During the first couple of years after I qualified as a reflexologist one or two of my first 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 (read 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.
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.
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 or a gentle seated aromatherapy massage 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 an imminent C-section 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 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, say, fortnightly as you reach your due date. That way we have a chance to work together to create the ideal situation for your baby to be born.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re feeling overloaded and maybe my coping mechanisms aren’t accessible to you, why not try and reboot with session of reflexology or an aromatherapy massage to get the lymphatic system moving and the happy hormones topped up. Drop me a message or give me a call and I’d love to chat to you about how complementary therapy can help.
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.