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 🙂


The January Detox (original i know…)


So! boring boring….

Yes, every year I say I am going to do a January detox, and I think last year it lasted a week or two, but this time I mean it! Its time to treat my body well for a while and hope at least some of it continues! (Saying it publicly means I can’t lame out…)

So first step- I saw a Nutritional therapistJayne @supernourished who said that yes, she would suggest an initial cleansing detox as my symptoms (mild psoriasis, puffy eyes, erratic digestion and sleep, stress etc) indicated some ‘liver issues’ so we agreed a plan:

no alcohol (eek), no dairy (easier) no wheat (hmmm) no refined sugar (hmmm) no caffeine (except green tea).  I’m vegetarian anyway so i don’t have to cut out meat…. I drew the line at no gluten as I want my rye bread! And my occasional injera! But she prescribed some milk thistle, some Magnesium and B vitamins, and plenty of leafy greens every day, plenty of cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli) as they contain “indole-3-carbinols” which apparently support the detoxification pathways. Chia seeds, avocado, nuts and seeds, lentils – all sounds good! And the classic hot water with lemon juice in the mornings.

…and that’s that! I also vow to do lots of yoga, and swimming and get back into my cycling which has somehow fallen by the wayside this past year…. And i almost forgot! Massage is definitely part of my detox plan! whoop! 🙂

I’m 4 days in and all is well.  I think I’m sleeping better? my skin seems pretty clear, and someone said my eyes look sparkly. its early days.  I’m avoiding temptation, invites to pubs and gigs….Yesterday I went to my first ever “Tropical Hot Yoga”- i don’t remember ever sweating that much- in all my travels, or in all my steam room experience- my clothes were actually soaked.  I am *not* a convert, I’m not sure I see the point- I’d rather concentrate on the actual yoga than just suffering from heat exhaustion, and surely a good dynamic class creates its own heat from within and more ‘real’ sweat? but each to their own…!

Tomorrow I’ll be drinking water in the pub with old friends and feeling a bit boring.  but I’m sure it will be worth it at the end of the month.  Watch this space 😉


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.

Continue reading

Hello Autumn!

Hello Autumn!

Your colours are looking particularly fabulous this year.  Apparently this has something to do with the wet summer (yep, not many days when it was safe to leave that umbrella at home) and then a sudden drop in temperature.  I’d be lying if I said I was any kind of expert on this but I am enjoying the vibrant display that’s on show.  It’s nice to have this slow transition to gently ease us into winter.  The odd warm day is throw into the mix, but in general there is a feeling of winding down after the heady excess of summer.

However, it can be a time when we feel a little melancholy as we get to grips with the shorter days and start to feel the pinch of the cold in the air.  This season is all about preparation for the winter.  So how can we make the most of this time of year and feel more in tune with the season?  And how can we hold on to that energy and sunlight that we gained during the summer months so it can see us through the winter?


My yoga teacher Gabrielle recently taught me a lovely version of a “sun salutation”.  A sun salutation is a flowing sequence of yoga movements designed to literally salute the sun. This one emphasised the opening up of the body to the sky and sun in order to draw in as much of this energy as possible.  I had a feeling of grasping those last summer rays before they faded away!  It was nice to think about adapting my yoga practice to the season.  Slowing it down, but also realising the importance of keeping the body active at a time when things are naturally drawing inwards.


In nature Autumn is a time of harvest and also of cutting back that which is no longer necessary.  Of storing that which is precious and valuable and that which will keep everything healthy and nourished over the coming months.  We don’t have so much energy during the winter for rushing around so we can become a little more focussed and turn to those things that are most important to us.  Booking a treatment that you love is nice at this time of year.  It can be a good opportunity to gather some energy and feel balanced in the midst of all the changes going on around us.  A massage can bring some much needed relaxation into the body.  During my treatments at the moment am using a lovely oil that contains lemongrass, ginger and clove.  It is great for warming the muscles but the smell is so delicious that it warms the heart too!

So look after yourselves during this season of change.  It can be difficult to leave those summer days behind, but we can try to embrace the change and look forward to those cosy nights ahead.  And we can watch and enjoy this lovely Autumn display in the process!


20 Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage in the modern world has become a popular way to spend some of our disposable income.  What better way to spend your time than on a session of complete relaxation.  As a massage therapist myself I frequently see the benefits massage has on the client. This is the reward of being a therapist; knowing your touch has created a lasting impression on the client and sending them home happy and relaxed.

But what are these benefits? Most of the benefits take place within the bodily systems but there are two areas affected: The Mind and The Muscles.

Below I have listed twenty benefits of massage therapy. These benefits can be experienced after just one treatment but the more massage you have, the stronger the benefits.

  1. Pain relief
  2. Reduction in anxiety
  3. Reduction in heart rate and blood pressure
  4. Reduction in depression
  5. Increased circulation
  6. Reduction in stress levels
  7. Boosts immunity
  8. Relaxes muscles
  9. Relaxes mind (parasympathetic nervous system activated)
  10. Flushes toxins by draining lymph
  11. Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles
  12. Increases body awareness
  13. Increases serotonin levels (important for a healthy mind)
  14. Increases endorphins
  15. Increases mental alertness
  16. Increases joint mobility and flexibility
  17. Relief of many common symptoms such as headaches and backaches
  18. Improved quality of sleep (especially when using essential oils)
  19. Increased bodily healing
  20. Increased organ functionality

Now you have all the reasons you need to book yourself in for a treatment!