If this year has taught us anything, it's just to carry on - whatever that might look like or feel like. Despite our own personal struggles, we have learned to value our health and wellbeing. As well as finding new ways of working, we have sought alternative ways to support ourselves and our families too.
As I was preparing to go back to the gym this week, and get the therapy room ready to begin hands-on treatments, I started thinking about how resilient we may have become. Just because the gym was shut, I didn't stop my workouts – I switched to running outside and yoga in the therapy room.
One thing I didn't pack in my gym bag was any make-up.
Back in the corporate world, this would have been unheard of. But more recently, I find many of us are choosing to go make-up free, especially as we are at home more than ever.
A few years ago, Neal's Yard released their age-well campaign – trying to change the mindset of the media with the philosophy that we cannot stop the ageing process, but we can learn to embrace it. Investing in good quality, natural organic skincare for that fresh-faced look was a no-brainer for me, especially if I was going to embrace little or no make-up.
Skincare aside, being comfortable in our skin is something many of us find easier as we get older, but what if there was a way we could help our body feel at it's best too? Holistic therapies can give us that helping hand to love ourselves as we all embrace getting older.
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure with the fingertips to stimulate sluggish energy that may be 'trapped' in the body. There is a good range of anti-ageing acupressure points around the face which I will often use in my massage – especially my organic facials and Hopi Ear candles treatments. These points are located around your face, head and neck and can be used to revitalise your facial muscles as well as improve complexion and skin tone. The third eye point – located in the middle of the forehead between your eyebrows can be stimulated to enhance skin health and relieve fatigue.
Try it for yourself – apply firm but not painful pressure on this point with your index finger. Top Tip: if you have long nails, you might want to use the end of a pencil or a make-up brush. Do this for one minute and repeat if you wish.
This ancient therapy is powerful for healing the body and can be applied to the feet, hands or face. Most of your nerve endings are located on the feet, and by stimulating these points, known as reflex points, you can restore your body's internal balance. Your feet act as a map to access the body, and a therapist will work systematically by massaging each of the points, focusing on any areas that feel' blocked'.
In this way, despite being a relaxing treatment, reflexology can help to clear any deep physical blockages, influence hormonal balance and detoxify the body. Collectively, it will boost your health and energy, as well as enhance the repair and regeneration process.
Try it for yourself – a good point for reducing stress and emotional wellbeing is the diaphragm reflex. Using a caterpillar motion, walk your thumb across your palm. Work about a third of the way down (across your lifeline). Repeat this movement for around 30 seconds to one minute on each hand.
Essential oils have many anti-ageing benefits. Often, people don't fully understand what these oils offer – most physical imbalance is a result of emotional stress, which has an impact on your hormones, and ultimately your vitality. Many essential oils are phytoestrogens – substances found naturally in plants that produce similar results to the oestrogen hormone – and are easily absorbed through the skin. In this way, they help to reduce dryness and improve tone, especially in mature skin.
The keys oils that promote skin rejuvenation and health include patchouli as its moisturising, geranium as it heals and improves circulation, and rose, which is anti-inflammatory and refining.
Try it for yourself – mix a few drops of your desired essential oil into a tablespoon of milk and add to a warm, relaxing bath.
4. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is so much more than a pampering treat. A good massage will not only benefit your physical and mental health, but it will also help to stimulate circulation. This encourages collagen cell growth which keeps your skin rejuvenated and healthy. Most therapists work towards the lymph nodes, which are responsible for flushing waste toxins from your system. By reducing the toxic build-up under your skin, you can maintain a youthful look.
Try it for yourself – When you finish your morning shower, apply moisturiser in long, upward strokes towards the heart. For added benefits, add a few drops of essential oil to your favourite lotion (see number 3).
Alternatively, treat yourself to an age-well facial with me, book in for a rejuvenating massage, or schedule some 3flexology this month for some much-needed TLC.