Riverside well being logo Therapy for the Mind and Body

To contact us email or phone 01663-734347

What we do

Most of our practitioners can now be seen on the premises

Some are working on-line or by telephone delivering individual or group therapies whilst working towards returning to face to face work.

Groups and courses are not yet able to be held on the premises, however Pilates and Mindfulness can be accessed on-line.

This page gives a short introduction to the therapies and support offered at Riverside Wellbeing.

If you know what you are looking for, you can find out more by clicking on it below. Each description includes the practitioners offering that service, clicking on their name will take you to their contact details. Otherwise please scroll down to browse through the various therapies available.

Ayurvedic Massage, Life Coaching, Stress Coaching, Sleep Coaching, Career Discovery Coaching, Counselling & Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Crystology, Dramatherapy, Hypnotherapy (including Hypnoslimmer and Smoking Cessation), Mindfulness, NLP, Nutritional Therapy, Pilates and Reiki.

Various groups and courses are also delivered from Riverside Wellbeing. More information about Reiki Training and the regular Nutrition drop-in Clinics, Mindfulness drop-in Groups and Self-awareness Cafe can be found here.

If you are looking for a particular therapy which we don't currently offer, please let us know so we can inform you when the situation changes. 

Ayurvedic Massage

Offered by Claire French (appointments available now)

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a 5000 year old traditional lifestyle from India. Together Yoga and Ayurveda form an integrated practice to work naturally with the body, mind and spirit with the aim to bring each individual to his or her own balance so they can live in an optimum state of health. Ayurvedic massage is a part of this approach.

What can I expect from the treatment?

The treatment uses a specially prepared blend of herbal oil, a coconut and sesame base blended with herbs from India, which works to heal the skin, muscles and even the internal organs. There are a variety of techniques – strong strokes, light touches, stretches and by applying pressure to the marma or acupressure points to remove blockages and encourage free flow of energy through the chakras.

Clients have said that the Ayurvedic Massage is like a regular or Swedish massage but so much more. It works the muscles, improves skin tone, relaxes or invigorates, improves sleep, while rebalancing the energy in the body’s energy system. The massage works with the energy channels or nadis which run through the body. Often, due to stress, toxins or negative emotions, these channels become blocked so that the energy (sometimes called prana or chi) cannot flow freely, leaving us feeling unsettled, anxious, restricted, and somehow, not our whole selves.

What are the benefits?

The treatment can be relaxing, detoxifying, stimulating and rejuvenating. It relaxes the muscles, and calms the mind and entire nervous system, promoting positive attitude and sound sleeping patterns. Skin tone, condition and lustre are improved, as is overall flexibility in the joints. Recipients report an increase in mental alertness, stamina, creativity, openness and general well-being.

(with thanks to Claire French for this information)

Back to the list


Offered by Sandie Norbron-Shaw (appointments available from September) and Frances Taylor

Coaching is a training or development process in which you are supported while achieving a specific personal or professional competence result or goal. It differs from mentoring by focusing upon competence specifics, as opposed to general overall development. It involves helping you to identify the skills and capabilities within yourself and enabling you to use them to the best of your ability.
Some coaches use a style in which they ask questions and offer opportunities that will challenge you to find answers from within. This facilitates you in discovering answers and new ways of being based on your values, preferences and unique perspectives.
Coaches will use a range of communication skills (such as targeted restatements, listening, questioning, clarifying etc.) to help you shift your perspectives and thereby discover different solutions to achieve your goals. Coaching can apply to supporting clients in any human endeavour, including concerns in personal, professional, sport, social, family, political, spiritual dimensions.

What is Life Coaching?
Life Coaching is the practice of supporting you to create and start living a more fulfilling life. By helping you to achieve specific goals, the aim is to put you back in control of your life and assist you to achieve clarity, certainty and positive outcomes whilst we work through whatever issues are holding you back.
Life Coaching takes in to account all aspects of your life, often covering topics such as Career, Relationships, Health, Hobbies, Finances, Friends, Family and Fun. Life Coaching is often referred to as ‘whole person coaching’ as Life Coaches are concerned with their clients’ ‘whole life experience’.
The term ‘Coaching’ literally means to transport someone from one place to another. In life coaching, the mode of transport is a meaningful conversation between the coach and the client, which will gently challenge the client in order to create new ways of thinking.

What does a Life Coach do?
A life coach will use a wide variety of coaching tools and interventions which help clients to move forward. You will be helped to identify and achieve your goals, building your confidence and self-esteem along the way and ensuring you move forward towards greater life satisfaction and personal success.
In practice, coaching is a two-way confidential and non-judgemental conversation entirely focused on you and your life. It is through dialogue – gentle, probing questions and your thoughtful analysis.

Career Discovery Coaching
(offered by Sandie Norbron-Shaw, appointments available from September)
Career discovery coaching focuses on aligning a client's passions, values and skills with their work. The workplace has changed significantly over the years and these days it's not uncommon for a person to change jobs as often as ten times over a lifetime - sometimes swapping one unsatisfactory job for another. Often people find that their work does not tap into their passions and dose not utilise the key strengths they most enjoy using. People become bored, demotivated and frustrated as they don't value nor enjoy what they are doing. Just because you are good at something, doesn't mean it's going to make you happy. Career discovery coaching helps clients to discover more about themselves including their values, strengths, skills and pleasures. It offers the opportunity to discover how they do want to contribute to the workforce and helps them to align their job, career path or retirement for a more fulfilling life. 

(With thanks to Sandie Norbron-Shaw for this information)

Back to the list

Sleep Well Coaching

(Facilitated by Frances Taylor Wellbeing Coach specialising in Stress and Sleep)

If you suffer from insomnia, then as a Wellbeing Coach specialising in Stress and Sleep, Frances can show you how to sleep well again. Her article gives tips for sleeping well and explains why sleep is so important to our health and wellbeing. In her video she explores more aspects to sleep and how she can help you achieve a solid seven hours sleep a night

If you are not sure that the Programme is for you, then Frances offers an introductory one-off session – just contact her on 07967968821 to arrange this.

(With thanks to Frances Taylor for this information)

Stress Management Coaching
(Facilitated by Frances Taylor, Wellbeing Coach specialising in Stress and Sleep)

We are all leading increasingly busy and challenging lives both at home and professionally; learning how to reduce and manage the impact on our health is becoming an essential life skill. Yet too many people try to ignore the fact that they are over-stressed or feel that somehow it is a weakness to admit it. 
By tackling your stress now, you not only avoid the risk of burnout but you will also learn valuable strategies and techniques that you can use whenever you need to in the future. And you’ll get your life back!

In this video, Frances will explore the impact that stress can have in our lives and how coaching can be helpful in managing those symptoms

Stress Management Coaching with Frances is focussed, highly practical and effective. As a Fellow of the International Stress Management Association (UK), she has a high degree of professional expertise and has worked with many individuals and companies.

With Frances you will:

explore the underlying causes of your stress

learn strategies to respond to stressful work and home situations

learn techniques to relax and sleep well

improve your work performance with improved clarity, judgment and focus

re-build your confidence in your own abilities

feel good again about yourself and what you are doing.

(With thanks to Frances Taylor for this information)

Back to the list

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Offered by Karen Butler (available now for face to face appointments), Holly Taylor (returning to face to face work in September), Sarah McConnell (currently working on-line), Helen Madden) (aiming to return in September) and Tania Leigh (not currently taking new clients)

The aim of this information is to explain what counselling and psychotherapy are and what you can expect in terms of the difference between talking to a therapist and a family member or friend. The term ‘therapy’ includes ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’, and ‘therapist’ includes ‘counsellor’ and ‘psychotherapist’. There is very little difference between the two terms, some people consider that counselling applies to short-term work about a clear, single difficulty whereas psychotherapy tends to be longer term exploring more complex and deep-seated issues.
It is important to consider carefully your expectations of therapy and of your therapist. This information aims to help you to decide which type of therapy would be most helpful for you, and also what you would look for in therapy so that you Lone wall hangingcan feel at ease discussing your personal and emotional issues.

Why people choose to have therapy
Usually individuals choose to have therapy because they are experiencing difficulties and distress in their lives. Sometimes people can be isolated but at other times, even where an individual has the most supportive family and friends, they can find it difficult if not impossible to explain why, for example, they may be feeling anxious and or depressed. Sometimes, it may be easier to talk about personal, family, or relationship issues with a person who is independent of friends and family. Other life issues and events which can be very difficult to deal with include bereavement, divorce, redundancy, health issues, bullying and so on.
However, you do not have to be in crisis or on the verge of one, before choosing to have therapy. You may be experiencing underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with life in general, or be seeking balance in your life and spirituality. All of these reasons and more will bring individuals to therapy.

What is therapy?
Therapy is time set aside by you and the therapist to explore what has brought you to therapy. Individual sessions will occur at an agreed time and date at an agreed place, which provides a ‘safe’ space - private, undisturbed where you cannot be overheard or interrupted. The counsellor will reach an agreement with you about confidentiality.
Therapy may include talking about life events, (past and present), feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. The therapist will do their best to help you to explore your issues, so that you can identify the right course of action for you, either to help you resolve your difficulties or help you find ways of managing the situation.

(Adapted from BACP’s Information Sheet “What is counselling and psychotherapy”)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Offered by Holly Taylor (returning to face to face work in September)

CBT focuses on 3 main areas, thoughts (cognitions), feelings and behaviours. CBT enables you to see how feelings, thoughts and behaviours are interconnected, how what you think can affect your behaviour and feelings and how your behaviour can affect how you feel and think. “ How we are feeling can often be overwhelming and we can feel lost in a whirlwind of emotions that can feel unmanageable and can affect all areas of our lives. CBT can help change this by working through these emotions to find thoughts and behaviours that can be changed and modified, therefore making the whirlwind of emotions settle and become more manageable”.

(with thanks to Holly Taylor for this information)


Back to the list


Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

Offered by Ruth Rowles

Not currently available

The effects of life’s experiences are held in our bodies – from everyday bumps to traumatic events, be they physical or emotional  - yet our bodies are always working towards health. A craniosacral practitioner listens to your body as a counsellor listens to your words – supporting your natural resources and encouraging you to return to balance and wellbeing. 

The therapy is a gentle non-invasive discipline that has grown out of Osteopathy.  We work with the body’s subtle fluid movements and patterns to create conditions in which a person’s “system” may re-orientate and re-arrange itself towards health and equilibrium. Tensions and traumas can be released gently. It’s the most person-centred hands-on therapy I’ve come across and though subtle, over time the effects can be quite transformative.

Sessions take place with you lying clothed on a treatment table. Light touch is used to sense tensions and flows within the body. Contact is usually made with the feet, head and the base of the spine, and often with other areas too. Subtle and difficult to describe, one can only really begin to understand and appreciate this work by experiencing it. You may want to address a particular concern, and/or you may appreciate the invaluable health benefits for mind and body of letting go, resting in stillness and deeply relaxing. 

Some conditions that respond to BCST are:  trauma, shock, injuries and related issues (past and present) back pain, migraine, stress, anxiety, digestion problems, exhaustion, reproductive and birth issues and many more. And/or you may seek treatment to enhance and support your energy, balance and wellbeing, with or without symptoms. 

As an experienced Psychotherapist, naturally I bring these skills to the work, and find that I’m well-placed to respond to and gently facilitate any emotional and psychological processes that may emerge through the experience. I graduated with a Diploma in Craniosacral Biodynamics from the Karuna Institute in Devon, following a two year professional training, in May 2015. You can read more on the Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA) website.

If you would like further information about craniosacral therapy or to book an appointment, please get in touch with Riverside Wellbeing by email or on 01663 734347 and we will pass your details onto Ruth.

(with thanks to Ruth Rowles for this information)

Back to the list



Offered by Anne Hulme (appointments available now)

Crystal therapy is an ancient healing system concerned with treating patients holistically through the precise placement of crystals on the body and the surrounding room.
The patient is viewed as a whole – with as much attention paid to his or her spiritual and emotional well-being as to their physical health, in contrast to Western healthcare (which tends to focus on treating one symptom/ailment at a time).
Practitioners select the colours of stones and place them on parts of the body. Stones are placed at the feet or held in the hands. Practitioners sometimes use crystal wands, which are placed near the receiver's body. Colour selection and placement of stones are done according to concepts of grounding, chakras or energy grids.
There is very little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of crystal healing on a medical level. However, crystals have been used, revered and enjoyed for many thousands of years - both for their aesthetic beauty and for the peace, relaxation and harmony they seem to invoke.
Many crystal therapists train and practice right here in the UK, bringing a refreshing new way of thinking to people dissatisfied with conventional medical treatment.
Crystal therapy is a non-invasive, relaxing, natural and enjoyable process. Whether you believe in the physical healing properties of crystals or not, the therapy itself will offer you a chance to lie back, relax and get in touch with your body's energies so you can leave feeling refreshed, restored and de-stressed - a perfect platform for improved physical health.

(Adapted from http://www.therapy-directory.org.uk/articles/crystal-therapy.html)

Back to the list


Offered by Charlie Moritz
(Charlie is aiming to return in September, please contact him for further information)

Dramatherapy offers safely distanced ways of engaging with difficulties that you may feel are too hot to handle. Using creative action and playful methods, it offers opportunities to express and release feelings and to rehearse changes you want to make in your life. Through dramatherapy you can become more spontaneous, build helpful new awareness, contact inner wisdom and resolve problems. No prior experience of drama is required, simply a willingness to explore.

From the British Association of Dramatherapists http://badth.org.uk/dtherapy, accessed on 03/03/2015

Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. It can be offered as either individual or group therapy.

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. They are trained to enable clients to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Clients do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama.

The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions that may be employed. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.

They work in a wide variety of settings:

  • in schools
  • in mental health
  • in general health social care settings
  • in prisons
  • in the voluntary sector

The clients they work with will have differing needs; from children on the autistic spectrum to older people with dementia; adolescents who self-harm, people with histories of sexual and/or physical abuse, those suffering from a mental illness and women with post-natal depression.

 (Adapted from information from Charlie Moritz and the British Association of Dramatherapists http://badth.org.uk/dtherapy)

Back to the list



Offered by Paul Needham (appointments available now)

Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is one of the oldest healing techniques documented. From the sleep temples of Egypt through to the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome, some form of hypnosis was an intimate part of these cultures.
In the early part of the 20th Century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists and unfortunately gave a hopelessly distorted view of this very powerful therapeutic tool. However, in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education, since when it has become a very valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.

What is hypnosis?
The actual experience of hypnosis is very difficult to describe. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It does involve the induction of a trance-like condition, but when in it, the client is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotist's voice. The therapist is able to suggest positive ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the client, the seeds of which become firmly planted.
There is little difference between hypnosis and daydreaming, or becoming involved in a good book or television programme. It is an altered state of awareness which everyone experiences naturally. It's that lovely feeling that one experiences just before going to sleep at night, or as you come out of sleep in the morning.
Generally you will be aware of what is going on around you and of what the therapist is saying to you, you will remember a lot of what has happened in your session, and throughout, you are always in control. It is really important to understand that nobody can be hypnotised against their will and even when hypnotised, people can reject any suggestions that do not fit in with their own set of personal belief systems and their own personal integrity.

What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy means the use of hypnosis for the treatment and relief of a variety of psychological symptoms including: stress, anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions (e.g. smoking, overeating and alcoholism), lack of confidence, fear of examinations and public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and many more. Additionally, it has proved of value within surgery, where normal anaesthetics have not been practical, in the wider sphere of pain management and in the areas of both sporting and artistic performance enhancement. Paul is a registered Hypnoslimmer consultant and a Smoking Cessation specialist. The following video clip describes the HypnoSlimmer virtual gastric band featured on the Lorraine television programme.

It can bring relief to existing conditions or to change areas where there are issues. With hypnotherapy it is possible to work with and transform the thoughts that lead to self-limiting beliefs. This is mainly achieved through using complete mental and physical relaxation and visualization techniques.
Our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them. When we change a pattern or structure, our experience will automatically change. Hypnotherapy can neutralise unpleasant memories and enrich positive memories. Have you ever wondered why some people are better than others at some things or why some people don't share your fears or phobias? Why are you different? Well the answer is simple everybody has had different life experiences and these are reflected in our view of the world around us and how we feel and act.
Our mental images, sensations and feelings are the basic building blocks of all our mental and physical resources. We can use them to build any thoughts, feelings or skills we want and place them in our lives where we want and need them most, to bring about positive long lasting changes.
Hypnotherapy is completely natural and safe and there are no harmful side effects. Benefits are long lasting and often permanent. It is often successful when other, more conventional methods of treatment have failed.

(With thanks to Paul Needham for this information)

Back to the list


Offered by Bob Chiang ( currently offering on-line groups)

Have you ever started eating a snack bar, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty packet in your hand? Or been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realise you remember nothing about your journey? Most people have! These are common examples of "mindlessness," or "going on automatic pilot." In our modern, busy lives, we constantly multi task. It’s easy to lose awareness of the present moment as when we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.
As humans we are often "not present" in our own lives. We often fail to notice the good things about our lives, fail to hear what our bodies are telling us, or poison ourselves with toxic self-criticism.
Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do, however learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives. 

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives. It will not eliminate life's pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head, and body. It helps us recognise and step away from habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. It provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.

The ABC of mindfulness
A is for awareness - Becoming more aware of what you are thinking and doing – what’s going on in your mind and body.
B is for "just being" with your experience. Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.
C is for seeing things and responding more wisely. By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.

The benefits of Mindfulness include
Helping individuals to:

  • Recognise, slow down or stop automatic and habitual reactions.
  • Respond more effectively to complex or difficult situations.
  • See situations more clearly
  • Become more creative
  • Achieve balance and resilience at work and at home

Since the late 1970's there have been more than 1000 publications documenting medical and psychological research on mindfulness which demonstrate its validity and breadth of application.
There are currently two well respected formal approaches to Mindfulness: MBSR & MBCT. MBSR & MBCT are taught using a standard curriculum, and all teachers follow a formalised development route. Other approaches to mindfulness can be equally effective and valid, but are less likely to be well regulated.

(Adapted from http://mindfulnet.org/page2.htm)

Back to the list

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)

Offered by Sandie Norbron-Shaw (appointments available from September) and Frances Taylor

The official definition of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is that
it is the study of subjective experience

But what does this mean!?

Subjective experience means how you experience and make sense of your world.

NLP is a total approach to discovering what makes a person behave as they do. NLP-ers are fascinated by the the structure underneath the behaviour: the habits, thoughts, feelings and beliefs that lead us to behave in a certain way.  With NLP you will discover how to change your behaviour in ways that enable you to be more successful, whatever that means for you, and on your terms. You can also learn new behaviours through the process of modelling excellence in others.

NLP is therefore all about understanding how a person ticks so that they can make the changes they want.

The term Neuro-Linguistic Programming was coined back in the 1970’s. These days it would have been called something much more user friendly but it may help you to know that
Neuro  refers to the mind/nervous system and how that perceives and processes information
Linguistic  refers to the language that we use to talk about our experience
Programming refers to the habitual, instinctive responses or patterns of behaviour that get triggered time and time again. These patterns can help or hinder us and can be changed.

NLP comprises an incredibly rich set of tools that are of benefit in almost every human situation.  Athletes use it to boost their performance (they learn the behaviours of top performing athletes). Politicians use it to help them communicate more effectively. Ordinary people use it to banish stage fright, improve relationships and discover choices that they had been blind to. NLP can also help you manage stress and develop your self-belief, assertiveness and confidence.

A brief history
NLP was created in the early 1970s by Richard Bandler, a computer scientist and Gestalt therapist, and Dr John Grinder, Professor of Linguistics. Bandler and Grinder invented a process known as 'modelling' that enabled them to study three of the world's greatest therapists: Dr Milton Erickson, father of modern hypnotherapy; Fritz Perls, creator of Gestalt therapy; and Virginia Satir, the mother of modern-day family therapy. They wanted to know what made these therapists so effective and to train others in their methods. They discovered how to  model excellence and then teach it to another and NLP was born.
Since its origins, NLP has grown in diversity and moved from its origins from therapy and health to a wide range of fields including Education and Business.

(With thanks to Frances Taylor for this information)

Back to the list

Nutritional Therapy

Offered by Kathryn Rogers (appointments available now)

‘You are what you eat’ may be a cliché but it has surely never been truer – particularly in relation to health and wellbeing.  Life is full of individual priorities – around work, around family - even around illness - and what we choose to eat may have an enormous impact on how we cope with the pressures of everyday life.  Additionally, ongoing medical conditions and other illnesses can often significantly influence our quality of life.
While it may seem that we are constantly bombarded with advice about healthy eating - there is far more to good nutrition than getting your 'five a day’ or knowing the difference between good and bad fats!

Personalised Nutrition
The key to successful nutritional therapy lies in understanding the root causes of persistent health issues.  Once that’s established, nutrients with specific potential benefit can be targeted, or nutrients that are potentially harmful can be avoided.  Nutritional supplements, if appropriate, may also be recommended as part of a tailored programme.
Our genes may determine how much we look like mum or dad, but they may also determine how our bodies react to the intake of the nutrients, our metabolism and how we function.  As a result, some of us may gain significant health benefits from more or less of particular foods or nutrients.
Turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, tune into the radio – general dietary advice is everywhere and it can be as misleading as it is helpful.  Nutritional therapy recognises that everyone is an individual – so there are no ‘off the shelf-solutions’ – no ‘one size fits all’ approaches.  Each programme is tailored, individual and bespoke.
Nutritional therapy may help a variety of condition types. Your doctor may have diagnosed a 'pre-' or borderline condition, such as diabetes or hypertension; you may have been identified to be at moderate risk of developing a condition such as heart disease, or you may have had family members diagnosed with a condition that may be hereditary.
Dietary lifestyle changes may help address a range of specific long term conditions or may simply help you to work towards optimal health.

(With thanks to Kathryn Rogers for this information)

Back to the list


Offered by Bruna Tamai (away during August; appointments available from September)

What is pilates?
There's more to pilates than developing "strong abs" or "core strength". Pilates is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. It was created by German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s and incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise.

Initially adopted by professional dancers in the US as an effective form of recovery after injury, pilates has steadily grown in popularity around the world, and includes celebrity fans such as Madonna and Jennifer Aniston.

What are the health benefits of pilates?
There are many reports on the health benefits of pilates. However, few of these have been subjected to rigorous scientific examination and there's a need for more research in this area.

Anne-Marie Zulkahari has been teaching pilates for more than 30 years and is one of the founders of the Pilates Foundation teacher training organisation. She says pilates can help improve posture, muscle tone and flexibility, core strength and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension.

Can pilates help reduce back pain?
There's some evidence that pilates can provide pain relief to people with non-specific lower back pain. For the exercises to be effective, they need to be tailored to the individual and taught by a qualified teacher.

Am I too old for pilates?
No. Pilates is suitable for people of all ages. Anne-Marie, who teaches in North-West London, says she has clients aged in their 80s. “It’s never too late to start,” she says. “With pilates, you can devise a programme of exercises tailored to the individual. With older adults, I tend to work on balance, posture, co-ordination and breathing. I offer more gentle exercises to work on their weaknesses and improve their mobility.”

Do I have to be fit to do pilates?
No. Pilates is suitable for people of all levels of fitness. Practitioners say it's a more gentle way of raising your activity levels, especially if you have poor mobility, aches and pains or an injury.
Anne-Marie says many of her clients do pilates because they're not fit. She says pilates can be adapted to raise the fitness levels of someone less active, and it can challenge someone very fit. Before starting any exercise programme it’s advisable to seek advice from your GP or a health professional if you have any health concerns, such as a health condition or an injury.

Can I injure myself doing pilates?
Pilates is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise. Injuries are uncommon. However, it's important that you find a qualified teacher and a class suitable to your level to ensure that the routines aren't too challenging.
If you don't exercise already or you're recovering from injury, it's advisable to check with your GP, a health professional and the pilates teacher before starting a class.

What’s the difference between pilates and yoga?
Both pilates and yoga focus on developing strength, balance, flexibility, posture and good breathing technique. With its emphasis on the unity between the mind and body, yoga has a more spiritual side that pilates does not. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase the strength and flexibility of the whole body) and breathing.
Pilates also uses breathing, but its exercises focus much more on precise movements to target specific parts of the body.

The best pilates classes are in small groups where the teacher can develop programmes to suit each person’s strengths and weaknesses.

(Adapted by Bruna Tamai from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/pilates.aspx)

Back to the list

Offered by Anne Hulme (appointments available now)

The definition of Usui Shiki Ryoho - the Reiki System in which The Reiki Association has its roots is that" as running water smooths the jagged edges of a rock until it is small enough to roll away, Reiki flows to the areas of need, soothing and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself"

What is Reiki?
“Reiki” (ray-key) is Japanese for ‘universal life energy and is also a word used to describe a system of natural healing, This tradition was rediscovered by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century and evolved as a result of his research, experience and dedication. The origins of Reiki are actually unknown, as it goes back many thousands of years, being an ancient tradition.

We live in a world of energy that nourishes and maintains all living things. When this energy flows uninterrupted there is balance and harmony within and around us, and we experience a sense of wellbeing.
There are many variations of Reiki, but in essence Reiki treatments can help the body emotionally or spiritually. It is a tradition that is open to any belief system.
Reiki treatment is a process that anyone can enjoy in the normal course of their life. Reiki can be used alongside other conventional or complementary treatment and often helps to provide emotional support during recovery.
The practice is taught by Reiki masters / teachers who have trained in the tradition passed on in person from master to student.

Reiki treatment
The method of receiving Reiki is simple. The recipient remains clothed and lies on a couch or sits on a chair and relaxes. The practitioner gently places their hands in a series of non-intrusive positions on or near the body. There is no massage or manipulation. The whole person is treated rather than specific areas. Sessions can take 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half, depending on the client’s needs.
Reiki practitioners are not trained in diagnosis and will not predict any specific outcome from treatment. If people are concerned about their symptoms they should see a doctor.

What do Reiki treatments feel like?
Each person experiences Reiki differently depending on their individual needs at the time.
Clients may or may not feel sensations during a Reiki treatment. Benefits reported by recipients include deep relaxation promoting a calm, peaceful sense of wellbeing on all levels. Some people feel sensations of heat, tingling, or experience seeing colours, whilst others can have an emotional response, indicating that shifts are taking place, allowing harmony to be restored.

What do Reiki treatments do?
Reiki is a safe and soothing treatment that can be:
Comforting when life is tough
The relaxing nature of Reiki can be very helpful to people especially at difficult times in our lives. We can all feel overwhelmed or disconnected, sometimes there is a real sense of isolation, both emotionally and spiritually. Reiki treatments can bring feelings of peace, centeredness and an ability to cope better with the challenges of life.
Reiki can be beneficial in circumstances that are short term, but can also support people dealing with long-standing conditions, helping to bring comfort, acceptance and a more positive outlook.
Supportive during pregnancy
Reiki can be wonderful for pregnant women. Treatments can be very relaxing and enjoyable for the mother.
Calming for children
Children usually love Reiki. The length of a session is often shorter than it would be for an adult.
Reassuring for animals
Animals also respond well to Reiki, they too seem to find it relaxing and soothing
Helpful at the end of life
In such cases Reiki can be a great comfort, helping to promote a sense of peace and acceptance for the dying and their families.

How much would I need?
A single session may be sufficient, but it is best to discuss this with your practitioner. For instance, if you have long standing emotional or spiritual issues, a series of sessions may be beneficial. In general if you find that helpful changes are taking place, it is a good idea to continue treatment.

There are no known contra-indications for Reiki. It is a non-intrusive treatment that can be delivered in a variety of settings and requires no special equipment.

(Information and video clip from www.reikiassociation.org.uk)

Back to the list

Groups and courses are not yet able to be held on the premises, however Pilates and Mindfulness can be accessed on-line.

Reiki Training

Facilitated by Anne Hulme

Not currently available

Two-day course (over a week-end) for anyone interested in First Degree Reiki Training.

Back to the list

Self-awareness Cafe

facilitated by Tania Leigh

Not currently available

Self-Awareness Cafe is for all those who are interested in expanding psychological & philosophical knowledge to enhance their personal growth and development. If you would like to learn something new, meet interesting people and re-connect with yourself, Self-Awareness Cafe is the right place for you. We will meet once a month to enjoy meaningful deep conversations in a safe space with like-minded people. Entrance fee £5, tea, coffee and biscuits included. for more information or to book, contact Tania Email: leigh.tania@gmail.com or 0741 396 5813 

For those on Facebook, there is a link

Back to the list

This information is sourced from our therapists and/or the relevant professional body and where possible this has been attributed.



Back to the top

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison. Nelson Mandela