Head start for the new year

HOLISTIC therapist Hayley Drakes.
HOLISTIC therapist Hayley Drakes.

HOLISTIC therapist Hayley Drakes continues her monthly well-being column focussing on getting a head start for the new year.

Centrally heated environments and celebratory drinks at this time of year can leave us feeling a little dehydrated and symptoms may include dry skin and headaches.

A simple tip to combat this is to drink plenty of water to help rehydrate the body from the inside out and to assist our digestive system and organs to work more effectively.

Winter blues and stress can leave us feeling tense around shoulders, neck and head.

Here are several self-help exercises for these areas, which are great for anyone whose lifestyle means they are sitting much of the day.

Let’s revisit some exercises for relieving tension and learn a couple of new ones too, which are all simple but effective.

Start by rotating the shoulders backwards in slow circles to alleviate tension. Rolling the shoulders in this way aids mobility, helps posture and relaxes muscles around the shoulders.

Next, work on the neck using your hand to cup around the back of the neck and gently squeeze and roll the muscles at the side of the neck. Your right hand will massage the muscles on the left side of the neck and vice versa.

Then work either side of the top of the neck, under the base of the skull, where the neck muscles connect to the skull and this can be quite tight and tender. Use the side of the thumb or finger to make small side to side ‘sawing’ movements to ease these muscles. Go lightly if this area is tender.

Finally, a soothing and relaxing exercise for the head is to place the hollow area of the palms over the temples and apply gentle pressure to grip and then circle backwards. Take care not to press the temples, which is why the hollow of the hand should be over this area and only apply enough pressure to move the skin.

Note: Always consult your GP for medical advice if you have any health concerns or undiagnosed pain. Complementary Therapies should not be used in place of conventional medical care, but alongside it. Always stop if you feel any pain and never massage over an injury. For more information contact Hayley Drakes at WellBeings – Natural Therapies for People and Animals via the website www.hayleydrakes.co.uk or telephone: 01427 875013.