Advice & Frequently Asked Questions

Whether holisitc therapy is new to you or you have had regular treatments in the past, there are often questions you may have and feel unsure to ask. We have tried to to answer some of those questions here for you.

We have tried to cover subjects regarding understanding pain, movement, stretches and stress.

If you have any further question regarding the above or something we have not covered, please do not hesitate to contact us on 07909 978 880 or by emailing us through our contact page.

The Pain Cycle, Relax Holistic Therapy

The Pain Cycle

How do I manage my pain? What can I do to help myself?

Every day pain influences the choices you make. It maybe the choice in using medication, seeking additional treatment, resting, asking for help, refusing or accepting invitations, exercising, eating right , keeping yourself active, educating yourself about your condition and so on. Often because of depression and fatigue, these choices are made quickly and all options are not explored.

There maybe feelings of being anxious or depressed, particularly losing confidence in your ability to resume your everyday activities, social life, personal relationships, hobbies and interests. It can also be a difficult time for family and friends to understand your pain and often lack of sleep. When seeking professional advice it may appear unhelpful or unsympathetic when you are feeling at your most vulnerable.

By avoiding everyday activities and movement, muscles become weak with the lack of activity. This will mean that muscles will tire more easily and will be more vulnerable to further strain, this is known as de-conditioning.

An occurrence of pain may respond to rest, however we recommend that you don’t rest for more than a few days. As the pain begins to ease, some simple exercises can help to restore range of movement, promote strength and ease stiffness. Striking a healthy balance between activity and rest is known as pacing. It is advised to continue your normal activities and pace yourself, allow you to do a little each day.

Many people find relaxation and effective way of managing their pain. Relaxation helps to reduce stress and can produce a general sense of wellbeing. Various forms of relaxation are available and techniques can be easily used to complement pain-relieving medication.

Allowing yourself to rest helps to recharge the batteries enables you to keep active for longer. Balancing different levels of activity can also help with energy conservation. On good days there is a temptation to do heavier activities and physically suffer for hours or days after. You may notice what is causing you problems and avoid these patterns.

Keeping your goals in mind and scheduling yourself simulation, productive and enjoyable activities to do each day may help..

There are many ways in which you can increase your daily physical activity. Parking your car further away from your destination will allow you to walk a little more, maybe walking a bit further or faster than you normally would. In time this will lead to small but important improvements. Once you are feeling more confident, you may wish join a leisure centre so you can exercise with other people, exercising in a group could offer motivation when it is needed most. Feeling positive can really affect the way you cope with a condition. It is important that you continue with regular exercise. Should you stop exercising all the improvements you’ve made will disappear within a few weeks.

We can offer further advice on stretching and strengthening exercises.


The world we live in is constantly changing, placing a range of demands and pressures on our lives both inside and outside of work. Although we may not be able to control these pressures ourselves, we can learn how to manage them better.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do may leave you feeling stressed and anxious. Stress can be described as your body’s response to the demands placed upon it. Not all stress is negative, a small amount can be good for you to kick start your day and spur you on to achieve your goals.

Stress refers to any type of bodily reaction to a mental, physical, emotional or social stimulus that we respond to in a way that changes the way we feel, think or perform our daily tasks.

Stress compromises the immune system which then creates a breeding ground for illness and disease. Researchers have found that stress is a contributing factor in 80% of all major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other endocrine/metabolic diseases. Skin disorders and infections as well as back problems can result from increased stress in one's life. Stress may also be a common contributor to other psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

Too much stress can result in a wide range of health problems including high blood pressure, fatigue, irritability, chronic headaches, memory loss, tooth-grinding, insomnia, changes in appetite, low self-esteem, withdrawal, cold hands, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, changes in sleep patterns and gastrointestinal disorders.

It can create feelings of anger, distrust, anxiety, hopelessness and fear, which can impact on relationships with family, friends and work colleagues. Recognising that you might be experiencing stress and why, is the most important step in dealing with it in a positive way. After all, you need to determine what is causing you to feel stressed or anxious before you can start to work out a plan for reducing your symptoms.

Understanding Injuries

At Relax Holistic Therapy we will explain why you are suffering, whether it is general aches and pains, a muscle spasm or sudden acute pain, it can be worrying time. There may be feelings of being anxious or depressed, particularly losing confidence in your ability to resume your everyday activities, social life, personal relationship, hobbies and interests.

By working closely with our patients and combining our treatments, we are helping with the symptoms but identifying the root cause and why the body is reacting in this way. Maybe you have been unconsciously sitting, driving, standing, walking, running, lifting young children, working out in a way that is now not working for you and your body has been compensating as your body has been adjusting.

The smallest change in your routine can put extra strain on the body. It could be as simple as driving longer distances, a new driving position or even a change in car. You may have a new addition to your family, so not only are you using new muscles to lift and carry your baby into unusual positions, your body might be physically tired too so you might not be thinking about your positioning you are putting your body in. You may be challenging yourself with a new fitness regime but having issues as you have been stationary all day sitting behind a desk or in a car, then expecting the best from your body when pushing your body to the extremes.

We often see patients who have several issues, this is not uncommon. When muscles are tight or overused, the body tries to adjust, so other muscles are used in its place. Once the muscle repairs itself, then the body can go back to its normal movements, however if the muscle doesn’t repair or have time to repair this is when you find your body starts to compensate and aches and pains now start to become acute.

Through the collective actions of our muscles, we are able to maintain posture, carry out physical tasks, exercise and play sport, undertake leisure activities and express handiwork and through our gesture and body language.

Muscles create movement and assist joint support. In most joints of the body, there is a balance between the ligaments that hold the joint and the muscles that help stabilise but also move it. The knee and the hip joints, for example, have strong ligaments, but also depend for stability on the muscles whose tendons cross them. In the shoulder joint there are only a few ligaments, so muscles are responsible for most of the stability.

We rely on our muscles to support our joints and keep them in the right position when we move, if muscles are weak, joints can become unstable and this can be painful.

You can find a list of the most common injuries below.

  • Shoulders: Dislocated shoulder, Rotator cuff tear, AC joint sprain, impingement syndrome
  • Lower back: Sacroiliac joint pain, muscle strains, sciatica
  • Elbows: Tennis elbow, Golfer's elbow
  • Wrists & hands: Wrist sprain, broken wrist, finger sprain, thumb sprain
  • Feet: Plantar fasciitis, bruised heel
  • Hips & groin: Groin strain, Piriformis Syndrome, Gilmore's Groin, hernia
  • Thighs: Hamstring strain, thigh strain, contusion
  • Legs: Shin splints, calf strain
  • Knees: ACL injury, Jumper's knee, Patella pain syndrome, Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  • Ankles: Sprained ankle, broken ankle, Achilles tendonitis

Conditioning Programme

After any injury or surgery, an exercise conditioning program will help you return to daily activities and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle. Stretching exercises are advised for several weeks until the body is mobile enough to start strengthening the muscles. We recommend to start with a combination of gentle yoga stretches, until you are feeling more mobile, flexibility has increased and balance is regained. Then progression onto pilates and strengthening exercises. We recommend building up slowly with a few yoga stretches as your body is adjusting, this allows a little time out and you will start to feel a little more relaxed as your body starts to move and gain flexibility.

Your local GP should be able to refer you to local Physiotherapist, often at the nearest hospital to help with rehabilitation, however beware that this takes on average of 12 weeks, so any stretching that can be done in this time is beneficial. Following a well-structured conditioning program will also help you return to sports and other recreational activities. After your recovery, these exercises can be continued as a maintenance program for lifelong protection. Performing the exercises two to three days a week will maintain strength and range of motion.

Strengthening exercises are important because we rely on our muscles to support our joints and keep them in the right position when we move. If muscles are weak, joints can become unstable, and this can be painful.

Stretching exercises help ease aches and pains and get the best movement from your joints.

Stretching the muscles that you strengthen is important for restoring range of motion and preventing injury. Gently stretching after strengthening exercises can reduce muscle soreness and keep your muscles long and flexible.

We can offer further advice on stretching and strengthening exercises.

  • What happens during a treatment?

    You will be asked a few questions about your health, medical history and lifestyle on your first consultation to determine your requirements and any specific needs. All details taken will be kept private and confidential. The first consultation therefore takes an extra 15 minutes. If you would like to be sent a Consultation Form please let us know and we can email one to you, alternatively you can download a Consultation Form here. You can either complete the form and bring it with you on your appointment day or you can email it back to us at

    During the Consultation, we will discuss the areas that will be worked on and to be most beneficial for you. We will only uncover the part of the body that we are working on at the time and when we are ready to move on we cover up that part of the body. Throughout the treatment we will ask you if you are comfortable with the pressure as there maybe areas that are tight that you are unaware of. We will always ask you if you would like more or less pressure when we start on an area to ensure the treatment is tailored to your individual needs for that individual treatment.

  • What are the benefits of massage?

    Massage is good for the body. It can relax the whole body, loosen tight muscles, relieve tired, aching muscles and reduce chronic pain. It is known to calm the nervous system, improve posture, lower blood pressure, improve circulation and increase the flow of blood and lymph system (the body’s natural defence against toxins). Massage helps speed recovery from injury and illness, strengthen the immune system and reduce tension headaches. It can also increase flexibility, range of motion, release endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller and improve skin tone.

    As well as these well known benefits to the wellbeing of the body, massage is beneficial to the mind. It can reduce mental stress; induce mental relaxation, providing a feeling of calm and well being. It is known for reducing anxiety, promoting better sleep, improving concentration and alertness as well as body awareness. It can calm bad tempers as well as inducing a deep sense of inner peace and tranquillity.

  • How many treatments will I need?

    This really depends on each individual and how their muscles are currently working and recovering, whether they are overworked and or over-exercised. If the same muscles are used every day due to work commitments or work out routines, it can take a little longer (if this can not be lessened or adapted). We recommend treatments every 4-5 days to ensure the muscle is adjusting and stretching correctly, avoiding further muscles pains and spasms.

    We recommend approximately 3-4 treatments within a period of approximately 3 weeks, this enables the body to adjust, once the muscles are working correctly we would advise to have treatments every 2-3 weeks and then when confident to have a maintenance massage every 4 weeks to keep on top of the muscles movement and performance.

    We recommend using hot and cold treatment at their first onset of pain. Cold/Ice Packs (always covered to avoid freezer burn) for acute sharp pains for 2-3 days to reduce any inflammation then heat (hot water bottles, wheat bags) to increase the blood flow and help to repair, Once you are feeling a little more at ease with using the heat, begin to move a little more, stretching and using your muscles for short periods.

  • Where can I find more help?

    Arthritis Research UK has some excellent information on stretches that can help. There are several different stretches available on their website. You can view the list of stretches and exercises by clicking here.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network (RASN)