How do Remedial Massage, Reflexology and Aromatherapy work?

Complementary healthcare therapies can help optimise physical and mental wellbeing. Complementary healthcare therapists should not diagnose health conditions – this is the role of your GP. Complementary healthcare therapies are alternative forms of healthcare which work alongside, not instead of, medicine.  Prior to your first treatment I will take a detailed consultation form, to fully understand your health conditions and any medications you are taking, to enable me to provide the most effective and individualised treatment for you.

Read what the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has to say about the benefits of massage.

“Massage therapy In all types of massage therapy, the intention is to relax the soft tissues, increase delivery of blood and oxygen to the massaged areas, warm them, and help the body to relax. In a typical massage therapy session, the practitioner will discuss symptoms, medical history and the desired results. The practitioner generally performs some evaluation through touch before beginning the massage.


“Oil or powder help reduce friction on the skin and the therapist may use other aids, such as ice, heat, fragrances, or machines. Massage may be found to bring relief from everyday aches, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address feelings of anxiety and tension, and aid general wellness. It can also be used in support of other therapies to assist in the rehabilitation of muscular injuries.


“Choosing a practitioner It is important to choose a qualified massage therapist who has undertaken all the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of massage therapy. You can check whether a massage therapist is registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) by searching the register at By choosing massage therapists registered with the CNHC you can be confident that they are properly trained, qualified and insured”.

During a massage different strokes are used, with varying pressure and techniques, depending on the needs of the individual. Generally, massage can stimulate the circulatory system, which can encourage oxygen and nutrients to reach tissues and carbon dioxide and other waste products to be eliminated from the system. The action of massage can help relieve tension in muscles by encouraging oxygen and nutrients to the area and the elimination of waste products, and give opportunity for tense, shortened areas of muscle to lengthen to a more normal, relaxed state.

Read what the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has to say about the benefits of reflexology.

“Reflexology is a complementary therapy based on the belief that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which are believed to correspond to all organs and parts of the body. Some practitioners may also include work on points found in the face and ears. Reflexology works on an individual basis and may alleviate and improve symptoms such as everyday stress and tension.

“During a typical reflexology session the reflexologist will take a detailed medical history. Sessions are usually performed in a comfortable chair or couch. If it is to be performed on the feet, the client will be asked to remove footwear and socks but other forms of reflexology require no removal of clothing. The practitioner will make a visual and tactile examination of the area to be worked before beginning the precise reflexology massage movements. The particular types of movements involved require the application of an appropriate pressure using the thumb and fingers.

Below is a YouTube video produced by the Association of Reflexologists, demonstrating a reflexology treatment.

“Reflexology can be a wonderfully relaxing experience where you can take time out from everyday pressures. The therapist’s expert touch will help you relax which can help improve mood, aid sleep and relieve tension. The result is an overall sense of wellbeing”.

Read what the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has to say about the benefits of aromatherapy.

“Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils to help deal with everyday stresses and emotional well-being. Essential oils, extracted from plants, are thought to possess distinctive properties, which may be used to improve overall emotional and spiritual health imbuing the user with a sense of relaxation and calmness.

“In a typical aromatherapy session, the aromatherapist will ask questions about previous medical history, general health, wellbeing and lifestyle. This helps the practitioner to choose and blend the safest and most appropriate essential oils for the individual. The oils may be applied in combination with massage or the aromatherapist may suggest other methods.

“Aromatherapy may be found to be helpful to those wanting to reduce everyday stress and so help with the ability to cope, relax and sleep. As well as being used in individual therapy sessions and at home, it is also used in a variety of settings, including hospitals and hospices”.

And a bit about Stress…

skeletalThe Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in the human body is divided into the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest or Digest). They provide responses within the body over which we have no conscious control.

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated when the human brain detects something it considers unpleasant, and when activated triggers the release of chemical and electrical messages throughout the body which help the person to escape danger. Unfortunately, many of the ‘unpleasant’ triggers in modern society aren’t ones we can run from and escape (unlike ancient humans such as Neanderthals running from Sabre Toothed Tigers), with money, family or job worries causing these stress responses, instead. The impact of these stress responses flowing through our bodies, particularly if they do so for lengthy periods of time, can be wide ranging and can include muscle tension, IBS and feelings of anxiety and low mood.

In contrast, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) is activated when the brain detects something pleasant, and when this is the dominant nervous system the stress responses are switched off and the PNS activates the Rest and Digest (or Rest and Repair) responses, encouraging ‘non-essential’ activities such as digestion, strengthening of the immune system and lowering of blood pressure.

Often there is an imbalance, with the SNS being the dominant nervous system for many people. Complementary Healthcare can support people to reduce feelings of tension and induce feelings of relaxation, which can help the person to recognise in themselves the tension they may have been holding within their body. This is the first step to developing strategies to protect themselves from the stressors in their lives, and to increasing feelings of wellbeing.

The through healthcare based training I have achieved as part of the BSc (Hons) in Complementary Healthcare (with Practitioner Status), a degree course which incorporates detailed learning in Anatomy and Physiology, and Pathophysiology, together with the knowledge I am fully insured to practice reassures you that the treatment you receive will be most appropriate to your needs.  I am also a member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

Holly Tree Holistic Healthcare …

                                 …  Complementary Healthcare to help you optimise your physical and mental wellbeing