Tag Archives: pain free

Retreat Days: permission to start doing things a bit differently


The Retreat Day (which the T’ai Chi Room is organising with a host of partners) is a perfect opportunity to shake things up a little and make a break from the norm. As a full day in which to focus on yourself, Retreat Day Goers benefit from switching off, getting away from the hubbub that is daily life – and perhaps best of all, having the “head space” to reassess life. “Sometimes people need permission to go off and do something,” Annette Rainbow explains. Annette is one of the therapists at the Retreat Days.

“I have found that people need to be told what to do. It’s always helpful to have a routemap or some ideas to work with at home.”

Annette has been a part of the Retreat Days ever since its early ideas stages. Using this retreat to assess and make changes lends itself brilliantly to a softly softly approach. Retreat Day Goers spend a relaxed day with T’ai Chi, Yoga & Pilates classes all laid on, as well as a relaxation or beauty treatment. Integral to the “retreat” element is also the health & wellbeing talks, which clients can really benefit from once they have had a chance to really unwind and “de-clutter” their busy minds. Clients also take away with them a resource pack, which is brimming with ideas on organic skincare routines, massage techniques, gentle exercises, tips on good posture and breathing, meditation and healthy living recipes to reinforce the healthy lifestyle messages when clients are back in the real world.

I caught up with Annette, giving me the best excuse to book myself in for my own relaxation treatment!!

Annette Rainbow: Retreat days give clients a chance to re-assess life and permission to make a few changes

Annette Rainbow: Retreat days give clients a chance to re-assess life and permission to make a few changes

Annette, what brought you to aromatherapy massage & reflexology?

In the first 10 minutes of an introductory course I was hooked! I very quickly planned how much the full course, couch, oils etc. would cost me and how I was going to afford it.

I am a great believer in the body healing naturally. I think that there are other ways than simply prescribing drugs – new avenues of health.

On the massage course I was fascinated by the human mind and body. I wanted to use massage to help people – so I set up my aromatherapy massage business.


It’s obvious, Annette, that you really believe in what you do. And it doesn’t stop there does it? There are so many other strings to your professional bow…


That’s right, Helen.

What are the more diverse treatments you offer now that your business has grown?

I like to treat people as they present themselves to me “as a whole.” This can be massage, aromatherapy massage, deep tissue, Indian Head, Japanese face massage, reflexology, hormonal reflexology. I do quite a bit of work with fertility and am pleased to be able to report a really good success rate for this side of my work. It’s so rewarding.

I also offer counselling sessions – Neurolinguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy,® Hypnotherapy. I have helped people with phobias (the phobia can be gone in days), addictive behaviours, sadness, fear, guilt issues and bereavement.

Then on the more physical side – Abdominal & Colonic Massage; and Walker Technique, helping people with discomfort and pain.


For the Retreat Days, you are happy to offer a bit of a bespoke treatment for clients who come to you, which is great because it means you can provide a massage which is relaxing, but which might concentrate on a frozen shoulder for instance…


I’m a “fixer” – I like to work on problem areas so that clients leave feeling some relief from niggling pains. I use deep tissue massage for anything which is stuck and for lower back problems.

I can get to work quite quickly – I’m quite resilient myself, so there will still be lots of scope for some relaxing or uplifting massage techniques.

I go to lots of festivals in the summer so I can boast great stamina!

For the Retreat Days, I will be offering clients a treatment to suit their needs on the day. I would describe this as a combination treatment of – Indian head massage, reflexology, possibly some Walker Technique (if appropriate) and some abdominal massage.


That’s fabulous – we’re thrilled to have your breadth of expertise! And all to suit the client! You will also be giving a short talk first thing about self-massage techniques, so all Retreat Day goers can benefit from your tips…

You spoke about Walker Technique – what are the benefits of this treatment?

Walker technique works on the fascia tissues. It can be used to relieve frozen shoulder, migraines, labyrinthitis and sinus problems.

What do your clients say about you?

First, that I am professional and this is an important driver for me. This isn’t a hobby. I get referrals from GPs and other therapists, so my reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations work well for me.


I have been a client of yours for some years now – I would add that what I always appreciate is your aura of calm. And I love your cosy log-cabin treatment room!

What would you say are the main benefits of attending a Retreat Day in 2013?

I think that the Retreat Days provide a unique opportunity to just stop, relax and to learn a few new tricks about keeping yourself healthy, happy and long-term relaxed!

More about Annette

Annette Rainbow has a strong desire to help people through a varied menu of treatments. Annette also likes to teach and delivers tailor-made talks and will be delivering a short demonstration of self-massage techniques at the Retreat Day on 22 June 2013.

Annette’s contacts

t: 07790 813986 / e : annette@rainbow-touch.co.uk / w: www.rainbow-touch.co.uk/ t:@AnnetteRainbow

Retreat Days, featuring T’ai Chi, Yoga & Pilates

To book your place on this wonderfully relaxing, uplifting, rejuvenating day, please visit www.thetaichiroom.co.uk/Retreat_Days and download the Booking Form. For telephone/email enquiries please call 01993 822725 / email helen@thetaichiroom.co.uk.

Still availability for: Saturday 22 June 2013 (8.30am – 5.30pm)

Venue: Middle Aston House, Oxfordshire.

We look forward to giving you a warm welcome.

How would you define wellbeing?

What does “wellbeing” mean to you?

What exactly are we looking to achieve when we say we’d like to feel an improved sense of wellbeing?

The new economics foundation (nef) has developed “five key ways to wellbeing” at

The question of how to define wellbeing has really sparked me. In answering this seemingly superficial question, I have unearthed something of a “window” into all the things which are important to me and my values; what my real drivers are; and from all of this I can map a clearer direction. (Note how I have left actions out at this stage – there’s a reason for that, which I’ll come to later.)

To me, wellbeing is…
1. being “at peace” with myself
2. being “in harmony” with all those around me – family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, community
3. feeling free from overload & clutter
4. being in good health & pain free
5. feeling physically fit, active, exhilarated & loving life
6. feeling close to nature
7. feeling properly connected to those closest to me
8. engaging my “community spirit”
9. feeling able to be “me”
10. feeling able to stop and just “be”
11. feeling equipped and confident so that I can cope with life’s little knocks
12. feeling a wide sense of justice

As someone who has worked from home for the past seven years, it’s no surprise then that getting up at 6.30am on the bank holiday to help out at the Scout Group car boot sale actually gave me such a boost! It was the social interaction/ community spirit “tick” which gave me such a buzz. I already know that when I’m feeling overloaded at work and taking too much time away from the family, one of the simplest “fixes” for me to feel that reconnection, is to have a game of badminton in the garden with my nine-year old boy. Sometimes it’s the simplest things…

T'ai Chi: boosts your wellbeing

T’ai Chi: boosts your wellbeing

Practising T’ai Chi pretty much covers all of my twelve points above. I don’t know how much impact it has on the 12th; but T’ai Chi at least gives me an incredible clarity of thought and a balanced perspective as a darned good starting point for tackling the big things like issues of injustice!

I wanted to share with you how T’ai Chi boosts my wellbeing:
1. At the end of my T’ai Chi practice, I am at my happiest; I feel relaxed and peaceful (I always have the best sleep at the end of my day of teaching)
2. If anything has riled me earlier in the day, after practice it no longer seems important; I can readily shrug it off
3. After practice, I feel strong in myself; I have reconnected within and feel confident in myself
4. I have had a very welcome break from all matters concerning overload & clutter and it feels amazing!
5. I believe that the exercise; breathing and energy flow help to keep my body healthy – the stress-busting, meditative elements undoubtedly help sustain good mental health and practising throughout my three pregnancies helped me to retain a good residual fitness
6. I feel calm, yet very alert after practice; upbeat but relaxed
7. T’ai Chi’s wider principles very much incorporate nature (As Legend would have it – Chinese Taoist priest Chang San-feng witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake and was struck by their movements; how the snake avoided the crane by its flowing, yielding, adapting movements; the crane used too much energy with its linear, aggressive attacks. This is the reason Chang San-feng developed movements to mimic nature and many of the T’ai Chi postures reflect the attributes of different animals.)
8. Some of T’ai Chi’s specific movements build confidence, increase self esteem, deflect inbound negative experiences (“Monkey Steps” are a favourite amongst those of my students who going through particularly difficult /aggressive situations at work. In this movement, students move backwards very slowly and in a controlled fashion “ward off” any external aggressions. Powerful stuff!)
9. Practising T’ai Chi helps to “open your heart” to those around you – forgiveness & compassion are both so beneficial to your inner wellbeing.
10. T’ai Chi’s principles teach the ability to slow down – and to believe that it’s ok not to always put in 120%… not to always run around at a hundred miles an hour
11. On a physical level – T’ai Chi builds strength, flexibility, mobility & balance; and improves posture, breathing, digestion & circulation
12. T’ai Chi is teaching me balance in all things

For this post you might notice that I haven’t provided my list of things you could do to improve your wellbeing – I have perhaps alluded to my T’ai Chi practice, and larking around in the garden with my children – but there’s a good reason for my not providing a lengthy list at this stage. For now, I really wanted to CHALLENGE you to open up to what YOU see is important for your wellbeing. I’ve got so much out of writing this post today, I would love for you to share with me -

What defines wellbeing for you?

And how do you go about nurturing your wellbeing?

Do you:
a) Not give this much attention really (you’re too busy)?
b) Know what you really like to do – but aren’t quite getting around to it?
c) Have a list (either consciously or unconsciously) of things you do to give your wellbeing a boost (shopping trip, night out, weekend away, buy some flowers, book a retreat?)
d) Ever look at those things you might do for a “lift” – and evaluate them?
e) Find that you reach for the “right” fix, or sometimes for an “empty fix”?

I would love to hear from you…

Warm wishes,