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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jul 6 2019 06:47PM

Massage therapist Melanie Howlett shares some thoughts on how she works as an advanced clinical massage therapist and what you can expect from her treatments

Advanced clinical massage is described as an East meets West approach and style of body work. A toolkit which incorporates the technical aspects of sports massage with a more holistic approach.

This kind of treatment combines Acupressure, Cranial Sacral techniques , Trigger Point Therapy, advanced sports stretching , Myofascial Release and Structural integration techniques alongside relaxation/ energy and meridian rebalancing. Influences which are inspired by a more Eastern approach and style to massage.

This fusion of techniques results in a massage “experience” which is deeply relaxing, stress busting, pain relieving, and anti ageing, often leaving recipients reluctant to leave the massage table.

It’s often not until we get on the treatment table and have a good massage treatment that we realise how much in need of a massage we were.

We often don’t realise how stressed and tired we are or how much tension we are holding in our body until our therapist starts to tune in and address TriggerPoints and adhesions which can often be the cause of undiagnosed musculoskeletal pain or tension headaches, fatigue and stress.

No two treatments are ever the same. As the therapist starts to connect with the soft tissue with and tune into the individual is when the magic happens and for that time spent on the treatment table it is not unusual you may be transported to another dimension.

It can be as if a universe of sensations hidden within the body is discovered that can only be awakened by the therapeutic touch of a good therapist. Relaxing the mind and body and seeking out pain and tension often leaving recipients snoozing and floating in between that place of the conscious and unconscious ( was I or was I not snoring just a little bit ? )

Such a great place to be and deeply relaxing.

However, different approaches can be incorporated depending on what each person is looking for and what is required.

Some sessions may be more technical focusing in on specific areas such as shoulder girdle or hip/lower back addressing specific pain conditions and others more general as a full body treatment with some focus to specific areas.

Some treatments are more fluid and passive and others are more active and dynamic where the recipient is more involved.

Ultimately the aim is to create equilibrium for the body mind and soul, make each person as comfortable as possible and to deliver what is appropriate for each individual at that particular time.

For the best results a course of treatment is recommended to really start to relax and get the accumulative effects of having a course of treatments.
For the best results a course of treatment is recommended to really start to relax and get the accumulative effects of having a course of treatments.

When a specific goal has been reached it is good to have a maintenance treatment every 3 to 4 weeks to check in with your body and to keep in optimum health and well-being preventing stress, overwhelm and injury.

To experience the healing and rejuvenating benefits of what an Advanced Clinical Massage will do for you and your body, mind and soul, please don’t hesitate to book in with Melanie Howlett ACMT @ West Norwood Therapies or get in contact to find out more.

I look forward to embarking on your massage journey with you.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jul 2 2019 07:29PM

Hypnobirthing teacher Clare Butler reviews her wonderful recent massage experience with colleague Melanie Howlett

I was really looking forward to meeting Melanie. Melanie recently joined West Norwood Therapies and specialises in therapeutic & deep tissue massage and Reiki - what a combo! I felt sure that I would receive a massage that would de-stress me and make me feel overall relaxed and balanced. I am glad to say that I was not wrong.

After a 3-year break, 6 weeks ago I started to work in an office again and, like a lot of people, I now spend the majority of my time sitting in front of a computer screen. Overall, I can say that I quickly adapted to my new work routine and I am enjoying it, but wow, my body has felt the shock straight away! On just day two my shoulder and neck started to freeze up and I could feel the balls of stressful tension sitting on my joints.

It was time to finally book my appointment with Melanie!

Over the years I have had many massages and seen pretty much all of the people at West Norwood Therapies. It is wonderful that you can confidently book any of them and you know that you will have a great massage experience.

A great massage experience is not just about the technique and pressure applied. Here is what I look for and how Melanie achieves great rather than good.

Atmosphere: Melanie is very aware of the importance of creating the right environment. The music was calming and swept me away as I relaxed.

Professional: Melanie’s desire to find out exactly where the tension was in my body, and what I wanted to get out of my session with her, immediately put me at ease.

Attentive: Melanie was very attentive and made sure that the pressure she used was to my liking. Melanie also informed me before she used a cooling gel in case I did not want it.

And last but not least…

Knowledge & Added Value: It is clear when talking to Melanie that she really understands the body and she tailors what she does depending on the individual. Melanie does not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. I was really impressed when, after the massage, Melanie gave me some more insight into why I feel the tension where I do. Melanie suggested some follow up exercises to help give me relief.

If you are either feeling balls of tension in your body or just keen to give your body the TLC it deserves, then please get in touch with Melanie or one of the other great massage therapists at West Norwood Therapies. You will not be disappointed.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 14 2018 09:00AM

Hypnobirthing teacher Clare Butler looks at the possibility of you having a romatic experience during your baby's birth...a time for romance, really?!

A romantic birth?! You heard right. Here is how…

You don’t often hear the words ‘romantic’ and ‘birth’ in the same sentence and to some the idea may sound unbelievable and/or a bit cheesy, but please hear me out…

I am not claiming that you will be able to enjoy a relaxed dinner together in a restaurant whilst sipping wine and flirting. What I am saying is that throughout labour it is possible for you to both experience copious bursts of oxytocin (the hormone of love) rather than default to fight, flight, freeze mode.

It is possible for your birth partner to be part of the process (not just feel it) and to truly be your emotional, physical and mental support. You can feel extra close, happy and that you are going through labour together as partners who love and deeply care for one another. Romantic right?! The result is not only a baby (hooray!) but also a truly positive birth experience for you BOTH.

Hypnobirthing enables this and has led to many people describing it as ‘romantic’. See, it’s not just me! Here is how…

1) Hypnobirthing involves preparation. You will attend a class together, read the same materials and when possible practice relaxation together. Well in advance of labour you are then both on the same page, you have decided together what your birth preferences are and both of you feel empowered, equipped and ready.

2) Hypnobirthing gives the birth partner a role. They are not just the transport organiser, bath runner and cord cutter. No way! The birth partner is given guidance on how they can support their loved one in pregnancy, birth and beyond. In particular, they are taught how they can keep their birth partner in a hypnbobirth bubble of relaxation and calm throughout labour.

3) Hypnobirthing helps prepare you for any ‘pot holes’ or diversions along the birth journey (basically any unplanned events) so that the birth partner can calmly bat away any adrenaline that may be creeping into either them or their loved one. They can instead make informed decisions and feel in control and calm throughout.

Are you interested in having this type of birth experience? For more information on hypnobirthing courses please contact

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Aug 15 2017 08:00AM

Hypnobirthing teacher, Clare Butler, shares some of the core principles of hypnobirthing for use in every day life to celebrate Relaxation Day on 15th August - and enter a prizedraw to win a free relaxation session with her at (by 30th August)

The combination of work/being busy, feeling excitement and perhaps anxiety on becoming a parent, oh and maybe making minor changes to your home such as building an extension (we love to put that pressure on ourselves in the lead up to birth), doesn’t breed relaxation. How are you supposed to relax now, let alone whilst you are in labour, and then (gulp) become a parent??

The answer is hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing will, and I have heard many parents quote this, give you and your partner relaxation skills for life. I can’t say that hypnobirthing has made me into a 100% chilled out mum. I still have my stressed moments but I am certainly more relaxed. Hypnobirthing has rounded me - I have an appreciation for the power of relaxation and its impact on how the mind and body can work together. We are amazing beings.

To celebrate Relaxation Day, here are some of the principles of hypnobirthing and how you can start utilising them today, whether in connection with the birth of your baby or otherwise in your everyday life.


“Take a deep breath” is a common prompt people give when a situation becomes stressful - mainly because it works. Take a long breath through the nose and expel it even longer out through the mouth. This will help calm and focus the mind and breed oxytocin (the love hormone). This is a breathing technique used in labour and is certainly beneficial to use in the future if you have a stressful moment.


Think back to that amazing sunset on a past holiday, imagine your baby in your arms or picture your daughter as a young adult. All of these visualisations will help you gain perspective, think optimistically and relax.


We tend to be at our most relaxed state at night as we enter sleep. In hypnobirthing most of your relaxation practice, which includes listening to positive statements and music, takes place at this time. Listen to the same material whilst you are in labour and you will associate it with going to sleep. The same applies for years down the line. Catch my drift? zzzzz


Hypnobirthing is a full antenatal programme that ensures that you start labour with full awareness of how the body is designed to give birth and what you can expect from the birth. Like in a job interview or when giving a presentation, if you know the subject well then you will feel confident, your fears will reduce and you can be relaxed. This empowering experience will stand you in good stead for being a confident and relaxed parent in the future.

Fancy perfecting this life skill? At West Norwood Therapies there is a hypnobirthing course for everyone – an all new Essential Class on Thursdays 1-5pm (£150), the full hypnobirthing course (£280) and one-to-one refresh, taste or relax sessions (£60). Contact to book.

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