Author Archives: helenshortland

Meditation: Is it really bad for you?


An article has been published in several national newspapers this week stating that meditation can be a dangerous practice, leading to anxiety, panic and depression.  In the article the author, Dr Miguel Farias, clearly states that the problem lies with excessive meditation practice, the kind done for hours on end such as you would find on a meditation retreat. However once a statement gets into the mainstream media, it is all too easy for claims to be exaggerated and the entire subject of meditation to be viewed in a very negative light.

First let me say that the claims made would pose no problem for people who meditate fifteen or twenty minutes a day, maybe a couple of times a day, or for those who take a five or ten minute breather out of the day to re-centre and refocus.  We need to maintain perspective here and bear in mind that potential problems only arise when practices are taken to extremes.

The true goal of meditation is to go into the space between the thoughts with a view to expanding the sense of self and your concept of reality. It can take you beyond the mind and the ego and therefore beyond your sense of self. The ego is a construct of your beliefs and life experiences through which you define yourself. When you go beyond Mind into nothingness, the ego disappears and we lose our sense of self and who we are. Psychological breakdown can occur when you do not know what is happening and are not prepared to deal with it. The resulting ‘breakdown’ can send you in to what is termed ‘spiritual crisis’, some symptoms of which include anxiety, panic, fear and depression. Other symptoms include muscle spasms and jerking, ego inflation, confusion, vibration in the body and rushing/roaring sensations in the head.

Spiritual crisis is the extreme end of spiritual awakening. Many people are awakening spiritually at this time, exploring various healing modalities, crystals, meditation among others. Spiritual awakening itself is a journey of healing past trauma and wounding.  It is a process of learning, growth, healing and purification; learning to love yourself and forgive others who have caused pain and wounding.  A spiritual awakening can turn into crisis however when it happens too quickly, the person is no longer in control, and it is all happening too much too soon. The crisis can be triggered by excessive spiritual practices such as meditation and qigong as well as taking too many Reiki/energy attunements in too short a space of time. The speed of the awakening is unmanageable and the person is left experiencing terrifying symptoms of mental breakdown.

During intense meditation, the meditator opens up to the transcendental state beyond Mind.  Unresolved trauma and wounding that has been suppressed, repressed and denied over the years comes up to the surface seeking to be resolved and healed.  The inner wold takes over and the person often finds it hard to cope with everyday tasks.

Meditation can produce great highs and feelings of Oneness, inter-connectedness with all things, blissful inner peace and love but it can also be followed by great lows. When you have let more light into your energy body, more of the shadow self is exposed and thrown into that light for healing. Life can start to feel like a constant inter-play between the themes of light and dark. Ultimately however the goal of the psyche is always to heal, transform and move towards wholeness. Spiritual crisis is part of that process, albeit a painful one.

For those people who want to practice meditation as safely as possible, I believe Mindfulness to be the ‘safest’ form of meditation. It is body-focused, particularly on the physical senses of taste and touch. It is very grounding and is excellent for bringing you back into your body if you have a tendency to zone out and be carried away by your own thoughts and worries. For this reason it is very beneficial for anxiety and mild depression. If you want to try it, start off with something very simple: next time you have a cup of tea, eat a sandwich or brush your teeth, focus entirely on the sensations in your hands and mouth. Follow the sensations in your body as you drink the tea or eat the sandwich. If you can become totally absorbed in what you are doing, you are being mindful. With Mindfulness there is no attempt to go beyond the realm of mind into the space between thoughts; you are simply absorbed in what you are doing in the physical realm.

I hope I have provided some reassurance that meditation is perfectly safe when practiced sensibly and in moderation. There are great benefits to having a regular meditation practice (including lowered blood pressure and stress levels, managing anxiety and mild depression, and improving clarity, focus and creativity). It would be a shame to tarnish the reputation of such a beneficial spiritual practice unnecessarily.


1. Help and resources are available for anyone who believes they are suffering the symptoms of spiritual crisis. Visit for further information.

2. Image courtesy of

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Meditation Teacher based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.


The week 11th – 17th May 2015 is Mental Health Awareness Week.  The Mental Health Foundation will be staging events across the country to raise awareness of how anxiety and sleep deprivation can affect mental health.

Various complementary therapies are particularly beneficial for positive mental health and greater wellbeing.  Reiki healing, for example, calms the mind and emotions and restores balance, peace and harmony.  Healing is channelled through the practitioner into the body, chakras and energy field of the receiver using a light touch.  Many people report feeling lighter after a treatment as worry and grief are released from their energy field during treatment.  Indian Head Massage and Back Massage are very effective in terms of relieving tension and anxiety held in the neck, shoulders and upper back.  Reflexology can be beneficial in relieving the physical manifestations of stress, calming the adrenals and rebalancing the physical body.

Alternatively you may like to try some Mindfulness techniques to restore calm, control and perspective.  Mindfulness Meditation helps you to be in the present moment, not worrying about the future or the past or getting caught up in negative emotions.  Here are some suggestions which can easily be incorporated into your daily life.  Making them a regular habit is the key to success!

  •  Take a 2 or 3 minute breathing space when necessary at work or at home. Stop what you are for 2 or 3 minutes and focus solely on your breathing.
  • Become mindful of how you talk to yourself. Become aware of statements such as “I can’t do that”, “I’ll never be good enough”, “I can’t cope”, “I’m not attractive enough” or “I’m not clever enough”. Nothing destroys self-esteem quicker that negative self-talk. The way you talk to yourself reflects deep held inner beliefs which, when negative, need examining and releasing. Every time you catch yourself making a negative comment about yourself, stop the thought and choose a different one, such as “I can do this”, “I am as good as everyone else here” or “I always do my best”.
  •  Practice being fully present in the present moment. Note where your mind actually is when carrying out routine tasks such as preparing or eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, walking the dog or out with a friend. Make the effort to focus completely on what you are doing instead of letting your mind wander off worrying about something else.
  •  Practice a simple Mindfulness breathing technique for a few minutes two or three times a day, such as just after waking up, on the bus journey to work, at lunch or before you go to bed. Place one hand on your chest and feel your breath moving into and out of your body. Notice the natural rhythm. Be aware of the coolness of the air as you breathe in and the warmth of the air leaving you as you exhale.


  1. For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week please visit
  2. Reiki healing, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and other complementary therapies are available with Helen Shortland,

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.


coconut oil    Coconut oil is rapidly gaining popularity as an amazing all-round beauty product, with very good reason!

Beauty Benefits

I and my family have been using coconut oil for several months now as a beauty product and have found it to have the following benefits:-

  • As a moisturiser it combats dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • A gentle but powerful skin cleanser, it gently dissolves dirt, make-up and impurities. Massage half a teaspoon into the skin and wash off with warm water.
  • Due to its regenerative effects, it is an excellent all-round skin healer. Try it on cuts, grazes and wounds.
  • As a lip balm to nourish and soften the lips.
  • A dramatic reduction in rosacea flare-ups.
  • Provides immediate relief from the itching of a shaving rash.
  • Relieves eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. We used it on a flaking scalp – apply at night, wash out in the morning and the flaking is gone.
  • Relieves patches of dry skin on knees, heels and elbows.
  • Smoothes and softens hair when applied as a conditioner. There was less frizz and less straightening was required. Apply to the ends to treat fly-away hair.

The healing, antibacterial, cleansing and regenerative properties of coconut oil make it ideal for topical use.  It is not laden with chemicals so is gentle on the skin and safe for everyone to use.  Many facial skin care products are made from harsh chemicals and contain large amounts of alcohol which will strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in the skin producing more oil to compensate for the loss which leads to clogged pores and acne.  Coconut oil gently removes even the heaviest make-up without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Health Benefits

My own research on line has found many amazing health benefits of coconut oil.  The general guideline is to take 3 tablespoons a day.  Coconut oil is one of the good fats and is easy to digest for those with gall bladder problems.  It does not cause heart disease and does in fact protect against it.

  • Stimulates thyroid function and combats hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). Symptoms of an under-active thyroid are low body temperature, cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold and feeling cold all the time, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, aching joints, constipation, fatigue, hoarse voice, dizziness, ringing in ears, loss of libido, weight gain, mental fog and low mood.
  • Its antiseptic, microbial properties help fight viral and bacterial infections. The lauric acid in coconut oil also fights yeast and fungi.
  • Lowers cholesterol. People living in tropical environments who consume large amounts of coconut oil experience far less heart disease than those living in the West.
  • Helps combat diseases associated with ageing and chronic degenerative diseases including cancer.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels so helps prevent, control and manage diabetes.
  • Controls hunger and cravings and promotes weight loss. Its medium chain fatty acids promote thermogenesis, leading to increased metabolic rates.
  • Promotes brain health and is beneficial in cases of Alzheimers due to the high level of good HDL cholesterol which is required for the proper functioning of the synapses in the brain.

I have also tried coconut water which contains more potassium than a banana and is excellent for rehydration. An excellent choice of drink in the current hot weather!

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking, replacing other oils or margarines.

Try roasting potatoes in coconut oil – they taste delicious!

Saute or stir fry seasonal veg in coconut oil such as carrots, courgettes, peppers and mushrooms.

Add to smoothies, fruit salads and yoghurt.

There are many recipes available on line but here is something simple and delicious for you to try:

Raw Chocolate Cream Caramel Bars

Crust: 1 cup almonds, cashews or peanuts, 1 cup dates, Pinch of salt (optional)

Caramel: 1/2 cup cashew butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup dates

Chocolate cream: 1/3 cup coconut oil, 2-3 tablespoons cacao powder, 1/4 cup raw honey

Method: To make the crust: process the almonds or other nuts into flour in your food processor, then add the dates and process until it all begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan and refrigerate. To make both the caramel and mocha layers: just blend the ingredients in each list until smooth.  Feel free to add other flavours like vanilla, chili, ginger, etc. Spread the caramel onto your crust, followed by the chocolate cream.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours until completely set.


  1. Coconut oil is available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Little London stock 3 different brands (Veridian, Optima and Biona) ranging in price from £11-£15 for a 500ml jar. Tel (0115) 9472854 or visit
  2. Coconut water is available from Waitrose.
  3. More information on coconut oil can be found at or visit Dr Bruce Fife on the benefits of coconut oil.

Helen Shortland is a Holistic Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Meditation Teacher based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please visit her website for further information.



More and more people nowadays are suffering from some form of anxiety.  As the pace of life continues to increase, so do your stress levels.  Life events such as employment stress, exam pressure and family break-ups leave people feel tense and agitated.  Other causes of anxiety are more deep-rooted and stem from unresolved painful events in childhood.  Reports of hazards and disasters in the news also add a general sense of fear and worry.  Anxiety-related disorders such as panic attacks are on the increase but many suffer symptoms without realising it including irritability, headaches and digestive disorders such as gastric ulcers.

How anxiety affects the body

The autonomic nervous system, over which you have no conscious control, is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. In response to intense physical or emotional stimulation, your sympathetic system induces a ‘fight or flight’ response, increasing adrenalin production from the adrenal glands, so that you can respond to danger.  In our evolutionary past this helped us to avoid predators but extended, long term stimulation results in a racing heart rate, sweating and irritability.

The parasympathetic system is suppressed during ‘fight or flight’.  This system governs vital bodily functions including digestion, assimilation of nutrients and waste elimination, so is it any wonder that excessive anxiety can result in digestive disorders?

Restoring balance

Various traditional herbal remedies can treat symptoms of anxiety.  For example, lemon balm and skullcap are relaxants, helping you to unwind and gain a restful night’s sleep.  Vervain and skullcap can also help to nourish, strengthen and balance your nervous system.  Linden is helpful in protecting against the formation of gastric ulcers.  Wild lettuce has an antispasmodic effect which helps to relax muscles.

Holistic therapies such as Reiki can help to rebalance the mental/emotional bodies, calming the mind and balancing the emotions. A more physical therapy such as reflexology can help to balance the symptoms of stress within the physical body.  Therapies such as hypnotherapy and CBT are also worth investigating as they help to change your response to certain ‘triggers’.


1. Therapies including Reiki and Reflexology are available with Helen Shortland.

2.  Herbal remedies and a wide selection of herbal teas are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.comfor further information.



What is the Violet Flame Chakra?

The Violet Flame Chakra sits at the top of the brow on the highest point of the forehead, between the crown and third eye chakras, and burns with all the colours of the violet light from deep magenta to pale lilac through violet and purple with flickers of silver, gold, deep ruby red and opalescent light. It is a living flame of violet purple magenta light, rather than as a star or orb or vortex of light. It serves to connect us to every manifestation of the Violet Flame found in every dimension that exists between the Divine and ourselves. This includes the Violet Flame of the physical dimension, the violet flame of the mental dimension, the violet flame of the emotional dimension and the violet flame of the spiritual dimension. These flames are called the Rescue Flames.

Why is it important now?

The teachings and initiation into the Violet Flame Chakra have been brought to us by Ascended Master St Germain channelled through spiritual teacher Edwin Courtenay. This teaching system has been brought to earth now to assist humanity with numerous challenges that are being faced now as part of the ascension process of planet earth itself. Many people are experiencing personal challenges that can almost be proving too much to bear, diverting people from their path and making them question their faith and everything they have believed in so far. At this powerful time in earth’s history there is much clearing of unresolved deep and ancient karmic issues and lessons to be learnt and cleared, both on a personal and global scale. Many people who have been on a healing or spiritual path for a while now are also experiencing ascension symptoms as part of their ongoing journey which the Rescue Flames are particularly effective at addressing.

Although the Violet Flame has been available for us to call upon to transmute negative energy for some time, there have been many instances when it doesn’t seem to have worked. Previously the ability to call upon the Violet Flame has only been as good as the clarity and connection of the person who calls upon it. If the person is clear, there is no problem and they can transmute the energy. If however they are not clear emotionally, for example, and their connection to the emotional sphere is not good, they couldn’t call upon the Violet Flame very clearly so it would not have worked well in terms of clearing negative emotional energy and the planes above the emotional plane would have remained blocked as well. Now – through the initiation of the Violet Flame Chakra – this will be a thing of the past enabling us all to call upon the flame in every aspect of its manifestation in all dimensions/spheres. If you decide to take the Violet Flame Chakra initiation, you will open up a doorway, window or portal through which the full power of the flame and its associated wisdom might be accessed and drawn upon in order to clear all forms of negative energy – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.

The Role of the Violet Flame in Healing

Summoning the Violet Flame can cleanse and clear negative energy in whichever dimension we want to heal. For example in the physical dimension it can be called upon to help release whatever emotional toxins we are holding onto, such as negativity, fear, guilt, sadness and pain. The cells of the body hold onto negative mental/emotional energy and it is this which needs to be released in order for the physical body to heal. The Physical Rescue Flame therefore brings healing to the physical body by releasing the underlying mental/emotional patterning which caused the imbalance in the first place and which is contributing to illness and disharmony. As such, this flame can have a detoxifying effect! In the mental and emotional dimensions the Violet Flame can be called upon to transmute negative thought forms and emotions. The Mental Rescue Flame strengthens the mental body, bringing it additional power and focus, enabling a person to cope better with challenges in their life. The Emotional Rescue Flame is ideal for people who feel unloved and unworthy as it dissolves blocks to receiving divine love and connects us to our soul so we feel less of a victim. In the spiritual dimension it can be called upon to raise your spiritual vibration, lift it above heavy energy and cleanse it of dark, detrimental energies that are dragging it down.

The Silver Violet Flame and Higher Clairvoyance

Another aspect of the Violet Flame is the Silver Violet Flame, which you can also access once you have received the Violet Flame Chakra initiation. This flame is monitored by Ascended Master Lady Portia, divine complement or twin flame of St Germain. The Silver Violet flame provides a powerful extension of clairvoyant abilities, enabling you to see your current situation from a much higher perspective through the eyes of the soul. The workshop teachings also enable you to temporarily ignite this ability in others too. The Soul can provide an oversight of why you are where you currently are and how you can move forward; sometimes it can also provide an understanding of what you have already experienced. The Soul sees the past, present and potential future as one continuous event occurring simultaneously playing out beneath it from its vantage point beyond space and time. As such the Soul knows everything there is to know about us, who we are, who we have been, what we might yet become, our life path and purpose, our Karma, what is meant and not meant to be. It sees through illusion and falsity and helps us move forward with clarity.

Special Introductory Offer

During May Helen is offering a Violet Flames healing treatment and Silver Violet Flame exercise to enable you to see your situation through the eyes of the soul for just £15! Please contact me either by phone 07748 591690 or email to book.

Helen Shortland is a 2nd generation Violet Flame Chakra teacher, having been initiated by Maiya King who was initiated directly by Edwin Courtenay.

The Violet Flame Chakra Activation is a one day workshop 10.30am-5pm. After this workshop you will be able to pass the teachings and initiation onto others if you feel ready.

The energy exchange for the day is £60.

If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact Helen at for further course information.

Helen is planning to run this workshop on a Saturday in September but if anyone would like to do this training on a weekday during the summer, please let me know (with details of your availability) and I can arrange to do this if we get enough people interested.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. She runs a range of spiritual themed workshops including Developing Intuition, Connecting to your Spirit Guide, Psychic Protection and Angel workshops. Please ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics or visit her website http://helenshortland.comfor further information.




The Hopi Ear Candle treatment (also known as Thermo Auricular Therapy) is a pleasant, non-invasive treatment which is beneficial for many problems related to the ears and head.

Ear candling is an excellent natural remedy for easing sinus and nasal congestion. Many people who suffer from hay fever symptoms have found relief from the congestion and fuzzy headed feeling with this treatment.

What are Hopi Ear Candles?

The ear candles are actually rolled cotton tubes impregnated with beeswax, honey, St Johns Wort and therapeutic oils which are painlessly inserted into the base of the ear to draw out impurities, relieve congestion and relieve pressure in the head and sinuses.

Where do they originate?

Hopi Ear Candles take their name from the Hopi Native American Indian tribe, a peaceful tribe with great medicinal knowledge. It is said that the Hopi Indians used the ear candles to clear their head before going on their shamanic journeying and indeed one of the most common benefits reported by clients is a feeling of being lighter and clearer in the head.

How do they work?

The ear candles have a gentle suction action (like a chimney effect) which loosens and draws out compacted wax from the ear canal to be collected in the base of the tube.  The movement of the flame creates a vibration of air in the candle which gently massages the ear drum and soothes the sinus and nasal passages.

How can they help to ease hay fever symptoms?

The candles are particularly effective at treating congestion in the sinus and nasal passages. Breathing generally becomes freer and the head feels lighter and clearer, helping to dissipate the fuzziness associated with hay fever.

I have treated numerous clients with hay fever during my 12 years as a therapist. Client A suffered badly with a runny nose, sore eyes and fuzzy head from the beginning of March to the end of August, despite taking general hay fever medication. During these months I usually see this client every few weeks to reduce the severity of his symptoms. He finds ear candling an enormous help – his symptoms are noticeably reduced, he can breathe more freely and his head is clearer.

What else can they help with?

Ear candles can also help ease tinnitus, sinusitis, rhinitis, glue-ear, excess or compacted wax, colds and sinus headaches. They help to regulate pressure in the sinuses and inner ear canal and balance fluids in the inner ear, so are very beneficial for people with balance problems such as Meniere’s Disease and vertigo. They help ease sore throats, reduce catarrh and can be beneficial to asthma sufferers. People who suffer from migraines often find that ear candling reduces the occurrence and intensity of migraines. Ear candling also stimulates blood and energy flow and stimulates the lymphatic system and metabolism. Ear candling is particularly useful for people who have found syringing uncomfortable.

I have found that ear candling can also help people who are prone to ear infections. Client B went through a phase of regular ear infections which re- occurred every few months, despite taking medication. I was able to carry out ear candling once her infection had cleared up. After an initial course of 4 treatments, her ears were much clearer and her hearing improved. She now has treatments every 3 or 4 months to keep her ears as healthy as possible.

The Treatment

The client lies on their side and the lit ear candle is inserted into the base of the ear. The therapist holds the candle in place throughout the treatment so there is no danger of it falling over. The candle takes approximately 12 minutes to burn down. During this time the candles often make a crackling, hissing noise which is entirely normal. Wax deposits and impurities, along with candle residue, are collected in the base of the tube. Once the therapist has removed the end of the candle, the client is asked to turn over and the process is repeated with the other ear. The treatment ends with a facial massage to promote sinus and lymph drainage and to allow the client a period of relaxation.

Four to six treatments are usually recommended to treat a particular condition. The first treatment seems to loosen up compacted wax and stimulates blood and lymph flow to the ear area, which helps to stimulate the healing process. Improvements can usually be seen after 3 treatments. Clients then usually take regular monthly treatments for a few months before finishing the treatment. With hay fever, I just see clients during the spring and summer months when necessary.


Ear candling is not suitable for people who have a perforated ear drum, grommets or implants, recently had surgery to the ear or head, recently suffered a stroke, or those with allergies to any of the candle contents. It should not be carried out if there is any pain or infection in the ear but can be performed once the infection has cleared.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. The Hopi Ear Candle treatment is available for £28. Please allow 1 hr. For further information about the therapies, courses and workshops Helen offers, please visit her website



Who are they?

The word ‘angel’ is derived from the Greek word ‘angelos’ meaning ‘messenger’. Angels can therefore be thought of as divine messengers or messengers from God. They are members of a divine hierarchy who guide, protect and inspire us. Their role is to help us and encourage us to grow, find our life purpose and expand our consciousness. The number of angels is incalculable: early writings refer to a numberless host of angels, as abundant as the stars.

Angels are not part of the human stream of consciousness and do not incarnate in human form on earth (although they have been known to assume human form temporarily to provide assistance). However there are two exceptions to this rule in relation to the Archangels Sandalphon and Metatron, who were originally mortal men. Sandalphon was the prophet Elijah and Metatron was the wise man Enoch. It is said that God granted both men their immortal assignments as Archangels in reward for their good work on earth.

Angels have been with us since the beginning of time. They span all religions and are referred to in the Bible and other religious texts. Our ancestors looked upon angels as remote beings, as unknowable as God, and believed that only saints, mystics and prophets could perceive angels. Over time humans developed a more personal relationship with angels and there are many stories of angelic contact.

Our perception of angels is often clouded by the many religious paintings depicting them as beautiful human-like beings with wings and halos. Angels are in fact pure beings of light: they are androgynous with their masculine and feminine aspects in perfect balance. One person may perceive a particular angel or archangel as female, while another person perceives its male aspect. Angels are beings of pure energy who vibrate at too high a frequency for us to be able to perceive through our physical senses. It is possible for us to perceive them in a deep meditation/trance state but normally they step down their vibration and appear as we imagine an angel to look so that we are able to recognise them.

As you evolve and dedicate your life to a spiritual path, the angels find ways of helping you with your mission, constantly drawing you towards your destiny. Your personal guardian angel is with you at all times but as you grow spiritually you will find that higher level guides, Ascended Masters and even Archangels are drawn to work with you to fulfil your particular life purpose.

Your Guardian Angel

We all have our own special guardian angel who accompanies us throughout all our incarnations. This angel loves us unconditionally and knows us inside out, both our faults and our greatest potential. The main purpose of the guardian angel is to help us achieve our life purpose. However they cannot intervene in our lives unless we ask them to. Our guardian angel is always sending us love, compassion and encouragement. We can choose to listen or not, as we have free will, but occasionally they can intervene in a sudden, urgent need for help.

Guardian angels want us to communicate with them and are delighted when we make contact. They can guide us to our true path in life and help us achieve our highest purpose if we foster a strong relationship with them. You can ask your guardian angel to resolve problems and difficult situations in your life for the greatest good of all concerned. Your guardian angel helps you to manifest peace and good in all areas of your life.

Connecting with your Guardian Angel

The best way to connect with your angel is through meditation. Alternatively just sit in a quiet space and ask your angel to be with you. Some people like to make it a daily ritual to sit in a specially dedicated place. It is best if you can purify and raise the vibration of the space you are sitting in, perhaps by playing some angelic music, lighting a candle and placing a few crystals around you. Still your mind and surround yourself with white or gold light. Now communicate your wishes and requests for help to your angel and be open to any kind of response such as a feeling, a knowing or even a message. Sometimes answers come to you later, perhaps through a conversation with someone or a coincidental event. Usually when you call upon your angel the communication will come through feelings such as peace, clarity, feeling inspired, a feeling of love or of being cared for and protected.

Your angels truly are a source of immense love and support who will bring you comfort and strength through all your trials and earthly challenges. Once you discover your connection with your angel, it will bring you increased faith in yourself and the knowing that you are never really alone.

If you are interested in learning more about angels and connecting with your guardian angel, look out for my introductory workshop ‘An Afternoon with the Angels’ in early summer 2014.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. She runs a range of spiritual themed workshops including Developing Intuition and Connecting to your Spirit Guide. Please ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics or visit her website http://helenshortland.comfor further information.



th[11]     Harsh winter winds can leave your skin feeling dry and tight. Here are some natural remedies you can try at home that can help!

Protect from the Inside

Guard against infections and boost collagen with vitamin C.  Vitamin A helps to feed the skin from the inside out and vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant which fights skin-ravaging free radicals and speeds the healing of scars.  The minerals zinc and selenium aid the regeneration of skin.  It is also important to have a balanced diet including 5 daily portions of fruit and veg so consider taking a supplement if you feeling you aren’t achieving this.


Winter skin can all too soon become dull and lifeless.  Exfoliating once or twice a week can restore brightness and radiance.  You can make your own exfoliant by mixing 1 cup of almond oil and 2 cups of Epsom Salts together in a jar and add a little grated lemon zest for fragrance.  The scrub will keep for up to 6 months in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also buy exfoliating scrubs if you don’t fancy making your own.


Look for an oil-based moisturiser which will provide better protection against cold harsh winds.  Avoid butter based shea moisturisers which can clog pores and opt for almond, jojoba or avocado-based products instead. Alternatively coconut oil can be applied straight onto the face. You can also make your own by adding 5 or 6 drops of almond oil to a couple of drops of water and rub into your face.

Chapped Lips

If your lips are chapped and flaky, apply a little honey, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and they will soon heal.  If you find this too sticky, try a honey lip balm instead.


1. A range of facials, including Collagen Facial, Bee Venom Facial and Rebalancing Facials are available with Helen Shortland.  For a longer facial massage try the half hour Vitality Lift Facial Massage with rosa mosqueta essential oil.

2. All vitamin and mineral supplements, plus a range of natural skincare products, are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website for further information.

Her current special offer for March is a Hydrating Facial for just £23!



All living things (humans, animals, plants) have an aura or energy field.  So too do all physical objects such as pebbles, crystals, furniture, although the aura of a living thing is much more colourful and vibrant than that of an inanimate object.  The aura is the electro-magnetic field that emanates from all matter. It oscillates around the human body as multi-coloured waves of light.

The human energy field or aura is comprised of numerous different layers. In this blog I will be looking at the three levels closest to the human body – the etheric body, the emotional body and mental body.  These three layers together provide a guide to a person’s energy, emotional and mental health.

Etheric Body

This layer is closest to the physical body, extending up to 1” away from the body. Its colour varies between light blue to white and it can most easily be seen around the fingers.  Clairvoyants can interpret illness in the body through the presence of dark energy. Pain or inflammation can be indicated through the presence of red ‘hot’ spots.

Emotional Body

This layer extends 1”-3” from the physical body.  It is concerned with emotions and feelings and varies in colour between bright, clear colours to dark and muddy shades. Because our feelings can change frequently throughout the day, the colours in this auric layer also change.  Bright clear colours relate to healthy emotions. For example light blue would indicate a peace-maker, someone is a calm, caring and sensitive; while orange would indicate someone who is lively, witty and sociable.  Muddy shades relate to more negative character traits, such as muddy green indicating jealousy and envy.

Mental Body

This layer extends 3”-8” from the physical body and is concerned with the mind and thought processes.  People with a positive mind and strong intellect have a vibrant mental body. This layer is usually predominantly yellow as this colour is most concerned with the mind but I have also seen blue here (indicating the blues) and a dark indigo blue indicating a serious, introverted character or depression.

Viewing the Aura

Here are two methods you can try:-

  1. Look at the side of a person’s head, about 6” away, and let your eyes go into soft focus.
  1. Look directly at a person, let your vision go into soft focus, and allow colours to form in your peripheral vision in the other person’s energy field.

In both cases, relax the body and mind first with some deep breathing and basic meditation. You can also try the eye exercise below to improve eye sight, particularly your peripheral vision, and strengthen the eye muscles.

Exercise to improve your peripheral vision

  1. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. With your eyes still closed and keeping your head still, look up to your forehead as high as you can, then look straight down as far as you can. Repeat this up and down movement 8 times.
  2. Return your eyes to the centre. Without moving your head, look to the left then look to the right. Repeat this left-right movement 8 times.  You should be able to feel the eye muscles working!
  3. Return your eyes to the centre. Again, without moving your head, look up diagonally to the top left corner, then down diagonally to the lower right corner. Repeat this movement 8 times.
  4. Return your eyes to the centre. Again, without moving your head, look up diagonally to the top right corner, then down diagonally to the lower left corner. Repeat this movement 8 times.
  5. Return your eyes to the centre. Without moving your head, look upwards as high as you can, then move the eyes round in a clockwise direction to form a circle. Repeat 9 times.
  6. Then from the point at the top of your vision, move the eyes round in an anti-clockwise direction forming a circle. Repeat 9 times.
  7. When you have done, rest a few moments with your eyes closed.

An Exercise to Strengthen the Aura

When a person is tired, run down or very ill, the energy field as a whole shrinks down in size. This can also happen when a person has been emotionally and mentally drained, such as through bullying or abuse. In this case the aura becomes dim and difficult to read.  This exercise will help to strengthen, clear and balance your aura. Ideally it can be practiced once a day.

  1. Close your eyes and imagine the colour red.
  2. As you inhale, try to feel your breath drawing the red up the back of your body, from your feet to the top of your head, then pause, holding the colour at the top of your head. As you exhale, feel the red flow down the front of your body before sweeping under your feet.
  3. Still imagining the colour red, breathe in and draw the red up the right hand side of your body to the top of your head, then pause. As you exhale, send the red down the left hand side of your body, again taking the colour under your feet.
  4. Move the circle of colour further out from your physical body and continue for 4 breaths, this time focusing on the colour orange.
  5. Each time, move the circle of colour further out and continue the 4 breaths with yellow, green, sky blue, indigo then violet/lavender.
  6. Finish off the exercise with a white or golden light.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. She runs a range of spiritual themed workshops including Developing Intuition and Connecting to your Spirit Guide. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website for further information.

Upcoming workshops:

Developing Intuition workshop  Sat 26th April 2014, 2.30-5pm, £15.

Please email me at for further information/booking.


Characterised by tiredness, lack of enthusiasm and difficulty concentrating, fatigue can have many causes but is a complaint with no single, simple treatment.  We all have days when it is difficult to get out of bed but chronic fatigue can be frustrating, leaving sufferers unable to cope.  There are however several herbal remedies which can help fight fatigue, as well as various complementary therapies to help bring the body and mind back into balance.

Identifying Causes of Fatigue

Identifying the cause of your fatigue can help you choose the correct remedy.  Common causes include:-

Stress – Physical, mental, money or work related worries can keep you awake at night.

Emotional upset – Marital issues, divorce or bereavement can leave you feeling emotionally drained.

Insomnia – This is a medical condition that can be debilitating if left untreated.

Illness or infection – An underactive thyroid or the effort of fighting off illness can leave you feeling drained.

Food intolerance – Often difficult to identify but fatigue can be a major symptom of some food intolerances.

Blood sugar – Imbalance in blood sugar levels can lead to a serious lack of energy.

Depression – This condition can alter sleep patterns or prevent sleep altogether.

Herbal Remedies

Some herbs, called tonic or adaptogenic, can increase vitality and promote wellbeing.  They balance the body’s hormonal, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems.  Alfalfa, ginseng and cordyceps improve strength and stamina.  Liquorice, which balances the adrenal glands, can help fatigue caused by weakened immunity.  Other herbs you can try include:-

Oats:  Rich in minerals and B vitamins, a daily bowl of porridge or a tincture of oat seeds raises energy levels and promotes sleep.  Oats combat exhaustion caused by stress, alcohol or drugs and are effective for mental or physical fatigue.

Sage:  Stimulates the nervous and digestive systems and is also a good all-round restorative. Try sage tea or a simple infusion of fresh sage leaves, or try a massage with clary sage essential oil. Avoid sage if you are epileptic or pregnant.

Astragalus:  Excellent for treating chronic fatigue, it stimulates the immune system and endurance.

Schisandra:  Improves digestion of fatty food, regulates sugar levels and the functioning of the liver and kidneys.

Complementary Therapies

Therapies can help with both the physical and mental/emotional causes of fatigue.  A course of treatment is usually recommended.

Reiki healing is an excellent all-round therapy for stress. It restores balance in the physical body (helping to balance the adrenals and nervous system) as well as strengthening mental/emotional energy.  Reflexology, which stimulates the reflex points on the soles of the feet, aims to bring the whole body back into a state of balance.  An excellent remedy for mental/emotional stress and fatigue is Meditation: this wonderful practice boosts mental alertness and focus and eases depression.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing your lifestyle can often relieve fatigue, especially if your lifestyle is contributing towards it! Regular exercise actually increases energy levels, while a new mind-stretching interest can stimulate the mind, leaving less time for lethargy. Being out in nature or taking a walk in the countryside can also boost your energy and wellbeing.

Recipe – Oaty Fruit Muffins

Delicious, low fat, and ideal for maintaining blood sugar levels.

225g plain flour

60g rolled oats

5ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

4 medium bananas, mashed

120g caster sugar

90ml skimmed milk

90ml vegetable oil

1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, raising agents, sugar and oats) in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add milk and vegetable oil. Then add mashed bananas.
  4. Add wet ingredients. Blend mixture with a metal spoon.
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin cases, sprinkle with handful of oats and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top.


1. Reiki, Reflexology and meditation workshops are available with Helen Shortland.

2. All herbal remedies are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website for further information.