My experience with a Reflexology treatment

My series of blog posts in which I meet other people who work in the wellness world continues with… reflexology! You have probably heard about it, but if you never had the chance to give it a go, here you’ll be able to find more information and see if this treatment may suit your needs.

Recently, I had the pleasure to receive a reflexology treatment from Laura Gil at Dublin Wellness Centre. Reflexology is a complementary therapy focused on the feet and aims to support the body on its way to re-balance. I really liked how Laura talks about the treatment as something to “awaken” the body and give it some extra motivation to work at its best. The human body is a wonderfully complex system but there are so many things we need to take into account when we talk about health and well-being. For example, do you ever stop for a minute and think how stress affects you both physically and mentally? There is a study published in 2000 in which the researchers looked at the effect of foot massage sessions on patients in critical care (a stressful environment): they noticed a significant reduction in stress by looking at data for heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Interesting, right?

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Reflexology is based on the idea that our feet mirror the whole body so, by applying pressure to a specific part of the feet, you may not only have a positive effect from a general point of view, but also on the corresponding area of the body.

As a holistic therapist, Laura considers her clients as a whole person and with her treatments gives them the right support to go to the roots of their issues. The reflexology session starts by establishing a connection with the person to create a more relaxed and supportive environment, then Laura does a full feet massage – only later on during the session, she will focus more on specific points: she basically teams up with your feet to understand better which areas need more attention and how much pressure she should apply.

The whole treatment encourages the body not only to relax but also to work at its best, to have a better response to external messages, and to find again its balance. It perfectly fits into these series on blog posts, because with them I want to show you how you can easily support your well-being in several ways – this is a simple treatment that goes straight to the point, and it’s perfect for a quick session even at lunchtime (Laura usually does a 1-hour treatment).

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SOME DETAILS…

My specific needs: the only two issues I was dealing with on the day in which I had my treatment with Laura where basically stress and a recurrent pain due to last year’s breast surgery (another story that you can read here). Laura took some time before the treatment to have a chat with me and tell me something about how reflexology works. The results: right after the treatment I was relaxed and energised at the same time – I guess part of the “extra energy” was due to my feet that were feeling way lighter than before and to a deep sense of self-love towards my body (something like “hey, I’m your body and I want to thank you for taking care of me! Let’s do it again soon!”). The session with Laura definitely moved something because I’ve noticed that extra energy for several days after the treatment, and it also gave me a few things to think about. If you are curious to know what she talked about at the end of the treatment: the complaints I had at the begin of the session were basically confirmed from her by reading my feet: a strong body’s response to stress, plenty of overthinking, water-retention, and emotional blockages.

Laura meets clients with a wide range of issues, including stress, fertility, and pregnancy.

I would definitely recommend having this treatment with Laura if you live in Dublin or nearby – it’s a good value for money (€60) and her gentle, relaxing, and down-to-earth approach will definitely help you to feel comfortable and enjoy the treatment. I also hope that what I’ve written here will be helpful and inspiring for all of you who live somewhere else!

Chiara x


ABOUT LAURA

Coming from a fitness and dance background Laura has always been concerned about the importance of health. Alternative medicine has strongly led her to the belief that we can heal ourselves by listening to what our bodies have to tell us.

Her passion for massage and complementary therapies began at a very young age and have continued to blossom ever since. Laura’s father was also involved in energy work and she has fond childhood memories playing with ‘magic stones’ and being in awe of the power of her dad’s hands when she wasn’t feeling well.

She always had a special interest in Reiki and energy work, having attended many different workshops in her native home of Barcelona. On the other hand, reflexology was always calling her attention. She has always been eager to learn more about helping others, but also herself.

It wasn’t until she travelled to Ireland that she decided to start her journey as a therapist by completing the Reiki Master Teacher and practitioner training and also studying Reflexology in the highly recognized Holistic College Dublin, taught by the inspirational Alison Kavanagh.

During her training, she had the pleasure to attend a post-graduate course with Chris Stormer, entitled ‘Language of the Feet’ and ‘Understanding allergies and intolerances through the feet’. This course really opened her eyes to the messages our feet are telling us about ourselves.

Her dancing career began at a very young age and spanned across several dancing genres, but it is with Belly Dance where her strongest passion lies. She began Belly dance following a doctor’s recommendation and it was here where she found her mind, body and soul awaken through the art of this elegant dance. It also sparked her interest in helping women’s health. She carries this interest with her still today and it is the reason why she specialized in fertility and maternity reflexology through the Obus School of Healing Therapies.

She offers sessions in both Reiki and Reflexology and also offers a special combination of the two if necessary. She applies Reiki to her reflexology treatments to enhance healing and relaxation. It can also have brilliant benefits when attending specific areas on the feet after a Reiki session. Each session is followed by a personal consultation, in which a discussion on how to aid recovery is professionally conducted. By combining self-treatment-techniques with the therapy sessions a positive first step is made in nurturing, not just your body, but also your mind and spirit.

Laura is an ITEC qualified Reflexologist specialized in Fertility and Maternity treatments. She also has developed a special interest in helping stress-related issues.

As a member of the National Register of Reflexologists Ireland, Laura’s reflexology treatments are covered by VHI, Laya, Aviva and Glo Healthcare.

To find more details about her treatments and schedule an appointment with Laura, click HERE

Può arrivare il punto in cui anche la positività diventa troppa?

(read in English)

Tutto il mondo che ruota intorno alle varie sfaccettature del benessere sembra essere immerso in un’ondata di energia positiva – devo dire che questo è decisamente qualcosa che apprezzo, ma riconosco anche che sia importante tracciare dei confini a livello personale, perchè tutta questa positività, ad un certo punto, può inziare ad essere troppa. Bisogna imparare ad affrontare anche gli aspetti negativi delle cose, essere in grado di viverli e, coscientemente, andare avanti – non puoi semplicemente nascondere le cose sotto al tappeto, perchè prima o poi verranno fuori comunque.

Più o meno questo è quello che è accaduto a me di recente, così ho pensato di condividere qualche parola su questa storia perchè potrebbe essere utile per qualcun’altro.

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Io sono il tipo di persona che solitamente pretende tanto da sè stessa – sebbene riesca ad essere abbastanza realistica nei confronti delle altre persone, spesso finisco per avere invece alte aspettative verso di me. Anno dopo anno, ho imparato pian piano a gestire meglio questa cosa, a “lasciar correre” un po’ ogni tanto, a concedermi di fare (o non fare) le cose seguendo i miei tempi, ed a iniziare ad accettare di più le cose per quello che sono – non è facile, ma ne vale la pena.

Lo scorso anno ho subito un’operazione al seno (la seconda nel giro di pochi anni – preoccupante lì per lì, ma nulla di grave) e mi è servito un intero anno per “vivere” veramente quest’esperienza. Tutto è andato alla perfezione, non ho avuto nessuna complicazione dopo l’operazione come era accaduto la prima volta, ed io ero contenta per il fatto di sentirmi così in forma che non ho nemmeno perso giorni di lavoro (complice anche il vantaggio di lavorare da casa!). Sapevo che avrei ricevuto una chiamata per l’operazione, quindi ho avuto tutto il tempo per organizzarmi al meglio: cucinare e congelare cose da mangiare già pronte, assicurarmi che la dispensa fosse piena di tutti gli ingredienti che mi potrebbero essere stati utili, preparare in anticipo materiale per i social media per far andare comunque avanti la mia attività, programmare l’agenda in modo da non avere consulenze nei giorni subito dopo l’operazione, e, soprattutto, fare tantissime raccomandazioni al mio ragazzo sul continuare a mangiare bene, giusto nel caso che qualcosa andasse storto. Inoltre, devo riconoscere che il mio corpo ha davvero collaborato, recuperando in fretta ed al meglio.

“Guardiamo al lato positivo, sono stata così fortunata!” – questo è stato il mio mantra durante lo scorso anno. Non c’è nulla di sbagliato con tutta questa positività, giusto? Pur volendo essere d’accordo su questo punto, la verità è un po’ diversa… in pratica ho deciso di nascondere sotto al tappeto tutte le paure, ansie, preoccupazioni, lacrime, ed ogni altro pensiero negativo. Dovevano tornare a galla ad un certo punto…

Qualche settimana fa, leggendo una serie di cose nemmeno collegate (che parlavano di donne e mentalità/approccio verso sè stessi, ed altre cose invece legate al portare la pratica yoga al di fuori del tappettino – la maggior parte lette sulle pagine Instagram di Nicky Clinch e Kino MacGregor), ho finalmente capito che a volte devi smetterla di voler trovare a tutti costi il lato positivo delle cose e focalizzarti solo su di esso, ma devi semplicemente dare al tuo corpo ed alla tua mente un po’ di tempo per guarire. Questo era il punto mancante nella mia storia.

I miei clienti dicono spesso che apprezzano il mio approccio pieno di positività e quanto esso gli serva come ispirazione, ma è importante anche imparare a delineare qualche confine qui e là. Sì, senza dubbio sono stata fortunata, ho dovuto solo prendere un bello spavento e poi poter tirare un sospiro di sollievo perchè era andato tutto bene, avevo solo un’altra cicatrice – ma dovevo anche rispettare e riconoscere quello che è stato il mio percorso. Nell’ultimo anno, sia a causa di un dolore fastidioso e ricorrente che mi ha accompagnata per gran parte delparecchio tempo, sia per alcuni blocchi “emozionali”, non sono riuscita ad essere costante con la mia pratica yoga come avrei voluto – c’era sempre qualcosa ad un certo punto che mi bloccava, come la paura di ogni piccolo spiraglio che si potesse aprire durante la pratica (era una cosa anche legata a tutte le posizioni che vengono chiamate “heart openers” – se hai un pochino di familiarità con lo yoga, capisci quello che intendo quando parlo di “spiragli”, che non sono qualcosa di fisico ma più a livello di emozioni).. quindi ho iniziato ad evitare alcune posizioni per un po’, ed a volte finivo proprio per evitare tutta la pratica.

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Capisco che per qualcuno questo discorso possa sembrare come una serie di scuse e devo ammettere che per un po’ l’ho pensato anche io – ad un certo punto mi sono convinta di essere semplicemente pigra ed aver iniziato ad inventare scuse di conseguenza… ecco tornato quell’atteggiamento che non mi concede nessun tipo di errore o debolezza! Poi però, ho provato a:

* essere semplicemente più gentile e comprensiva con me stessa
* pensare a quello che avrei detto a qualcuno che si fosse trovato nella mia stessa situazione
* accettare le cose per quello che sono e concedermi un po’ di tempo
* capire che queste non erano scuse, ma una barriera protettiva

Sono stati mesi ricchi di pazienza e comprensione, finchè non ho finalmente capito che era arrivato il momento di cambiare qualcosa. Durante gli ultimi anni ho lavorato tanto su me stessa per cercare di essere più presente e consapevole non solo riguardo l’alimentazione, ma in ogni aspetto della mia vita – il punto è che quando cerchi di evitare o nascondere una parte di quello che provi, non puoi essere del tutto presente e consapevole di quello che succede. Questo non vuole dire escludere a priori un senso di gratitudine o un approccio positivo, ma significa soltanto che hai imparato a rispettare e riconoscere sia gli aspetti positivi che quelli negativi per quello che sono: parte di te.

Capire che dovevo rispettare il mio percorso per quello che è, il mio corpo per essere stato forte, e me stessa per essere stata coraggiosa, mi ha fatto finalmente affrontare tutti gli spiragli che vanno via via aprendosi durante la pratica yoga e mi ha fatto accettare che “sì, sono stata fortunata e le cose sarebbero potute andare peggio, ma questo è il mio percorso, e se ha degli aspetti negativi va bene parlarne (e viverli) ad alta voce”.

Chiara x

Is there a thing like “too much positivity”?

(read in Italian)

I really love the positive energy that there is all around the wellness world but it’s important to learn how to set your own boundaries because even positivity can sometimes start to be overwhelming. You need to learn to face all the negative sides of things as well, be able to live them and consciously move on – you can’t simply sweep things under the carpet, because at some stage they will come up anyway.

This is basically what happened to me recently and I thought that sharing this brief story may be helpful for some of you.

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I am the kind of person that usually pretends a lot from herself – while I tend to be more realistic towards other people, I often have high expectations regarding myself. Year after year, I have slowly learned to let go a little, to allow myself to do (or not do) things at my own pace, and to introduce a certain degree of “acceptance” – not easy, but worth it.

Last year, I had to go through a breast surgery (the second one in a few years time – scary, but nothing to be worried about now) and it took me one whole year to truly “live” the experience. Everything went really smooth, I didn’t have any post-op issue like I had after the first one, and I was delighted with the idea of feeling so good that I didn’t even miss days of work (perks of working from home!). I was expecting a call for the surgery so I had time to organise everything: cook and freeze meals, stock up the kitchen with all the foods that could come in useful, plan social media posts to keep my business running, a schedule with no clients’ appointments for the days right after the surgery, and plenty of recommendations for my boyfriend to keep eating well, just in case something goes wrong. In addition, my body did an amazing job and recovered well and quickly.

“Let’s look at the positive side, I have been so lucky!” – this has been my mantra for the past year. Nothing wrong with all this positivity, right? I would agree with you, but the truth is… I have basically decided to sweep under the carpet all the fear, anxiety, worries, tears, and any other negative thought. They had to come out at some stage…

A few weeks ago, reading things here and there (mainly about women and mindset, and stuff related to the yoga practice outside of the mat – most of them coming from Nicky Clinch and Kino MacGregor Instagram feeds) I have finally realised that sometimes you just need to stop looking for the positive side of things all the time, and simply give your body and mind time to heal. This was the missing point of my story.

Even my clients tell me all the time that they appreciate my positive approach and how I inspire them with it, but you also need to set some realistic boundaries. Yes, I have been lucky, I just had to feel scared and then relieved ’cause everything was fine, I only had another scar – but I needed to honor my journey. During the last year, both a recurrent annoying pain that has been with me for a lot of time and some sort of emotional blockages, didn’t allow me to do my yoga practice as I wanted – at some stage there was always something that stopped me, like a fear of each small “opening” that could occur during the practice (especially anything related to the heart openers – if you are familiar with yoga, you understand what I mean by “openings”, that are not something physical but emotional).. so I have been avoiding specific poses for a while, and sometimes even the entire practice.

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I know that this will sound like a bunch of excuses to some of you, because it has been the same for me as well – at some stage, I though that I was simply being lazy and coming up with any sort of excuses… here comes again the self-judgement that doesn’t allow mistakes or weaknesses! But then, I have tried to:

* simply be kind to myself
* think about what I would have said to somebody else in the same situation
* accept the situation and give myself some time
* understand that these were not excuses, but a defensive barrier

Months full of patience and kindness, until I have realised that it was finally time to change something. During the last years, I have done a lot of work to be more aware around food and regarding each area of my life, but when you try to avoid or hide part of your feelings you can’t be fully aware of what’s actually going on – this doesn’t mean that you can’t be grateful or have a positive mindset, but that you have learned to honor both positive and negative feelings for what they are: part of you.

Realising that I needed to honor my journey for what it is, my body for being strong, and myself for being brave, allowed me to finally face the fears of “openings” during my yoga practice and to accept that “yes, I have been lucky and things could have been worse, but this is my journey, and if has some negative sides, it’s perfectly fine to tell (and live) them out loud”.

Chiara x