Back with reflexology

I have been back up and running since the end of August with my reflexology.

I am working from Core Wellbeing, a wellness centre over in Mobberley, near to Knutsford, that also has a homoeopath, an osteopath and counselling available. I am also offering massage therapy for my existing clients if they need it.

I have taken training and undergone my risk assessment for covid19. I wear a mask and visor during treatments and ask that my clients bring their own mask/face covering along in compliance with the Close Contact guidance. I also ask my clients to complete a covid screening form the day before and upon arrival I ask them if there have been any changes. I also take my temperature on the days I work. I have had to close the past few weeks as I was unwell with a virus which didn’t have covid symptoms although later was more like it so I took the precaution (I’m very aware of when something is ‘dancing’ inside my body that ought not to be and listened to the signs) to ensure that I would keep all my clients safe and isolated and remained closed. I’ve now passed the contagious stage so will be reopening up next week. I only have a couple of bookings left so if you would like to book in please do visit my website. It is as easy as 1, 2, 3 but if you need any support please do call me.


Working with the elements

The whole thing that is going on has been quite difficult for many holistic therapists, myself included. We are having to adapt to some big changes that many of us are feeling take away some of the holistic aspects of our treatments.

I saw this today and it made me ponder:

‘Don’t dismiss the elements. Water soothes and heals. Air refreshes and revives. Earth grounds and holds. Fire is a burning reminder of our own will and creative power. Breathe them in. Swallow their spells. There’s a certain sweet comfort in knowing that you belong to them all.’

~ Victoria Erikson

It made me think of the extra measures we are taking still work with this holistic element concept. As we open our rooms for longer between our clients the extra ventilation is the air and the extra cleaning along with the sanitisers are water. Through our work as therapists we still ground to the earth through our feet and we have compassion and fire in our hearts and bellies.


Cross infection control Risk Assessment – cleaning

As part of my return to hands-on therapies in August I am implementing risk assessments and various measures. I am also studying and taking courses to inform myself as much as possible. I intend to ensure that I am as eco-friendly as possible yet also ensure good hygiene to mitigate the risk of cross infection to my clients and myself so when and where possible I will be using reuseable, washable equipment and using cleaning materials that are effective but also environmentally aware.

First off I have read through the guidelines for close contact working by the Government as defined here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services

One course I am taking is through the Jennifer Young Training School.

In this course we learn what covid-19 is (given that I am a nerd I have probably read at least 200 academic papers about since it first came into the news) and also regularly update myself on the WHO pages and how it is a coronavirus which is an umbrella term for a number of viruses including MERS and influenza in humans and Kennel cough in dogs. Corona means crown and this relates to their appearance.

Soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitisers are very important in controlling the infection. The Sarscov2 virus has an envelope around it that is lipid (fat) based so alcohol and soap and water both can destroy this envelope around the RNA material. I will be asking my clients on entering the premises I work from to either wash their hands or use hand sanitiser to clean them, making sure that they do so for a minimum of 20 seconds.


The main routes of transmission are:

  • coughing/sneezing droplets which then enter the body via mucous membranes such as mouth/nose/eyes

These droplets may be directed in a spray that either goes direct to another person (hence social distancing) to be inhaled or may land on a surface that then cross infects someone by them touching these to their face. This is why the catch it/bin it slogan is around – using a tissue to catch a sneeze or a cough is important and then immediately after wash hands again.

After 48 -72 hours the virus on a surface’s viability has gone down considerably. In terms of risk control good ventilation in a room (and being outdoors) helps to reduce the transmission risk so doors and/or windows will be opened after each treatment session and there will be time of 30 minutes between each client to ensure thorough cleaning and ventilation can be conducted. This also ensures clients are not in the premises at the same time to avoid risk of transmission between them too.

Sarscov-2 virus can survive:

  • up to 72 hours on steel or plastic
  • less than 4 hours on copper
  • less than 24 hours on paper/cardboard

This is why it is key that in a therapy room we wipe down all high touch surfaces before and after each client that we see e.g. the couch, door handles. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41407-020-0313-1

With the lockdown we also have to be aware of water systems in premises for Legionella (flushing them through).


These are my laundry protocols (most of which have always been in place by me):

  • fresh laundry for each and every client and will continue to do so.
  • We have been told that we need to ensure that any droplet contamination does not get waved about when we are handling dirty laundry so being careful not to shake it because of potential risk of droplet spray containing covid19
  • placing dirty laundry in a box with a lid or cleanable bag is important before placing it in the washing machine
  • washing hands before and after handling laundry
  • laundry container to be cleaned before and after use as well.

These guidelines have been set by the UK government and also tie in with other organisations.

Reference: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

Vulnerable People

The UK Government defines vulnerable people in two categories:

  • clinically vulnerable
  • clinically extremely vulnerable


I am waiting to reopen from August 2020 as this is when the shielding restrictions loosen off. However, I will be making it very clear to anyone shielding at present or who has been that they must make informed consent when choosing to have any form of complementary therapy. If relaxation for stress is part of your reason for wanting therapy then I would rather that you use my online services here as that would further reduce any risk. I will also ask that you would consult with your GP or other suitable medical professional and that you may consider visiting an allied healthcare professional like an osteopath instead of myself for now. My brief at present is to only give urgently needed complementary care; I feel that if you need urgent care as a clinically vulnerable person then that would be best to seek that through your medical professional or via an allied healthcare professional.


Informed Consent for Covid19 and complementary therapies

In England we were given the go ahead to resume close contact work for massage therapy and reflexology on Monday, 13th July 2020.

I am working through training and a lot of paperwork at the moment before I can resume my hands on services.

One of the aspects that is very important for my clients and patients to understand is about informed consent. Although I am undertaking a risk assessment and also training and will be wearing non-medical grade PPE including a visor there is still a risk of transmission of sarscov2 if either party is infectious. The virus can circulate a room in 15 minutes of someone infected being in it and as medical grade PPE is reserved for medical practitioners that means there is still a risk. This means that I will not be advising that anyone who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ does not try to book for appointments with me. Rather if you feel that are in need of body related manual therapy work I would advise that you contact an Allied Healthcare Professional instead such as an osteopath or a physiotherapist or if it is for stress management that we instead have an online appointment together.

Informed consent means that you understand the risks in relation to the benefits. Right now the risks of catching covid19 outweigh the benefits of attending a massage or reflexology for those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable. For those who are not in these categories then being aware that there are risks of catching the virus by attending an appointment is important.


Hand Care for Massage Therapists

The government announced that massage therapists and other close contact services may, with certain caveats in place, be able to return on Monday, 13th July 2020. Update 14.07.2020: We have now had confirmation that we must wear gloves based on the official government guidelines – hand care is still important as glove wearing for periods of time can also create skin issues.

I am going to hold off for now with hands on work as I am living in a household with vulnerable people and at present, even though I do not think the virus is that bad for most of the population if they eat well in terms of essential nutrients and lead a healthy lifestyle.

One of the issues that has come up is whether massage therapists needs to wear gloves. We know that there is no evidence to suggest that covid19 has a transdermal transmission route. So in terms of the virus we do not need to wear gloves per se. However, as an effect of this virus we are all washing our hands far more frequently including with alcohol-based hand sanitisers and this may result in damage to the skin. We also would already use plasters and gloves if we had broken skin or minor cuts because there are other pathogens that can be transmitted through blood etc (and if there was major damage we would not be massaging anyway).

So although not yet clear on official guidance, I will certainly be checking my hands as part of my checklist to return to work and through each day and where and when necessary will wear gloves, not because I believe covid19 can be passed this way but because my skin on my hands may be harmed by the constant use of quite harsh cleansers that strip away the natural skin flora and leave my hands quite dry and vulnerable.

I have also been making sure that my hands are in good health by eating a balanced diet with vitamins. Avocado for instance has vitamin E and vitamin C rich foods are also important for good skin. It will also be important to use a good moisturiser when we return to work and use a cuticle oil for our nails too.


Returning to work in therapy

As of this week, the government still has not given us the go ahead as complementary/massage therapists to return to working with the public.

Although it is frustrating and causing a lot of financial hardship for we massage therapists and reflexologists, I feel it is understandable. I am putting together along with many of us some notes about how things will be changing for the first stage of when we can return to doing our therapies on a hands- on basis). Please note that I am able to offer online therapies in self care and stress management plus health coaching here.

What we already do:

  • Provide soap and water hand washing facilities
  • Fresh linens always for each client
  • Uniform fresh and clean on each day
  • Wiping down surfaces in the room
  • Wiping down the couch between clients
  • Washing hands and arms up to elbow before and after each client and at any point when there is a need including changing linens before and after
  • Rooms and reception cleaned by cleaner daily
  • Hand sanitiser in the room
  • No double dipping on products like carriers
  • pre-screening call by phone (to rule out any health concerns that may need GP signposting or pharmacist advice)
  • provide bins in the rooms which are changed daily

What we need to do extra:

  • wiping down door handles between clients (usually the venue has a daily cleaner anyway so these will be extra clean)
  • wiping down any other surfaces or hand contact zones between clients
  • conduct the initial health history via Zoom or phone as this will lessen the contact time of the overall appointment
  • give people a screening and education on covid19 so they do not come in with any symptoms of it (including putting some signs up that are wipeable and sending emails and ensuring this is stated on website)
  • ask clients to wash their hands on arrival (and use disposable or small washable towels that are one use and then go into the used laundry system)
  • extra waterproof wipeable layer on couch
  • change therapist outfit for each client (usually I have a fresh tabard or change my t shirt because it’s physical work anyway but it’s being indicated that we may need a complete outfit change for each client)
  • have separate bin liners for each client e.g. tissues and change these between clients

What we won’t be able to do at the first stage of our return:

  • use the shared toilet facilities for clients (instead we need to ask clients to ensure they do not need the toilet during their visit and to go beforehand – absolute emergencies excepted)
  • give drinks to clients (they will need to bring their own water bottle etc) – usually have tea and water available
  • leave leaflets or products out or use reception area
  • have visitors alongside clients (unless chaperone) waiting in reception
  • use reception with clients
  • clients will need to come at exact time for treatment
  • treat people who are in the shielding and clinically vulnerable category (until there are more medical breakthroughs this is too much of a risk)

Stages – home education

I found some of my old home education notes so putting them here in case they are useful:

Kindergarten stage

Play is the most important aspect of this.
Other things we do: wet-on-wet painting, board games*, walks in nature, talking, singing, beeswax and plasticine modelling, puzzles*, baking, gardening, animal care.

First Academic Stage + extras

Knowing the alphabet, letters and sounds that make up our language (and a few others), able to write upper case and learning lower case (form drawing – lines, curves, patterns) + the will and patience to do this.
The 4 processes, that is Plus/addition, Minus/subtraction (working with numbers up to 12 or 20) and then Divide and Multiply/times (in concept).
Learn to count in 1s and 2s to 100, forwards and backwards.
Understands evens (have friends) and odds (on their own) – Springy developed this concept by playing with her toys and pairing them up.
Playing with puzzles – tangrams
Plaiting, weaving, beading
Sight words using Dolch charts and Ladybird keywords + personal words that Springy wants to learn.
Able to work out most other words from phonemic awareness and memory.
(Reading is still an extra because we were prepared to wait until Springy was ready but she loves it and worked out most of it herself and then kept asking questions. Her reading age is about 2 years ahead of her actual age)
Basic knitting – needle and finger, basic piano/recorder, swimming, Beavers, Brownies, ballet/dance
Basic local geography – knowing name, address, telephone number and asking questions when out about where we are.
Finding our location on a map (abstract concept but good introduction) and knowing that other family members and friends live elsewhere.
Observation (science) – weather, nature, simple observations e.g.
(+ still doing lots of playing, wet-on-wet painting, crafts, stories, singing, nature walks, talking, board games and so on)
Basic clock awareness of the o’clock times gradually adding on the half past, quarter past and quarter to tied into our day (so not abstract reasons but practical reasons e.g. we need to be at someone’s house or for baking.

Second Stage of Aesthetics and Academics

She can read lots of words, sentences and is a fluent reader, able to write upper case and lower case (form drawing – lines, curves, patterns) + the will and patience to do this. Has started to make diary entries of her own accord and write poems.
The 4 processes, that is Plus/addition, Minus/subtraction (working with numbers up to 12 or 20) and then Divide and Multiply/times (in concept).Learn to count in 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s and 100s to 1000, forwards and backwards.Understands evens (have friends) and odds (on their own). Playing with puzzles – tangramsPlaiting, weaving, beading, Fimo and beeswax modelling.
Basic knitting – needle and finger, basic piano/recorder, swimming, Beavers, Brownies
Stories for this year: Fables, stories of virtuous men and women e.g. St Francis of Assisi, animal stories
Experiential geography – knowing name, address, telephone number and asking questions when out about where we are.Finding our location on a map (abstract concept but good introduction) and knowing that other family members and friends live elsewhere.Observation (science) – weather, nature, simple observations e.g. magnets (+ still doing lots of playing, wet-on-wet painting, crafts, stories, singing, nature walks, talking, board games and so on)
Basic clock awareness of the o’clock times gradually adding on the half past, quarter past and quarter to tied into our day (now has her own clock and confident at setting the alarm on it)


The balance between home education philosophy and parental possibility

When home educating it can be hard to know where to start. Does one need a teaching degree or to set up a system like a teacher at home? This all depends on the background of the parent/s and whether or not the parent has the time, resources and ability to do so and also whether it would be suitable to the age, aptitude and ability of the child/ren in question.

For me, one of the most important aspects in home educating was my child and basing what I did around her whilst also meeting my own needs and for creating a home education I examined and blended quite a few philosophies in order to form my own.

I did not feel and still do not that the education system prepares a child for life and thriving in it; rather it prepares them for a world plan that is not about optimising wellbeing. Anyway, that said, what would your philosophy be on the education of a child? What are your values that you want to instil for them? What would you hope for them in their future and what do you want in their now?

Here are some quotes that may inspire you:

Maria Montessori said “The education of even a very small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school but for life.”

Maria Montessori’s books:

The Absorbent Mind
The Secret of Childhood
The Discovery of the Child
The Formation of Man
To Educate the Human Potential
Education for Human Development

What do children learn in a Montessori school?

Rudolf Steiner said “If a child has been able in his play to give up his whole loving being to the world around him, he will be able, in the serious tasks of later life, to devote himself with confidence and power to the service of the world.

In Steiner Waldorf education there was a sense of rhythm that I learned to love rather than a rigid schedule and an idea about breathing in and breathing out so activities like sitting, listening, writing are breathing in and play, running outside, climbing are breathing out. That helped me a lot as I realised to truly breathe we need to do both and pause between as well.

For many, online learning is not meeting their children’s aptitude, ability nor needs. I would say the first thing to do would be to speak with your child’s school and teachers; they are all struggling to know what to do and are being forced to teach in a very fenced in manner yet giving them the understanding that this isn’t right would help.

Sometimes it is easier to stick with the structure that is given and then augment and sometimes it easier to leave an existing structure and create your own around it. Be kind to yourself whatever you choose and make it something that resonates with you and your family and how you want to live and exist.

Some of the activities we did:

  • made soap
  • carded and washed wool fleeces
  • measured trees
  • pond dipping and nature conservation activities
  • helped build a willow structure
  • wove willow cornucopia basket
  • needle felted
  • embroidered
  • sewed a bag
  • made pom poms
  • made fairy gardens
  • wet felted
  • night hikes to see stars
  • baking
  • cooking including chopping, soup making, preparing ingredients and washing up

Every thing we did was not ‘perfect ‘. It was often messy and sometimes projects went unfinished yet all the way through it would take time and thought, helping the head, heart and hands to learn and feel. There was a reverence to what we did and the materials we used tended not to be throwaway in nature. Sadly some of the things we made that were real keepsakes were lost when we moved.

Handy resources:

  • craft kits
  • small sized garden tools (not toy versions though – real is better)
  • knitting, sewing and crochet tools and materials
  • cooperative boardgames such as Snowstorm – cooperative games last a lot longer and as no one wins they involve a lot of conversation around strategies and tactics
  • dice
  • playing cards and card games like Uno or Top Trumps
  • jigsaw puzzles and a jigsaw board that means you can store away with ease in the middle of a larger puzzle
  • Jenga
  • bean bags – easy to make with rice and cloth – great for juggling or shooting into a basket on a rainy day
  • a list on the wall of jobs that need doing during the day or the week – knowing life skills is essential and children are very capable of sweeping, emptying bins, washing up, drying, setting the table and having a rota in the household can make things run much smoother. Involve them in deciding and choosing what tasks they can do and what days/times.

Please note that some links are to Amazon affiliate products.


The new normal for hands on therapies

What will be the new normal for hands on therapies during and after the pandemic?

I am hoping there will be quite a few changes.  One of the main issues I have always had with the therapy and spa industries is venues not realising how important it is to clean up before and after clients.  It can be expensive for people like myself as a freelance therapist as often venues charge a lot per hour and tend to be very inflexible once your time is up.  It can be very awkward to fit clients in alongside being able to maintain a hygienic environment and give clients good service whilst also ensuring the venue owners are happy.

When I did my therapy training I did a 2-year course and hygiene was of major importance.  We were taught to leave times between clients to ensure that we could wash ourselves well (I wash up to my elbows and not only my hands) and also change linens and wipe down surfaces that we had used and been in contact with.  Bear in mind that hands on therapists are touching people and their skin and that at all times there is a risk for something so hygiene is meant to be a priority.  It is sad that too many times I have had issues with venues over their understanding of this concept.  It is not enough to leave a minute and go onto the next client/patient.  This is when infection risks can happen.

At the moment my services are suspended as we are still on lockdown and even when this is over some measures will have to be discussed and researched to ensure best practice.  I have always asked my clients who are ill or who have an infection not to come to their appointments and to notify me.  Covid19 is not going to change my normal by much and I will still ask clients to please not attend any appointments if you are sick or know that you have an infection, whether a coldsore or a verruca (for reflexology)  or that dry cough.  Please always let your therapist know so they can inform you of best practice and follow the Government guidelines.


Store Cupboard Staples – Chickpeas


Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are a great store cupboard/pantry staple to always have on hand, lockdown or not.

They are great for fibre, rich in protein and essential trace micronutrients like manganese.  They can be soaked overnight from dried chickpeas or they can be used pre-cooked from cans.

Blended with olive oil, lemon juice and tahini they can be easily turned into hummous. They are a useful addition to curry dishes instead of meat and you can also dry roast them for an amazing snack.


Simple hummous

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 lemon for the juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of tahini


Combine all ingredients in a blender and whizz around until combined well.

You can add herbs or spices like coriander, paprika or pepper to taste.  I also usually add a half teaspoon of cumin which gives it a lovely flavour.


Easy Hummous


They can also be used to make desserts, especially for gluten free cooking and baking and the water from the canned version, known as aquafaba, can be used to make meringues.

Do you have chickpeas as a staple?

#quarantine #healthcoach #chickpeas #versatilityincooking #cooking #healthyfood #recipe