December 11, 2019
Tabitha Robertson is a clinical aromatherapist and reiki practitioner renowned for her soothing hands and holistic approach to wellness, whether she’s massaging people living with cancer, children with ADHD, or anyone in need of care and relaxation. She and Nourish founder Jane Clarke have known each other for many years and share a belief in the power of touch to comfort and heal.
I met Jane 20 years ago, when she was staying with a client of mine and I gave her some massage. We’ve been friends ever since and share a belief that being healthy is about more than what we eat or the medications we need. Jane’s approach to food and eating nourishes a person’s emotional wellbeing as well as their body. I practise holistic aromatherapy massage, which uses a nurturing touch to help a person on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Jane has often recommended me to her patients, and vice versa. It’s really important to her that her patients feel safe, relaxed and comfortable, and I work in a similar way. Even before I start a treatment, I get people to feel incredibly comforted and at ease, wrapped in a warm blanket and perhaps with a hot poultice to bring extra heat to the body. I ask how they are feeling and what scented oils they are drawn to that day, then create a bespoke aromatherapy blend based on their response. If a client says they feel cold or sensitive, for example, I might use warming ginger, vetiver and sandalwood essential oils.
There’s a misconception that if you have been diagnosed with cancer, you shouldn’t have a massage. It’s a myth that it could ‘spread’ cancer cells around the body via the lymph system. Research has not found any evidence of this and, in fact, studies show that massage can reduce symptoms such as pain, anxiety and fatigue. Going for a walk will stimulate the lymph system, so there’s no need to be scared of massage, especially as the experience can be so therapeutic.
Essential oils are incredibly potent and I find their effect on the body fascinating. I studied clinical aromatherapy at the Tisserand Institute as I wanted to understand the chemistry of essential oils and how they interact with the body. If someone is particularly vulnerable, I will use a lower percentage of essential oils in a blend so they don’t overload their system. I may also reduce the amount of touch I use as they may be feeling very sensitive. Often a family or friend might pay for a massage as a gift for a loved one who’s not very well, which can be wonderful but may also be overwhelming if they don't want to be touched. It’s about respecting and understanding a person’s needs.
'Tabitha has the most beautiful energy which so quickly tunes into where my patients are, and indeed how I am. I adore her truly nourishing massages and know my patients have too' Jane Clarke
I work with charity Munro Health to give massage to people involved in the Grenfell fire disaster. I also work with a lot of children who may have ADHD or dyslexia and find massage soothing. I believe the benefits of massage should be available to everyone. It’s very comforting to be surrounded by beautiful aromas and to be part of the process of choosing the oils. During a massage, people go to that ‘bliss place’ where they completely switch off and feel at ease and looked after.
We carry a lot of tension in our muscles and that can impact on our mood and health. I use an incredible abdominal massage that works on the digestive system, reproductive organs and liver; I recommend it for anyone with gastrointestinal issues or menstrual problems. The jaw and face can be tense with stress, and many people have tightness in their neck, shoulders and hands. A good massage will enable deep relaxation, provide relief from aches and pains, and help you to become more accepting of your body. And my clients tell me they get an incredible night’s sleep after they’ve seen me!
Try Tabitha’s at-home relaxation ritual to help you sleep…
Once or twice a week, run the bath and put in a couple of handfuls of Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oil. Lavender is good for relaxation.
Before you get into the bath, shake out any tension you feel in your body, rub your shoulders and neck to help them relax.
When you’re in the water, take a few deep breaths then ‘talk through’ your body, relaxing each part from your toes upwards.
Afterwards, lie on the bed for a couple of minutes then massage a natural cream or oil into your body with love. When you reach your stomach, rub in a clockwise direction to soothe the colon.
Get into bed feeling warm, relaxed and ready for sleep.
Find out more about Tabitha at tabitharobertson.com