The Little Lavender RoomComplementary Therapies for Southampton,
Eastleigh, Romsey and Winchester

Letters from the Lavender Room. Welcome back

welcome back... (a few little bits of information to keep your treatments safe)

Just a few points to note before reflexology resumes, with regard to my own practice which operates based on advice & guidance from the Association of Reflexologists.

❊ Just for now, I will only be offering foot 👣 reflexology. It’s been a long year and I’m building back up gently and gradually so as to give my best always. I’ll be back working on the face 💆🏼‍♀️ with a beautiful range of products very soon.

❊ As before, all clients will be sent a risk assessment within 24 hours of their appointment commencing, which will need completion before treatment can take place. This is to satisfy my public liability insurance provider and also to keep you and your family as well as me and my family as safe as possible.

❊ I have had my first Covid vaccination 💉 and will attend for my second as soon as I’m called.

❊ I will be registering for regular asymptomatic lateral flow tests as advised. Whilst the risk is now reduced from the vaccine, please be aware that I may need to cancel an appointment if I feel there is any risk to you and I would ask that you do the same, even at short notice. No cancellation fees will be charged for this.

❊ Masks 😷 for close contact services are mandatory, both for client and therapist, unless you are exempt. Hand sanitiser is plentiful and both bathroom and hand washing facilities are available and sanitised between use with individual towels for hand drying.

❊ If you feel the cold, you may want to bring a nice warm layer for your top half. It is a requirement that our treatment rooms are aired out in between clients and ideally the window should be open slightly at all times. Currently we are going through a period of unusually chilly weather! ❄️ I do have blankets which are freshly washed for each client so I’m sure I can keep you cosy but it’s something to be aware of if a condition affects your internal temperature control.

❊ All that’s left is for you to close your eyes and enjoy some stress busting, immune boosting, balancing and calming reflexology! Use the ‘book appointment’ function on the foot reflexology page and I’ll see you soon! 👣

ℋℯ𝓁ℯ𝓃 🌷𝓍

Letters from the Lavender Room. Apple blossom

living (and slightly loving) the lockdown life...

A few years ago, during a particularly stressful time in my life, I crashed my car after a sudden and quite dramatic drop in blood pressure at the wheel. I had no real warning signs aside from some mild nausea and, as it was a hot day and I’d been running around on errands, I assumed I’d not drunk enough. I had just pulled away from a parking space and, thankfully, no one else was in my path. Someone must have been watching out for me because I didn’t suffer any physical injuries and, with a swift insurance claim and a few days in the body shop, even my car survived. But, in order to make sure there was nothing medically wrong I was referred to a syncope consultant and had multiple investigations to make sure my heart was functioning normally. This involved me either choosing to surrender my driving licence or risk having it confiscated. I chose the first option. When you go through this process you have no idea when or if you will ever get your precious licence back and you suddenly realise how much that little piece of laminated plastic represents. Friends and colleagues were kind and offered to drive me but taking them up on anything that wasn’t essential made me very uncomfortable.

The weather, like now, was beautiful. I was living in a flat at that time so had to go out for fresh air. I wanted to drive to the gym or the beach. I couldn’t. Life felt depressingly claustrophobic. For a time I experienced mild underlying feelings of panic. But slowly I got the hang of the local bus and train timetables, and trips to the shops or a GP check up became a real pleasure as I was able to read, listen to music and spot things I’d have missed with my eyes on the road. I got fitter from the walking and, six weeks later on my 45th birthday, my syncope consultant gave me the all clear to drive again....along with some strict instructions to ‘hit the deck’ if I recognised another potential episode in the future.

Those six weeks felt like a tormented lifetime but almost as soon as I was free to put them in the past tense, I realised they represented such a short window in my life. It was simply the not knowing which sent me into a panic.

Fast forward to the current Covid—19 situation and the initial recognisable feeling of panic was not too dissimilar. I am mid conveyancing, having sold my home so that I can move into my late Mum’s house after a long and exhausting year of renovations. I have no income and no idea when we will be able to resume practising the skin to skin therapies that I love. I can’t go back and forth from my renovation project daily as I was doing because it is not classed as essential travel and I feel it would be disrespectful to those who must use the roads to keep us safe. In any case the DIY stores are not easily accessible. I have no guarantee that someone won’t be forced to pull out of the house buying chain and I’ll have to start the whole process again. But I feel surprisingly calm.

I am able to refer back to those days when I couldn’t drive and reassure myself that, not only do these moments pass, but we are all so good at adapting to them if we are able to switch off the negative thoughts for a moment and look for the solutions. Currently there are some wonderful support groups full of people who are using their new free time to make sure others are taken care of. If you haven’t been approached by anyone and need help, please let me know.

To be honest, I probably needed to stop. I haven’t really had a break for almost ten years. A divorce. A diploma. House moves. A new career and business set up. Renovations x2. And most brutally, the sudden loss of my darling Mum.

I have decided not to pursue every online CPD course I can find. Or tie myself to a daily routine with exercise and set meals times. I am doing exactly what I want when I want and enjoying it, knowing that when it’s all over, many of us will miss bits of this. The camaraderie. The kindness. The clapping. Those hilarious social media memes which have had me crying daily. But most of all, the stillness. The chance to embrace Mother Nature at her finest as we all heave a massive sigh of relief that the incessant rain has stopped for a while.

On a practical level, I have made some phone calls and tweaked my utility bills, cancelled unnecessary subscriptions and deferred my Council Tax. The focus is on making sure my daughter, the dog and I are fed. Shopping for groceries has worked out well, slots are available for click and collect options but you have to keep checking. The same for delivery if, like my eldest daughter, you aren’t able to get to the store. I’ve also successfully used some of the local catering wholesalers who have all adapted to doorstep deliveries, and my fridge has never looked so healthy! We’re having to improvise and be a little creative but that’s fine.

This may seem like a bit of a back handed gift, but I’m choosing to see it as a gift all the same.

However you are getting through this, know that it will pass. Everything will be ok. But please, if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, drop me an e-mail or leave me a voicemail and I promise will get back to you for a chat. Just click on the connection options on my website home page.

Please take care. Stay safe. And hang in there with the staying at home thing.

With love,
Helen 🌿x

Letters from the Lavender Room. Sockman quote

under pressure...

During the first couple of years after I qualified as a reflexologist one or two of my initial paying clients made themselves comfy on my couch and, before any treatment had commenced, declared that they wanted me to use a really deep pressure because that’s what they’d been used to from their previous therapist. “You can really press hard, I won’t mind” one of them said. As a relative newbie, I didn’t feel comfortable challenging this approach and set about using as firm a pressure as I could, despite that it actually made the session quite uncomfortable for me as a therapist.

All the way through the treatment I would have an internal dialogue about how reflexology was meant to be all about relaxing the body, stimulating the nerve endings and kick starting the parasympathetic nervous system...not inflicting torture on either client or therapist. As I quickly found out, a therapist has a working pressure range which is individual to them and, try as hard as I did, I could not work outside mine. My joints just wouldn’t allow it.

Luckily for me, these occasions were rare and I suspect the wise old Universe sent me these lessons purely to make me think about how I was going to proceed with my practise.

Since those early days, I have taken a wide range of reflexology CPD courses and one of them was taught by respected reflexologist Sally Kay who has developed her, now famous, Reflexology Lymph Drainage course. What Sally taught me was that you only need to finger walk firmly if you are working a reflex related to an organ which sits deep into the body. It’s about reflecting what happens above the feet. In fact, a firm pressure for reflexology is not necessary at all to be effective. As the lymphatic vessels are close to the surface of the skin, a light and gentle pressure is asked for when using this technique.

Fast forward to the AoR reflexology retreat I attended earlier this summer (more on that here) and, in particular, the presentation by Jan Williamson on her own Precision Reflexology. An even lighter touch is absolutely essential for her wonderful linking techniques. It is such a feather light touch that you could almost not be touching the points at all. But the energy which flows between those points is what creates the magic!

I’ve received reflexology from fellow therapists who work with all kinds of different pressure. I can assure you that the effects are the same! If you need relaxation, you will get it. If you’re wishing your digestive system would flow a bit more effectively, that can also be achieved without resorting to pain!

Yes, you may have travelled extensively and enjoyed Thai foot massage on your holidays but that is not reflexology. As a much more experienced and confident therapist, I now stand firm with my decision that, if a client asks for anything akin to a deep tissue Chinese foot massage, I send them, with my blessing, back in the direction of the Google search bar!

If you would like to discuss how reflexology could help with your well-being, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the e-mail contact option or on 07742 096485. I would love to hear from you.

Helen 🌿x

Letters from the Lavender Room. Retreat montage 2019

association of reflexologists retreat - 7-9th june 2019...

Last weekend I was privileged to take part in the Association of Reflexologists’ first ever retreat, located in the beautiful buildings and grounds of the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre just outside Bristol.

Over 70 reflexologists with all levels of experience and from all four corners of the UK and beyond gathered together for a long weekend filled to the brim with experiences, workshops and presentations to inspire, educate and entertain. The food served was predominantly vegan and 100% healthy and delicious. Fresh, hearty soups, salads, curries, wonderful desserts and vegan wines were enjoyed by all and probably gave some of us a much needed digestive detox.

We projected and perfected our chanting at a rhythmic African drumming workshop, shook our hips and wiggled our middles at a belly dancing lesson, listened to talks on relationships in pregnancy and using aromatherapy in our treatment rooms, which even to this qualified aromatherapist, brought something new. I’d never tried Yuzu before... a beautiful citrus oil which is a little like all my favourites (grapefruit, orange, lime) all rolled into one!

The main body of Saturday and Sunday was taken up with wonderful presentations by renowned reflexologists Geraldine Villeneuve and Jan Williamson demonstrating their Structural Reflexology and Precision Reflexology techniques. Structural Reflexology is based on a person’s gait and how that affects their footprint which, in turn, tells a story about how they could be struggling with issues elsewhere in the body. It is eye opening to learn that we should all be taking our foot arch into consideration when measuring for footwear as so many of us are wearing the wrong size and style of shoe.

Jan’s Precision Reflexology uses feather light linking techniques and relies on energy transfer between one reflex point to another. It is gentle and beautiful and something I have already begun to incorporate into my treatments. It may sound a little ‘woo woo’ to those of you who are sceptical about reflexology, however you have to agree that we are all energetic creatures (we all know someone who’s energy drains us, don’t we?!) and this energy can be used to help create positive outcomes. At the very least it harnesses the power of slow, gentle touch which is so important in a world where we are all too busy rushing from one commitment to another.

Both ladies were kind enough to sign their books for me so I have a fresh supply of bedtime reading!

As well as a blissful meditation session by the lovely Sue Hamblin who introduced us to the wonderful music of Deva Premal and Satnam Kaur, we took advantage of a break in the grey skies to wander around the flower filled grounds of the centre. It is a wonderful place to reflect and be still.... I imagine invaluable to those in the disruptive and turbulent stages of cancer treatment.

On the Saturday evening we let our hair down at an amazing gala dinner, rounded off by a group of Chinese martial arts experts of all ages and a night on the dance floor which my hip is still reminding me of a week later! All in all, a magical weekend, with fellow therapists who have become new friends and a bucket full of new skills to bring home to the Little Lavender Room.

Thank you for taking the time to read my news. I hope to see some of you in the treatment room soon.

Helen 🌿x

Letters from the Lavender Room. Tiny toes

aromatherapy & pregnancy...

I was back in the classroom at the end of January, brushing up on my knowledge of essential oils during all stages of pregnancy and labour.

Complementary therapies are a wonderful way to support your pregnancy and one of the main benefits is relaxation, something which can be hard to achieve if you are also working or already looking after a toddler. Sleep can be hard to come by at the very time you need it most and stress can lead to high blood pressure which can end up being risky for Mum and baby.

Regular sessions of reflexology can help to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels and can often help to manage common pregnancy complaints such as swelling, headaches and digestive issues. It is also much needed time away from the daily demands of life where the mother-to-be can have some time purely for herself ahead of what is possibly the most exhausting time in her life.

If you are unaware of the contra-indications surrounding complementary therapies and pregnancy, it is worth noting that using essential oils during the first trimester is not advised. This is not because they are likely to cause a miscarriage, but purely because this period is when 80% of miscarriages occur. It is a distressing time and the temptation to blame something you did is great. The truth is that, as it is so hard to prove with a lack of published evidence, we just don't know and it is better to err on the side of caution. However, once the pregnancy is well established and progressing normally, aromatherapy using a gentle, carefully chosen blend of essential oils can provide a safe helping hand to reach full term in a calm, mentally prepared way.

I often get asked how often a client should come for a treatment. My answer to that normally is whenever your body tells them it needs a little help. However, I have noticed that some ladies wait until full term and the threat of intervention to arrive on my couch! Much as I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand and work miracles, sadly my powers are limited! What I would suggest instead is, wait until the end of your first trimester or, if you prefer, your first scan is out of the way and your midwife is happy and then plan a regular program of treatments. That could be monthly to start with and then increasing to fortnightly as you reach your due date. That way we have a chance to work together to create the ideal situation for your labour to go smoothly.

As you’ll know if you’ve contacted me for a treatment, safety and well being is my primary concern and it’s vital that therapists stay up to date with all the latest information. I’ve chosen to continue my essential oil training with the Winchester School of Aromatherapy....the only Penny Price satellite academy in the South of England.

If you’re interested in starting your own journey as a qualified aromatherapist and wish to learn about safe and effective ways to use essential oils, I’ve popped the school website link for you to have a look at and you’ll find a separate link on the home page to discover more about the Penny Price Academy.

Later in the year I’ll be attending a maternity course to add to my reflexology tool box but these are all just extras to add to my existing full qualification so, if you are looking to support pregnancy using a natural and holistic approach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Helen 🌿x

Letters from the Lavender Room. Brault quote

a little absence.....

I've had a little enforced break from therapy over the summer as sadly, in June, my lovely Mum was diagnosed with advanced metastatic cancer. She had been feeling poorly for some time but, as she had suffered for many years with osteoarthritis, we all, her GP included, put it down to her spine which was in quite a poor state of degeneration. It wasn't that anyone was negligent, all Mum's blood tests and X-rays had come back with nothing unexpected as recently as April.

In mid June Mum was taken into Southampton General. Less than a week later we got the diagnosis which knocked us all sideways and, on 23rd July, she was brought home to me where she spent two and a half weeks being cared for like royalty, in her hospital bed next to the garden where she could see the hydrangeas and roses and listen to the birds, before she finally passed away with me at her side in early August.

Some of you will have experienced giving end of life care to a loved one and all I can say is that you have my utmost respect and admiration. It is exhausting, devastating and heart breaking. It is also unfair, undignified and cruel to have to be on the receiving end. As you can imagine, I have roller coasted through every conceivable emotion and I am eternally grateful to my existing clients for their patience, kindness and consideration while I took some time to recover and adjust. As Mum's only executor and offspring, I still have a lot to do with regard to sorting out her affairs so it may be a while before I am back to full time in the treatment room but I know you will bear with me.

The one thing I can't do is give up the career she was so proud of me for starting. Her death has flexed and toned my empathy muscles and given me a new focus to go forward with my passion. I'm looking forward to new training courses to add tools to my reflexology tool box and will also be looking into new techniques to add a twist to my facial menu.

Thank you for allowing me to share my news with you. I hope it goes some way to showing you that there is real person behind this small business and I am always here if you find yourself in a similar position and need someone to talk to.

Helen 🌿x

Letters from the Lavender Room. springblossom

mental health awareness week...

14th ~ 20th May 2018

What lifts your mood? What makes you smile when the rest of your world is in a little disarray?

Just because I’m a complementary therapist doesn’t mean I always have a clear mind and a calm life. So, I also need to have a little box of tricks which I can use when things aren’t quite right.

  • I mean, a good beach or woodland walk with the hound is obviously my main ‘go to’ when I’m feeling a bit out of sorts. If you have a dog you'll know that they get you out when sometimes you don’t want to open the front door. We’ve been spoilt with the weather recently and one of my favourite things is either an early morning or late evening walk, somewhere abundant with trees and blossom. Even after a rain shower, the smells from the freshly watered greenery can do wonders for your mood. I love walking with my partner and my daughter but, let's face it sometimes our family members can be the ones to cause us stress in the first place! If this sounds familiar, don't feel guilty about saying that you need time to walk alone. It really does clear your head and boost those endorphins if you do it regularly. If you know you love nature and all that it offers, make more time for it in your daily routine even if it is a 15 minute walk during your lunch hour.

  • For the same reason, I love to be out in the garden after it wakes up from its winter sleep. To be fair, I'm a fair weather gardener but as soon as it's possible to get the garden fork out without getting frostbite, I'll be out there weeding and just noticing what has and hasn't survived the frosts. I tend to start out thinking I'll just do ten minutes and then, before I know it, a couple of hours will have passed and I'll be reaching for the aromatherapy oils to ease my strained leg and back muscles!! I always feel better the next morning though when I look out of the window at my efforts!

  • If I’m low I bring out ALL the citrus oils. Sweet orange, mandarin, lemon, bergamot, lime, grapefruit...maybe with a couple of drops of spearmint. They really do lift you as well as calm the nervous system. (They do a fine job of keeping the bugs and less pleasant household smells at bay too!)

    If you’re feeling overloaded and my coping mechanisms aren’t accessible to you, why not recharge with a session of reflexology to help balance the body and top up those happy hormones. Drop me a message or give me a call and I’d love to chat to you about how complementary therapy can help.

    Helen 🌿x

  • Letters from the Lavender Room. regentspark

    facial reflexology...

    8th March 2017

    In a follow up to the initial course last year, I spent the day at Regents University in London last Saturday and I am now the proud owner of a certificate in Advanced Facial Reflexology. The course is taught by Ziggie Bergman in her London School of Reflexology teaching role and covers all 42 points on the face which correspond to the different organs and systems of the body. The pressure used is much lighter than that on the feet and this makes the treatment so deeply relaxing that I challenge those of you who are tired and stressed not to fall asleep within minutes! I am currently perfecting the routine which I will offer as a stand alone treatment as well as incorporating it into tailored holistic facials.

    Helen 🌿x

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