CF Review: Patch-it reflexology sleep aid patches

A solid 8-hours slumber is still alluding me. Bodyism’s Serenity supplement has made a HUGE difference to my ability to drop off, but it’s the 3am, bolt-upright in bed, wake-up that is proving difficult to shift.

I’ve spoken to a number of docs and sleep specialists about my predicament and the general consensus is that grief-related insomnia is a natural response to your body working through the grieving process. Quite literally, as the grief (stress hormones, chemicals etc) leave your body, it can wake you up. BAM, hello insomnia.

So, in a bid to gently try and coax my body back into some form of regular sleep pattern after almost six months off kilter, I’m gradually working my way through a stack of sleep aids I’ve kindly been sent.

First up this week is the Patch it, reflexology sleep patch.

Knowing how blissful I find reflexology and how effective it has been in the past as a stress-buster and snooze-inducer, I was intrigued by these patches. They’re basically a big dressing that you stick to the sole of your foot.

Inside is a tea bag style pouch filled with relaxing organic oils: lavender, sage, basil, ylang ylang, bergamot and bitter orange. The secret ingredient however is the Mandarin Wood Vinegar. Used commonly in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this magic ingredient emits Far Infrared energy (bear with me here), the sun emits this light spectrum too, it’s just not visible to the human eye. It’s not warming your toes in a ‘heat’ sense, but the energy created is enough to stimulate your reflexology points, then the essential oils do their business. Does that make sense? So, no perceivable ‘heating’ sensation, just nice smelling plasters that you stick on the soles of your feet just before you get into bed.

Did they work? Well, I tried them every night for a week (TIP: I’m a wriggler in bed so had to wear socks to keep me from rubbing them off) after which time I was still waking in the night, but my ability to drop back off was definitely improved.

More extensive studies over prolonged periods have proven that they have reduced the time it takes for users to fall asleep and their quality of sleep has improved, too.

They’re not cheap (£29.99 for a 10 day supply) but the idea is that you use them for between 10-21 consecutive nights to re-set your sleeping pattern.

They’re available at Holland & Barrett and on the Patch It website.

P.s. Did I mention lately just how much I love this bedlinen brand? Crumpled, chic linens at their best. Plus if you’re looking for a winter weight duvet, I can’t recommend this online brand enough.

Winter skincare SOS: facial oils

I love Twitter. A couple of weeks ago I sent out a beauty SOS for facial oil recommendations – for years I’ve been adding a drop of various super nourishing oils to my usual day/night cream each winter to stave off dry, red, flaky skin – and wanted to try something new. I’ve already got a pretty comprehensive list of favourites (see box out below), but thought I’d throw it out to the Twittersphere to see what came back.

Swift to respond was the lovely Leicestershire-based organic skincare company, Botanicals. They sent me a selection of facial oils, serums and balms to road-test and I’m really chuffed to have found such a reasonably priced, UK-based, independent beauty brand that actually delivers results.

I haven’t done swatches as, well, the formulas are pretty self explanatory. The Rose and Camellia facial oil is an astonishing £12.95 for 48g and it’s organic and Soil Association certified for that, too. You can, like I do, add a drop to your night cream to really super-charge your skin’s hydration and radiance in the cold weather, or if you’re after an anti-ageing, de-puffing result, use it in conjunction with this easy to follow facial massage technique. TIP: warm the oil in your palms before applying to release the therapeutic aromas.

For me, their Chamomile and Mandarin oil works best (also £12.95), as it is designed for combination skin, like mine.

There are corresponding serums too, which I have been using in the morning (a better bet if you want to apply your make-up straight away), both at a still reasonable, £18.95.

The hand-whipped facial balm, with shea butter, is a great one for travellers who don’t want the worry of an oil leaking in the luggage. I used it over the Christmas hols and it’s a great, super-intensive formula with 100% active ingredients. I layered it on thick overnight for a seriously soothing, nourishing mask (£13.45, 25g).

So there we have it, my favourite kind of beauty brand – organic, well-priced, independent and ethically produced. One of my top beauty finds of 2012.

FOUR MORE FAB FACIAL OILS:

A great, uplifting, citrus dry oil that is instantly absorbed.
Darphin tangerine oil, £47, 15ml
– darphin.co.uk

This miracle oil really does embue cashmere-soft skin in a non-greasy, rose otto scented formula.
Ila Spa Glowing Radiance facial oil, £68, 30ml – ila-spa.com

The buzz-word in facial oils in 2012 – this is the best Argan oil I’ve found. Ethically sourced, organic and pure.
Kahina Giving Beauty organic Argan oil
– £74, beautyworkswest.com

This budget-busting facial blend of eleven essential oils is SUBLIME. Warning: highly addictive, be prepared to never go back.
Rodin Olio Lusso face oil
– £92, beautyworkswest.com

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