Keep up to date with what I'm up to...
It's All Go!
22 March 2017
From 3rd May I'm going to be working from Alternatives in Shenley Church End. I'll be there every Wednesday afternoon. This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really excited to be joining the team at the clinic.
Looking For Case Studies...
4 April 2017
I visited a friend in hospital whilst she was being treated for leukaemia. She told me that one of the things that she looked forward to most was the lady who came around each week giving hand, foot, or head massages. I instantly felt very strongly that I wanted to be able to offer massage treatments to cancer patients.
When I first trained as a massage therapist it was drummed into us that cancer is a contra indication to massage and we should not provide treatments to cancer patients. So when I got home from the hospital I started looking for courses that would give me the knowledge and confidence to provide safe and effective massage treatments for those affected by cancer. I found a few courses, there's not loads, but there are some. Many of them are one day courses and I didn't feel comfortable that one day would give me the knowledge to be confident in what I was doing. The course I enrolled on was over 2 weekends with a written exam , followed by a period of 6 months in which to complete 20 case studies and write a 2000 word essay.
Three and a half days of the two weekends was theory based, learning about cancer and various treatments, and obviously how it all impacts on the treatments we are able to give. The remainder of the time was spent carrying out treatments on eachother with specific cancer related scenarios. I can't imagine how anyone could fit all of that into 1 day. I can only conclude that they don't!
I have completed the two weekends and have passed the written exam, so I'm now looking for people willing to be case studies. Any one with a history of cancer or currently undergoing treatment for cancer can be a case study. I am able to provide details of the school I'm training with and contact details for my tutor if neccessary.
Depending on the location of the treatment, there may be a minimal cost involved to cover my expenses. If you'd like more information or would like to be a case study, please send me a message via the contact page. I look forward to meeting you!
1 February 2018
It's been a long time coming but I'm really excited to be able to say that although it's not quite finished, The Hut is now in a useable state. Linzi and I have both started seeing clients in The Hut this week and we can't wait for it to be fully up and running.
In addition to the massage therapies that I offer, Linzi will be available for reflexology, reiki and crystal healing. We're sure that the treatments we both provide will complement each other for the benefit of our clients.
More treatments coming your way!
11 May 2018
Where is this year going? There's so much going on at the moment the weeks and months are just flying by!
In between clients I've been busy with my Continuing Professional Development and have been attending courses that will allow me to provide you with some lovely new treatments. I will soon be introducing Thai Foot Massage to my treatments menu. I'm very excited about this treatment, it really is the business! I won't go into too much detail just yet, but it is a definite treat for your feet and indeed the rest of your body as it's great for helping to maintain your general well-being.
The latest course I attended was Aromatherapy for Dermatological Conditions. Aromatherapy absolutely fascinates me and this course did not disappoint at all! Whilst I love helping people relieve stress, manage their anxiety or improve their mood with aromatherapy massage, this course will enable me to take things to a whole new level.
Further details and pricing will be released over the coming weeks, so please keep an eye on the treatments page. But if you have any queries about either treatment before then, please do call, text or email me.
Skin Cancer Awareness
12 July 2018
Skin cancer is a subject that is very close to my heart with both melanoma and basal cell carcinoma having affected members of my family. As with all cancers, early detection is vital and can save a life. As a massage therapist I see areas of the body that a person can't see themselves, such as the back, so I feel that it's important that I am able to identify any areas of concern so that I can advise my client to have it checked. Having completed this course I now have a much better understanding of how to identify potential problem areas.
I feel that this is such an important thing and I have encouraged the other therapists I work alongside to complete the course too.
Plantar Fasciitis - Massage can help
20 May 2019
Plantar fasciitis, also known as plantar heel pain syndrome (PHPS), is a
common problem that can really give you a lot of pain on the sole of
your foot, making it hard to walk and even put your weight on your
It’s the most common cause of heel pain, and it happens when your
plantar fascia – the flat band of tissue connecting your heel bone to
your toes - gets weak or inflamed, making your heel or the bottom of
your foot hurt to walk on. Plantar fasciitis is most common in middle
aged people, and often seen in younger people who are on their feet a
lot. Some people find that the pain is worse when they wake up and it
eases during the day as they walk on the affected foot.
It can be a difficult to treat problem, doctors try steroid injections often
to no avail, but experts are coming around to the idea that massage
therapy and stretching can be more effective at treating the problem
than steroid injections or possible surgery.
Studies into Massage Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis
Research carried out at an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Israel
showed that massage was a promising treatment for plantar fasciitis.
The researchers studied 69 people with the condition who had been
referred to them by an orthopaedic surgeon. One group was
given ultrasound treatment combined with stretches and the other was
treated with massage therapy and stretches.
All the patients were offered eight treatments over six weeks, although
only 51 people completed the whole study. When the massage
intervention was compared to ultrasound (which isn’t thought to be
that effective in treating PHPS anyway) the researchers found that deep
tissue massage on the calf muscles combined with stretching exercises
was more likely improve the symptoms than a combination of
ultrasound and stretching.
Ten minutes of deep pressure massage to the posterior calf was all it
took to see a difference in the patients in the study – that’s easy to fit
into a massage session so if you’ve been suffering with it, don’t suffer in
silence, speak to your therapist and ask them to add in some deep tissue
massage to your regular routine.
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
To soothe the condition in the long term you’ll need to stretch the
plantar fascia – so try pulling up on your foot and toes, then holding the
stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch five times and do the
routine three times a day if you can.
Calf muscle stretching has also been shown to be effective in managing
PHPS - try a standing calf stretch with your affected foot furthest from
the wall and one foot in front of the other. Lean forward keeping your
heels on the floor until you feel the stretch in the back of your calf and
Achilles tendon. Repeat five times, three times a day.
Massage - Don't Wait Until You Need It!
18 February 2020
So many people I see come to me because they already have back pain. They think that because nothing actually hurts, they don’t need to worry about the effects of sitting at a desk or behind the wheel all day. And then they end up at the massage clinic feeling sorry for themselves with a painful back or an injury.
Massage is wonderful if you do have an injury or are already in pain, but why wait until there’s something wrong before you take action? Massage can be part of your preventative therapy, a way to stop aches and pains from developing in the first place, or from turning into anything more serious.
Keep On Keeping On...
If you, like most of us, have to work for a living, looking after your back and your musculoskeletal system will save you (and your employer) a lot of stress and money in the future. Did you know that lower back pain is one of the biggest causes of absence from work?
A study that was carried out in 2011 showed that having regular lower back massages helped to relieve back pain before it got to the stage where it needed medication or taking time off from work.
Another cause of time off work is stress and/or anxiety, so you’ll be pleased to hear that a regular massage session can help you beat the build-up of stress and keep you calmer for longer. It’s well known that many conditions are either brought on or made worse by stress, including the back pain we’ve already spoken about. Booking time out for regular massage therapy helps to lower your body’s cortisol levels and increase happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. It really does put you in a better mood! On top of this, it’s also thought that because a deep tissue or Swedish massage in particular help to get your lymph fluid moving, this type of massage can help boost your immunity. This means less coughs, colds and illnesses, which has to be good, right?
Beat the Pain of Inactivity
I know, most of us can’t help it, but the average Brit sits still for eight or nine hours every single day. If your job means that you have no choice but to sit at a wheel or desk, it will pull your shoulders forward and cause them to become rounded. This has the effect of weakening your upper and lower back muscles, which is why you’ll be feeling that pain in your upper body.
If you can manage to get up and about regularly to do some exercise, and team this with a regular massage, your posture will thank you for it and you should reduce any pain you feel from sitting still for so long during working hours.
So what do you think of making massage part of your regular self care routine? Of course, it’s not all about preventing illness or relieving pain. Having a massage is a fabulously comforting and beneficial therapy in itself, and many people book their regular massage therapy sessions just because they know they will spring off the massage couch feeling amazing. And in this super busy world we’ve created, we could all benefit from a bit of downtime.
Teachers Deserve Recognition Too!
23 April 2020
Last night I was scrolling through Facebook, like so many others during this weird lockdown time, and I came across a post from a friend who works in a school. I don't know if she wrote the post or if she copied and pasted it, but either way, the post made a very good point.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the introduction of our partial lockdown in the UK we have been told on a daily basis how grateful we should all be to our frontline NHS and supermarket staff. And of course we should be! They're literally putting their own health and possibly even their lives on the line to keep us as safe as possible, fed and watered whilst we can't go out. We've all been outside at 8pm every Thursday to show our appreciation to these people with a round of applause, they're being offered free pizza, free coffee and special shopping hours. It's really lovely to see the nation get behind the people who are literally keeping us all alive!!
Many of those workers are also parents to school age children and some of those children can't be left at home alone whilst their parents go to work. So to enable the parents to carry out their essential roles, schools are having to remain open to provide somewhere for those children to go. There has been no Easter break for these teachers and support staff, they've also had to work right through. There has been no offer of free pizza, or coffee, or special shopping hours, and there has been no provision of PPE or even antibac gel for these people who are looking after the children of frontline workers who may be coming into contact with patients infected with the virus. It's a stressful time for them too and we seem to have forgotten about them and the valuable contribution they are making during this pandemic.
So, teachers, support staff....on behalf of the UK I would like to say THANK YOU! As the post I saw last night said, you too are heroes.
Once I'm able to open my treatment room again, I'd like to offer a FREE aromatherapy massage to a member or school staff who has worked through this period. Full details of this will be published on my Facebook page at 9pm tonight (23/04), so please do check it out and make a nomination. We need to recognise and appreciate everyone who has made a sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe during this uncertain time.
Taking the pain out of riding
As a horse rider, does your horse's health and wellbeing come before your own? I'm guessing it probably does. When you take on a horse, they are dependent on you to keep them safe and healthy and you will do everything you can to ensure that. At the first sign of discomfort in your horse you're on the phone to their vet/farrier/dentist/physio. But has it ever occurred to you that it could be you not looking after yourself as well as you look after your horse that is causing the problems? Think about it, if you have pain and/or tension in your back that is going to affect both your seat and your movement in the saddle. Your weight may not be in the right place, you'll be unbalanced, and that will pass onto your horse and unbalance him too.
Studies have shown that horse riders, regardless of discipline, are 50% more likely to suffer with back problems than the general population. There are the obvious reasons for this, such as falls and the heavy lifting that can be involved in the day to day care of a horse, but also riding itself can cause us musculoskeletal problems. The repetitive movements from walk, the impact from trot and canter. These can cause strains and sprains in the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the back, as well as compressing the discs. Sitting with your hip flexors in a shortened position for extended periods of time can lead to back pain and postural issues just as it does with office workers and drivers, and if these problems are then causing you to not sit correctly, not only can this impact on your performance as a rider, but it can also impact on your horse's performance and cause him pain and discomfort.
I do believe that there is a strong case for being fit to ride, both for our own good as riders, but also for the welfare of our horses. Improving and maintaining your muscle health can go a long way towards improving things for both you and your horse, and sports massage can really help you with that, no matter what level you ride at.
If you'd like to arrange an appointment or have a chat about how massage can help you, please do get in touch.
Mental Health Awareness Week
As you may be aware, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so I wanted to use the opportunity to introduce you to a wonderful charity that I volunteer for. It's called Ride High and it's based here in Milton Keynes at the Ride High Equestrian Centre, formerly Loughton Manor Equestrian Centre. Ride High help some of the most disadvantaged children locally by using riding and horse care lessons to help them develop a huge range of social and life skills.
I lost my dad and moved to a new area in a very short space of time when I was a child, I was bullied at my new school and it was a very difficult time for me. The highlight of the week was my riding lessons and spending time with the ponies, so when the opportunity came up to apply for a volunteering role with Ride High, I didn't have to think twice about it.
I started with the charity as soon as lockdown restrictions were eased enough to allow them to restart the lessons and in those weeks I have met some lovely young people from all sorts of backgrounds and every single one of them has flourished during their time with the ponies. Obviously some of them have been a little nervous to start with, but once they start interacting with the horses you begin to see a different side to them and as they progress through the weeks their confidence grows, not only in their riding, but in themselves too. And they all say it's better than school!
You can learn more about the charity at their website here and if you'd like to donate or even volunteer yourself, all the info is on the website. Or if you're feeling really ambitious, there's a sponsored cycle ride coming up and I know they'd love to have you on board for that! Personally, the only saddle I want to sit on is the one on a horse, I'm not keen on cycling, but if it's your thing please consider giving it a go.
Are You Fit to Ride?
What do I mean by that? What is “fit to ride”? Well, we all know that riding and pretty much everything associated with horses is hard work. Fun and rewarding (most of the time), but hard work! And yes, being conventionally fit is going to be of huge benefit to riders, especially those who compete. But that’s not what I mean, this isn’t about size/fitness shaming.
Studies have shown that over 75% of riders, regardless of discipline or level, experience back pain at some point in their riding career. Many also report knee pain and for me, it’s ankle pain. When we experience pain several things happen within our bodies, some we are aware of, some we’re not. One of those things is that we tense up to try and prevent or minimise the pain and that can shift our centre of gravity and unbalance us, so we shift our weight to compensate. This obviously feeds down into our horse who then has to make adjustments in their own body to compensate for us being unbalanced. This can leave them sore, create muscular imbalances in their bodies and even make tack that seemed to fit fine cause sores.
What I mean by “fit to ride” is that we are able to get on a horse, sit correctly and be pain free whilst doing so. Being fit to ride will benefit our own riding and our horse’s wellbeing and comfort. It’s a win/win!
However, it’s easier said than achieved because riding puts us in an unnatural position which puts pressure on our joints and muscles in all the wrong places! Riders often suffer with shortened hip flexors. That’s the muscles at the front of your hip that, funnily enough, flex your hip. It’s an issue we share with people who drive a lot or sit a lot, and when you stand up straight these muscles can be so tight that they pull on your pelvis and cause an ache or pain in your lower back.
There is plenty that we can do to help counteract this, including yoga, pilates, and of course, sports massage. There are lots of online tutorials for self help in these areas, but taking a class with a qualified yoga or pilates instructor or going for a professional sports massage, or a combination, will give you access to people who can tailor the session for your needs and offer advice for you to take home with you.
Getting in the habit of stretching, strengthening and massage can also prevent pain from manifesting in the first place. So if you don’t experience pain when riding, make sure it stays that way and look after your own body as well as you look after your horse.