New Facial Product Launch – Event on 26th May

We’re delighted to introduce a new therapy to Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre in the form of MYO Fascial Facials with our Myofascial Therapist, Jenna Hammond.

She will be holding a launch event on Tuesday 26th May at 7pm.

This will include prosecco, a 30 minute demonstration and the opportunity to win a course of 10 free treatments on the night!

Book your space by phoning us on 01242 584140 and feel free to bring a guest.

jenna new logo

New aromatherapist at CHHC

Delighted to welcome Karina Cox to the CHHC team! She’ll be available for treatments every Friday afternoon.

Karina Cox Aromatherapist

Karina Cox Aromatherapist

Karina Cox qualified in holistic clinical aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, anatomy and physiology, with Gabriel Mojay, in 2007, at the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy in London, and has since completed studies at Neal’s Yard Remedies and the world famous Bach Centre. She offers aromatherapy massage and also a variety of tailor made holistic therapies. In 2011, Karina travelled to Malaysia to undertake the RYT 200 yoga teacher training, recognised by the Yoga Alliance, USA, and then completed studies with Sarah Powers on her Insight Yoga teacher training intensive programme.

Therapies practised: Holistic / Aromatherapy / Chakra-Aroma / Pregnancy Massage, Organic Facials, Back “facials”, Top to Toe Packages

Aromatherapy massage / Holistic massage / Pregnancy massage:

60 mins: £45   120 mins £80

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic facial:

60 mins  £50

Back, neck & shoulder:

45 mins: £40

Back ‘Facial’:

75 mins (includes cleanse, scrub, mask, massage and moisturise): £50

Free the Spirit: Chakra-aroma massage (incorporates some energy healing techniques)

60 mins £45






Spring, the wood element and acupuncture – Ric Malkinson

The bamboo that bends is stronger than-2The easiest way to introduce the Wood Element is to just dive straight in: after all, Wood represents activity, upward movement, getting things done. Not surprisingly, its corresponding season is Spring, the season of action, growth, and regeneration; so it is that the clenched fist, a symbol typical of the source and power of Wood energy, is mirrored by the symbol of the clenched energy held tightly within a bud at the beginning of Spring.


In Chinese Medicine, each Element and corresponding season is linked with an organ in the body – for the Wood element and Spring, this organ is the Liver. One of the main responsibities of the Liver is to maintain the smooth flow of blood and energy throughout the body – and with so much emphasis on growth, change and forward movement, it becomes clear just how important this smooth flow is to a healthy and strong Wood element.

When the Liver isn’t functioning optimally and things aren’t flowing smoothly, we start to experience what acupuncturists think of as stagnation-type symptoms. These symptoms can take on a great number of forms – for example, digestive disturbances, tension headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis or increased stiffness and tightness in your muscles and joints.

Stagnation affects us on a mental and emotional level too; there’s an emotional ‘stuckness’ that can take hold in Spring. Without that free-flow of blood and energy throughout our bodies we may feel tense, irritable, angry, more easily annoyed. We may feel more stressed and more ‘rigid’, and lacking focus.

Our world is forever changing and, to be at our best, we must continually adapt to these changes and “go with the flow”. By working primarily on improving Liver function, an acupuncturist may be able to help us feel the movement, strength and vision of a healthy Wood element. If we don’t bend, we snap – and with free-flow of blood and energy, rigidity is replaced by flexibility.

Whatever changes we feel we need to make in our lives, Spring is the best time to take action!

What’s the Right Weight Loss Plan for You?

TV guidance good but we can do better!

What's the right diet for you?


The clinic’s nutrition team Sally and Marianne have welcomed the recent BBC Horizon series on tailored dieting plans, but are keen to stress that we already take the idea of personalised plans much further in helping the clinic’s clients to lose weight.


Sally comments: “This series is one of the best we have seen on some of the real issues involved in weight problems. However, at CHHC we already use the main diet plans recommended in the programme such as high protein/low GI plans, intermittent fasting and support plans, and have been offering a tailored approach for years with our individualised plans for clients! The benefit of seeing a personal nutritionist is that we help you to identify all the obstacles to weight loss.”

With rates of overweight and obesity soaring, 11 million people in the UK on a diet at any one time and 80% failing, it is certainly a high priority to find weight loss solutions that really work. The most important first step is to call a halt to yo-yo dieting and faddy diets, and decide to find the way of eating that suits you, sustains your energy and keeps you healthy for life. If you do that, very often the weight will stabilise of its own accord.

The key is to understand that there are a number of metabolic obstacles to weight loss.  For example, I often see clients who go to the gym 3 or 4 times weekly, keep to a low fat, small portions diet and eat very little junk or processed food – and yet are still struggling to lose weight.

What we often find is that people are either eating the wrong kind of diet for their bodytype or lifestyle or there is a block which has to be removed before the weight starts to come off.  It might be a food intolerance, a sluggish metabolism, excess stress, poor digestion and absorption, a hormonal imbalance, a candida infection, or an excess of toxins stored in fat cells, for example. Some people have more than one of these “blocks”.

The recent Horizon series took 75 overweight or obese volunteers and gave them tailored diets over 3 months based on whether they were classed as “Feasters”, “Emotional Eaters” or “Constant Cravers”. The allocation of the participants to the groups was decided by a mixture of genetic, hormone and psychological tests.

In the series, Feasters were people who can’t stop eating once they start. They have a lower level of gut hormones that are designed to turn off the appetite. They need a high protein/low GI (Glycaemic Index) diet to help them feel fuller for longer.

The second group, classed as Emotional Eaters, reach for fatty and sugary foods when under stress and are often yo/yo dieters. They can go into “catastrophic thinking” if they feel they have broken their diet: “I’ve had one biscuit, so I might as well eat the lot!”. These people may need low calories diets but with a lot of support and positive reward.

The third group are Constant Cravers, who think about foods constantly and prefer foods high in sugar and fat. They seem to have higher levels of so-called “hungry genes”. They can’t sustain 7 day dieting, so benefit from intermittent fasting, or a version of the 5:2 diet with healthy foods on the non-fasting days.

What the programme missed out on completely were the other obstacles listed above, and the information that it’s often better to pay attention to inches and how clothes fit than to weight, because leaner, less fatty tissue weighs more!

At the clinic, we can help you to find out which form of diet best suits you as an individual and identify any further factors that may be preventing you from losing weight sustainably. It’s worth remembering that one person’s healthy diet is another person’s recipe for weight gain.  Our optimum eating patterns are very individual.  Some people need more protein; others can thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Some need a very sustaining breakfast; others do better on a small breakfast and lunch and a larger meal in the evening.

Other good general weight loss tips include always having breakfast, using soups for help you feel full and green tea to speed up your metabolism, eating more consciously and slowly to reduce calorie intake, regular exercise obviously, and being aware that the first week or fortnight’s weight loss is mainly water from sugar stores – so is not usually sustained at that rate!

A couple of many weight loss testimonials from the clinic:

“”I cannot begin to tell you the difference that Sally’s advice has made to my life. When I arrived to see her, I had exhausted all medical avenues and was a little weary of the amount of blood and the number of tests that I had but my body through. Sally’s suggestions to diet and life style have resulted in a ‘new me.’ I feel 100% better, with no pain and have lost nearly 2 stone.”

 “Sally’s approach has been excellent, a very thorough diagnostic session at the start enable us to take some immediate steps which dramatically improved my digestion and other minor ailments, along with dietary advice which kick started the weight loss (I lost just over 2 stones in 5 months).The weight has stayed off for over 6 months and my new diet is now a way of life. I don’t miss the old way of eating in the slightest.”

Welcome back, butter!

Welcome back, butter!


CHHC’s expert nutritionist team Sally Whitman and Marianne Andrews have welcomed last month’s further confirmation that it has always been OK to eat butter and that moderate consumption of this tasty energy source does not increase heart disease risk.



Sally commented, “Nutritionists have been saying this for a long time. As long as you careful about your overall consumption of saturated fat, butter is a healthy and delicious choice. Obviously if you or your child needs to lose weight, you have to watch the amount of butter because it is high in calories. So don’t do what my kid brother did – put the butter in the fridge overnight so he could have a slice of butter on his slice of toast!”

“Nowadays thankfully many margarines no longer contain trans fats and may be fortified with vitamins and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. However, butter, like coconut oil, naturally contains important nutrients, in butter’s case vitamin D as well as butyric acid, a vital fuel for the colon cells. And it seems that many people who are intolerant of lactose and/or dairy have no problem with butter. So this announcement is great cause for celebration and long overdue!”

“Finally, to have a good intake of healthy fats, don’t forget your nutrient-dense nuts and seeds – daily but again in moderation. A recent study has found that a daily handful cuts the risk of death from all diseases by 20%!”

Homeopathy – a personal story



“Thank you, Katja. What a fantastic gift health is. I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity to explore my health with you, and extremely grateful that you gave me such a fantastic gift.” (S.D., Stroud)



Homeopathy is the fastest-growing branch of alternative medicine in the world today. Over 30 million people in Europe use homeopathy and so do approximately 130 million people in India. In Brazil it is used very widely and there are over 15 thousand physicians there who are practising homeopaths.

Homeopathy is a natural system of healing which works by using a small dose of a substance which fits well with the disease symptoms and the condition of the patient to heal in a gentle and profound way. This follows the homeopathic principle of “like cures like”. This healing happens very naturally through the freed vital force of the body and takes place on both the physical, mental and emotional levels. Homeopathy’s goal is holistic cure, a goal that may be achieved even in cases of so-called chronic disease.

Please listen to the report of a patient who was not just cured of his swine flu but experienced improvements on deep levels of his being which he described as life changing.

“When I was invited to see Katja to have a consultation process for homeopathic medicine, I admit to being a sceptic of homeopathic medicine. I had swine flue in the summer of 2009, I then had a similar long illness (for 6 weeks) in early 2011.  Whilst I was ill in 2011, David and Katja invited me to come and see them when and if I felt well enough to do so. Once better I decided that it was worth a go, as I really didn’t fancy getting this type of illness again, and having experienced mainstream medicine’s approach to dealing with these viruses, I was keen to try an alternative and pro-active approach to maintaining good health.

We arranged the initial consultation. I was quite nervous, but determined. Once we started the consultation, I became gradually drawn into Katja’s line of questioning. The approach to probing my explanations for greater depth and understanding of my key words and experiences really got me thinking. The questions drew me into a fantastic line of thought, unpicking things I had not previously spent much time analysing, and making connections between my health and other feelings and experiences, including dreams and child-hood memories. So thought provoking, so interesting, and ultimately so helpful in creating a new level of personal understanding.

Just under a week later I had my remedy.

The following day I felt fantastic, energetic and clear minded with a real spring in my step and a smile on my face! This feeling continued and I still felt great. I was amazed. I was so thrilled with how good I felt, I spent the week telling everyone close to me and those people I knew all about the fantastic effect the homeopathic remedy had on me. I felt stronger, faster, clearer… Wow!

I had two follow up appointments, we talked about my experiences, and discussed the positive effect the remedy was having on me mentally and physically. I was convinced that this was not a placebo, this was the real deal. The effect the homeopathic remedy had on me was so strong, and so good, there was no way this could be a trick of the mind. The combination of the in depth consultation and the following remedy was crucial, the two aspects working together to create a proactive approach to health. My remedy, chosen with me in mind. When I feel my health slipping, I have a remedy that can help me to stay healthy, rather than waiting until I get ill and then trying to fix the illness.”





Taking The Anxiety Out Of Feeling Anxious

Take the anxiety out of feeling anxious

One of the most common reasons clients look for hypnotherapy and counselling help from Alison Fernandes are for anxiety disorders. We can sometimes forget that looking after ourselves is equally as important as looking after our family, or meeting our commitments. When we are feeling confident and able to deal with everyday life without anxiety, the care and attention we can give to others is enhanced; for this reason, putting ourselves first when it comes to our mental and emotional health is good for the people we care about too.

Anxiety is a term used to describe feelings of apprehension, fear, nervousness and worry. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common health problems in the UK today, with more than 1 in 10 people (according to Anxiety UK) likely to experience a disabling anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

While anxiety is a completely normal reaction to certain situations, such as: attending a job interview; moving house; or sitting an exam, in some circumstances anxiety can remain with us even when there are no specific triggers causing it.

There are a number of different types of anxiety disorder which Alison commonly encounters through her work as a hypnotherapist and counsellor.

Social anxiety disorder can make it difficult to interact with others, as we fear being judged by people we come into contact with. This can cause us to withdraw from and avoid meeting or being with others as a way of avoiding triggering our anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can manifest as a means of controlling our anxiety. This might be in the form of repetitive actions, such as continually checking that doors and windows are shut and locked; by repeated routines such as hand washing; or in a less visible way by intrusive and distressing thoughts.

Panic disorder (panic attacks) can be very frightening, triggering symptoms such as: palpitations; nausea; confusion and breathing difficulties. These attacks tend to peak and die away within around ten minutes, although for some an attack can be more prolonged. It is not uncommon for a panic attack to be triggered simply through fear that one might occur.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a non-specific state of anxiety which affects every aspect of our daily life. It is estimated that up to 5 in 100 people live with this disorder, which leads to a constant state of apprehension and fear. Rather than having a specific trigger, GAD is ever present and manifests as a “worst case scenario” response to everyday situations. Examples of this can range from being convinced that we are going to fail before we set out to do something; to imagining that our partner has met with an accident on the way home because they are running ten minutes late.

Overcoming anxiety requires our commitment to what can be a gradual process of replacing negative response patterns with positive ones, particularly when our anxiety is deep rooted and sustained. New techniques and tools, designed to help us turn our lives around need to be practiced on an ongoing basis; until they become part of our normal daily function. We would not, after all, visit a GP for a physical health condition and then not take the medication or follow the course of treatment prescribed for us. While some problems can be significantly improved in a very short time, others require longer support. Because this can mean a client hesitates to commit to therapy, Alison is offering a 25% discount for advance bookings of 6 or more sessions (paid at the outset). For clients unable to attend during the day, Alison can offer evening appointments by arrangement (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at CHHC or other evenings/weekends at Elkstone). Contact CHHC or Alison for more information or to make a booking.

A Guide To Yin Yoga – Ann Morley

A Guide to Yin Yoga

A Guide to Yin Yoga - Ann Morley

What is Yin Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice, originating in India, originally practised with the aim of achieving enlightenment. As cultures change over time, so has yoga; it has been redefined depending on where and when it’s practised, branching into diverse different forms as it goes. In the West it has become popular as a predominantly dynamic physical practice which increases the strength and flexibility of our muscles.

Normally, meditation plays only a small part, or none at all, in classes. While this practice has great benefits both physically and mentally, it is only part of the yoga story.

Some yoga teachers have applied the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang to yoga with the aim of bringing balance to our practice – and our lives. All of our lives – and yoga – have aspects of both yang and yin. Yang relates to movement. Many aspects of the modern world are yang: the pressure to succeed, constant stimulation of the senses, our need to control our situation. In yoga, the yang aspect shows up in postures that develop our muscular strength, and in faster styles of yoga these postures dominate. While yang postures have many benefits, the negative side of this approach can be that it emphasises our need to be deeper, further, emphasising our ego’s drive to achieve.

Yin is about finding stillness and softness, acceptance of our situation. The yin aspects of yoga are when we achieve stillness, the ability to be comfortable with our own body, softening and releasing. Yin Yoga classes emphasise this to provide a counter-balance to our modern Western lives: we need both yin and yang to come into balance.

What do you do in Yin Yoga?

Suitable for all levels, Yin is a meditative form of yoga. You hold seated and lying stretches for 3-6 minutes, using bolsters or blocks to support the body when needed. These long, gradual stretches are used because it allows deep tissues (fascia) within our body to be stretched, and gives the body time to relax fully into the postures. Each class uses a guided meditation or contemplation, drawn from sources including traditional Yoga philosophy and Buddhism.

You’ll stay with your experiences rather than always rushing, exploring the sensations of breath and body. You’ll develop a sense of calmness and acceptance, taking the time to just be.

Why should I do it?

Yin Yoga is great for so many reasons. The most obvious is in maintaining or increasing flexibility, ensuring that we are able to continue to lead full lives. You don’t miss it until it’s gone! If you already have a more dynamic yoga practice, you will notice that introducing a Yin aspect can deepen your usual practice. This is because in Yin the longer holds affect layers of our body called “connective tissue”. These are made up of fibres that weave into and around our muscles, and can limit the opening of the body. When we start to stretch these, we can open the body more fully.

Yin is a deeply relaxing practice. When stretches are held for a longer time, the body often releases holding patterns that we aren’t aware of tensing, feeling as though you are shrugging off layers of stress and tension. We commonly use mindfulness techniques in the classes, increasing our awareness and understanding of the body-mind connection. We can become aware that sometimes physical tension patterns are there as an impression left on us by emotional events or traumas; by relaxing these patterns physically, we can often let go of our unconscious clinging to these events.

When are the classes?

Ann teaches Yin Yoga workshops on a monthly basis. Please check Ann’s website for the latest block dates.


Transcendental Meditation Weekend 21/22/23 March 2015

Transcendental Meditation (TM) workshop weekend 21/22/23 March 2015meditating

Transcendental Meditation was brought from India to the West in 1959 by the revolutionary meditation teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.   Although it may sound like a complex technique to learn, TM is actually simple, natural and effortless to practice.  It’s also very easy and enjoyable to learn.  You don’t need to be in the mood for TM in order to meditate and feel its benefits.  You don’t need to be experienced in other meditation techniques or spiritual practices, no concentration or visualisation is necessary, you don’t need to sit in a yoga posture to meditate, you don’t even need to be in a silent place; all you need is somewhere to sit comfortably for 15-20 minutes – even a train, bus, plane, park bench – and you can enjoy TM!

Learned by more than 6 million people worldwide, 650 scientific research studies on TM show benefits such as improved sleep, improved memory, concentration and energy, reduced anxiety and depression, clearer thinking and reduced use of alcohol and tobacco.It’s taught in 4 sessions over a weekend and the first course at CHHC begins on Saturday 21st March.  The Saturday session is a one-to-one personal instruction which lasts for about and hour. You’ll be shown how to meditate and have the opportunity to experience TM straight away.  Then you’re asked to meditate at home and come back on Sunday 22nd March for two group sessions: the first from 10am-12pm and the second from 4pm-6:30pm.  In these sessions you’ll learn more about how the technique works and also discover how to know if you’re meditating correctly.  We then have a follow-up session on Monday 23rd March from 7-9pm.  This is a refresher session and an opportunity to share your experiences and learn more about how to get the most out of TM.  There are also group meditations at these sessions which are hugely enjoyable.

The course is offered by The Meditation Trust charity whose group of fully qualified, highly experienced and enthusiastic teachers offer expert instruction in this simple, effortless meditation.  Our teacher for the Cheltenham area learned TM 29 years ago, qualified as a teacher 23 years ago and has individually taught 1000 people this remarkable meditation technique.

Once you’ve completed these sessions you’ll have a valuable skill that lasts for life!

For more information about the weekend, please see:

Free information and introductory pack available from The Meditation Trust charity on 01843 841010,