Posts tagged ‘complimentary’

October 5, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Treatment 4

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

At today’s treatment my client had had a stressful day, with a few issues at home and an unpleasant trip to the dentist, she had a tension headache and wanted to calm down and let off steam.

The Treatment

Today I tried to focus more on deep breathing with the client, to encourage her to relax.

Again due to her anxiety and stress I focused on the reflexes for the pituitary and adrenal glands. To try and relieve the client’s tension headache, I spent more time working the areas for the head, neck and face.

The ‘popping’ sensation was found in the shoulder relfex, which could be related to stress and her tension headache; there was also an imbalance in the lung reflexes.

I spent more time on the massage part of the treatment to encourage relaxation. I used the client’s preferred massage oil blend.


The client enjoyed her treatment and said the tension in her neck had noticeably improved. Again, her feet felt warmed after the foot massage section of the treatment.

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

The client’s course of treatments is now more than half way through; her next treatment is the penultimate. There has been a change to the amount of reflexes in which I am finding ‘imbalances’, therefore I can start to shorten the treatments.


Client is continuing to try and lead a healthier lifestyle, by looking at her diet, doing more exercise and drinking less caffeinated drinks and more water. I am pleased with the progress she is made, and want her to continue.

September 25, 2013

Reflexology Case Study- Treatment 3

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

My client has nearly recovered from her cold, she is producing a lot of mucus, which is a good sign and shows the body is ridding itself of the infection.

She has cut down the medication she takes for her anxiety to 5mg every other day; she is currently having no ill-effects from this, which she has experienced in the past when reducing her dosage. This is a major achievement for my client.

As usual, the client’s main wish from the treatment was to feel relaxed.


The Treatment

The treatment started by cleansing the feet and relaxing breathing and foot manipulation techniques. To encourage relaxation and to relieve anxiety I decided to focus on the reflexes for the head, pituitary and adrenal glands. Due to the client’s cold I also paid a little more attention to the sinuses, eyes, nose and face reflexes.

The client had dramatically less ‘popping’ on her reflexes today. She only had a little ‘popping’ on the shoulder reflexes. The shoulders are a reflex which commonly ‘pop’ showing an imbalance in this area. Most of us hold a lot of tension in the shoulder especially those of us who sit at a desk all day, or women who carry heavy handbags.

I used the same massage oil blend- almond oil with ginger, lavender and black pepper essential oil, as the client really liked it last time.



At the end of the treatment the client said she felt relaxed.


Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

The client chattered through most of the treatment. Next time I want to concentrate on getting her to focus on relaxation more. I may try and get her to do breathing techniques throughout her treatment to encourage relaxation.



Client is drinking more water and has been taking her multivitamin and mineral tablets.

I have spoken to her about exercise, being good for anxiety- related conditions and she has started going for daily walks.

So her aftercare this week is to keep up the good work.

September 16, 2013

1, 2, 3…..Breathe…..

by lrmetcalfe

breathAfter a long break, I recently started practicing yoga again; and was amazed at how powerful I find this activity.

Due to back problems, I now have to stick to the basics- warm up stretches, simple postures and breathing exercises; however controlling my breathing is the part of yoga I find most effective.

It’s during the breathing exercises that I feel most relaxed, I often feel inspired or have new ideas, as my mind is cleared and becomes more focussed.

Breathing is the most basic of all human functions, if we stopped breathing in and out we would cease to be- yet we all take breathing for granted. We never think of the power that we can have over our health and our bodies if we took a few minutes each day to focus on the breath.

You may be surprised at the changes you notice just controlling your breathing for even 5 minutes a day. Try  sitting down and focussing on your normal breath for a few minutes, then start to control it- breathe in and out, slowly and deeply, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.


There are many breathing techniques, some extremely simple, others take a little more time to master. If you attend a basic yoga class the teacher will be able to show you many effective techniques. I want to mention a few of my favourites in this post:

Basic Abdominal Breathing/ Low Breathing

If you ask most people to take a deep breath in, we immediately suck in our stomach and force in a sharp inhalation of air through the nose. This is incorrect.

Inhalation occurs when the lungs expand to take in air, air is then exhaled when the lungs contract.

Focus on slowly expanding the abdomen as you inhale through the nose, hold your tummy still for a second and then slowly exhale out through the nose pulling your tummy in. Place your hand on the tummy to help you focus on breathing into this area. It can take a little getting used to at first.

Once you’ve mastered this, try counting while you inhale and exhale- in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 8- increase the numbers you count to as you become more practiced.


Full Breathing/ Complete Breathing

Full breathing is the deepest possible breathing. It involves the shoulders, collarbone, ribs, abdomen and diaphragm. Once you have mastered abdominal breathing, you can move on to this more difficult technique.

  • Lie on the floor and tilt your chin into your chest a little.
  • Keep the mouth shut, you should only be inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
  • Breath into your tummy, expand the abdomen.
  • Let the breath move up the torso and expand the diaphragm and rib cage
  • Then try and expand your chest, raise the shoulders a little towards the ears.
  • Feel the breath create warmth in the throat. As you inhale, you should also hear a sound in the throat.
  • Slowly exhale, lower the shoulders and chest, relax the ribs, relax the diaphragm, slowly relax and pull in the abdomen. The slower the better. Use counting to help you maintain control.


Alternate Nostril Breathing

My favourite technique, this exercise is extremely relaxing.

Get comfortable- sit on a chair, on the floor or lie down. If you are seated keep your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.

Place your left hand at your side or on the left knee, palms open to the sky.

Close the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in towards your palm. Keep the fingers in this position throughout.

  • Place the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, to breathe in through the right nostril
  • Gently press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril
  • Then inhale through the left nostril
  • Press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger, to exhale through the right nostril.
  • Repeat this for 5 rounds to begin with, increasing the number of rounds when you are ready.

After every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout.


Try and do a little deep breathing each day. It is especially good when you’ve had a tiring or hectic day. Breathing is not only relaxing but energising, so, you can also use it to give yourself a boost. Why not swap your mid-morning coffee for 5 minutes of controlled breathing!

In addition these breathing techniques have many other healthy benefits. Controlled deep breathing….

  • kick-starts the metabolism
  • improves the condition of the core muscles, improving posture.
  • encourages elasticity in the lung tissue, allowing you to take in more oxygen.
  • tones the abdomen.
  • strengthens the immune system.
  • is useful for sufferers of respiratory conditions.
  • reduces levels of tension and anxiety.

So what are you waiting for! Controlled breathing can be done anywhere, by anyone, all ages and abilities.

So breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe!

March 19, 2013

Life’s Big Stresses

by lrmetcalfe

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe created an experiment to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses. They created a list of 43 stressful life and patients had to score which they would find most stressful, their medical records were studied and a positive correlation was found between their life events and their illnesses.

In the last few months I have experienced several of the events on the list and it got me thinking about the best remedies and lifestyle changes we can make to help us get through these difficult times, to ultimately keep our health in the best possible condition.

There is no escaping stress and in the modern world, many of us feel we are always under pressure and our stresses start to feel overwhelming.  However stress can also be a motivator and it is important to remember many stressful events will eventually have a positive effect on our lives; such as sitting exams, job interviews or your wedding day.

So here are some tips to help you deal with some of those scarier moments in life:

B Vitamins and Vitamin C

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys, they are critical to the body’s regulation of homeostasis and particularly support energy and circulation during times of stress. The water soluble vitamins- Vitamin C and B Vitamins are essential for the production of adrenal hormones and in times of severe stress can become depleted.

Try taking a high strength B Complex and 1000mg of Vitamin C daily, look for a timed release formula to ensure the nutrients are properly absorbed.

Alternatively a bowl of porridge every morning will give you a good daily hit of B vitamins. To increase your Vitamin C intake, consume more fruit and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower).

Lavender Oil

I never underestimate the power of lavender oil. The most flexible of all the essential oils, it is essential in times of stress! Look for lavender oil in a rollerball bottle, and rub a little on the temples, nape of the neck and wrists, to relieve headaches and restore calm. Add a drop or two to your evening bath and onto your pillow to aid relaxation and sleep.


Eight hours of sleep is essential for your body to function properly, when you are stressed, sleep is even more important. However sleep can become much more elusive when you feel stressed. Many of us lie awake staring at the ceiling and thinking of all the things we need to do. So here are my top tips for those sleepless nights:

  • Don’t eat after 6pm, and don’t drink any caffeinated beverages. No midnight snacks if you can’t sleep!
  • Avoid watching TV, going on a computer or looking at your mobile phone for 2 hours before bedtime. These will all stimulate the brain.
  • Keep a notebook my your bedside table- if you wake up and can’t sleep, terrified you will forget something you need to do tomorrow, just note it down and take it off your mind.
  • If you really can’t sleep, get out of bed, stop tossing and turning. Do something relaxing and non-stimulating in a different room, for instance go downstairs and read a book. Return to bed when you start to feel sleepy.
  • If you feel you need to take a sleeping remedy, avoid tablets. After 6pm the digestive system starts to close down, this means any pills taken late at night will not be digested until the next morning when you have breakfast. Try a liquid formula such as ‘A.Vogel Dormeasan’ which contains the calming herbs- Valerian and Hops.

The importance of a healthy diet

In times of stress a healthy diet is your best weapon. Ensuring you get all the nutrients you need will ensure your immune, digestive and adrenal systems are all in good condition, helping you to cope with the demands you are placing on your body. This is probably the hardest thing to do and many of us just turn to stimulants such as chocolate and coffee to give us energy throughout the day and take-aways at night, as we are too tired to cook.

Make sure you stock up on healthy things to snack on like fruit, yoghurts, nuts and dried fruit and look into quick, easy and healthy meals you can knock up for dinner.


When we exercise we release feel-good hormones called endorphins. Many people who suffer from stress find exercise to be an effective remedy. However it can be difficult to fit exercise in to a hectic schedule; try and do a little bit every day, go for a walk on your lunch break, or do some gentle yoga stretches in the morning, you will soon see and feel the benefits.


Breathing exercises are a fantastic remedy for stress; they can be both energising and relaxing. There are many different breathing techniques you can try. Buy a Yoga dvd or book and it will detail various effect breathing exercises, or you could try this basic one:

Make sure you breathe in and out through your nose. Inhale deeply and slowly, as you do this, try and stick out your tummy, ribcage and chest, breathe out gently and slowly. Try counting whilst you inhale and exhale, you could start off by inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of 8. As you become more practised, try and increase the number you count to.

Breathing exercises are a great relaxation technique however if you suffer from panic attacks or you find your breathing changes when you feel stressed, do not try and breathe deeply. Contrary to popular belief, this can make you feel worse; instead sit down and take steady, short, shallow breaths.

Depression and stress are not to be confused, it is important to speak to your doctor if you are unsure as to exactly what you are suffering from or you are experiencing physical symptoms.

February 5, 2013

All about…..Ear Candling

by lrmetcalfe

Ear candling is one of my favorite treatments to give and to receive. However when a client views my treatment list and reads ‘ear candling’ a confused even baffled look often appears on their face.

Ear candling, also known as ear coning, Hopi ear candling and thermal auricular therapy, is, in my experience a relaxing and soothing treatment which has a variety of health benefits and applications. However it is a treatment which is often misunderstood and is surrounded by myths.

As a practitioner I take a ‘common sense’ approach to my treatments and try and focus on the physical benefits to my clients. So in this article I will try and dispel many of the myths that surround ear candling and focus on my findings and experiences during ear candling treatments.

What happens during an ear candling treatment?

Before all treatments the client’s suitability will be assessed and a consultation carried out.

During an ear candling treatment a specially designed hollow ‘candle’ is inserted into the ear, the client lies on one side on the treatment couch as the candle burns down. The therapist holds the candle in place throughout and the client may hear popping and fizzing noises as the candle burns. The candle is extinguished before it burns down past the ‘safety line’, the c


lient then turns over and the process is repeated on the other ear. Common practice is to follow this with a draining facial massage. The practitioner will then open the candles to assess their contents, from this and various other factors the practitioner will assess whether follow up treatments are required.

Is it just a normal candle?

During a treatment a specially designed ‘ear candle’ is used.  The candle is hollow and made of linen/cotton, beeswax, honey extracts, sage, St. John’s Wort, chamomile and beta carotene. Other candles may come in different shapes and contain additional essential oils, but these are the ingredients for the basic and most popular candle. At the base of the candle there is a red line which is the line down to which the candle will be burnt. Also at the base, inside the candle is a plastic filter, this stops any contents from the candle from entering the ear.

Isn’t the fire dangerous?

The candle burns down slowly and is extinguished in a bowl of water, before it reaches the red safety line (this shows the limit the candle should be burnt to).

Safety precautions are taken, for instance: clients with long hair will tie back their hair and clothing which may get in the way during the treatment is removed.

When performed correctly by a qualified professional the treatment poses no danger.

You can buy ear candles in a health shop, can’t I just get my friend to do it for me?

The process is much safer and more effective when performed by a qualified practitioner:

  • There are contraindications to the treatment which anyone who has not received training may not be aware of.
  •  The correct technique may not be used as the candle needs to be held in a particular position.
  • The results of the treatment would not be properly assessed.
  • Practitioners often follow ear candling with a facial massage which enhances its benefits and is a relaxing end to the therapy.

Why are they called Hopi ear candles?

Often the candles are known as ‘Hopi’ ear candles and the treatment referred to as Hopi ear candling. Unfortunately this is an inaccuracy and is due to marketing by one producer of ear candles who named their candles ‘Hopi’ and claim that the use of ear candles originated with the Hopi tribe. However, there is no such treatment within traditional Hopi healing practices. Vanessa Charles, public relations officer for the Hopi Tribal Council, has stated that ear candling “is not and has never been a practice conducted by the Hopi tribe or the Hopi people”.

Who should have the treatment?

As long as you do not have any contraindications then the treatment is a relaxing experience for all, however it may be especially useful for the following conditions:

  • Sinusitis
  • Hayfever
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Excessive or compacted ear wax
  • Snoring
  • Tinnitus
  • Loss or reduction of smell

Is there any reason why I can’t have the treatment?

There are various contraindications to the treatment and if you are unsure as to whether you should have the treatment you should speak to your GP first.

The contraindications are as follows and should be checked before treatment:

  • Allergies to any of the candle’s ingredients
  • Perforated ear drum in the last 6 months
  • Grommet fitted in the ear drum, or if the grommet has fallen out in the last 6 months
  • If the client is under specific medical supervision
  • Recent severe dental work
  • Pregnancy
  • Epilepsy
  • Fever or infection
  • Skin condition in or around the ear (eczema, psoriasis)
  • Cochlear implant or hearing aid in position
  • If a mastoidectomy has taken place
  • Not suitable for children under the age of 3

How do you assess the treatment?                              

I assess the treatment using following criteria:

  • The time the candles take to burn down for each ear
  • The contents of each candle
  • Whether the sizzling sounds could be heard by the receiver
  • The feedback from the client immediately after the treatment
  • The feedback from the client following the treatment

Dependent on the findings I will decide with the client if further treatment is required.

Do the candles suck out the ear wax from my ears?

At the end of the treatment the candles will be opened and their contents assessed. Depending on the condition of the ears, the contents of the candle will vary.

Many practitioners maintain that the orange waxy substance often found in the ear candles is ear wax, however this is not possible; ear candling does not have a vacuum-like effect on the ears. The candle will only contain the remains of its ingredients which have not fully burnt away.  The following residues may be found in the candle:

  • yellow powder (candle herbal residue)
  • orange/brown wax (beeswax from the candle)

My experiences

Of all the treatments I offer, and all the treatments I have received from fellow therapists, ear candling is the treatment I cannot live without.

I suffer from allergic sinusitis which is caused like hayfever, by pollen in the Spring months. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses and my symptoms include painful headaches, an aching neck, runny or blocked nose, pain behind my eyes and at the top of my nose, and a tickly feeling in my nose.

Every time I start to suffer I ask a fellow therapist for an ear candling treatment. Sometimes my symptoms are relieved straight away other times it may take a day or two to take effect; however I always find the treatment useful and incredibly relaxing.

I hope this has enlightened you to the effects of this soothing, beneficial treatment.

September 27, 2012

Cold and Flu Season Survival!

by lrmetcalfe

The dark cold nights and frosty mornings are starting to draw in on us and the season of colds and flu is nearly upon us. So don’t be unprepared, fight back- get your immune system and medicine cupboard in the best condition to wage war with the season’s germs and nasties!

I cannot live without the following five items during the cold season:

1. Vitamin C 1000mg

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and is essential for the healthy functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin C is anti-viral and studies show that it can shorten the severity and duration of most colds and flu viruses. Look for a timed release formula and avoid chewable and effervescent vitamin C tablets, as they are often packed with sugar and sweeteners to make them tastier.

Take a 1000mg tablet with a meal daily throughout the cold season.

2. Manuka Honey

One of the most revolutionary health products of recent years, manuka honey is anti-bacterial and has been shown in studies to be an effective antimicrobial agent against forms of MRSA.

A great remedy for sore throats, take a teaspoon morning and night and let the honey slowly trickle down the throat. Don’t stir into your tea or spread on your toast, as heat can deactivate the effects of this powerful honey.

Make sure you buy ‘Active’ Manuka Honey, it should also state the ‘UMF (unique manuka factor)’ number. UMF is a measure of the honeys antibacterial properties, the higher the number, the stronger the effect; for sore throats, colds and flu an ‘Active Manuka Honey UMF 10+’ is an ideal choice.

3. A.Vogel PoHo Oil

One of my favourite products, I am never without a bottle of Po Ho Oil. It contains a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, juniper, caraway and fennel oils.

If your nose and sinuses are blocked during a cold, sprinkle a few drops on a hankerchief, your pillow or in a hot bath. Try steam inhalation or make a rub to loosen mucus on the chest by mixing a drop with some petroleum jelly.

4. Bio-Strath Elixir

Another medicine cupboard staple, this Swiss yeast and herb tonic, although not very pleasant in taste, really keeps you going in the winter!

Take 1 teaspoons 3 times a day at the onset of a cold or if you start to feel tired or run down.

5.  Echinacea

A herbal remedy which in studies has been shown to shorten the length of a cold. Look for a licensed, standardised supplement, such as ‘A.Vogel Echinaforce’ tablets. Take daily for a month, then take a break for a week, continue in this way throughout the winter to enhance immune function.

Echinacea is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. It’s anti-viral properties make Echinacea a great choice for those who suffer from cold sores when their immune function is lowered.

There are also many lifestyle and dietary changes we can make to keep our immune systems in top condition.

Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates; instead opt for brown rice and wholemeal varieties of bread and pasta. A teaspoon of sugar weakens the immune system for 5 minutes! Alcohol and caffeine have a similar effect.

I realise this is hard advice to follow; especially when  all you want to do on dark, chilly night is drink warming mugs of hot chocolate and as the party season starts our alcohol intake increases, not to mention our intake of tins of chocolates!  However if you try avoid these naughty treats the majority of the time and eat a balanced diet full of lean sources of protein, wholegrain and wholemeal carbohydrates and fresh fruit and vegetables, your immune system will thank you.

To fight off infections, you could also try making your own anti-microbial hand gel, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with 300ml aloe vera gel and use as needed.