Monday, 24 July 2023

I'm back to working in two locations!

 Very exciting news for me - I am now working on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons at the Nether Edge Herbarium on Abbeydale Road. 

Nether Edge Herbarium

I have known the Sheffield herbalists for many years, they welcomed me when I first arrived here, and I am delighted to be a part of this team. I will be practicing there the same as I do at the Clinic: soft tissue therapy with maybe more of an emphasis on the movement work (JEMS) but as ever the treatment will be guided by the history and requirements of the client. 

If you have struggled to make it to my 919 Clinic appointments due to the times then maybe this Saturday slot will work for you? 

Tuesday, 18 July 2023



Great book - must finish it!

I bought 'More fuel you' after reading an interview with the author; I really like her approach to diet and nutrition - she works with you and your needs, values and requirements rather than dictating what you should do, and is an advocate of eating as a pleasurable and social activity. Things she considers in this book after an introduction on nutrition include the effects of ageing and the menopause, and the pros and cons of various eating choices including low carb, plant based and intermittent fasting. Whilst this book is geared towards those wanting to improve sporting performance the information in it is relevant to everybody who wants to find out more about nutrition and eating healthily and optimally. It is very accessible and well written, with plenty of case studies.

There have been some interesting radio programmes on food recently too. When I was training to be a medical herbalist I was fortunate to have Christopher Hedley as one of my teachers, a wonderful herbalist and teacher with a knack of summarising key points in a memorable way; 'get them eating right, get them sleeping right and see what you're left with'. Now we are finding out more about the gut microbiome we understand that what we eat really does affect both our mood and our immune system - so much more than just fuel, as herbalists have known all along. Pretty much every nutritionist will tell you to eat lots of plants and to eat fresh food and this thirty minute, very engaging radio programme agreed, advocating eating at least thirty different types of plant each week. This is easier than it sounds as it includes herbs and spices and doesn't have to be large quantities. I counted up how many plants I had in one day last week and it was twenty - my muesli alone included eight types plus the fresh fruit I add to it. One of the traditional ways of preparing foods in many cultures is to ferment them and again this is really beneficial for the gut microbiome. In contrast so much of the modern industrial way of eating although convenient is damaging to our health; it's scary how much of the food we buy is actually ultra-processed (over 60% of the average person's diet in the UK, apparently!) The programme is a Michael Mosely one and he has a 'Stay Young' series on BBC Sounds in which the first episode covers the benefits of fermented foods. Ultra processed foods are discussed amongst other food matters in this episode of 'The Infinite Monkey Cage',, and if you find the subject interesting then you may like to follow up Dr Chris van Tulleken's podcast.

Another thing that came up in one of the programmes I was listening to was, don't write a food off because you didn't like it the first time. Our tastes change over time and we have to learn to like foods that aren't sweet (this is a survival mechanism as many poisonous foods are bitter. Of course, many beneficial foods also have a bitter taste so we have to be taught which are safe and then to develop a taste for them). When I was growing up my mum (a great cook with a wide repertoire) would always put a teaspoon of something we weren't sure of on our plate just to try, with no pressure or judgement. This taught me useful strategies on how to eat foods I didn't particularly like, but also over time I would often develop a taste for them (exceptions include kidney and liver - just no!) Another thing to consider is that as your gut health improves you may be able to tolerate more foods that you previously found upset your digestive system. Keep curious, keep trying different foods!

Most importantly of all, enjoy your food!

Thursday, 15 June 2023


 ......and my top tips are to wear sunscreen, keep as covered up as possible in cool clothing and make sure you avoid dehydration. All very obvious but I seem to slip up on this every year! I now keep sunscreen right by the front door in full sight to remind me to use it every time I go out. 

When rehydrating it's worth considering how much you have been exercising and whether you would benefit from drinks such as coconut water, milk, sour cherry juice or green or black tea to help recovery. Some drinks are easier for the body to rehydrate from then plain water and you may find it interesting to read up around this. If you are sweating heavily it is also worth considering how that is affecting you; it may be an idea to choose an appropriate drink to replace electrolytes or to have a suitable snack with your water.

Daisy exercising in the park; she rehydrated in a stream.

It is also wise to remember the effect heat has on your body (and brain!) As well as the serious health risks of heat stroke, dehydration can affect our tendon and muscle function and recovery, possibly increasing the risk of injury. It causes us to become stiffer and makes it harder for nutrients to be delivered around the body and wastes removed. During hot spells, especially when acclimatising, maybe consider changing your exercise plans to be easier or to take advantage of cooler times of day and shadier routes. Remember that heat may also be affecting your sleep and that fatigue may reduce exercise performance and have an impact on recovery and injury. Make sure you also know the early symptoms of heat stroke, and what action to take if you spot them in yourself or the people you are with.

Highland cattle keeping cool.

Thankfully my treatment room at the 919 Clinic is lovely and cool - the advantage of being in the basement although I do miss having natural light. I am open as usual over the summer, 10-5.15 weekdays with early closing on Wednesdays. 

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Price changes....

I have been putting off changing my prices as I really do like to keep massage treatment as affordable as possible, but my last price increase was way back in February 2020 and since then I have absorbed quite a few increasing costs. So, the time has come... from 01/05/2023 the price of the 45 and 60 minute sessions will be increasing by £5 to £35 and £45 respectively. This is still very competitive, but to help a little where people are needing multiple treatments a month I am putting in place a discounted pre-payment scheme for the 45 and 60 minute appointments. The new prices are on my website, including for the pre-payment scheme:

There are terms and conditions for this which can also be found on my website.

The days are getting so much lighter now and the flowers are multiplying in the woods; I have begun running again and am looking forward to enjoying the local woodland trails. I hope that you too are in good health and enjoying this wonderful time of year.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Updates and some interesting listening.


Well, I'd been meaning to write a blog post for a while but I've just realised that my last one was in 2022! Time really does fly by.

Since then, we've had a deluge of snow in Sheffield. Snow and ice affect how we walk and I often notice an increase in back and leg issues as my clients cope with the conditions (including shoveling snow off paths and roads). My tips are to relax whilst walking so your body is able to adjust better to the ground (or ice) underfoot and to absorb any small slips, and to take smaller steps keeping your weight over your feet. Notice how you are walking - are you moving your torso and hips from side to side rather than lifting your leg by flexing at the hip? If so that may be contributing to a sore back. In deep snow we have to lift our legs up more so you may find practicing my knee lift exercises useful.

Come April I will be making a small increase to the price of my 45 and 60 minute sessions. This is the first increase since the beginning of 2020 and it will be another few years before I put them up again, all being well. I like to keep treatments as affordable as I can manage.

Radio 4 is my go to for home listening and they have had some great, and very interesting, programmes on recently that I thought I would mention here.

I also came across this site via a recommendation from the JEMS group I am part of (see my website for more information about JEMS). It has some really interesting reading and podcasts on what influences how we move and how we perceive our bodies and pain. Some of it is free and some behind a paywall:

Lorimer Moseley is a scientist who writes and talks about pain, and he does so brilliantly. I highly recommend his website which includes resources:

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Looking after your hard working feet....

Photo by MichaƂ Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Many years ago I was watching a film during which an exhausted woman comes inside after being on her feet all day; takes off her shoes and massages her feet. Her face expressed her deep pleasure and relief at this self care and it really struck me - how many of us take such care of our feet.

I can really recommend that at least once a week you take the time to have a good look at your feet. The nails, the skin - but also how they are moving, how they feel. Try spreading out your toes; raising them; pressing them into the ground. What happens when you focus on the big toe, the little toe, the middle toes? What do you notice about their mobility and strength? 

Massage the soles of your feet, with either your hands (knuckles work well) or using a ball that you can roll your foot over. Again, what do you notice? Stroke along the top of your foot, exploring between the tendons as you move towards the toes. Hold each toe in turn and move it slowly in a circle, one way then the reverse. Use your fingers to flex each joint (gently), and give the toe a gentle pull to finish.

Practice the ankle mobility exercise on my exercises page (listening foot). How easily can you transfer weight through your foot? Take your time, slow down, be curious. 

I can also recommend having a go with the strengthening, engaging and stretching exercises in the link below, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting.

Our feet are our interface with the ground we stand on and they work hard for us; let's give them something back! 

Photo by How-Soon Ngu on Unsplash

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Are you using a hot water bottle?

I love a hot water bottle; so comforting when you have aches and pains, and so wonderful for taken the chill off the bed before you get in. However, over the years I have seen clients come in with distinctive changes to their skin pigmentation where they have been using a hot water bottle for prolonged periods of time to relieve chronic pain; the changes are due to the prolonged exposure to thermal radiation. This looks like a darker area with maybe a bit of a pattern to it and has an impressive Latin name, erythema ab igne, and is also known by the more obvious 'toasted skin syndrome'. You can find out more about it online, including here:,the%20use%20of%20heating%20pads.

and here:

Don't let this put you off using a hot water bottle - just be aware to treat it with respect, as you would an ice pack (wrap in a towel or similar before applying to skin, and limit to twenty minutes at a time). Short term use is fine, although do make sure you aren't scalding yourself (I an a fan of hot water bottle covers and have a nice woollen one that I made). If using long term, just make sure you aren't applying it too hot or for too long.