Rheumatoid Arthritis V Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are different types of arthritis. They share some similar characteristics, but each has different symptoms and requires different treatment. So an accurate diagnosis is important. Gardening-250

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one-tenth as many people as osteoarthritis. The main difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the cause behind the joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints.


Characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis


Age at which the condition starts

It may begin any time in life.

It usually begins later in life.

Speed of onset

Relatively rapid, over weeks to months

Slow, over years

Joint symptoms

Joints are painful, swollen, and stiff.

Joints ache and may be tender but have little or no swelling.

Pattern of joints that are affected

It often affects small and large joints on both sides of the body (symmetrical), such as both hands, both wrists or elbows, or the balls of both feet.

Symptoms often begin on one side of the body and may spread to the other side. Symptoms begin gradually and are often limited to one set of joints, usually the finger joints closest to the fingernails or the thumbs, large weight-bearing joints (hips, knees), or the spine.

Duration of morning stiffness

Morning stiffness lasts longer than 1 hour.

Morning stiffness lasts less than 1 hour. Stiffness returns at the end of the day or after periods of activity.

Presence of symptoms affecting the whole body (systemic)

Frequent fatigue and a general feeling of being ill are present.

Whole-body symptoms are not present.























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Step Into Spring With Happy Feet

Reflexology – Treat Or Treatment?

By working specific reflex points on the feet and stimulating 7000 nerve endings, this reflexology (2)improves circulation and lymph flow, cleanses the body of impurities and revitalises energy, which will encourage the body to naturally restore its own healthy balance. Additionally, Reflexology can bring soothing stress relief and relaxation to the mind, body and spirit. The treatment can be pleasurable and extremely relaxing to receive, as well as invigorating and energising.



Your treat begins with having your feet soaked in a foot bath with aromatherapy oils, (with process of consultation)bigstock-Feet-dipped-into-spa--aromath-25131005

This is followed by a blissful hour of pampering in the comfort of your own home or relaxed, peaceful surroundings of my conservatory.

The whole experience results in:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Stress relief
  • Improved circulation
  • Revitalised energy

And ends with a relaxing and soothing foot massage.  This can also be performed with warming lava stones to feel luxurious.



This natural healing process has many proven benefits. As a preventative therapy, reflexology works on the thousands of nerve endings in the feet, thereby stimulating the central nervous system.

Reflexology of the feet

Reflexology of the feet

Treatment can result in:

  • Improved sleep
  • Total relaxation of the body and mind, which promotes healing.
  • Cleansing the body of  deposits and toxins.
  • Stimulating energy flow throughout the body.
  • Balancing the whole system. For the body to be healthy, everything must work together.


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Aromatherapy for The London Marathon

S/W Ver: A0.03.1DR This weekend is big for a lot of people – LONDON MARATHON!

This Sunday thousands will get together to run for their charity and raise thousands of pounds and remember loved ones.  After months of training, this is their big moment, for some their once in a lifetime and this is some incredible achievement.

I did something similar to this in September 2010 when I ‘walked’ 26 miles from Avebury to Stonehenge for Help 4 Heroes over Salisbury Plain.  So I was not running but walking that distance and not on even ground.  I set off at 7.30am with my husband and completed by 4pm.  The last miles were a struggle and my legs did not feel part of me, but I got there to the finish and that was ‘my’ moment, my big achievement, I knew I would never be able to run a marathon but I love walking and for my favourite charity to be able to tick something on my bucket list and raise money – this was the best way for me.  I have my photos and my medal to prove it and I certainly have the memories of wonderful people on a wonderful day.

I trained for 3 months beforehand, walking every day and with the use of complementary therapies.  I regularly had massage and reflexology and used aromatherapy before and after walking.to be sorted 012

To warm my muscles up before hand I would use a mix of Lavender, Rosemary and Ginger as a warming blend to massage into the legs before starting the warm up exercises before any activity – 2 drops of essential oil per 2 tablespoons of almond or grape seed  oil.  This can also be used on the shoulders if they are tense.  At the end of my days walking for stiff muscles I would use a mix of Chamomile, Frankincense and Lavender  with massage oil to help with the pain and to help the muscles relax – Rosemary can also be added. 

For all runners and London Marathon runners, these blends can also be used and are ideal to help before and after the run.  On the Saturday help yourself by getting a reflexology session; this will help the feet and the body for the big day ahead.  After the run hopefully you will be able to get a cool down massage there but once back in the hotel or home then treat yourself to a foot bath (I did this after my walk! We took an inflatable foot bath and boiled some water on a gas stove and my husband and I soaked our feet before we had the 1 1/2 hour drive home!)  Do not use boiling water! Add cold to it to make it comfortable and add the essential oil mix into the water, Tea Tree can also be added to this as an antiseptic and antibacterial.  This blend will go through the open pores on the soles of your feet and circulate around your body to help your muscles and to help you relax.

Good luck everyone and have a great day!

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Massage For Runners

I love this article and thought I would share!

The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Research finally reveals just what massages can—and can’t—do for runners.

Published March 21, 2014

Mind Body Apr 2014 Massage

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner’s entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.

Yet despite massage’s popularity and positive reputation, there’s been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. “It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine,” says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn’t confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what’s true and what’s not.

First, let’s set the record straight: Science doesn’t support some ingrained beliefs about massage. “It can’t push toxins out of the muscles and into the bloodstream,” says JoEllen Sefton, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at Auburn University, who has practiced massage therapy. “There’s no physiological way that can happen.” Nor does it appear to flush lactic acid from muscles, says Crane, who analyzed muscle samples after subjects cycled to exhaustion and then received a 10-minute massage. “People assumed that because lactic acid feels burny, and massage reduces pain, then it must clear away lactic acid,” he says.

What massage does do is apply moving pressure to muscles and other tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia (which sheaths muscles like a sausage casing). “That energy softens fascia tissue and makes clenched muscles relax,” Sefton says. It also removes adhesions between fascia and muscles (places where the two stick together and restrict muscles’ movement). That’s especially great news for runners, who rely on limber joints and muscles for pain-free peak performance.

Science’s biggest discovery is what massage can do for athletic recovery. Studies published in the Journal of Athletic Training and the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that massage after exercise reduced the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—that is, the peg-legged feeling you get two days after your marathon. And other research suggests that it improves immune function and reduces inflammation. Emory University researcher Mark Rapaport, M.D., found that just one massage treatment resulted in an increased number of several types of lymphocytes (white blood cells that play a key role in fighting infection) while also decreasing levels of cortisol (the “stress hormone” linked to chronic inflammation). “More research is needed, but it’s reasonable to think that massage could help runners taxed from exertion,” Rapaport says. It may also help curb chronic diseases. “We know that systemic inflammation is associated with a lot of deleterious effects, such as heart attack and stroke, and that it predisposes people to cancers,” he says.

Crane’s research, published in Science Translational Medicine, found less inflammation in massaged limbs—and 30 percent more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria (the “engines” that turn a cell’s food into energy and facilitate its repair). “What we saw suggests that massage could let runners tolerate more training, and harder training, because it would improve their recovery and speed up their ability to go hard two days later,” he says.

Studies on rabbits confirm Crane’s prediction. At Ohio State University, Thomas Best, M.D., Ph.D., put a device on exercised animals that simulates massage and records the applied pressure. “We’ve shown a 50 to 60 percent recovery in muscle function compared with no massage,” he says.

The new evidence is so convincing that even the researchers have made massage a regular part of their routines: Crane, Rapaport, and Best have all become devotees as a result of their findings, and they recommend that runners follow suit. Regular massage can boost recovery and be a valuable training tool to help you run your best. “Muscle stiffness can throw off your gait, which leads to problems over time,” Sefton says. “And by getting a sense for how your body should feel when everything is in balance, you’re more likely to notice small issues before they turn into chronic problems.” Even beginning runners can benefit from massage, because alleviating the soreness that comes with starting a new sport makes people more likely to stick with it.

Can’t afford weekly treatments? Self-massage with foam rollers and other tools like tennis balls can be beneficial in between visits. They can also help runners prep for workouts, since they loosen muscles. “Just don’t overdo the pressure,” says Sefton, who notes that even a person’s body weight on a foam roller sometimes applies too much force (and causes muscles to tighten in defense). “Bodywork just before a race or hard workout should be light,” says massage therapist Anna Gammal, who worked with athletes at the 2012 Olympics. “We don’t want muscles to feel sore or overworked.”

After a race or grueling workout, a therapist may go deeper in order to help with recovery—or not. It all depends on the individual, Gammal says. “Through talking with the athlete and using touch, a therapist will determine the state of the muscle and if it’s best to use light strokes or deep-tissue techniques to treat an athlete in a safe and productive way.”

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Fragrant Footsteps

Step Into Spring

Feet really do get a rough deal.  They’re neglected during winter, hidden away in thick tights and socks not to mention knee-high boots which all cover a multitude of sins. bigstock-Feet-dipped-into-spa--aromath-25131005 Colourful sandals and flip-flops are in the shops and the weather to wear them is just ahead.  Many women cringe at the thought of baring their feet – hard skin, cracked heels, corns, bunions, athlete’s foot, unsightly fungal nail infections and so on – don’t make for the prettiest of sights!  Aromatherapy can help treat many of these conditions, giving women the confidence to “bare all”.

If hard, cracked skin on heels is a problem, benzoin mixed into a handcream base with several drops of mandarin oil can help soften and heal.  Benzoin is commonly used for healing a wide range of skin conditions, from cracked and chapped hands to chilblains.

A nail oil is a good way to treat a fungal infection or prevent one from occurring in the first place.  Tea tree and rosemary essential oils blended with a base oil and stored in an aromatherapy bottle is an excellent way of treating fungal infections including athlete’s foot.  Lavender, lemon, tea tree, niaouli and lemon grass all have excellent antifungal properties too.

Try out your own foot massage at  home.  A good time to do it is just before going to bed, as a soothing, relaxing treatment.  Draw a bowl of warm water – place half a dozen largish pebbles at the bottom and add a handful of coarse sea salt.  Then add several drops of essential oil – lavender is always popular.  Massage feet by attempting to pick up the pebbles using your toes.  This is excellent for tired foot relief.  Finish the footbath by removing dead skin with a handful of sea salt mixed with a tablespoon of base oil plus one drop of frankincense and one drop of mandarin essential oils – both oils are excellent for pampering and moisturising.

Finish off by drying feet.  Extra moisturising can be achieved by using shea butter massaged well into the feet and nails and then popping on soft cotton socks so that the essential oils and moisturising agents can penetrate.  

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Treat Your Mum This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 30th March 2014

This is a special time of the year to thank your Mum and make her feel really special flowers, chocolates, lunch out or how about a bit of pampering time .   Mums are always mothers day cardsvery busy looking after family, working, housework and being the taxi!  Days out at a Spa are a great gift but this is a good alternative or as a last minute thought!

Voucher for therapies available to choose from for Mother’s Day (all come with hand made card):

Holistic Facial with Hot Stone Foot Massage £35.00

Aromatherapy Facial £35.00

Aromatherapy Back Massage  £30.00

40 minutes Hot Stone Massage  £25.00

Hot Stone Reflexology  £30.00


Email:  ali@alisholistics.co.uk  Text:  07773702942   for more details or to buy one for your mum!

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