dawn-symons.com

I was first introduced to Reiki in the mid-90 whilst attending a counselling training course. I was so curious I ended up getting an ‘attunement’ and to be honest I didn’t really do much more than that with it. But actually that was fine, I was already very ‘aware spiritually’ and certainly had healing hands…

Is Reiki a ‘real’ thing?

Yes!

If you don’t know me, I’d describe myself as a very logical thinker.

I analyse situations, events and ‘stuff’ from every angle.

Having used Reiki during 1000’s of Maga Therapy sessions  I finally came to the conclusion that yes, Reiki is real.

Reiki is different for every person.

Reiki gives you what you need. Whether it’s to sleep, to relax or even ‘help’ with physical conditions, it’s very personal to you.

As a Reiki Healer & a Reiki Master Teacher

I have experienced many wonderful things whilst being the client or being the practitioner.

This has ranged from colour, shapes, and images, faces (people you know or strangers) extreme changes of temperatures and other far more bizarre and wonderful things!

Many of my clients have experienced very similar such events. I’ve selected a few treatments to share with you, in order that you can see the diversity for yourself.

5 Reiki Sessions & Outcomes

Client 1 – A Women’s Health & Wellness Professional

My client called me in horror.  I’d seen her the previous day to fix her jaw/ headache issue whilst freeing up her shoulders, hips and legs.

She’d felt (pummelled) but amazing post treatment, so much so, she’d gone for a run.

My client is who religiously stretches and warms up pre-and post-exercise.

Whilst running that day, out of no-where there was a horrible sound; followed by the obviousness that she could no longer weight bear on the leg fully.

Wendy knew this could be an ACL injury,  she hobbled home to call her Dr who also suspected and perscribed anti-inflammatory medication and ice, so she called me!

I explained I didn’t know what treatment to do until I saw her. “Thats ok” she said, “I know you, you’ll just fix it!”

The treatment was somewhat bizarre!

(click here to read her own words).

The end result was the knee was fine and has been ever since and that’s been at least two years, so whatever we did certainly did the trick 😉

Client 2 – A Life-Long Scientist

This gentleman been a scientist for his entire working life. He’d heard that my treatments were ‘the best’ he booked to see me.

The treatment request was for shoulders and back tension, but as always, I was soon figuring out ‘what was needed’.

I asked him if I could use Cranial Sacral Therapy and other techniques (not being too specific) to which he said “I’ll leave it to you you’re the expert do whatever you feel”

With that I changed tack and channelled Reiki.

Click Here To Read What He Wrote…  IT’S AMAZING 🙂

Client 3 – A Teacher/ Lecturer

I recall one of my teaching colleagues asking me about 7 years ago to ‘show’ her Reiki and the things she had heard about but not yet experienced.

She worked with me teaching complimentary therapies and had great interest in the energy side of treatments. She wanted to ‘feel it’ or ‘something spiritual’ to happen.

At the time she was being a ‘body’ during a reflexology class, so I combined the treatment, demonstrating how versitile Reiki healing can be…

She quickly relaxed into the treatment and commentated on the colour which she saw. The same colours many other clients had described despite the location.

I was aware the treatment was changing (the energy changes whilst you are working) and I knew something more was starting to happen.

Within a couple of seconds she opened her eyes and asked me to stop. She was freaked out to say the least!

I guess she never actually expected to experience anything, I mean let’s be honest until you do, (and even then you don’t believe it and you try to come up with every possible explanation)


.! And of course, this was her first real/ profound spiritual experience and it scared her.

I’d like to add at this point what she saw was actually very special and lovely, and she knew what it was; when the shock settled she was ok.

The brilliant thing was we continued the treatment and she continued to see colours, but many more than before and she relaxed into and thoroughly enjoyed her session.

Client 4 – A Stressed Out Executive from London.

Totally exhausted, she flopped on the couch. “Mum’s had Reiki, she says it’s amazing. It’s even helped reduce her various aches and pains…”  She went on to describe her Mum’s experience…

I asked her some questions and quickly recognised she was suffering all the symptoms of chronic prolonged stress and now being a total insomniac (click here if you are too)  .

She mentioned all she needed was to sleep, and as soon as she closed her eyes, she did just that.

Spiritually, I felt the guides and healing energies were ‘very active’.

At the end of the treatment as I gently woke her. “is that it?” she asked “I saw a bit of a purple colour and then I fell asleep”

If I’m honest I was a little surprised! It dawned on me that she had expected to have the same experience as her mum – the heat, the tingling, feeling her spiritual helpers… Her Mum had remained relaxed and awake during her session.

I gently reminded her Reiki gives you  “what you need most” (reminding she needed to sleep).  “oh!” She replied ” Thank-you. actually, I did and now I feel tremendously relaxed”

Client 5 – A Busy, (WholeFaculty Supporting) Receptionist.

This treatment that really sticks in my mind. It was very different!

While I was giving a lady I knew a holistic facial, I started to get a horrendous pain in my head, all around the left hand side of the temple which continued throughout the treatment.

I felt as though I had a patio slab on my head, it felt very weighty, and practically crushed my skull.

I’d experienced this sort of phenomenon. I understood.

I chatted to my client and she told me of changes to her office at work.

It’s all about energy

There had been some additions to the electrics of the whole building (which was mostly granite). All of the main electrical boxes and  housings were now sited right behind her desk. They covered a vast area of the wall on the modest office.

She’d had a ‘funny’ headache for some time, since the electrics had been moved in .

“Use Crystals & Plants” I said…

I suggested lots of quartz around the whole office, particularly the computer/ electrical equipment.

I also suggested she kept a peace lily and several cactus plants.

“You see”, I explained “the crystals will help absorb and neutralise the emission from electrical equipment and the plants, well, peace lilies will die if the energy in the room is not right (it’s a bit like the canary in the cage down a mine!).

At the end of the holistic facial treatment she reported that her skin look fab and how her headache has gone away. For (client 5) the rest-bite from the pain was a welcomed relief. Over the next few days I saw her and she said she felt great.

The headache haden’t gone far.

I now had it! For three very long days my head hurt, then suddenly it began to ease. The weight of the ‘patio slab’ lessened and the pain on the left hand temple started to reduce.

I visited her (client 5) the next day…

“How are you feeling?” I asked, adding that I was feeling much better and it was starting to ease.

Her response was that her headache and pain was starting to come back, and gradually during the following 24/36 hours. It had left me and returned to her.

I was concerned I’d experienced similar events before and there was always a significant reason.

I suggested that such a bad headache should be checked out and she totally agreed.  It turned to be a very serious (life-threatening)  issue
 Luckily  ‘P’ is fully recovered now, but it took several years of Dr’s, hospitals and medication to get there.

Experience a Reiki Healing session with me (or scroll down to the bottom of this page to learn Reiki with me.


Learn The Art of Reiki Healing (level 1 – self-treating) with me…

Treat your body, mind & spirit to this blissful healing combo.

Meditation and reiki are wonderful treatments on their own but when combined they result in a profoundly relaxed state.

Using my own meditation scripts I will take you on a guided meditative journey.

Once in this deeply relaxed state you will receive a reiki treatment. 💕

Warning This treatment induces a profoundly restful space

To book or gift a session please click the link below

Each experience of  Reiki healing is different, From person to person, session-to-session and sometimes even during a session.

Some people experience a beautiful peaceful space and relaxation; others feel warmth; perhaps coolness, a tingling or a gentle flowing sensation.

It is not unusual for people to become so relaxed that they fall asleep.

Some clients experience intense emotions whilst other people experience / see colour or images whilst their eyes are closed…

These things are all part of the session and should not be concerned about nor fought against.

Reiki – Healing Naturally

Reiki flows to the areas needed, soothing pain and supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Reiki supports all forms of treatment both complementary and orthodox. Reiki is completely safe.

Reiki works on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels, which means that, unlike orthodox medicine, it treats the person as a whole, rather than just the symptoms of a condition.

The human body has a natural propensity to heal itself.  Reiki simply accelerates this process.

Reiki is Source Energy – The Universal Life Force

The word  Reiki pronounced ray-key is made up of two Japanese words: ‘Rei’ – meaning “universal, spiritual or free flowing” and ‘Ki’ – meaning “life force energy”.

This source energy,  universal life force, by definition, is found everywhere in the universe. It is the same energy that modern science in general, and quantum physics in particular, recognises as the subatomic energy which underlies all matter.

It is also the same energy known to many ancient civilisations, by many names, including Ch’i (Chinese), Prana (Asian Indian), Barraka (Islamic countries), Mana (Polynesians) and Orenda (Iroquois Native Americans), to name but a few.

Although this energy is present everywhere, imbalances can and do occur. When they occur in the human body the results may include stress, inability to concentrate, depression and physical disease.

Reiki & Stress

Reiki  is perfect for stress reduction and relaxation, which involves the channelling of universal life force energy through the Reiki Practitioner and into the Recipient, with the intention of correcting any imbalance of energy.

Because the Practitioner merely acts as a channel for the energy, he or she also benefits from the Reiki energy as it passes through them!

Experience a Reiki Session with Dawn

As a practitioner with over a decade of targeted specialist treatments it’s tough to say that I am very good at what I do (I do not wish to appear big-headed or arrogant) so to I thought I’d share a selection of the feedback/ reviews left by customers in the last 12 months


Whether its migraine/ headache or jaw problem, achy, stiff back, neck or shoulder problem, a pain or stiffness developed after sports or an accident or you are having a difficult pregnancy and need help. I believe that I can help you. Call me to discuss your individual case on 07790774239

“Excellent deep tissue massage. Dawn has extensive knowledge and experience. She is thorough and strong enough to not only find any body issues you may have, but also to help sort them out! If you are looking for deep tissue, therapeutic or sports massage, stop looking right now, you won’t find anyone better than this. Call Dawn right now!” Susan King

“Dawn is a miracle worker! After 6 months of Chiro on my back i thought it was never going to get better. A friend put me in touch with Dawn and After just 3 sessions I felt brand new! Not only did Dawn free up my lower back and make me feel back to normal, talking to her really changed my way of thinking towards looking after my back. We are genuinely blessed to have Dawn here in Cornwall! My mums been off work for 6 weeks with a bad back, and now after 1 sessions she’s back at work! Session 2 tomorrow!If you have any aches and pains you think you’re stuck with You must go and see Dawn! You’ll be so glad you did!” James Bright

“An exceptional, professional massage. Deep tissue with hot stone. My kind of treatment. Highly recommend.” M Jessop

“No matter what state I turn up to see Dawn in, she never fails to quickly understand what’s going on, what’s caused any pain I’m in and to fix me with her magic fingers. It’s not just a quick fix either – I suffered with hip pain for 10 years… all gone in one session and it’s never returned. She’s a healing marvel.” Kirsten Whiting

“Dawn is an exceptional massage therapist. She has a great knowledge of how the body functions. Using good pressure (which not all therapists are able to do), she adapts various massage techniques to help you heal. I highly recommend her. Thanks Dawn…looking forward to seeing you again xx” Sandrine Lee

“Such a warm and wonderful reiki session, Dawn completely understood and helped me hugely with my back pain in just one session! Very knowledgeable and gave me some exercises to help keep my future well-being. Would highly recommend her to anyone! Thank you so much Dawn xx” Felecia Jepson

“I had an amazing treatment with Dawn today which was build specifically to fit my body’s ailments. I didn’t realise how tight and problematic my shoulders (in particular my left (dominant side) had become. I also discovered that I have severe tightness in my left hip and at the base of the back of my skull (which had been contributing to the frequent headaches I had been getting). Dawn spent the hour long treatment working in depth on these areas and when she had finished I felt like a new woman. Her attention to detail and care was fantastic. I felt that she totally unde rstood my body and treatment needs and knew how to care for me. This was the best treatment I have had in many years. Thank you Dawn. I can’t wait to come back for my next treatment.” Lisa Harrow

“I can’t recommend Dawn highly enough, after only two sessions with her, (and about to book my next one) I feel like a new person, I stand straighter, and walk taller, and years old pains and niggles I thought I’d have to live with, are starting to fade. Not only can Dawn deal with current issues you may have with your body, but help you prevent further pain by helping you learn to listen to your own body. I can’t wait to return.” Claire Murray

“I had a ‘pregnancy massage’ with Dawn this morning and can’t recommend her highly enough. I felt safe in Dawn’s knowledge and experience in treating me whilst pregnant and cannot wait for my next one next week on my due date! Absolutely loved it, thank you.” Emily Bennetts

“I love Dawn. She is amazing. I’ve had terrible pains with my pregnancy and feel amazing whenever I leave. Highly recommended” Lore Bowman

“I saw Dawn today with a back spasm. All I can say is Wow, I feel about 10 inches taller and am walking with the best posture I’ve had in years. Thanks Dawn”. Victoria Colliver.

Reflexology is amazing, so much more than a foot massage! Reflexology can reduce your anxiety; aid your sleep, relieves  foot pain or tension or the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, improve your sports performance.  I am an ITEC qualified and CTHA insured reflexologist (since 2004).

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a relaxing, non-invasive, complementary therapy which uses massage and shiatsu and acupressure to optimise you’re your physical health and emotional well-being. The principles of reflexology are that specific points on your feet (or face or hands) directly link to specific areas in your body – every system, organ and gland.

Reflexology is good for your health.

In a nut shell…Stress impacts your body causing pain, fatigue and illness. Reflexology is an effective balancing, relaxing and healing treatment.

An increasing number of people suffer from stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, headaches/ migraines, stomach pains, fatigue, burnout to name a few.  Prolonged stress is debilitating and as the nervous system becomes run down, the immune system becomes weakened a whole host of immune deficient illnesses may present themselves such as ME which are now becoming more prevalent.

Reflexology is bliss during pregnancy!

I use prenatal – maternity-reflexology to reduce swollen feet, tackle insomnia, reduce stress and promote deep relaxation, calm. I’ve even used reflexology to bring on labour!

Reflexology is whole body healing.

Rather than short list the benefits, I have addressed (below) the balancing effects of reflexology on each body system. If you have any questions about how I can help you please Email Me or call 07790774239.

The Respiratory System.

Working the respiratory system reflexes will help the whole body, ensuring that oxygen gets into cells and carbon dioxide is removed. Working the circulatory, nervous and muscular systems will also benefit the respiratory system. According to Chinese medicine the skin & lungs are linked, therefore people with eczema may also suffer from asthma.
The Chinese medicine system also says that the lungs are affected by both anxiety and grief- if you are suffering from either of these emotions I pay particular attention to your lung reflexes.

  • Working the diaphragm can have a deeply relaxing effect on the whole body
  • It helps unblock sinuses and reduces inflammation therefore helping such conditions such as sinusitis.
  • It improves the condition of the lungs by increasing blood circulation to the lung tissue.

The Reproductive System

Working the reproductive system is particularly important if you  are trying to conceive; also it helps prevent infections and menstrual/ menopausal problems. Reflexology to the corresponding breast area (on the feet) will help improve lymph drainage and help reduce fluid retention particularly around time of menstruation.

  • Increases blood flow to reproductive organs therefore improving their health.
  • Reflexology can help regulate your menstrual cycle

The Endocrine System.

Working the endocrine system benefits the whole body, improving the hormone production and their subsequent functions. This system enables humans reproduce.

  • When the body is under stress the adrenal gland is stimulated. Reflexology can help reduce the amount of stress hormones released as it helps reduce stress and promote relaxation in the body.
  • Reflexology helps to balance the output of hormones so will be helpful for many hormone related conditions.

The Digestive System.

Working the digestive reflexes encourages an efficient digestive system, which prevents fatigue, constipation and stomach problems. According to Chinese medicine the liver & gall bladder are associated with anger, therefore sensitivity in this area could mean that your anger is impacting your body physically as well as emotionally.

  • Reflexology on the abdomen area helps stimulate peristalsis and promote movement of waste matter.
  • It helps to relieve flatulence and constipation.
  • Reflexology can help sooth nerves and relieve intestinal spasm associated with IBS.

The Urinary System

Working the urinary system encourages efficient waste removal and prevents infections and problems with the kidneys & bladder.  If you have is a blue shadow under the eyes there may be excessive stress in the kidneys. Reflexology will assist you by improving the efficiency of your kidneys.

  • The increased lymphatic flow may cause more urine to pass into the bladder
  • It helps improve the kidney & bladder functioning.

The Nervous System

One of the main benefits is inducing relaxation thus slowing down the bodies reactions to stress signals. It also improves the voluntary functions by improving the speed and function of the communication network. There are approximately 7000 nerve endings in the feet making them particularly sensitive and helpful for accessing the whole body.

  • It helps soothe pain as endorphins are released
  • Working the brain will affect the whole nervous system
  • Working the solar plexus may improve the function of main organs
  • It helps balance the actions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The Lymphatic  System

Working the lymphatic system benefits the whole body and encourages better fluid drainage from tissues & cells thereby boosting the immune system. Chinese medicine states that the spleen is associated with worry, they believe excessive worry & contemplation damages the spleen. Making time for regular reflexology treatments will help you to  relax deeply.

  • It speeds up the flow of lymph helping to detoxify & improve immunity.
  • Can reduce or prevent oedema.

Venue & Bookings

Whether you would like a relaxing, therapeutic reflexology treatment or need help with reflexology for conception pregnancy or labour contact me either by EMAIL  or call and leave me a message on 07790774239.

My reflexology treatments are available at The Walsingham Clinic, Truro and The Seymour Practice in London W1.

Mobile treatments are also available in mid Cornwall.

 

My journey from Stress to Peace.

I know pain.

Your pain – During the last 30 years, I have been working in the clinical and private treatment of both physical and emotional ailments, ranging from conception/birth difficulties through to end-of-life palliative care and all stages in between.

My pain – During those same 30 years, I have burned out 3 times.

I have spent endless hours planning and working on overdrive to achieve my goals. This unintentionally created dissatisfaction with my life, by focusing on what I don’t have, and relentless chasing of these goals left me constantly stressed and exhausted. And so I would come up with a plan to solve that problem, and chase that goal – not realising that I was still perpetuating a vicious circle. Hence burning out 3 times.

What’s wrong?

During all of this time, I had a nagging feeling that the existing techniques for dealing with stress, burnout and related physical ailments were somehow
not enough.

The psychology approach to stress management can help for a while, but the problems often return. And the same is true for physical treatment of stress-related pain/injury/fatigue, etc.

The trouble, as I see it, is that none of the current approaches deal with the cause of stress. Because I believe stress is not caused by what happens in your life.

At least, not mainly. Allow me to explain, using a common example of what happens in our lives.

It’s early morning. Your children bustle down to the breakfast table, shouting at each other. Which emotion does this make you feel?

a) Irritation. Why do they have to make so much noise, all the time, every day?

b) Love. You are obviously raising energetic, lively, confident children.

How can the same event cause two such contrasting feelings? Because it is not the children that cause your feelings, at all. It is your attitude to them, and to life in general, that dictates your feelings. A positive outlook tends to encourage positive feelings about what happens in your life, while a negative outlook will more often foster negative feelings.

This is a useful realisation for us, but the Optimal Default setting goes much, much further than that. In fact, the Optimal Default Setting can make the things that happen in your life powerless to cause you stress (if you practice using it enough).

The Optimal Default Setting

If you let outside events influence your thoughts, then your related emotions/feelings will be, to a certain extent, at the mercy of random life events (further moderated positively or negatively by your attitude/outlook at the time). For many of us, this often means stressful feelings.

However, there is no need for our feelings to be at the mercy of life events.

In the developed world, we tend to face relatively few stressful situations that are truly life-essential, such as avoiding a car crash, putting out a fire, etc. Our common causes of stress, such as a criticism from your boss, an argument with your partner, an unexpected cost that will put you in the red this month – we regularly and routinely deal with these issues and move on with life. There is actually almost no need for them to cause us stress, but we let them anyway.

But I repeat – with only a few life-necessary exceptions, there is no need for our feelings to be at the mercy of life events. And the Optimal Default Setting demonstrates why.

The Thought Cloud

In 2009, scientists at Stanford University stated that we have up to 90,000 thoughts daily. Since then, it has been suggested by others that we are actually more likely to experience 250,000 thoughts daily.

All of these thoughts have the potential to influence our feelings. If we latch onto a negative thought, it can make us unhappy/angry/jealous, etc. But if we then latch onto another of these thousands of available thoughts, our feeling can suddenly change. We have all experienced this.

The key to the Optimal Default Setting is realising that only very few of our thoughts (and related feelings) are caused by outside life events. Far, far more of our thoughts (and potential related feelings) are just part of the thought cloud that all humans live in.

And here is the most beautiful part of the Optimal Default Setting – it doesn’t require any effort. You don’t have to keep monitoring your thoughts and actively decide to focus on something positive when a negative thought occurs. You don’t have to do anything at all. Just by realising that each thought (and related feeling) is only one of a cast cloud of thoughts (and potential related feelings) is enough to ease the stress. And the more we live with this realisation and let it become our natural ‘optimal’ default setting (hence the name), the more we feel our stress eased.

When I first had my Optimal Default Setting idea firmly in place, I found that right there in the moment, I had clarity and peace. My mind fog, created by an over-drive of thinking, cleared instantly, as I realised that I was responsible for myself and my thinking. This allowed me freedom, direction and purposeful, stress-free flowing thought.

Going back to what I said at the start, I have burned out 3 times. And I know pain. But this new way of thinking has brought me a level of peace which I had not previously experienced. And that peace has not gone away.

I hope it will do the same for you.

 “Dawn is an intuitive therapist who gives practical, credible and creative advice in relaxation and battling the pressures of the office and life.” – Eve Baldwin, Vice President of Human Resources, Personal Care Division, Unilever.
“Dawn is an incredible therapist. Her technical expertise& credentials are excellent, but she is more than a great masseuse (& she IS the best masseuse I’ve ever come across!) Dawn has a true gift for healing & understanding what an individual’s body needs at that moment.” – Wendy Powell, Founder + CEO, MuTu System Limited | Post-Partum Exercise Specialist.

If you would like to understand your body and learn how to turn life from Stress to Bliss BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT HERE

My 10 top tips for improved posture and the health of your back

As a child, were you told “Stand up straight!” or “Don’t slouch!”. It turns out that whoever said it, they were right all along! Having poor posture when walking, sitting, working or driving can have a negative impact on your life including:

  • Pain in your back and shoulders.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • The appearance of lacking self confidence.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

What is posture?

Posture is defined as the way the body is carried. Good posture means carrying your body in a way that puts the least strain on muscles and ligaments. Poor posture can cause pain in the neck and back, and can sometimes lead to injury. Making changes to your posture is a great way of improving your overall appearance as well as your health.

Many of the reasons for bad posture can be fixed and others, like pregnancy, go away in time. Some of the reasons are:

  • Poor habits – sitting and standing incorrectly
  • Weakened muscles
  • Obesity – The extra pounds add strain to your skeleton and muscles.
  • Pregnancy
  • Ill-fitting shoes (like high heels)
  • Reduced muscle and joint flexibility (this can happen with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis)

Why Is Good Posture Important?

Good posture is good for your health in a number of ways. Standing and sitting with correct posture prevents strain and overuse of neck and back muscles, it helps the muscles work more efficiently

Good posture also has other more subtle benefits. When you stand properly, the body tends to look taller and slimmer. Good posture can also make you look more confident. And, we all know, when you look confident, you feel confident.

As most of us are seated at desks for most of the day, it is very important to have correct posture while seated.

The combination of regular stretching and massage help to improve and maintain your posture .

Are There Warning Signs Of Back Pain Caused By Poor Posture?

Back pain may be the result of poor posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week. If you experience back pain at certain times of the week, but not at the weekend, this may be the problem.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

The signs to be aware of are:

  • sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car
  • pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back and extremities and pain that goes away after changing positions while sitting or standing.

Keep active

As muscles get tired, slouching, slumping, and other poor posture positions occur. This then puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, switch positions frequently. Take a two-minute break from your desk every hour to stretch your limbs.

Keep the body in alignment while sitting at your desk and standing

  • Distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet while standing.
  • While sitting in at your desk, take advantage of the chair’s features.
  • Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line.
  • Any single position, even a position with good posture, will tire your muscles. Leaning forward with a straight back can alternate with sitting back, using the back support of the office chair to take some of the strain from your muscles.
  • Also be aware of (and avoid) unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders and craning the neck.

Use Posture-Friendly Props & Ergonomic Chairs When Sitting

  • Supportive ergonomic “props” can help to take the strain and load off the spine.
  • Lumbar Rolls or pillows offer great support to the lower back when seated at a desk.

Increase Your General Awareness For Great Posture

Being aware of posture at work, at home, and at play is a vitally important step towards instilling good posture techniques. This includes making conscious connections between incidents of back pain and what position you were in at the time.

Use Exercise To Help Prevent Injury & Promote Great Posture

Regular physical exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling will help the body stay in good condition, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong.

There are also specific exercises that will help maintain good posture. A balance of trunk strength with back muscles about 30% stronger than abdominal muscles is essential to help support the upper body and maintain good posture.

Wear Supportive Footwear When Standing

Avoid regularly wearing high heels, which can affect the body’s center of gravity and change the alignment of the entire body, affecting back support and posture.

Be Aware Of Your Posture When Moving Or Stationary

Walking, talking on the phone, and typing are all moving activities that require attention to posture. It is important to maintain good posture even while moving to avoid injury. Back injuries are especially common while twisting and/or lifting and often occur because of awkward movement and control of the upper body weight alone.

Do re-check your posture whenever you think of it! I often find myself reverting to old habits particularly when using laptops!!

Create The ‘Right’ Environment & Workspace Conducive To You

It does require a bit of time but the results will be well worth it. Undue strain will be placed on the spine unless your office chair, desk, keyboard, and computer screen are in the correct position.

Avoid The ‘Over-Protecting’ Posture

Remember that it is important to maintain an overall relaxed posture to avoid restricting movements by tensing muscles and adopting a stiff posture.

For people who already have some back pain, it is a natural tendency to try to limit movements to avoid the potential pain associated with movement. But, unless there is a fracture or other serious problem, the spine is designed for movement and any limitation in motion over a long period of time creates more pain and will make the overall situation worse.

You can always spot someone in pain when they walk ahead of you in the street… so take a look at yourself. If you are frightened of pain you walk in an unusual manor. It tends to be a stiff, tense and unnatural poise.

The way to change this is to relax. Hold your head up so it is horizontal to the floor,ensure your jaw is not tense, check your breathing and walk (picking your feet up properly).

I completely believe it is possible not only to eradicate most if not all of the chronic aches and pains of a bad back. Why, because I’ve done it myself!

I really have been there and done it all with my bad back, including back surgery! For those of you who are about to switch off at the point of surgery, please allow me to continue…

Back Surgery Was Really Not The Answer!

That just took away the ‘result’ of the problem without ever addressing the cause. It’s taken me 10 years after my op to have put it together in a package to help fellow sufferers.

  • I had to address the physical aspect of the back pain and Sciatica.
  • I had to adjust many aspects of my lifestyle (mostly silly things if I’m honest)
  • I had to address the fear of the re-occurrence of pain, the ‘knowing’ when it was going to ‘go’
  • I needed prevention strategies that were easy and worked
  • I had to address the impact of my bad back and the fear of its re-occurrence because it affected me in so many ways. My back impacted on my work. My work impacted on my finances. My finances impacted on my home life and family.

I’m sure you resonate with this on some or many of these levels! I just wanted you to know that I’ve contended with the lot, and just like you I struggled.

But that is in the past now, even when I do something that in the past would have debilitated me for days if not weeks, I am in a position that I am able to do most things and indeed partake in a far more active lifestyle than I would ever have imagined, probably moreso than before in many ways!

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To avoid sports burnout you need to change your nutritional intake, otherwise you can create the symptoms of burnout whether you are a keen sports person or couch potato!

How can you avoid Sports Burnout?

Regular exercise has countless health benefits, but it can mean you need to check and ‘tweak’ your nutritional intake. The correct balance will help you maintain your energy levels and protect you from ‘burn out’ and injury.

It is crucial to keep an eye on ‘Vitamin B Complex’, this is because their group combined role is the release of energy from food and help prevent burnout. If you have an active lifestyle and partake regularly in sports you will probably require slightly higher amounts of Vitamins B1, B3 & B5.

What should you be taking?

Click on the individual below links to find out more:

Calcium

Zinc

Iron

Vitamin B complex:

Vitamin C

Remember, exercise generates free radicals and can take its toll on your immune system especially if you have a stressed  & busy lifestyle. Vitamin C has a key role for all sports participants.

Vitamin E

How can I help with your back pain?

Many people face horrendous pain either acute (swift onset) or chronic (long term) and often one leads to another following the initial eposide. As we know this can lead to a serious intrusion on your ‘normal life’ and activities, or worse still leave you considering surgery as an option. However in most cases (some people claim 90%) surgery is merely treating the symptom and not the cause.

In 2002 I had an ‘emergency’ back op to remove a herniated disc. I was instantly pain free, and the numbness felt throughout my entire right leg and foot (starting in my buttock running the entire length of sciatic nerve) reduced over the next couple of years, now I have one tiny area behind my knee which is numb, the rest is perfect.

Back pain- where Do you Start?

Almost everyone can benefit from massage and the stretching of soft tissues in the back, legs, buttock, and around the spine. Realignment is key…

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The spinal column and its contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can make back pain worse.

If you suffer from chronic back pain you may find it takes weeks or even months of stretching and other back exercises to mobilize the spine and soft tissues, but the pain will be relieved and mobilization will improve, at this point it is time to mention preventative measures.

Preventative measures such as lifestyle changes will also need to be made, however, I believe it is better to start at the beginning and work through the initial stages.

Keep the following in mind when starting a stretching routine as part of a program of back exercises:

    • Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles
    • Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely
    • Stretching should be pain free; do not force the body into difficult positions
    • Wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind
    • Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to release.
    • Repeat the stretch, generally 5 – 10 times.

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Important Note:

If you already have low back pain or neck pain, I recommend you consult with your GP or consultant before starting any exercise.

Practical Note:

Just 5 to 10 minutes of stretching in the morning and at night can provide significant lower back pain relief.

Neck and Shoulder Stretches

Back pain is often accompanied by neck pain due to muscular imbalances so I always recommend stretching your neck as well as your back and legs.

Flexion Stretch—Chin to Chest.

While standing or sitting, gently bend the head forward while bringing the chin toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of neck.

Lateral Flexion—Ear to Shoulder

This exercise stretches the neck area below the ears as well as the top of the shoulder. To begin, gently bend the neck to one side as if to touch the ear to the shoulder until a stretch is felt in the side of the neck. Switch to stretch the other side.

Back Exercise Stretches

Many back pain patients know the feeling of tension in the back, especially first thing in the morning. These stretching back exercises can help bring back some suppleness and increase mobility, decreasing back pain and discomfort.

Back flexion exercise

Lie on your back, pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a comfortable stretch is felt in a balled-up position.

Knee to Chest Stretch

Whilst lying on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands behind one knee and bring it to the chest (can be done side on- great for sciatica relief)Please contact me directly to find out more stretches and how I can help you
.. (link at the bottom of this article)

Hips and Glut Stretches

The hips and bottom (where the gluteus muscles are) support the lower back. Stretching these muscle groups plays a critical role in maintaining spine flexibility.

Hip stretch

  • While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to the right hip.
  • While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt.

Piriformis muscle stretch

The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock & can contribute to back pain or leg pain.
To stretch the this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other and gently pull the other knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.

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Many of us simply forget that efficient breathing enhances your fitness performance AND reduces stress.  As something we do naturally, it seems crazy to find myself writing about breathing. However, I’ve noted that many of my clients ‘Reverse Breathe’. Additionally, I have noted when breathing patterns are corrected that there are very obvious and dramatic results both immediately and long term.

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What is Reverse breathing?

Naturally we breathe using our diaphragm. If you watch a baby breathing you will see what I mean. However poor posture, stress, anxiety, and general tension all affect our capacity to breathe ‘properly’ Upper chest breathing causes you to expel excessive amounts of Carbon Dioxide (therefore depleting your carbon Dioxide stores). This causes you to feel tense, agitated, breathless, and can cause your nervous system to go into overdrive. In extreme cases this can result in pins and needles/ tingling in hands, a tingling feeling in the lips, metallic taste in the mouth, and cramping of the feet or hands.

Carbon Dioxide is often seen as the ‘baddie’, however it’s vital to our health and general well-being acting as our ‘natural tranquilliser’

Re-learning to use your diaphragm in breathing and to reduce your rate of breathing is an important first step in managing the symptoms of anxiety, anger, panic, AND increasing your physical activities, clearing training plateaus etc.

How Does Reverse Breathing Affect You?

I have noted that with my clients (who are keen Sports participants) the effect of reverse breathing can lead to plateauing, as well as less energy and a longer recovery period, whilst my non-sporty clients, many of whom have very stressed, busy lifestyles, feel more stressed and even more lethargic!!

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Check YOUR Breathing Pattern

  • Rest one hand on your upper chest and the other over your navel area
  • Breathe normally for a minute or so
  • Notice which hand rises first when you inhale

Results:

  •  If the upper hand rises first you are reverse breathing
  • If the lower hand rises first you are breathing with your diaphragm
  • If both move at the same time you are using a mix of both

Breathing Exercise To Reduce Stress & Normalise Breathing

Sit in an upright position looking straight ahead. (You can close your eyes if it helps). Put one palm on your upper chest and the other over your navel. (The aim is to have the lower hand rise first when you breathe in.) Breathe out gently and effortlessly. Now wait for a second or two until the body spontaneously begins the inhalation. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly.

I find it helps if you count slowly as you breathe in…. i.e. breathe in to the count of 6 (lets say) hold for 2 seconds, breathe out for 7.  Also, I find it beneficial to increase the duration of the inhale/ exhale increase when comfortable (easy), i,e Breathe in (and out) to 7, 8, 9 etc.

You may be tempted at this point to ‘force’ a deeper inhalation, but this really won’t help! Allow your body to find its natural rate, I’m certain that as you try this you will already be feeling your body automatically relax! Continue doing this for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Your New Breathing Pattern

Your new slow, relaxed, method of breathing may take a little time to get used to particularly if you have been desk-slumped or experiencing stress for a long time, but don’t despair, it gets easier and easier to change this pattern!

Feedback using this technique has been varied….from the reduction of ‘plateau’ when training to personal bests*, to ease of training, an instant calming solution and even enhanced orgasms (really!). Breathing this way also helps relieve (and alleviate)  tension between the shoulder blades!

*Please note: Whilst breathing ‘properly’ enhances many aspects of your life, muscle tension/ lack of flexibility will affect the outcome. Did you know excessive amounts of Oxygen (relative to the level of Carbon Dioxide) in our system causes us to feel agitated and jumpy. Whereas too much Carbon Dioxide (relative to the level of oxygen) can leave us feeling sluggish, sleepy and tired!

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