What is ITEC massage?

ITEC massage is one of the leading massage therapy qualifications in the world. To qualify to be an ITEC registered massage therapist, students must complete countless hours of practical training. Charlie, your massage therapist at Essential Feeling is qualified to ITEC standard.

But, besides this, getting their diploma means therapist’s must understand the detail of anatomy and physiology. The student will learn how therapies interact with the physical body, how diseases and conditions affect muscles and will spend days on end testing their knowledge in real life therapies.

This means that once your ITEC massage therapist has gone through their practical exam and written A&P examination, the successful completion of the topics in their training means they truly understand how the muscles of the human body work, how they interact with other parts of your anatomy and can use this understanding in their practise to help you feel better.

The study time takes years at specialist school. With continued professional development being layered on top of this post qualifying. This means that your ITEC massage therapist is always learning new and further advanced massage techniques and about the latest research. Once they are completed, that isn’t the last day of your therapist’s learning.

What does ITEC stand for?

ITEC stands for International Therapy Examination Council meaning that the therapists who have achieved this top level of qualification are so highly qualified that they may travel the world practising with a recognised certification.

ITEC have been running courses since 1947 in all elements of the complementary business. This includes holistic health massage and sports massage.

What is the benefit of me paying extra to have a massage from a qualified ITEC professional such as Charlie?

*Firstly, many leading insurance companies cover our massage therapy treatments, meaning you can claim back the cost of your treatment with Essential Feeling.

*Secondly, you are getting a high standard of massage. We’re not just talking about the time you spend on the table. You’re also paying for the hours that it has taken for us to achieve the level of understanding about your body that means we can help you in fewer sessions than if you go to e.g. someone at a beauty salon who has taken a one day massage therapy certificate.

We have put the time in. And received the best training the UK offers.

We’ve had years of experience putting that to the test with advanced learning and practical sessions.
The major benefit to coming to Essential Feeling over some other options is that we care enough to invest in your wellbeing. By paying for the best training. And then continuing with our professional development threonine.

For instance, if you’re coming to us for lymphatic drainage, then the ITEC course covers this in a module. But then we have invested in additional training after completing this initial teaching.

It’s the same with deep tissue massage.

ITEC cover this in their syllabus. But, after we’d qualified we then took additional training. And then again, a few years ago now, we invested in another professionally recognised advanced deep tissue massage training qualification.

We never stop. And this is why our level of ITEC expertise is recognised in countries around the world.

For sure, our hourly fees may be a little more than some other place, but this level of experience and training means that we know what we’re offering in terms of remedial massage. We can adapt our skills to give you the best outcome, and we will always offer you the most suitable treatment for your required outcomes. We’re not about to sign you up for a course of sessions you may or may not need. Chiropractors are renowned for this approach. We’re not. We have more than enough happy clients who recommend us that we don’t need to advise you to have more sessions than you’ll need to fix your pain.

In short. You can trust us.

Does completing this ITEC massage qualification mean that you are accredited?

We are covered by our own insurance during therapy.

And we’re trained to such a top level that many companies in the insurance industry will also pay out for our services against their policies.
By having them pay the balance of your massage (and reflexology by the way, as we’re similarly qualified in that) it can ease the financial pressure on booking a series of remedial massage sessions.

This is a lofty standard.

For complementary therapies to reach this level of respect from the insurance industry that it covers them and their remedial therapies within insurance policies is testament to how rigorous the ITEC qualification and standard of learning is.

Check out our certificates in massage and bodywork, here.

Covid-19 reveals sexism towards holisitic healing therapies

The government has categorised holistic healing therapies such as the pregnancy reflexology and the remedial massage work we do at Essential feeling, as being less safe than getting a haircut. Apparently maintaining social distancing working only on a client’s feet whilst wearing full PPE, disinfecting between clients and treating fewer patients to allow our space to air and ensure no cross contamination, is a colossal risk to the spread of Covid-19. To the point where holistic health therapies are bundled up into the same category as the body touching and up close and personal nature of strip clubs.

Yep, you got it right. Reflexology sits nestled against adult nightclubs for re-opening.

Our professional bodies, including the Association of Reflexologists have written to the government about the value and real life content of holistic healing therapies. They’ve pleaded with MP’s who have argued our case with parliament. And still the issues remain.

Nope, we’re told. You must take your brand of holistic healing therapies and wait like the rest in your group who have way more close contact with the public. We have apparently being categorised as we have because of scientific research which shows the health benefits of getting a haircut in a salon whilst blowing around hot air, during which it’s impossible to wear a mask for the entire duration of your visit, is less risky than me as your reflexologist sitting at your feet, wearing a mask a visor.

Ah, but the government must know what they’re doing, right?

Well, that’s what we thought. At first. We trusted them. We closed down Essential Feeling on 16 March which means we don’t earn. Being self-employed we don’t pull in a wage if we don’t work.

But, that’s all fine because we care about our country and the wellness of our society. We’d rather take the hit than contribute to this pandemic. It’s the nature of holistic healing therapist’s that we’re caring by nature. We’re the last people to want to do anything harmful.

We took our self-employed income support with gratitude even though it was less than we needed to support the ongoing business costs of the three months it was initially supposed to cover. The way the government sorted this out meant that they paid out on profits after business expenses. So, even though the amount we received only covered one month’s expenses, that’s also fine. We understand there is only so much money to go around, and we were happy to just get something in the name of the country getting back up and running again from a better position later on.

Instead of complaining, we’ve taken the time to revamp our treatment rooms, and to install some new groundbreaking air conditioning units which filter out virus and bacteria. They’re not cheap. But we’re happy to do it. Because we care and it helps. And because we’re responsible holistic healing therapists.

And yet we still can’t reopen.

But. What if the government’s logic makes little sense?

Honestly, we can see how massage parlours with all their sexual connotations may not be able to re-open. We’re not living in a bubble, we know they exist. In fact, when you listen to the calls we get, we’re could not ignore their existence even if we wanted to.

But, this assumption by many men who ask my husband ‘how many girls we have’ assuming he is their pimp has been adopted by the government.

And this is putting us to our knees. We’re not due another respite payment until August, and that will be less than the first one. Despite us needing to invest heavily and when we do re-open, being responsible alternative therapists, they will force us to take fewer physical treatments so we have the time between clients to implement our enhanced cleaning practice.

Again this is fine. But, please, what’s important for the government to understand is that we have our client’s best interests at heart.

Our regulars and new people alike are calling us daily, asking for us to treat them, even though we’re not allowed to. They are in pain. Either their mind or their physical body. They rely on us to balance their energy and to balance their stress. Increased stress caused by Covid-19 and all its repercussions I might add. Their life has turned upside down and they’re banned from getting a perfectly legitimate holistic healing therapy that they swear supports their wellness better than any medicine.

Let’s break this down by type of holistic healing therapy.

Before a client arrives, we send them a risk assessment that they must complete the morning of their session and send back to us so we can check it first.

When we take any client from now on, our waiting room will no longer be in use. We’ll greet clients on the drive and test their temperature with a remote infrared thermometer. Before they come any closer they’ll be required to wear a mask and visor if they’re not already. And to disinfect their hands using gel.

The air conditioning units that we have installed will run before the client arrives and continue after they leave. There is one virus filter in each of our treatment rooms.

We’ll do the same.

This applies to all our clients.

Reflexology, including pregnancy and fertility reflexology

Karen the MAR reflexologist specialising in Fertility at Essential Feeling Gidea park, Romford giving reflexology on foot
During reflexology we’ll wear full PPE and only need to sit at your feet while you recline backwards

We work at a client’s feet. They lie back on their chair so that our faces aren’t directly facing each other. We cover our chair with a one use sheet that we wash directly after they leave. As will the towel which we use to wrap their feet in.

During this entire programme, your reflexology practitioner will be no closer to someone’s face than we require to touch your feet when you lie flat on your back.

Deep tissue massage, holistic massage and Swedish massage

For sure, there are elements here that we would rather not do for our own safety and our clients. Despite hairdresser’s being open, if you called us today and they allowed us to treat you, we wouldn’t give you an Indian head massage.

But, if you’re having remedial massage work done because your back or neck is stiff, then you’ll be face down with your head in a cradle covered by a clean towel to filter bacteria. Our therapist will be at least 1 metre from your face — which is pointing towards the ground.

Massage therapist massaging Back during therapy at Essential Feeling Gidea Park, Romford
It’s possible to maintain social distancing whilst delivering a great quality massage.

And don’t forget the air conditioning unit will filter our air.

There is normally a time when we’ll ask you to turn onto your back so we can work your neck from a fresh angle. We will not do that. We’re experienced enough and adaptable as holistic healing therapists to work you from multiple angles. We do not need to include an approach that will not be healthy for either of us. Don’t forget that at the time of writing we’ve had almost four months without a salary, if either of us or our clients get sick that was all for nothing.

In conclusion

We are not a spa resort where water and damp air can carry bacteria. We are not a massage parlour where clients faces come inches from another, where bodies touch and where it would be natural for intimate physical contact to spread disease. Our massage isn’t even done by a woman for goodness’ sake.

We treat clients with anxiety, with conditions affecting their mental wellbeing. We are their retreat away from normal life, and we seek to improve that with valid complementary techniques designed to be effective at improving our client’s wellbeing. Not making them sick.

The holistic healing therapies that we offer at Essential Feeling are performed by responsible and caring responsible therapists who would well prefer to put our own financial and mental health to the side for the benefits of our clients.

And we’re more responsible than some other elements that the government has lumped us together with because our healing therapies contain some similar elements. We’re certainly more contentious about spreading disease than anyone drinking in a pub at 10pm.

The time has come where we no longer see the flawed logic that is preventing us from re-opening and helping our clients recover from the terrible emotional pressure and physical muscle tightness which are the effects of self isolation. And let’s not forget that massage contributes towards a strong immune system. This isn’t just about relaxation, improving quality of sleep and easing depression.

Now what?

We have to wait and maintain being patient. Hopefully, the government will review their flawed module which classes genuine holistic healing therapies in the same batch as sexual nightclubs and we will get a positive outcome that will allow us to practise again.

You can help us by raising awareness. Shouting from the rooftops that your chosen holistic therapy is a technique which benefits your health rather than risking it. And we will continue to work with our governing bodies such as the Association of Reflexologist’s to pass evidence to the Government to use in their review studies. We are more than a sanctuary for our clients. We achieve patterns of healthy growth, in a gentle and compassionate way which our clients tell us improves their quality of life in a way that traditional medicinal practices have failed.

Scoliosis. We can help.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an idiopathic curve of your spine that often requires surgery, sometimes with rods, if you want it straightening or for children a brace can be effective. We don’t get involved with this at Essential Feeling, but there are other ways we can give you treatment to reduce your pain, ease the pressure of the curves and make you feel better.

But, first. What types of curvature are you talking about?

Scoliosis is a spinal deformity, but it may not be immediately obvious. Especially in children. It may be painful, and we’re guessing that if you’re reading this then you’re probably having some issues, but not everyone feels pain. This is because it progresses gradually.

Signs of scoliosis in children

As we’ve said, scoliosis symptoms make a gradual onset and can affect some worse in some than others.

Symptoms of scoliosis

These aren’t always easy to spot and develop gradually even though your child may be born with the condition. Please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t spot the association at first.

*Your child’s entire body leans to one side and their head appears off centre

*Shoulders are usually uneven and you’ll often find one shoulder blade will protrude more than the other side

*Same with your child’s hips. If the shoulder is up at one side, usually the opposite hip will sit sideways and off centre. You might miss this but notice that one trouser leg is shorter than the other.

*If you notice this then perhaps you’ll then look and find that their rib cage is uneven with there being a ribs protrusion on one side of their spine.

*When your child complains of muscle or bone growing pains including fatigue, back pain and leg pain, then it’s worth checking for the above symptoms of scoliosis. Get these symptoms checked out by your GP or orthopaedic doctor so you can get it diagnosed and you know what you are dealing with.

Symptoms of scoliosis in adults

Adults suffering with scoliosis will have the above symptoms of the disorder. You’ll often find a greater propensity to a hump back, which is called rib prominence. Shirts won’t fit correctly for example, but it affects individuals differently.

kyphosis and lordosis

The enormous difference between child and adult scoliosis is that by the time you reach adulthood the way the spine bones are grinding against one another in the wrong position is causing an element of pain. This can often be considerable because by this point, it’s likely that your spinal discs and joints are now degenerating from the years of wear and tear. This exacerbates the abnormal curvature of your spine.

Lower back pain and stiffness are the two major symptoms of scoliosis in adults. This pain is more prevalent if your curve is in the lower back, the lumbar spine.

Why does scoliosis cause so much pain?

Not only do your muscles become tight and fatigued when they’re constantly being pulled into a position that they weren’t anatomically built for, but the misalignment can trap nerves between muscles and bones. This neuromuscular effect can be excruciating and causing neurological symptoms such as shooting pain and numbness.

Is this the same as kyphosis?

There are several conditions that cause a curvature of your spine and kyphosis and also lordosis are one of these. However, this isn’t scoliosis although it’s easy to see how it could fit in the same family.

kyphosis and lordosis

How can you help me with scoliosis at Essential Feeling?

We work with your muscles. We have experience helping clients with severe scoliosis to live with their condition. By easing tight muscles with a maintenance programme of massage we can reduce the strain muscles are under.

This also helps to allow bones in the vertebrae to have some ‘breathing space’ and releases trapped nerves. This breathing space also helps to slow down or hinder one bone from fusing into another or becoming worn at a slower rate.

Massage therapy by a qualified massage therapist experienced in working with a patient suffering with scoliosis can have a huge effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

To improve quality of life, this is invaluable. Our clients can go about their normal business without physical pain hindering them.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t a cure. But it is a an effective way of managing the congenital disorder so that we can manage the factors which affect your pain over time, and slow them from worsening at the same rate they would without massage.

How often do I need a massage to keep on top of the problem?

This is impossible to say until we meet you. At first you will always need this self care type of massage treatments more regularly so we have the chance to get on top of your problem. Ideally weekly.

Over time you will find that you don’t need your next massage so soon and this is the indicator it’s time for you to knock back the time between your sessions. If you like, we can give you exercises that fit within your lifestyle to speed up your muscular improvement. Not everyone wants these, so let us know. We’re always happy to help in any way that is the right method for you.

You are always in charge. We won’t push you into doing anything that you don’t instinctively feel isn’t right. We’re here to help you in the long term, not pressure you into sales for short term profits.

To book an appointment, book your session online now.

Golfers elbow pain

We have an entire page on golfers elbow, symptoms and what you can do to ease the pain of golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). This post here is about golfers elbow pain, and what goes on inside your body when you feel this discomfort.

Golfer’s elbow is a painful condition resulting in pain in your wrist, your forearm muscles and your hand and the inside of your elbow.

You need not be a golfer to suffer with inner elbow pain. You don’t even need to be doing regular exercises or sports activities. It’s possible to strain your muscle with no strenuous activity. If your muscles aren’t well toned, they will strain easier, as will your tendons.

This knock on effect can cause pain and tenderness, especially if you ignore it and your injury continues to build over time.

This is because the pain you feel results from inflamed tendons, an injury on the medial side (inside) of your elbow. These injuries derive from overuse of your affected arm.

These tendons slot into the long bone of your upper arm, which is why the pain radiates out. Because these are the tendons responsible for moving your wrist and your fingers. They’re also involved when you grip which is why you struggle with that when you’re dealing with golfer’s elbow.

You’ll see in this image that there are four superficial muscles in the anterior compartment on the inner portion of Muscle affected with golfer's elbow painyour elbow. Essentially your forearm muscles.

These are:

  • the flexor carpi ulnaris
  • palmaris longus
  • flexor carpi radialis
  • pronator teres.

They all originate from a common tendon which arises from the medial epicondyle of the humerus bone.

We’ve dealt with the symptoms of golfer’s elbow in our page dedicated to golfer’s elbow treatment.

Let’s look at what a tendon is then.

Our body is made up of several moving parts. A tendon is the end part of a muscle which connects our bones and muscles together. It’s strong, being made of collagen and fibres. It is also a tissue which stretches slightly to allow us to move, without over extending.

When we exercise we think about building our muscles. But, we often forget about these tiny pieces of tissue which work hard, and are less heavy duty than the muscles to which they connect. Although tendons can adapt to increasing demand, and can slowly self repair from injury, they become injured much easier than our larger muscles. And so we must be careful.

Why do we get tendon pain and inflammation in our elbow when we play golf?

Here are the major reasons we can develop pain and inflammation in our tendons.

Location of golfer's elbow pain

The overuse injury. Sudden increase in the load we’re putting on these small areas. This happens when, for instance, we’re doing a lot of extra activity. This could be in the gym, or if we’re gardening or decorating. It also happens when we’re learning or trying to improve a sport through repeated practise, such as golf. And this leads to the golfer getting golfer’s inner elbow pain.

The load doesn’t have to be sustained. If you fall and stop yourself, then this shock can inflame the small tendons easier than larger muscles.

*A work that gives you an unavoidable need to constantly overload through a sustained heavy activity.
*On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t use your elbow enough then our tendons get lazy. They don’t adapt to activity as well and therefore get damaged easier. We can’t manage as much load as we should without suffering with golfers injury pain.
Common risk factors that make us more predisposed to suffering with golfers elbow pain.
*Diabetes
*Rheumatoid arthritis
*Depression and anxiety
*Lifestyle factors such as smoking and being overweight also increase your chances of suffering more from golfer’s elbow pain.

Is it possible to prevent golfer’s elbow?

For sure. And now you’ve read this article, you’re in a much better place. As you know understand what happens when you strain your muscles in your forearm with repeated overuse, you can spot those activities, such as playing golf or playing tennis, which will lead to this painful condition of the elbow. Thus avoiding a trip to your doctor, or to us.

If you’re reading all of this because you are already suffering with golfer’s elbow pain, then you can book in for a remedial session online.