I hope you had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend. The sun was shining for most of it, so I spent a lot more time outside. I spent some time with my niece in the park, which cheered me up immensely. When you see the world through four-year-old eyes, it always seems a simpler, happier place!
It was nice seeing other people out as well, although I did have a little anxiety on Friday because so many families were there doing family things like walks and picnics.
It was a strange mix of feelings - a joy to see people participating in "normal" activities and covid anxiety from being around so many people at one time. Even though I was outside and distanced by more than the infamous six feet.
Getting back to "normal" following covid may take a few years. We must stay mindful of this for our own mental health and social healing and that of our friends and family, as we will all have different feelings about life outside the safety of our homes and our bubbles.
Some people may not even realise the prolonged effects of isolation and regulated social contact nor the actual effects of not engaging in normal routines. So as things start to relax, remember a little kindness and a warm smile will go a long way in making people feel comfortable again.
And, as I gear up to opening the therapy room and welcoming back clients, both old and new, let's take a look at how the benefits of massage can go beyond just treating yourself, as well as how social distancing may have increased our stress levels.
Soothe your body and soul
If you are searching for ways to boost your well-being, then massage and reflexology are a simple way to do this. Whether you choose a professional, a friend or a loved one, a good massage, whether full body or just the feet, can help you relax, lower stress hormones, boost circulation, enhance skin tone, increase flexibility, reduce pain, and more.
Also, reflexology and massage can be super beneficial in everyday life, especially during the pandemic when physical contact has been limited. Exchanging massages in your household or support bubble, or even mindfully massaging yourself, can enrich your mental well-being in times of stress and anxiety.
If you want to try it for yourself, hand and arm massages are an excellent place to start, or feet if you are working on other people. They are less intrusive, but the power of touch can be incredibly soothing.
The first rule is to warm the muscles gently before working more intensely. Using long sweeping movements, known as effleurage, is a soothing way of applying oil to the body. Then if you want to work deeper, kneading the area with your knuckles warms the tissues. Stick to massaging fleshy areas and avoid bony bits. The main thing to remember is that massage is a natural extension of touch, so follow the body's contours, and you can't go far wrong.
And it's OK to ask for feedback, so you can lighten/deepen the touch, depending on what feels good for the other person.
I usually use oil with an almond base, but grapeseed is a perfect alternative, especially for those who may be allergic to nuts. Almond oil helps to soothe delicate skin and prevent moisture loss, whereas grapeseed is lighter, rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
Three massage oils to try at home:
This light oil is rich in Essential Fatty Acids and is great as an all-purpose massage oil. It's extremely mild and gentle enough for babies, children, and people with sensitive skin to help to soothe delicate skin and prevent moisture loss. From the ripe seeds of the almond tree, this sweet-smelling organic oil is cold-pressed to help retain its skin-conditioning properties.
Ideal for a skin conditioning facial or body massage, either as it is or tailored using your favourite essential oils or blends.
This skin-nourishing massage oil is a blend of soothing essential oils in a vitamin-rich base to leave your body and mind balanced and relaxed. The beautiful combination of organic sunflower, almond and wheatgerm oils is fragranced with uplifting geranium, relaxing lavender and warming marjoram. It helps to keep your skin soft and supple. It's suitable for all skin types, especially dry skin.
This soothing massage oil is a blend of revitalising essential oils in a skin-softening base of vegetable oils to nourish your body and calm your mind. The conditioning base of almond, avocado and jojoba oils is fragranced with balancing geranium, palmarosa and cypress and relaxing lavender and bergamot to help you relax and unwind. Suitable for all skin types, it promotes relaxation, a deep sense of well-being and helps prevent moisture loss.
If you don't fancy a massage at home, this guide to some of the different styles will help you find your perfect massage.
I have been practising reflexology for over 12 years, and the results often speak for themselves. Most people who try this relaxing treatment fall in love with it.
Reflexology is a treatment that you can have on your feet, hands, or face. Reflexologists believe that the feet, hands, and face are the best places to find 'reflex' points corresponding to specific areas of the body. By working on these pressure points, you can send healing messages to the mind and body to help sort out imbalances or problems.
I see people for many different reasons, but the main area is stress and all of the stress-related issues that accompany it. These could be pain, sleep problems, hormonal imbalances, digestive system issues, fertility, or general health and well-being.
With everything going on in the world right now, it can be an unsettling time, and you could be feeling more stressed and anxious than usual. Reflexology can help calm the mind, ease your stresses, and restore the body to its natural balance. I usually work on the feet or face, but you can also practice reflexology yourself on your hands (much easier to reach than your feet!). Although it's never quite as relaxing as having someone else do it for you, it's still beneficial.
So why not try it for yourself? Put on some calming music, light your favourite candle, and grab some hand cream, like the Wild Rose Hand Cream. It's enriched with antioxidant-rich, organic wild rosehip oil, with a balancing blend of organic geranium and patchouli essential oils. Hence, it nourishes to leave hands and nails feeling soft and smelling divine. Then follow one of the videos on my website.
Deep tissue massage
A massage used to remove physical aches and pains. If you are particularly stressed, a deep tissue massage will help to loosen tight and tense muscles. A type of massage therapy, deep tissue massage, involves applying firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper muscle and fascia layers (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). Therapists often use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during a deep tissue massage, working on those tight areas.
It's beneficial for persistent aches and pain such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders. Expect to feel a little sore the day after a treatment, but the results are worth it!
Hot stone massage
The heat can be deeply relaxing and help to warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly.
Basalt stones have unique properties which remove negative energy and re-energise the chakras via their vibrational energy, leaving you feeling harmonised and balanced. The basalt stones are known for their ability to retain heat.
The heat applied from the stones softens and relaxes muscles without the therapist adding more pressure. The heat brings a lovely sense of comfort and relaxation to the mind and body while relaxing stiff and achy muscles. They are also suitable for placing on chakras to ease blockages and promote self-healing.
Bamboo is a therapeutic warming massage for harmony, balance and well-being.
With a warm Bamboo massage, the results go deeper and last longer than other massage techniques, and it feels great! Warm Bamboo Massage is a unique way to relax tight muscles and release stress and tension. A little cooler than hot stones, the bamboo sticks are gently warmed and more effective than hands working more deeply into the muscles. The bamboo stocks offer deep and long massage strokes and positively affect the body's energy flow. The feeling of warmth is comforting and enhances relaxation.
A range of bamboo sticks are used to tap, roll, knead, and apply pressure to the body. Try this if you want a great massage but are short on time and want to see the same results as deep tissue massage.
Overall, your massage should leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed – a sensation that will last long after the massage is over. Therefore, a massage is an ultimate remedy after a long hard day; dissolving stress, anxiety and worries, it stills mental chatter and transports you to a place of inner peace and tranquillity.
Have you booked yours yet?
The harmony between mind, body and spirit.