Are You Getting Enough Vitamin Sea?

Vitamin Sea? What is this I hear you cry?!

During 2018 I discovered my love for wild swimming, and this has become a regular outing for me: in particular, sea-swimming, even during the winter.

What has this got to do with anything?

Well, there are many health benefits to cold water swimming, of which I won’t go into detail about here because they are not relevant to every reader.

What is relevant and universal to all, is the identification of that certain something that makes your heart sing, what excites you, what do you look forward to the most? What is that sparkly thing that gets you out of bed in the morning? What is that one element that keeps you going during the tough times?

We all have these special connections within our lives. Yours might not be sea-swimming, but it could be another sport, or it could be a particular place, activity, food, book, music, event.

It is also important to note that your special connection to something may change over time, and perhaps you fall out of love with it, or it evolves into something else. This is absolutely fine too. Don’t hold onto it if it no longer serves you. Change is always inevitable.

Continue to explore your life, try new things, keep going, be aware of everything, appreciate each moment and those moments that sparkle will stand out (if you are paying attention).

And if you do this, you will find a happiness, a contentment, an eagerness, and a drive that you wholeheartedly know.

But sometimes the hardest part is the identification. We don’t really know what it is we want, or what will bring us happiness or joy. This is where courage has to play a part; we have to face our fears. For example, it may be finding the courage to go forward alone, try something new, it might be doing something that gets the adrenaline pumping, it might be overcoming self-doubt, it might be perseverance, hard work, a struggle of some kind.

Set out to make small steps forward. The greater your fear the higher the sense of achievement. The more nervous you are, the more there is to gain. The steeper the learning curve, the further there is to travel and grow. Don’t compare yourself to others, go at your own pace. If you are surrounded in darkness, don’t try to pull the curtains drawn all at once. Be kind to yourself.

You are in control of your own well being, and what better way to be well? To find your passion and follow it.

Reflexology and Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia, also called Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. As well as widespread pain, people with Fibromyalgia may also have increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, sleep disorders, problems with mental processes (“brain-fog”) e.g. problems with memory and concentration, dizziness and balance problems, headaches and migraines, digestive upsets. The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages that are carried around the body. (1)

ID-100184055How might reflexology help Fibromyalgia sufferers? When we are stressed our bodies are on constant high alert, engaging our sympathetic nervous system ready to “fight or flight”. However this means that the parasympathetic nervous system is shut down, so things like digestion, relaxation and sleep patterns will not have optimum conditions to function properly. Pain is an obvious stress, both physically and mentally.

Reflexology is deeply relaxing which can help the body and mind break the constant stress cycle and seek re-balance. In general, we have around 7000 nerve endings in the feet, making them particularly sensitive and helpful for accessing the whole body. Reflexology might help manage and reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia through a tailored treatment plan specific to the patient’s particular issues. Depending on the level of intensity of pain, shortened reflexology treatments might be advisable to begin with. Below are the key symptoms of Fibromyalgia and the subsequent reflex points I can pay particular attention to during treatments:

  • Joint pain: concentrate on the relevant reflex points on the feet for joints concerned e.g. shoulder, knee, hips, jaw. Adrenal gland reflexes can be gently worked to stimulate the production of the body’s own anti-inflammatories and pain management.
  • Fatigue: pay attention to the adrenal glands and pancreas reflexes. This aims to increase energy and re-balance and regulate blood-sugar levels.
  • Sleep disorders: work the diaphragm reflex (to promote relaxation and calmer breathing), pineal and pituitary gland reflexes (to promote a re-balance of circadian rhythms and of the endocrine system in general).
  • Digestive upsets: general relaxation techniques to awaken the parasympathetic nervous system. Colon and small intestine reflex points in particular.
  • Headaches and migraines: concentrate on brain, spine, particularly cervical spine, head and neck area reflexes.
  • Dizziness and balance: concentrate on inner-ear reflex point.

Update Jan 2016 – Since first writing this blog I have trained in Reflexology Lymph Drainage and carried out a case study on a Fibromyalgia client. Further info to follow.

(1) http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Why Reflexology?

Many of my clients ask me, “what made you want to become a reflexologist?” and this is certainly an interesting question.

The short answer is that it just “came” to me. I woke one morning and knew that this is what I wanted to do.Feet together

Building up to this answer, I enjoyed regular reflexology during my first pregnancy. I always found it hugely relaxing, and liked the thought that by having reflexology my baby was receiving benefits from the treatment too. However, even back then, I still believe reflexology came to me; it found me.

I was introduced to Dr. Gowri Motha’s Gentle Birth Method by my yoga teacher, and was enlightened to improving my lifestyle and well-being in order to optimize my pregnancy and to give birth to a healthy baby. Throughout the book, each week of pregnancy gave information and advice and included here were various recommended complementary therapies. I wasn’t able to afford every treatment it suggested (however tempting it seemed!) but the one that leapt out at me was, yes you’ve guessed it, reflexology.

My reflexology training is hugely rewarding and satisfying. I have a greater understanding of the human body,  not just anatomically, but also those deeper aspects such as stress, emotions and thought processes – they each impact on our physical well-being and should not be underestimated. Taking an holistic approach to healing is something of which I am particularly passionate. I doubt I will ever stop learning and developing my knowledge and experience on this incredible journey.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Image copyright Jackie Marsden 2016