C is for…

C is for…

Continuing on with my blog series on common aliments that Massage or Reflexology can help with is C for Constipation.

Something that many people suffer in silence from and therefore wouldn’t dream of telling their massage therapist about.  Its can be caused by lack of fibre in the diet or a build up of gases  and can be quiet uncomfortable.

A holistic massage will help with this as the therapist will ask about diet during the consultation at the start.  This massage then will focus on the belly and the abdomen area and the strokes will follow in the direction of the internal intestines. Using gentle clockwise stokes and wavelike muscular movements.

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine

 

 

B is for …

B is for …

My second blog about common aliments that Massage or Reflexology can help is about ‘Backache’.

Backache can be caused by a number of different factors for example stress, exercise, bad posture, injury etc.

Research has shown that regular massage can help with reducing pain and stiffness and once you have a honest consultation with your massage therapist about your back pain, they can adjust the massage to your back accordingly.

Back pain can sometimes be caused by referral pain from your neck and shoulders and the massage therapist may work on these areas too. But depending on the cause of the backache, the massage pressure can be varied.

For example stress from heavy lifting in the gym, may require a deeper massage while pain from an injury may require lighter and more gentle strokes.

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine

 

A is for ….

A is for ….

Over the next few weeks I’m going to go through the alphabet and highlight a few different common aliments that Massage or Reflexology can help with that you might not have been aware of:

Starting with A:

Arthritis

I have written about this before (click here) and as mentioned before, many people with Arthritis may be afraid that Massage might “hurt” their already sore joints but research (and personal experience) has shown that done correctly the opposite is actually true.  A nice gentle touch can do wonders for sore, fatigued and tired muscles. When someone comes into my treatment room for a massage to relieve the pain from their Arthritis, I will explain that I will be performing Holistic Massage with them. I will be working on their body as a whole, their mind and their condition.

As there are many different types of Arthritis, I will work closely with the client and start with general slow strokes, gentle kneading and thumb circling around the affected areas. (for example, the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows or hands)

Like any medical condition, massage is never used for Arthritis without the doctors permission first of all.

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine

Why Massage is good for your skin.

Why Massage is good for your skin.

If you follow my blogs you will know that I am a big believer in the benefits of holistic treatments on the body and on all its internal systems and organs.

Therefore you won’t be surprised when I say that this blog is about the benefits that Massage has on the largest organ of all -The Skin.

 

If you think about it, (but not too much as it will gross you out) our skin is in contact with everything around us and therefore we are susceptible to all sorts i.e. germs, illness, and diseases.

Therefore we don’t need reminding how important it is to keep it healthy and in the best working order as it quite literally “holds us together”.

We obviously do this daily both externally and internally. Through the products we use on it and the food and drink we digest.

However regular massage can also help in having and maintaining healthy and vibrant skin.

How is this, you might ask?

  • Massage helps to reduce tension in the skin through relaxation.
  • Massage helps blood and lymph circulation and therefore improve its nutrition and encourage cell regeneration.
  • Massage can help to re-moisturise and soften dry skin.
  • Massage increases the natural oils produced by the skin called seburn.
  • Massage increases production of sweat from sweat glands, helping to eliminate waste products through the skin.
  • Massage helps with the dilation of surface capillaries, which improves skin’s color and tone
  • Massage assists in improved skin gland production.
  • Massage helps improves scar tissue.

 

This list is obviously not exclusive and but I just wanted to shine a little light on some of the many benefits that massage can have on the skin. Just think, if massage can have this many benefits on the organ that we see just imagine what other benefits it has on the organs we cant see.

Amazing, right? Just another reason to book that long needed and much deserved massage appointment with me today.

Believe me when I say your skin will thank you for it.

If you enjoyed this blog about massage, click here for more like it or Click here for my contact details.

Stay holistic 🙂

 

Catherine x

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

As another year draws to a close, I just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the love (likes, shares and comments) and continued support for me and my business. 2016 was a great year and it was filled with many a blog and captured many a photo and quote.

  
In case you missed any of them here are the highlights:

Exercise:

First pull up, First competitive CrossFit Competition. Piloxing, Hot Yoga and many more.

Click Here to go directly to them.

   

Collaborations:

French Vanoli, CrossFit Galway, Fittsteps Training, ITWBN, Irish Blogger Agency.

Click Here to go directly to them.

  

 

Treatments, Therapies and Health Advice:

Reflexology, Massage, Raynauds Syndrome, Sleeping better tips, avoiding the flu and many more.

Click Here to go directly to them.

  

 

Volunteering:

Arthritis Ireland and Cope.

Click Here to go directly to them.

  

 

Food Recipes:

Cookies, Flapjacks and many more

Click Here to go directly to them.

   

 
 Mindfulness:

New York, Lisbon, Smiling, Sunsets, Audio books and many more.

Click Here to go directly to them.

  
 

Please contact me here if you would like me to collaborate with you or your company in the future.

I cant wait for what 2017 may bring. It is like a new 365 book and tomorrow is the first page, here’s hoping we write a good one together. Happy New Year xx 

   

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine x

 

What I Know For Sure…

What I Know For Sure…

After reading Oprah’s  book “What I Know For Sure” I decided to write a list of some of the things that I know for sure based on the catergories in my blog. (This isnt an exclusive list)


Arthritis

Having Arthritis  doesn’t define me and getting my hip replaced didn’t limit me. In fact its been the opposite and given me more life and opportunities that I would of had if I had listened to some of the doctors who said that I was “too young” for a replacement and  “would just have to get used to the pain”.

What I know for sure its that no one needs to live in pain and my advice is to chat to others in your situation, “Own” your Arthritis and get the best health care that you can afford and do everything that you can do to try and relieve that pain.

CrossFit

Ive been doing CrossFit in CrossFit Galway for over 3 years now and while it is tough,  the friendships, the community and the memories that I make in there is worth all that sweat, pain, burpees and tears. Not to mention the benefits that I get from those work outs to my body and mind are amazing.

Exercise

I have tried all types of exercise over the years, football and basketball in school, GAA in College, marathon running in my 20’s and now CrossFit and Yoga in my 30’s are the ones I am proud of . (Line-dancing, Boxercise, Zumba are on the other list!!).

So I have a good base to say that the one thing I know for sure about exercise is that no matter what type of movement it is,it is good for you and your body needs this movement. The benefits to your lungs, heart, brain and overall health out weight any embarrassment  or hesitation that you might have when you think of starting.

My advice here is to pick something that you like to do, been it CrossFit, signing up for a couch to 5k run, joining a local dancing club, whatever!

Movement is movement and your future self will thank you for it.

Healthy Eating

For some one like me who loves food, what I now for sure is that you need to have a healthy relationship with food to begin with. You need to understand that you body needs protein, carbohydrates and fats and in the right proportions to work at its best potential.It is ok to have a little of everything (even chocolate!) but just don’t over indulge.

Think of your body like a engine in a car, if you continue to put bad petrol or diesel into it, the engine will burn out, make noise and break down.  Your body is the same, you need to give it the best fuel for it to work its best.

Holistic Therapy’s

Been a holistic therapist and reflexologist for a few years now I have had many clients come to me unsure of what I can do for them. Massage and Reflexology have many physical benefits on the body. They relax and unwind the sore muscles, increase blood circulation and boosts the immune system to name but a few benefits but what I know for sure it that it also have many mental benefits too. I have yet to have a client leave me after a treatment without feeling less stressed, more relaxed, calmer breathing and with a clearer mind.

Mindfulness

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’ Anne Lamott.

In the social media enhanced world that we live it, what I know for sure its that its ok to switch it all off every now and then and just “be”.. read a book, go for a walk, be on your own, just be! It really works.

This is just a few of the things that I know for sure.  Hope you enjoy and do please leave me a comment with one of the things that “you know for sure”.

Stay holistic 🙂

 

Catherine x

‘Time flies when you are having fun’

‘Time flies when you are having fun’

I couldn’t believe it when I got this notification from WordPress that its been a year since I first registered for this blog.

.

The reason why I set this up is all in my first blog (see my first and very basic blog here).  But in short it was to mark another important anniversary for me, that of my new hip replacement (4 years today – the 23rd of August). I wanted to share how I overcame the pain of living with arthritis and how I live well my new hip every day. I have also turned it into a way to help others live a pain free life and set up my own business -The Holistic Toolkit. 

My goal a year ago was to share my story with others, live well with arthritis, show how exercise helps me, the benefits of massage and reflexology, my healthy eating tips, mindfulness ideas, my volunteering and anything else that I find along the way that I feel would benefit my life (and others) in a positive pain free and inspiring way. 

So with my blank WordPress and a goal, I set off.  


 

Thankfully I found “Into The West Blogger Network” and they introduced me into the amazing world that is blogging. 


I even went back to school with them and Educated machine and this helped me redo my blog and I’m delighted with when I have now. 

So one year later, I think it’s as good a time as any to talk you through my blog as it stands today. 

Please note that like any blog or website it will look slightly different depending where you read it from, a PC, tablet, phone.  

The PC or tablet will show the Menu bar along the top.


While the phone will show it on the top right hand corner with the drop down list once you click on it.

I have information about me, in the ‘Who is The Holistic Toolkit?’ tab. As well as all my contact details in the ‘How to Contact me?’ tab.

In the ‘Build your Toolkit’ tab, I have categorised the different blogs into different topics to help you, the reader easily find your interests.

These are Reflexology, CrossFit, Exercise, Healthy Eating, Food Recipes, Mindfulness, Volunteering, Massage, Arthritis Ireland and I hope to add to these in the future.

I also have links to my social media on the right hand side on the tablet or PC. Click on these to bring you directly into my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (Unfortunately these don’t show up on the phone but are all also in the contact tab).

Over the past year I have written 37 blogs and have had over 1500 views. I’m delighted with this and would like to thank each and everyone one of you for liking and sharing my content.


My future goal is to continue to blog and to help and encourage as many as I can to live as pain free a life as possible (be it physically or mentally) through the right exercise, food , holistic treatments and positive lifestyle choices.
That’s it for now. Watch this space for plenty more from The Holistic Toolkit in the coming months.

Stay holistic 🙂

 

Catherine x
Please don’t keep me a secret! My business grows by referral, please tell a friend, relative or colleague who would benefit from The Holistic Toolkit.

Count down to my first CrossFit ‘Battle’…

Count down to my first CrossFit ‘Battle’…

As some of you know I’m preparing for my first Crossfit ‘The Battle of the West’ competition (in 2 weeks time) and while yes I’m increasing my training in the gym by working on improving my weaknesses, my preparation for the competition isn’t all happening inside the gym.

If you ask any sports person in training for any competition or big match or race they will tell you that success or failure on the day will have a lot to do with a combination of factors.

Below is a list of some of my suggestions for successful preparation for a big sporting event.
1. Research: 

Know your sport. Talk to your coach, ask about extra work outs you can do, before or after your regular class. Look up other similar competitions and see what their work outs are and try them out. Identity with your coach your weaknesses and work out a training plan that you can follow over the next few weeks to improve these.
2. Practice, practice, practice:

CrossFit is about high intensity, constantly varied, functional movements and so for me over the last month I’ve looked at 4 different workouts each week to help me get into that frame of mind. I record my scores, my weights and times so that when I redo them I can grade myself against them. The organisers of The Battle of the West released the first workout yesterday and so I will practice this a few times and even record myself doing them to watch it back ( embarrassing I know!!) and see exactly where I can improve.

3. Food:

I’m a firm believer in that you can’t out train a bad diet and so you can do all the training you want but if you don’t have a clean balanced diet, it’s all a waste. Over the last year I’ve lost a stone by using  the MyFitnessPal app   and understanding what I eat (see blog here). It’s important to have a good relationship with food and during a competition it’s even more so, this is the fuel that you are putting into your engine to make it run better on the day.

For me I’ve upped my protein(eggs, nut butters etc.) my greens (extra veg, spinach), I’ve introduced chlorella and spirulina into my smoothies and from now until the competition I’m eliminating all breads.


I also start the day with a Platinum & Diamond protein shake which I mix into my daily berry smoothie in my NutriBullet and after class I have it again with water in a shaker as soon as I can. The benefits of this are that it aids recovery and helps replenish the system after an intense training session.

Don’t forget to also drink at least 8 glasses of water a day as this will help keep your body hydrated throughout the day.

4. Sleep: 

Personally I’m a zombie without a good nights sleep but thankfully I’ve no problem getting to sleep.


Aim for 7-9 every night and try and have a regular routine in the weeks coming up to your competition as your body will need the extra time to recover with all that extra training. Try also to eliminate technology in the bedroom so that this will encourage your mind to slow down also.

5. Rest days:

Also known as recovery days. These help rebuild and repair any damaged muscle tissue, help reduce the risk of injury, help strengthen the joints and ligaments and replenish the bodies energy reserves.


It’s very important to listen to your body and understand when it’s talking to you and needs to stop. For me, my replaced hip will let me know very clearly when I’m reaching that point and I will always stop and rest before it gets too bad. Everyone has a body part that speaks to them so identify what that is and work with it.

Rest for me is Netflix or a good book and feet up and time with family and friends.

6. Massage:

Now we are talking 🙂 There is nothing nicer than a nice long massage and particularly when your muscles are sore from training. A good massage can help reduce muscle tension, increase range of motion, relieve stress, increase and encourage blood flow in the area and help you sleep better.


The week before the competition I will be booking myself in for a massage for all of this and also to help calm my nerves. 🙂 If you can’t get a massage, make sure you use a foam roller or hand roller . Your body will thank you for it the next day, I promise.
So there you have it, some of my suggestions for preparing for a competition. For me it’s CrossFit but I hope this can be tailored to any big race, match, competition you might be preparing for.
Please do let me know if there is anything else that you do in preparation for a big event that you find works! I’d love to hear about it.

Lastly, remember on the day, it’s all about having a good experience and it’s not about anyone else. Best of luck!

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x

p.s Read about my other CrossFit related blogs here.

Getting the best out of a treatment..

Getting the best out of a treatment..

Most people I know love a good Massage or session of Reflexology. From when they book it to when they have the treatment they are looking forward to that time (be it 30 minutes or a hour) of relaxation, of been able to close their eyes and switch the outside world off for a little while at least.

 


They trust that the therapist will help soothe away the worries and woes of the day and bring their bodies and minds back into sych again.

To help your therapist here are some of my gentle guidelines that will help you can get the most out of your treatments.
1. Arrive on time.

This shows respect for your therapist but also allows the therapist to give you the most of your time. If you are late, this time will be taken off your treatment and therefore you won’t get the full benefit of the experience.

2. Don’t arrive on a fully belly.

This is for your own comfort as your body will not be a receptive if it’s still working hard to digest and break down your most recent meal.
3. Communicate your wishes to your therapist.

Be this your first or your tenth treatment. Every day is different and your should never assume that your therapist knows how you are since your last treatment. Be open and honest with your therapist. It’s totally confidently and will benefit you and your treatment.


4. Breathe

Some people are nervous when they come for a treatment for the first time and they might not know what to expect. It’s importantly to note that all my treatments have positive benefits for your body and mind and they is no reason to be nervous so just breathe as normal and let the therapist do their thing.
5. Relax body and mind.

A treatment room environment should be one of peace and stillness. With the right music, lights and temperature, the right room should make you feel at ease from the minute you walk in to the minute you leave. While it makes no difference to the therapist or the treatment benefits if you talk throughout your treatment, a lot of people will automatically close their eyes and stop talking once they feel comfortable during their treatment.

6. Drink plenty of water afterwards.

Immediately after all my treatments I will give you a glass of water and recommend that you drink some more when you get home. This is very important as one of the main reasons is that water will help the kidneys and other organs remove and flush out any toxins that need to leave the body after a treatment.


7. Follow any recommendations afterwards.

This again is for your own benefit and will help prolong that relaxed feeling that you will get some the treatment. For example don’t exercise, don’t drive too far, don’t eat a heavy meal and try and go to bed early and drink plenty of water etc.
8. Ask questions

Remember this is your treatment and this is your time so please do ask your therapist questions before, during or after the treatment. I’m here to help and if I don’t know the answer I will endeavor to find out for you.

I hope these suggestions help you get the most out of your Massage or Reflexology session and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram for more information on my treatments.

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x

Why you should give Indian Head Massage a try….

Why you should give Indian Head Massage a try….

I added Indian Head Massage to The Holistic Toolkit at the beginning of this year because many of my clients would come in to me with tension headaches, have problems in sleeping and issues getting their minds to relax and I wanted to be able to offer an alternative treatment to Reflexology. 
I spent 3 months in India in 2009 and I remember friends there telling me about how Indian families would use massage daily both for relaxation and healing. They would use massage techniques based on old Ayurvedic treatments. I remember watching ladies offering head massages on the beaches to the tourists and natives alike and people getting treatments in shopping centres, on the side of the road, waiting for buses and even in airports.

From an early age Indian children are taught to give head massage so that each family member can both give and receive treatments.

Also in barbers and hairdressers over there, they use stimulating and invigorating head massage known as ‘champi’ during the hair wash. Over times these techniques were adopted into western culture and has become the Indian Head Massage as we know it.


What surprised me in my training was that Indian head massage isn’t just a massage of the scalp. It’s a seated treatment incorporating the upper back, the shoulders, the arms, the neck, the scalp and the face and can last anything from 20 minutes to a hour.
As you can imagine it has many benefits to all the bodies system, which include and not limited to this following:
Reduces stress levels

Regulates breathing

Releases physical and mental tension

Improves hair condition and promotes healthy hair growth

Reduces and removes lactic acid.( particularly from the shoulders and neck muscles)

Helps balance the chakras (by increasing the feelings of awareness and sense of calm and clarify.
Indian head massage is ideal for everyone but particular for those who use lift heavy weights or concentrate a lot with computers, numbers, driving etc.
I have to say that I love performing Indian Head Massage as you can actually see the tension/the stress/the woes of the day leave the body through the shoulders and neck and people generally drift away after about 10 minutes into the treatment and some have even fallen asleep -a great compliment to a massage therapist!
So next time your body needs a massage, a rubdown or a bit of down time. Maybe treat yourself to an Indian Head Massage.


Until next time.
Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x