5 crazy amazing years!

The Little Escape is going to be 5 years old very soon (March 24th 2017!).


too soon before launch day! not so cozy! 

This time 5 years ago I was probably as stressed as I’ve ever been; the launch date drew near and the flooring was not down, the gas was not connected, the walls were not painted, the booking system was not ready, the phone company let me down…


It is strange and amazing to reflect on the roller coaster ride since its inception, and actually, I can now acknowledge that I’m really proud of what we as a team have created! I had the opportunity to start something, and my concept was a centre which had sustainable health at its heart, and which benefited everyone involved. I genuinely think that we have succeeded in accomplishing this- with a huge learning curve, and plenty more work ahead, but the core is there to be built upon!

We have stayed open without compromising our values, and supported staff, practitioners and clients. We are a not-for-profit company and we have always strived to keep costs down for practitioners so that they can make a sustainable living from doing what they love (and are gifted at!) while keeping the space safe and beautiful and calm.

We have taken over 20,000 bookings for over 3,500 clients, who have benefited from high quality treatments, in a supportive and sensitive environment. I am so proud to be part of a team of practitioners who are all super skilled and down to earth- and who I’m genuinely happy to be treated by and to refer people to.

Meanwhile we strive to ensure our business is ethical and sustainable- as holistic thinking does not end with health (though I might argue it begins there…!?) or with treatments, and I believe that our mental and physical health is inextricably intertwined with the health of our environment and society. So, as a business, we make sure that our energy supply is renewable, we recycle our rainwater, we use organic and peat-free compost and fertiliser for our houseplants and little herb garden, use ethical and environmentally aware brands for our soaps, detergents and cleaning products, we recycle and reduce waste wherever possible, use ethical banking, and we support other local independent businesses wherever we can.

I consider myself a practitioner first and foremost, and as a practitioner I have been so grateful to be able to work in what is essentially an ideal treatment environIMG_4903ment – I love that my patients enjoy coming here and appreciate the atmosphere and that they can relax even before treatment has begun, and I love that we have good daylight and natural wood and that there are good comfortable treatment couches so that my back doesn’t ache after a full day of treatments.
I love that the trusted reception team take care of my patients too, and that bookings are easy and efficient. And I love my amazing rewarding job.

I do not see myself as a business person or an entrepreneur; in fact I am rubbish at the business and admin side of things! So we would be nowhere without the awesome Eve and Fiona, who have been front of house almost since the beginning -I can’t even explain how grateful I am for their loyalty and understanding and their work keeping the clinic running day to day! And endless gratitude to all the rest of the excellent amazing team !

So pleased to have been able to allow Fiona to finish her Nutrition course and to support her to become a practitioner now that she is qualified!

So proud to be supporting and inspiring Eve through her Social Enterprise Masters- and so excited to be able to benefit from all that she is learning so that we can work together to ensure that the little escape continues to grow as an ethical social enterprisewatch this space!

So- THANKS to all who have visited and enjoyed our little escape, THANKS to all who work and have worked here, THANKS to all who have helped us get this far…

And here’s to a happy, healthy, sustainable future for us all!

Lilja xx



Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system, which has many and varying causes and symptoms. Its symptoms can involve any of the following: Diarrhoea, constipation, gas/flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, haemorrhoids  intestinal cramping/spasming, indigestion. These symptoms can come in any number or combination, and each sufferer is affected differently. IBS is unpredictable in nature – it can go for long periods of time and then suddenly flair up for no obvious reason. It can be painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing, and have a very negative effect on your quality of life. According to the NHS, 3 out of 4 IBS sufferers have had a least one bout of depression, and just over half will develop generalized anxiety disorder (overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear and dread).

There is no medically agreed cure for IBS – a condition with such varied causes and symptoms can be hard to pin down, and a general cure is therefore difficult to find. This is where holistic and alternative therapy can help, because at the heart of all holistic therapies lies the principle of looking in depth at the individual – their lifestyle, diet, emotions and feelings, energy levels, psychological state and so forth; it acknowledges everybody’s individuality and therefore has space to treat very specifically to the person. Treatment plans are tailored and unique to the individual, and can be very effective by taking into account the body as a whole, looking at not only the physical symptoms but how these can manifest and be influenced by psychological, mental and emotional factors.

There are a number of ways in which IBS can be treated, if we look at the factors that affect it – such as stress and food. Nutritional Therapy can offer help in formulating a dietary plan that avoids foods that trigger or exacerbate the symptoms. Again, different foods have different effects on (different) people, and a consultation can determine the types to avoid.


One of the most commonly   agreed causes (or it can most certainly exacerbate symptoms) is stress and worry. It becomes a dangerous spiral of anxiety, as the symptoms and inability to control your digestive system and bowel movements in public can cause embarrassment and panic, which then in turn amplify the symptoms.

Relaxation can help ease symptoms and allow you to deal with the effects in a calmer and healthier way – it can help turn off the distress and upset. Yoga and Meditation can be very effective in this way; guided meditation for a beginner unused to the techniques can allow the effects to carry on into everyday life and practice. Hypnotherapy is another common therapy to help treat IBS – working at breaking patterns within the mind that cause stress and anxiety can have a knock-on effect on the body’s way of responding to these negative feelings.

Another popular form of treatment for IBS is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help in a number of ways, by treating different aspects of the syndrome. It provides pain relief, helps calm and reduce stress, and can help control the bowel’s tendency to move uncontrollably of its own accord. The British Acupuncture Council website explains how acupuncture can help and the treatment in more detail, though of course individual treatments will vary.

If you suffer from IBS and are looking for some holistic help but aren’t sure which of these therapies will be right for you – we offer free 15 minute consultations for all of our treatments. There is often a bit of cross-over between treatments and we will try to help you find the one that suits you best! Contact us for more information 🙂


Treating Migraines Holistically

Migraines are the most common neurological condition affecting 1 in 7 people – two thirds of which are women but it can occur at any age and to any part of the population. The causes of migraines are not as yet fully understood, as no diagnostic test exists to study it. It is generally believed, however, that they are caused by changing chemicals in the brain – namely Serotonin (known as the happy chemical), levels of which greatly decrease during a migraine. As serotonin goes down, the blood vessels suddenly contract and become narrower which causes aura (this is the name given to the range of ‘warning signs’ that some people can get before an onset) and then widen, causing the headache.


Another cause is believed to be fluctuating levels of hormones – Migraines seem to occur frequently in women around the time of their period, just before the start of which levels of estrogen fall. Not all women are affected by this, however, and some of those who are suffer solely from menstrual migraines, whereas others can get them at other times also.

There are a number of things that can trigger this condition, however, such as emotional; environmental; dietary; and physical factors. There are a whole range of different Alternative and Complementary therapies that can be taken to help treat and ease the symptoms of Migraines, and as each patient is different, and some migraines have different causes, certain treatments may be more or less suitable and effective. The best way to do this, then, in order to understand how Migraines can be treated is by listing the different triggers and their own suitable holistic therapies and methods.

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Acne – Holistic Treaments

An article came out on the BBC this week (and a subsequent documentary) about the overuse and damaging side-effects of drugs prescribed to treat Acne, in particular ‘Roaccutane’. It is a heavy and commonly prescribed acne treatment and has raised a lot of debate based on claims of depression and suicidal desires that it evokes in a number of patients.

Skin problems can be psychologically very difficult to deal with, especially blemishes of the face, and Acne often occurs in teenagers and young people. Stress and worry can exacerbate if not outright cause symptoms, and at a socially difficult age this common affliction can take a big emotional toll and be very hard to live with. Stress, worry, embarrassment: all these negative emotions can have varying effects on the body, and all-round health and well-being are affected.

So what alternative treatments can be sought for Acne? There are a number of options within the Alternative and Complementary Therapy world, namely Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Therapy and Aromatherapy. Other alternatives could include talking therapies such as Psychotherapy, NLP and Hypnotherapy. These can help resolve and understand the emotional effects and reduce stress, which could in some cases ease symptoms, or at least make the condition easier to deal with.

Our Herbal Therapist, Marion, kindly supplied me with some advice and tips on the Herbal treatment of Acne:

Acne is treated internally as well as externally. Several factors predispose a person to acne and they include genetic disposition, nutrition, hormonal changes and skin flora. At the core of the herbal treatment of acne is a group of herbs called ‘Alteratives’, which help the body’s detoxification and metabolic process to restore it back to normal function. The most commonly used herbs are Burdock, Cleavers and Nettle. All can be taken in tincture form but Cleavers and Nettle make a pleasant tea which has the additional effect of ‘flushing’ the system. Topically, an infusion of Marigold and Witch hazel makes an antimicrobial and soothing skin wash.

For treatment of more severe cases, other factors will have to be taken into consideration and it is advisable to see an herbal practitioner who will tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs.

For more information on the use of Acupuncture for treating Acne, this is a good website.


Tried and tested: My first Acupuncture session

Every job has its perks.  Mine here at The Little Escape happens to be receiving complementary therapies! It is important that the reception team know their therapies so when Lilja offered me the chance to try Acupuncture for the first time, I jumped at the chance and straight onto the treatment bed.

I didn’t really have any background knowledge on Acupuncture. All I knew was that it is is an alternative medicine that uses needles, so I was intrigued to what a treatment entails.  Lilja began by taking a consultation which covered health and well being and any problems that I felt needed addressing. After the initial consultation, Lilja decided what areas needed to be treated and I moved to the treatment bed.  Lilja told me that the needles are placed at points where the flow of  Qi (energy) needs to be stimulated. When the first few needles were inserted I felt a mild, warming sensation.  It was not painful in the slightest but actually very pleasant.  After all the needles were in, Lilja left me to relax.

During the time that the needles were inserted, I found myself able to completely relax and switch off and came very close to drifting off to sleep. I didn’t imagine it to feel so serene. When Lilja returned to take out the needles I felt nothing but peaceful and calm. For the rest of the afternoon I definitely felt like something had shifted, energy or otherwise and for the rest of the week, the  issues that I had treated had seemed to settle.

My first session of acupuncture will not be my last. The effects one treatment had on me were wonderful so am looking forward to seeing what benefits a course can bring.  Acupuncture virgins – It is time to pop your therapy cherry!