Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Peace in Your world for 2018

How to stop battling symptoms and get the co operation you want from your body

At 80 years old, and never having flown before, my Grandma emigrated from Swansea to Canada to live with my aunt and uncle in Ottawa.

She sent me this Christmas card after celebrating her 100th birthday.

Peace on Earth sounds a great idea. 

Unless we are waiting for other people to behave themselves (or other people's world leaders for that matter.)

We could be waiting a long time!

So how about bringing Peace as close to home as possible. Peace within ourselves.

Peace is the harmonisation of apparent conflict. And the key to finding Peace is to change from seeing the problem or enemy as separate from us and on an opposing side. To consider that it's possible to find a mutually beneficial resolution.

So how might we be opposing ourselves?

Try this. Think of a symptom you have - whether it's painful or just annoying, chronically constant or occasionally irritating.

Instead of bracing yourself for fighting a battle against illness or disease, imagine for a moment that there is an internal communication from an aspect of ourselves. And that aspect is simply tying to get our attention because we've been neglecting or mistreating it.

What could this symptom be pointing to? 

Is the body overtaxed? (A plug for Dry January here!)
Is there a need that's being ignored? (Anything from trace minerals to more daylight)
Or a natural function being over ridden? (Classically eating on the hoof instead of sitting relaxed, or not allowing for the natural ebb and flow of energy during the female hormonal cycle)

Does an opportunity to take better care of ourselves come to mind?

Consider that there is the possibility of a Win-Win solution. One in which you feel more well overall and not just suppress the symptoms and suffer side effects later.

Holistic treatments help us reconnect within ourselves, to understand our symptoms as 'messages', and to learn what we need to change in order to feel more physically, emotionally or mentally at peace.

For help with more inner peace and welbeing in 2018 you can call me on 07518 587434. I am making my clinic hours more variable with appointments available Monday through Saturday.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, and
Wishing you well,
07518 587434

Thursday, 23 November 2017

10 Tips to avoid coming down with the lurgy

It's easy to feel under the weather this time of year. So here are my top ten hints, tips and recommendations to keep you hale and hearty.

1) Day light. Doesn't have to be sunlight. Even cloud-filtered decaf-lite light boosts Vitamin D levels.

2) Your immune system depends on a healthy large intestine. If you have had antibiotics you will likely have poor levels of good bacteria and unhelpful levels of yeast. Consult a nutritional kinesiologist for tailored advice and/or a hydrotherapist to restore optimal digestive function.

3) Get 'Food State' Minerals and Vitamins. Don't bother with synthetic supplements from the supermarket. They are cheaper for a reason - check the ingredients list! Sugar and sweeteners will do you more harm than good.

High doses do not mean you are getting lots of nutrition. In fact the opposite is true - synthetics are pretty indigestible.

4) Biostrath Swiss Herbal Elixir is a great stand-by tonic. Keep a bottle in the fridge and take a teaspoonful for that ominous tickly throat.

5) To knock a bug on the head use Citiricidal grapefruit seed exctract. It tastes bitter but it works! Made by Higher Nature, another top quality supplement company.

6) Echinacea is a popular winter herb because it stimulates white blood cell production. Use this as soon as you hear someone has a cold you might catch from them. Herbalist Alfred Vogel's company BioForce have invested in research to support these findings. Read their Prepare for Winter Blog.

7) Moderate exercise. Fresh air and exercise even better. Raises the metabolism and lifts the spirits. NHS guidelines can help you get started.

8)  Sleep! The quickest way to feel run down is to burn the candle at both ends. In hibernation season there is no substitute for rest and relaxation. Gearing down can be misinterpreted as feeling down - it's ok to want to do less this time of year.

9) Many Aromatherapy oils have antiseptic, anti viral, decongestant and immune boosting properties. Tea tree oil is available as a hand cream and sanitiser spray.

Olbas oil is famous for sinus-opening Eucalyptus, Juniper and Mint.

Pine, Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Thyme  oils combine antimicrobial forces in the fabulously fresh and reviving Athletic massage oil.

10) Add Massage to Rest and Aromatherapy and you have a three in one immune-booster. Research shows that the therapeutic relaxation of a massage boosts white blood cells, reduces inflammation and lowers stress hormones, all of which are key for wellness.

This is my personal shortlist - in no particular order of priority and for your general interest.

For specific advice tailored to your personal health and constitution please consult a health professional.
Wishing you well,

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Help for Joint Pain and Stiffness Part 2

"Don't be bamboozled" said Carola Beresford-Cooke, as she started to teach us 'Cliff's Universal Joint Technique. 

"People will often give you labels for what is wrong with their joints. Don't be bamboozled by the labels."

For many people it is a huge relief to have their problem identified. Whether the diagnosis is a syndrome, a disease, or a Latin name for the symptoms (for example polymyalgia just means 'many pains.')

Certainty replaces the anxious query 'What's wrong with me?' Despondency turns to possibility that a cause can now be identified. Hope of an appropriate treatment to follow.

Yet, as 20th century sage Jiddu Krishnamurti said, "The description is not the described; I can describe the mountain, but the description is not the mountain, and if you are caught up in the description, as most people are, then you will never see the mountain”

Principle 2: 'Open wide and Focus' is about the way to give attention to a problematic joint.

Open wide means all of the sense and intuition 'antennae' are up. Attention is honed in solely on the joint, not the wider connection with the rest of the body.

How does this joint feel? What does it need in order to feel better? Where is the right place to press or to hold? What is the right direction to move it or open it?

A diagnosis such as arthritis (arthro = joint, itis = inflammation) has it's uses. We can now look for what irritant is causing the inflammation. But the associated belief that it's inevitable wear and tear due to age can stifle the open-ended question of what could help.

Technique 2: What on earth is Cliff's Universal Joint Technique? Simply a procedure to find the blockage points above and below, then across the joint. "Feel for changes to the plumbing" said Carola.

Working with this technique there have certainly been some 'unblocking' releases and more flow and freedom of movement.

My first practice of this was on a pair of elbows, one damaged the other not.

To me, it felt like the forearm was detaching just enough from the upper arm to make space for the inside of the joint to be cleaned out!

The owner-operator of the elbows, Gary Jones, said "it felt like there was a lot of activity in the bone and surrounding area - churning - like it was straightening and loosening."

Don't ask me how! All I can say is that our bodies are repairing themselves all the time, and that given the right circumstances we have remarkable abilities to be well.

Look out for Part 3: Help for joint pain and stiffness - new techniques and essential principles coming soon!
Wishing you well,
07518 587434

Help for Joint Pain and Stiffness Part 1

"Never treat a joint in isolation" taught my Shiatsu instructor Carola Beresford-Cooke. 

"Always treat them in relation to each other. The joints evolved as part of the whole. They are not individual isolated mechanisms."

My first treatment, in my 20's for right knee pain during martial arts practice, was by an osteopath affectionately nicknamed 'Old Ironfingers' by my Aikido club.

He astounded me when he said my problem wasn't my right knee.

My problem was a pelvic misalignment.

Principle 1: 'Never treat a joint in isolation' links with Technique 1: If a joint is too painful or recently injured to work on directly 'Treat Opposites and Diagonals'

The theory that working one side can affect the opposite was, to me, just that - theory - until I worked on fellow course participant Sarah's right foot.

And she told me she was feeling responses in her left foot!

This wasn't something I was trying to do. Or anything that can be predicted or 'made to happen'.

It was just one of those healing releases and internal adjustments that arose given the right conditions.

If you would like help with joint pain or stiffness, feel the need to relax, stretch and iron tension out, or want to chat about how to prevent muscle and joint pain please give me a call.

Look out for Part 2: Help for joint pain and stiffness - new techniques and essential principles
Wishing you well,

07518 587434
p.s. Meridian Massage is great for joints too. Carola Beresford-Cooke created 'Meridian Massage' as a way of applying holistic shiatsu principles using aromatherapy massage. Your choice of soothing or invigorating oils!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Decode your Symptoms - How to understand the body language of your internal Complaints Department

proverbial area of choice?

Louise Hay (author of You can Heal Your Life) discovered hers were a 'body language' communication - a physical expression of a self-critical thought or emotion. She mapped how various negative thoughts expressed themselves in different illnesses and areas of the body.

For example the spine is to do with support. So she interpreted back pain as an opportunity for a person to look at in what way they might feel unsupported.

She developed a procedure of clearing unhelpful thoughts and feelings, then replacing them with positive ideas - affirmations.

Now I'm not saying that if your foot is run over by a truck you should sit and meditate on your bad karma instead of going to A&E!

But what if we tried to understand what could have contributed to a symptom arising? What if we asked, as F. M. Alexander pondered 'Could it be something I am doing to myself that is the cause of my problem?"

Then, if there is anything to learn, change or improve, we have the opportunity to do that.

The 'squeaky wheel' might seem like only it is shouting for the grease, but this call for help is not confined to just the area that feels the pain, discomfort or dysfunction.

Shiatsu teacher Diego Sanchez asks the question 'What is the symptom giving a solution to?'

He might ask a person who is finding it difficult to lose weight, for example, to consider whether perhaps they need to be a certain size to feel they have a large enough presence?

This 'no blame' attitude implies everything is actually working together, to the best of our ability, even in apparent dysfunction. 

We are not made up of inter-changeable parts, like a car. We are an interconnected ecosystem.

Fighting, conquering, beating and eliminating the symptoms of an illness or condition is an attitude of conflict. Opposition to something which has - slowly or suddenly, temporarily or long-term - become part of us and our experience of life.

And we all know how effective civil wars are at creating  a peaceful country!

If you would like help understanding your 'body language' and discovering what might improve your wellness just give me a call.

Wishing you well,
07518 587434

Friday, 22 September 2017

How to find balance when things are changing all the time

The Equinox is a point of balance – one of only two occasions in the year when there is evenness between night and day.

Only two days of balance annually? That says it all!

With constant change in life how can we hope to achieve the 'Holy Grail' of balance in our lives?

In Pilates this week we were asked to stand with one foot closely in front of the other and to balance.

Then close our eyes!

I wobbled. But I stayed in the move not because my feet were still but because I allowed my feet and ankles to flex and adjust in order to keep in place.

Balance is not a static condition that we attain and then hope to keep.

In the Alexander Technique class this Thursday we discussed being balanced on a horse. The horse is not still, so balance can't be still either.

Perhaps it's not so helpful to maintain a fixed ideal of a balanced lifestyle, balanced mind, balanced diet.

Maybe it's healthier to accept the dynamics of constantly adjusting to life's variations.

And wobble freely.

September is Shiatsu Awareness Month
Which means a Special Introductory Offer.
Free Consultation at First Appointment - Normal Price £60
£10 off in September ~ 90 minutes only £50

Given the right conditions and healthcare support we have amazing abilities to get well and stay well.

If you would like help with your wellness, just need to relax and let the stress melt away or chat about improving your health and lifestyle please give me a call.

Wishing you well,
07518 587434
p.s. This offer applies for Meridian Massage first appointments too - it's Shiatsu with aromatherapy oils.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fat facts and fiction

Discrediting news about coconut oil this week. But is it as bad as the American Heart Association claims? 

Here's what I've discovered about fats, cholesterol and statins. There's lots on these subjects so I've given links to reputable sources for more information.

Debunking the Bad Fat Myth
Our bodies make cholesterol because it's essential. It is the building block for all our hormones. And it is vital for healthy brain function.

Understanding cholesterol
Cholesterol levels are not the best marker for measuring risk of heart disease, stroke or heart attack. One of the better measures is called 'oxidative stress'.

Five rules for cooking with fat
Fats high in Omega 6 (for example polyunsaturated fats) contribute to arterial damage.

Unsaturated, polyunsaturated and refined vegetable oils are less stable at cooking temperatures so they oxidise (go rancid) more quickly. Ingesting oxidised foods causes inflammation, which leads to cardiovascular disease. 

Saturated fats are more stable and therefore don't oxidise so easily. Fats high in Omega 3 however, such as fish oils, are anti inflammatory and balance the high levels of Omega 6 in our diets.

Yet the BBC news headline rang the alarm that coconut oil is unhealthy, and so are beef fat and butter. The BBC also recently announced a hopeful new human trial on a vaccination to replace statins for lowering cholesterol to reduce risk of heart disease. This report also states statins are safe and effective. Who to believe?

The NHS website says statins, like all medications, can cause side effects, and are not helpful for many people, such as those with an underactive thyroid (remember the link with cholesterol and hormones?) and the over 70's (who have a particular interest in conserving brain function.)

Consider that medications, designed to repress symptoms instead of addressing any causes, upset the body's natural ability to heal and rebalance itself (known as homeostasis.) 

Given the right conditions (diet, lifestyle, stress reduction) we have amazing abilities to get well and stay well.

If you would like help with your wellness, whether we talk about diet and lifestyle or you just relax and let the stress melt away with a massage or Shiatsu, give me a call.
Wishing you well,
07518 587434
p.s. Extra bonus info on coconut oil - here's how to keep your gums health by gum pulling.