The phases of grief

Before we get into the phases of grief, it’s important to understand, what is a bereavement?

Bereavement can be defined as the loss of someone close to you, or the loss of a loved one. The grief experienced is the response to that loss.

So in this context grief and loss is a process which can be considered permanent. There will always be an element of loss. But, grief does change over time. There are a series of emotions experienced, even though there will always be a reaction of some kind to losing someone we love.

Stages of grieving

There are stages of grieving which is comforting to people as they see themselves or others moving through these phases or stages in an ordered way. It helps us understand and contain the chaos of grief if we have five jobs to do. We’ve discussed these in more detail, here.

However, this breakdown of the various stages of grief implies there is a particular order to dealing with grief and that grieving is a linear model where in fact we know that grief is a roller coaster with good and bad days being unpredictable.

In this video, they discuss how grief can be conceptualised:

1. Acute grief (grief shock).

The initial stages of grief which usually begins shortly after the death of a loved one. However, in the case of long term, terminal illnesses such as cancer or alzheimer’s, it is not unusual for the grief to start even before our loved ones have died. Many people feel guilt at grieving for the terminally ill prior to their death. This is a normal part of our acceptance. We should expect to behave in this way. It is misunderstood sometimes as being disloyal, but mourning is distinct to individuals and everyone’s process is valid.

Acute grief can include a whole host of experiences that you have never encountered before and you may feel vulnerable in a way you have never felt before. Grief postulates a series of emotions which are deep rooted such as a need to reconnect with the loved one that we have lost or are losing.

This can be overwhelming and you may feel significant emotional pain that can feel physical pain. There may be physical pain that you’ve never felt before such as fogginess and dizziness, heart palpitations and feelings of unreality and denial.

In this phase you may have frequently distracting thoughts about your loved ones. You may have issues concentrating on things that you would normally have been fine with. When we’re grieving our brain is less concerned with remembering normal day to day things. Consequently small things that were previously easy are suddenly more complicated. We find ourselves bargaining guilt, dealing with anger or slipping into an emotional tumble. This could lead to depression later on.

2. Integrated grief.

This is the enduring residual form of grief. In this the reality and meaning of the death are gradually understood. We meet a period of coping and acceptance. This is when we’re able to start moving forward again with enjoying ourselves and forming meaningful relationships.

Integrated grief does not mean that we forget about our loved one, we don’t miss them any less or stop experiencing sadness when we think about them. But, when we deal with integrated grief we’re able to find a way to feel connected to our loved one. Without them needing to be a physical presence in our lives.

We’re able to start to enjoy our life again without the thought of our loved one being constantly on our minds. However, there may be periods when acute grief and grieving re-emerges and it’s common. It can occur around the times of significant dates, e.g. holidays and birthdays, another loss, general life stress etc. But, when we hit the integrated grief phase, we’re understanding and beginning our process of healing.

Prolonged grief

A number of people may suffer with prolonged grief which is a timeline of an extended period of acute grief with complicated features which impede the restructuring process necessary for integrated grief.

To grieve is the natural process to help us adapt, and with other natural processes they don’t always run smoothly and so complicated grief can go on for years without the intensity of the grief decreasing.

If you’re suffering from complicated grief then you should consult with your GP who can refer you to a clinical psychologist with experience in complicated or prolonged grief.
If you’d like to book a grief therapy experience, you can do this here.

The role of counselling psychology in healing grief

It’s important to understand that many people who are bereaved will heal on their own without the intervention of medical measures or even counselling psychology. Grief is a normal phenomenon as a response to loss. When the loss is of a loved one, we call this a bereavement. Under normal circumstances, the best course of action is a sympathetic ear and a hug, and this is enough for people to make their way through their grief and eventually come out of the other side and get on with their lives.

However, not everyone has someone close to who they feel comfortable confiding in. It may be that you don’t want to be a burden, or you’re simply alone after the loss of your loved one.

Bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling

This is where the bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling comes in. We offer that loving touch, a warm and cosy space in which you can relax and process your bereavement and grieve with the comfort of a trained therapist. It’s not counselling per-se, but you have the opportunity to open up and for the tenseness in your muscles to relax without the pressure of professional psychology counselling for your grief.

Look for the signs

There are two major circumstances where a program of professional medical treatment of grief and bereavement may be useful and it’s important to look out for these signs:

1. When the grief from the loss of a loved one triggers depression

One of the symptoms of grief is feeling sad for a period of time, but a serious clinical type of depression is very different. We all know that because the loss of a loved one is so severe this could trigger a major depressive episode which is more serious than simple grief which people get over with a little tender love and care.
There are lots of aspects to the vulnerability experienced through tragic loss but someone who has a past history of depression either themselves or as a family history may become more vulnerable. In the first instance, a quick doctors appointment may not be a bad idea.

When a grief triggers a depression, then this makes everything worse. The grief is more difficult to get through and has significant consequences on its own. One of the things to look out for is whether the bereavement has triggered a major depressive episodes. If this is the case, then this is when the grief should be treated through the normal way that doctors would treat any other depressive episode, such as with drugs and so forth.

2. The pain of the bereavement just doesn’t heal on its own.

Most of the time supportive loved ones and time is all it takes for someone’s grief to heal. But for 5% to 10% of individuals time doesn’t help and healing doesn’t occur. Intense prolonged non-healing that lasts for more than 6 months is then likely to continue for years. At this point, deep grief will take a stranglehold on the individual and will interfere with their overall health and wellbeing as well as daily functioning. At this point, the bereavement increases the risk of a number of illnesses and psychological treatment from an accredited psychologist who has a practice speciality in bereavement can make a major major difference. Traditional medication may also help.

Daily symptoms of grief

When someone is still suffering from the daily symptoms of grief on a daily basis they will show certain behaviour. For example, they may have a preoccupation with the person who died on a daily basis. Or they may display acute pain or non-acceptance of the death, for longer than 6 months post the person dying. This is called complicated grief. This is a complication and extenuation of grief. In this instance grief treatment from psychologists who understand the mental effects of grief is necessary. And can be life saving. This specialist treatment from counsellors can help bring someone back from their bereavement. This will assist them in progressing forward having gained the support they need for healing to occur.

Research

In one study of complicated grief, a specific form of psychotherapy can be curative. Some medication can help and may help in combination with the counselling and psychotherapy. There is work ongoing at the moment to look at the specific combinations of medication and psychotherapy.

If you would like to know more about these studies and how medical research into counselling psychology is supporting them, please feel free to watch this video.

To find out more about the bereavement therapies offered at Essential Feeling, you can check out the pages here.

 

Effects of stress on health

Imagine sitting in traffic and you’re late for an important meeting, or for picking the kids up from school. How stressed does that make you feel? These are the effects of stress on health.

The fact that it makes you feel anything means that stress has an emotional effect on your health. Anything which affects our body, either positively or negatively and whether that be mental or physical, has a serious longer term impact on our health.

So, by default, the way you react is the short term impact of stress on your health.

 

Symptoms of stress

Subtle changes over time

Underneath all that panic there’s a subtle change going on to how your body processes all this stressful information. Your physical body is adapting to your increased mental pressure and turning stress into a more negative, chronic problem. You’re sweating to cool down on the off chance you may need to run, because back in the old caveman days, when we’re under stress we needed to run. Our bodies haven’t got over that yet, and so that’s also why our heart rate increases because we may need the extra blood and oxygen to make that run for it.

So, this is the long term affect the stress of repeatedly being stuck in a traffic jam can have. Day after day that sustained peaks in stress takes its toll on our heart and our health, because our system is overworking meaning it doesn’t now have enough energy left to keep us properly healthy.

Big changes and by then it’s often too late

Compound that little health issue with additional mental stresses that we all take for granted as being part of a busy life (picking up the kids, preparing food, holding down a job etc), and you’re now starting to see how easily stress can built up and the impact it very quickly takes on our health.

By utilising our energy to deal with stress, we’re taking from the available resource that we would use to function normally. This is when our body then starts to not have enough resource left to fix itself properly. So, we might get headaches from tension, our fight or flight response doesn’t know when to shut off so we don’t sleep at night and often times we are depressed.

Compound effects of stress

And so the story continues to compound as our body is now not only dealing with stress and a base level of anxiety, but also the triggers.

We’re busy so we forget to drink enough. And because our body needs water to filter out toxins, the situation worsens further. The whole thing turns into a self fulfilling prophecy.

Fertility and stress

Infertility and hormones reflexology and massage

The first physical thing to suffer usually is our fertility because this isn’t critical to keeping us alive. So, our sex drive will drop, we’ll miss periods and men will suffer symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Over time, the problems of stress on health are unimaginable as cells don’t have the resource or the necessary sleep time to reproduce effectively. Malformed cell over the longer term become disease.

Our clients scoff at us when we tell them that stress is the root of all evil, and while that may be a tad on the dramatic side, hopefully you can now see how there are valid points to be made about reducing the impact stress has on our health. And if we can’t, then at least managing the effects it has on our body.

Reflexology is a great way to improve our immune system and reduce the way our mind overworks, thus reducing stress levels. A bit of self care goes a long way when we’re trying to combat the way stressors which make us jump to conclusions about events that are not actually as harmful as we perceive. Within a few reflexology sessions you’ll be able to see life from a more understanding perspective. Once you do this, stress disorders that you’ve been living with usually start to clear up on their own as your fight or flight reactions dull in line with the more relaxed approach you’ve now adopted to life.

You can find out more about reflexology and how it can improve your health, here.

How to increase the odds of getting pregnant

Want to know how to increase the odds of getting pregnant? I watch women every day of the week who are spending thousands, literally thousands of pounds at a time on IVF and other similar treatments to improve their fertility and thus chances of a successful conception.

And I’ve helped these ladies. Not just with their body, because although physical balance and a healthy lifestyle is important when you’re looking to increase your odds of getting pregnant, our wellbeing is made up of our mind and our body. We are physical and emotional beings. In the quest to improve our likelihood of getting pregnant, many women throw money at the problem and forget that they are human. And this affects our chances of getting and staying pregnant.
When I first started helping ladies to get pregnant, I would repeatedly ask myself “What’s the difference?” between those who are successful with their fertility and IVF journey and those who hinder their own chance of becoming pregnant.

The answer is the same every time.
Our mentality.

Mother to be pamper package

So, here’s how to increase the odds of getting pregnant.

We have nurtured the mentality of those who cannot enjoy pregnancy in order to move forward with a unique approach. We have consciously abandoned the statistics, the odds and the past so that we can have the present and the future we want.

I work with the ladies who are 42 years old and can’t find a scrap of miracle “evidence”. And we work to create that feeling of positive optimism. That anything is possible if we at least have some tools. Our body is wonderful at listening and providing what we want, we’ve all heard about the people who beat the odds with strength of character alone when they’re diagnosed with terminal illnesses. They’re not willing to give up. So why should we? But we need to do it in the right way. And this is the key that will unlock your door to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

It is important that we are all willing to accept our situation now. This is the starting point, the place where we take stock and accept where we are moving forward from as we move towards the iron will of someone who wants to increase the likelihood and chances of conceiving.

But, we can not strangle our body’s free will with the force of our need to improve our odds of conception. This is a finely balanced wheel we are turning and our journey is slow and methodical. Well, it appears it we can work together for a year before we see our odds of conceiving improve. But, when we get there, we arrive at our destination a changed person. The lessons we learn on this journey to increase the odds of getting pregnant will help us for the rest of our lives.

By releasing unwavering confidence, certainty and undisguised joy in our lives, we find our missing link.

You do not have to be perfect in almost constant happiness within your home life. You just need to be on board and work with me.
It simply boils down to your answer to this question:
Will you live on the odds or challenge them?

Take a second to think about this.
Will the “traditional wisdom” trap you and others (including so-called “experts”) think you might be on this journey?
What if rejection which is limited to probabilities gives you the freedom to own what you want?

If you want to succeed on this journey to improve your chance of getting pregnant, you must have their mentality.
My ladies don’t know what’s strange. They understand how your mentality increases the chances of pregnancy. They refuse to let past or present circumstances determine their future, and therefore:
* They become mothers — decide you’ll be one of them.
* Change your mentality, change your results.
Are you interested? Here’s an exercise to take this to the next level…

Will you live with the odds being stacked against you, or will you disobey them?
On this trip, you can easily say the right words, batten down the hatches with that steely determination. But to really fly free of negative odds, you must believe in your heart. It’s not enough to tell yourself. And this is where I can help. If you are prepared to believe that you can improve your odds with a full heart, I will get you to a state where you ignore the odds. Because there is always an exception.

When was the last time you decided from your heart, not some calculations that made you feel the illusion of control?

I’ll work with you using reflexology for fertility to balance your body. At the same time your mind will calm. We will use a variety of techniques to help your mental clarity relax and therefore over a sustained period improve your chances of conception. And you know what, you’ll probably never use an ovulation stick again. The day of ovulation is important still, but you’ll learn with me that it’s not the most important thing. Your likelihood of becoming pregnant will improve as you learn ways to increase your fertility by ignoring it.

How many times have you been told, ‘relax, it will happen’? I’ll get you there with easy steps to boost your fertility. We’re not going to run around every health food shop in the town trying to get weird roots that boost your chances of conceiving. We’re going to give you things you can do to increase your conception chances that are fun. That will bring joy into your lives. As a couple. And all the while, I’ll be working your feet with reflexology techniques that have been shown to increase your physical fertility and therefore may boost your odds when trying to conceive.

Guarantees

I won’t guarantee that you’ll be pregnant within a certain period. But, what I will do is give you everything I know. I will work with you and your personal fertility journey and if you commit to come and see me regularly within a year, we’ll have figured out the best way to increase the odds of pregnancy and you’ll be able to get pregnant faster.

I get asked if it has to take a year. Not at all. I’m just trying to set realistic expectations. There’s no point embarking on this journey and then losing the momentous half way through. Be prepared for the long haul and then if your chances of becoming pregnant improve faster that’s great. I have had many women over the ten years that I have been doing this who get pregnant within a few short months. But, prepare for a longer time and you won’t be disappointed.

So, to increase your chances of conceiving and successfully carrying your child full term, drop me a text on 07757 946023 and let’s work out what’s the best course to improve your fertility and increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant.

Ovulation calculator

Your internal and free ovulation calculator

First, though, some background, what is conception?

Fertilisation happens when an egg from a female and the sperm from a male meet. This combined force is what produces an embryo.  Conception is when that embryo implants in the lining of your uterus. This is how couples can be fertile, having sex at the right time, but still struggling to conceive.

Ovulation calculator

Throughout the female menstrual cycle which lasts roughly a month. Day one is when you start your period with bright red bleeding. Everyone’s cycle is slightly different. This is because we have different hormones that release at different levels.

This provides unique chemical combinations in our body that stimulates different hormonal activities. Some women find it useful to keep a calendar tracking things such as temperature to see which week and day they are likely to ovulate. The problem with this is that this quickly adds to an obsession around periods and conceiving a baby.

This adds to stress which we’ll cover below.

At the point of ovulation, we are looking for a peak in LH (Lutenising hormone) and Oestrogen.  Just after this, progesterone rises.

Hormone cycle chart showing ovulation calculator, rise in oestrogen and progesterone

These hormones produce different effects in our body.  At Essential Feeling, we then work with you to make sure you have all of the tools to spot your bodies inbuilt ovulation calculator by reading the signs that your body gives you.

In fertility reflexology we talk about balancing hormones. This means we concentrate on balancing your body as much as possible so your hormones peak and trough as required to conception to take place.

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Determining the day of ovulation from your internal ovulation calculator

Watching out for secretions of mucus from your cervix can be the most accurate way of establishing your own ovulation calculator.  Once it is prevalent, it goes through a process that you should try and monitor.

1. Scant, sticky and pasty

2. White, sticky, gluey and elastic

3. Cloudy, stretchy, more abundant and also wetter

4. Clear, stretchy, profuse and slippery

cervical mucus discharge ovulation calculator

By tracking this (see videos below too), you’ll be able to make use of your own built in internal ovulation calculator which will give you the clearest sign of what is going on in your body.

The last stage, stage 4, when your mucus is clear, stretch, profuse and slippery is when you are ovulating.  If you’re not getting the above maybe you’re not ovulating.  If this is the case we have lots of experience of bringing about more regular ovulation with fertility reflexology.

However, remember, that you need to look out for all the stages in your ovulation calculator so you’re ready.  Sperm lasts for up to 7 days in your fallopian tube depending on it’s quality.  Therefore, you need to be building up sexual intercourse during the stages so that you have the maximum amount of living sperm ready to fertilise your egg.

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Book your session online now

Your natural ovulation calculator will tell you when it’s time to work on things.  You need not go mad, and particularly remember, there is no benefit to having sexual intercourse more than once a day as at this rate the sperm can’t reproduce enough.

Trust your natural ovulation calculator and you can take it easier, thus reducing stress and again aiding your chances of getting pregnant.

However, it’s important to note that an ovulation calculator is not the be all and end all.

NICE guidelines state the following and it’s worth bearing this in mind:

“People who are concerned about their fertility should be informed that sexual intercourse every 2 to 3 days optimises the chance of pregnancy.  Timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation causes stress and is not recommended”.

I’m using the ovulation calculator technique above and I’m still not getting pregnant?

This can happen for many reasons; the ovulation calculator is one tool amidst many things that need to coincide to make pregnancy happen.  The thing is though, without getting this bit right, it won’t happen and we can work on the rest with fertility reflexology for men and for women, nutrition advice, dealing with stress and many other lifestyle factors.

 

 

Getting pregnant

 When a man’s sperm meets the woman’s egg you’re in the process of getting pregnant.  However, this sperm has to actually fertilise the egg for a successful pregnancy which it does by breaking through the membrane of the egg.  To do this, the sperm and egg need to meet at the right time and the sperm needs to be of the right shape to get in through the wall of the female’s egg.  

Getting pregnant is not as easy as we’d like to think.  

This can be a complicated process based on so many lifestyle factors and whilst the figures say that 80% to 90% of people that are trying to get pregnant do so successfully within 1 year, this firstly is still a long time to wait and secondly, there’s still 10% minimum that are still trying to get pregnant after that first long year.

At Essential Feeling we’re specialists in the art of getting pregnant and we can help make this process as easy as possible for you.

What is the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle starts at day 1 on the first day of the ladies period.  Before her next period, she will usually ovulate although it lengthens the whole process of getting pregnant further when you learn that we don’t always ovulate every month.  However, assuming you are ovulating, you will do so roughly around day 12 to 14 based on your cycle being 28 days.  This is the basics of an ovulation calculator, read more here. However, we need to factor in the idiosyncrasies of your particular cycle if we’re going to be as accurate as possible.

This point of ovulation is where the ladies egg is released and therefore available for the male sperm to try and get inside and so this is why so many ladies become so obsessed with the menstrual cycle when they’re trying to get pregnant.  If the sperm and egg are not in the same place at the same time then there is no chance of getting pregnant.

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Woman hoping to improve natural fertility after checking pregnancy testWhy are hormones important when getting pregnant?

Hormones are the control centre for pretty much everything our bodies do including getting pregnant.  

So they will tell your body that you need to ovulate this month. They will tell the male sperm how it should grow and ensure it’s robust enough to reach the egg. And to stay alive for long enough to meet it.

Once there, the sperm needs to be the right shape to have the necessary equipment to break through its membrane.

Hormones are important when getting pregnant

Both male and female hormones

To do this, both male and female hormones need to be as balanced as possible. By balancing your hormones we ensure your body is operating to maximum effectiveness giving you the maximum chance of getting pregnant.

Tips for getting pregnant based on balancing hormones naturally

How to use your natural ovulation calculator

Progesterone hypersensitivity and what to do

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How can Essential Feeling help me with getting pregnant?

We work with specialist fertility reflexology techniques to make sure that your body and particularly your endocrine system (hormonal system) is working optimally.  We can combine that with fertility massage to make sure that any of the areas that may be physically causing problems with getting pregnant are given direct work to keep toxins out of the way and muscles and nerve messages free.

It is important for men to be balanced and in good shape as well.  Read information here on male infertility and how we can help.

Nutrition is important

We then combine this with our experience in nutrition as we’re qualified nutritionists.  Specific foods eaten at certain times of the month will help you with getting pregnant. And then keeping that pregnancy going forward.

We work with your lifestyle choices and advise on what changes you can make within what is possible for you.  This can be dramatic or small changes, we look to make the most effect without causing any stress.

Don’t underestimate stress

And finally on the note of stress, we massively help you with dealing with all stress, this can be general lifestyle related or very often the stress related to getting pregnant.  Trained in counselling we’ll make sure you have the skills you need to carry on a full life. Going through the often traumatic and secluded experience of getting pregnant doesn’t have to be isolating. Not with us.

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Tips for getting pregnant

Our clients often ask us for some tips for getting pregnant.  This is easy as there are so many.  TheFertility reflexology, Romford, Gidea Park, Essex problem is, choosing the right ones for you.  

As there are so many tips for getting pregnant, its nigh on impossible to live a stress free life if you’re implementing everything.  At Essential Feeling, we’ll combine giving you the best advice for your lifestyle with fertility reflexology and counselling and our experience shows not only success in getting pregnant, but also way more balanced and happy clients.

In the interim though, below are some tips for getting pregnant.  These tips for getting pregnant concentrate on balancing hormones which is important for both men and women.  

There are so many tips for getting pregnant linked to other parts of your health that we thought rather than overload you this hormone based guide would be a good start.

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Tips for getting pregnant – food and drink

Minimise Caffeine – 2 cups per day and not within 4 hours of bedtime

Cut out all fat that has been engineered (Omega 6)

  e.g.  margarine

  Vegetable oil

  Soy bean oil (soy is generally poor for fertility)

Replace with non-modified fats (Omega 3)

  e.g. Coconut oil

  Olive oil (don’t cook at high heat with this)

  Fish preferably oily fish e.g. salmon

Avoid toxins

   e.g.  cooking food in microwave covered in film, instead, use oven and cover with foil or better still a lid

  Cook in glass or non-coated pans, no non stick/ Teflon.  Cast iron, e.g. Le Creuset can also be unhelpful

  Try to use organic foods where possible

  Drink filtered water and only use a plastic bottle a maximum of 3 times

Supplements – Maca boost hormone production and libido

Balance Liptins

 No simple starches, refined foods, sugards

  e.g.  white bread, rice, pasta etc, all the things we hear about regularly

Consume proteins and healthy fats 1st thing after walking e.g. smoked, salmon, avocado, eggs

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Tips for getting pregnant – General

Avoid toxins

e.g.  chemical pesticides/ cleaners

Improve air quality with plants

Drink filtered water

In bed by 10pm

Your body needs sleep to balance hormones.  Use guided meditation if struggling to sleep – YouTube has some good ones

Magnesium aids sleep, you can buy supplements

Light cardio exercise e.g. yoga in the evening.  Too much cardio can cause overproduction of some hormones, so stick to gentle cardio only for the purpose of getting pregnant.

Weights in short bursts are excellent

e.g. Kettlebells, Deadlifts, Squats and lunges

5 – 7 reps of a weight that really pushes you.  Watch your form, a personal training session just as a 1 off is invaluable to make sure you don’t cause yourself some damage by doing things in the wrong way.

Get outside during the day to improve your intake of Vitamin D from the sun.  20 mins is ideal.

Try to space meals 4 hours apart and 4 hours before bed to give your liver a break.  This includes calorific drinks, water and herbal teas are fine.

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We know there are a lot of tips for getting pregnant there and like we say that are just a taster for balancing hormones which is just one factor in getting pregnant.  

The trick with looking at tips for getting pregnant is to make sure that you work with the ones that are relevant to your situation and will fit in to your lifestyle with the minimum amount of stress.  It’s also about combining everything in to a lifestyle change, not a fad that creates stress.  

Where can I find more information?

Fertility reflexology

Fertility massage

IVF info

Getting pregnant

Ovulation calculator

Don’t feel overloaded by all of these tips for getting pregnant, we can help you massively in choosing how and which to implement based on your particular circumstances.

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Please note, the tips for getting pregnant that we have given above are as a guide only.  You must check with your doctor that any suggestions are right for you and your circumstances.

Reflexology for multiple sclerosis…

…and other long term conditions

When it comes to the support and management of patients with other long term conditions there have been studies on reflexology for MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Dementia.

The studies in Reflexology for MS[1] show reflexology resulted in an improvement of various symptoms of MS to a statistically significant level.

No improvement was seen in the control group.

Reflexology improves spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients

Extraordinarily, the statistical improvement in spasticity (which is the continual contraction of muscles causing stiffness) and the statistically borderline improvement in muscle strength together are remarkable, as the standard drug intervention for spasticity normally results in muscle weakness with its inherent problems. The treatment of was safe with no adverse effects noted. Several other studies have agreed the beneficial effect of reflexology in this group of patients.

Parkinson’s disease

In Parkinson’s disease, the results suggest that during the therapy stage the specific outcome measure indicated improvement across all dimensions with the exception of communication which stayed the same. This could suggest that although benefits were not sustained with cessation of treatment, extended (and perhaps more frequent) treatments might continue to benefit and improve the well-being of people with Parkinson’s disease[2]

Dementia

Dementia is a costly long term condition which requires specialist care. When mild to moderate dementia[3] patients received reflexology, as compared to a massage control, the residents demonstrated significant reduction in observed pain and salivary alpha-amylase.

In conclusion

This study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of reflexology as a treatment of stress in nursing home residents. There has even been a study of reflexology on anxiety and sedation needs of patients in the ICU and reflexology was shown to greatly reduce the physiological signs of anxiety even under medical sedation, which suggests its effect is more than placebo. [4]

Sources

[1] Reflexology treatment relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: a randomised controlled study MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS Siev-Ner I, Gamus D, Lerner Geva L, Achiron A.2003 VOL 9 PART 4 pages 356-361

[2] Can reflexology maintain or improve the well-being of people with Parkinson’s Disease? Johns C, Blake D, and Sinclair A Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.2010  VOL 16; NUMBER 2,  page(s) 96-100

[3] The clinical efficacy of reflexology in nursing home residents with dementia. Hodgson NA, Andersen S. Center  for Applied Research on Aging and Health, Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA. nancy.hodgson@jefferson.edu

[4] Reflexology: its effects on physiological anxiety signs and sedation needs. Akin Korhan E, Khorshid L, Uyar M. Holist Nurs Pract. 2014 Jan-Feb;28(1):6-23.

Reflexology for cancer patients — evidence based research

Reflexology for Cancer Patients

In the field of Reflexology for cancer patients and cancer care,  in 2009 62% of cancer units in the UK provided reflexology and it was second only to counselling[1]. This vulnerable and very unwell group have nothing but good things to say about reflexology massage cancer care, with the only complaint being lack of availability of appointments:

‘The improvement in my lower back pain has been staggering’

‘My sleep has improved and I feel relaxed and content’

‘I found having treatments helped me focus and be more positive and able to deal with incidents that made me feel fragile.’[2]

When Reflexology for cancer patients was evaluated in a busy London hospital there was a 28% change in perceived well-being. [3]

‘Patients appear to perceive complementary therapies as enhancing compassionate care and providing comfort during an extremely difficult clinical experience.’

Even in a palliative care setting all participants in the Reflexology for cancer patients felt their quality of life had improved and words such as relaxed and comforted were used while symptoms were reduced.  [4]

When considering mental health, a study of reflexology on the psychological effect of having breast cancer[5] resulted in a statistical improvement in quality of life even at one month after the completion of the intervention. This difference was to a level that was calculated as being clinically worthwhile. While a small cross over trial (the patients were their own control) from America in lung and breast cancer patients showed that both groups of patients in the Reflexology for cancer patients study had a significant decrease in anxiety after reflexology.[6]

Read more about Reflexology for Cancer Patients at Essential Feeling.

Sources on Reflexology for cancer patients

[1] Availability of complementary and alternative medicine for people with cancer in the British National Health Service: results of a national survey. Egan B1, Gage H, Hood J, Poole K, McDowell C, Maguire G, Storey L. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 May;18(2):75-80

[2] Is reflexology as effective as aromatherapy massage for symptom relief in an adult outpatient oncology population? Dyer J, Thomas K, Sandsund C, Shaw C. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;19(3):139-46

[3] Effects of complementary therapies in cancer care. Briscoe J, Browne N (2013) Nursing Times; 109: 41, 18-20.

[4] Does reflexology impact on cancer patients’ quality of life? Hodgson H. Nurs Stand. 2000 Apr 19-25;14(31):33-8.

[5]A randomised, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer. Sharp DM1, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jan;46(2):312-22.

[6] The Effects of Foot Reflexology on Anxiety and Pain in Patients With Breast and Lung Cancer ONCOLOGY NURSING FORUM Stephenson, N. L. Weinrich, S. P. Tavakolil, A. S. 2000 VOL 27; PART 1 , page(s)  67-76

Read also about how garlic benefits can help you with cancer.

Reflexology science based medicine

Reflexology Science Based Medicine (EBM)

Whenever reflexology is mentioned within a clinical setting the question that always arises is where’s the evidence? If only large randomised trials are used to make science based medicine decisions then it is absolutely accepted that reflexology does not have that level of evidence. But the original Sackett definition of evidence based medicine (EBM) is:

‘the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.’ [1]

This definition actually does not define EBM as only requiring  large Randomised Controlled Trials but more that the best research available together with a clinical decision should be brought into the decision making process for individual patient care. The clinical expertise originates with the health professionals involved but the patient also brings with them personal preferences and expectations that are involved in the decision-making process. It further goes on to say, that the evidence by itself, does not make the decision, but it can help support the patient care process.

The full integration of these three components into clinical decisions enhances the opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes and quality of life. EBM actually melds very well with the NHS England ‘Putting patients first’ policy, that not only should the best decision be made for that individual patient but that they themselves should be involved in the making of that decision.

With this in mind, while the best evidence about Reflexology science based medicine is not a large and comprehensive collection of research studies, neither is reflexology solely specific to one medical condition.

The very nature of reflexology as a complementary therapy means it is not condition limited,  it can be used across many areas where patients are feeling stressed, anxious or in pain and/ or need a boost to their quality of life and wellbeing. This lack of specificity does not bode well for research meta-analyses, and when meta-analysis for complementary therapies is undertaken it usually results in a negative outcome. This does not necessarily mean that reflexology has no worth but rather that its action is too heterogeneous to be successfully analysed using this system.[2]

If, however, the existing best evidence;  that of the separate research studies are taken into account,  then it can be seen that there is potential in this low cost, supportive therapy. Potential that could help care for patients in a way that perhaps is missing from the present-day NHS.

 

[1] Science-based medicine David L. Sackett Seminars in Perinatology Volume 21, Issue 1, February 1997, Pages 3-5

 

[2] Meta-analysis: Its strengths and limitations Esteban Walker, Adrian V. Hernandez, Micheal W. Kattan Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2008 June;75(6):431-439

Long term conditions

Conditions, especially long term ones, can be a complex vortex of illness, pain, anxiety, depression, emotions and needs.[1] Standard medical care does not cope well with complexity as it rather follows straight paths as compared to swirling spirals. There is evidence that people with long term conditions receive poorer quality of care than those with a single condition.[2]

 

[1]http://www.nhsconfed.org/~/media/Confederation/Files/Publications/Documents/Investing%20in%20emotional%20and%20psychological%20wellbeing%20for%20patients%20with%20long-Term%20condtions%2016%20April%20final%20for%20website.PDF

[2] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/mental-health-and-long-term-conditions-cost-co-morbidity

Reflexology — how it works

How reflexology works
How reflexology works

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary health therapy that can be effective in promoting deep relaxation and wellbeing; by reducing stress in people’s lives can be key in optimising good health and building resilience. It is a touch therapy that is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body and reflexologists work these points and areas. At Essential Feeling, Karen specialises in foot reflexology, but also sometimes works on hands instead of or as well as your feet. This is because some conditions are better treated by using different methods.

However reflexology is viewed, there can be no doubt that what it does provide is a period of time for relaxation where the client has one to one attention and supportive touch in an empathetic listening environment. Reflexology can be used safely alongside standard healthcare to promote better health for their clients.

To get a better idea what reflexology looks like, feel free to watch our video.

What’s the main theory behind reflexology?Reflexology how it works

The theory of reflexology is that all the systems and organs of the whole body are mirrored or reflected in smaller peripheral areas, for example the feet, hands, ears and face. These can be seen in relation to the feet by following the link to our interactive reflexology map (right).

Back in the 1920’s investigative studies regarding this concept allowed the first Western reflexology foot map to be produced. Since that time the other anatomical areas have been mapped allowing this model to be applied to the hands, ears and face.

The reflexologist simply works those reflected areas with their sensitive fingers, aiming to bring those areas back to balance and therefore aiding the body to work as well as it can. Reflexology very much works on an individual basis, the reflexologist provides professional facilitation of your body’s own potential for well-being.

While there are few available scientific studies specifically into how reflexology works, there are scientific studies that support the potential positive effects that can be achieved by touch. Essentially, according to the advertising standards council, as a reflexologist, we can only claim the directly proven effects of reflexology. These being listed in the image below.

Benefits reflexology

So how can you claim reflexology helps with all the other health issues?

Because firstly, we’ve worked with clients who we know this has helped, so that’s our personal experience. But, here’s the underlying issues that the ASA can’t support for legal reasons.

When our body undergoes changes, then the knock on effects are massive.

Take the example above of ‘aids sleep.’ This has huge knock on benefits because our body uses the downtime when we’re napping to fix itself. So, all of the stresses and strains of the day that cause a negative imbalance on our system are cleansed while our body has extra energy from not having to move us around.

This benefit is massive. If we’re starting the next day with a ‘fitter’ body then the negative effects of everything else that we load onto our system are so much less impactful.

A brief history of Western reflexology

Whilst the art of reflexology dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, this therapy was not introduced to the West until Dr William Fitzgerald developed ‘Zone therapy’ in the early 1900s. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.

In the 1930’s, Eunice Ingham further developed this zone therapy into what is known as reflexology. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body.

 

Is reflexology suitable for me?

Reflexology is a therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from newborn babies to those receiving end of life care, and everyone in between. However, there may occasionally be times when it is not suitable to provide a treatment. If you’re in any doubt, give Karen a call or text on 07757 946023 and ask! Please note: reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.

Will reflexology help me?

Well trained reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe. Reflexology is a very individual treatment which is tailored to you as a whole person, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting your wellbeing. Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!

The theory is that reflexology helps the body to restore its balance naturally. Usually, after a treatment your tension may be reduced and you might feel relaxed. You might also notice yourself sleeping better and find your mood and sense of wellbeing improving. You may also find that other aspects improve too; however, this happens on an individual basis.

There have been some positive research projects carried out with reflexology; however, as yet, there is not a large enough body of evidence for us to make clinical claims of effectiveness.

With ever increasing levels of stress in everyday life, it is important for people to take more responsibility for their own healthcare needs. Reflexology may be one of the ways to mitigate the stresses of modern life.

 

What happens when I go for a treatment?

A full medical history will be requested on your first treatment, and you will be asked to sign a consent form for treatment. This information will be kept confidential. Reflexology is a very easy therapy to receive; depending on the type of reflexology, the most clothing that will have to be removed for a treatment to take place will be your socks and shoes.

The therapist will then use their hands to apply pressure to the feet, lower leg, hands, ears or face, depending on the type of reflexology chosen. You may feel areas of transient discomfort during the treatment, but generally the experience should be relaxing.

The therapist may recommend a course of treatments.

 

How will I feel after a reflexology treatment?

It is useful to give feedback to the reflexologist as this may show the response of your body to treatment. This in turn might help the reflexologist to tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. After one or two treatments your body may respond in a very noticeable way. Most people note a sense of well-being and relaxation; however, sometimes people report feeling lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is usually transitory and reflexologists believe that it is part of the healing process.

We hope that helps to answer the questions about reflexology and how it works. If you’re interested in booking a session, we’re in Gidea Pak, Romford, Essex. You can text Karen MAR on 07757 946023 or book online.

Reflexology aids cancer patients

Living with cancer can be tough. Particularly when you’re suffering with peripheral neurpathy. Reflexology in the management of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy: A pilot randomized controlled trial Author links open overlay panel Seda Kurta Gul Beyaz Canb

Highlights

• Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can limit a patient’s quality of life functions.

• Reflexology increases the level of the quality of life functions related to CIPN.

• Reflexology can be recommended to the patients.

Abstract Purpose

The current experimental study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of reflexology on the management of symptoms and functions of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in cancer patients.

Method

This study was conducted as a randomized controlled trial in 60 patients (30 experimental and 30 control patients) who had chemotherapy-induced Grade II-IV peripheral neuropathy complaints from July 2013 to November 2015. Data were collected using the patient identification form, European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (EORTC-CIPN-20) form, and BPI (used for related chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms).

Results

The majority of the patients were being treated for gastrointestinal or breast cancer and were primarily receiving Eloxatine- or taxane-based treatment. It was found that reflexology applications did not lead to differences in either group in terms of peripheral neuropathy severity and incidence (p > 0.05) and only led to improvement in sensory functions in the experimental group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

It was determined that reflexology is an effective method in the management of patients’ sensory functions related to CIPN.

Elsevier European Journal of Oncology Nursing Volume 32, February 2018, Pages 12-19 European Journal of Oncology Nursing

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Interested how to help cancer? Read about garlic benefits.

Reflexology helps fertility

Background to this fertility research study

The client in this fertility research was 26 years old, had 2 children & wanted another baby.  She was slightly underweight had little energy, did not drink alcohol & was trying to stop smoking.

The client presented with a menstrual cycle of 19 days, having not ovulated for 4 months.  She was anaemic due to menorrhagia & dysmenorrhoea, a severe 8 day bleed with constant severe cramping pain.  Her menstrual cycle until 4 months previously was 24 days with a 6 day normal bleed.

Medical investigations had found nothing physically wrong and she had been offered a hysterectomy if things did not improve.  She was taking Agnes Castes on days 1 – 14 as she’d been told this may help.

A course of reflexology was agreed for this fertility research study; one reflexology session per week over two menstrual cycles followed by 2 reflexology sessions per month.  This was intended to lengthen the client’s menstrual cycle to encourage ovulation with a view to becoming pregnant.

The reflexology treatment protocol used in this fertility research

By her 3rd week of reflexology treatment, the client had started her period; however, she had no severe stomach cramps.

By reflexology session 4 the client had decided to stop taking Agnes Castes to see what effect it will have.

During her next period which started on day 26, it lasted for 6 days, it was less heavy & she only had stomach cramps on day one.  Although still feeling tired, the client was now no longer anaemic.

On reflexology session 10 the client had her next period, this started on day 27, lasted for 6 days with no pain; normal flow for the first 3 days & then very light.

In her next reflexology session, 12 weeks in to her treatment she detected ovulation on day 13. She had done 2 positive pregnancy tests, had fatigue and felt a ‘cramping’ in her belly – a sensation experienced with her last pregnancy.  She had morning sickness, aching breasts, lack of appetite & was eating fish, something she usually hates.

Outcome of the fertility research study

This fertility research study proved that after reflexology session 12 the client felt she had successfully reached her goal of pregnancy. She carried full term & gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Fertility research paper written by Christine Richards in June 2010 edition of Association of Reflexologists magazine Understanding why reflexology may help you get pregnant.

Causes of imbalances in your body

There are a number of typical problems which can cause imbalances in the body.  These imbalances can then disrupt fertility.  Before we discuss how reflexology can help fertility, it is important to understand some of the more common problems:

*Stress related problems such as excessive worrying, or pressure at home or work.  This doesn’t necessarily have to mean you are worrying about getting pregnant as any stress can severely disrupt your body’s ability to function properly.  This can be just as important for men as well as women who are trying to conceive.

*PMS (pre menstrual syndrome) in a similar way to stress negatively affecting the body’s ability to operate from a balanced base, symptoms of PMS including being over tense, mood swings and various physical symptoms can really have an effect on your fertility levels.

*Problems with your menstrual cycle such as irregular or heavy periods or simply not ovulating make it very difficult for your body to be able to function as intended as it is dealing with more than it is often able at the sensitive time of trying to conceive.

*Adhesions (scar tissue) such as following surgery or combined with menstrual problems.

*Hormonal imbalances of oestrogen/progesterone will mean that the wall of your uterus is not building up as your body anticipates and therefore not providing the correct bedding for your egg.

*Poly cystic ovaries is a complex condition by which small cysts form on the ovaries form due to a hormone imbalance.

*Cervical problems a hormone imbalance may cause a thick cervical mucus that blocks your partners sperm as they travel along your reproductive tract.

*Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes tubes which have narrowed or are blocked as a result of scarring from infection, endometriosis, or an ectopic pregnancy may sometimes prevent fertilisation in the uterus.

*Endometriosis whereby sections of your uterine lining move through your fallopian tubes to other parts of your pelvic cavity. These fragments can bleed and cause pain during menstruation.

*Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive tract. e.g. cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries can all become inflamed.

The role of reflexology

Reflexology is very successful at relaxing the body and allowing it to re-balance by removing blockages that create a barrier to the successful elimination of toxins.  In so doing, your body may then be enabled in operating at ‘full throttle’.  The need for your body to spend its time, effort and energy working around problems such as those above may be removed through regular and sustained reflexology treatments.  This then allows your body to get on with what it hasn’t had the capacity to do before.

Does this work for men as well as women?

Yes.  The fundamental problems associated with the body being imbalanced are the same for men as they are for women.  It is these imbalances that somewhere along the line create difficulties in conceiving and reflexology is therefore just as effective on a male as it is on a female.  

Contact us now 07757 946023

Best reflexology near me

If you’re looking for the best reflexology near me and you’re based in Essex then you should consider Karen Botha, a highly rated reflexologist who runs the Essential Feeling studio in Gidea Park, near Romford with her husband who is a massage therapist.

The husband and wife holistic therapy team enjoy a great track record with both massage and reflexology services sporting fabulous online reviews. Karen is a member of the Association of Reflexologists and has been practising professionally since 2011.

Best reflexology near me

Unlike many reflexologists in the area, Karen is a full time reflexologist and so not only does she have the qualifications and years of experience, but she also has seen a lot of clients over those years which has given her a wealth of therapy and wellness experience which have compounded her learning.

Experience and intuition as well as training

There is no acupressure point on the foot that Karen does not understand and know how to use to treat various conditions and diseases with reflexology. She is qualified in anatomy and physiology and understands how the different reflex points on your feet (which are used in the ancient art of reflexology) fit with conditions of the human body and then how to use these to deal with any number of varied illnesses and diseases.

Wide range of appointment slots

Karen is available for appointments 7 days a week and as long as you book in advance, her first appointment is at 7am in the morning meaning that you can come Massage and reflexology open 7 daysbefore work.

If you prefer to relax in the evenings then that’s fine too because her last appointment is 9pm for a 10pm finish giving you plenty of slots within which to visit.

Last minute appointments available

What’s more, unlike many people who offer reflexology in and near Romford, Karen is happy to take last minute appointments — before becoming a reflexologist, Karen used to work in the city, so she understands the demands that a busy schedule can place on booking therapies.

Specialisms

Karen specialises in a number of wellness issues linked the human body. She works to heal these through using pressure points on your feet. The types of issues she commonly deals with range from fertility (and pregnancy), depression and anxiety ranging up to issues such as insomnia. There is one common factor at the root of all theses issues, stress. Something which is pretty impossible to separate from our busy working lives nowadays.

What is reflexology helpful for?

Reflexology is also great for reducing inflammation. Some of the treatments e.g. fertility work alongside this benefit. So, if for instance you’re suffering with endometriosis, then acupressure points will help to relieve the pain of this. But, it’s also great if you have other health complaints which are causing you deep rooted pain. For instance, if you’re suffering with chronic back ache then reflexology is truly amazing at helping, often where traditional medicine isn’t.

All this just from the sole of your foot!

Reflexology romford essex

Counselling thrown in. If you want it!

Karen works with fertility/ infertility which in turn leads to her working with a lot of clients suffering with signs of stress/ depression. This led her to go and qualify in counselling, and so today she is also a certified counsellor.

This doesn’t mean that you need to worry about opening up if you’re not feeling it. Karen firmly believes that the hour you set aside for your reflexology is yours to do with as you choose. If you want to use that hour purely for relaxation, that’s totally fine.

Private outlet

If you decide that as part of your reflexology session you’d like a private outlet. A place where you can vent your hurt and frustrations without the risk of causing shock or offence. Karen is there for you. She’ll listen with a sympathetic ear and then help you find a way to make yourself feel better. She’s all about self healing and taking back control. Sometimes it’s easier for an outsider, removed from our personal situation, to spot a simple solution. Internally we are often drowning in confusion.

Looking forward to hearing from you

In terms of visiting Karen, you’ll find she has the best online reviews which you can check on Google and Facebook and then if you’d like to make an appointment to start your healing process while taking the opportunity to relax, please text her on 07757 946023 detailing the following:
Your name
When you’d like to book (date and time ideally)
The reason you want to book reflexology
She’ll then check her calendar and come back to you with her closest available slot.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to make your booking online, then you can do so here.