Great Malvern Walk
A friend of mine was telling me about his walk to Great Malvern and it sounded really nice so I decided to check it out. It was a glorious day yesterday and it took me around 1.5 hour drive from Bradford on Avon. I stopped in the town centre to look around and from here I drove another 4 miles to British Camp car park. I paid £4 for all day parking and the money goes to funding the conservation of the Great Malvern Hills. It’s a beautiful place to walk (see photos). A day is not enough so I will be going back some other time….
Massage for Autism
I have just been on a CPD course called “Holistic therapies for those on the Autistic Spectrum”. It was an eye opening in terms of understanding what Autism is. It is a lifelong developmental disability. It manifests as impairments in social interaction, communication, behaviour and interests of an Autistic person and yet each individual will have their own pattern of autism hence the label Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In other word they are unique in their own right. Slow processing, extreme stress and anxiety are common among autistic people. Some may have unusual reactions to sensory information. According to the National Autistic Society (NAS) there are around 700,000 people the UK are on the autism spectrum.
Although it is a lifelong disability, something can be done to alleviate the distress and manage daily living. This is where complementary therapy comes in. There are now emerging studies which demonstrate that massage can help reduce stress and anxiety. According to Virginia Cowen (PhD), a systematic approach to massage is very important for children with ASD. When they learn what to expect, they are better able to relax and receive massage. Different research on massage noted that they have better sleep patterns, improve receptivity to touch, less aggressive behaviour and fewer displays of self-stimulating behaviours.
As ASD individuals are different from one another, no single type of massage is “right” or “the best” for everyone. The many possible presentations of autism indicate many possible variations in treatment. Virginia Cowen reiterated that a therapist has to be flexible and adaptable in their approach.
It's forcasted sunny all day today, so I decided to catch the sun rise from Bratton, Wiltshire. I got there at 05:45 and the early morning mist blanketed the valley while the sun just sat on the highest point of the hill - it was a beautiful site. The photos I have taken doesn't justify the actual experience of witnessing the beauty of it. I can't help but feel grateful to be there at that moment. It was very quiet too presumably most people were still be in bed at that time. I stayed there for awhile basking in the early sun rising and getting some dose of vitamin D. It was lovely and peaceful.....
As I walked uphill, I met a few cows munching their breakfast. They certainly have a good exercise grazing uphills. When I got to the top, the rolling hills were covered in rapeseed. The view was fantastic! I can see the surrounding villages and towns clearly. It was just amazing!! I recommend you do this walk if you can.
I was curious where it will take me if I follow the footpath, so I continued walking. There were trees along the path and the rapeseed has not got its usual pungent smell yet. It was downhill and uphill walk. I can see from a distance a wide metal gate with a sign post and what it looks like a road. When I got to the gate, the sign post says 'Imber Shooting Range' in both directions. That's when I decided to turn around as I don't want to be shoot down by the army accidentally. :-)
400g Glutinous Black Rice
2 blocks (4oz) palm sugar
1 tin (400ml) coconut cream
2 – 3 cups filtered water
- Place the rice in a medium pan. Wash the rice using your hands in water twice then drain. Put 2 - 3 cups of filtered water or just enough to cover the rice in the same pan, cover and soak overnight. Do not throw the water after soaking as you will only throw away some of the goodness just bring it to boil for 15 – 30 minutes in medium heat or until it is tender but still firm.
- When it is tender, put the coconut cream and palm sugar and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes stirring it occasionally. It is ready when it started to get thicker and creamier then serve.
- You can buy organic ingredients if you want to take it to another level.
- Find a cream which has 70% coconut with no preservatives.
- Whilst stirring the rice, bring your full attention to what you are doing (in other words stay present). The pudding will taste better and will have a certain quality to it which is hard to describe.
- You can sprinkle it with flaked coconut or any of your favourite nuts/seeds or fruit. You can also experiment with it – sky is the limit to your imagination.
- This pudding is best served warm. You can have it for breakfast.
- Glutinous black rice is gluten free. It is only called glutinous because it is sticky like glue due to its starch content.
From a nutritional point of view, it is high in protein, vitamin E and K. It has different types of anti-oxidants which may have cardio protective health benefits. One of them is called C3G (Cyanidin 3-Glucoside). It is the purple coloured pigment in the rice which can also be found in other fruits and vegetables. C3G can change the gene expression for fat metabolism from storage to usage. So instead of storing your fat you will use it - so it is also good for weight management.
Warning: It is yummy yum yum!!
Michal from Germany had asked me how I centre myself and clear my head before writing. For any of you who are interested, here it is.....
I sit in front of my laptop. I close my eyes, listen to my breath and feel my whole body. I can feel my muscles relaxing...there’s a feeling of softness in my entire body. Then there’s a feeling of my whole body is breathing – alive! I can feel my midline and it is breathing gently. I stay present and just observe the whole experience. It’s a lovely feeling – peaceful and joyful. I stay in this moment for awhile. For me this process takes about 5 minutes or less. I open my eyes and start writing.
Here are my tips....
I’m a morning person and I am more productive in terms of mental work from early morning until 11:00. Choose the time that suits you.
Establish what topic you want to write.
English is not my first language so I tend to leave my finished article for an hour or a day or two depending how it feels before editing the content. This way I have a fresher view of the article. I go to the same process of centring myself before editing.
Lastly, I do not try. I just let the idea flow...
I’ve just found out from my electricity and gas provider that I have saved 21% on my energy bills from September 2014 – September 2015. I started going 80% raw plant base food early last year which means less or no cooking. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could save on my energy bills. I’m so thrilled!!!
So if there’s nothing else that would entice you to go on raw food, just think about the money you’re going to save on your energy bills with less carbon emission – better for the environment.
When I first saw Eckhart on Oprah show in 2007, straight away I knew what he was talking about and resonated with him. As if he only put in words to what I already know. I also read his books The Power of Now & New Earth. Since then, I followed his talks on presence/awareness on his on-line TV.
Last week, I was fortunate to see Eckhart in person for the first time in one of his talks in London. It was at the Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall. I have never been in this part of London and it was a nice venue to hold conferences and shows. I was three hours early so while waiting for the start I had a long walk along the river Thames. It was a lovely day. When the staff started letting people in the festival hall it was full. I don’t know how many people it can accommodate but from my estimate, it was more than a thousand.
When I was seated waiting for the talk to start, it felt right to be there. I had a feeling of peace and joy. It was simply beautiful.......J
What to do with Lavender from your garden
The lavender bush in my garden produced quiet a lot of flowers this summer. The bees loved it!! There must be about a hundred of them - It was buzzing every day. Now that the bees exhausted all its nectar, I cut them up, put them in a bundle and hung them up in the kitchen beam. If you do not the beam just hang it anywhere in the kitchen. It looked nice and the aroma from fresh lavender is a delight! I’m like having aromatherapy every time I’m in the kitchen. Also, when I open my front door, I’m greeted with a lovely aroma of lavender.
As many of you are aware that lavender oil has many beneficial effects. It can be use for mild burnt skin, calming, inducing sleep, bug repellent and many others. I use it for my Petals Signature Facial and aromatherapy body massage for its relaxing effect.
How to make your own Scrumptious Raw Chocolate Snack
1 cup cashew nuts (soaked in water overnight)
5 dates (pitted)
3 tsp unroasted raw cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all ingredients in a blender. Press pulse button for 1 - 2 minutes. Place the mixture in a small bowl. Using a teaspoon, scoop and stick together using your finger to form a ball then roll with your palm. The above ingredients will make approximately 20 chocolate balls depending how small you made it. Dust the chocolate balls with cacao powder and place in a container. If you want to take it to another level, use all organic ingredients. Generally, the above ingredients will last me 3 days.
These scrumptious raw chocolate balls are high energy food snack that I eat in between clients when doing body massage. For me, it’s a better alternative than commercially made chocolate for instant pick me up after a physically exhausting work and no time to eat properly.
From a nutritional point of view, cashew nuts provide protein, fat and carbohydrates as well as high in potassium & phosphorous. The raw cacao powder is also high in potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. It contains theobromine which is a mildly stimulant, mildly diuretic and relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs. Because of its ability to dilate blood vessels, theobromine also has been used to treat high blood pressure. Dates are high in natural sugar so I added cinnamon because some studies showed it may have beneficial effect on blood sugar control. It also smelt amazing!
The above recipe is based on my own taste buds. You can modify it according to your liking and experiment with other ingredients. As with everything else, these high energy chocolate are for treats and not to be eaten daily if you are watching your waistline.
Body Massage in Bath and Bradford on Avon
After a body massage treatment, I always asked people to drink plenty of water because their circulation has improved so as their lymphatic system. However, not all like drinking water as they find it bland or boring although they know it is good for them.
So, here's one idea to encourage anyone to drink more water. Put together in a jug of water two slices of lemon, cucumber or celery, peppermint leaves and fresh lavender (see photo).
You can put anything really like fruit, other vegetables, herbs, spices - be as creative as your imagination will let you. I normally use what's available from my garden hence the lavender and peppermint. It is an alkalising drink because of the cucumber and celery. Lemon makes it refreshing while the peppermint and lavender gives it a pleasing aroma. It makes the water more palatable and looks pretty too:-) Lovely, cheers!
Body massage in Bath & Bradford on Avon
It's been a physically challenging days last weekend. My friend asked me to come with her to a course on dry stone walling at Dyrham Park, Bath. Over 2 days we worked alongside National Trust staff and volunteers to help and learn the traditional skill of dry stone walling.
We worked on the section of the wall on the right side of the toilet in the car park. Next time you visit Dyrham Park, see if you can spot the difference between the professional and the apprentice see photos below:-)
It was physically tiring yet visually satisfying. We badly needed a body massage at the end of the day!
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage in Bath and Bradford on Avon
It has been a long time since you last heard from me about client A and her Ayurvedic Yoga Massage sessions with me to address her back pain due to scoliosis. To cut the story short client A had 9 sessions in total having 15.07.14 as the last before her wedding in August 2014.
Client A reported that it took 4 sessions before she was pain free completely. Although Client A was pain free after four sessions, we continued the treatment to make sure she was free of pain on her wedding day.
I saw Client A on the 17th June 2015 for lunch and she happily reported that she was pain free on her wedding day. In fact she was still pain free up until the 16th June 2015. It seem that the effect of the Ayurvedic Yoga Massage on her lasted just under a year considering she had a stressful time after the wedding because of her post graducate studies.
In conclusion, Client A felt that the Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is effective in managing her back pain due to scoliosis.
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage second session (29.04.14) with client A. Client A's feedback before we start the session was she was sore for the next 2 days after the first session but felt much better afterwards. She can still feel the backache in the lower, upper back and shoulder but not as much before the first session. She confirmed that there was positive improvement.
Deep tissue massage was performed initially, working on her problem areas. Passive stretches followed as usual. The first yoga stretch was the child's pose. Her back was still archy but there was a slight improvement from 8 inches gap between the abdominal and thigh to approximately 7 inches. Client A also noticed the difference how much she can stretch. This time I pushed further down with her agreement to stretch the entire back. Of course, I did it with care and caution. I stretched the back as far as she can take.
This was followed by more back stretch opening the thoracic area by placing my feet between the shoulder blade and pushing it forward as far as she can take progressively. Her feedback was "it felt good".
I worked on legs and did some stretching. At t he end of the session client A felt good and more loose. To be continued....
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage first session (21.04.14) with client A. Sorry I am a bit slow with my blog update. Visually, the curve of the lumbar vertebrae was obvious. The muscular tension on the left side was prominent as well as the upper back and shoulder.
During the deep tissue massage on these areas, client A can feel the pain so I only applied pressure as far as she can take. I always engaged client A whenever I have to apply deeper pressure on areas of muscular tension.
After deep tissue massage we continued onto the passive stretches. Stretches will allow tendons and ligaments become more flexible and supple. Tendons connect muscle to bone which allows us to move while ligaments connect bone to bone which help with joints stability. The stretches will be done progressively. Theoretically, it should give Clien'ts A body a buffer in times of physical stress and hopefully allow her to move pain free.
The first stretch was the child's pose. Client A's back was archy - there was about 8 inches gap between her abdomen and thigh. My goal is to close the gap over time. During stretches I am very cautious how far I should take it. Ligaments are elastic but if stretched beyond a certain point, it can become overstretched and can compromised the integrity of the joints. Of course, I wouldn't want that to happen. So, there's a lot of 'feeling and sensing' on my side as well as engaging client A.
At this stage, I worked mostly on her back and less on the legs for now. At the end of the session, Client A's comment was "I certainly felt I was worked on. I haven't felt stretched that much in all my life". To be continued....
I have been regularly (weekly) treating a client with Ayurvedic Yoga Massage in Bradford on Avon to address her back problem. Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is a combination of deep tissue massage and yoga stretches for those of you who is not familiar with the treatment. She suffer from upper and lower back pain, tension on her shoulder that goes up to the neck. Upon consultation, she told me that she suffers from Scoliosis since childhood.
Scoliosis comes from the Greek word meaning "crooked". It is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the left or to the right side. There are different types of scoliosis but my client's is idiopathic meaning the cause is unknown. Her curve is on the lower back that goes to the right side.
She tried lots of things and very concious about having the right posture but the muscle pain is constant. With her permission, she agreed for me to discuss her case. This will be an on going treatment and see if Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is helping her ease those nagging back pain. I am addressing her as client A......to be continued.
I was asked by a lovely lady to do some treatments at her hen do. Of course, I was delighted to oblige as I like working at different places. It get me out of base which is nice occasionally. Also, it get me to places I have never been and discover beautiful settings and this is one of them.
The venue yesterday was in Week Farm Manor, Coombe Hay about 3.5 miles outside Bath. I must say when I saw the entrance I was surprised. The place is beautiful - really amazing. See this photo I took on the day.
I would recommend it to anyone. I'd like to hire it myself! You can check the place from this link http://www.bathholidayrentals.com/properties/week-farm-manor. I was there all day and treated 13 ladies from different parts of the UK and other countries. The treatments were facials and BNS. They were all lovely ladies!
Way back in March 2014, I was asked to help out a video company to film me doing body massage. This film is to be used as a promotional clip that tells about Bath to pitch for business partners. They want to regenerate where the old Esso garage was near the city centre in the Lower Bristol Road.
As you are probably aware, well being is a big part of the city of Bath way back in the Roman times where it was known as Aquae Sulis AD 60's. It became a popular spa town in the Georgian era and it continued to be such up to this present time.
I only play a small part but nonetheless, I was deligted to be asked and you can see the clip on this link http://vimeo.com/88585629. Just make sure you don't blink just in case you miss me...Enjoy!!!
Petals Signature Facial gift voucher was donated to Children's Hospice Southwest http://www.chsw.org.uk/. I love children and would do anything for them, hence I work as a volunteer researcher for Childrren's Hospice South West in my spare time. I offered to donate Petals Signature Facial gift voucher every month for a year to CHSW as a raffle prize to help raise fund in the running cost of the hospice.
If you can, please buy some raffle tickets in May from Children's Hospice South West - you never know, you may be lucky to be the recipient of my bespoke facial treatment. It is more than just a facial but also enhances your well being!
As ever, I like training on new courses to enhance my skills and learn new things. Just got back from 3 days London training on Ayurvedic Yoga Massage part 1. It was lovely meeting new people and not so new.
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage (AYM) is a therapeutic treatment combining stretches (similar to Thai massage) and deep tissue massage. This treatment concentrate on three factors i.e. increasing blood circulation, breathing and vital energy.
It uses only sesame oil and herb called calamus in powder form. Calamus (Vekhnd) powder has been used in Ayurveda for many years. It has an infant nerve tonic quality. It also rejuvenates the brain and stimulates the nervous system. It is applied topically once the sesame oil has been applied to help remove toxin from the body through the blood and circulatory systems.
After several practice with fellow therapists, I must say I felt relaxed, light and my joints loosened. I also felt taller! Would it be nice to have Ayurvedic Yoga Massage every week. :-)
Looking forward to the second part....
Recently, quite a lot of people coming to see me for massage to relieve their stress level. Most of them not only have muscular tension but also have some emotional issues. So I discussed with them that I can integrate their treatment as I also have other skills in complementary therapy. I have been combining body massage with Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy (BCST) with positive results.
So, now decided to combine the two modalities and called it "Stress Release". You can find it under "Body Massage". I offer 90minute session which include 1 hour full body massage and 30minute BCST.