Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Website update

This post is apologise for my website continuing to be out of date! It was created when I kept my massage and herbal medicine practices seperate from each other, and was still selling herbal products over the counter. I am aiming to fully update the site with information regarding my sport and remedial massage treatments; in the meantime some information is available on the 919 Clinic website.

I am in the process of choosing my 2013 CPD courses; these are likely to involve further training in myofascial techniques and postural analysis. My aim is to continue to find ways to identify and address the underlying cause of muscular problems so that patients are not trapped in the cycle of only feeling better for a few days or weeks before they find themselves requiring another treatment. This often involves raising self awareness of postural and lifestyle issues and can offer tremendous long term gains.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Harvest time!

The rain damaged much of my bumper strawberry crop but I still managed to harvest enough to have a bowlful every day and spares to pass onto neighbours. The damaged ones I combined initially with the high pectin gooseberries (another bumper crop!) to make into delicious jam, flavoured by elderflowers collected on my daily walks until their season passed. The balckcurrant bush fruited properly for the first time and I have made several jars of jam, easy because of the fruit's high pectin content. Last night we had a mixed berry and apple crumble, but that may be the last this year; only the rhubarb is still looking good for another harvest.

I am going to pick the blackcurrant leaves to see what the tea made from them tastes like. Whilst part of the herbal medicine repertoire they are not as well publicised as other herbs which seems a pity when they are so often there in people's gardens. The nutritional beneft of the berries is well known; isn't it wonderful that so many berries are both delicious and good for us! Already there have been whole families out picking bilberries on the moors. Next up will be elderberries and blackberries.

St John's Wort at last!

Phew! Just managed to harvest the St John's Wort last week before the rain returned. I'd been watching it anxiously, wondering if it would flower whilst the sunshine lasted, and it made it with one day to spare. I used to pick lots of Hypericum Perforatum when I lived in London but hadn't found a good source in Sheffield until it self seeded in my garden, hurray! Its botanical name refers to the tiny holes in its leaves; its common name is a reminder of the value that the knights of St John put on this plant for its healing properties; they used it in ointments to help heal bruises and burns. The modern usage of the tincture (which extracts different plant constituents to the oil or tea) for alleviating mild to moderate depression is relatively new, although its use in past cultures for keeping away evil influences may translate to warding off the stresses of modern day living....

I have packed my harvested herb into a glass jar and just put in enough good quality sunflower oil to cover it. It is now living in the greenhouse where the sun will help the oil to absorb the healing constituents, turning it a lovely red colour. Often used by herbalists to apply to areas of nerve damage and bruising, I also like to use it in my massage practice with added essential oils to alleviate muscular aches and pains.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Seasonal musings....

I have been reading my posts and noticing how they reflect the cycle of the seasons; I mark the passing of time by the lengthening and then shortening of the days. There is the welcome appearance of the first spring plants, and as they flower and die back the early and late summer plants begin to poke their heads up and thrive. Blossom is succeeded by berries, then the leaves put on their technicolour display and fall as the first frosts return; snow covers the ground as the undergrowth dies back leaving a palette of browns and greys, until whilst out walking one cold day I notice the first green shoots. When we bought the house I spent every spare moment in the previously neglected and overgrown garden; I realised that I had only been out in the local woods a few times. Now that the garden is more under control and we have a dog I am out there every day and feel priveleged to have this opportunity to deepen my connection with the natural world.

The other thing I noticed was how often I talk about weeds. Of course, a weed is just a plant where you don't want it and many 'weeds' are tolerated in my garden because they benefit the wildlife, or have medicinal properties, or I just like them! The 'weeds' I refer to are usually the legions of willow herb seedlings, the brambles that want to re-establish their hold over the entire garden, ash tree seedlings and sow thistle (prickly!). I tolerate small amounts of herb Robert, wood avens and meadow cranesbill but pull the rest out, and have also had to thin the enthusiastic numbers of foxgloves and borage plants. Always decisions! What stays, what goes.... but whatever control I think I have, the garden will always have the last word. On the subject of weeds, I recommend reading Richard Mabey (Weeds, Beechcombing, Flora Britannica) and Richard Deakin (Wildwood, Waterlog).

early summer....

...or at least that is what the calender and the long daylight hours are telling me! The gloom is more like March, as are the temperatures as once again we light our woodburning stove to take the chill off the house. All my seedlings that I was so careful to start off as early as possible have been keeping their heads low and refusing to grow any higher until temperatures improve!
Out in the woods it is a different story as nature awakes and runs rampant; the bluebells were early but have lingered as has the wild garlic. For a while I was coming back with garlicky leaves every day after the afternoon dog walk, for both our dinner and the dog's. There are wood anemomes, lesser celandine and wood sorrel but in these dull days they are rarely fully opening their petals. Last week I spotted cuckoo flowers in a meadow by Porter brook and this week I saw my first hawthorn and elder blossom of the year. The garlic mustard and fool's parsley are lining the paths with a froth of green and white. The beech leaves have reappeared, tiny at first but now shading the wood in green. The brown earth is coated once again in verdant growth.

On a professional note, the Clinic website has now been updated to include my new prices for 60, 45 and 30 minute treatments (including consultation time).