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Clare Minter Therapies Reflexology, Fertility & Maternity Reflexology, Facial Reflexology and Zone Face Lift
Saffron Walden, Essex

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Blog. Power of water

The healing power of water


Looking at water (or 'blue space) doesn't place any demands on the brain and surveys have shown that those living near the coast tend to have better mental health.

In 2014, marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols, came up with the concept of 'blue mind' - the idea that being near water makes us happier, more connected and better at what we do.

He felt that this was an antidote to 'red mind' - an over-stimulated, anxious state - that modern life encourages.

There are so many ways that water can boost your health and wellbeing…

  • Getting outdoors and connecting with nature has a physiological effect on the body and can help reduce stress... Close proximity to water will amplify the benefits, so taking a walk by a river, lake or canal can be a simple way to help you feel calmer.

  • If the beach is your happy place, even a day-trip will ensure you get your dose of 'Vitamin Sea'! You can get away from the crowds on the seven mile stretch of Holkham beach in north Norfolk, but get an early start to make the most of the day - and ensure a parking space!

  • Swimming is great all-round exercise and is crucially non-weight bearing - so especially suitable if you have joint problems. If you've been looking for an activity to help you get fitter, perhaps shed a few pounds AND increase your mobility, this could be the one for you!

  • It’s been found that water-based activities can reduce levels of depression and anxiety and ‘wild’ swimming has been gaining in popularity for just that reason! Head to www.wildswimming.co.uk to find out more. For a gentler alternative, paddle boarding (once you've mastered it!) can be very therapeutic.

  • Why not while away a sunny afternoon on a riverbank or at the side of a lake? You could even hire a rowing boat or canoe/kayak and get out onto the water… If you’re near Cambridge, punting is one of my very favourite things to do, but always pay extra for someone to do the hard work for you. Trying to propel a punt yourself is NOT very relaxing!

  • A warm bath can be an easy way to unwind before bed-time and may encourage a more peaceful night's sleep. The feeling of water on the skin evokes feelings of security (memories of being in the womb) and helps to ease muscle tension and chronic pain. Ladies, perhaps you opted to spend time during labour in a birthing pool, for just that reason?

  • A 'mindful' morning shower will help ease you gently into the day... Enjoy the sensation of warm water trickling over your skin, inhale the fragrance of your body-wash or shampoo and visualise all your worries being washed away down the plug-hole.

  • Studies have shown that just looking at water is enough to evoke feelings of calm. So why not change your screen saver to a beach or other water-themed image, to help you feel more 'zen-like' throughout the day?

  • And last but not least, drinking water regularly throughout the day, will ensure that your body systems work more efficiently and you’ll keep a clearer head!

    #thepowerofwater #bluespace #vitaminsea

Blog. WFH

Setting boundaries


Do you ever feel truly relaxed?

Perhaps you feel guilty about sitting down to watch your favourite Netflix series or read a book!

Sadly, attitudes towards rest have changed and being busy now seems to be a badge of honour. With many of us now working from home (and maybe for the foreseeable future), work and personal life may have become blurred…

You could be working later in the evenings - or logging on earlier in the day. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that relationships with others in your home have become strained?

Well if so, it’s time to reset some boundaries! .

These tips will enable you re-establish your personal space…

  • Switch your laptop on and off at a designated time each day - and turn off notifications on all your mobile devices.

  • Close the door of your ‘office’ or take your laptop and work things to another room, so that you aren’t constantly being reminded of work tasks, during the evening or at weekends.

  • Build small restful moments into your daily routine - 10 minutes spent reading (or daydreaming) while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil can make a positive difference!

  • Always take a lunch break. Research has shown that you’ll be more productive in the afternoon if you take one!

  • Don’t wait to finish a demanding piece of work before ‘rewarding’ yourself with a cup of tea or coffee. A German study found that having a drink before starting a task will help you work more efficiently.

  • Taking a short micro-break of 5 minutes, once an hour, will actually improve your levels of concentration. But don’t check your phone - close your eyes or look at what’s going on outside the window instead!

  • Before finishing work for the day, always write a ‘To Do’ list for the following one.

  • Bear in mind that rest doesn’t have to be carried out sitting down... Exercise can be a great way of unwinding for some people - a 15 minute walk (or run) or 15 minutes of gardening may be just right for you.

What’s most important is that you find your own prescription for rest - whatever makes you relax and ‘switch off’ (even if that IS watching Netflix) - and remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup!

#settingboundaries #selfcareisntselfish #workingfromhomeproblems

Blog. Walk

Walking for wellness


A huge effect of lockdown, is that we’re walking more!

I’ve covered more miles over the last twelve months than ever before and I always come back feeling brighter, more energised and with a renewed sense of perspective. I’ve also discovered so much more about my local area, although I’ve been living here for over fifteen years!

Walking has SOOO many health benefits - it strengthens your heart, burns calories, improves joint flexibility, lowers blood sugar and boosts your immune response. It can also have a massive impact on your emotional wellbeing and it can help to lift low mood and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Solitary strolls (with maybe your pooch for company) are always therapeutic, but going with a companion can have even more benefits... Have you noticed that when you walk with someone else, you always seem to fall into step?

Studies have shown that when two people walk together, their brain activity actually synchronises... This creates deeper social connection - so going for a stroll with a friend is pretty much like having a physically distanced hug!

Here are some other top tips for getting the most out of your walk...

  • If you find it hard to ‘switch off’, establish a rhythm as soon as you step out... Breathe in for four steps, hold your breath for four steps and exhale for four steps. Not only will this encourage you to focus, you’ll soon let go of any anxious thoughts and start noticing what’s going on around you.

  • If you usually stick to the same route, walk it in reverse - you'll notice different things and it could make your workout easier (or harder). I prefer to go uphill earlier in my walk, rather than on the way back!

  • Take your time and enjoy observing nature in micro. I take photos of any new wildflowers/trees/insects I discover and look them up when I get home. So I'm always educating myself too!

  • Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. We’re lucky to have a herd of local deer and sometimes spot pheasants, hares, buzzards and red kites - but I also love watching more common birds (such as rooks or bluetits) who are busily building their nests at the moment.

  • You can carry on walking year-round and, let’s face it, it’s one of the easiest ways to stay fit and active. Even in the Winter months, there’s usually something to see!

I find that getting outdoors for a daily walk, gives me a chance to see the bigger picture...

And whatever’s going on in our lives right now, the natural world remains reassuringly constant!

#walkingforwellness #stayactivestayhealthy

Blog. Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep


Struggling to get a good night’s sleep?

You may be finding it harder to ‘drop off’, waking in the early hours or be disturbed by more vivid dreams than usual... Or perhaps you’re experiencing the joys of hot flushes or night sweats (if you’re perimenopausal)!

Sadly, sleep deprivation can become habitual and progress to the more chronic condition of insomnia. This puts strain on the immune system and may make you more susceptible to poor physical and emotional health.

The following tips may help encourage a better sleep pattern and improve your overall wellbeing…

  • Make sure that your bedroom isn’t too warm and leave a window slightly open, to allow fresh air to circulate (especially if you are perimenopausal).

  • Check that your bedroom is dark enough... Street-lamps and car headlights can disturb you and lighter mornings will soon be here! Black-out blinds/curtains may make a big difference.

  • Caffeine is a hyper-stimulant, so avoid it in any form after 12 noon, as it may actually stop you getting to sleep!

  • Have a warm milky drink before bedtime... Milk contains a naturally occurring chemical called tryptophan, which has sleep-inducing qualities.

  • A relaxing bath in the evening (warm - not hot) will encourage you to unwind and slow down all body systems, in preparation for sleep.

  • Keeping TVs (and screens in general) out of the bedroom, will ensure that it’s seen as a designated room for sleep. Watch any news programmes earlier in the evening, as they have an unsettling effect and can commonly contribute to sleep problems!

  • Do your work-out in the morning or around lunchtime. Exercise encourages a rise in body temperature, which can impact your ability to fall asleep. Activities like yoga or tai chi can be beneficial later in the day, as they’ll encourage your mind and body to relax.

  • Turn off all tech at least an hour before bedtime (some research studies suggest two hours). The light emitted by devices interferes with brain chemistry, making it a struggle to ‘switch off’.

  • Don’t keep your phone next to your bed - leave it at the other end of the room (or better still in a different room)! And if you wake up in the night, NEVER use it to check the time... Invest in a good old-fashioned alarm clock instead!

  • If you wake in the early hours, don’t just lie there... Get up, have a drink (non-caffeinated) and read/watch TV in another room for around 15 minutes, before returning  to bed. The action of getting into the cosy warmth may be enough to help you drift off again!

  • If insomnia has become a real problem, your natural circadian rhythm (body clock) will need resetting... Natural light (particularly morning) will help stimulate melatonin production - the hormone that’s responsible for good quality sleep. So get into the habit of going for an early walk or eating your breakfast by a bright window!

  • To re-establish a good sleep/wake routine, go to bed and get up at around the same time - even at weekends!

    Please be patient, as it can often take a while to re-establish a healthy sleep cycle... Reflexology has been proven to aid more restful sleep, so if you’d like to banish those disrupted nights for good, why not give it a try!

    #insomnia #peacefulsleep #sleepawarenessweek

  • Blog. Mindful eating

    Mindful eating


    Have your eating habits changed during ‘lockdown’?

    More time spent at home may have led to cravings for 'comfort' foods or an over-reliance on caffeine!

    You may be getting up later (as you're no longer commuting), but does this mean that you're skipping breakfast and getting by on coffee until lunch-time? Or maybe you're having lunch in front of a computer screen and your evening meal on your lap in front of the TV?

    'Mindful eating' is all about reintroducing some healthy habits that'll put you back in control of your diet - and your life!

    Becoming more mindful about food can help relieve symptoms of stress, promote good digestion, encourage you to make wiser food choices (great if you're trying to shed a few pounds) and contribute to your overall sense of wellbeing!

    Here's how you do it...

    • ALWAYS take a lunch break, even if it's just for 20 minutes - but 60 would be better! Did you know that taking a break has been proven to make you more productive?

    • Unplug from technology whenever you're eating - step away from all screens and focus your attention on your food.

    • Prepare your food with care - think about how you're preparing it and the ingredients you're using... Let's face it, many of tend to cook the same things every week, so why not find some new simple recipes to spark your interest again?

    • Give yourself enough time to enjoy your food. If it's taking you a little longer to munch through your salad, take a few extra minutes - WITHOUT feeling guilty!

    • Engage all five of your senses when preparing and eating your food - observe aromas, textures, sounds, flavours and colours. You'll probably enjoy it a lot more!

    • Sit down for a family meal as often as you can - sit at a table (not in front of the TV) and let the conversation flow! Even if you're only able to get everyone together at the weekends, it's so valuable to spend quality time together and will instil good eating patterns for younger members!

    #healthyeating #mindfuleating #wellbeing

    Blog. Cloudwatching

    The benefits of cloud gazing


    Remember how good it feels to lay back on warm grass or soft sand and watch fluffy clouds drifting gently across a deep blue sky?

    I'm sure we've all done this on holiday (remember those!), but many of us don’t look at the sky all that much, especially when we’re stuck indoors during the winter months!

    But did you know that cloud watching can have a powerful and beneficial effect upon your emotional wellbeing?

    Spending just 10 minutes looking up at the sky and studying the clouds (even through the window, on a gloomy day) is a simple way to introduce some ‘mindfulness’ into your life.

    The many benefits of cloud gazing include...

    • With increasingly more of our time taken up by looking at screens, valuable short breaks will allow the brain to 'reboot'!

    • Watching cloud formations encourages the use of the imagination - just notice all those wonderful shapes! What pictures can you see?

    • Your breathing may slow down - it's a wonderful way to relieve stress.

    • Your eyes may thank you for it - focusing on distant objects may help to ease eye strain (those screens again)!

    But most importantly, watching the clouds helps you regain a sense of perspective and will leave you feeling calmer and more centred!

    #emotionalhealth #perspective #wellbeing

    Blog. Mimulus

    Feeling anxious about lockdown easing?


    If the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has left you feeling anxious, you’re not alone!

    Whilst there are those who cannot wait for the schools to reopen and restrictions to ease, many others are struggling with the thought of lockdown lifting...

    If you’re worried about the safety of loved ones (or yourself) or are uneasy about what the future holds, please remember that those feelings are normal. After all, for almost a year we’ve been told that it’s unsafe to leave our homes and mix with others!

    So even though you’re desperately missing your old life and want it to return, you can understand why you may be feeling a little apprehensive right now!

    It's going to take a while to adjust, but if you're struggling, I can highly recommend the Bach Flower Remedy, Mimulus.

    Widely available, it’s one of my favourite flower essences and a wonderful remedy to use during the current pandemic, because it helps tackle known fears and feelings of uncertainty...

      If you’ve not used flower essences before, you’ll just need to pop 2 drops from the remedy bottle into a glass of filtered water and sip it throughout the day. Alternatively you can drop a couple of drops directly from the pipette onto your tongue, morning and evening!

    Flower essences work on a deep vibrational level and gently dissolve away negative emotions - in this case replacing fear with courage and positivity. After a few days use, I hope that you’ll be left feeling calmer and less preoccupied with those worries!

    I love working with flower essences to support my clients and offer bespoke remedy bottles (containing up to seven different essences), to help restore emotional balance!

    #mentalhealth #flowerremedies #wellbeing

    Blog. Indoorplants

    Bringing the outdoors in!


    Getting outdoors can make us feel so much better!

    But did you know that bringing a little of the outdoors in, can have the same powerful and positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing?

    Just the act of nurturing a plant, helps to encourage feelings of calm and smelling or touching the leaves can have a strong physiological effect.

    Houseplants release oxygen during the day and reabsorb carbon dioxide overnight, helping to remove potentially harmful toxins from the home... In fact NASA research has shown that some can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours!

    I’ve never been the most green-fingered indoor gardener (I usually forget to water), but I’m managing to keep several Peace Lilies (Spathiophyllum) alive!

    They are so forgiving and instantly perk up when I give them a drink - and they are actually one of the very best indoor plants for purifying the air!

    Studies have also shown that houseplants help improve concentration AND improve productivity - great to know if you’re currently working from home!

    So, as well as brightening up your home, turns out that keeping indoor plants could be one of the simplest ways to improve your emotional and physical wellbeing!

    #thepowerofplants #greenfingers #mentalhealth

    Blog. Eric

    Case Study - Peripheral Neuropathy


    Reflexology sessions are a wonderful way to relax and 'switch off', but for those suffering with more challenging health conditions, treatments can be an important step on their road to recovery.
    Here is Eric’s story...

      ”Following a diagnosis of cancer, I had six months of chemo and then stem cell replacement - which included a major dose of chemo. After this I was at a very low point in my life, as the chemo had caused peripheral nerve damage, which resulted in me being unable to sleep at night and in constant pain in my lower legs and more so my feet.

      I was advised by my specialist that reflexology would help and this was where my luck changed, as I was given a recommendation of the skills of Clare. Having never tried reflexology, I was a little unsure as to what benefit I would get, but was open minded and eager to do whatever i could to help myself at this difficult time.

      After my first consultation - when a full explanation was given of reflexology - I realised that I would be getting a lot more from this, as it was a far more complex issue than I’d realised and needed the wide range of skills that Clare has.

      After my second treatment I started to see some improvement in my condition and this continued at a steady rate over the following weeks. The advice given on how to change my lifestyle and ways of coping were absolutely amazing and all appear to have helped in the overall progress I’ve made.

      I have now done so well under this treatment that my peripheral nerve damage has healed and I am back to a full night’s sleep, which is such a relief after only being able to manage one or two hours a night. I am so glad that I got a recommendation for reflexology and more so for Clare, as the end results of this treatment have made such a difference to my life.”

    Eric continues to come along for ‘maintenance’ treatments, as he feels they make such a difference to his quality of life. I’m delighted that his symptoms have reduced and that reflexology has made such a beneficial impact on his overall wellbeing!

    Reflexology never claims to cure, but works by encouraging the body's own natural healing mechanisms to take place.

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