Finding balance

In the therapy room at DDN Conference, Lois Skilleter and Sam Lofthouse gave delegates a taster of massage and Reiki. Lois explains the treatments.

This was my fourth year of offering voluntary therapies at the DDN conference – it’s becoming a wonderful annual event for me, and my students who have come have also enjoyed it very much. This year Sam accompanied me, and we were able to offer Indian head massage, Reiki and hand massages.

Indian head massage has only been around in the West for about 35 years, and is a very relaxing mix of the Indian traditions of hair oiling, chakra balancing and barbers’ head massage, combined with the shoulder, neck and upper back massage that is so needed by westerners with our high stress levels. Our clients loved it and found they felt surprisingly lighter and happier after experiencing it.

Reiki is Japanese in origin and provides an energy balance, leading to relaxation and clarity of mind. Clients are often surprised to feel tingling or ‘hot spots’ even when the practitioner is not physically touching them. The practitioner is acting as a channel for the Reiki energy, allowing the client to draw what is needed through them – hence this treatment is very empowering for the client as they are in fact doing their own healing, with the practitioner merely a facilitator.

Hand massage is somewhat underrated, I feel: it’s non intrusive, very versatile, yet can bring real relaxation to the recipient. Our clients who opted for this treatment really enjoyed it, noticing how much lighter and less tense their hands felt afterwards. I have recently done hand massage with a dementia group and both carers and patients found it soothing and helpful. It’s also a good bonding therapy: some of the mums I work with like to do it for their children at night to help with sleep.

All of these therapies are gentle, relaxing and have few side effects, and can be used with vulnerable people as long as basic cautions are taken into account and a doctor’s note received if the client is suffering from any contraindications. It is heartening to see complementary medicines becoming more accepted: while they do not replace medical advice and treatment, they can be a valuable support when used alongside conventional medicine.

Lois’s website is and she is always happy to discuss training and treatments.