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Sleep better with reflexology

If you’ve read Matthew Walker’s book “Why we sleep”, you will be familiar with the term biphasic sleep. It’s essentially how nature intended for us to sleep and it means that you take a long, unbroken, sleep at night (7 – 8 hours) followed by a shorter daytime nap of 30 – 60 minutes. Research by Harvard University has established that in countries where this pattern of slumber is widely observed, death by heart disease is a lot less common than in Northern Europe.

In the UK, two thirds of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter manage no more than five hours at night. This is now leading to serious health issues across the nation.

There is a lot than you can do in the evening to set yourself up for a better night’s sleep such as not using electronic devices close to bedtime, controlling light and noise and avoiding caffeine. 

Having a siesta is harder! Or is it? When you come for reflexology, you will receive your treatment in a reclining chair, the blinds will be shut and relaxing music will be playing in the background. A dry diffuser will fill the air with aromatic smells designed to clear your airways. You’ll find yourself breathing more deeply and your muscles will start to relax. And, yes, some of you will fall asleep or at least come very close. It’s siesta time!

So if you think people in your office could do with a siesta, get in touch to discuss how we can support the health of your workforce by giving them access to 30 – 60 minutes of pure relaxation. With a range of treatments to choose from, there is something for everyone and with access to an online booking and payment site, it will all be in place quicker than you can say zzzzzzz….

Planning a team away-day?

Do your team away-days create a great shared experience?

You may have had the pleasure of arranging a team away-day in the past. In that case, you’ll know that the news of an upcoming event is usually met with either joyful cheers or quiet groans of protest. It’s impossible to please everyone. Or is it?

The key to making a success of an event which tends to be mandatory (the first trigger of resistance), is to make it a win-win. So what is it that Management want? And what do employees want? Make a list! Which parts are compatible? If Management want learning and employees want fun, can the key learning be delivered in a more fun and engaging way? Be creative. Team working isn’t always about building a raft in a cold lake…

Make a list. Which ideas are compatible?

Secondly, have you considered making the team away-day about personal resilience and wellbeing? Not only does it leave everyone refreshed and energised but it also has the potential to lay the foundation for lifestyle changes which people can continue to build on once the event has ended.

Our Corporate Wellness Day is an event that we really look forward to. Last year, I tried jazzercise and reflexology and I have continued with both. I feel so much better for it!

So where do you start? Once you’ve found a suitable venue and sorted the catering, start by considering the activities and treatments that employees don’t want to miss out on. You’ll want a good mix of energising classes that promote fitness as well as pampering treatments that provide an opportunity to switch off and relax. This can be combined with workshops on personal resilience or nutrition – some of which can even have a competitive element to them if you want people to work together as a team.

Pilates and yoga are great for flexibility and strength – not just for women!

Choosing the best instructors and therapists is important. Make sure that you reach an understanding of what will be delivered on the day in advance of the event. How long should a lesson or treatment last for? Do they charge a day rate or per treatment? What are their requirements in terms of space? A yoga instructor is likely to need a big open space whilst a massage therapist or reflexologist may want a small, personal space in a break-out room. And how will the bookings be coordinated? Using free booking software makes this part much more manageable.

The final point is about keeping the momentum going after the event. Get feedback. What did people really enjoy? What are the opportunities for incorporating some of the activities into the workplace? If you don’t have space for a Pilates class, would people be up for a weekly walk? Get participants together to brainstorm ideas on how to create a healthier office. Also speak to the instructors and therapists who may be able to offer money-off coupons or corporate discounts for those who want to continue improving their health and wellbeing.

Wellness Days are easy to plan and organise. As long as participants can see the benefit in attending, you’ll soon have a team-away day that people are looking forward to and which can help Management deliver their Healthy Workplace agenda. It really is a win-win.

Want reflexology on your away-day? E-mail me today with your requirements.

What do your feet say about you?

The art of analysing people’s personality or current emotional state just by examining their feet is known as foot reading. Personally, I am no expert as my passion is around classic reflexology which has more of an emphasis on detecting imbalances in a person’s body and supporting them in taking remedial action to restore homeostasis.

However, the subject is really fascinating and I find myself unable to disregard the theory entirely as I keep detecting markings on feet which correspond to personality traits or which align to the client’s personal views or feelings with astounding accuracy.

The best known Foot Reader in the UK is Jane Sheehan who in 2005 shot to fame with her first book “Let’s Read our Feet” which led to several TV appearances and radio broadcasts. A rising star from the US is Sam Belyea who has a massive social media following and is the owner of The Foot Whisperer Reflexology Institute in Florida.

So, according to the foot reader, what do various markings on your feet mean? Let me give a few examples:

Bunions
A bunion is a deformity of the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. There is no known medical reason for bunions and it’s often contributed to wearing the wrong shoes, rheumatoid arthritis or to hereditary factors. The foot reader however, is likely to say that bunion sufferers are people who suppress their feelings or who always put themselves last and are prepared to ‘bend over backwards’ to please others.

Nail fungus
Onychomycosis is the medical term for nail fungus and it’s a very common condition. To a foot reader, nail fungus is indicative of someone under unwanted external influence which they are struggling to get rid of. They are trying hard to protect themselves but they are finding the situation stressful.

Skin
The condition of the skin on your feet is as important to a reflexologist as it is to a foot reader. Skin is the body’s largest organ and it’s an important indicator of general health and wellbeing. Just think of someone looking pale with dark circles under their eyes and you know what I mean. Likewise, feet can look really pale or perhaps an angry red and it’s immediately visible to the therapist that the body is out of balance.

To the foot reader, the skin markers mean various things:

  • Cracked skin – it means that the person is feeling divided or torn. For example, if it’s on the heel, the individual feels torn or undecided as to the best way of moving forward on a certain matter
  • Itching skin – the person feels irritated or annoyed about something
  • Peeling – the client is experiencing a fresh start or new beginnings. However, if the skin is constantly peeling, the client is struggling to let go of an issue that keeps coming back until it’s been fully dealt with.

What do you think? Does any of this apply to you? Feel free to share your own foot story if you’ve had an experience of something changing on your feet following a significant life event.

Reflexology for headaches

Headaches should be viewed as the body’s cry for help, indicating that an internal imbalance exists. Regular use of complementary therapy can play a key role in managing the impact of headaches, helping to calm and relax the body and mind.

When you seek the assistance of a reflexologist, you will be asked a number of questions about your lifestyle and medical history in order to establish the potential causes of your headache. Causes which will be explored are likely to include:

  • Stress from lifestyles and events
  • Digestive stress
  • Hormonal stress
  • Mechanical stress (related to the musculo-skeletal system)
  • Family history – migraines can occasionally run in families

A migraine is much more than a headache. Although symptoms vary from person to person, it is common for it to be felt as a throbbing headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhoea and sensitivity to light and/ or sound. Attacks can last anywhere between 4 hours and 3 days and the condition can have a big impact on people’s ability to live a normal life.

Once the reflexologist has established what may be the primary cause of their client’s headache, a treatment plan will be developed which is likely to focus a great detail on the endocrine (hormonal) system. You should feel the therapist working deeply on reflexes located on or around the big toe which is where you find the reflexes for the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the brain and the cranial nerves. To release tension, the reflexologist will also work on reflexes associated with your shoulder, neck, spine and diaphragm.

Self help techniques

Ziggie Bergman is a leading Facial Reflexology expert who has developed the Bergman Method Facial Reflexology and the Zone Face Lift. The video below demonstrates a very effective relaxation technique which can be of benefit for all types of headaches. It’s so easy that even kids can do it!

To prepare, make sure that your nails are short and your hands are clean. It can be done with or without using a facial oil. It’s recommended that you initially try it out in front of a mirror until you feel confident that you are activating the right reflex points.

Reflexology and digestion

Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into smaller components for the body to use. Your diet, lifestyle, level of stress, disease and medication can all lead to digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, indigestion and heartburn.

It is estimated that at any one time, at least 40% of people have one or more problems with their digestive system for which they self-medicate or suffer in silence.

Generally, digestive issues such as bloating, gas or loose stools settle down by themselves. However, they may be a signal for a more serious illness. Please take note if you experience any worsening of heartburn, stomach pain or indigestion over a period of time. Equally, if you have difficulty swallowing, you experience any sudden weight loss or a big change in bowel function or you are bleeding from the bowels, you must seek medical assistance to get checked by a doctor.

How reflexology can help

In the body, the autonomic nervous system manages our response to stress via the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. These systems are also responsible for blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels and of course the process of digestion.

When you have reflexology, the therapist will work on a number of reflexes which help balance the autonomic nervous system. Those reflexes include the digestive tract, the cardiac and pyloric sphincter of the stomach, the anal sphincter, the ileo-caecal valve, the large and small intestine and the nerve point for the vagus nerve. Stimulating the vagus nerve (which mimics signals from the gut to the brain) has proven very effective in improving gut function but recently it is also being used as a treatment for epilepsy and depression.

If you suffer from chronic digestive issues, and have never had reflexology before, you must mention it to your therapist prior to commencing treatment in order that a lighter, gentler treatment can be given initially. Regular (weekly) reflexology treatments are recommended to start with. Once the digestive system has been balanced, you can start having treatments on a monthly basis.

Hand reflexology (self help) for digestive issues

In between seeing your reflexologist, you can do the following at home for 5 minutes every day.

  • Use your thumb to push across the area with the thin blue lines (small intestine reflexes)
  • Use your thumb to circle in a clockwise direction over the green dot (ileo-caecal valve)
  • Use your knuckles to work in a clockwise direction over the thick blue lines (large intestine reflexes)
  • Use your thumb to circle in a clockwise direction over the orange circle (rectum reflex)
  • Use your thumb to work firmly along the red line from the thumb to the base of the hand (spine reflexes)