Can Reflexology Cure a Hangover?

Bane + Antidote review alternative hangover cures for you to add to your wound-licking arsenal. Does reflexology work? Find out here. 

Before we get started, there is something I must admit. I got hideously over-involved with the research for this piece. I went deep cover. Four glasses of champagne, six glasses of wine and two cocktails later I was in the zone… in the zone of clutching my head and wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole. Cycling in the rain the next morning was no fun at all. Every bitching bump was like a cattle prod to the back of my head. I was kicking myself, metaphorically (I was in no state for feats of two-wheeled acrobatics), for making such an early (12 noon) Saturday morning commitment. I finally arrived at Netil House panting and sweaty with clouds of alcohol fumes trailing me like a swarm of midges. Poor Rachel Morgan I thought as I shuffled inside.

Rachel MorganRachel practices out of a sound-proofed cave of softness on the first floor of Netil House in East London. Her first encounter with reflexology was in 2008, when she started training in drug-free alternatives that encourage the body’s natural healing processes.

The first thing I noticed was the music. I have a very low tolerance for spa jangling. To my delight Rachel was playing some wonderfully mind bending tracks. Strange ethereal, industrial noises (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) filled the room. Subtle enough to be barely noticeable, but interesting enough to carry your mind on a meditative journey for over an hour.

As I lay back on the supremely comfortable treatment table, swaddled in blankets, with my jeans pulled up to my knees, my heart started to race. I am extraordinarily ticklish. So much so that I have never had a pedicure. And in arranging to submit myself to this treatment for this piece, I had somehow failed to acknowledge the fact that reflexology focusses almost entirely on the feet. I think I had confused it kinesiology. Oh well. I was past the point of no return.

I can’t speak for all reflexologists, but Rachel’s touch was everything a ticklish individual could hope for. Firm, confident, self-assured and yet soft at the same time. To my amazement I didn’t squirm once. Rachel Morgan uses incredible hot basalt rocks to massage the relevant pressure points in the feet and lower legs. As the rocks cool Rachel swaps them for newly heated ones. Sometimes the heat is so intense it feels as if they might burn, but I found that going into the pain and embracing the heat was a very cleansing, reviving experience. At times Rachel really focussed on particular points, applying a lot of pressure and really working on a particular spot. It was a strangely satisfying sort of pain, like that of a well executed back massage.

I think what really got me was the simple act of someone massaging my feet with the care of a mothers touch. I can’t think of anything more attuned to that self-pitying hungover state, than to lie swaddled in blankets listening to dreamy music while some lovely individual gives your feet an hour long hug. It’s totally brilliant. My spinning head was brought back into my body, and it was a joy to drift along in a deep trance like state for an hour. I was surprised at how deep I went. There was a ‘switch-it-off-and-switch-it-on-again’ genius to the whole process… If you can trick the mind into relaxation, when you come back to reality nothing seems quite so bad.

feetI also firmly believe in the liver cleansing properties of reflexology, now that I have experienced first hand what it can do. After being treated by Rachel Morgan, my headache was gone, my eyes felt clearer, reality made sense again and I no longer wanted to vomit. I can’t vouch for all reflexologists, but Rachel is a supremely talented individual. I quaffed a Faust’s Potions Awake Potion natural hangover cure on my way out just to make sure.

One word of warning – chuffed with my new found ability to handle reality and all that, I bounded out of Netil House and straight to Borough Market where I consumed a massive fry up. Bad idea. System overload. I struggled to keep it down. The nausea soon passed but the message was very clear – give your body, and this experience, the respect that it deserves. It felt as though something quite major had shifted in my body, a real hard-drive rejigging if you like. My modus operandi for the rest of the day was giant cushions and herbal tea, an inclination I should’ve acknowledged pre fry up. I became very cat like for the next 24 hours. But my feet felt GREAT, as did my head.

VERDICT: Reflexology CAN cure a hangover. We hereby proclaim it to be Bane + Antidote Quick Fix #1.

For a full list of Rachel’s treatments and prices please visit Rachel Morgan Therapies.

Keep up to date with Rachel’s work on Facebook and Twitter.

 

What is the Collective Noun for Unicorns?

Alex Volkers for Bane + Antidote reviews Morning Gloryville – the early morning rave sensation that is taking the world by storm.

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When I first heard about Morning Gloryville last year I’m afraid I got the wrong end of the stick. It must have been the effect of encountering the words ‘morning rave’ and ‘East London’ in one sentence. Clammy handed flashbacks of a base seeker’s AM adventures bowled me over, as I remembered regional treasures such as Public Life and Aquarium with the glorious trepidation of hindsight. I had shut said terms firmly in the ‘Shoreditch poser’, ‘drug haze’ and ‘awkward techno’ files of my brain. And I thought nothing more of it. Until I found myself grumpily cycling through the rain in the dark at the god-awful hour of 6am, bound for Morning Gloryville London #20, to do the research for this piece.

My reluctance doesn’t last long. Upon my rain soaked arrival I am immediately accosted by a spandex-clad wing-bearing angel, and treated to a lengthy bear hug in spite of my soggy state. This angel’s name is Sean and he is one of the Morning Angels, he proudly tells me (as he strums on his ukulele). It’s their mission to ease people into the day with joy, and send them off to work blissed out, limber and open hearted. As I stop to accept a few lashings of glitter from one of Sean’s feathered colleagues I am overtaken by someone in a dinosaur onesie. Then two strapping men clamber out of a taxi to my left. The one with a huge beard is wearing a tiny nighty. His friend is sporting a neon tutu and I suddenly realised I’ve been caught off guard; ‘painfully cool’ is nowhere in sight. This crowd seems comfortable with silly.

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As I climb the external stairs of the Oval Space the picture is familiar enough: smokers’ draped over warehouse railings that rattle to a beat from within. But as I open the doors and am blasted by a cloud of sweet chunky disco funk my face bursts with an enormous grin, and I lay my eyes the delightful reality of Morning Gloryville London. There is not a sweaty palm or shifty gaze in sight. This huge, light, airy space is teeming with bright-eyed ravers and they all appear to be having the time of their lives. They are quite literally having it. There are grannies and babies, unicorns and narwhals, fairies and Yodas, yoga bunnies and stiff shirted businessmen, all bouncing in unison to the most spectacularly chunky yet playful disco set I have ever heard. That’s Plump DJs someone tells me, rendered sublime by the empowering loved-up rhymes of MC Angel, and done justice by a surprisingly impressive sound system (authors note: it takes a lot for Bane + Antidote commend a sound system).

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Lining the walls are purveyors of all things delicious and healthy. I warm up with a free massage and yoga session. After moving on to cacao and a croissant I work my way into the tightest, sweatiest nook on the dance floor that I can find. The vibes will be optimum here. All around me random bursts of swing and breakdance erupt. This is exuberance and exhibitionism on a massive scale and there’s a cynic in me that wants to object, yet it all a strikes me as extremely genuine; infectious, in fact. The stage is crammed with an eclectic mix of beautiful weirdoes, of all shapes and sizes, in varying states of disarray. They are populated by a preponderance of unicorns and all have one thing in common – they can seriously bust a move. Surrounded as I am by 700 people who are dancing like nobody’s watching, it’s near impossible not to follow suit. As I lose myself in the delights that The Loose Cannons and DJ/unicorn Miles Metric have to offer, my thighs start to burn and the sweat pours and I’m not even high. I want to know more.

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Dajana (one of the founding team members) tells me that two years ago this was just an idea. An idea that Samantha Moyo and Nico Thoemmes came up with after searching in vein for the euphoria of a club vibe without the inextricably linked communal drug and alcohol consumption. They liked to have fun but needed to find a more sustainable way of raving. And so Morning Gloryville was born. 150 people attended the first rave, most of them Samantha and Nico’s friends, but word soon got out. The elation that the frontiersman left with was enough to light the fuse. This was something that people wanted; needed, even. And with a mentor of the calibre of Felix from Basement Jaxx behind them, it’s little surprise that things got so big so fast. Morning Gloryville now happens in over 19 cities worldwide through regional Glory Agents (Dubai was the most recent metropolis to follow suit). Each is culturally attuned – in Tokyo it’s all gym gear, Paris too.

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Morning Gloryville is clearly making waves. So much so that founder Samantha Moyo was recently asked to speak at TEDxEastend (see the talk at 1:56 here). I can see why. Over the course of two hours I have smiled and laughed more than I have all week. The sweat flows in torrents (I really went for it) and my stiff and rather intelligent looking hat (fit for journalist on assignment) has melted and now drips limply across my face alerting me to the fact that this is more exercise than I’ve had all year. I have met some wonderful people. I have reconnected with at least 5 friends I hadn’t seen in years. I’ve consumed delicious and potent snacks. And I lost myself in the music, in the movement, in the heaving throng in a way I never thought would be possible without a basic level of intoxication. But it’s more than that still. Samantha, when addressing her TEDx audience on the topic of Society Beyond Borders, really brought it home. This is about playfulness and physical connectivity. We are playful, physical creatures. And when we connect through play and physical contact all the other crap just falls away. ‘Take it with you as you go,’ a Morning Angle tinkles as she writes me a sick note for work. And I do, for a time. As my jellied legs carry me down the stairs I bump into Anneke, an old friend, now a unicorn. ‘The collective noun for unicorns is a fabulous’, she tells me, and Morning Gloryville is their heartland.

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Things to Look Out for @GloryvilleHQ: 

  • Guest DJs – on top of mind blowing residents, Morning Gloryville pulls in some serious guest jockeys. Basement Jaxx recently played to 1000.
  • Regional Morning Gloryvilles – around the world in 19 early morning raves.
  • Summer – at Morning Gloryville London there is live music and yoga on the terrace for low-key ravers.
  • SleepoversMorning Gloryville London recently held a sleepover for 150 lucky flannel clad Londoners complete with cacao ceremonies, storytelling, massages and an early morning rave.
  • The Fabulous of Unicorns – these hooves for hire are professional sparkle spreaders. Catching a glimpse of them is an auspicious happening… keep your heart open and your eyes peeled.

How I kept Dancing for 3 Hours Before Breakfast:

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With a Faust’s Awake Potion health shot.

Thanks to Nicole Cataldo-Davies for the above image of Faust’s Potions keeping in real on the dancefloor.

Thanks to Sam, Dajana, Tegan all the Morning Gloryville for making this review so much fun and for being so fabulous.