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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 16 2020 09:09AM

Acupuncturist and wise person Philippa Summers shares some thoughts and helpful suggestions to help find moments of calm in this unusual and uncertain time.

These are the strangest of times and we have all had to adapt overnight to circumstances that no one could possibly have imagined. People’s lives have been turned upside down and inside out, against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty. We are all having to explore this new terrain and work out what works for us, each of us with our own individual challenges which are often multidimensional and impacting on many facets of our lives. Coupled with often distressing news this can be completely overwhelming. It may come in waves or it may feel like an incessant onslaught, so anything that can help us manage our internal response is beneficial.

I have found solace in the unchanging rhythms of nature, spring is springing unabated and the birdsong is more audible, the air cleaner. I am immensely grateful for all the humour, creativity and community support that has sprung up amid adversity. At times when things feel bleak I look to those for hope for a bright future when we have reached the other side of this period in our lives.

For now here are three free online resources that I found useful, all aptly connected by a focus on breathing. I hope you will find them helpful, too:

• Reducing stress and anxiety

• A Qi Gong routine to strengthen the lungs

• Guided Meditation

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

These four pages of pure gold are simply the best thing I have read about our reactions to the new reality and what we can do to stay calm and cope. The author acknowledges the reality of what we are going through and then gives several very useful tips on how to cope. Spoiler – it includes cake! Written by a lawyer/psychotherapist friend of a neighbour but unfortunately, I have not been given her name to give her credit. You can read the article here.

A Qi Gong Routine to Strengthen the Lungs

Whatever exercise you are taking already consider incorporating some mind/body routines like yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Qi Gong is similar to Tai Chi and very good for mind and body.

Qi Gong for the Lungs by Peter Deadman, is a simple 20 minute Qi Gong routine divided into three parts:

• Breathing

• Movements to open the chest and lung channels

• Slapping the chest – think of it as a vigorous pat!

Guided Meditation

My favourite meditation website, Mindfulness Exercises, has lots of free guided meditations including an Introductory course suitable for beginners. It took me a while to find a meditation resource that I liked and I think this is superb – they speak from experience, it is simple, very easy to listen to and as you progress through they address many of the common questions and issues that come up for people.

Although West Norwood Therapies is currently closed for any face to face appointments, we are offering online sessions in Self-Massage, Relaxation and mediation, Yoga, Feldenkrais, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

Stay well, stay calm, stay home - hope and breathe!

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jan 19 2020 04:59PM

Sports massage therapist Lauren O'Sullivan considers a new year goal to get fit and what your body might go through if you choose to start this. Wise words!

Many people embark on a fitness journey of some kind in January. It’s the start of a new year, and in this case a new decade, so people feel inspired by an opportunity to start fresh. Wonderful! People feeling inspired to create a healthy and strong body is something I wholeheartedly endorse. The problems arise when people try to copy or conform to others’ plans or ideas to get fit.

The most important element you can put into your fitness journey is uniqueness. How is this journey going to benefit YOU and help YOU stick with it in the long term? Firstly, know what you enjoy that gets you moving. If you have no idea, sign up for a few different classes or activities (the great thing with it being January is that a lot of these have starter/trial offers!). Once you have found something you enjoy, you’ll WANT to get up and do it; you’ll look forward to it.

So, you’ve been ploughing full steam ahead on your new fitness regime and the first few days were great. Now you suddenly start feeling tired and achy and WORSE than you did before you started – what is going on?! I have 4 letters for you: DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). When changing your fitness routine in any way, be it increased weights, more repetitions of something, or especially introducing new movements entirely, your muscles need some time to adjust. In the beginning they are being worked harder or differently to usual and so will need to adapt and grow. This leads to soreness within the worked muscles that passes over time as you get used to the movement. DOMS can be reduced with some easy habits: stretching after exercise/cooling down, foam rolling, hot Epsom salt baths, and massage. However notice my use of words, reduced not prevented!

Another very important thing to include in your fitness journey is rest days. The temptation to go hell for leather and exercise daily is high when you’ve got all of this inspiration and enthusiasm. Trust me though, if you want longevity you need to let your body rest. Rest is essential for recovery and helps to prevent injury. Alongside this, good nutrition will help to fuel your body to continue the journey. Not to mention if you’re working out more regularly, you’ll probably be hungrier! Listen to your body and fuel it with the energy that it needs.

One final thing - don’t be disheartened if things are hard at the beginning; you’re a beginner! Don’t compare yourself to others that are already well into their fitness journey or on a completely different one to you. It doesn’t matter what others think, this is your journey and it only matters what you think and how you feel day to day. Maybe some days are really tough and you feel really sore, other days you’ll feel amazing and on top of the world. Take each day as it comes and if you need more rest days some weeks, take them. If you need a massage, book one. After all it’s a journey; there isn’t really an end destination.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Dec 23 2019 09:56AM

Yoga teacher, Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner Laura Devonshire introduces her new Tibetan Singing Bowl session on Sunday evenings in 2020 to coincide with each Full Moon - bliss!

Sound has been used as a tool for meditation, prayer and healing for thousands of years across many different cultures.

Tibetan Singing Bowls create beautiful and powerful multi-layered pulses of sound that affect our brainwaves. During sound healing the singing bowls entrain the brain to move from Beta brainwaves, our normal waking state to Theta brainwaves that are dominant in deep mediation. It is in theta that our senses withdraw from the external world and focus within.

Our bodies are made up of millions and millions and MILLIONS of atoms and molecules that form our cells, tissues and organs. With quantum physics we acknowledge that all atoms vibrate and emit their own frequency.

Through sound healing we are working to restore and rebalance the vibrational frequency in all the cells, tissues, organs of the whole body. Encouraging equilibrium and homeostasis for the body, mind and soul.

Some of the benefits include:

* A deep sense of relaxation and rejuvenation

* Promotes deeper sleep

* Deepens meditative states

* Increased energy levels

* Increased levels of concentration

* It can release old emotional traumas

* Physical pain can be alleviated

Laura offers the following treatments at West Norwood Therapies:

1:1 Sound Massage: The bowls are placed directly on the body and chimed to feel powerful vibrations. Our bodies consist of more than 65% water, if you visualise a stone dropped in water, the ripple effect is the same for the vibrations travelling through the cells in our body, simultaneously relaxing and rebalancing them.

1:1 Sound Therapy: A deeply relaxing treatment where the bowls are placed around the body mapped to the seven main chakras. The bowls are chimed in a sequence to bring balance to each of the chakras and their corresponding areas of the body.

1:1 Appointments are available Thursdays between 11.00am-5.00pm and Fridays 3.30pm-6.30pm.

Group Sound Baths: This is a group session for a maximum of 7 people. A calm and relaxing space inviting everyone to make themselves comfortable for the sound immersion. Full Moon Sound Baths will take place on the following Sunday evenings, 6.30-7.30pm:

19th January

16th February

22nd March

19th April

17th May

14th June

19th July

16th August

13th September

11th October

15th November

13th December

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Dec 12 2019 10:44AM

Massage therapist Melanie Howlett shares some information on why and how she uses hot stones to enhance her massage treatments. Sounds like bliss...

Have you ever felt the benefits of having a hot stone massage?

Many people have seen posters on therapy shop windows or in Well- being magazines with a person laying with a line of hot stones along their spine.

There is more however to having a hot stone massage than meets the eye. The stones can be used with different techniques to relieve trigger points and painful areas of muscle tissue to relieve chronic and longstanding soft tissue pain with some deep soft tissue work with the added benefit of heat.

The stones are a deeply soothing and relieving treatment.

As the temperatures get colder it is really beneficial for us to bring some heat into our body to ward off those damp and cold days.

The stones are especially beneficially for sufferers of rheumatoid Arthritis and those with stiff muscles and joints, helping to improve flexibility and keep us moving.

The hot stones also offer the added benefit of some emotional healing and deeper cleansing as the stones absorb energetic emotional energy from the soft tissues which aids in the healing of the participant.

As well as being detoxifying and cleansing they are also a great stress reliever, the stones are deeply relaxing and you will come away feeling renewed and deeply relaxed.

I love to integrate the stones into my treatments to give a little extra something special for people to enjoy during their treatment. During those colder months especially when clients are coming in from the cold and the nights are drawing closer and we are seeing less sunlight it is a really lovely treat for a body to receive.

So if you haven’t yet treated yourself or a loved one to the gift of a hot stone massage therapy treatment, why not consider it this winter to help you get through those cold and darker days as we wait for the first signs of spring to emerge.

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