Let’s face it, we all want to look our best! We’re now in 2018 and the world has gone social media crazy with selfies becoming a normal part of everyday life. We’re more visible now than ever and are no doubt feeling the pressure to look good. Soooooo much money is being spent on beauty products as we constantly search for new ways to achieve that perfect look.
Whether your goal is more youthful skin, perfecting the perfect eyeliner flick, defining or completely changing your features, nothing is impossible.
The beauty industry is evolving rapidly with lots of new natural products like Elemis’ superfood skincare line. New faces are causing a storm on the makeup scene – hello RiRi with Fenty Beauty and not forgetting the ever so popular quick fix resulting in fuller lips and wrinkle-free faces. Booking a treatment in Aesthetics is becoming as common as booking a gel manicure!
In fact, would you believe that according to investment bank Goldman Sachs the global beauty industry, consisting of skin care worth $24 billion, make-up $18 billion, hair-care products $38 and perfumes at $15 billion is growing at up to 7% a year, more than twice the rate of the developed world’s GDP. Yes, I nearly swore! Holy S**t!
So why when we’re investing all our hard-earned money on looking good, are we not looking much deeper and putting some aside to work towards feeling good?
I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that I would talk to you in more detail about the benefits of body massage and why it’s so important to incorporate regular treatments into our busy lives. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “beauty starts within” and I love this phrase “beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart” this is so true! Believe me, you’ll be surprised at what goes on inside our body to keep us happy, healthy and alive, it’s fascinating! And let’s face it, if we’re not feeling good internally it vibrates externally. It’s written all over our faces (mine anyway) and all the beauty products in the world ain’t gonna change that.
So, I thought I’d start with a little bit of history about body massage, just a little, I’m all about the modern times. There is evidence that massage therapy was used as a natural healing method in ancient civilisations such as China, Egypt, India, Rome and Greece. Some say it was used as a form of natural healing for injuries, pain, stress and illnesses.
Before I talk through why body massage is so vital to improving our health and wellbeing I wanted to highlight Per Henrik Ling who is the remarkable chap who developed Swedish Body Massage in the 18th Century in Sweden. Hail Per Henrik Ling! He then went on to introduce it to the states in 1858 as “The Swedish Movement Cure”. Per Henrik Ling created his masterpiece by combining his knowledge of gymnastics and his knowledge of physiology together with Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman techniques. In short, he created a full body massage using a mixture of different techniques such as long strokes, kneading, motions, friction, stretching and tapping. Not sure which is my favourite yet!
Swedish Massage is one of the most popular types of massage and is the foundation for all other styles of massage such as sports, deep tissue, aromatherapy etc.
But whats so great about massage treatments and why are they becoming more and more popular? That is the big question! I personally think it is a lot to do with the fast pace of our busy lives and digital burnout. A good majority of us are spending too much time on digital devices, which is slowly but surely frazzling our brains. Whether were on gadgets at work, at home and even more so if you’re a social media addict, too much digital time can play havoc with our health. It can cause a decrease in physical energy, a negative effect on our sleeping pattern and it can also affect our concentration. It’s also worth pointing out that continuous use of phones and laptops are detrimental to our posture. Worth thinking about next time you’re sat in front of your laptop or you constantly have your phone glued to your ear. It’s becoming more and more apparent after consultations with clients that people who spend a high number of hours a day in front of a computer suffer more from aches and pains. They have minimal breaks and all complain of back and shoulder issues.
Whether massages are becoming more popular due to digital burnout, stress, a need to improve posture, to relax or simply to improve our overall sense of well-being, they are vital to our health.
So, I’ll finally leave you with some of the key benefits of body massage, otherwise, I’ll be talking forever on this subject as I could go on and on. Massage treatments are;
- Great for improving circulation which increases oxygen flow in the blood
- Great for releasing tight muscles by flushing out toxins
- Great for restoring movement and keeping our ligaments and tendons supple
- Great for reducing physical and emotional stress
They’re also great for relaxation for those who are constantly on the go and find it hard to relax (like me). If that’s not persuaded you to treat yourself to a body massage, I’m lost!
Can you remember the last time you went for a massage? How did you feel before and after? If you do book a treatment make a note of how you’re feeling before. Then after the treatment, when you’ve had time to rebalance and enjoy that surreal moment of feeling light, jot down how you feel again at that point. You’ll be amazed at the results (but make sure you find the right masseuse)!
I’ve come to realize that we can have our makeup done to enhance our features, our hair done to transform our locks and we can buy outfits that are so on point our style is right up there with Kate Moss. I’m sure with all these things we can look a million dollars! But, if we’re not feeling good, something is missing!
When we feel good our eyes sparkle, our skin glows and our vibration is high. Focussing on our health and wellbeing “FEELING GOOD” should be right up there with focussing on looking good!
Always find time to explore. Fresh air and greenery work wonders for the soul. When you look at this picture what do you see, how does it make you feel?
There are so many benefits of being surrounded by nature, it’s essential your psychological health and wellbeing.
If you’re ever near a forest go for a walk or a run. It’s amazing how being surrounded by trees affects your mood. When I visit the Lake District I love running in the forest near my brothers. Not only do I love the exercise, I love the smell of the trees, the beauty surrounding me and not to mention the views when I reach the top, something we’re too busy to notice sometimes! In fact, add to your to-do list “go and find a forest”. (But do try and avoid the rain – it’s tricky in Cumbria)! If you don’t fancy running just walk, it’s just as good. Walking helps you live a healthier life and helps keep off those extra few pounds, particularly if you like Cartmel’s Sticky Toffee pudding like me.
A dog is the perfect outdoor buddy, you get to explore and make the most of the silence. My dog, a crazy cocker spaniel called Pika (short for Pikachu named by my nephew Joe) drags me outside come rain, wind or snow. I don’t have a choice, and at times, as much as I’m not feeling it, I’m always glad she did, there’s a method in her madness! I feel great and so energised afterwards. Not to mention how I feel when I see those huge brown eyes smiling at me with gratitude when we arrive home. She darts through the door and slumps in her bed until she’s ready to go again (standard 15 minutes for a spaniel)! If you don’t have a dog but like the idea of one, check out “Borrow my Doggy”. You get the best of everything without the day to day responsibilities. You know, like try before you buy or the niece and nephew scenario (you can hand them back).
If you’re struggling to think of the last time you stopped, cleared your mind and surrounded yourself in nature, maybe it’s about time you did. It’s so calming and peaceful and most importantly, it’s a great way to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. It’s a moment to STOP, BREATHE & THINK. Most of my biggest life decisions have been made outdoors surrounded by nature, it helps me find clarity. It’s basically a time away from everything to think and reflect and a time we’re at our most creative, so expect those light bulb moments.
If you can, try and picture yourself in a forest, the sun is beaming through the trees and the only noise breaking the silence is the birds. How does that make you feel? MAGIC!
So, it’s the weekend and I’m having the usual conversation with my friend about whether we should go out or stay in. It’s cold, dark and miserable and it’s only 5.30pm. The conversation as it goes most weekends goes something like this.
“Well we could go out and we should go out as we’re single, but it would be nice to stay in the warmth. I could brush up on my full body massage routine, tailor it to how you’re feeling, tired and stressed, which is standard for a Friday night. Then we could have a healthy dinner and we will both feel amazing tomorrow”. “What do you think”?
As I’m sure you can imagine, my friend had no intention of setting foot outside in the cold after that conversation. I mean, who wouldn’t want an hour and a half full body massage with a facial and an Indian head massage thrown in for good measure.
There’s nothing better than starting the weekend feeling amazing rather than tired and burnt out after drowning your stresses in the bottom of a wine bottle, only to feel worse the next day. That’s my opinion anyway, although believe me it was the opposite not too long ago! I’d wake up most Saturday’s hungover after knocking back copious amounts of vino to take the edge of a tough week.
So, I set up the room, light the vanilla amber and lavender coconut wax blend candles hoping to create a gorgeous scent and a sense of calm. The heating is turned up a notch so the room is cosy and I cover the massage bed with fluffy towels, biscuit and powder blue, my favourite colour combo. Oh, and not forgetting the fur rug thrown over for extra warmth, adding a nice soft fluffy texture against the skin. For me, it’s all in the detail!
The music is on, calm, slow, you know the kind that takes you to a whole different place and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and then my friend arrives. I treat her like I would a client and go through the important questions of how she’s feeling, if there’s any issues, back problems, shoulder tension etc. and then we agree on what type of treatment she’s looking for and the areas of the body, if any she would like me to focus on. I ask about the type of pressure she likes, whether she’s had massages before and if so the type of massages she’s had (deep tissue, thai etc.). I need to understand what will work for her.
For me, the pressure is one of the most important aspects of a massage. What’s enjoyable for one person is very different to the next. I personally like people standing on my back (no pain no gain), so if I based my treatments on my own preferences, we’d both end up in a whole lot of trouble. I then choose a massage oil depending on how’s she’s feeling and it’s clear she wants a relaxing massage. So, I make a blend of lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot, a blend I created, which to me is the most relaxing scent!
Before we agree to silence, so she can enjoy the atmosphere, the music and get lost in the moment, I do a little pressure test and ask which pressure feels the most comfortable. At least then I know that we’re in tune with each other. Now the focus is pure relaxation and no chats. I really get into the flow and it amazes me how much I actually enjoy giving massages as much as I do receiving them. I find it really therapeutic, particularly whilst I take in the beautiful aromatherapy scents. That’s crazy right! I mean I must love it if I’m happy to give up my weekends and evenings to make someone feel good.
I’m not sure if I enjoy it because it’s so physical, it literally feels like a work-out at times, and I have “a whole load of energy I need to put to good use”, or whether it’s the fact that I know I’m making someone feel good. Actually, it’s definitely both! And that’s the point, the reason I love holistic therapy so much is that I’m finally in a job where I can make people feel better and they can feel instant results! You can literally tell by someone’s face after the treatment how they’re feeling. When they leave smiling, I smile, it’s such good feeling and when they book in for their next appointment, well that’s a result!
I always follow up the next day with a little message. It’s important for me to know how my clients are feeling and to understand the effects of their massage after a good night’s sleep. And that’s the thing, everyone says after having a massage they feel extremely light and that they slept like a baby. There will be the odd occasion where my client may be a little sore but that’s when they’ve asked me to focus on knots with a more intense pressure to help break them down. Worth pointing out that I wouldn’t advise going partying right after a massage as a massage boosts circulation pushing your lymph fluid around the body so you shed excess fluids more quickly. Dehydration alert, hence you need to up your H2O afterwards!
I finish our holistic evening with an Indian Head Massage, they are divine (tried and tested). They are also very good for relieving stress and tension in the head, which is apparent with a number of clients who have highly stressful jobs. I leave my friend to rest for a good 20 minutes and go into the kitchen to make dinner. We chat over our healthy meal about how she felt after the treatment (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Pizza) and in no time at all she’s literally falling asleep on the couch. She heads off home to bed (peaceful sleep no doubt) and I pour myself a glass of red wine! I had a lovely evening mastering my craft and making someone feel good, and let’s face it, I could never be T Total so there’s no point in kidding myself. Everything in moderation!
In a world that is moving at rapid speed, it’s so important to look after yourself. In my next blog I will be talking about all the benefits of a body massage, but for now, my Sunday roast is calling!
Since Valentine’s Day is lurking and in true form, the shops are filling up with hearts and flowers, I thought I’d write a blog to all the lovely single folk that may not yet have found that special person.
In a world that’s seems like everything is a hundred miles an hour, finding love isn’t easy. Believe me, I’ve tried and I’m still trying!
Do we think it’s important anymore, particularly when it’s so easy for a short-term fix with dating apps like Tinder and Bumble? I mean what happened to old-fashioned dating! I’m not saying anything bad about dating apps. I’ve tried them, the good the bad and the ugly. I’ve also seen some very good endings including marriage, kids, the works, and some weird endings which are too weird to mention!
It makes me laugh when the older generation, that being aunts, uncles, parents, siblings think it’s appropriate to tell you that it’s about time you started thinking about settling down. This generally tends to fall out of their unfiltered mouths at weddings or any other event where you’re surrounded by couples. Yes, it’s annoying! I’m sure you think we’re all running wild with no clothes on and the only reason we’re single is because we’re not trying to find someone.
That’s the point, we are trying to find someone, just not anyone! Then there’s the well-intentioned advice from our friends “You have to put yourself out there”. For the record, we are looking and we do put ourselves out there!
So, I thought I’d write this blog to say that we put ourselves out there more than you know, we go on dating sites even though we hate them, we go to the gym, we go to bars, we go out in the evenings even though sometimes we’d rather be sat at home relaxing. We do all these things because somewhere in this crazy world we live in, we still believe in love and hope like magic that one day it will appear and we’ll have the fairy-tale ending, whatever that may be.
So, as you can see, talking about this topic “LOVE” is so bloody hard, it’s the one thing in our lives we can’t control. It’s a feeling between two people that’s either there or not. It’s that simple and so bloody difficult. The connection, the spark, you know what I’m talking about. If that’s not there, nothing is. So, what’s the point!
One thing I will say is this. For those of you who are in a happy loving relationship, don’t forget about your single friends. You may well know someone who’s a perfect match so keep your eyes and ears peeled. I can honestly say I’ve set up numerous friends who are happily married now, even if it was by my typical forward approach of pushing them into the guy they fancied at the bar. Love you, Shelley and Shaun!
And to all the single people out there that are looking for a genuine connection, keep looking and don’t settle. Life is a blessing whether you’re single or not. You have to embrace it, every minute, every second and every day. And remember, when you do finally meet that special person, they are an extension of you and your life. They’re not there to change it, I’m not sure I fully believe in Pretty Woman or Cinderella, but they are there to enhance it just like you are there to enhance theirs.
So, here’s an early “Happy Valentine’s Day” to all the single people out there. Go and treat yourself to a gorgeous bunch of flowers or a massage and keep the faith :).
Considering we spend most of our time on our feet, why do we not give them as much attention as we do the rest of our body?
If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you’ll know I am a Complementary Therapist who loves making people feel good. After working like a lunatic and being a stranger to studying and student life for around 16 years, I finally took the plunge and went back to college to follow my dreams. It was challenging, extremely interesting and it opened my eyes to a higher purpose. “Helping people reach optimal health wellbeing in oder to live a happier and healthier life”.
So today I thought I would talk about one of my favourite treatments, Reflexology. I’d never heard of Reflexology and it was by far, one of the more fascinating and complex treatments to learn, I’ll explain why.
Reflexology goes as far back as 4,000 B.C. and was practised in China and Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankmahor. It’s based on a theory that there are energy zones running throughout our body with reflex points situated on our feet. The same goes for our hands, face and ears too, but today my focus is our feet. By adding pressure to certain areas of the foot, a therapist will be able to tell if part of your body is out of balance.
The simplest way to explain this is by looking at the diagram above. The right side of the foot corresponds to the right side of the body. The tips of the toes correspond to the head and the liver, pancreas and kidneys are in the arch of the foot, and so on. Now you know what I was talking about when I said Reflexology is complex!
A good therapist will ensure your treatment is relaxing whilst applying precise and steady pressure, working each body system to create a deep sense of wellbeing. If a specific area is out of balance, say for example an area of the body that is linked to the respiratory system such as your lungs, the therapist will spend more time working that specific area of the foot to help improve any issues.
I myself have had a number of Reflexology treatments, I am a true believer that you need to understand and feel the benefits of treatments before discussing them with clients. Reflexology is extremely relaxing, you feel light, very calm and I always have the best nights sleep after a session. My clients are the same, their feedback usually refers to a deep sleep that same evening and most say they’re out like a light and have no issues sleeping right through to morning. Not forgetting how energised they feel when they wake up!
In my last session, the therapist picked up on my current issues of tension in my shoulders, neck and head. I’d had a pretty tense and strenuous week and the most important thing that came out of my treatment was that I need to work on my posture. I could actually feel tingling in my shoulders whilst the therapist worked the shoulder area on each foot.
If you struggle with migraines, backache, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, sinus congestion and circulatory problems, it’s worth giving Reflexology a try. It has so many great benefits on both a physical and emotional level.
In a nutshell, Reflexology encourages the body to self-heal, it helps with relaxation, promotes good health and helps relieve stress and tension. The overall aim of reflexology is to create “homeostasis” meaning organs in our body are working together to achieve optimum health. In more simple terms Reflexology helps you find balance.
Happy feet equals happy people, happy people embrace life, maybe it’s about time we started giving our feet the attention they deserve.