Elisabeth Grover
07794351958

Tag: St Albans

Reiki at The Garden Sanctuary

In last week’s blog post I looked at reflexology, what it is and how it can help. This week’s post follows that theme, looking at the therapies that I offer in The Garden Sanctuary. Today’s post looks at the healing power of reiki.

What is reiki?

Our lives are full of energy on a subtle level and the things we do involve some kind of energetic exchange. We can ‘feel’ energy when we walk into a room and the couple in there have been arguing, or when we are attracted to someone. It’s very subtle but we know it’s there and we can feel it.

Reiki is simply a form of energy. The word Reiki is Japanese for ‘Life Force Energy’ and when this is blocked, we can suffer from physically and emotional difficulties. Every time we fill our minds with negative emotions and harsh thoughts and feelings, our life force depletes which can make us feel unwell, tired and listless.

By channeling reiki, practitioners can help this energy flow freely again and offers a way in helping clients to deal with a number of issues.

What does a reiki treatment look like?

Reiki can be offered with hands on or off the body. I tend to use a combination of both as there are areas that lend themselves to touch and those that feel better if the hands are held slightly away the body.

Lying or sitting for your treatment,  the practitioner will intuit where to place their hands. I tend to start from the head and work my way down to your feet. My treatments end in a short reflexology treatment to help restore balance to the body.

You may feel a great deal of warmth as the practitioner lays their hands beside you and you may feel tingling and sensations in other parts of your body. Having said that, you may also feel nothing at all and that doesn’t mean that it’s not working or you aren’t getting the benefits of the energy.

Reiki at The Garden Sanctuary

I love offering my clients reiki combined with a gentle reflexology massage. It can really help you to relax and clear your head. We start by talking about the issues on your mind, whether they be physical or emotional. You have had an opportunity to think about these issues when you downloaded the medical form from this website.

We start the treatment by talking about the issues on your mind. You have had an opportunity to think about these issues when you downloaded the medical form from this website. 

I ask you to fill it in beforehand so that you have time to reflect and focus on the issues at hand. If you decide to skim through the form and fill in minimal details, that’s fine too. The form is merely a tool for you to use as you wish.

Once we have looked at your medical form, I ask you to lie on my soft reiki bed and I help you to get comfortable lying face down. I start at the top and work my way down the body, from head to feet, hands a little away from your body in some parts and hands on in others.

You roll over and I continue, head to feet ending in a reflexology massage. You will have time to awaken at the end of the session and offered a glass of water.

It’s a lovely treatment to indulge in monthly as it helps you to feel clean and clear. I always find that a reiki treatment gives me a clarity of mind and energy to take forward into my week.

Click here to book an appointment with me. 

Further reading:

I love Penelope Quest’s books – click here to find out more.

Her FAQ’s offer practical advice too – click here to find out more.

If you want to delve even deeper, check out The International Centre for Reiki Training click here to find out more.

 

 

Reflexology at The Garden Sanctuary

I’m conscious that I haven’t written a blog post about reflexology yet! Hence why today’s article is for those who would like a little more information about one of the treatments I can provide.

So, what is reflexology?

 Reflexology is a therapeutic method of massaging feet. By applying pressure and stimulating the reflexes/pressure points on the feet, reflexology can open up neural pathways, boost the immune system and increase circulation. The techniques of reflexology can be performed on the hand and the face in situations where a session on the feet is not practical.

Reflexologists work from maps of reflexes that are located on the hands and feet. These reflexes are thought to connect directly through the nervous system and affect the corresponding body parts, organs and glands. Through the application of gentle pressure and massage techniques the reflexologist manipulates the reflexes at the respective foot or hand location.

Through controlled pressure on the relevant reflexes, it becomes clear which points are tender. This highlights the area of the body that is out of balance. It is the intention of the reflexologist to treat this point and so help bring a person back to a state of balanced health and wellbeing.

Reflexology promotes healing by stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood. In the process, reflexology not only suppresses the sensation of pain, but relieves the source of the discomfort as well.

Relaxation

It can bring about a state of deep relaxation and stimulate the body’s own healing processes. As a result, it is believed reflexology can be just as effective at preventing illness and promoting good health as it is at relieving symptoms of illness, injury or stress.

Stress

The most recent Labour Force Survey found that there were 488,000 of stress-related illnesses in 2015/16, with a total of 11.7 million working days lost to stress-related illness which is pretty shocking. The occupations with the highest rate of stress connected time off were health professionals (in particular nurses), teaching, healers and educators and caring personal services (in particular social services).

How you cope with stress in your life determines which, if any, diseases you are susceptible to. Individuals have their own unique set of coping mechanisms and their own unique predisposition to disease. When reflexology relieves your stress, it also reduces your vulnerability to disease.

Reduced stress improves blood and lymph flow, as well as nerve supply, which facilitates rejuvenation and revitalization of the cells, thereby strengthening the healing process.

Reflexology does not claim to be a ‘cure-all’ but many people have found they have been helped by reflexology. Surveys carried out have shown benefits to those presenting with symptoms of stress, insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome. It is a very relaxing therapy which may reduce tension and lead to an improved sense of well-being. This can only be of benefit to society today and the pressures and anxieties that are continually present in our cultures and the way we choose to lead our modern day lifestyles.

How to book an appointment

If you would like to contact me about booking a reflexology appointment, please drop me an email for info (elisabeth@thegardensanctuary.co.uk) or book using my appointments page.

The Power of Silence

I’m delighted to introduce you to our special guest and Mindfulness teacher Ruth Farenga who has written about a subject that is close to my heart, the power of silence. I have really enjoyed reading her reflective piece and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.  

Ruth is Mindfulness teacher and Founder of Mindful Pathway – providing Mindfulness courses for the public in St Albans at the Albany Centre and onsite courses for businesses in the UK.

As I peer into my teacup, I contemplate what silence is. Is it rich or nothingness? Is it the absence of words or total sound around us? Thich Nhat Hahn describes real silence as the cessation of talking of both the mouth and the mind. It is an opportunity to truly stop without the clutter or noise of society.

As an only child, I disliked silence. I experienced the loneliness of long summers with few people to play with – the absence of company to entertain. It was dull and I was bored. Indeed, in my twenties, I always felt the need for company. If I had nothing to do for an evening, I would go through a list of 5-10 people to call or fill the time with a series of records, not enjoying the potential quiet time.

I needed to fill the void.

So how do we experience silence? In the 19th Century, Thoreau retreated from society for two years into the woods of New England – to discover the depths of solitude, inform deep states of consciousness and his subsequent writing.

But such extreme measures may not be possible, or even needed.

First steps

My first experience was a silent Mindfulness day in Oxford in 2012. I had taken the 8 week Mindfulness course and the silent day was an opportunity to ‘deepen our practice’, whatever that meant, but I was both curious and apprehensive. There were 30 of us in the room and we had signed up for jobs to assist with the flow of the day and sat down.

I was not fully prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions that day. The teaching was tender and gentle. We explored sitting meditations, mindful walking and movement. It was a day of paradoxical feelings – as it progressed, I felt more and more lonely but yet rested at the same time. I felt a relief to not having to talk to anyone, but at the same time, I felt shunned at not being acknowledged by my fellow participants. The lunchtime brought a new wave of isolation as mealtime conjured up expectations for me as a social experience. Meanwhile, I studied the variety on my plate with a new mindful affection.

At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on our day. For many, including me, it was a rush of emotions and we spoke through tears to explain how we felt. Loneliness, peace, agitation, being sidelined, awareness, sadness, pain, happiness – the lot. I was relieved that the others felt the depth of emotion as I thought I was the only one.

It was the start of a fruitful relationship with silence.

On Retreat

I’ve now experienced and taught many Mindfulness days and retreats but perhaps the most memorable so far was a 5 night silent retreat at the secular Buddhist retreat centre, Gaia House in Devon. It felt like a challenge I was ready for.

Again, waves of emotion came, not as extreme as in the past but still notable. The first 2 days were the most difficult. What hit me most was, despite all that I’ve learnt, I was playing a narrative – ‘by now I should be able to maintain a still mind’. Our teacher talked in depth about how expectation and striving for something can limit us. We can’t go on retreat to expect a still mind because ‘it knows’! The hidden agenda of the ego will trip us up and, therefore, we need to be without agenda, to allow and welcome whatever may come.

By the second half of the retreat, I had, to a large extent, allowed the experience to be what it is. The edges of ‘suffering’ had softened. Despite our lack of words, I developed warmth for my fellow ‘retreatants’ and respected how many don’t make eye contact. They no longer needed to fill my void. It is true that being in silence with other people can create an intimacy. There was often a dance of movement and communication in the corridors, we didn’t need to speak, we could show compassion without speaking or even looking at each other.

Taking silence into everyday life

Last Christmas (2016), the Pope advised us amid the rush of daily life to make time for silence. His example is to use a nativity scene but for the non-religious, other ways can be found to take a pause from the hustle and bustle. It could be a tree that you visit, a view or a simple meditation that allows you some silence.

Silence is very personal. It can cause us to stare inwardly, introspectively, and ‘suffer’ as if obsessed about how silence affects us personally. However, silence and stillness is something you can always access, yet you need to allow it in, to become its friend. To start listening to yourself and to appreciate its depth and richness by spending time in dedicated silence with others. This is a journey that is worth embarking on.

It turns out that this only child learned to appreciate (and need) silence, the space, the depth and the openness it brings.

A Little Space

IMG_2542 As a holistic practitioner, I felt that my first blog post ought to be about living my values. You’ll hear me talking about values in my posts as I find that the words that represent values, and what those words mean, really inspire me and make me who I am.

This morning, I wrote about making time for yourself for a feature in my forthcoming newsletter and it prompted me to start here.  It’s hard to give to others when you are tired and feeling over burdened with no space to think. So I thought I would start my blog by taking a picture of me having time to myself in The Garden Sanctuary before my children get up. You can see ‘Bumble’ my therapy space in the background.

A little about my morning ritual. Although my four children are older now, I have been prioritising this space for a long time, even when they were little. The only thing that changes is the venue. Inside V Out. I’m not keen enough to sit outside in the winter even though I would like to! I am a morning person so this is the ideal time for me to mentally create my day. Evening’s may work better for you, or during the day, and that’s great too. As long as you are building that time in and prioritising it daily as you would any other diary event, it doesn’t really matter when it is.

I get up out of bed as soon as I wake and I make myself a large cup of herbal tea. On a lovely day like this, I’ll take it out into the garden to sit and reflect on the day ahead.  I have a lovely little water feature which gently flows in the background so it helps to clear my head before the day begins. I use a journal idea which I have adapted from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way  called The Morning Pages. She advises hand writing three pages of A4 a day which I haven’t been able to achieve ( I am human after all!) so I adapted the idea and cut it down to one page of extra large moleskine journal. That way it’s achievable and I do it daily. I’ll be writing more about this in subsequent blog posts as I think it’s been a real help in getting all my ‘stuff’ out before I start my day.

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I have a separate Moleskine book for a list of 20 affirmations that I’m currently working on. When I’m writing, I think about how great I will feel when I am achieving them. One of my affirmations is to be a certain weight again. As I’m writing the affirmation down on paper, I think about what it’s like to wear size 10 jeans and I embrace that wonderful feeling. I do the same with the other 19  affirmations so this does take some time. I don’t do it daily, maybe three times a week but in between those times, I am thinking about the feelings I will get when the affirmations come true.

In the following blog posts, I will talk about journal writing, affirmations and making time for yourself in a busy life as well as posts about alternative health, aromatherapy, mindfulness, creating calm in your day, meditation and visualisation.

Before I go, I will leave you with an image of my mindfulness trainer, Coco the Dog. As soon as I sat down to create this post, she decided to dig up the garden in search of buried treasure (those lovely ants). Yes, it was a good lesson for me as I felt the stress levels rise whilst chasing her unsuccessfully around the garden.

Note to self: In order to do one thing really well, I  can only do one thing at a time.

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