Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Update Roundup

Winter Closing and Availability in December

I close from Friday 20th to Thursday 26th. 
Then again on the 31st Dec and the 1st January.

Availability Before Christmas
Unless I have a cancellation, I now have no evening appointments available .
I do have time free this Saturday 7th and next Saturday 14th.
I have plenty of appointments available in the daytimes.

Availability Between Christmas and New Year
Monday the 30th of December has one appointment free at 6.30pm.
Plenty of appointments free on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of December but these seem likely to fill up.

Christmas / Festive Gift Vouchers

Do you know someone who would really enjoy, appreciate and benefit from a treatment? Do you sometimes find it difficult to find the right thing for a special person? Or perhaps there's someone who has all the 'things' they want already? How about a Holistyx voucher for a thoughtful, special, quality gift, and something a little bit different? :)

2014 Prices

These prices will come into effect from 1st January 2014.
I hope my clients will continue to find me good value for money.

New Photographs

I recently had a load of photographs taken by my partner Chris Wright, of an Indian Head Massage
session with client Kirstie Gorman. Pretty good for an ipad camera?!

You can see the best ones on my page about Indian Head Massage.

Thanks to everyone on the Holistyx Facebook Page who helped me decide which was the best photo of Indian head massage, this one was the overwhelming winner!

Now I need to add it to my leaflet, facebook banner, and the top banner and slideshow on my website/blog.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

FHT Local Support Group Co-ordinators Meeting, CAMexpo and Training Workshops

Weekend before last (5th and 6th October) I was funded by The Federation of Holistic Therapists for a trip down to London for a meeting with other Local Support Group co-ordinators from around the UK. What a lovely bunch my fellow co-ordinators are, was lovely to meet them. Plus what a great opportunity to hear from our professional organisation on their plans for the future, and to feedback to them what we would like to see happening in the FHT and in our growing network of Local Support Groups. As of last week we now have 108 groups which really makes us the largest network of its kind in the UK and probably Europe as well!

More info about our local group - which is open to anyone interested in holistic health and wellbeing - at FHT Lancaster LSG. We got treated to travel, a healthy lunch, a lovely dinner (biggest helping of tiramisu I have ever seen!), and accommodation, and our meeting was timed to coincide with...

CAMexpo 2013

The UK’s only dedicated event for complementary, natural and integrated healthcare. 

I made the most of the opportunity to attend on the Sunday and booked myself on 4 workshops:

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction – Assessment and treatment for the massage therapist
with Rachel Fairweather of Jing Institute of Advanced Massage Training:
"You will gain a greater understanding of this complex joint, simple assessment techniques to assess dysfunction, and effective treatment protocols using dynamic soft tissue techniques to help get your clients out of pain."

Trigger point therapy for low back pain 
"Low back pain is the leading cause of disability and pain in the UK. Trigger point therapy is one of the most effective tools available to the massage therapist interested in treating chronic pain. This workshop will explore effective trigger point work and take the mystery out of treating this common condition, exploring in depth pathology, anatomy and hands on treatment options."

Between these 2 workshops, I have a greater understanding of the latest thinking in the dynamics of lower back pain, and its connection to sciatica, or what feels like sciatica. Some techniques for releasing trigger points in the erector spinae, quadratus lumborum in the back, and the glutes and piriformis muscles in the buttocks; and some myo-fascial release stretches and work with palms, forearms fingers and thumbs to release muscles, tendons and ligaments all around the sacrum and the Sacro-iliac joint (where your spine connects to your pelvis).

Being a massage therapist – It’s a lifestyle – not a job!
with Beata Aleksandrowicz of Pure Massage School

which gave general advice on a successful practice and self-care, including:
  • the power of your intention as a massage therapist - remembering a core reason you do this work which inspires you 
  • the power of the breath - for yourself and your client
  • be committed to your clients, your work, and do your best, but don't be attached to results - you will be able to help some people more than others, that doesn't make you a bad therapist. 
  • honour yourself and look after yourself
  • be clear in your speaking and powerful in your listening
  • be thankful
Introduction to Aromatherapy for Pregnancy
with Jo Kellett, of From The Seed

I learnt how to perform a basic side lying back massage routine for pregnant clients, and a brief demonstration of positioning for massage to the back of the legs. Jo gave options for good support, and how to turn the client easily and comfortably in a way I never would have thought of. There was also brush up on the use of essential oils in pregnancy, though this was an area where I feel I would need to do further research.

Dinner with Local Support Group Co-ordinators (thats me on the front left):

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

World Reflexology Week Special Discount Offer

Monday 23rd - Sunday 28th Sept. 

To celebrate World Reflexology Week, and perhaps persuade some of you who are curious about Reflexology into giving it a try I am offering:

3 people a treatment at 20% off 
 - and when they have been claimed -
3 people a treatment at 10% off 
To be booked into World Reflexology Week only.

For new Reflexology clients, that means an hour and a 1/4 session, usual price £34, at £27.20 if you book one of the 20% off sessions, or at £30.60 if you get one of the 10% off sessions.

Book now to avoid disappointment. 07888 692803 or
Quote 'World Reflexology Week' to claim.

Reflexology is a complementary therapy based on the principle that the feet can be seen as a 'map' of the body. Areas on the feet are seen as connected to corresponding areas of the body. For example, the toes correspond to the head, the heel of the foot to the chest, the sole of the foot to the abdomen, and the heel to the pelvic area. Within these larger areas, are specific smaller areas and points for particular organs and structures of the the body - these are called reflexes e.g. there are reflexes for the eyes, ears, teeth, sinuses, brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, stomach, colon, ovaries/testes, adrenal gland, shoulders, spine.

Reflexology aims to release blocked energies, and stimulate and restore energy flow throughout the body, activating your bodies own natural healing mechanisms and bringing the systems and organs of the body to balance. This may bring relief from a wide range of acute and chronic conditions.  Reflexology gently stimulates and balances the circulatory and immune systems and aids with de-toxification, all of which can improve physical health and resilience. Furthermore, stress is a major cause of mental and physical ill-health and so the general relaxation and stress relieving properties of Reflexology is also a major help to your health and wellbeing.

Many of my regular Reflexology clients were massage clients who tried it out of curiosity and then found it so relaxing and fascinating, it was hard to choose which to have, Massage or Reflexology, so they now alternate between the two.

Whether or not you have medical issues - many of us give our feet a hammering on a daily basis, and end up with sore, tired, achey feet. So why not try putting your feet up for a treatment which releases tension and provides stress relief, relaxation, and a sense of wellbeing throughout the whole body?

Monday, 3 June 2013

Federation of Holistic Therapists Membership

FHT = The Federation of Holistic Therapists - the largest and leading professional association for complementary, holistic beauty and sports therapists in the UK and Ireland.

What does it mean that I am a member of the FHT?

Choosing an FHT member means you can relax in the knowledge that you are in the hands of a highly qualified therapist, fully insured and practicing to recognised standards, including that all marketing material is legal, decent, honest, truthful and not misleading; that the therapist is undertaking regular Continuing Professional Development; and adhering to a Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.

Massage, Aromatherapy and Reflexology are all self-regulating industries in the UK. The government does not set any standards, anyone can legally practice them. Various independent bodies exist however regulate these industries and to reassure the public of the standard of practitioners registered with them.

If you see a therapist has letters after their name, it may denote a qualification - or membership of a professional association. You may wish to check with the association that that person is indeed registered with them - I have a direct link to the FHT website on my sidebar where you can check my membership is listed with other members in this area. Some other professional associations which can reassure you about a therapist registered with them are:

  • The International Federation for Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA)
  • The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA)
  • Association of Beauty Therapists (ABT)
  • The Association of Reflexologists (AOR)
  • The British Reflexology Association (BRA) 
  • Complementary Therapists Association (CThA)
  • The British Complementary Medicine Association (BCMA)
  • The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Self-Care for Our Own Health and Wellbeing as Manual, Bodywork or Massage Therapists

A survey on injury among American massage therapists found that an astounding 77% of practitioners complained of work-related pain and discomfort during the previous two years. From the same survey we learn that 64% of practitioners had symptoms that were serious enough to cause them to seek medical treatment, and 41% were diagnosed with a musculoskeletal disorder. The American Massage Therapy Association reveals that the average massage career does not last more than eight years. 
From: Save Your Hands! The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists 2nd Edition Lauriann Greene CEAS and Richard W Goggins CPE LMP

This is American statistics but the likelihood is that the situation is not much better in the UK, so self-care becomes essential for anyone who wants to have a long, happy and healthy career in  Manual, Bodywork or Massage Therapy. 

Those ESTA(*1)  businesses who work in the area of Health and Wellbeing have started having Sector meetings - and at the last one we discussed what we did to be more ethical in our business practice. I read out the commitments I had written back in March (see blog post here) but realised - particularly after discussing the experience of one of our members of having to take a month off after getting repetitive strain injury and extremely painful hands - that I could add some information about self-care to the fourth 'Bottom Line' (BL4).With this in mind I have updated my ethical policy in the section on personal wellbeing and ongoing personal development:

BL4. Personal well-being and ongoing Personal Development

Self-care - making sure I look after my own holistic health and wellbeing:
 -  by striving to have a healthy lifestyle
 -  by developing a treatment style with an awareness of posture, body mechanics, ergonomics and injury prevention (*)
 -  by looking after my body pre-and post treatment with joint mobilisations, stretches, Yoga and self-massage.
 -  by going to local practitioners for complementary health and wellbeing care myself, including massage and reflexology.
Engaging in ongoing learning and personal and professional development to improve my knowledge and skills in service to others and for my own interest and satisfaction.
Developing social, networking and educational opportunities and relationships, groups and communities that support them.
  -  In this respect - I co-founded and am the lead co-ordinator of the FHT LLSG which is a local group in association with the Federation of Holistic Therapists which supports practitioners in the fields of complementary health care, holistic beauty and sports therapy, and puts on talks, and demonstrations, on a broad range of related topics and practices. This provides the opportunity for myself and other practitioners in the area to do Continuing Professional Development and get 'CPD points' as required by the FHT and other professional associations. 
  -  I also initiated the start of a 'Health and Wellbeing' sector group within ESTA(*1) to explore how we can support each other, encourage each other in ethical practice, and promote Complementary Health and Wellbeing locally.

*1 ESTA is the The Ethical Small Traders Association - a framework for mutual benefit and co-operation between local self-employed people and small businesses who are committed to environmental sustainability and community well-being. For the prosperity and common good of the wider community and a sustainable local economy in the Lancaster area 

More info at

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Change to Loyalty Card Scheme

Its just over a year since I replaced my previous pre-pay for 5 session discount packages, with the current loyalty card scheme: 'stamps' for each visit which give you 25% or 50% off or a completely free treatment for a full card. I have reviewed the system, and feel on the whole it has worked well - the previous scheme only suited a few clients, whereas the new scheme benefits all my ongoing clients. Most people choose to wait until they have a full card and love the feeling of having a session completely free; but a few clients have also appreciated the option to take a 25% discount or a 50% discount if they are feeling particularly tight for money at that time. 

However on review, and noticing that some clients always have a shorter session and get one stamp, whereas others always have a longer session and get 2 stamps, I feel it would be fairer to give everyone 1 stamp per visit, regardless of the length of their session; so that some clients are not being rewarded a free session in half the time it takes others to receive one. 

So, in future its simplified, 1 session = 1 stamp. 

The time of the free treatment is the same as your usual session; if the length of session you have varies, it will be the average of your treatment sessions. If in doubt, I'll round up. :) 

Monday, 29 April 2013

New Reflexology Testimonial

Just received this lovely email - which I have permission to share:

"I must write to let you know that you are a MIRACLE WORKER!  From the minute you finished my reflexology treatment on Monday I have not have any lower back ache nor any muscle spasms in my left rib area which I'd been experiencing from either the bed or the armchair at the holiday cottage in Alnwick.  Fantastic.  Thought I'd wait a few days to make sure.  And I'm away in a hotel with my Mum so not even in my own bed and I'm back to my normal self.

Thank you! Best wishes, Penny"

Penny had earlier given me the following review on Free Index:

"I have visited Ceri at Holistyx for reflexology. She conducted a very thorough review of my health and my reasons for trying reflexology for the first time. A few days after my very first visit I realised that I no longer had the extremely annoying throat clearing cough I've had for over 40 years. It had been such an ever present part of my life I'd forgotten to mention it during the health review. It is over a month since my first visit and I'm about to have my third treatment and the cough has not returned. It's amazing! The sessions I've had have been extremely relaxing and I leave with a great sense of well-being. They are going to be a regular part of my keeping healthy regime." Penny Park


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Being Ethical and ESTA: Ethical Small Traders Association

I joined The Ethical Small Traders Association - ESTA - in January. ESTA is a framework for mutual benefit and co-operation between local self-employed people and small businesses who are committed to environmental sustainability and community well-being. For the prosperity and common good of the wider community and a sustainable local economy in the Lancaster area. This has prompted me to share with you some of the ways in which I strive to be an ethical business. As a condition of joining ESTA, all members agree to a quadruple 'Bottom Line' as an ethos. I have used the four 'Bottom Lines' as headers for my own ethical commitments. 

Economic Development:
Participating in and creating opportunities for collaborations with and support to other ethical local businesses, community groups and projects to work towards local wealth and wellbeing in an ethical way. Eg through participating in ESTA and co-ordinating and participating in the FHT LLSG

Environmental Care and Sustainability:

  • Reducing my carbon footprint
  • Not using a car myself, and minimising transport miles on the products I buy.
  • Reducing,  reusing, recycling, composting as much as possible: I have made fleece sheets and wraps to use in place of paper where possible for hygiene; my couch roll is recycled paper or sourced from managed forests with minimal bleaching; most of my furniture I bought or traded pre-owned. 
  • Reducing energy usage 
  • The skin care products I use are as much as possible pure and simple, natural, organic naturally farmed or wild-crafted, fairtrade, free of human made chemicals, non-toxic, not tested on animals, and have not undergone processes with by products or effects that are harmful to the environment. I have one non-vegan product, a balm containing beeswax. 

Social development, Wellbeing and Inclusiveness:

  • High quality work, high quality customer care.
  • Keeping the wellbeing and welfare of clients and prospective clients as a top priority at all times, in particular in regard to promoting health. 
  • Accessibility and non-discrimination - I do not discriminate on grounds of sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry/ national or ethnic origin ('race'), religion creed or belief. Age - for babies, infants and young children, and the very elderly, I may refer you to someone with more training and experience with those age groups. Disability - it depends on the issues - I will do my best to be accessible but I may recommend you go to someone with more training, experience or specialist equipment, resources or support where there is good reason to do so. If you have mobility issues, for example are a wheelchair user - be aware that there are steps at my door at the back of the property. However if this is the only obstacle to me providing you an accessible service I can arrange for use of the front door.
  • Openness and honesty in person and in my marketing.
  • Listening to my clients and adapting my service to their needs where appropriate.
  • Awareness of limits to my scope of practice - where appropriate recommending or referring to others.
  • Good practice in care and safeguarding of minors, elders and vulnerable people.

Personal well-being and ongoing Personal Development:

Developing social, networking and educational opportunities and relationships, groups and communities that support them. Engage in ongoing learning and personal and professional development and enabling others to do so. 
Eg through the creation and co-ordination of the FHT LLSG  which supports practitioners in the fields of complementary health care, holistic beauty and sports therapy, and puts on talks, and demonstrations, on a broad range of topics and practices.

More info on The Ethical Small Traders Association and the Fourfold Botttom Line at

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

FreeIndex ratings, reviews and rankings: 2nd out of 449 UK Therapeutic Masseurs!

I just went on my profile on the Free Index online listings website, and noticed that thanks to reviews and ratings submitted by customers, I have a rosette, a 'Recommended' rating, and I am now ranked 2nd out of 449 UK Therapeutic Masseurs!

Here's the last review submitted on the 19th Feb which must have sent me right up in their listings. :)

"I have visited Ceri at Holistyx for reflexology. She conducted a very thorough review of my health and my reasons for trying reflexology for the first time. A few days after my very first visit I realised that I no longer had the extremely annoying throat clearing cough I've had for over 40 years. It had been such an ever present part of my life I'd forgotten to mention it during the health review. It is over a month since my first visit and I'm about to have my third treatment and the cough has not returned. It's amazing! The sessions I've had have been extremely relaxing and I leave with a great sense of well-being. They are going to be a regular part of my keeping healthy regime." Penny Park.

I am so grateful to all the people who have taken the time to review me on FreeIndex, and proud that from my 10 reviewers, 1 person gave me 4.3 stars, 1 gave me 4.7 stars, while 8 people gave me a full 5 stars.  :D

Friday, 25 January 2013

Changed Length of Sessions: Reflexology for new clients and Indian back, Neck and Head

The Short Version:

I've decided to make 2 changes to my session lengths and corresponding prices.
One has gone up, one has gone down.

A Reflexology Initial session - ie for a new client - was an hour for £29. It is now longer at an hour and a 1/4, and has therefore gone up to £34.

An Indian Upper Back, Neck and Head massage was 45 minutes for £23. It is now shorter at 35 minutes, and is therefore now only £20.

Want to know why? Read on...


The Long Version: 

When I trained, we were taught to do most treatments, from a Swedish full body massage to an Indian Head Massage to a session of Reflexology in an hour, including consultation + aftercare time as this was the industry standard, particularly in spa's where bookings where made in hourly blocks, and it was emphasized to us that employers would expect us to stick strictly to that time. The exception to this was Aromatherapy full body massage where time would be between an hour and half to 2 hours.

I worked for myself right from the start so could decide for myself the length of treatments. It didn't take me long to decide that most people needed longer than an hour session to get a decent Swedish full body massage, especially on a first visit with a full consultation needing to be done before the person got on the couch. But even on subsequent visits - I particularly feel that the 15-20 mins allocated to the back is just not being long enough for most people. So I offer options of an hour and a 1/4 or an hour and a 1/2.

I also do not include receiving payment, getting feedback on the effects of the treatment, and booking a clients next appointment in the session time. I allow enough time between one appointment and the next to do this in a relaxed way which is a gentle transition from the relaxation of the session. I wouldn't want to be harrying people out the door in order to be punctual for the next client waiting to come in!

So that's the preamble, I guess.


I've offered shorter and longer sessions, but always recommended an hour as an initial session, and as the standard session length. I've always had some clients where their initial session felt shorter than ideal. As well as the fact that more time is taken up on a first visit with the consultation, with new feet, you are getting to know them and how sensitive they are in general, and where there are places that are sensitive or even painful. It is necessary to proceed with caution and only increasing pressure once you know it is ok to do so, to avoid pressing suddenly too firmly on a painful spot! But for some people an hour was enough, and for those where it felt cut short, more often than not they came back again a week or so later, and any areas not thoroughly worked on that first visit could then be thoroughly worked.

However I have been increasingly feeling that I should increase the length of the initial session. I myself have been regularly receiving an hour and a half or longer of Reflexology, and giving the same in return to a local Reflexologist colleague and friend. It never feels too long! I hesitated because making the session longer would also increase the fee - from £29 to £34. I have reviewed the charges of other Reflexologists in Lancaster and the wider area and though it varies, I note that 2 people in Lancaster charge £35 for an hour, and one charges £38 for an hour.

So... I have decided to make the initial session an hour and a 1/4 for £34 so I can work the feet thoroughly but with care and time to release any discomfort and to enable my client to relax fully. After which people can have the choice of a shorter session of an hour for £29 or even 45 minutes for £23, or keep having an hour and a 1/4 session.

More info on Reflexology here.

Indian Head Massage

I wanted to make a cheaper option available for all the people who have tension in their upper back, around the shoulders and neck, and base of the skull. Or who mostly want a head massage. Who don't need a full back massage down to their lower back, and are happy to miss out the arms, face, and energy work part of a full Indian Head Massage. I've been working on some techniques working quite strongly and quickly around the shoulder blades in an upright seated position, even through clothes, meaning I don't need to leave the room for someone to get in a wrap towel AND it is unneccessary to get a client to lean forward onto pillows and bolsters for upper back work. I think I can do a good Back, Neck and Head massage in just 35 minutes, for which I am charging £20. Come and try it out!

More information on Indian Head Massage here.