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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