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By Anna Rayner, Feb 20 2018 03:59PM

I am often asked if it is safe to have a massage whilst you are pregnant and the answer is yes, as long as you are past the first trimester, don't have any placental dysfunctions, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, toxaemia or threatened miscarriage. If you are in any doubt at all, have a chat with your doctor before booking an appointment.

As I am not an aromatherapist I always stick to a super safe grapeseed oil for my pregnant clients as some essential oils can have strong effects on the body's physiology which may involve risks when used during pregnancy. However, that doesn't mean you should avoid essential oils altogether during pregnancy as there are many benefits in having an aromatherapy massage at this time. Instead, seek advice and treatment from an appropriately quaified aromatherapist who will be able to blend safe oils for you if this is something you would like to try.

I have treated many pregnant ladies over the years and my clients have found that regular massage during pregnancy helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation; provides emotional support; relieves muscle spasms, cramps and general aches and pains and increases circulation thus reducing the possibility of varicose veins and swelling in the feet and legs. My pregnant clients tell me that their massage sessions leave them feeling relaxed and comfortable, and with increased self-confidence and an enhanced body image.

Back massage is a particularly popular treatment during pregnancy as clients often find that this is a time in their lives when they suffer a lot of lower back pain, so I always adapt treatment for pregnancy by ensuring that the client has no pressure on her abdomen during a back massage, either by using bolsters to elevate her hips whilst her bump is still fairly small or by using a massage chair later in pregnancy (this supports the whole body in the same way as a massage couch but allows the abdomen to be completely unrestricted). Another option is to lie the client on their side and work on their problem areas whilst they relax with their bump comfortably supported sideways on the massage couch with cushions to support the arms and legs.There are lots of treatments that can be carried out with the client safely lying face up on a normal massage couch such as feet and leg massage; arm and hand massage; shoulder and neck massage and face and head massage. Seated treatments during pregnancy are also a frequent choice such as shoulder massage, hand massage or indian head massage.

So if you're expecting at the moment and are wondering whether to have a treatment just get in touch with me to discuss this further

By Anna Rayner, Jul 30 2017 12:01PM

As well as my private clients I also do a lot of corporate work - otherwise known as Onsite therapies. I've a proven track record in this sector with current and past clients including British Gas, Unilever and the Open University.

The benefits of corporate therapies to both employers and employees alike are manifold but if you've not tried it before I'd like to go into a bit more detail for you.

Many of the benefits of Onsite therapies for your employees are similar to the benefits of getting a massage or other complementary therapy treatment such as indian head massage or reiki at a spa, but in the comfort and convenience of your workplace. Onsite therapy eliminates the need to travel to a massage clinic or spa, and is a fraction of the cost (see my Onsite page for more info). Plus Onsite therapies makes complementary therapy accessible to those within your organization who are uncomfortable getting undressed and would otherwise never experience the benefits of these treatments without it.

These are the benefits an employee could expect from a 20 to 30 minute treatment such as a back massage or shoulder and neck massage:-

1. Reduced stress

2. Decreased anxiety and depression

3. Relieves muscle tension and pain

4. Improves quality of sleep

5. Lowers blood pressure

6. Increases focus, energy and mental clarity

And what do all these benefits translate to for the employer?

Increased employee productivity: Staff will give more if they feel valued by their company Plus the added energy and focus they'll enjoy means they'll be able to work more effectively. And they won't be distracted by headaches, back pain, stress or anxiety so they can give all their focus to their work

Attract the creme de la creme: In a competitve marketplace it pays to have attractive incentives to offer prospective staff and Onsite therapies are definitely an appealing perk

Increase employee retention: Your staff are more likely to stick around if they feel appreciated. Investing in a regular Onsite therapies programme means you've got the edge over your competitors

Reduce costs: If your staff aren't taking time off for back and stress related issues (two of the biggest sick leave culprits in the UK) you'll reduce your costs for healthcare and sickness cover.

Improve morale: Staff appreciate and look forward to Onsite therapy days which, by turn, improves company morale. I hear this same experience from every corporate client.

So now I've convinced you that your company simply can't afford NOT to have an Onsite therapies programme take a look at the dedicated Onsite page on this website where'll you find all the info you need.

By Anna Rayner, Jun 26 2017 07:13AM

Many people are unaware that it is possible to treat their pets with complementary medicine like holistic health and even better, to save their lives (yes, unfortunately, many pet owners resort to euthanasia because they don’t know that other treatments exist… not to mention natural as well).

There is so much to gain from treating your pet with alternative medicine (avoiding euthanasia, decreasing side effects, gentler treatments, etc.) and few people know it…so this article is a means of helping animals and their owners.

Copy and paste the link below into your browser to take a look:


By Anna Rayner, Jun 4 2017 11:13AM

We all come across negativity from time to time - at work, at home or even from a complete stranger. This can be upsetting and emotionally draining. Unfortunately their negative energy can sometimes be absorbed by us so that we end up feeling angry, scared, unhappy or worn out.

There's a lot been written about how our reality is created by our thoughts. If you can accept this idea then you might start to realise that it's not the actual negativity of other people that is affecting you badly but the fact that you are allowing it to affect you. We all have free will and so it's the choice of the negative person to be that way. It's also your choice how you react to them.

Imagine that someone has made a negative comment to you. They might have rained on your parade by being condescending about something that is important to you e.g. your favourite hobby or the way you like to dress. Your immediate reaction might be anger or hurt or you might feel a sudden dislike of the person who made the comment. In which case, you are only adding to the negativity already generated by that person because you are allowing that negativity to be absorbed into yourself.

What follows are some ideas on how to deal with this sort of negativity and how you can protect yourself from it.

Affirmation and visualisation

When you come across someone who is being negative towards you imagine a bubble of shining white or golden light surrounding you and protecting you from their negativity whilst you repeat the following affirmation in your mind:

"I am protected from this person's negativity, I choose not to let it affect me, it bounces off the protective shield that surrounds me and it does me no harm"

Think positive

Unfortunately, the after effects of negativity can be hard to dispel quickly and it's often the case that we keep going over what has happened in our mind - making us feel angry or upset all day. If this happens to you then try and shift your mental focus onto something positive such as a loved one, your favourite flower, hobbies that bring you joy, a really good book that you've read etc. If you're still having problems diverting your attention then distract your train of thought by giving it something else to do e.g. remembering the route you took on a really lovely walk in a park or the countryside recently, trying to remember the words of a favourite poem or the plot of a film you've enjoyed.

Loving thoughts and calm words

There will inevitably be times when we can't help encountering someone with a negative attitude. Don't give in to the urge to argue with or challenge the negative speaker because you think they are wrong and you are right or that you'll feel better if you fight your corner. This is just your ego trying to control you and if the other person senses you are losing your temper this will only make things worse. They will feed off the negative energy you will be emitting. In these cases, use the affirmation and visualisation above to protect yourself whilst staying calm and friendly and if you feel the need to speak say something like "I'm sorry you feel that way". This can often be enough to diffuse things and allow you to carry on with your day. Then remove yourself from the situation and afterwards send that person a silent loving thought that you hope their day will get better. We don't always know why people behave in a negative way, often it could simply be that they're having a bad day and are taking it out on everybody they meet. This way you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and to help them too by turning a negative siutation into a positive one.

You are not to blame

Know that it is absolutely not your fault if the negative person's words make you feel worthless or disheartened. Their attitude is quite likely to be an indication that it is in fact them who are not happy with their lives or achievements so they are trying to make themselves feel better by deriding your hopes and beliefs. Let their negativity reflect back to them by using the affirmation and visualisation above. If the person who is being negative is not someone you can just walk away from e.g. a family member, a work colleague or a friend then you could perhaps try and turn the situation on its head by talking enthusiastically about why you love the very thing they have attacked. Then ask them what sort of things they are passionate about too and encourage them to pursue these.

All you need is love

There will always be negative energy in the world but it is balanced by positive energy, that is the nature of life. So, accept that if others don't agree with you then that's their choice and their problem, not yours. It's your life, not theirs and you are perfect as you are. All you have to do is love yourself, love others and know that you are loved in return.

By Anna Rayner, Apr 17 2017 11:35AM

We all do it, juggling umpteen things at once and getting stressed in the process - replying to emails, gulping down a quick sandwich, ordering the weekly shop. Multitasking is seen as an important skill in this busy modern world but chances are that if you actually just focus on one thing at a time, i.e. monotasking, you'll get more done and find everything (including work) a lot more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

When we instead focus on one thing at a time we're faster, more accurate and it's actually much more rewarding because each time we complete an action our brain releases the pleasure hormone dopamine. Adopting the monotasking approach allows you to immerse yourself in what you're doing, enabling you to be your most creative and effective self, whilst we improve our relationships by giving people our full attention. When multitasking this simply isn't the case - tasks take longer and because we're not giving them our full attention it's easier to make mistakes. Read on to find out how to apply monotasking in all areas from work to friendships for a more productive, less stressed life.


Whether it's writing an important email or reading an article in your favourite magazine set aside just five minutes to focus on that task alone. Remove all distractions for that time and notice how you feel, then start to increase the length of these distraction free times aiming for at least 20 minutes per project.


Instead of jumping out of bed with minutes to spare in the morning spend five minutes just stretching and breathing deeply before you start the day. To avoid the morning rush set your alarm 20 minutes earlier so that you can avoid multitasking chaos by completing each step to the day calmly and methodically. This will mean that you start off in a more balanced mental state so that you'll notice sooner if you are doing too much or getting stressed later on.


Instead of using your smartphone for everything wear a watch to check the time, wait until you're on your laptop or pc to start answering emails and use a proper camera for taking photographs. This means that you won't get distracted by intrusive messages when you're checking the time or taking a photo.


Giving the people in our life our full attention helps us to relate to them better on a deeper level and underlines how important they are to us so take at least 10 minutes in the evening with no TV, with your phone in another room and after the kids are asleep to catch up with your significant other with no distractions. If you're not in the mood to chat, watch a film together or listen to music for some real quality time.


Really listening to others is perhaps the most valuable way to monotask. Stop scrolling through facebook, making a shopping list or planning tomorrow's presentation and turn your body towards the person talking and make eye contact. To make sure you fully understand what they are saying once they have finished you could repeat the main points and ask "Did I get that right?"


There's nothing more sure to make you feel disconnected from your friends when you're on a night out than all constantly being interrupted by your phones. Instead, put all your phones in a pile out of sight - the first one to cave in and check their phone has to buy the next round!


Make a to- do list of all the tasks you'd like to finish in one day - you probably won't get through them all but prioritise one thing that you need to complete no matter what. Once that's done you can then start to work through the rest in order of importance.

This one's hard but remove distractions before you make an important call or have an important discussion with a colleague. Before you do so, turn off your computer screen or shut down your phone's apps so you won't be tempted to let your attention wander. In the same vein, leave your phone behind when you go into a meeting.

Allow yourself pockets of time during the day when you give your full attention to one task and then don't give it any attention outside that period. For example, allow yourself 30 minutes to check emails at three times spaced out throughout the day - say at 10am, 2pm and 4.30pm and that's all. Or use an app that organises your messages for easier viewing.


Making monotasking a success is about identifying areas where it can work for you and having the awareness and self control to inhibit those inefficient multitasking habits when we can.


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