Christmas gifts for couples

Healthy Christmas gifts for couples

If you’re looking to the stars, searching for inspiration for the perfect Christmas gifts for couples with wellness ideas as a theme, then stop.

Let us help you out.

This beautiful elemental gift experience is one of time. Of relaxation. And entwined togetherness.

Allow your special couple to escape from everyday life and rediscover the fantastic hidden love that brought them together by carving out time for blissful relaxation.

If the two people don’t want to have the same style of therapy, that’s no issue. One can chill out with a reflexology session whilst the other has a deep tissue massage treatment.

Both can have a classic relaxing Swedish massage which gets their circulation flowing. We can include a facial massage, their head, or ignore these. The choice is theirs. One partner can have this whilst the other has a deep tissue massage to eek out tight muscles and knots.

Been under the weather? Then how about one has a manual lymphatic drainage to improve their immune system?
You get the picture. The beauty of this Christmas gifts for couples is that it is a masterclass in customisation. You treat them to a sweet present of their choice.

Whichever is fine, and the best thing is that you need not decide for them. The price is the same whatever you book, so all you need to do is decide on how long they have and purchase that time. We charge £60 per hour per person for a unique and personalised couples massage or reflexology treatment. Book online now.

I want to buy them a lovely personalised package for their stocking

We love putting together the ideal package for your couple of choice. It’s so exciting to provide a unique Christmas gift for one particular couple. This is where we become inspired. We can do quirky treatments, concentrate more on a tonic for natural stress and adrenaline reduction or health, or give a complete once over.

And what we do for one half of the team, we don’t have to do for the other. As long as they have the same time, their experience will be seamless.

We specialise in working with pregnant ladies and offer a range of pregnancy massages and reflexology for maternity packages.

To sort this out, all you need to do is call us on 07757 946023 and give us some background on their personal circumstances. We can then have a conversation about some options that will capture the essence of what you’re trying to achieve.

Book and pay online.

The choice is yours. Some people like to book and pay for their couple to enjoy their session at a specific date and time. That’s fine.

If you’d prefer to give them a gift voucher to enjoy at their convenience, then that’s also fine.

Buy your Christmas gifts for couples voucher here

Book a couple’s online massage.

When you buy a gift with Essential Feeling, it’s all processed securely online. You can decide when your friends receive their voucher as you can have it emailed to them at a specific date and time.

Or you can print it out yourself and include it within a gift card to present to them in person.

This is the ultimate in flexible Christmas gifts for couples.

Book with a company with great online reviews

We’re proud of what our clients say about us and the great online reviews they leave about us and our therapy services. We want you to feel comfortable, knowing that you are booking a massage or reflexology session with a company that is not only well established but also well respected within Essex.

Where in Essex are you based?

We operate out of the comfort of our specialist treatment rooms in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex. Close to all transport links and on the border of East London, we’re just off the Gallows Corner major road interchange and the M25.

Exclusive appointments are available 7 days a week and although our service is more limited than the normal 7am to 10pm at Christmas, we have availability during the holiday period. So if your special couple want to come along together whilst they’re both off. That’s great with us.

New dad gifts

When a baby arrives, everyone thinks about them and mum. But what about new dad gifts? They’re the ones getting up and leaving the house every day, functioning at top level in a merciless work environment on minimal or at the least, disrupted sleep.

It can be gruelling.

And dads don’t get a lot of credit for how being a new father affects their life. Looking for new dad gifts can be tricky as they focus on the run of the mill. But shouldn’t a gift for a new dad be something that shows you love and care for them? That you respect and thank them for the effort they are putting in to support their new family?

Whilst a bottle of whiskey may be an easy option, we’re assuming that if you’re reading this, you’re also a new mum. A dad inebriated in the bottle’s bottom is not a grand help to you!

Shouldn’t new dad gifts be something that gives them back the time they have lost now their day revolves around going out to work and coming home and feeding, or bathing? Reading stories or tidying away the mess that their frazzled partner no longer has the time for?

We think so.

Our opinion on perfect new dad gifts — it will help you and this gift will also help him.

  1. Buy something that men that gives this new father back his time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but down time away from all responsibility can be a wonderful present.
  2. If this is the first present your bundle of joy has bought their new dad, then why not personalise it with a photo of their new son or daughter?
  3. Ease away the stress of new parenthood. Relax your spouse and bring him back re-invigorated and full of love for his new family who appreciate his needs. There’s nothing worse than working your butt off in the background and thinking those you’re doing it for don’t even recognise your sacrifice.

What new dad gifts do you recommend?

We have one, but the options are limitless. We suggest that the best new dad gifts are a massage or reflexology. He can decide. You buy the gift certificate for him and he can use it when he likes, for whichever massage or reflexology session best suits his needs.

And what’s better, we’ll even personalise the card with fun photos of whatever you want included. Just email us first on info@essentialfeeling.co.uk with your picture and we’ll sort everything out for you.

Why are the options limitless?

Because as new parents you’ll know that one day you can feel on top of the world, and the next you have no energy. New dads are the same.

Essential Feeling work on a time basis. You book the time out with us and then it’s down to you what session you have. So when you buy a new dad gift certificate, you’re buying him an amount of time.

Then when the time comes, he can decide if he wants a deep tissue massage that will break down sore muscles, or something more relaxing. For instance, he may have a Swedish massage developed to allow him a deeper night’s sleep. Or he may choose reflexology.

He need not decide any of this until he makes his booking. And even then, as long as he has chosen massage or reflexology to secure the correct therapist, we can adapt the rest during his treatment according to how he is feeling.

Appointment times

We have a bunch of appointment times available for working fathers. We are open 7 days a week, including father’s day 2020, so if you want to make his appointment for your new dad on Sunday 21st June then that’s a nice touch.

However, the beauty of a father’s day gift certificate is that it’s portable for daddy to use this whenever it suits him. It doesn’t have to impede his new found fatherhood. And when a man is out of the house all day long, the weekends can be special family days when he doesn’t want to be away from his newborn.

Presenting your new dad with a gift voucher is the perfect way to deal with this. He can then book in his appointment around his work and being a daddy. He can come in the evening after bed time, our last appointment is 9pm for a 10pm finish.

How do I buy this voucher?

If you just want to buy a standard father’s day voucher, then you can do this online. The process will happen immediately and there is a specific father’s day design that you can select.

You may prefer your gift personalised with a photo. This is when you need to email us on info@essentialfeeling.co.uk so we can personalise the gift card design for you. These cards look amazing and can draw a tear.

How to personalize your new dad gift.

Pictures should be portrait (taller than they are wide) and of a suitable resolution for print. Be careful if you’re cropping in too much on a picture as this will reduce the quality and could cause pixillation (being blurry).

Once you’ve sent this through, we’ll get to the job of putting together the voucher whilst you send over payment. When we receive payment, we’ll send you the voucher and you’re good to go.

In an ideal world, please try to give us a few days notice to get this all sorted out for you, but we will try our best to accommodate last minute personalised voucher bookings. This depends on what we are doing work wise on the day. If we’re booked solid, turn-around times will be longer.

Looking for something for your older dad? Find out more.

Fathers Day Gifts

Fathers day gifts don’t have to be socks or golf balls, or even a bottle of the best whiskey or the latest published books. Don’t you find that looking for gifts for dad is full of the same old ideas? Particularly this is the year of  online shopping. So read on for everything you need to buy the perfect father’s day 2020 gift.

Here’s our list of father’s day 2020 gifts for dad along with some tips that will leave your dad delighted.

And surprised.

Beat dad’s stress

How many of our dads spend their time being a father and a husband, a provider for what their families need? This responsibility comes with a boatload of stress. And they love us so much they rarely let on. Instead of choosing to swallow it down and treat this as just a standard part of life.

This takes its toll on their shoulders which grow tight, their neck aches from the tension and their heads follow suit.
The perfect antidote to the stress of family life is a deep tissue massage for men. Many therapists don’t work with men, or aren’t built or trained to the special standard required to work deep into your dad’s muscles.

We are.  And what’s more is that we love the challenge of easing out those tricky knots, allowing your father’s features to return to their normal state as we ease away the pressure of being a wonderful dad.

With the stress of being your dad, comes insomnia

We don’t always see the way being a magnificent father affects him. As children, we’re conditioned to take from our parents, and they’re happy to give.

His kids don’t see the way he wakes at midnight thinking about how he will provide for our needs, or with the stress that working so hard puts on him. We don’t see how he goes to work in a job he doesn’t like rather than spending his days doing what he loves.

And as a child, we don’t even know what his ideal choice would be.

Because he doesn’t talk about this.

He just wakes in the night, ridiculed by insomnia as we lay soundly asleep.

Therefore, our classic insomnia cure comes in. He can take this soothing massage at night, any time up to 10pm, and then fall straight into bed after to enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep. Gifts for dad shouldn’t be run of the mill. Our dads are spectacular, so why should we settle for substandard father’s day presents just because 2020 is a weird year?

In fact, thinking outside the box can be as refreshing as a good night’s sleep.

Is your dad into his sports and fitness?

If so, toss modern (lazy) thinking about the latest autobiography, or a washbag, to the wind and invest in a fathers day 2020 gift that he will appreciate. Thoughtful gifts for dads who are fans of the gym like a deep tissue massage will be the style of gift that your father will open on father’s day and truly appreciate.

Is your father older?

Perhaps he’s suffered with bereavement and his life is full of memories of times when his now silent days were filled with laughter.

Book him in for a bereavement massage. This isn’t a dour experience chocka with doom and gloom. Quite the opposite. This is your dad’s place to reminisce. We want to listen to his story and are interested in him. We love to laugh with our clients as they spill the beans on their past activities they hold closest.

Dad to be gifts

Dad to be gifts can be special. These are times when you hold your hand up and salute the future together. If you’re pregnant and this is your first child, why not come along with him? If you share a couples massage, this is the perfect break from life. Where you can draw a line in the sand and acknowledge that your lives are about to change.

But, that you still love the man as he, that you’re his biggest fan and want to buy a dad to be a gift that will celebrate the journey you are on.

What’s better is that this is also a practical choice, where the two of you manage to re-group and de-stress together before what will undoubtedly be a period of crazy adjustments. Honestly, this is the best dad to be gift for all of you.

New dad gifts

We’re written a whole piece on new dad’s gifts. So if you’re looking for something special we give you everything you need. And your new dad.

It’s not just the fathers day 2020 gift, but how you give it.

You can buy him a gift voucher online so he can book in at his own convenience around his busy schedule. Put his voucher in an envelope for him along with a printed picture from a shared happy memory together.

Often we’re busy instagramming. Writing a personal note on paper that you give to him rather than showing others is a brilliant way to show you care.

Likewise, thinking about how you feel rather than relying on a verse from a card is another noble idea to make this father’s day a time when you deepen your close bond.

A little idea is your dad is into trivia is to devise quizzes. They can be about your life history. For sure, he’ll have forgotten about some scenes that linger vividly in your memory. And vice versa. Use this time to map out the legacy he has created.

Sharing your most cherished memories is a sure fire way to make the father’s day weekend special.
Or you can turn this fathers day into an adventure.

Meet him early in the morning, cooking him breakfast. Who doesn’t enjoy waking up to excellent food on any Sunday morning, let alone father’s day?

But then you take him out. He doesn’t know where he’s headed. To him this is a random trip that could end in disaster. It all adds to the excitement. So, if your dad doesn’t have to work on Father’s day 2020, we would always recommend this. And why we’re open to take bookings all day on fathers day.

You drive him on the journey from his to ours, with him asking where you’re going. It’s your beautiful stories of your childhood as your drive that diverts his curiosity. You’ve made your selection of tales beforehand because being prepared makes this business of surprise even more special. This way you’re not missing anything out.

Personalised experience

When you arrive, we take him in to our treatment rooms and this is when we announce that he will enjoy a wonderful holistic therapy, tailored to his unique lifestyle and stressors.

Whether you book him in for a deep tissue massage for men, for a relaxing insomnia session to lower blood pressure and improve sleep, this is just a guide.

Your dad will tell us about his life, and what he needs to get out of the time you have booked in with us. His therapist will adapt his treatment to his exact needs. So, if you’ve booked a deep tissue massage for men and then it turns out he prefers your gift to be more relaxing. A time where he can switch off from the world, then that’s what he’ll get.

It’s rare to find massage therapists who are so adaptable. But this is what we love to do. All our clients are unique. We don’t enjoy being treated like we’re out of a box and so we don’t treat our clients like this.

After his massage

That’s easy. Take him home, fire up the barbecue for dinner and gift him the gift of your time.  Stay late into the evening and watch the light of the stars together over a pint of his favourite Brewdog. You could even make him a hamper of his favourite pork chops and snacks.

Our take on making father’s day 2020 a wonderful one is to show your dad you love him and that you appreciate him for being a person rather than a provider.

To be fair, once you throw the sausages on the fire, he’ll take over, anyway. That’s what they do. Dad’s just can’t help themselves.

But you’ve made the effort. You’ve carved out time for him on one day when he does it every day for you.
For sure, you can use these ideas on your own, they don’t break your budget. But, adding these to a relaxing personalised massage is a way to 100% demonstrate your mission of appreciation. And thanks.

Don’t know when he can make it?father's day gift card online voucher massage

That’s fine. You can buy Father’s day gift cards online and then he can just book in when ever he wants. For whatever session he wants. This way is minimal effort for maximum return.

And what’s better is that if you live a distance away, then you can just email the gift card over to him at a pre-determined time and date so you don’t have to worry about postage delays. The father’s day gift card you purchased online will just miraculously appear in his inbox whenever you choose. We’re assuming that will be Sunday 21st June 2020 but who knows!

What could be easier?

To book in directly, text us on 07757 946023 and we’ll give you our advice on how to make this year’s gifts for dad your best ever. If a voucher is more suitable, then purchase these online.

Father’s Day 2020 is Sunday 21st June.

Monday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday7:00 AM - 10:00 PM

OPEN ON FATHER'S DAY Sunday 21st June 2020

Deep tissue massage near me

Deep tissue massage near me in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex.

You’ve searched for deep tissue massage near me, so you’re looking for a more intense style of remedial massage experience. If you’re suffering with tight muscles, pain when moving around or an injury then you’ll enjoy the slow stroke and firm pressure of a deep tissue massage.

This style of massage reaches deeper into layers of muscles and connective tissues and is our most popular massage at our therapy rooms in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex.Construction of muscles and tendons that are worked during deep tissue massage near me

If you need relief from chronic aches and pains, then deep tissue massage is your perfect choice. The physical nature of the pressure breaks down tension and relieves muscles stiffness.

As tight muscles hinder mobility, so they can lead to all kinds of health problems. If we don’t move around enough, then our blood doesn’t flow, we don’t get the right amount of oxygen in our lungs and our lymphatic system doesn’t detox us.

Some common condition our clients in Gidea Park, Romford seek deep tissue massage for are:

*low back pain

*sciatica

*soreness from repetitive strain injury

*chronic health conditions

*muscular tension from exercise or otherwise

*limited joint mobility e.g. frozen shoulder, hip and knee problems, tennis elbow

*upper back or neck problems

*improving circulation

*reducing scar tissue

Our deep tissue massage in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex is popular with athletes and sports people. They use it to rehabilitate from injury, to prevent injury or to improve their range of movement which in term enhances their performance.

Is this a sports massage then?

People use sports massage interchangeably with deep tissue treatments. There are fundamental differences in that sports technique is about helping the specific injury during your session, rather than your entire body. Deep tissue massage looks after the injury and tracks it to the source. The benefits of this is to reduce the chance of your problem reoccuring.

It’s important not to get hung up on the terms because our professional therapist will always mix and match techniques so you have the best potential outcome.

What to expect when you have a deep tissue massage

Our massage therapist is not only highly qualified and experienced but also committed to your treatment. We’re constantly researching and keeping up to date with new techniques so we can ensure you always have the best care.

Deep tissue massage near me works across fibresWe’ll begin your treatment with a lighter pressure, similar to the technique we use for Swedish massage. This soothes the upper layers of muscles, tendons and fascia for soft tissue release and warms up your muscles and connective tissues.

We do this to prevent injury during your session. It’s not good to work too hard before your muscles are supple because this puts more duress than your muscles can take.

 

Imagine a tree bending in the wind. If it’s not supple, like bamboo, it risks the branches breaking.

As you and your muscles loosen, we’ll increase the intensity of our pressure. We’ll use our forearms and elbows, knuckles and thumbs to apply deep, targeted pressure. Your therapist will work along the length of your muscles and over their grain.

This mix of techniques attacks ‘knots’ and break down these bands of painful tissue which over time grows so rigid you can feel it through your skin.

By working in this way, after your deep tissue massage, you’ll relax, your muscles will be more free and so you’ll be able to move more freely.

Read more about lower back pain — surprising causes of lower back pain.

Isn’t deep tissue massage painful?

A lot of customers worry. They think a deep tissue massage will hurt too much. And for sure, the level of pressure that required to break down tight muscle fibres you will feel some discomfort and even some short lived pain. During the massage and sometimes your recovery will take a few days after.

But our massage therapist is friendly. And kind. Whilst we want to do what is necessary to help you recover from whatever brought you to us, we’re on hand to put you at ease and even release some pressure to provide you with a treatment that you want.

We’re working for you so if you’re experiencing too much discomfort, then you must say and we’ll adapt.

I have a chronic condition. Does this help?

Deep tissue massage is effective at relieving pain from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. But, please tell your therapist beforehand in the consultation process so we can adapt. This is how you’ll get the most out of your massage therapy.

How can I get the most out of my deep tissue massage?

It’s the same with everything, the more you do it, the more you benefit. Therefore, deep tissue massage is more effective the more you have it. Your muscles don’t have time to go backwards again like they do if you leave it months, or even weeks, between appointments. And what’s often appealing to people is that it also doesn’t hurt as much then. Your muscles don’t put up the same resistance.

Because your muscles are so loose and your body relaxed because of regular massage it’s a helpful way of preventing injury. This is also why and how massage sessions can correct long-term (chronic) injuries and improve your range of motion.

How do I book my deep tissue massage with Essential Feeling in Gidea Park, Romford?

We have an online booking system. If you’d like to book a same day massage at our therapy rooms in Essex, then please text us on 07941 668456.

Book your appointment for a deep tissue massage near me in our clinic in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex online now. We’ll send you through to a page which includes a consultation form for you to complete before your session. Please explain any health considerations.

Appointments Are Advanced Booking Only!

Endometriosis

You’ve just had your endometriosis diagnosis and finally, you have a reason. Something to hang your hat on for all the painful periods and gut wrenching sex.

But what is endometriosis?

Hormones cause endometriosis.

We have tissue which is sticky so that when we are trying for a baby, the egg can implant. Endometriosis happens when this sticky lining goes wayward and gets outside our womb. Because it is so sticky it causes no end of trouble as it passes on its journey around our pelvic girdle, sticking bits and pieces of organs together in places they were never meant to sitck!

This causes our pain and inflammation.

You’ll notice I’m talking about the ‘we’ here. That’s because I have Endometriosis too. I had one operation which had me off work for six weeks. And then they still didn’t get all the pesky tissue, so I was on strong hormone injections for months after that. They type that they give to women with breast cancer with a needle the size of a baby’s arm. Not fun.

When it was time for another op, I called a halt to the surgery. There must be a better way, I thought.

And there is.

Where are the common places the endometrial lining sticks to?

*Ovaries and fallopian tubes
*Exterior of your uterus
*Your bowel
*Mine got itself to my kidneys!

Endometriosis pain

Endometriosis ovary pain is common around the time of our period. This is because this tissue breaks down as our hormones change during our menstrual cycle. Hence why we get more pain around the time of our period.
Over time the effects of this build and we get long-term painful adhesions or scar tissue.

Endometriosis symptoms

Signs and symptoms of endometriosis include pain just before, during, or after menstruation. This is the most common endometriosis symptom.

The level of this pain can be different from woman to woman. Many find it debilitating.

There are some key times when we experience more pain:

*During or after sex
*During bowel movements or urination

Another endometriosis symptom is ongoing lower back pain, or in the pelvis.

At the other extreme, many women with endometriosis have mild or no symptoms. They only find out when they try to conceive and struggle. It depends on where that sticky lining attaches itself to. If it’s not pulling anything that causes pain then you won’t experience any symptoms. Where you feel pain will give you a sign of where the growths are internally.

Read more about surprising causes of lower back pain.

What are the first signs of endometriosis?

It’s often tricky to tell the difference between cramps and endometriosis. As a general rule, if your cramps continue for 2 days after your period has ended, then this is one of the first signs of endometriosis.

However, cramps can also be a sign of fibroids. These are non-cancerous growths around the uterine area. The difference between fibroids and endometriosis is that pain from the former is any time of the month.

And don’t rule out how this can affect teens. When their periods start, if it throws them backwards for a few days, this can be a sign of the condition.

Likewise, regular pain during sex can be another indicator.

Endometriosis and infertility

As we’ve said, some ladies only find out they have endometriosis when they struggle with fertility. Around one third of women with the disease have trouble getting pregnant.

The issue here may be because of scarring, but no-one is sure. We see the disease pass down through families so there is a role of heredity where your risk increases if your mother had endometriosis.

There’s also another theory that it’s down to the flow of menstrual blood. Some say that blood flows back through our fallopian tubes and into our pelvic cavity instead of out of our body.

The reason people class endometriosis as an autoimmune disorder is because it’s a faulty immune system that cannot get rid of these misplaced cells. However, one theory which works against the autoimmune theory is that we’ve had abdominal cells since we were embryos. If these keep their ability to become endometrial cells, then this is just pure genetics rather than a disease.

Who is at risk?

There are several classes that put you more at risk, including:
*Women in our 30s and 40s
*no previous children
*lengthy periods, lasting over 7 days
*cycles which last less than 28 days
*started our periods before we were 12
*mother with the same endometrial symptoms

Severe endometriosis treatment

It’s possible for many women to continue their daily lives without medical intervention. They may need to take some anti-inflammatory drugs at certain times of the month, but other than that they go on with their business unaffected.
It’s only when they want a baby that things get tricky.

The standard medical treatment for severe endometriosis is to go in for a laparoscopy which is an operation which lasts a brief period. During this a small incision is inserted in your belly button, and they inflate you. And then the surgeon will remove as much of the sticky lining as they can. You then have a brief window of fertility when your reproductive areas are free of the ‘gunk’ and so able to work freely without being tangled up.

Surgical procedures sound like a life line, but they have recovery time and trust me, that’s longer than you expect.

How does reflexology help?

I don’t know. That’s the issue with reflexology there isn’t enough formal research out there. But, speaking from personal experience on both sides of the counter, it works. As I write this, we’re in the middle of COVID-19. My clients are texting me, going crazy with their symptoms flaring up and mine are doing the same. When we feel like this, it doesn’t matter what reflexology does to treat endometriosis, it’s enough to know that it does. And we’re happy for the relief it provides.

What I do know is that when you come in for a reflexology therapy for endometriosis, I’m working to balance your hormones. By doing this, everything in your abdominal area functions better. It’s getting the right messages from your brain, so by treating the source, we treat the problems.

This is the same concept as your doctor giving you birth control pills to balance out your production of oestrogen and progestin. Another way that doctors manage endometriosis symptoms is through mimicking menopause.

Neither are a splendid solution if you’re looking to get pregnant!

And so reflexology treatments are helpful. On top of that I layer in work to reduce inflammation which is great for pain reduction.

If you would like to add in an optional fertility massage then we an also help to un-stick some areas. This is something I have and although it is uncomfortable during the session, afterwards the effects are immediate.

For some ladies this means that their symptoms stabilise, and their pain diminishes. This also means that when they go for IVF of ICSI, they are better placed to have a few cycles because their issues are not reproducing as fast, giving them a greater window to try for pregnancy.

Other’s symptoms quell which improves their natural fertility and their quality of life as their pain is no longer a factor.

You can use the online booking system or you can text us on 07757 946023.

Can reflexology help with fertility?

When you start out asking ‘can reflexology help with fertility?’ it’s important to understand one thing. We don’t always understand! And that’s OK because, did you know that the traditional medical field don’t always understand why medicine works? They just know from the testing procedure that it does.

I know. We were shocked too!

Complementary therapies such as reflexology and massage can offer you benefits if you’re trying to conceive though. As long as you’re coming to a fertility trained therapist — like we are at Essential Feeling, Gidea Park.

Not all reflexologists and massage therapists know how to adapt treatments to your specific conditions, your cycle and your IVF journey if you’re on one.

At Essential Feeling in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex, we often focus on the woman, just because they are the more open to coming for this kind of complementary therapy. It’s you as the female who is going through the assisted reproductive technologies, who has had the miscarriage or is checking every month for a positive pregnancy test.

But the male client is important to the fertility process. They often sit on the outside looking in. So, we help with lifestyle factors that may affect your fertility path.

The role of your fertility reflexology therapistKaren the MAR reflexologist specialising in Fertility at Essential Feeling Gidea park, Romford giving reflexology on foot

Our role as your fertility practitioner is serious. We’ve undergone several advanced training courses in fertility reflexology, but we have also enhanced our learning with a continuous cycle of other training materials. You will often find us at home, reading recent articles, have a stash of books we are always adding to on the fertility subject.

And we’ve also trained in nutrition and counselling.

The overall effect is that we have a plethora of resource upon which to draw, before we start with the role our years of experience plays in understanding not only the main issues of infertility but how these fit into your lifestyle.

We’re able to work with you throughout your early pregnancy in your first trimester. And we understand the risk of miscarriage. We’re not about to give you false hope, we’ve been around the block too many times for that. But we will always be honest with you. And clear about our role. And yours.

If you need us to communicate with your other healthcare professionals, then that’s also great.

Factors reducing fertility

There are different quotes out there, but anything from a quarter to a third of couples struggle to conceive. Even without specific fertility issues, in our modern stressful lives it can take two years to conceive.

The reasons affecting your fertility will be different to the person we meet after you. But here are a few of the common factors that may reduce fertility:

*Nutrition: this may not be in line with what is good for improving your fertility even if you have a ‘healthy’ food consumption.

*Alcohol and drug use: read our post on this for full information.

*Environmental toxins: We’ve written about what are toxins and they’re useful to understand.

*Age: There’s no getting away from it. Your age matters. Once you reach 35 the quality of your eggs diminishes and between 40 and 41, your eggs are in danger of being so poor quality that natural fertility is affected. Even IVF may struggle at this point. Men also have issues after the age of 40, so it’s not all on the female!

*Weight: if your BMI is too high or too low, it will negatively affect your hormonal balance.

This is before we start with conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis for women and low sperm count for men. You can see why this is a minefield!

Now, to the marvellous stuff!

Potential benefits of fertility massage and reflexology.

We’ve said elsewhere on this site about the lack of medical research on fertility improving after reflexology. But there are plenty of case studies, and we also have years of working with fertility clients.

Supporting natural fertility

In order for successful conception to occur:

  • Balanced hormone levels, so the egg develops
  • As a woman you must ovulate so your egg is releases. Some menstrual cycles are anovulatory (we release no egg). Hormone levels affect this.
  • It’s important to have sex at the right time in your cycle.
  • A male’s sperm need to be healthy and have a good count.
  • The lining of your uterus needs to be perfect to induce implantation of the egg in its wall
  • After all of this, hormone levels still need to be at the right balance to support your foetal and placental development.

Note: The stress of trouble conceiving can cause hormonal imbalance. This negatively affects your chance of a successful pregnancy.

We have seen repeatedly how effective reflexology is at reducing stress. It’s also great at balancing hormone levels. Combining the two techniques into one reflexology for fertility session are wonderful.

Effects of stress on fertility

We cannot underestimate the effects of stress when talking about fertility. Whether this be natural or supported with a process such as IVF or ICSI. The whole concept of wanting a child and to form a family and it being out of your control is stressful. Deal with the stress and the rest often follows. Even with health issues such as endometriosis, because it’s hormone imbalance that creates this issue and by balancing out stress, we balance out these hormonal messages which trigger infertility disease.

So answering your question, can reflexology help with fertility? we are happy to say yes. 

What insurance companies cover massage therapy?

The question of ‘What insurance companies cover massage therapy?’ is a big one for our clients. And the answer is there are more than you would think. If your health insurance covers you, this means that you can have the full course of your massage therapy treatments, without worrying about the cost.

The key is to check your policy and if you can’t find something which specifies, call them or drop them an email and ask.

If you’re at the point where you’re just taking out a policy and want to know what insurance companies cover massage therapy ahead of time, you can also call. Most will have a page on their website with literature which details what it covers.

They only deal with highly qualified massage professionals.

Most health insurance providers will specify that the therapist must be qualified to a high standard. And often that these massage specialists have liability insurance themselves. Your provider will want to be clear on the efficacy of your choice because if you choose badly, you’ll be claiming more. Although jumping through hoops at the outset may be tricky, you’ll be pleased of it in the end because you both win by advancing your recovery time.

You’ll be pleased to know that we meet insurer standards. We trained to ITEC standard. This stands for International Therapy Examination Council which means we are recognised around the world.

On top of this, we work with insurance companies all the time and know how they work. When we receive an insurance client, there is rarely a complication in them getting a refund and if there is, we sort it straight away.

For your own piece of mind, it’s important to know that we are qualified and experienced in a wide range of remedial massage therapies and can mix manipulative techniques to give you a tailored treatment. This means you always get the best care to improve your issues.

What’s the process for getting a massage on my health insurance policy?

First off, if you’re not sure whether it covers you, call them and ask them. They may ask for you to get a referral from your doctor or GP which isn’t an issue. Whilst you’re on the phone, we’d also ask them how many sessions your policy covers as different companies limit you to different allowances.

When you’ve had your massage with Essential Feeling, we’ll send you an official receipt. This will detail the massage you have had, and our official credentials including our unique reference code that they can use to cross check our qualifications.

You’ll notice above we mention we specify the type of massage or reflexology. This is because some techniques may be covered whilst others won’t be. If you’ve had a Swedish massage sometimes this won’t be covered, but deep tissue work will be. This is because these are the specific remedial actions which are well known to improve muscular health.

If you have an issue such as high blood pressure, and you feel that a lighter modality such as Swedish may be more beneficial, then get a referral from your medical practitioner and speak to your insurance company.

You’ll then just send this to your insurance company and they reimburse you for the cost.

Why wouldn’t I be covered for massage even if my policy stipulates I can claim?benefits of massage to present to insurance companies when trying to claim on your policy

We’re not sure on this, but we’d suggest speaking to your insurance company if you have concerns. Maybe they’ll reject claims even if you have a condition massage therapy will ease. For instance, if you’ve had an accident which has resulted in a broken arm, no amount of massage will fix the break.

What it will do is loosen tight muscles around your injury. This helps to avoid scar tissue from forming and reduce your long and short term pain. In the example of a broken bone, tight muscles can lead to tennis elbow, so putting a plan into action sooner rather than later will protect you from future injury and discomfort.

It’s situations like these whereby a doctor’s referral letter can go a long way to helping you. Think about it. This is just like a prescription that they give to the pharmacist. A direction of what they need to get you functioning better again. Often health insurance employees aren’t well versed in the body’s anatomy and how one condition can cause other problems. Healthcare professionals are, and so can point you in the right direction.

Why does my insurance regulate which massage therapists I can see under my policy?

Massage therapist’s have different levels of training. Some people in e.g. a beauty salon may well have qualified in massage therapies in a college course that only lasts one day. The participants of this course won’t be as able to help your wellness as a specialist who has done a lengthy and many advanced courses with hundreds of classroom hours and practical experience in anatomy and physiology of your muscles.

Insurance companies understand that the focus of a beauty professional is purely relaxation rather than a licence which includes rehabilitation. And therefore they specify qualifications. It’s all for your benefit even though it can seem a little tiresome. You want someone with the correct training to help you.

Will I get everything back or will I have to pay an excess?

This depends on your individual policy cover. You’ll submit the entire amount back for a claim, but their compensation may only be the difference between what you have paid for the session and your excess. This won’t be every time you claim though and so once you have this out of the way they will refund your billing in full.

Is reflexology covered in insurance policies too?

Again, this very much depends on your individual policy. Some create a holistic approach to your health and wellness, others are very medicine based. The design of your policy will determine your financial outcomes. We would always recommend explaining your private circumstances to your insurance company and discussing how you can make this work for your needs. You’ll find insurers are helpful on the phone.

Will you come out to my home?

We have premises in Gidea Park Romford. This is close to major transport routes and between Brentwood, Ilford, Chigwell and Hornchurch. We have our treatment rooms well set up with everything we need to give you the best service. For this reason, you need to come to our therapeutic centre.

So, if you’ve found out What insurance companies cover massage therapy? and you’re ready to book; text us on 07941 668456 or book online.

Jaw clicking

I’m suffering with jaw clicking. Can you help?

When a person is suffering with jaw clicking, it’s down to a common problem with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). We’ll talk you through this below so you can decide if a head and neck massage is the answer to your jaw clicking pain.

Facts about temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome

This is the part of your jaw that connect to your skull. When this is injured or damaged, we feel pain in a localised area. This is TMJ syndrome, where we feel tenderness or pain in the temporal area of our jaw.

There’s a few causes for your jaw clicking through TMJ syndrome.

Do you grind your teeth or bite the inside of your mouth? Moving our jaw in this unnatural position leads to it falling out of alignment. Our muscles in our face and cheeks tighten and over time we become locked in that position.

This leads to jaw pain and our jaw clicking and popping. Sometimes even tinnitus.

By our mouth being out of alignment, it can also affect on the nerves. And this is when we get ear pain or earache, headaches and pain in our temple. It can also lead to popping sounds in our ears as we move our jaw back into alignment from where it has being locked.

TMJ Symptoms

Jaw Pain

The temporomandibular joints are complex structures. They contain a mix of interconnecting muscles, tendons andTMJ head and neck muscles causing jaw clicking and tightness cartilage. And bone. TMJ syndrome is a disorder of these muscles, and nerves caused by injury. Often this injury is self inflicted, but it’s injury.

The temporomandibular joint becomes inflamed and as with any injury, this leads to pain when we use the area. So, you’ll feel pain chewing, or the clicking and cracking and the other symptoms we described above.

In addition, though, you may find that your Eustachian tube dysfunctions. This is the tube that connects the ears and the nose so it can then lead to breathing issues such as hay-fever.

What puts you at high risk of TMJ pain and dysfunction?

  • If your posture is poor, around your neck and upper back then this leads to neck strain. As your neck muscles connect to your jaw, this can lead to TMJ
  • Stress causes jaw tension in many people and so can lead to dysfunction
  • There is an increased risk for females 18 – 44
  • Patients with different chronic inflammatory arthritis have increased risk
  • Any kind of previous jaw trauma will put you at higher risk of TMJ disorder likewise with poorly positioned teeth.
  • Some people just have a genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity. This leads to them having an increased stress response, which as we discussed in point two above, leads them to be more susceptible.

How can massage help with TML disorders?

In terms of treatment, it depends why you are suffering. We’ve discussed the reasons above, but massage will not fix a genetic malfunction of your jaw.

What it often does and is very effective at doing, is easing muscle tension. So, if you are born with a defective joint function, misaligned teeth etc then we can loosen the muscles that have tightened around the area to give more space to your jaw functioning.

Likewise, if you are under stress and this leads to you, having a tight jaw or biting the inside of your mouth whilst you think to grinding teeth at night, then we can also help. Again, we’ll loosen tight muscles with massage therapy and as your jaw relaxes, you’ll find that any severe pain also eases.

How will you use massage to help?

As you’ve seen from the symptoms of jaw clicking, the TMJ can be tight for original reasons. Our skilled massage therapist will track your tension back to its root cause. This is where the focus of the massage will be.

Some people may need a neck massage to relax tight muscles from poor posture. Others may need their face and jaw working directly because of physical oral clenching, which is pushing bones out of alignment.

You may require more than one session and your treatments will be close together. The reason for this is that, as we’ve seen, your pain is coming from repeated behaviour. So, to deal with this we need to use a compound effect, bringing you in for another treatment to relieve your symptoms before your learned behaviour pushes you backwards again.

We’ll combine this with advice and some exercises helpful to prevent your inflammation and discomfort from re-occurring and give you a longer term freedom of movement.

To book in for a head and neck massage for TMJ, then please book online.

How to heal a hamstring strain fast.

There’s nothing worse than a pulled muscle to stop you in your sporting tracks. If you’re looking at how to heal a hamstring strain fast, then we’ve got your back. Because we know what it’s like.

Years ago now I had a boyfriend who was training to be in the Fire Brigade. Being a Firefighter was the only thing he had ever wanted to be. He had literally devoted his life to getting in.

And then disaster struck in the first weeks of his basic training. He did pulled his hamstring doing shuttle run burpees, and that was it. Over.

He got kicked out of his class and had to wait until there was another intake of new students.

If we’d known how to heal a hamstring strain fast at that point in time, perhaps that wouldn’t have happened. That said, I did meet one of my most precious friends as a result of him being put back into a different class. So every cloud.

Anyway, I digress. We’re here to discover how to heal a hamstring strain fast so you don’t have his issues.

What is a pulled muscle?

A pulled muscle, specifically hamstring in this text, is when we tear one of the muscles. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see the hamstring comprises three muscles.

Semitendinosus

Semimembranosus

Biceps femoris

If one of these is torn, then that sharp sudden pain at the back of your thigh is a sign that you’ve overstrained your hamstring.

As with tearing anything, the pain and the effects can range from mild to more serious. Let’s have a look at some symptoms, the causes and how you can treat and rehabilitate from a pulled hamstring.

Symptoms of a hamstring strain

It isn’t usually difficult to spot the signs of a hamstring strain. You won’t be able to ignore the sharp spasm which suddenly stabs the back of your thigh. This can happen whilst you’re sprinting, or perhaps whilst you’re performing a movement that requires you to stretch fast. A sudden high kick, for instance.

Hamstring strain grades:

Grade 1 relatively mild. You’ll feel tightness and a twinge when you injure yourself. There’ll be little or no swelling.

Grade 2 more serious. You will feel the sharpness of that sudden gripe as your injury occurs. You’ll probably also get some swelling and that will be the end of your gymming or game play for the day.

Grade 3 is severe. You won’t just tear a little of your muscle, it will be to half or all of your hamstring muscle. You’ll likely need crutches in order to get around. And you will feel severe pain. And weakness. You’ll get immediate swelling as your body rushes to restore the injury. It’s possible to get bruising at grade 3 too.

Not all pain is a pulled hamstring

There are other reasons we could get pain in any muscle, for instance cramp, tendon strain or fractures can all lead to physical suffering . Be sure to get checked out by a medical professional if you’re unsure.

What causes hamstring strains?

We’ve seen how a hamstring strain is actually a tear, so let’s think about how these can be caused. It can happen in two different ways:

Sprinting

Stretch

Sprint related hamstring damage

When you sprint or if you’re just general running, your hamstring muscle works really hard. And like my example above, doing other explosive exercises such as burpees has the same effect. Just before your foot hits the ground your muscles and tissues are contracting and expanding at massive speed under impact. This fast movement causes the pulling which leads to a tear.

This kind of injury will usually be sudden and the tears will be lower down the muscle where it joins your tendon. Although these feel bad right at the start, they can rebuild pretty quickly.

A note here about water. We’re always banging on about this to our customers. I can’t tell you the amount of eye rolls we’ve had over the years. But listen up. Water acts as an oil to your muscles. You can avoid all of this by greasing your muscle fibres so we minimise the effect of impact.

Hamstring strains from stretching

You’ll feel these higher up the back of your thigh. These often take longer to fix purely because the blood supply to this area isn’t as good. It’s the blood supply that feeds nutrients to the area, which is why when we hurt ourself the area turns pink.

Understanding referred pain

Referred pain is when we feel discomfort in one area, but the cause is in another. So, you may feel the result of a lower back or hip injury down your leg.

How to heal a hamstring strain fast

Let’s first look at immediate treatment to help the risk of damage to hamstrings getting worse.

Immediate first aid

This is the acute stage of your hamstring strain. It usually will take 3 to 4 days depending on how bad your injury is. This is when you take it easy. You’re injured. The only thing you’re concerned about it taking care of yourself. No sports. None. Not even walking if you can help it. Use ice, compression and elevation to let the blood flow to the right places. Fast.

The role of the different types of massage at different stages in your healing process

Hamstring strain massage

At this stage, book in for a light massage treatment. This will not work the muscles but instead will stimulate blood circulation to your affected area. As days and weeks pass, then the pressure will increase.

Why bother with massage at this point?

It’s important if you want to get back your full range of motion to avoid scar tissue. Think about it this way. If you cut yourself, you see a welt when your skin pulls back together again. It’s the same with our muscles. Scar tissue depletes the strength and performance of our muscles, the long-term effects of which can be multiple. And that’s for day to day living and inhibiting sport’s performance.

Massage helps to break down scar tissue and breaking down tight muscles. Initially, the more gentle touch stimulates healing through blood flow, but as time passes and your massage therapist works deeper into your muscles, it will increase your flexibility.

Hamstring strain exercises

You can stretch after the initial acute stage. This will improve your recovery as long as you don’t feel any irritation during them. If you do stop. And wait longer. It’s too soon.

When you’re doing static stretching with ease, you can move onto dynamic stretch. And then sport specific drills. Your therapist may advise you if you’re unsure.

Book your sports rehabilitation massage now

If you’d like to book in for a massage to heal your hamstring injury, then you can do so online.

Prevent runner’s knee and knee pain running

What is runner’s knee?

Knee pain running is a common problem which is often called runner’s knee. It refers to a number of conditions which result in pain around the front of your knee (patellofemoral pain). This is when your kneecap briefly contacts your thigh bone. Ouch!

Overuse of your knee whilst you’re running irritates the nerves in and around your knee. The activity also overstretches the tendons which ends up, resulting in running knee pain.

It can also relate to a number of other running related injuries though.

There are non-surgical ways to treat runner’s knee pain.

What Causes Knee Pain When Running?

Knee running pain can be caused by a number of health related issues. For instance, how you stand makes a difference. If you have a collapsed arch, it may mean that your posture is off centre. This leads to more pressure on some joints than our body is naturally meant to take. And so our knee is often a point that is negatively affected through pounding the roads or treadmills. Runner's knee pain alignement

This alignment issues can also relate to unbalanced muscles. These can either be tight or weak in relation to the other muscles in the legs. This imbalance can push you off centre and increase the risk of subluxated, complete or partial kneecap dislocation. I don’t think anyone reading this will underestimate how much this can cause pain on joints, particularly in a long distance event such as a marathon.

The same effect happens if your bones aren’t aligned properly or they’re different lengths.

NOTE:

The British Journal of Sport’s Medicine notes that runners’ knee is two times more likely in women than men. This is because there is a bigger angle between a female’s thigh bone and her knee. This throws the alignment off and puts more stress on her knee, causing knee pain. 

Link between running and how you run

This is because there is a link between the distance run, the frequency and the power to knee pain. Therefore if you are looking to prevent knee pain running, then you need to balance your exercise schedule. Mix up the type of running, jogging, sprints etc with a variation in miles and distance you run along with other fitness work.

This is something that new runners often experience as they shock their system, but it is also equally important for experienced runners. If you run a lot, then you’re at risk from putting excessive stress on your knees. This can wear down the kneecap cartilage, which causes runner’s knee conditions such as chondromalacia or arthritis.

Don’t ignore the symptoms

*pain during or after running

*swelling

*stiffness

Don’t run through knee pain. This is your body warning you that something is wrong and ignoring it could cause further damage.

Runner’s Knee SymptomsIT band avoid knee pain running

The symptoms of runner’s knee vary by person; how your body is aligned, the type of training you are doing and also the specific injury you have picked up.

For example, you may suffer from any one of the following and it still be classed as runner’s knee:

*patellar knee tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons around the knee

*patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or chondromalacia. – cartilage eroding below the kneecap. This also results in pain behind your knee cap.

*increased pain running, particularly downhill, when you climb stairs or when you’re squatting or sitting for a longer period.

*irritation of the IT Band (iliotibial) outer knee pain whilst you’re running (lateral knee pain). This is more common in long-distance runners.

*meniscus tear – sharp pain in your knee when you run.

*back of knee pain (posterior pain) through soft tissue damage. Usually this will occur when you step in a pothole or twisting your knee some other way during your run.

 

Prevent Knee Pain Running

Correct running posture to prevent knee pain running

It’s important to warm up before you exercise, particularly if you want to avoid runner’s knee. Use stretching before and after and ensure you use the correct posture to make sure you put the right amount of load on each of your joints. This enables your muscles to work optimally – for speed and health.

When you start, don’t go at it all gun’s blazing. Build your distance and your speed up gradually so your body has time to adapt to the new load it is under. Don’t start out in some old trainers, make sure you get the proper gear. If the soles of your shoes are weak, then this will contribute to the alignment issues we discussed earlier. Proper support is imperative to prevent knee pain running.

Massage is also important to preventing knee pain running. Especially before a big event such as marathon or competition like a triathlon. Leave a good few days between your deep tissue massage and your event so that your muscles have time to heal back to their optimal level, or have a lighter massage such as Swedish massage closer to the event.

Do your event.

And then after, it’s important to have another massage to ease any strain and soreness out of your legs, lower back, knees and ankles. Depending on the competition, you may also find tightness in your shoulders too so give good consideration to making sure you have enough time booked in with your massage therapist.

Massage for sports works your muscles deep to ensure that there is no residual injury or tightness and thus will help prevent knee pain running. This is both during your event when you have a massage before and after in subsequent after event exercise when you have one after the event.

The moral of the story on how to prevent runner’s knee?

Do everything in moderation and get a regular good quality massage to avoid any of the stuff we’ve talked about here today! If you’d like to visit us in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex, you can book online.

What causes infertility — including cocaine use and infertility?

This heading, what causes infertility including cocaine use and infertility, is long for a reason. Many of my fertility clients are comfortable talking about alcohol, because they have read a lot online about this affecting their ability to conceive. However, many people don’t even think about how drug use, which in the modern world is predominantly cocaine, can affect their ability to have a child.

So, I had to make the title long to cover off what people may search for in google and then add the cocaine in at the end. Because this is an important topic and without the message getting out there, men and women will continue to take drugs that effects sperm quality and the ability to conceive.

Here we go.

First off, in the bid to cover off everything about what causes infertility and how cocaine use can affect fertility, we need to look at the chemical effects that happen in our body when we have exposure to drugs, including cocaine.

How does cocaine affect the chemical (hormone) balance of our brain?

Dopamine is one chemical our body produces to make us feel good. Cocaine attaches and then binds around this molecule like a sheath. This means that it blocks the body from removing dopamine which then accumulates. This increase of dopamine is what causes the heightened response in our body and subsequent actions.

All this produces waste which your body would normally have gotten rid of naturally and now has to deal with. This leads to an increase stress load which is one of the major factors in modern day infertility.

Cocaine use and female infertility

Drugs affect the female reproductive system. And what’s scary considering that women are the ones who carry the child is that women are more vulnerable to the longer-term effects of drugs. This is because women are physiologically different in weight and hormone balance. This means that the way a female breaks down the excess toxins left over from drug use essentially isn’t as effective. This is what leads to the longer term damage to their reproductive system.

For example:

Cocaine will affect menstrual cycles. Periods may be heavier or lighter and you’ll invariably experience increased cramping. Obviously, as this is a change in your hormonal balance, we can directly see a link between fertility and cocaine use, but here are some details.

If your periods are light, your body isn’t cleansing out the old blood in your womb. As this is what your body nestles into, it’s not a secure basis for implantation. Think about having blown plaster on a wall and then just plastering over it. The wall will still be weak underneath.

When you have heavier than normal periods, you’re being more aggressive at cleansing. Not great when you’re trying to conceive.

In terms of cramping, one thing I regularly tell my fertility reflexology clients is that they need to keep their abdomen area as soft as possible. No crunches or other ab work. This is so the egg has a wonderfully soft place to implant. Cramping works against this.

Cocaine can also harm your reproductive system. Here are some examples:

*cocaine may damage your fallopian tubes leading to ovulation issues.

*the effects of cocaine on our hormonal balance and thus ovulation for months

*if you are lucky enough to get pregnant through all of this, then your chances of suffering with recurrent pregnancy losses is greater.

Sexually transmitted disease

STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and infections can affect your fertility in the longer term. Using drugs, including alcohol in this is that you are more likely to put yourself in danger of contracting one of these when you are under the influence because the chemical changes to our brain mean that we are more of a risk taker. As a side note, these can also lead to cancer later on down the line too. For sure there’s a fertility risk if you e.g. need a hysterectomy, but cancer in itself is best avoided we think!

What’s the research on cocaine use and infertility?

One study that I’ve just found quickly on the internet conclusively found that drugs and alcohol are related to infertility in women. And the higher the use, including alcohol, leads to a higher percentage of fertility problems. This study also showed that tobacco products lead to a delay in conception.

Sexual arousal

On the flip side to taking risks, drugs over time can also lead to a reduction in our libido. Women’s vaginal lubrication can be reduced, as is the ability to reach an orgasm. Fertility aside, I think we could all do without that little complication!

Cocaine use and male infertility

STDs also affect men in the same way as they do women leading to their sperm being damaged. You can do ‘it’ at the right time every month, but without those little swimmers getting to where they need to be in enough quantity and of the right quality to break through the follicle’s membrane, you will not get pregnant naturally.

Hormone levels change

Specifically looking at fertility in men linked to cocaine use (note we’re not talking abuse) their hormone levels change in the same way women are affected. This slows down sperm movement, which as we’ve discussed above, leads to infertility. Or issues in getting pregnant in the very least.

Cocaine disrupts how the male body creates sperm (spermatogenesis). This affects reproduction. If a man has had long-term cocaine use, then our sperm count will be lowered because we can’t produce as much because of the damage. But also, those that are already in production have a poorer mobility. It also leads to a deformity in them leading to a higher abnormality count.

In addition, research has shown that men’s fertility health is further affected by damages to the microscopic ultrastructure of the testicles. This leads to irreversible fertility issues.

Quick sidestep

On this note, let’s take a quick sidestep to steroids which increase testosterone in our bloodstream. This conns our brain into thinking we have enough and so it doesn’t produce as much naturally. This leads to poor sperm quality and thus infertility. It’s the same effect with excessive muscle building exercise. And these effects can be medium to long term.

Sexual arousal and physical affects

Drugs also affected sexual arousal. Over time, men may suffer with a lack of sexual arousal, and the knock on physical effects of that. And don’t be fooled by the short-term spike in sexual arousal. Everything needs to balance out. And this spike is only short-lived. Cocaine can lead to erectile dysfunction and delayed orgasm. Neither are great for enhancing your conception chances.

Continued affects on your child even after birth

In the same way females are still affected by cocaine use after pregnancy, the same applies to men. If you get pregnant despite your drug use, then research shows that your child will be more likely to miscarry because of defective sperm, and even at full term, your child will be smaller with a lower birth rate.

What causes infertility?

Don’t forget, when you use cocaine and other recreational drugs, you’re piling all of these negative effects on top of the common causes for infertility such as

  • The age of the woman
  • General issues that affect the male sperm count and quality
  • Irregular periods, ovulation issues and tubal disease
  • Factors such as endometriosis, PCOS and fibroids (among others)
  • The anatomical matching between a particular male and female reproductive systems.

In conclusion

When we’re looking at what causes infertility, cocaine use and infertility are inextricably linked. There is no way around this. So if you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening, then it may be worth looking into your consumption of illegal or damaging substances such as cocaine.

If you’d like to book an appointment with us for fertility reflexology so we can help to cleanse your system and work with you on a path to improving the effects of drug use, then book online.

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Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Chemical Pregnancy. Moving through loss.

Many of our clients are pregnant, or trying to conceive. Their natural fertility isn’t playing ball with their inner drive to have a baby. This often means that they come to me having suffered from a chemical pregnancy or miscarriages, whether these be an early miscarriage, or any time throughout the pregnancy through to still birth and down to missed miscarriage.

Common factor in all miscarriages

Hurt. Deep rooted, soul wracking pain that wields through your body when no-one else understands. Often not even your husband. For sure, you both have had a future ripped out of your hands, often with little or no warning, but men grieve in an entirely unique way to women.

As a trained counsellor, I use a range of techniques to help my clients through their suffering whilst they relax and enjoy a simultaneous reflexology treatment. This enables us to balance your body and your mind at the same time. Sometimes, I will play short wellness clips from a selection of my favourite teachers and we’ll discuss the meaning of these afterwards.

We’re currently in COVID lockdown which prevents me from doing this with my clients but I thought it would be a nice idea to write a blog on this and perhaps prevent some deep-rooted hurt from manifesting as miscarriage won’t stop for an international pandemic.

Here is the video from Lauren Eckstrom and Travis Eliot. I’ll discuss some key points below:

Both Lauren and Travis are successful yoga instructors, so some examples that they discuss of healing mechanisms may not apply to what you’re naturally do in your life. I’m not here to tell you that you should start chanting. As they say, this is a moment in your life when you are suffering in your own unique way. That requires the same for how you deal with these symptoms.

But they made some valid points.

Take time for yourself to mourn your miscarriage

For you and for your partner. Reconnect and ground together. Become a unit that takes on the world as one entity. It’s easy for you to fall into a hole where you each deal with the pain of miscarriage independently and eventually this will eat you guys up.

If I have one piece of advice, it’s do everything you can to communicate and getting outside somehow always makes this easier. However many weeks you were, whatever trimester you were at when your bleeding started. Do not let this miscarriage divide you. There are some points to consider with this though, and they’re important.

Men and women deal with miscarriage grief differently

This is something that the couple touch on in their talk, but what I pulled out of this is the subconscious messages that they probably weren’t aware they are giving off.

Travis talks twice about how ‘disappointing’ their experience was. Disappointing? It sounds so callous. But, listen to him talk, towards the end, his grief and his pain at their loss is so overwhelming that he fills up. His voice cracks when he talks about the child they have lost.

He’s been holding it together, and still is, so that his wife can deal with this traumatic period by breaking apart. Look at the body language of the couple. Lauren is teary, Travis is sitting more tense. It isn’t that he has experienced any less heartbreaking anxieties, but he’s dealing with this in the way men are conditioned to do. He alludes to this, but it is probably even more prevalent than even he realises. And this is a man who is in touch with his emotions and knows on a conscious level that it is OK to cry.

Holding onto pain won’t bring back what couples have lost

It’s a natural coping mechanism to ignore the pain and move forward. It’s kind of what’s expected when we have busy lives. We are expected to carry on, go to work, take the kid we may already have to school, be professional and break our hearts in private. And so we become conditioned to using this as a way of coping.

But you were going to be parents.

The issue here is that the grief you were feeling is still there. It’s just buried. And so the stress, anxiety and depression associated with it is pushed aside, but is still real. And trust us, this will come back to haunt you.

You were a mother, your hormones were geared up for that and when it’s snatched away your partner can’t understand the weight of this, because although they have lost a child and that future, they are still as balanced hormonally as they were before the day this happened. We can see here how Travis was truly affected in his vulnerable interview, but he’s behaving differently to the mother who miscarried.

It’s just different. But it doesn’t mean men don’t care. Even if they can’t fully understand.

So find a place, like my clients do with me, and allow this to be your safe place where you let everything out. Bawl out your eyes, show your anger and bitterness which are valid emotions and let them go. Do not feel shame for grieving. But do not wallow. When the emotion is out, embrace the calm that follows and this is what you hold on to.
When the next wave takes you, allow it to flow in the knowledge that all things in life will pass and look forward to the calm you’ll obtain from once again allowing the wrecking ball to ricochet through your body as it passes through. Then once again hold that calm that follows.

Women who miscarry have a feeling of isolation

They talk about the joy of finding out they were pregnant. Their faces light up when they discuss the day they found out they were expecting their daughter. Don’t lose that joy. Keep the child you had close. You love them. Just because their body didn’t work out it doesn’t mean that when you miscarry that you aren’t still emotionally connected.

This bereavement is different to anything else

When you lose someone else that you have loved, you have a history with them. For sure you may have also had a longer future, but you have memories. These help.

When you have a miscarriage, you don’t have anything. Not a single jot of memory other than the time you had a scan or the time you found out. There’s nothing tangible to ease the pain. All the memories you were going to make evaporate.

And unless you’ve been through this, it’s tricky to empathise in a way which is helpful.

Family and friends don’t get it, no matter how well meaning they are

They don’t. Not unless they have been through it and not many people want to revisit that memory with someone over and over and so you are left alone. This is where counselling comes in because as I do in my miscarriage sessions, I use the experiences of multiple people in the past to help you through this time. This understanding that you are not alone is helpful.

A keepsake

Lauren and Travis talk about each finding a keepsake to cherish as a reminder. This works wonderfully for my clients. You have something to cling onto during the tough times. A tangible reminder of the mother you were going to be to this child. It’s not something you need to discuss with anyone else because this is entirely personal.

When you’re suffering from a miscarriage your anxieties, and the hurt is overwhelming, you have something to touch. A necklace often works well because you can hang it around your neck, keep it close to your heart and in those horrible moments when grief strangle holds you unexpectedly you can scan your fingers lightly over it and feel some peace at being reconnected.

Another coping mechanism

Getting outside with nature is a great opportunity to look after your health. Not only are you in the fresh air away from pollution, but when they are outside, people somehow automatically feel less connected to the freneticism of modern life.

This automatically lifts a weight of grief, although as Travis says, you will still feel the ton of bricks in your heart. The thing is, that’s OK. Because you are dealing with loss. And you’re acknowledging it and giving it space to pass through you. Getting away will help that pass without the same pressure to push it aside. And in so doing, you’re giving yourself the best chance to heal.

And when we heal, we have a better chance of future health. As most of our ladies move on to want to try to conceive again at some point in the future, being healthy and this healing is critical.

 

Finally, thank you to Lauren and to Travis for allowing us access to their hearts in such a personal way. I hope the video and this blog was helpful for you. If you would like to book an appointment to see Karen in Romford, Essex, then you can do so here (once COVID is over).

Trigger point therapy.

All our customers come to us with a pain, without understanding trigger point therapy. This means that they expect us to work the area where they are feeling discomfort and fix it, a little like you stubbing your toe and immediately rubbing it.

But the body is a complicated labyrinth of connective tissues. Muscles join with others, tendons connect our bones with muscles whilst ligaments attach bones. One bit of inflammation, strain or tightness in one area can lead to pain in a different area of your body.

The concept of trigger point therapy.

The concept of trigger point therapy is that the pain in one area can cover a problem in another. It is all to do with our body being constructed in a series of pathways, whether these be muscular tendons or energy.

Each element starts in one place and links through attachment to another. We see this in Chinese medicine, examples such as reflexology and acupuncture have built their practice on working one area to see benefits in another.

So by treating the cause of the pain rather than where it ends up, your massage therapist is able to improve your health longer term by taking out the source of your problem.

Dealing with symptoms isn’t the way forward.

Dealing with symptoms rather than to treat where this originates from leads to a faster return of these symptoms as the problem remains unchanged.

This is why clients will often remark on the pain coming and going. Or that it persists well beyond any reasonable healing time. Because the pain is only the symptom and so a treatment plan is needed that involves healing the source.

What is a trigger point?

It’s a tight area. A little like a nodule under the skin. A trigger point is a muscle, or area that is locked down in that contracted format. A collection of tense e.g. muscles which cramp up like a pea.

The specific role of your therapist is to unlock that area. This may be performed in one, or for more deep rooted issues, several sessions. When you release this injury through the application of pressure, it helps the knot relax, and this stimulates a knock on effect in other areas of the body.

Trigger point therapy covers a huge range of complicated pain related issues.

For example, you may have a pain in your neck, this often originates in a tight bicep or shoulder. So if you are under stress and perhaps sit in one position for a lot of the day with very little physical movement, then trigger point treatments will often be the way forward because it gets stuck through hardening fascia in a position which is not natural. When we look at how the body maps, we can see why this type of treatment is effective.

Anatomical image of arm showing trigger point therapy pathways

Muscles are made up of sticky fibres, as you can see on the image above. So, when you have one muscle that crosses over another then tightness in one large muscle is strong enough to cause a ripple effect into an interconnected smaller, weaker, muscle. It’s important that you have a massage practitioner who is well trained and understands exactly how the body is constructed from an anatomical perspective, because applying trigger therapy to reduce this negative tension is a specialist skill.

What happens during trigger point therapy?

Your therapist will use the relevant specialist technique to ensure that the tight ‘nub’ releases. It will probably start with applying acupressure and manipulation and then increasing this as the point relaxes and softens. It will probably also include some slow and controlled movement, circulation or rolfing of the area that is affected with your therapist’s fingers and hands is extremely effecting to stretch the structural contraction.

Once the point has relaxed, we’ll often do some special exercises to ensure that you have regained your full movement. Often we can release one area and find a secondary site if the issue is longstanding.

What are the signs I may need trigger point therapy?

If you have a trigger point, it is usually as the result of a stressed or injured muscle. They have contracted. It’s this that is causing you pain and tightness. Often with a resultant loss of flexibility due to stiffness, pain or tension. This physical limitation is a loss of normal function that if not dealt with can lead to further health issues.

What causes trigger points?

There are a number of issues, but below are some of the most common:

*Lack of activity/ deconditioning so blood lymph fluid isn’t moving around properly.

*poor posture and stress bringing on shallow breathing patterns.

*repetitive movements which causes mechanical stress.

*issues with imbalance in the body, e.g. physical problem such as different length legs.

*joint disorders and mobility.

*not enough sleep causing mental contraction and emotional instability/ depression/ anxiety.

*vitamin deficiencies.

You’ll often find that if you have a condition such as arthritis or a bulging disc, then you’ll also have trigger points if you’ve been suffering for a longer period.

A good sign that you may benefit from trigger point therapy is if you’re on some form of medical plan that includes anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants or anti-depressants.

Likewise, if you’re doing sports and on a strengthening programme in the gym, you could be causing a similar kind of strain that will also result in these trigger points. Simply put, you’re trying to improve your health, but you could be training too hard and actually increasing your injury liability.

Please check with your doctor before coming along if you are in any doubt or have concerns.

What is the role of vitamins in trigger point therapy?

Certain vitamins and minerals are important in the physiology of muscles, so without a balanced quantity of these, your muscles and tissues won’t be at optimal health. Diet is also a vital factor in enhancing the way our soft tissue works, so if you can’t add the necessary vitamins through food, do consider supplements as a last resort.

Examples of vitamins that may alleviate muscle and/ or tissue pain are:

*B1

*B6 (also great for your immunity)

*B12 (also good for anxiety)

*vitamin C (also helps your immune system)

*folic acid.

The minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium are also of nutritional importance so including these or increasing your volume in your diet is also helpful for most people.

How soon will I experience relief?

Most clients regain some balance and therefore pain relief after just one initial therapeutic treatment.

How many sessions will I need?

Whether you will require an ongoing treatment plan depends on your lifestyle. See below some reasons why you would be helped with trigger point therapy and then if you are doing these as a regular part of your ongoing lifestyle, then you would likely need a maintenance plan after you have had your initial sessions.

What causes a trigger point?

Valerie DeLaune has been quoted as saying that if an injury has been around long enough, then a trigger point will form. This means that we are often incredibly effective at helping people with longstanding or chronic conditions.

Trigger points are often misdiagnosed by consultants. For instance, the myofascial layer of our body’s structure can cause pain which mimics nerve entrapment in your neck.

If you’re having problems with a trapped nerve in your neck and medical intervention isn’t proving effective, then you might have been misdiagnosed and just need a few massages along with posture correction advice. The confusion is easy.

It’s also common for clients to come in with an issue they’re not seeking treatment for and to leave with this also being resolved. For instance, if we’re treating your stiff neck, you may find that a joint pain in your wrist also alleviates.

Benefits of trigger point therapy.

Other than all the health benefits we can help with, there is another. Trigger point massage therapy are that we can often work out your pain without needing to put too much pressure on the section of your body where you are feeling the pain.

The science based research behind trigger point therapy.

In the mid-1960s Melzack and Wall introduced a theory which they called, ‘Gate’ which claimed that rubbing could be used as a form of natural medicine. The idea that this could be used to to reduce pain was, at the time, laughable.

Their theory didn’t start to be accepted until the 1970s and 80s, when further pain research had been conducted, that medics began to accept their findings that massage can give relief to pain.

After this, science discovered that we can control our pain via unconscious thought of your mind. This travels down nerves from our brain. This was the start of a firm scientific basis, which is efficacious in the use of complementary therapies in pain management. We could now prove that a client who has sciatica does feel localised pain in her leg even though there is nothing wrong with her leg. It is her lower back that is the issue. We also call this referred pain.

This is why patients suffering from heart complaints, particularly during a heart attack will feel pain down their arm.

And likewise, for clients with fibromyalgia now has an explanation. Because as we move around, our body changes position, and our unexplained pain comes and goes. In different areas.

Read more about surprising causes of lower back pain.

How do trigger points fit into this research?

The medical world aren’t great at accepting new ideas and concepts and the issue with trigger point massage therapy is that they can only be located by a skilled therapist. Traditional doctors aren’t trained in this and so would struggle to administer the therapy, although new imaging techniques in the last five years means that it’s now possible to visualise trigger points.

What happens after my session?

This is a holistic therapy, so it is not uncommon for us to recommend some exercises for you to do. You’ll also need to drink water to help your system cleanse any damaged tissue that is now in the process of healing. This gentle care of yourself will help your recovery.

Your continued treatment plan (if you need one) may include more of the same, or you may mix positive modalities to protect you in the future. For instance it may involve integrating reflexology practices, or stretch therapy which works a little like yoga.

If you’re interested in booking, you can do so online.