Tag Archives: massage

Natural Ways to Promote Better Sleep

Insomnia is a common problem that affects many people.  Fortunately it can be helped with many natural remedies that are readily available.  First and foremost, however, there are many practices you can incorporate yourself to promote better sleep.

Easy Lifestyle Changes

A ‘winding down’ period for about an hour before you go to bed is essential and that includes avoiding the use of electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones.  Make sure you have good curtains that block out the light and try to keep the temperature in the room so that it is neither too warm nor too cold.  Avoid heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest food properly.  Reducing caffeine and other stimulants is also advisable after tea time and these can be replaced with a herbal tea such as valerian, rooibos or chamomile.  Practising yoga or meditation just before bedtime may also help you to relax and unwind.  Another idea is to have a warm bath just before bedtime with aromatherapy bath oils containing lavender, valerian or hops.  A bath with Epsom salts or magnesium sulphate can also help to relax the muscles and promote sleep.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Insomnia and sleep problems can be linked to not having enough magnesium in the diet.  Magnesium is a relaxant and can be obtained through eating green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, as well as being available in supplement form.  Vitamin B6 is also useful for helping to promote sleep.  5-HTP is another useful supplement which converts directly into serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps with the regulation of sleep.  It is a precursor to melatonin which is involved in setting your circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle).  Valerian root is a useful herb for helping with insomnia and mild anxiety which can be taken in supplement form or as a herbal tea.

 Complementary Therapies

Lavender essential oil can aid relaxation and help people to get a better night’s sleep.  Try adding a few drops to your pillow or burning some in an oil burner in the evening (remember to extinguish the candle before you go to bed!).  You can also get roller balls containing essential oils which you apply to your pulse points.

Massage treatments are particularly beneficial for reducing tension and anxiety and promoting relaxation.  Try a Back Massage with a relaxing oil blend, a Foot Massage or an Indian Head Massage to ease tension in the neck, shoulders and scalp.  Reiki healing (a form of hands-on healing) is also a wonderful way to relieve stress and anxiety and restore equilibrium.  In my ten years’ experience as a therapist I have found that clients usually report a better night’s sleep after receiving a complementary therapy treatment!



1.  All supplements mentioned in this article are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE or visit website www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk

 2.  All complementary therapy treatments mentioned in this article are available with Helen Shortland.

 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.com for further information.

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage


Hot Stone Massage is a wonderfully relaxing treatment that provides greater muscular relaxation than manual massage alone, with a host of additional health benefits.


The deep heat from the stones is very good for easing and soothing muscular aches and pains and alleviating tension and stress.  The treatment is particularly beneficial for those with back pain, and fibromyalgia sufferers can experience an improvement in their symptoms. Strains and sprains are improved. Hot Stone Massage helps those with poor circulation by increasing blood flow: dilation of the blood vessels causes an increase in blood flow around the body, resulting in improved body functioning.  Lymphatic function and cell metabolism are increased, thereby increasing detoxification and improving elimination.  The treatment is also ideal for people who feel the cold as it provides a local rise in body temperature of 1-2 degrees C.  In addition, it aids joint mobility, improves muscle tone and stimulates the nervous system, heart and respiratory system.

The warm stones have a very grounding, nurturing quality which is beneficial for those with depression and insomnia.  The work on the physical body, combined with the vibrational energy of the hot stones resonating with the energy of the chakras, promotes a feeling of total relaxation, balance and harmony.

In summary Hot Stone Massage can aid the following conditions:-

General aches and pains

Soft tissue injuries

Muscular tension and stiffness

Stress, tension and depression

Lethargy and fatigue

Sluggish metabolism

Sinus congestion and headaches

The Treatment

The massage is performed using the hot stones instead of the hands.  One stroke with a hot stone is considered equal to 10-15 normal manual massage strokes in its effect.

The first half of the treatment covers upper and lower back and backs of legs.  The client is then asked to turn over and the therapist treats the scalp, face, chest, arms, front of legs and feet. The chakra stones are also placed on the front of the body.

Vibrational Effect of the Stones

During the full body treatment, large stones are placed over the chakras on the front of the body.  Basalt stones are used due to their ability to retain heat.  Basalt is formed from the cooled lava produced from an erupting volcano.  Basalt stones are high in vibrational energy which resonates in balance with the human chakra system.  When placed on the body, vibrational energy is transmitted from the stones into the body to positively affect the person’s energy balance and auric field.  Balancing of the 7 major chakras increases wellbeing by increasing positive energy, strengthening weak areas and neutralising dominant areas.


This treatment is not suitable for those with high blood pressure (unless controlled), heat sensitivity, prickly heat, nerve damage or loss of tactile function, people on blood thinning medication, people with diabetes who inject insulin,  people with nervous system dysfunction, an over-active thryroid gland or varicose veins, or anyone who has had an operation within 6 months.

Ease stiff aching back muscles with this month’s special offer Back Massage just £15!

Stiff aching muscles? Tight shoulder blades? Aches and pains in lower back? Helen Shortland Holistics can help! ½ hr back massage is just £15 during April, with a choice of aromatherapy oil blends to relax and unwind, energise and uplift or to ease aching muscles and joints. Based in Nottingham city centre at Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Please tel Helen on 07748 591690 to book.