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9th October 2015 

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10th September 2015

Recently I've been turning my attention to areas of counselling where I would like to gain more knowledge - brief therapy for example and working with clients who have more serious mental health issues, many more of whom are presenting to counsellors via charitable organisations such as those with which I am involved, due to the serious and increasing under-provision within the NHS.

With these and other clients in mind, I have also been thinking about the potential benefits of combining reflexology and counselling in a more formal way and have therefore decided to offer integrated reflexology and counselling sessions for those who are interested. This approach will comprise weekly sessions that will include 30 minutes of reflexology followed by 50 minutes of counselling. Of course, separate reflexology and counselling sessions will always be available as well.

Reflexology is known to offer relief from tension and anxiety and is conducive to improved mood and relaxation. Stress, anxiety and other psychological issues frequently manifest as physical symptoms, which relaxation may help to ease. Thus, using reflexology before counselling may improve its efficacy and the speed at which it is found to be effective by reducing discomfort and enhancing a sense of safety. In this kind of environment there is the potential for a more rapid development of the therapeutic relationship and for clients to be able to more readily reach the thoughts and feelings that they may need to explore. This would expedite the process of change, healing and development, just as is often seen with more commonly used creative approaches such as art, drama and storytelling.

14th August 2015

Free from studies - wonderful! Now I can focus on other things for a while, including business promotion and the general administrative back log but most importantly, having some fun ... getting some PLAYTIME back into my life. My research into the use of creative and play-based activities in counselling reminded me how important it is to incorporate time for creativity and play into daily life - and how lacking that has been for me over the last few months.

So I'm going to get creative in the garden (once I've got destructive with the weeds) and take every opportunity to escape in our camper van, to the sea if possible. We have just got back from Cornwall where we watched with awe the spectacular seas at Porth Leven.

On the reflexology front, I have been using some VRT techniques to good effect with a number of clients recently. VRT is an incredibly effective form of weight-bearing reflexology in which the therapeutic response often appears to be quicker; this may be because the nerves and reflexes are more highly activated when weight-bearing. VRT may help intransigent conditions, especially those related to muscle and joint issues including undefined back pain and sports injuries. Classical reflexology and VRT are usually combined to optimise benefit, maybe regulating sleep patterns and encouraging deeper relaxation. VRT were first described by Lynne Booth nearly twenty years ago - see her website for further information on these helpful techniques.

2nd May 2015

Today I attended a thought-provoking workshop on trauma and traumatic bereavement, led by Tony Buckley. His focus was on the embodiment of emotional trauma in the form of physical feelings, such as panic attacks, pain and digestive disorders - and the role that the Vagus nerve, which innervates all organs and a significant range of muscles - has to play in the mind-body connection.

In a couple of weeks I will be going to another workshop: Understanding Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), led by Jenny Hope-Spencer. She writes,

"We can be physically well but not have a sense of well-being - or experience well-being when physically unwell. Feeling 'out of balance' is an internal process that can affect our physical well-being, manifesting with psychosomatic disorders, stress, tension, anxiety and depression.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has steadily figured more in healthcare since the 2nd century Romans noticed a link between depressed states of mind and cancer. Towards the end of the 20th century, science began to prove a link between immune system response to stress, the endocrine (hormonal) system and the nervous system.

As the name implies PNI links the psyche - emotional response to the environment and perceived sense of self - with the nervous, endocrine and immune system response to stress and tension.

Although considered a clinical science, PNI encompasses holistic principles of body, mind and spirit, demonstrating how physical health is underpinned with emotional and mental resourcefulness, resilience and behavioural coping strategies."

At the workshop, she will be explaining how reflexology may be used as a powerful tool to re-balance the body/mind and aid relaxation by relieving stress and tension, enhancing homeostasis (internal environmental balance).

We are getting ever-closer to a comprehensive and scientifically robust explanation of how body therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture produce benefits to our health and well-being, which feels not only very exciting but also affirming of the work that so many of us are carrying out, often in the face of opposition from some quarters the conventional medical establishment.

6th April 2015

Hello on this beautifully sunny spring morning. I hope you have had a very happy Easter! I spent time in the garden yesterday but mostly I have been incarcerated with my laptop, transcribing interviews for my counselling dissertation - a tedious but necessary process. My neck and shoulders are stiff from working so long at the computer so I plan to have a wonderful back and shoulder massage soon, with the brilliant Christine Southwell of South Downs Massage. In the meantime, I have been engaging in some therapeutic laughter watching the film 'Paddington', which I was given as an Easter present (because I eat far too much chocolate already!). And last week I had a reflexology treatment myself from friend and colleague Samantha Hardwick at Time Out Massage in Haslemere - so relaxing. Today I will be out in the sunshine, listening to the birds singing, feet bare on the fresh new grass as I plan the interior of my VW van which is about to go off to the convertors for transformation into a camper - and planning my summer escapes. So, lots of much-needed self-care happening too ... I hope you are also able to make time to take care of yourself ..

12th February 2015

I've just come across a very interesting and informative article on reflexology and sleep, written by the developer of VRT, Lynne Booth. I thought I'd share it with you as so many of us have trouble sleeping sometimes and the effects may be so debilitating. Follow this link to visit the page and read the article ...

5th January 2015

Happy New Year! The spa suite, which includes a dry sauna, private shower room, sundeck and relaxation room, is now open. It will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays. Hopefully, the hot tub will also be available very soon ...

29th November 2014

Winter really seems to have arrived at last, if not with starry nights and frosty mornings, at least with short, dark, dank days. Spring’s promise can seem remote at this time of the year and it can be an effort to leave the fireside or your cosy armchair ...

But if you would like to put some spring into your step and ward off Winter’s ills do come along and see me for some reflexology – it is particularly good to reconnect with special friends at this time of the year.

I even have a new portable light therapy unit which can be used for an energising, mood enhancing light bath while you relax and enjoy your usual reflexology session. This might be especially helpful if you are a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

On a slightly more serious note, I am now also a practising counsellor and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. I would be very happy to talk to you about counselling if that is something that you feel you would like to explore.

Time is running short to squeeze in reflexology appointments before Christmas – I have just taken a booking for 18th December!

I am about to place a final order for essential oils and base products in time for last minute Christmas orders so do let me know if there is anything you need for yourself or for gifts – roller balls make great stocking fillers and salt or sugar scrubs are popular presents. A little of the magical Blend 1 in your favourite product may just be the stress-buster you need in order to survive the festive season.

And of course, gift vouchers are always available.

After Christmas, you will also be able to book private use of the new Autumndale Therapies spa suite which includes a dry sauna, private shower room, outdoor hot tub, sundeck and relaxation room. This will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays and you are welcome to come along and see the facilities if you would like to see what’s on offer – just phone ahead to make sure that I’m around.

14th September 2014

So it's official - I'm now a fully qualified humanistic counsellor! What does that mean, I hear you ask? Humanistic psychology has been called the 'Third Way' in relation to psychotherapeutic work because it does not focus on past events and unconscious processes, as in psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapy; or on how thoughts might influence behaviour, as in CBT - cognitive-behavioural therapy; it focuses on the unique experience of each individual and is underpinned by the belief that everybody, no matter what their circumstances or stage in life, has an innate tendency towards growth and development. The humanistic counsellor aims to support clients along their personal development journey by offering a safe, non-judgemental relationship where they may explore any issues - thoughts, feelings, circumstances - that are of concern to them. Humanistic counsellors are generally non-directive and client-led, encouraging autonomy and personal choice. If you feel that you might like to find out a bit more about humanistic counselling or if you think you might like to make an exploratory appointment, please get in touch. I hope to take on a very small number of counselling clients and gradually begin to build a private practice, whilst continuing my studies to degree level over the next year. But fear not! I will also be continuing my work as a reflexologist and essential oils consultant.

Very many of you are now using my therapeutic rollerballs, especially one for sleeping. To make life easier for you, I am now able to post your products to you if you would like to order via email (which you can do directly from this website, by clicking on the words 'click here to email' at the top of any page).

8th June 2014

Back at last, having finally emerged from counselling diploma related studies! Just one month and one assignment to go ... despite the hard work, I've really enjoyed the course and made some very special friends. We've studied the Person-Centred and Gestalt approaches as well as Transactional Analysis, relationship counselling and working with children. We've also looked at human psychological development and the development of psychotherapy from Jung and the Freuds, through Klein, Winnicott, Bowlby, Maslow, Rogers et al to contemporary therapists and researchers. Another significant part of the course has been our own personal development, through journal-writing, personal counselling and experiential group work - and then of course there has been preparation for client work - including ethical guidance and legal requirements - many skills practices, 100+ hours of 1:1 client work and supervision sessions. I have also completed an additional 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course. No wonder my reflexology blog has fallen by the wayside! Once I have my diploma I will be able to see private clients for counselling although I will continue with my voluntary placements to gain more experience.

This does not mean that the reflexology and essential oil therapy will be abandoned though ... I have continued to see reflexology clients throughout and the essential oil products are selling steadily. Over the summer, I would like to look at the possibility of setting-up an online shop for some of the most popular products, although this is fraught with difficulties as each product offered for general sale has to have a compliance certificate ...

Developments are afoot here at Autumndale too - I'm hoping that I may be able to offer 'spa' sessions soon, with use of our luxurious hot tub in its beautiful and secluded setting along with a soon-to-be installed sauna. Watch this space!

16th January 2014

Personal health budgets update from the CNHC:

'In our January 2013 newsupdate we provided information about the results of the evaluation of the government’s personal health budgets pilots across England. A personal health budget is a way for patients who receive NHS continuing health care (NHS CHC) to access a personal budget so they can have greater levels of control over how their agreed care is provided.

In November 2012 the government confirmed its earlier commitment that people receiving NHS CHC in England would have the ‘right to ask’ for a personal health budget, including a direct payment, from April 2014.

In October 2013 Norman Lamb, Minister of State at the Department of Health, announced that the measures will be strengthened further by ensuring that from October 2014 those people who are entitled to a ‘right to ask’ will also be entitled to a ‘right to have’ a personal health budget.

Patients in this position will be able to request complementary therapies (such as reflexology) if they are considered as meeting a legitimate health need.

For further information about personal health budgets see the Department of Health website.'

6th January 2014

We survived the storms and returned safely from our New Year staying with friends in Cornwall on Saturday. I hope your festive season has been a happy time ... I am now looking forward to getting back to work and seeing clients, old and new in 2014. On New Year's day I received an email from Mindfulness teacher, Barbara Boxhall in which she offers this thought-provoking and timely message:

'For most people, today heralds thoughts of new beginnings, resolutions and a little reflection on how we would like to see the new year unfolding. This is often ruefully based on what happened the previous year and all the stuff we wish hadn't happened. Resolutions keep us stuck and unhappy. Resolutions hook us in to that gap between what is and how we think things should be. We get mesmerised by the gap and our resolutions whether quite simple and clear 'I've got to lose weight, so cut down on sugar!' or much more subtle and pervasive 'I've got to be a better person' - keep us striving, dissatisfied and less loving to ourselves and others.

Instead of a resolution to change, how about being where you are right now - with kind and open curiosity to all the failings and with all the capacities that you are in this moment? No striving, just allowing. Now that is transformation at the deepest level!'

Follow this link to visit Barbara's website, www.dailymindfulness ...

24th December 2013

Hello - on this rain-soaked and blustery Christmas Eve!

Wishing you peace and joy at Christmastime and a new year filled with the light of love and friendship, health and happiness,

With the Very Warmest of Wishes,


22nd December 2013

Essential oil products have been a new venture for me in 2013, after doing some extra training in the use of therapeutic blends as well as product-making, in 2012. The bespoke products have become more and more popular throughout the year and December has been particularly busy as many of you have been buying the products as gifts too (and I have been making lots of gifts for my own friends and family). The more I make, the more I learn as I spend time researching the essential oil blends themselves along with the base products and carrier oils, in order to write the information sheet which accompanies each product, which I know you all like to have included.

The runaway successes this year have been the Therapeutic Rollerballs at 7.50 for each 10ml bottle. I have made-up ones to combat insomnia, stress, insects, menopause symptoms, colds and 'flu, nausea, headaches, low mood and fatigue and have had a lot of positive feedback and repeat orders.

Next year, I am cautiously predicting that my Body Scrubs, also 7.50 but for a refillable 500g jar, will become bathroom essentials.

A body scrub is a popular (and often expensive) spa treatment. My scrubs may be used like ordinary bath salts, in a foot bath or as a whole body, hand or foot scrub.

They are moisturising and restorative and are exfoliating if used as a scrub applied by hand, with a flannel, loofah mitts or a shower puff.

They usually contain a mixture of Epsom Salts and Dead Sea Salt plus coconut oil and a very small quantity of essential oils - but, of course, as with any product that I make, the ingredients may be tailored to suit the individual who will be using it; for example, sugar may be substituted for the salt or sweet almond oil for the coconut oil ... the possibilities are endless and exciting!

Both of the salts are said to have beneficial effects: Epsom salts (because of its high magnesium content) on many internal processes of the body including joint function – the magnesium is absorbed through the skin during scrubbing or soaking; and Dead Sea salts on the skin, especially where there are conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

Coconut oil is a rich oil to use on the skin and is wonderful to use in the bath having natural dispersant properties. It helps the skin to naturally control its oil secretions and most importantly, its application on the skin after washing with soap or shower gel helps the skin to quickly and naturally restore its pH level to 5.5 without blocking pores. It's best not to wash with soap after using the scrub as the oils will quickly be absorbed by the skin, leaving it feeling silky soft.

5th December 2013

This Saturday, 7th December, is “Small Business Saturday” the aim of which is to encourage everyone in the UK to support small businesses, both on the day and beyond – see for more information.

We have some fantastic small local businesses around here and maybe Christmastime provides a good reason to seek them out, to discover what they do and to try some of the excellent goods and services they provide - as gifts or to enrich our own lives in some way.

As part of this year’s Small Business Saturday event, there are two very special offers available from Autumndale Therapies, for orders placed this weekend only:

10 discount on all gift vouchers for reflexology sessions (usual price 35.00, discounted price 25.00 – an original gift idea or treat yourself and save it up for a treatment when the Christmas rush is over ...)

Any therapeutic rollerball for 5.00 instead of 7.50 (these make good stocking fillers or Secret Santa gifts and popular rollerballs include one to aid sleep, one for relaxation, one to encourage alertness and one to combat nausea – great for travel sickness. There are many other therapeutic possibilities for rollerballs – just ask!)

29th October 2013

We have just returned from a rejuvenating three day break in Gloucestershire - it's always good to re-charge the batteries before Winter sets in and we even timed it so that we were there when the clocks altered so we had an extra hour of relaxation time! We stayed in an idyllic country house, quintessentially English on the inside but with a hint of the Mediterranean about the outside, with its mellow terracotta-pink walls and abundant gardens, bursting with walnut, quince and fig trees. Our hosts, Melissa and Mark Hargreaves, could not have been more attentive, booking dinner tables for us, delivering delicious homemade cakes to our door and providing hot water bottles to warm our toes when we arrived home late! Highlights were excellent smoked Hebridean trout with creamy scrambled eggs for breakfast, trips to Hereford (Mappa Mundi, chained library and breath-taking stained glass in the cathedral) and Ledbury (full of fascinating independent shops), a heavenly massage from Grania Naish of Unfold Massage and a "rustic supper" (actually an intimate candlelit dinner) in front of a crackling log fire in the ballroom -we felt as if we had stepped into the set of Downton Abbey! Do take a look at the Pauntley Court website - perhaps you might be tempted to visit Melissa and Mark too ...

If you have no time for a short break away maybe you might think about fitting in a regular reflexology session to support you through the darker days ahead? Or using some immune-boosting essential oils, perhaps in the form of a Winter hand wash or shower gel - I can make these for you, especially to your requirements and of course, using only the kindest of ingredients - I look forward to seeing you soon!

2nd September 2013

September so soon ... but what a wonderful summer it's been this year. I am still looking out at sunshine and blue skies as I write (whilst listening to a grumpy husband trying to cajole our two recalcitrant lads into helping him tame an encroaching Leylandii hedge)! We managed to take a whole month off recently - never done that before ... We cleared our diaries and made a (long) list of all the things that needed doing around the house and garden. We haven't reached the end of it yet but have made good inroads and feel as good for making progress on the home front as if we had been away somewhere - probably more satisfied in fact.

I have been back working for a couple of weeks now, enjoying catching up with old clients and seeing new ones. Many regular clients take advantage of the discount offered when four sessions are paid for in advance (4 for 100) so my diary was busy straight away - although, with my flexible working hours I can usually squeeze extra appointments in without too much delay (but please note that I am not around next week because I will be having some minor surgery).

It is nearly Autumn and I was reminded of this when a friend said she was booked in for a 'flu' jab in a couple of weeks time. So I am off to boost my immune system by soaking up the last drops of summer sunshine and then having a reflexology session myself ...

5th July 2013

Time has flown since my last entry ... the end of May became quite stressful as, the day after the rugby final, my daughter was rushed into hospital with appendicitis so my restful half term holiday plans went awry - it must have been fate that led me to clear my diary for that week. There was still some outstanding college work (for my counselling diploma) to do too, the village picnic was fast approaching and I was about to start a new counselling placement - so I began to feel the pressure. I used reflexology, meditation, massage, Reiki and of course some of my own lovely essential oil blends to get me back to a more comfortable and contented place. Self-care, acceptance and patience have been key for me recently.

Going back to the essential oils, I have had some very positive results over the last month. My daughter found a roller ball containing the very feminine and healing combination of rose, ylang ylang, sweet marjoram, lemongrass and lavender incredibly comforting to use whilst she was in hospital. Later on in her recovery a lotion containing a blend especially designed to restore digestive balance seemed helpful. Her scalp became very flaky and itchy at this stage and a blend of oils designed to alleviate scalp conditions proved immediately effective when added to argan oil as a pre-wash treatment as well as to a very mild shampoo. This treatment worked well for another client too. I used the grounding, calming blend of basil, lavender, orange, roman chamomile, clary sage, ylang ylang, frankincense and sandalwood in a roller ball to help me through stressful moments and to aid sleep. Other clients are successfully using a specific blend for insomnia to great effect and I am getting plenty of repeat orders for this one as well as for a stimulating, awakening blend to use during the day - great for the car driver on long journeys!

26th May 2013

Lots to say today! Great weekend - went to Twickenham for the rugby final. Great atmosphere and exciting match - Tigers won against Saints, 34-17 - happy with that!

Nearly at the end of my first year of counselling training. Have been awarded a certificate of fitness to practice in supervised placements. It's been hard work and emotionally intense at times but also enjoyable and really worthwhile. Just one more written assignment to do then I can spend the summer getting going on my placement work and catching-up on reading - oh and perhaps finding time for a holiday too!

Essential oil products are proving popular - I can include the therapeutic oils in a number of products: roller balls, bath salts, creams, lotions, shower gel, shampoo, hand wash, massage oil. A roller ball for insomnia seems to be helping several clients at the moment. This is an effective and convenient way of delivering the therapeutic benefits of the oils. Other essential oil combinations that might be particularly helpful at this time of the year are an insect repellent and a hay fever relief.

Finally, if you live in Rake or nearby - don't forget the Rake Village Picnic next Sunday 2nd June, from 12.30pm at the village hall. Bring your own picnic (and tennis shoes - court will be open for play); bar by Flying Bull team; ice cream from Dylan's Ice Cream; tea and cakes (all home baked contributions gratefully received!); information and trade stands (including Autumndale Therapies); raffle and tombola. All proceeds to fund essential maintenance of village hall - FREE ENTRY! ALL WELCOME ...

25th April 2013

Consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Sovra Whitcroft, from The Surrey Park Clinic in Guildford was quoted in The Telegraph, in relation to alleviating the symptoms of the menopause. She said, "Complementary treatments such as reflexology and acupuncture can help many women ..." To read the full article follow this link

22nd April 2013

A PhD study carried out by Dr Carol Samuel at Portsmouth University has indicated that reflexology decreases perception of pain and may be as effective as painkillers (wrote Ben Mitchell in The Independent newspaper on Tuesday 9th April 2013). The small study showed that pain was judged to be reduced by around 40% by participants. Dr Samuel said that the results indicated that reflexology could be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.

22nd March 2013

The wonders of technology - this week I've been able to watch, participate in and learn from a seminar on fertilty issues and reflexology, run by the Association of Reflexologists and broadcast via the web. This was really useful revsion for me as well as giving me some fresh skills and approaches; and all from the comfort of my armchair!

18th March 2013

There is to be what sounds like a really intersting and worthwhile Open Day at The Centre of Complementary Medicine at 20, Lavant Street, Petersfield next Saturday 23rd March 2013 between 9.30am - 2.30pm. Tel 01730 231655 for further details.
Taster Sessions will be on offer (max 15 mins each) in:
Acupuncture(Caroline Somp and Tamara Kircher)
Reiki(Gerry Milner-Walker)
FDM Therapy(Renate Gallei)
Aromatherapy(Caroline Bonney)
Facial Rejuvination(Jacky Milner-Walker)
Amatsu(Jane Mitchell)
and Alexander Technique(Grazia Campolmi).
There will also be some talks and workshops:
On homeopathy with Emma McGuire (Homeopath)at 10.15 am;
Herbal Tea Tasting workshop with Tamara Kircher (Acupuncturist & Herbalist) at 11.15 am;
On acupuncture by Caroline Somp (Acupuncturist)at 12.15 pm;
And a 5-Minute Meditations workshop with Gerry Milner-Walker (Reiki Master/teacher) at 1.15pm
Maybe see you there ...