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!
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!
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.
I made a decision to explore the world of health and beauty, which led me to enrol on a Complementary Therapy Course. I’ve always been fascinated by health and beauty but never really knew which route I wanted to take. I’m amazed that it’s taken me so long to finally take the plunge, only to realize that it’s not only something I love, but it’s also something I am truly passionate about. It’s such a good feeling!
Anyway, for those of you who are wondering what complementary therapy is, here’s a quick overview. Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional medical treatments prescribed by your doctor to boost your physical and emotional health. There are a number of different treatments such as Body Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Indian Head Massage. The list goes on.
Treatments are tailored to suit your individual needs after an in-depth consultation is carried out, a ‘one size fits all’ approach will definitely not work. All the individual treatments have different benefits but in a nutshell, they help improve aches pains, depression and many other serious illnesses. The aim of a complementary therapist is to make you feel better and improve your quality of life. I’ll talk about the individual treatments and their benefits in much more detail in future blogs, but for now how does that sound?
I love experimenting with different types of massage techniques and the more treatments I do, the more I feel at home. This is where I was supposed to be! Connecting with people physically and mentally is really important to me, and what I find most rewarding is being able to help people achieve more balance in their lives. Whether it’s a short-term fix or an ongoing journey to improve aches, pains, tension, anxiety depression or whatever the problem, seeing the results is extremely rewarding. What I love the most about being a complementary therapist is, you really get to understand your clients and play a key role in improving their overall health and well-being.
So here I am finally, better late than never. It may sound cliché, but one thing I’ve realised is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams (I’ll leave this topic for another blog).
But where did this all begin? I have worked in recruitment for the last 14 years and eventually set up my own recruitment business. It has its perks along with the extreme highs and lows, like any sales profession. So, I would be lying if I said it is was easy, it’s not for the faint-hearted. I have learned a lot from my recruitment journey and the most important thing that stuck with me is how important it is to look after yourself physically and mentally.
In extremely testing periods, I had to think about how I could reduce stress and anxiety. I realised how important it is to find an escape. So, it got me thinking, what can I do in stressful periods to switch off and recharge my batteries? The gym is my saviour in some ways, which I love, I’ve always been extremely sporty. I attend at least 4 times a week and mix up sessions with running, yoga classes and weights, a variety to keep it interesting, but for me, it just wasn’t enough. I also realised that the gym became another task to tick off my daily to-do list, which during busy periods sent me west (another blog to follow).
To top things off I was getting pains in my shoulders and neck (tension) and came to the conclusion that I needed a release. I was chatting with a close friend of mine and she suggested that I treat myself to a massage and recommended a place in the city. So, off I went for a full body massage one Saturday morning, for a new chapter I labelled “escape”. I was introduced to a therapist Jasmin and no lie, Jasmin changed my life. I came to realise that massage was the missing piece of the jigsaw, the final thread of self-care that was missing from my rituals. Oh my, did she work her magic, and believe me it did feel like magic. I’d had massages before at various spas but they never really made a difference to how I felt, they were soft and fluffy and made me feel a little sleepy. I always left feeling disappointed and felt that I’d wasted time and money. But after regular treatments with Jasmin, I would leave feeling light and much more balanced. After numerous visits, slowly but surely I had less aches and pains and my stress levels had lifted.
Now I am not saying that my aches and pains have disappeared for good, they still rear their ugly head from time to time, but when they do I’m straight off to Jasmin for my fix and I leave feeling like a new woman. So, I guess what I am saying about complementary therapy is to give it a go, and if you can, try and incorporate the treatments that work for you into your lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to improve their overall health and wellbeing!
If you have problems that you think need to be addressed, why not talk it through with a complementary therapist. They will take the time to get to know you and will advise you on the best treatments to suit your individual needs. Oh and one more final point! I think it’s extremely important to find a therapist that you feel you connect with. Complementary Therapy is a very personal journey and the right therapist will make you feel comfortable and give you ongoing support to help restore balance to your mind, body and spirit.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog. I hope you found it interesting :).