Monday, 23 February 2009

Take Control of Stress During the Credit Crunch

Massage and Pathology
Photo by lusi.
Every day when I watch the news it seems like the financial state of the UK and the world is ever declining. With large retail chains going in to liquidation, car plants temporarily ceasing manufacturing, Government bailouts, and endless job cuts - I wonder how it all will end.

It’s no wonder that this has added to our worries causing stress to build. Not only can the stress of the credit crunch affect our psychological state causing us to worry about keeping up repayments on our mortgages or rent, paying bills on time and whether or not we will be made redundant like so many other people in the UK, but it can also have a physical affect on our bodies.

Stress can manifest in the body in many different ways causing symptoms from headaches, to sleeping problems, from stomach upsets to aches and pains.

Although, there is not much we can do on an individual level to help the recession, it is important that we look after ourselves and keep any stress at bay. Many people are not renewing gym subscriptions and eating cheaper, but less healthy foods just to save some money but by doing this it is costing their health and wellbeing.

There have been several reports in the news recently about how the credit crunch is affecting the nation’s health and wellbeing with an increase in insomnia (as surveyed by NetDoctor), an increase in calls to the Samaritans helpline, and it appears that “Credit Crunch Stress” is affecting a large proportion of us even if we aren’t directly being affected by the credit crunch yet.

Treating yourself to a massage is probably something you wouldn’t think of doing especially when money is tight but it is imperative to look after yourself more than ever during this stressful time. Even if you just had a 30-minute back massage or Indian head massage once a month, it would help your wellbeing no-end. Massage is very good at combating stress, anxiety, and depression. It also helps to alleviate many physical symptoms which may be experienced due to stress.

Other ways to help lower stress levels is to take relaxing hot baths, burning aromatherapy essential oils, regular exercise, meditation or breathing exercises, and keeping a diary to name but a few.

Balance Holistics treatments start from just £15 and can also be received in the comfort of your own home so you don’t have to pay out for petrol or bus fares. Taster sessions are also available on the first Tuesday of the month - £5 for 15 minutes (a maximum of one taster session for each treatment per person). More information about the treatments offered can be found on the Balance Holistics website.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Massage and Pathology

Massage and Pathology
Photo by melodi2.
I have always had a keen interest in how the body works. When I was younger, I was a member of St Johns Ambulance Brigade. Even as an Assistant Scout leader, I regularly attended First Aid courses. Unfortunately, I have let the training slip in recent years but it is something I would like to take up again. You never know when it might come in handy!

Before training to be a Holistic Therapist, I worked as an auxiliary nurse on a Respiratory and Palliative Care ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. Working at the hospital fuelled my interest in the human body and I enjoyed learning about different conditions, symptoms, treatments, medication and the like. After leaving work at the hospital, I returned to college to study towards a Diploma in Anatomy & Physiology. And this was where my path to all things holistic started.

As a Holistic Therapist, I come in to contact with clients on a daily basis that have a wide variety of ailments - some minor and some more severe. Quite a number of these clients take prescription medication and/or supplements for their ailments. I feel it is important for me to know as much as I can about different ailments, their symptoms, how they affect my client (both physically and emotionally), and how they are treated, as it helps me to understand my client fully; allows me to tailor my treatments to their specific needs; and enables me to advise on ways in which they can help alleviate the symptoms if possible.

So to continue on my knowledge quest, I recently purchased a book called Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology by Ruth Werner. It was quite an expensive book but it was well worth the money. With 740 pages and a resource CD-ROM, there is heaps for me to read and learn about the body.

So what is Pathology? According to Dictionary.com, Pathology is the science or the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases.

The book provides detailed information on more than 200 different diseases. By becoming familiar with the signs and symptoms of theses diseases, it will enable me to recognise conditions for which massage is appropriate; where massage must be used with caution or modifications; for which massage is contra-indicated generally or locally; and for which massage is inappropriate. Please note, this does not mean that I can or will diagnose a condition – it just means that I can offer and/or advise on the correct holistic and/or conventional treatment for that condition. It also helps me to know when to refer a client on to another professional, for example a chiropractor, a doctor, or a counsellor.

So far I have only flicked through the book but it looks great. Lots of detailed, colour photographs of skin conditions and it mentions which holistic treatments are suitable for each ailment and whether any modifications are required.

I hope to write about some of the ailments and how massage and other holistic therapies can help here on this blog. I’m very interested in learning about Osteoporosis as I have recently taken on several clients with this disease. Although it will not help strengthen or bring back the density of the bones, massage can help to relax the muscles around the bones and bring some pain relief to the client.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Skills Update

Thai Foot Massage Bristol
On Sunday, I attended a Thai Foot Massage course with TEACH Therapy. The course was aimed at qualified therapists and was taught by Judith Ryder.

The course covered the benefits of Thai foot massage, contra-indications to massage, how to carry out a full treatment using the Thai foot stick, reflex points of the feet, and Sen lines.

I enjoyed the course very much and I can’t wait to start offering this new treatment to my clients. I am enthusiastically practicing the therapy on all my friends and family to get some more experience at it (which they are loving I might add!) before offering it to clients. I am planning a day of taster sessions to coincide with Thai New Year (Songkran) in April so that people can try out the treatment.

I have visited Thailand twice now and on both occasions received many Thai foot massages. I loved the massages so much which is why I decided to train in this delightful therapy myself. Although, mostly the same, there are a few differences between the treatments taught and offered in the UK and those performed in Thailand. The massages in Thailand are a lot firmer and work on the whole leg as well as the foot whereas here, the pressure seems a lot lighter and we only treat as far up as the knees. We use a couch or reflexology chair to perform the treatment on but in Thailand all massage is performed on the floor on a thin mat. In Thailand, Coconut oil and Tiger Balm is used to soften the skin and warm the muscles but here aromatherapy creams are used. I hope to incorporate some of the Thai ways in my treatments.

More details about the taster sessions and when Thai Foot Massage will be available will be posted here and on the Balance Holistics website nearer the time.

Friday, 6 February 2009

2008 in Books

Holistic Therapy Books
As mentioned in a previous post, I regularly read books, magazines, journals and websites related to Holistic Therapies, general health, and wellbeing. This helps 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.

Below is a list of books that I read and found helpful in 2008.

The Endometriosis Natural Treatment Program: A Complete Self-help Plan for Inproving Your Health and Well-being by Valeria Ann Worwood & Julia Stonehouse
Counselling Skills for Complementary Therapists by Rosie March-Smith
The Healing Crisis by Bruce Fife, N.D
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss, PhD
Deep Tissue Massage: A Visual Guide to Techniques by Art Riggs
The Art of Wiccan Healing by Sally Morningstar
Facials & Skincare in Essence by Helen McGuinness
Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy by Mel Cash
Reiki Questions and Answers: 200 Questions and Answers for Beginners (Reiki Guide) by Lawrence Ellyard
Creative Journal: The Art of Finding Yourself by Lucia Capacchione, PhD

I did buy several other books but I haven’t got round to reading them yet.

I found all of these very helpful and have incorporated many techniques and ideas I learnt from the books in to my treatments and consultation process.

I like to read books on common conditions such as the Endometriosis book listed above so that I can fully understand these conditions which clients may come to see me for and be able to advise on various remedies, for example, an aromatherapy massage oil to relieve abdominal pain.

I also subscribe to an international trade journal called Today's Therapist and the FHT's magazine International Therapist. Both journals come out every two months and contain heaps of articles on different therapies, massage techniques, oils, and much much more. I find them enjoyable to read and have learnt a lot from them.

I don’t think I have a favourite book from 2008; they were all enjoyable and helpful in different ways. Lets hope the books I read in 2009 are as good as these were.

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