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The advantages of Pilates

Posted on 5 February, 2018 at 0:40

Advantages of Pilates


Pilates, also known as Contrology, is an exercise program, which focuses on core strength and alignment, to improve muscle functions and posture. Balance and flexibility are further aspects engaged in the workout, to increase overall fitness and well-being.


The program was invented in the early 20th Century by Joseph H. Pilates, a carpenter and gymnast, in Germany. Joseph H. Pilates created the program for injured dancers and soldiers. He believed in a strong connection between mind and body ( physical and mental health) which is reflected by special breathing patterns that are used during the workout.



Who is Pilates for?


Pilates can be performed by everyone, from beginners to advanced students, as all exercises can be modified to a gentle or challenging workout.

Wether you prefer a group session or a one to one training, Pilates is for everyone.

It is recommended to check with your health professional if you haven't exercised for a while, are older or pregnant, or have health problems.



Benefits of Pilates



Good posture - Pilates teaches you to gain and maintain good posture. During the workout your body is in a constant alignment which is especially beneficial if you suffer from lower back pain.

Muscle Tone - The workout involves the deep muscles in your body that you may not use on a daily basis. After an initial soreness, you'll dicover    that your muscles will be much more toned. Especially for older people and those who are normally quite sedate in their daily life this will bring        benefits and improve their daily living.

Flat abdominal muscles - Pilates focuses on strengthening your core (which includes your abdominal muscles, lower back muscles as well as your diaphragm and pelvic floor) which will result in a flat stomach.

* Flexibility - Due to age we tend to lose the flexibility. Pilates will restore your flexibility. After a while though, you'll be amazed at how much more flexible your body has become. 

Improved balance - Through the mind-body connection which is taught in Pilates you will become more   aware of how your body moves and performs. Pilates not only improves your physical balance through correct posture but will also restore your mind-body balance.

* Reduces stress - You'll be more focused on your breathing and on the moves that you are making with your body. This is an excellent way to relieve stress and focus on positive things.

* Increased well-being - Pilates focuses on providing balance between your mind and body it gives you an overall sense of well-being.


How and where can I perform Pilates?



Pilates can be performed on mats in a mat based exercise class (with or without small equipment) as well as on a Pilates reformer. (A special Pilates machine that was invented by Joseph H. Pilates to perrform different exercises)

There are many ways to perform Pilates, either at home with the guidance of a professional DVD or in a class near you.


To find your perfect Pilates class contact Anika Fit to discuss your options.

Fibromyalgia- an invisible illness

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Fibromyalgia- an invisible illness


What is Fibromyalgia?


* chronic condition of pain/ profound fatigue

* pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching/ burning (head to toe)

* may be worse at some times than others. May change location, usually becoming more severe in parts of the body that are used most.

* Patients describe the fatigue from feeling tired, to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness.

* can come and go, can suddenly feel drained of all energy. Fibro is as common as rheumatoid arthritis. People with mild to moderate cases of fibro are usually able to live a normal life, given the appropriate treatment.

* If symptoms are severe, people may not be able to hold down a paying job or enjoy a social life. The name fibromyalgia is made up from “fibro” for fibrous tissues such as tendons and ligaments; “my” indicating muscles; and “algia” meaning pain.

* Researchers believe that fibro amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.


Typical Symptoms

 

Fibromyalgia is known as a syndrome because it is a collection of symptoms rather than a specific disease process that is well understood. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are more likely to develop fibro than men. people who have fibro also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

Besides pain and fatigue fibro symptoms often include:

* Non refreshing sleep

* waking up tired and stiff

* headaches ranging from ordinary types to migraine

* irritable bowel

* frequent diarrhoea or constipation, sometimes accompanied by gas in the abdomen or nausea

* cognitive disturbances including lack of concentration and word mix up

* clumsiness and dizziness

* sensitivity to changes in the weather and to noise, bright lights, smoke and other environmental factors

* allergies

Why does it hurt?

 

Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibro to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals.

 

Diagnosis and treatment

 

Fibromyalgia known for a while, but for most of the last century it was difficult to diagnose. The condition can't be identified in the standard laboratory tests or x-rays. Many of its signs and symptoms are found in other conditions as well – especially in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Once other medical conditions have been ruled out through tests and the patient’s history, diagnosis depends on two main symptoms:

1. widespread pain for more than three months together with

2. pain in at least 11 out of 18 tender point sites when they are pressed.

“Widespread pain” means pain above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. The spots of extreme tenderness, are rarely noticed by the patient until they are pressed.

 

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

 

Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.

* Infections-  Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.

* Physical/ emotional trauma-  Fibro can be triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident, child birth, psychological stress may also trigger the condition.

* Sometimes the condition begins without any trigger.

The cause of fibromyalgia has not yet been found, research has produced some insights into this condition.


Treatment options

Treatments for fibro aim to reduce pain and improve sleep

means symptoms are treated, rather than the condition. Medications prescribed for fibro are tricyclic drugs also used to treat depression and pain killers

 

Support from family, friends and other people, as well as self-help groups is valuable Professional counselling may help some people to cope with the illness and to take an active part in their own treatment. Learning to manage the condition seems to be the most successful way of dealing with fibromyalgia. A combination of heat, rest, exercise, holistic treatments and meditation can enable people with fibromyalgia to maintain a balanced life.

 

Managing Fibromyalgia

 

The best way to cope with the condition is to use a number of techniques that ease the symptoms. Relaxation is one technique that works really well. It reduces tension in the mind and body.

These techniques can calm the symptoms, especially pain. A hot water bottle and hot baths will help reduce pain and morning stiffness. Exercise is the most common prescription for fibromyalgia, especially mild programmes such as gentle Pilates, stretching and cardio training.

Physiotherapy and holistic treatments such as massage or manual lymphatic drainage can reduce the impact of the symptoms.

A healthy, balanced diet is important to provide protein, vitamins and minerals. It is best to avoid or cut down on coffee, tea and alcohol.

People with fibromyalgia can have good days and bad days. On a good day it is important to pace yourself; overdoing it may make matters worse. Rest is also important. Listen to your body when it tells you to slow down.

 



Kneipping- Healing through water

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* Hydrotherapy


Sebastian Kneipp, a german priest and naturopath of the 19th century, invented his concept of Hydrotherapy to cure severe health conditions by using cold and hot water applications.

Inspired by the ancient studies about Hydrotherapy, he started to immerse himself to cold water applications,several times a day. In his beliefs, the brief exposure to cold water seemed to boost the immune system.


"Nature has provided us generously with everything we need to remain in good health." Sebastian Kneipp


Kneipp believed in wellness for the body, mind and soul. He was one of the first believers in holistic approaches to cure illnesses, but also maintain good health. As long as 100 years ago, he recognized the need of prevention and self-care, as well as our responsibility for own health. This approach is even more important in a more and more hectic and stressful society.

Most people are far more stressed, suffer from a lack of nutrition, poor posture, a lack of exercise as well as depression and anxiety.



* The five pillars

The 5 pillars are the holistic philosophy that where developed in the 1800's by Kneipp as a basis of his "Kneipp-Kur". The combination of the elements where used to develop Hydrotherapy treatments, alongside with herbs and medical plants to increase health and wellbeing.


1. Water - "If water is an excellent agent for the healthy person to maintain his health." S. Kneipp

Kneipps Hydrotherapy, known as "Kneipp- Kur" is based on the strengthening of the bodies self-regulating forces through hot and cold stimulus.


2. Plants - "Every plant has his own individual effect.," S. Kneipp

The healing powers of herbs and medical plants has been known for centuries. Kneipps therapies relied on high concentrations of natural plant extracts in products and remedies to maintain health and wellbeing.


3. Exercise - "Inactivity weakens, exercise strengthens, overexeration damages." S. Kneipp

Incorporate exercise into your everyday life to revitalize and strengthen the bodies natural defences.


4. Nutrition - "If you notice that you have eaten, you have already eaten too much." S.Kneipp

A balanced diet is the foundation of a healthy and active life. Eating consciously, a high quality and mixed diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, grain and dairy products is recommended.


5. Balance - "Not until I incorporated the soul did I find success." S.Kneipp

A balanced lifestyle is the basis for a healthy, active and satisfying life. It is the interaction of water, plants, exercise and nutrition that contributes to your health and lends to a balanced body and mind.


Hydrotherapy treatments

Cold water is applied to the body in a certain pattern for some seconds up to one minute. The temperature stimulus triggers positive reactions of the body via the skin- the temporary narrowing of blood vessels followed by vascular expansion promotes circulation throughout the body.

It strengthens the immune system defense, increases circulation and stimulates the nervous system. Warm and cold water is used as a contrast application that is more gentle and suitable for beginners and untrained people, as well as people with heart conditions. 


* Cold water application - basic rules

The purpose is to create a reaction of tissue, blood vessels and muscles.

Barefoot walking in the dew. Go until feet get cold, could be seconds to minutes or even longer.

Applications should not be performed immediately before or after a meal. (unless you want to improve digestion)

Do not smoke immediately before or after application as it can completely neutralize the effect.

The intensity of stimulus must always be individually adjusted. If you are unable to tolerate the temperature, simply reduce treatment area, not the temperature.

Always make sure to warm up the body prior to ANY cold application.

After cold water applications, the body should not be dried off completely, only wiped off with hands, so that the cooling effect of evaporation intensifies the stimulus.

Make sure to warm up the body after cold applications. This can be accomplished with clothing, blankets, or mild exercise. If you can walk, WALK!


* Stand in the shower and adjust water to a cold, but bearable temperature. Start to apply cold water from the right body side (right foot) working your way up to the arm in a circular motion, down to the left foot and slowly up to the left arm, covering the whole body again. You can apply water only once or 1-2 minutes in this pattern.


Contraindications:


Impaired or compromised circulation – diabetes, peripheral artery disease


Previous frostbite or other hypersensitivity to cold such as Raynaud’s disease or Lupus


Poor kidney function


Hypothyroidism – causes further reduction in basal metabolic rate


Advanced Cardiovascular disease because of increase in systolic blood pressure


Slows wound healing by slowing cell metabolism


Open wounds, rashes


Hypertension – may temporarily increase blood pressure


Very young or very old – may have impaired regulatory systems and limited communication


Cold allergy or sensitivity


* Hot and cold water application


1. Two large containers (at least 4 to 6 inches deep)

2. Hot and cold water

3. Canning or candy thermometer


1. Prepare the water and fill one container about two-thirds full with hot water (35-38 degree celsius)  Fill the other container about two-thirds full with cold water

2. Test the temperatures with the thermometer.

3. Put both hands or feet completely into the hot water and then the cold water

4. Hot 3 to 4 minutes --> Cold 1 minute (for at least 15- 30 minutes)

5. Start the contrast bath in hot water and finish in cold water.

6. Towel Dry






Don't forget to stay hydrated!

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Don't forget to stay hydrated!



With the heatwave approaching this summer, we thought it's important to stay hydrated. In this months blogpost, we tell you everything you need to know, to stay healthy and safe this summer.

 

Fact!


 

The human brain is composed of 95% water, blood is 83% and muscles are 76%!

That's quite a lot and show's us how important hydration actually is, unfortunatly it's often underestimated!

 

Most people don't realize how much fluid they lose throughout the day, to show you how much it actually is, here are some examples:


* Excretion: a person can lose a pint to several gallons of urine a day.

* Breathing: when we inhale, moisture is added to the air as it passes to our lungs. The humidified air is then lost, once we exhale and the amount    of water lost depends on the levels of humidity of the air.

* Sweating: we lose a under a liter of water daily when it evaporates from the skin. This amount can increase dramatically when we sweat                  profusely due to vigorous workouts or high body temperature.

* Digestion: generally, we lose little water through the digestive track. However, in the case of severe diarrhoea and vomiting, a gallon or more can    be lost.

Now is the question how much water do we actually need to stay well hydrated and healthy? 

According to the National Academy of Sciences, adult women (age 19+) need about 11 cups of water a day, or 2.7 liters. Men should be getting about 15 cups, or 3.7 liters. Children need less, about 5-7 cups.

 

Infants: A few sips throughout the day but not more than two ounces of water.any more can fill up the little space they have for breast milk or formula

For children between the ages of 4 to 13: drink between 1-1.7 litres of water per day

 

To stay well hydrated, try to incooperate more water into your daily lifestyle habits, for example: everytime you look on your phone take a sip of water (or unsweetened tea). You can even spice up your water by mixing it with tea or juice :)

Did you know that you can top up your water intake with fruit and vegetables? Just prepare a snack box with bell peppers, water melon, cucumber, grapes and strawberries. Why not making hydration more fun? There are several apps you can download that remind you of drinking water and theyr'e fun as well :)

 

But what does fluid for your body? Here are some benefits:


 

* A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material. (anti aging as well)

* It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration

* The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream

* It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination and the lymphatic system

* acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus

* forms saliva

* lubricates joints

* What are the symptoms of dehydration?

 

 To stay safe this summer it's essential to know the symptoms of dehydration:

 

Infant or young child

* Dry mouth and tongue

* No tears when crying

* No wet diapers for three hours

* Sunken eyes, cheeks

* Sunken soft spot on top of skull

* Listlessness or irritability


Adult

* Extreme thirst

* Less frequent urination

* Dark-colored urine

* Fatigue

* Dizziness

* Confusion

* swollen tongue


Now  it's time to enjoy the warm weather :)

 



The truth about Cellulite

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Cellulite, also known as Dermopanniculosis deformans or orange peel skin, is a condition where the skin has dimples with a lumpy appearance.

Both, women and men can be affected, as well as all age ranges. 80-90% of women will experience cellulite throughout their live.


*Grades of cellulite

Grade 1 (mild) - orange peel appearance with 1-4 superficial depressions and a slightly draped or sagging skin.

Grade 2 (moderate) - 5-9 medium depth depressions and a "cottage cheese" appearance with moderately sagged skin

Grade 3 (severe) - skin seems to have a mattress like appearance with 10 or more deep depressions, skin is severely draped.


* Causes of cellulite

The exact causes of cellulite are not scientifically known, but the interaction of connective tissue, and the layer of fat below, may result in this condition.

In women, fat cells and connective tissue are arranged vertically. If fat cells protrude into this layers tissue, the skin starts to appeal dimpled.

In men, the tissue has a criss cross like structure, which makes it less likely to appear dimpled.

Hormones (such as estrogen, Insulin, thyroid hormones...) play an important role in the development of cellulite. An increased hormonal level combined with low oxygen levels can influence the production of collagen, which is responsible for the strength of the skin and tissue.

Certain genetic factors and age are also linked to the metabolism and distribution of fat which influences the development and likeliness of cellulite.


* Dietry and Lifestyle Habits

A diet containing high amounts of carbohydrates, salt and less fibre could increase the risk of developing cellulite. Also an inactive lifestyle, smoking and too much alcohol are linked to severe types of cellulite.


* Treatment, Medication and Anti Cellulite Massage

Currently there are lots of treatments (Carboxytherapy, Cavitation...) on the market that promise to cure cellulite, however only some can help to improve and reduce the appearance, without healing the condition completely.

Creams containing caffeine can dehydrate the fat cells which makes them less visible. Retinol thickens the skin and gives it a smoother appearance.

Anti Cellulite Massage is a classic and long known treatment which incorporates Manual lymphatic drainage to increase lymph and blood flow, as well as specialized massage techniques to break up cellulite tissue.


If you're interested in an assessment and treatment contact us :)

Lymphoedema- because swelling matters!

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Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling due to the build up of fluid in the bodys tissue. It occurs when the lymphatic system stops to drain excess fluid from the body and could occur in any part of the body. Most commonly effected are legs and arms.

A lymphoedema develops when lymph nodes or vessels are removed, blocked or damaged which causes the fluid from draining away. Even if the condition can't be reversed, a proper treatment can reduce the condition.


Common symptoms of lymphoedema are swollen limbs, hypersensitive skin, a feeling of heaviness in your body, hard and tight skin.


Once discovered there are a lot of ways to treat the condition. Exercising, alongside a properskin care, compression garments and lymphatic drainage are some of the most effective ways to reduce swelling.



According to the NHS England, Lymphoedema is thought to affect more than 200,000 people in the UK. Primary lymphoedema is rare and is thought to affect around 1 in every 6,000 people. Secondary lymphoedema is much more common, due to pregnancy, operations, injuries and cancer.

History of Lymphatic Drainage


Lymphatic drainage is a specialized massage technic that stimulates lymphatic vessel, which are responsible for removal of waste products, toxins and natural drainage of lymph in the body.

The technic was invented by danish Drs. Emil and Estrid Vodder in the early 1930's. Initially pioneerd to treat chronic sinusitis and immune disorders, they soon discovered the swollen lymph nodes in their patients. Even though the lymph system was understood poorly, the Vodders began to study the system and it's anatomy.

In 1936 the technique was introduced in Paris and was used to educate practitioners. Since then it is widely used to treat clients around the world.

Benefits of lymphatic drainage

* deeply relaxing and lessens pain

* reduces swelling and increases lymph and blood flow

* strengthens the immune system and detoxifies

* promotes healing in fractures, torn ligaments amd sprains

* improves chronic pain like sinusitis, scleroderma, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis

* swelling during pregnancy


If you suffer from lymphoedema or swollen tissue, specialized Physiotherapists and Manual lymphatic drainage practitioners can help you.

To arrange a consultation contact Anika Fit (Physiotherapist and Lymphatic drainage therapist) under 07484780328 or [email protected]



Green Tea- Superfood?

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Who hasn't heard of Superfoods these days? Social media and magazines are flooded with various articles about foods and ingredients that claim to be extremly beneficial compared to other, average foods. But why is Green Tea thought to be beneficial and does it holds it's promise?

Native to China and India, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, after water. Approximatly 78%of consumed tea is black tea and only 22% green tea. It is made from unoxidized tea leaves, which is less processed and therefore holds more antioxidants than other tea varieties.

Consumed unsweetened it is a zero calorie beverage, which contains less caffeine than black tea (depending on the brewing time), and contains high amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols. 


Benefits of Green Tea


"According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in tea have been shown to decrease tumor growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation." (Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)


1. Green Tea and Cancer

Recent studies had proven certain health benefits of Green Tea, such as a reduction of cancerous cells and positive effects on specific cancer types including Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Bladder and Prostate Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Lung Cancer and Skin Cancer. The high amount of Polyphenols and Antioxidants is thougt to reduce cell growth and is even able to kill them.


2. Green Tea and Heart Diseases

 The risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks, as well as mortality due to this diseases could be reduced significantly through the consume of Green Tea. A study over a ten year period showed evidence of a lower risk of dying due to a heart disease in a group of participants who drank 5 cups of Green Tea per day.


3. Green Tea an Cholesterol

Consumed as drink or as a dry capsula, Green Tea reduces LDL (low density lipoprotein), also known as bad cholesterol.


4. Green Tea and Inflammation

Inflamed skin and tissue conditions such as acne, psoriasis and neurodermatitis, could be slowed down and calmed by the consumption of Green Tea. Also Green Tea could be used as compress to reduces redness and inflammation on sore skin.


5. Green Tea and Anti-Aging

Antioxidants and the tannin Catechin in Green Tea are well known for Detox and Anti-Aging. It renews cells, detoxifies tissue and organs, stimulates your metabolism and is anti-allergic.



(Image source: http://www.savannahswift.co.uk/why-i-love-green-tea/)

There are varieties of Green Tea with different flavours and instructions how to prepare it the best way. 


Sencha Is the most frequently drunk and well-known variety of green tea.


Fukamushi Sencha Has been steamed twice as long as regular Sencha. Fukamushi means "steamed for a long time."

The leaves have been exposed to the steam's heat, therefore they become powdery and

the tea gets a stronger taste and darker green color.


Gyokuro Has a rich aroma, similar to nori seaweed.


 

Kabusecha The tea has a darker green color, full-bodied flavor and lower astringency than Sencha. 


Matcha Tencha that is stoneground immediately before shipping is called Matcha.

Dark Matcha is used in Japan's traditional tea ceremony, and was previously made from the leaves of very old tea bushes - over 100 years old.

Matcha is also used extensively in the making of traditional Japanese confections and various savory dishes.


 

 

Genmaicha Derives its name from the Japanese word for "brown rice," which is rice that still retains the bran covering of the rice grain. The soaked and steamed brown rice is roasted and popped, and is mixed with Sencha or other tea in a ratio of approximately 50:50. One may enjoy the combination of the savoriness of roasted brown rice and the refreshing flavor of Sencha. 


 

 

 

Hojicha Is made by roasting Sencha, which gives it a distinctive roasted aroma. The tea leaves are roasted in a pan at a temperature of approximately 200 degrees C and then immediately cooled. Through roasting, caffeine is sublimated and therefore  becomes less bitter. 


 

Shincha During the winter, tea bushes store up nutrients essential to the growth of both spring shoots and new leaves, which are lush and packed with nutrients. These new leaves become Shincha. The 88th day after the first day of spring according to the traditional calendar (February 4) is called "Hachijuhachi-ya." In Japan, a traditional belief since olden times is that if one drinks tea picked on this day one will enjoy the year in sound health and good spirits.

Shincha has a refreshing and invigorating scent of new leaves. Shincha is low in catechin and caffeine, making it less bitter and astringent. Shincha tends to have a higher content of amino acids (theanine), which give it full-bodied flavor and sweetness.








Hot Stone Massage- an ancient way to relaxation

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What is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot Stone Massage is an ancient massage technique that uses the warmth of basalt rocks to give the body an intense and relaxing treatment. It is a great treatment to relax tightened muscles, increase blood flow and is used to reduce stress, anxiety and pain. It is suitable for many health conditions and is an easy way to leave a stressful day behind.

The use of lava and basalt stones for healing purposes is thousands of years old. Evidence shows that the Chinese already used this technique more than 2000 years ago, stating an improvement of internal organ function. 

In the early 1990's Hot Stone Massage was reborn, after the introduction of LaStone Therapy by Mary Nelson. Since then it gained more and more popularity, creating a huge audience in the Beauty as well as the Health and Wellness industry.


Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.

During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat.

The stones may be placed: 

* along your spine

* on your stomach

* on your chest

* on your face

* on your palms

* on your feet and toes

 

☯️ 1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain

☯️ 2. Reduces stress and anxiety

☯️ 3. Promotes sleep

☯️ 4. relieves symptoms of autoimmune diseases

☯️ 5. May boost immunity

 

Book a Hot Stone Massage today

 

* 30 minutes - £20 (back only)

* 40 minutes - £30 (legs and back)

* 60 minutes - £40 (full body)



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