Massage therapies v’s beauty school massage.

It's amazing how often people visit us for the first time who have had a massage before and leave with a parting comment like 'I didn't realise this is what proper massage therapies were.'

The issue is that these clients have been to therapists who have received different training from ITEC qualified massage therapists.

Let's be clear, we're not knocking they type of massage that they learn at beauty college, we're just saying there is a difference that's all. And the difference is because all we, as professional massage therapists specialise in is healing your body through physical touch, whereas the focus for beauticians is more varied.

So if you go to a salon for a massage, your therapist will often use the same strokes in the same pattern. Your massage is purely for relaxation and so the format will usually be the same from one client to the next. In this instance there is no need for practitioners to mix up techniques during your treatment. They're not there to deal with muscle pain or sports therapy in treatments. As a result they'll usually use Swedish massages with a light pressure which don't work deep tissue or focus on health beyond relaxation.

There is a lot to be said for that to be fair and linked to releasing mental tension and even a little anxiety, beauticians are more likely to add aromatherapy/ essential oils or hot stone work on your muscles.

The cost of these massage therapies is usually less, often considerably less, than we would charge for a massage at Essential Feeling. This isn't because we are ripping you off, it's simply because we have a much greater level of expertise in how the body will respond to the different types and styles of pressure to achieve your desired treatment outcome.

Similarities between the two styles of massage therapies

Both can be relaxing, although deep tissue massage isn't always so until after the treatment ends. However, generally, both are done on a massage couch or table.

General benefits of massage

Increases blood flow (circulation) and thus oxygen around your body

Reduces mental stress by giving you some much needed you time to relax

Can improve muscular discomfort

May improve or give relief from pregnancy associated aches and conditions

A traditional complementary therapy based on rhythmic movements

Great gifts for friends and relatives including couples

Can promote improved sleep and reduce symptoms of insomnia

What is the point of your advanced massage techniques if I can get all the above for less money?

We've broken down some of our most popular massage therapies below so you can see the effects each can have on various ailments.

Deep tissue/ sports massage

Deep pressure often including kneading of tight muscles breaks down injury sights and promotes self healing. It's often useful where you have physical injuries that clinical physio just can't touch. You may experience some soreness after your session but this is only minor and temporary compared to the longer term results.

Swedish massage

Sure, we've said that beauticians learn this, but on top of their knowledge we have expertise in how the muscles lie under the surface of the skin. This means we can elevate the service we provide by using specific strokes and patterns in an active and firm way to ease pain in muscles and joints. We go over and above using effleurage to gently add healing outcomes to your unique massage.

Pregnancy massage

Prenatal care is important for both mother and baby. An easy and happy pregnancy means a much happier new born. During this massage you will lay on your side and your qualified pregnancy massage therapist will work you from behind whilst you're comfortably propped up on pillows and cushions.

Fertility massage

We've seen how massage can improve blood flow, lymph flow and oxygen distribution above. Here we take this one step further to provide maximum nutrients to the all important area of your abdomen and ultimately uterus. We may also add in some myofascial release as described below to ease away any scar tissue which may impede fertility.

Lymphatic drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage, or MLD as it is often known is designed to treat swelling. Often this is post-operative, including liposuction and we are affiliated with London's Harley Body Clinic to improve their patient's conditions post surgery. This is one of the lightest massage therapies practised as it is used to work the lymphatic system (vessels nodes and ducts) to drain fluid, rather than break down muscle fibres.

Myofascial release

Effective on scar tissue, your practitioner will use controlled pressure applied in a slow stretching motion to soften and ease the sticky layers of fascia. This is particularly effective when you have had surgery and want to avoid the raised bump associated with scarring.

Reflexology

Often known as a foot massage, reflexology is so much more. We use acupressure on your feet to restore homeostasis, or balance in your system and organs. It's a great way to have a general once over. It's also possible to work with specific chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression or fertility to trigger your body's natural healing response.

Indian head massage

Working your head, neck and shoulders, this is a fully clothed massage technique that eases emotional strain whilst dealing with the associated physical responses. This can be great if you suffer from regular migraines, osteoarthritis of your jaw or psychological strains. The practice goes beyond what you see being given upright on a chair in a shopping centre.

Reiki

Whilst not strictly bodywork, reiki is something we offer at Essential Feeling and so we though we should include it here under massage therapies. You may book a session alone, but to be honest, whichever one of our massage therapies you choose, you'll more than likely get a bit of energy healing thrown in for free. It's just what we do.

Mobilisation techniques

Essentially this is Thai massage which seeks to improve mobility performance through a number of assisted stretches. However, we don't advertise this because we get way too many calls from people expecting mobilisation of a different part of their body to the joints we're used to working whilst you remain fully clothed! The massage technique should not be undervalued though as a result of its bad rep. It can be an amazing way to see improvements in knots. The flowing movements complement a traditional massage helping you to have a fully rounded end result.

Essential Feeling are based in Gidea Park, Romford, Essex. We are open 7 days a week for appointments which you can book online and attend between the hours of 7am and 10pm. You'll enjoy free off street parking right outside our professional treatment rooms

How can I stop my insomnia?

Definition of insomnia

Before we answer, ‘how can I stop my insomnia?’

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. If you suffer with insomnia, it is difficult to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or both.

When you have insomnia you won’t wake feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep. This is tricky because it has a ton of knock-on effects because of the resultant fatigue.

Of all sleep disorders, insomnia is the most common. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) notes that one-third of adults report symptoms. But, what’s more worrying, is that there are between 6 to 10 percent of us who have symptoms of insomnia which are severe enough for us to get a diagnosis of ‘insomnia disorder’.

The clinical diagnosis of this disorder is when you have trouble falling asleep. And staying asleep.

  • Sleep difficulties for at least three nights a week. This must last a minimum of three months.
  • Sleep difficulties create a major distress or functional difficulties in your life.

Let’s investigate these types of insomnia in more detail.

Insomnia causes

There are many causes of insomnia. And it links them to your particular type of sleeplessness.

You may suffer with short-term insomnia. This is an acute condition often created by a spike in stress from e.g. an upsetting or traumatic event. It can even come from changes to your sleep habits if e.g. you’re travelling a lot with work.

Chronic insomnia is a more continued issue. It lasts for at least three months. This is usually secondary to another problem, for example:

  • A medical condition which causes e.g. pain which keeps you awake. Many of our clients with lower back pain or sciatica suffer with this.
  • Psychological issues also play a part. If you have anxiety or depression, they wake up at night when the world is lacking distraction.
  • Substance use including cocaine and alcohol stimulate us and prevent sleep

Risk factors for a reduced ability to sleep

Some people are more naturally pre-disposed to not being able to sleep well than others, although it may occur at any age. Insomnia is more likely to affect females than males.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)Trusted Source, other health concerns increase your chances of suffering with sleep disruption.

  • top levels of stress
  • emotional disorders, such as depression or distress related to a life event
  • lower income leads to stress
  • travelling to different time zones and changing shift patterns
  • Sedentary lifestyle means your joints may cause you pain. Obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • hormonal shifts such as menopause.

Insomnia symptoms

You’ll know if you’re experiencing insomnia because you’ll report one of these three symptoms.

  • waking up too early
  • not feeling refreshed when you wake
  • Trouble falling asleep. Or staying asleep.

These symptoms of insomnia then lead to other symptoms, including:

  • fatigue
  • mood changes
  • irritability and difficulty concentrating

Treating insomnia

You can get pharmaceutical drugs to help you sleep, but there are also nonpharmaceutical treatments for insomnia. Always speak to your doctor about what treatments are appropriate for you.

A combination of techniques may work best to cure your insomnia. It depends on your personal circumstances. For instance, if your issues are stress, anxiety or depression, then your focus may well be different to someone suffering because of pain from arthritis.

Sleep hygiene

We’ve adopted behaviours that interfere with sleep and cause us to lie awake at night.

Some sleep hygiene routines which may help cure your inability to sleep could be:

  • avoid caffeinated beverages within a few hours of bedtime
  • Give exercise near bedtime a wide berth. Whilst exercise is good, it’s also a stimulant so pick your time.
  • minimise the time spent on your bed when you’re not intending to sleep also helps to train your mind that bed is only for sleeping

Home remedies to help stop disturbed sleep

Lifestyle changes, or home remedies are often effective at curing insomnia.

Warm milk and herbal tea such as chamomile are well known natural sleep aids.

Meditation

Meditation is one of our personal favourites which we use within our reflexology sleep aid and massage for insomnia. We love it because not only does it work, but it’s a natural and drug-free method for treating insomnia.

Meditation is so effective that the Mayo Clinic says that meditation also helps symptoms of conditions that may contribute to insomnia.

  • stress and anxiety
  • depression
  • digestive problems and pain

Melatonin

The body naturally produces the hormone melatonin during the sleep cycle. People often take melatonin supplements, hoping to improve their sleep. However, this is also produced naturally by the body during a massage. Hence why the massage for insomnia is such a brilliant choice for many people.

Melatonin for sleep

Insomnia and pregnancy

Just like when women head into menopause their sleep cycles can go haywire because of hormones, the same is relevant during pregnancy when insomnia is common. Especially in your first and third trimesters.

It may not be that you can’t sleep per se, more that fluctuating hormones cause you to feel nauseous which prevents sleep. As done the increased need to pee and being generally uncomfortable.

Depending on why you can’t sleep will determine which holistic therapy is best. Reflexology can help with balancing hormones, calming emotional stress and cutting out nausea. Massage helps with being uncomfortable, including cramps.

If you’re looking to change more lifestyle elements that help stop insomnia:

  • keeping active during your pregnancy stops you seizing up
  • maintaining a healthy diet improves constipation, and gut issues
  • it might sound odd as you’re in the loo so much already, but staying well-hydrated stops you from swelling up, improving your comfort
  • maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
  • practising relaxation techniques such as meditation and holistic therapies during the day as we’ve described above

We would always advise that you make any lifestyle changes such as increased exercise with your doctor first though as everyone’s starting point and body are different and it’s important to do only what is safe for your personal circumstances.

Types of insomnia

Distinct ways to characterise insomnia are below. Please note that some of these types of insomnia overlap.

Causes of disturbed sleep

Your inability to sleep can have either  a primary or secondary cause

Primary insomnia is when another condition does not cause your insomnia. Your issues such as stress, work, bereavement cause these changes in your sleep patterns.

Secondary insomnia (often classed as comorbid insomnia) is the opposite. An underlying health condition or lifestyle habit, such as depression or anxiety, are playing with your mind at bed time.

Duration of insomnia

Short-term (acute) types of insomnia include situational insomnia and episodic insomnia. We know. It’s getting technical! Let’s explain.

Situational insomnia (acute) and lasts only for days, sometimes up to a few weeks. But, episodic insomnia lasts for one to three months, so it goes on for longer.

Layered on top of this, there is chronic (long lasting) forms.

These include persistent insomnia and recurrent insomnia.

Persistent insomnia lasts for at least three months.

Recurrent insomnia doesn’t continue for as long. But you will have at least two episodes of insomnia (episodic insomnia) over one year.

Symptoms of insomnia

We’ve discussed symptoms of insomnia in more detail on different pages, so check them out.

These include insomnia and depression and anxiety.

Hopefully we’ve answered your questions, ‘How can I stop my insomnia?’ To book in for one of our insomnia sessions, please read the pages as detailed above under the headings to establish which holistic therapy will best help your personal conditions. To get in touch, text us on 07757 946023.

What is reiki?

We’re going to try and answer the often asked question, ‘what is reiki?’ here in a way that doesn’t sound like total codswallop. So, bear with us because to some people reiki is mysterious, foreign or just plain made up, and we’re here to try and explain why we’re of a different opinion.

So, for starters, answer this question. When you experience pain, what do you do?

The reality is we all naturally perform the fundamental essence of reiki healing on a daily basis. It’s innate within all of us because we’re willing to bet that most of you would at some point, particularly immediately following the onset of that pain, place your hands over the source of that pain. And from so doing, we’ll experience a dulling in the sharpness, and essentially begin to soothe away pain. That is healing energy that is otherwise known as the Japanese technique or therapy of Reiki healing.

Let’s explain this technique better.

If we have a headache we cradle our head with our hands. If you hurt yourself your hands grasp the area until the pain disappears. When you have a tummy ache you soothe it with your hands. We could go on and on about the wondrous natural nature of reiki healing. And yet so many people either don’t believe in reiki healing or are busy asking, what is reiki?

And yet, the pronounced situations continue. What about when we’re soothing others from their pain? Say for instance a little one falls, what do you do? You place your hands on their knee. You may even embrace them. You kiss their pain and make it all better. These are all alternative therapies. They ease pain and suffering, through your touch. And through the power of this touch, via this healing energy of laying your hands or your embrace, the little one’s tears will dry up. Because you’ve provided them with the therapy that they need to feel better and dull their pain. Inadvertently, you’ve passed on your energy through the practice of transferring the warmth and force of your spiritual touch.

Hopefully now we’ve explained that reiki healing is a universal method that we all use for the benefits of ourselves or others wellness. But, why do you use this holistic therapy to heal?

Reiki is a natural healing instinct. We may not understand it and we may therefore be the ones who ask, ‘what is reiki?’ but reiki healing a therapy that we all instinctively use. Often on a daily basis.

The fundamentals commonly remain the same even when you’re not dealing with a physical pain such as a cut knee. If you’re under stress and you just need some relaxation time, what do you do? You’ll hold your head, place your hands over your heart to stop it racing after a shock or you’ll enjoy some other spiritual treatment by laying your hands over an alternative source of discomfort. Emotionally or physically.

We can often tie this into the healing power of meditation, but we’ll come to that in another blog because that is another way that subtle shift in energy can help to promote us to heal in a non-invasive way.

The roots of both of these modalities can be founded in all of the complementary therapies that Essential Feeling provide, including massage and reflexology. When one person touches another with a healing intention, that energy passes to help the process along. Whether the desired outcome be mental, physical or emotional relaxed.

Face massage

What is it that you are doing?

The practice of this healing touch is reiki. And this is why we use this natural relaxing technique that facilitates wellbeing.

Think about reiki healing in another way.

Away from cosmic healing, chakras and energy centres and buddhist channeling. Let’s talk practical examples.

Our bodies are made up of energy. We don’t question that an electric socket carries energy to light up a bulb, nor that a wind turbine creates energy through movement. So why would it be any different with our bodies which are made up of millions of constantly moving parts (living organisms)?

We exist in a universe of energy and when we use our hands we are using our hands to comfort that hurt. But the use of our hands and energy goes beyond hurt.
What about an expectant mother caressing her baby bump. A baby will react in the womb to this touch. It will wake, and start to move. Or calm if it is stressed. And the effect is pronounced for expectant mothers that we often will see them soothing their unborn child by touching their bumps. It’s an ancient technique that we don’t question.

The same goes for a couple holding hands. When we first meet we fall in love and our energies are drawn to connect. We do this in the first phase by touching hands. Just like practitioners of any complementary therapy will make a gentle touch on your body during your treatment. If someone is crying and we’re sitting across the table from them, what do we do? We lean over and place our hand on theirs as it rests around their cold coffee cup.

And a handshake or a pat on the back — we all like that, right? Are we starting to make sense now about what reiki is? Sure, reiki is a form of alternative therapy, and yes, reiki is a healing modality, but it’s something that we don’t need training for.

It just happens.

However, a reiki practitioner has been trained to draw out this energy and use it just like that wind turbine’s energy doesn’t just fly off into an abyss. It’s channelled.

In a nutshell this is the essence of reiki healing. We could go into all the background about reiki is a Japanese healing technique, that reiki healing is an ancient modality. But essentially, reiki is using one person’s energy to benefit another by transferring some of their good surplus to a person that needs it more.

To be more specific, reiki is the transfer of the highest healing energy from one being to another. Reiki healing amplifies and intensifies the power of touch. It promotes balance and harmony in your spirit, mind and body. Reiki healing is a natural, simple and powerful practise anyone can learn to help themselves. Anyone of any age, at any time. But, if you don’t want to learn reiki healing then Essential Feeling have got you covered.

Experience the power of touch. Tap into and experience your life-force energy at Essential Feeling today.