Body and soul

Therapists Lois Skilleter and colleague Sal Crosland gave free tasters of their energy-balancing treatments to delegates throughout the day. Lois explains some of the benefits

What an amazing day we had at the DDN conference! Sal and I did nine treatments each, and introduced several people to Indian head massage, hand massage/reflexology and reiki they were blown away. What a privilege to meet such lovely people and to share the love of therapies with them.

As the volunteer therapists, we offered 20-minute tasters of the treatments, all of which can be carried out with the client seated and fully clothed, and using the minimum of equipment – an important cC_IMG_8490onsideration when we’re coming by train from Yorkshire! A word of explanation: reflexology and reiki, and to an extent, Indian head massage, are energy-balancing therapies where the therapist facilitates the client doing their own healing – very empowering for them, and an example of what we can do for ourselves in the right circumstances.

Some of our clients had already experienced these therapies and were keen to have them again. We also had the privilege of introducing several people who had never had therapies before to their benefits, and of seeing them completely overwhelmed by the relaxation and rebalancing which took place. Everyone left the room feeling better, and they had done it for themselves with our help.C_IMG_8492

In the modern world with all its stresses, I believe that so called ‘alternative’ therapies although as an article I read the other day pointed out, they have been around for a lot longer than ‘conventional’ medicine – offer a real help to people who are open to their possibilities. They are ‘complementary’ to medical treatment and while they can’t always cure, they can help people to cope more effectively with symptoms and emotions. I have volunteered in a couple of hospices and although the patients knew our therapies wouldn’t cure them, they so appreciated the relaxation and peace that they brought.

Therapies have few or no side effects, they empower the client and they help us to reconnect with our inner self. I’ve seen so many of my students and clients gain in confidence and positivity when prac­tising or receiving therapies, and al­though it can never be guaranteed, physical symptoms often improve too. Experiencing this easy and accessible relaxation in a non-judgemental situa­tion lends itself perfectly to service users in treatment or rehab, and I would advise anyone to give it a try if the opportunity arises.

Lois is a holistic therapist and tutor and is always happy to discuss training or treatments. Contact her at


C_IMG_8510Frugal feast

A cookery demonstration by Hope North East gave delegates the opportunity to learn about cooking on a budget

‘Our cooking on a budget demonstration went really well,’ Miranda Yare, recovery support worker at Hope North East, told DDN. ‘We spoke to a lot of people about our set menu, which showed how to cook a three-course meal for under £3 per head – winter veg soup, pasta carbonara and coconut rice pudding.

Hope North East runs cooking on a budget every Monday, and we teach clients about where to source cheap fresh produce and easy cooking methods. We are looking to further the initiative and roll it out into the communities around Middlesbrough.

‘We all loved the conference.We found it very useful and loved networking with other services around the country.’

Congratulations to Miranda, who was also the lucky winner in Ladbrook Insurance’s prize draw during the exhibition, winning a Kindle. Ladbrook are specialist insurance advisors for the third sector.