple drops to a tissue and place on your pillow before going to sleep.

Lavender blends well with many other essential oils but my personal favourites to mix it with are patchouli, rosemary, ylang ylang, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree.

Lavender can pretty much be bought anywhere as is probably the most popular and well known essential oil. Most chemists, health food shops, and supermarkets sell it and it is one of the cheaper oils. If you had to buy just one oil, make it Lavender!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

How to Get the Most from Your Massage

Balance Holistics Massage Bristol
Here are a few things that you can do to help you get the most from your massage.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to your appointment to ensure that you arrive on time so that you don’t miss any of your treatment time. Also, if you have rushed, it will leave you flustered when you arrive and will take you longer to relax. Make sure you know where you are going too. This will reduce the potential of getting lost or turning up at the wrong place, both of which can cause unnecessary stress.

You may want to have a shower and remove your makeup before going to your appointment. This will mean that your therapist doesn’t have to remove any makeup before starting a facial for example therefore increasing the amount of time you will have for massage. It will also mean that your skin will more readily absorb any oils used in the treatment.

Avoid eating a heavy meal before your treatment as it can feel quite uncomfortable lying on a full stomach while having your back massaged. You should also avoid drinking alcohol beforehand.

Some people like to talk during a treatment, while others like to stay silent. There are benefits to both and depends on the person. I personally prefer to remain quiet and relax fully when I’m having a massage, although I often end up drifting off to sleep!

If you feel uncomfortable at any point during a treatment, make sure you let your therapist know. You can always have an extra cushion or blanket! Many massage couches have face holes for you to rest your face while laying on your front. Not everyone likes using these as it can feel a little claustrophobic so make sure you try it out before your massage starts. A small rolled up towel under your forehead and a cushion under your chest can often make using the face hole more comfortable.

Give feedback to your therapist. If the pressure is to firm or too soft let them know.

If your mind starts to wander on to trivial things like what you are going to cook for dinner or how much ironing needs doing, acknowledge these thoughts, and then let them drift away and bring your focus to how the massage feels or on your breathing. Perhaps you might like to visualise all the stress and tension being released from your body or even pick an affirmation to repeat, for example “I am relaxed and stress-free”.

And After.
Sometimes after a treatment you can feel a little dizzy or light-headed. Try not to rush when sitting up and getting off the treatment couch. Take your time!

Drink plenty of water after a treatment to help encourage the release of toxins and waste products.

Cut down on tea, coffee, and other drinks that contain caffeine for 24 hours as Holistic Therapies can speed up the effect that stimulants have on the body and also you will be putting toxins back in the body that your detoxifying treatment has helped to remove. Try drinking herbal teas, fruit juices, and water. Also try to avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours after treatment for the same reasons.

Eat a light and healthy diet at least for the rest of the day. This allows your body to put its energy into healing itself rather than trying to digest heavy, unhealthy foods.

Listen to your body! If you feel tired, simply put your feet up, rest and relax. If you feel energetic go for a short walk or a swim but don’t over do it. If you are feeling tired from your treatment, do not operate any machinery or drive.

Your Therapist may have shown you how to do some hand reflexology, or some simple exercises or stretches to help with tension, or even breathing and relaxation techniques. You can use these techniques and advice to help yourself in between appointments. Ensure that you follow their guidelines correctly to ensure safe application of any techniques or products.

So now you are equipped with all the advice you need to get the most from your massage. Now all that is left is for you to relax and enjoy!

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Importance of a Consultation

Balance Holistics Consultation Form
Before you undergo any holistic treatment, a detailed consultation will take place. All information obtained during the consultation is kept strictly confidential.

A consultation allows your therapist to determine as far as possible your needs and also establishes whether a treatment is appropriate for you or whether you should be referred to another professional. It also gives your therapist insight into any areas that may need particular attention and provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions.

So what does a consultation entail? The initial consultation can range from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the therapy. Your therapist will ask for information about your contact details, lifestyle, general health and specific medical conditions. Your therapist will also ask why you are seeking treatment and what your hopes are from it. If you were having an Aromatherapy Massage, it would be during the consultation where you discussed which oils you like or dislike and your therapist would choose the best oils to use to suit your needs.

On future visits, a much shorter consultation will take place before your treatment to see how you felt after your last treatment, whether you had any effects from it and whether there are any changes to your health or lifestyle.

It is important to have a consultation so that your therapist has accurate and up to date information about you. It also means that your therapist can gain all the relevant information about you so they can adapt the treatment to fit your needs. Contra-indications can also be assessed during the consultation. Some medical conditions require consent from your doctor before a treatment can be performed, for example, heart conditions, epilepsy, cancer, etc. This covers both you as the client, and the therapist in case anything was to happen as a result of a treatment.

The consultation is not just important for your therapist but it is important for you too as it ensures that you get the right treatment for you, it is tailored to your needs and it also allows you to find out more about the treatment.

Some therapists charge for the initial consultation while many offer this important part of a treatment for free. You may also find that the consultation time eats into your treatment time. This is not the case with Balance Holistics - If you book an hours treatment – you get an hours treatment PLUS a consultation at no additional cost. It definitely pays to shop around!

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Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Wonder of Epsom Salts Baths

Epsom Salts Baths
Hot baths are great for unwinding after a hard day at work, soothing aching muscles, and for general relaxation. They are also incredibly healing – especially if you add a couple handfuls of Epsom salts to it.

Epsom salts are made of the mineral magnesium sulphate. It has many affects on the body when absorbed through the skin in a bath. These include:

• drawing toxins from the body
• soothing aches and pains
• reducing stiffness in the muscles and joints
• relaxing muscles
• sedating the nervous system
• reducing inflammation
• softening the skin
• removing odour (It makes an excellent foot soak!)

You can even use the salts to rub over the skin as an exfoliator!

Just add two handfuls of Epsom salts to hot bath water and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to enhance the relaxation experience – you can’t go wrong with a few drops of Lavender!

You might like to place a cold compress on your forehead or around your neck to prevent any light-headedness. Before you get out of the bath, rinse or sponge down your body with cool or tepid water to close the pores and balance the circulation. Always make sure that you get out of the bath slowly afterwards.

When having an Epsom salts bath, do not use any other products like bubble bath or shower gels as the salts will not work as well. Reserve this type of bath for relaxation and save the cleaning for another time!

After your bath, it is a good idea to drink plenty of water to replace the fluids lost from perspiration and to help eliminate any toxins and waste products from your body.

Please note, do not have hot baths or salt baths if you have heart problems, varicose veins, high blood pressure, are diabetic or are pregnant – speak to your GP first.

If it’s not convenient to have a bath, you can also benefit from Epsom salts by using them in a hot compress. Add a couple handfuls of salts to a bowl of hot water and allow to dissolve. Place a small towel in the bowl to soak, squeeze out any excess water and apply to the body. To keep the warmth in you can insulate the area with warm towels.

Salt, including Epsom Salt, is very cleansing and can help rid you of any negative energies which you may have picked up during your day and re-energise you leaving you feel more positive, grounded and relaxed.

So what are you waiting for? Go buy some Epsom Salts now to benefit from this healing, wonderful, and, most importantly, natural mineral! You can purchase Epsom salts from most chemists and health food stores.

More information about Epsom Salts and its health benefits can be found on the Epsom Salt Industry Council website.

A truly healing experience!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

What is a ‘Healing Crisis’?

Sometimes after a Holistic treatment, you may feel your symptoms get worse before they get better. For example, if you suffer from psoriasis, you may experiences an increase in breakouts for a period of time while the body eliminates any toxins from the skin. Occasionally after a holistic treatment, you may also experience reactions when the body begins its self-healing process and elimination of toxins. This is called a healing crisis. It is also known as a healing response, healing reaction, cleansing reaction, and detox reaction. There are a wide range of reactions which may occur after you have had a treatment. The most common include:

• A drop in body temperature
• Tiredness
• Deep sleep or difficulty sleeping and vivid dreams
• Irritability
• An increase in perspiration
• Spots
• Cold/flu-like symptoms
• An increase in urination
• An increase in bowel movements
• Wind
• An Increase in appetite
• Nausea
• Changes in mood
• An increase in joint or muscle pain
• Headaches

These reactions are only temporary and should clear within 24 - 48 hours. Not everyone will experience these reactions and the severity of the reaction depends on the level of toxins in your body, what toxins are being released, the condition of the organs eliminating the toxins and your energy levels at the time of the treatment. These reactions tend to occur more frequently after your first treatment. After I’ve had a massage, I usually feel quite tired with a slight headache and then feel a little achy the next day.

Make sure you drink plenty of water after a treatment to help you through any healing crisis you may experience. The water will help to flush out the toxins and waste products and speed up detoxification. Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables can also help speed up the removal of toxins from the body. Try to rest and sleep well, as this can help improve your energy levels and the symptoms will become milder and will go a lot quicker.

During the healing crisis, try not to suppress these temporary symptoms with medication or the healing process may become interrupted.

Always remember to take note of any reactions you may have after a treatment and let your therapist know at your next appointment.

Be happy you are having these reactions – they are positive signals that the body has responded to the treatment, is cleansing itself of toxins and waste products, and is balancing itself.

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Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Gift of Relaxation

The Gift of Relaxation
Photo by brokenarts.
Buying a present for someone can often be quite difficult and stressful, especially when they already have everything. Treating a loved one to a relaxing massage is a lovely, original and thoughtful gift idea. It is the perfect gift for all occasions – Birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, to say Thank You or for any other reason you can think of.

So you’ve decided to treat someone special to a Holistic Therapy Gift Certificate but you don’t know what to choose! Here is a brief guide to help you choose the perfect treatment.

If the person has never had a massage:
You can’t go wrong with a Swedish or Aromatherapy Massage. Swedish Massage is a massage treatment involving a sequence of movements that aid relaxation, relieve knots from tense muscles, and promote well-being. With the Aromatherapy Massage, Essential Oils are used to help treat specific ailments and help further the relaxation experience. Reflexology is also a very relaxing treatment but it’s best to check that they don’t mind their feet being touched first before buying a gift certificate for this one!

If the person is a massage junkie:
They will probably love any therapy you choose but maybe go for something they haven’t tried yet. To make it really special I’d recommend something slightly more specialist like a Hot Stone Massage. Hot Stone Massage involves the use of water-heated basalt stones of varying sizes in combination with Swedish Massage techniques. The heat of the stones helps muscles relax more quickly than in traditional massage, allowing manipulation of a greater intensity.

If you think the person would like to choose for themselves:
Decide how much you want to spend and purchase a gift certificate for that value. That way, they can use it as full or part payment towards a treatment of their choice plus you don’t have to worry whether they will like what you have chosen or not.

Balance Holistics Gift Certificates are sold in £5 increments as well as for complete treatments. They come with a blank gift card so that you can add your own message and are valid for 6 months from the date of purchase. These can now be purchased online using Paypal (You do not need a Paypal account to use this service).

Friday, 11 July 2008

Newly Launched Website

Actually, it was online before this blog was but it is still new! Balance Holistics launched its new website in April, which provides easier navigation and accessibility to information about holistic therapies and the services on offer. Please feel free to check it out at www.balanceholistics.co.uk. A big thank you to Charlie from Perfectly Write for copywriting my website copy and code tags to improve search engine optimisation and style.

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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Balance Holistics Price List

Balance Holistics Price List
Below you will find a list of therapies, along with their prices, which Balance Holistics offers. If you would like further information about any of the treatments on offer, please do not hesitate to contact me either by posting a comment here or by email.

Swedish Back Massage (30 mins) - £20
Swedish Full Body Massage (1 hr) - £30
Aromatherapy Back, Face & Scalp Massage (45 mins) - £30
Aromatherapy Full Body Massage (1 hr 15 mins) - £35
Aromatherapy Full Body Massage inc. Face & Scalp (1 hr 30 mins) - £40
Pregnancy Massage - prices as same as Aromatherapy Massage
Hot Stone Back, Face & Scalp Massage (45 mins) - £30
Hot Stone Full Body Massage (1 hr 15 mins) - £40
Hot Stone Full Body Massage inc. Face & Scalp (1 hr 30 mins) - £45
Indian Head Massage (30 mins) - £15
Indian Head Massage(1 hr) - £25
Reflexology (30 mins) - £20
Reflexology (1 hr) - £30
Reiki (30 mins) - £15
Reiki (1 hr) - £25
Hopi Ear Candling (45 mins) - £30
Holistic Facial - £30
Thai Foot Massage - £30
Feet First - Holistic Foot Care - £30
Mix n Match (1 hr) - £30
Pamper Parties - £20 per person

Download a price list.

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What is a Holistic Therapist?

This is a question which I have been asked on many occasions. Let me set the scene – I’ve met up with old friends or family I haven’t seen for ages and they ask – “So, what do you do for a living now?”. I give my standard reply of “I’m a Holistic Therapist and I run my own business” and I get a confused, but excited, person looking back at me. Then comes the question - “What is a Holistic Therapist?”. And it is a good question. My usual (and easiest) answer to the question is to just list what treatments I offer as most people have heard of aromatherapy and massage but really I should explain it properly promoting what holistic therapies are and how beneficial they can be to people.

The word Holistic comes from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. The word Therapist means a person trained in the use of physical or psychological methods, such as massage, reflexology, counselling etc., in treating or rehabilitating the sick or injured or helping patients overcome physical or psychological problems. So, a Holistic Therapist helps treat people with various problems by emphasising the importance of the whole (mind, body and spirit) and the interdependence of its parts. The whole person is treated and not just the symptom or disease that a person presents with. For example, if someone came for a Reflexology session to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), not only would I work the digestive system reflexes on the feet but I would also speak to the person about their diet and how much fluid they drink and whether they are under any stresses or strains in their life which could be causing or contributing to their symptoms.

The word Holistic is also commonly interchanged with Complementary and Alternative which often confuses things even more. Holistic Therapy is a generic term for any therapy that is intended to treat the individual as a whole. So that would include massage, reflexology, reiki, aromatherapy, hopi ear candling, homeopathy, acupuncture, shiatsu, kinesiology, and crystal healing to name but a few. The list is endless - every week a new therapy seems to emerge. One thing I can safely say is that I will never be able to do all of them!

Being a Holistic Therapist is a very relaxing, enjoyable and rewarding career and I feel excited and happy that I can do something I love as a job.

First Post, First Blog for Balance Holistics

I think I’ll start this post (and blog) off with some introductions.

First the business. Balance Holistics is based in Bristol, UK and provides a wide range of Holistic Therapies to people in Bristol and the surrounding areas. Balance Holistics operates from The Healing Rooms on Gloucester Road and also offers a mobile service allowing people to enjoy a relaxing treatment in the comfort of their own home. Holistic Therapies on offer include Aromatherapy Massage, Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Swedish Massage, Reflexology, Reiki and Hopi Ear Candling. Balance Holistics also provide Pamper Parties which are a great way of celebrating a birthday, a hen night or a girls night in.

Then me. My name is Sarah Mortimer. I have had a long term interest in all things holistic and natural and enjoy helping people. I have always had a keen interest in healthcare and worked as an Auxiliary Nurse (I think they are called Healthcare Assistants now) before qualifying in Holistic Therapies. I did the majority of my studying at various colleges in Nottinghamshire where I completed Diplomas in Anatomy and Physiology, Holistic Therapies (Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Massage), and Indian Head Massage. I have always enjoyed learning new skills and improving upon the ones I have, so not long after finishing college I studied towards a Certificate in Hot Stone Massage and Reiki Level I. I decided that a move was in order and decided upon Bristol – a lovely part of the world in my opinion. Shortly after moving in 2006, I started Balance Holistics and have never looked back. Since living in Bristol, I have done further training in Thermo-Auricular Therapy (Hopi Ear Candling), Reiki II and Master/Teacher levels. I am not currently teaching Reiki but would love to at some point. I am also studying towards a Holistic Facials course so this will be added to my repertoire of therapies in the not too distant future.

And finally the blog. I have created this blog to provide information about various holistic treatments (not just the ones I offer) and how they can help with various physical and emotional issues; general health issues and advice; listen to and answer peoples questions on all things holistic; share my experiences as a therapist and to keep you all updated with the goings on of Balance Holistics. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and please do check out the Balance Holistics website.

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