As I write, the days are getting noticeably longer. My drive to work in Huntingdon on Thursday evenings is now during daylight hours again, broad beans and garlic shoots are both well above ground on the allotment and the hazel is covered in catkins.
Despite this the cloud cover today makes it if not dark, at least a little gloomy in my office so when I come in to check my emails. I have known many who if not clinically depressed do get despondent at this time of year so what can we do about this?
Eat healthily and exercise. It is all too easy to eat stodge at this time of year and to avoid exercise, especially if this is normally done out of doors.
Get outside! We need natural light in order to produce vitamin D and to get enough at this time of year we need at least half an hour outside during the middle two hours of the day.
Use essential oils. Frankincense and the citrus oils along with Rose and Jasmine are all ones which can enhance our mood. Others that might help this time of year are Juniper which reminds me of Christmas trees and Pine.
Give yourself treats. This can be done without going against my first point! An aromatherapy massage or other form of pampering never goes amiss but especially at this time of year. 07939273569 or email@example.com to book.
On my Facebook feed, I have seen much argument about the effectiveness or otherwise of vaccines and the potential problems they can cause. I don’t have a position on this unlike on the MMR vaccine which I believe to be safe and that even if some of the alleged problems from it did exist the numbers would still to my mind be small compared to the number of lives saved.
What I do believe is there is still a lot we can do to reduce our chances of catching influenza irrespective of whether or not we are vaccinated. (There is no doubt that there are strains of flu that the vaccine doesn’t cover.)
Avoid hospitals! If you are ill they are good places but anywhere that large numbers of people are gathered together in combined spaces is a high risk area. Even more so when some of those in the area are there because of the infection.
Practice good hygiene. Regular hand washing is the most important thing when it comes to avoiding not just flu but many other infections.
Use essential oils. Using essential oils on a regular basis helps to kill bacteria and viruses in the environment. I add them to household cleaning products as well as using them in my practice. There is no proof of course but using essential oils regularly I have not had flu for over 15 years and that is without being vaccinated.
Regular massage with essential oils also helps maintain general health and hence resistance to infection.
Really looking forward to this annual event, the tenth one we have held. I realise there is no obvious connection with aromatherapy yet on closer inspection there is a very real connection.
Many of the plants I rely on for their essential oils are dependent on a healthy ecosystem. This includes pollinators including many bee and moth species that are supported by the wild flower meadow the trees sit in.
The wassail is a celebratory event that this year has a demonstration of green woodworking prior to the actual wassail – time for me to do some flute practice for the singing.
Before starting my practice, I spent just over thirty years in nursing. I thought I knew if not most of what there is to know about myalgic encephalomyelitis certainly enough for my needs as an aromatherapist. That view has today been challenged by a Facebook post, an article in The Independent and a film, Unrest.
But, bear in mind, everyone with this condition is different. What is clear to me is that this condition is primarily physical in its aetiology. It is not, “Yuppie Flu” or an excuse to stay in bed. It is real!
Sadly while there have been advances in the understanding of this illness, science is still not close to fully understanding the mechanisms involved and even further from a cure. The current reconsiderations of CBT and graded exercise do no or little better than chance according to the available research. The latter however is damaging to some and makes their condition significantly worse. In the film, one sufferer describes it as being like a battery that only charges up to ten per cent. One doctor in the film suggests that aerobic exercise is fine but the body doesn’t have the reserves to move into the anaerobic phase so there is a very small window of exercise that is OK. Though clearly some in the film are at the stage where even getting out of bed is too much!
What does all this mean for me as a practitioner?
- If seeing clients with M.E. I need to be prepared to visit them rather than expecting them to come to me.
- I need to listen to them and respond accordingly. Many will only tolerate very gentle massage and may get overwhelmed easily.
- I also need to be careful with which oils I use. Strong smells may well overwhelm some.
- Back to listening, I need to get basic safety information and what they can manage. I need to be prepared to get everything in their history over several sessions if necessary and I need to be prepared to do more shorter sessions rather than my more normal ninety minute sessions if that is what is required.
- Most importantly, I need to let my clients be the experts on their own bodies and what they can manage, listen to how the illness affects them rather than what a text book says and respond to their needs based on what they tell me and accept it if their needs changes during a session.
If you know someone with M.E. who might benefit from an aromatherapy massage from a practitioner who will not tell them what they need but respond to the client’s needs contact me by email or phone.
07939273569 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is our annual seed swap event which takes place at Trumpington Village Hall.
As I have been for the past several years, I will be there to sell my skin balm made from beeswax from my own bees kept on the allotments in Trumpington. I will also be offering £5 discounts on aromatherapy massages booked at the event.
Most aromatherapists combine it with massage so we are in the business of touch. Many of us hug some of our clients when they arrive and or leave. This I have no problem with. The question is, what happens when we have a client whom we feel we just want to hug them so completely we take them back into the metaphorical womb and protect them?
To me there is no, “yes or no” answer to this but rather, “stop and think!”
The questions I ask myself are in no particular order,
- Would this hug be fulfilling a need for me or for my client?
- Would they appreciate it?
- Could it be misinterpreted? (by the client or by anyone else.)
- How will it affect my relationship with this client?
I am sure readers could come up with other equally valid questions to ask and if so, good!
I am reminded of two clients I have seen recently, one who always or nearly always has a hug on arrival and before leaving. This is no problem, they initiate it and it is someone I know outside of the client – therapist relationship and they are an adult. (This is true of a number of my clients.)
Another is sixteen years old, has fairly recently been in an abusive relationship, has difficult relationships with mum and step-dad and the massage I do is hands, feet and head face and neck. all with the client clothed. And, there are times, particularly if she is distressed when I do feel like wrapping her up in a big hug.
To date I have not done so. If and when I do, it will be in a public area of the project where I see her in view of others and I will almost certainly wait for her to ask or initiate it. Obviously I can not know unless I ask her directly but at the moment I worry that she might see it differently from how it is intended, ie as a comfort. I know she does get a hug from a female member of staff on occasion and that I suspect is probably a lot less risky.
For me, even though I am in the business of touch I need to always be aware that clients will not have the same experiences that I have and always be aware of their changing needs which may be sometimes having a hug and sometimes not, just in the same way as the first client usually asks me to increase the amount of pressure I am using but on the last visit was needing more from me in an emotional context and wanted a much more nurturing type of massage.
Regular readers of my posts will know that my preference is for longer sessions. I have done sessions as long as two and a half hours though ninety minutes is my norm.
However there are times when shorter sessions can be very useful. Ten minutes hand or head massage can help deal with acute anxiety. Sometimes I may just to a back massage which will make for an appointment time of between a half and three quarters of an hour.
At a project working with young people in Huntingdon, I often just do fifteen minutes though in one case I would do longer if it were not for family dynamics that prevent the young person from staying longer most weeks.
When seeing clients where they pay me rather than my being paid by social services, the cost per hour is unfortunately higher as I still have the same overheads with regards to washing towels etc.
If you would like to book a shorter session with me, do please get in touch by phone or email.
07939273569 or email@example.com