Arthritis: Does what you eat or drink make a difference?
Yes! As its been established that Arthritis is (one of the many) anti-inflammatory conditions, then if you can ,remove or limit acid forming foods and drink from your diet, then this could make a difference.
Try to reduce or avoid the following acid forming substances:
You can purchase a little book of strips from the chemist to record your current ph levels in the body. By placing oen of these paper strips in your mouth for a few minutes, the yellow paper will turn a different colour. That shade can then be 'read' against a chart at the back of the book to indicate your level of acidity. It's an interesting exercise to do!
I know one client who did reduce acid forming foods from her diet - reluctantly, I should add- but it did make a difference!
What can you do about Arthritis?
Did you know there are different types of Arthritis?
Arthritis it the most common disorder affecting the joints of the body. There are, actually, many different kinds, but the three most common varieties are rheumatoid, osteo and gouty arthritis.
Arthritis of all kinds destroys the process where joints are naturally lubricated by a smooth cartilage membrane lining. It's this damage to the joint space which produces the pain, swelling and stiffness.
Whereas osteoarthritis is usually considered a result of wear and tear as the body ages, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the whole body and can affect other organs as well as joints. It's an example of an auto immune condition.
The NHS will prescribe anti inflammatory drugs,- the most common one used is Ibuprofen. In more sever conditions, steroid treatment may be recommended, but, as with all medicines, both treatments can have side effects.
But what Alternative treatments might there be? There are many, but this blog looks at two of them.
According to a recent survey by Arthritis UK, the two most effective treatments were Acupuncture and Massage.
Acupuncture works through intercepting the body's pain pathways, using specific points in the body relating to the affected area. If treated by a Traditional Chinese doctor, the treatment might also include using herbs and a special diet to control the effects of cold/damp/heat or wind, whichever is deemed to be the most prominent in your body. Massage will gently stimulates the blood flow around the joint and muscle and encourages greater range of movement through flexing or stretching. My arthritic clients always feel so much better and it's particularly lovely to receive a hand massage.
Does what you eat and drink affect Arthritic symptoms?
Yes! It really is worth experimenting.
As Arthritis is an inflammatory condition,then cutting back on acid forming foods and drinks, strong caffeine and sugary and processed foods could really help. The deadly nightshade family (eg potatoes, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes) also tend to encourage inflammation.
In addition, make sure that you are getting plenty of the following:
By tweaking your diet in this way, you'll be able to discover whether the role of food and drink plays its part in how your symptoms feel.
What can you do to help your Arthritis?
One possibility is to use a copper magnetic bracelet. These can easily be purchased on-line, or in good health shops. They are sold as 'jewellery' and come in a number of designs. Choose a bracelet (or anklet) with a minimum magnetic strength of 500 gauss (the unit of measurement ) to wear continually, or if 2000 gauss, only wear at night time.
How do they work? In the same way that magnets descale water pipes, magnets reduce clogging of the arteries and thus improve blood flow. This in turn, brings more oxygen and natural pain relieving chemicals - endorphins - to the blood stream.
Arthritic and rheumatic pain tends to be greater when there are higher levels of positive ions in the air -eg during a thunderstorm. Since copper ions are positively charged, a copper bracelet attracts beneficial negatively charged ions to your body.
Remember to wash your bracelet daily to remove any build up of 'free electrons', so that it can function properly.
Several of my clients find that wearing the jewellery really makes a difference - and you won't need to replace it either!
Fatigue: Could you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis)?
If you feel almost permanently tired, even with adequate sleep, and suffer from other symptoms such as headaches, poor concentration, insomnia, food intolerances, or gut issues, it may be that you have a condition known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or M.E. Dismissed only a few decades ago as 'yuppie flu', this condition finally gets the recognition it deserves.
Quite simply, the body has reached breaking point, and refuses to carry on without its needs being acknowledged or dealt with. The adrenals in particular, have become exhausted.
The NHS might offer a range of treatments, within their remit, to deal with this condition - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, dietary and lifestyle advice, medication for specific symptoms.
An Alternative Treatment Recovery Programme which I've been impressed with, takes a much more holistic approach to the condition, and recognises that there may well be an emotional, mental and physical element to the development of the condition: for example thyroid imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, unresolved family dynamics, attitude to and the demands of the workplace.
The Chrysalis Effect offers a structured programme of support, guiding you through the process of recognition and resolution with a trained 'lead' therapist , supported by other alternative therapists.
There is also an on-line Taster course for any one who may wish to consider if this programme could work for them. Check it out now.
The founder of the Chrysalis Effect is currently working closely with representatives of the NHS to bring a better understanding and a better solution to treating the condition.
Fatigue: Could your hormones be the root cause?
Hormones are the body's chemical messengers, affecting many everyday functions and behaviour. If there is a hormonal imbalance, then this can result in fatigue. Here are the most common examples:
An under-active thyroid (too little of the thyroid hormone thyroxine), can produce symptoms of weight gain, aching muscles, dry skin and feeling tired all the time.
Over-active Adrenal glands release too much cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones for the body to deal with, if not 'switched off, - this results in fatigue.
If the Pancreas secretes too much of the insulin hormone , then high urine production, high blood sugar levels and fatigue can result and will need to be controlled.
What can you do about it?
1. Check with your GP if you suspect you have some of the symptoms listed above. It's likely that a blood test will be taken to identify hormone levels.
2. If you often feel stressed, try to identify the exact sources of your stress. Is it employment, relationships, transport, housing, rushing, poor sleep, neighbours, noise etc. ? Work to minimise these in any way you can:
e. g. avoidance/ being more assertive/ removing yourself from the situation/ seeking counselling/ taking time out.
In addition, a Massage Treatmentcould greatly help remove any muscular tension and stress from the body, help calm the mind, improve mood and well- being, and take you 'out of' yourself to give you a new perspective.
Fatigue: Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals?
It's always difficult to know whether we lack essential minerals or vitamins, but it could be one of the reasons why you feel more tired than you used to. Even if you are consuming plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, there is evidence that our soil does not necessarily provide those minerals that it once did. I've known clients who assume that their fatigue is 'just down to getting older', where in fact, they were later diagnosed as lacking in iron. Similarly, a lack of Vitamin D - so prevalent in the UK - may also contribute to fatigue. In my own experience, I found that taking regular Magnesium supplements increased my energy levels.
So how can you find out, and what can you do about it?
1. Ensure you do eat as much fresh, local and seasonal food as possible
2. Ask your GP if she could test your levels of iron , Vitamin D etc and explain your fatigue symptoms
3. Search the internet for a company who will do this for you - you will have to pay
4. Offer your blood as a donor - that way you will find out your iron levels and be helping someone too
5. Seek the help of a Nutritionist, Kinesiologist or Naturopath who are all trained to detect mineral or vitamin deficiencies.
Fatigue: Are you getting enough Sleep?
According to neuro-scientist Matthew Walker, Western societies are suffering from a 'sleep loss epidemic'. Only one in two of us are getting more than 6 hours a night, far more than even one generation ago. The temptations of screen time, late night programmes, down streaming, longer commutes, pressurised work days, all contribute to our lack of sufficient sleeping time.
These same factors may also play into the quality of the sleep we experience. A disturbed sleep, insomnia or waking early will also have similar outcomes: affecting our moods, our behaviour, our capacity to function at our optimum.
So what can you do about it? There are actually lots of measures you can take! Here are my suggestions:
• Work backwards from your alarm clock time, and ensure that you are in bed 8 hours before that time.
• If a night owl, consider asking if you could negotiate your hours of working to start later.
• Switch off all screens at least one hour before going to bed. Your bedroom should be dark and fairly cool (your body needs a lower temperature to drift off)
• Avoid all caffeine drinks after 2.00 or 3.00pm. Valerian or chamomile tea positively calms the body
• You could consider consulting a Feng Shui specialist if you think there might be something 'wrong' with your room.
If your main problem is the quality of sleep, try these:
• 'Emptying your mind' of your preoccupations and transplanting them onto a journal.
• Do something relaxing in the evening, like having a warm bath, reading, meditating or just sitting still for a 5 or 10 minutes and being aware of your breathing and body and mind, or having a late afternoon Massage with me
• Consider seeking help from another professional, such as a Hypnotherapist, Life Coach or Kinesiologist who can all help you explore the root causes of this issue.
You can read more about Sleep in Newsletter section, October 2017
Fatigue: Could your food be making you tired?
According to a new survey, the British consume a staggering 60% of heavily processed food, higher than anywhere else in Europe. These foods contain higher levels of sugar, salt and additives and offer little nutritional value. So are you getting the nourishment you need to give you energy to last the day? If you queue up in any well known coffee shops for your morning cuppa, you'll need to pass tempting cakes and pastries - all full of calories and sugar and easy tastes, but very low on nutritional benefit.
To avoid the temptation, try eating a bigger breakfast - include some form of protein which will keep you going for longer.
Fatigue: What's making you tired?
It's normal to feel tired after a day's hiking, or a stressful day at work, or after a poor night's sleep. But what if you're feeling tired much of the time? What's going on then?
One possibility is that you're simply not breathing deeply enough: your body is not getting enough oxygen. Maybe you are bent over a computer or device for much of the day? or curled up on a sofa? That certainly won't help.
Is there enough ventilation in your workspace or home? It's tempting to keep all the windows closed in winter months, but we still need to refresh the air - however briefly. Choose a sunny day and open the windows and doors for 10 minutes.
Exercise is a wonderful way of bringing nutrients and oxygen to the body- however gentle or vigorous. You could also join a Yoga or Pilates class, where breath is an integral part of the routine. Or join a Singing group. Singing encourages deeper breathing which improves with practice, and being part of a group can be very rewarding.
Finally, there's a number of specific Massage techniques and reflex points which can promote better breathing and help with Respiratory problems.
Are you getting out enough?
When you're feeling low, or maybe recovering from one of the flu bugs so prevalent this winter, the last thing you might think of doing is going out. It's just so easy to stay put, warm and cosy on your sofa and feeling sorry for yourself.
If, however, you can make the effort to venture elsewhere, you may well be surprised at just how much better you'll feel.
This week, two people I know, recovering from heavy doses of flu, both reported how much they benefitted from doing something else.
One went into her garden 'for quarter of an hour' and ended up staying there for a couple of hours, finding tasks to be done and clearing up. It was both rewarding and satisfying, and that in turn, improved her mood and mitigated her depression.
The other, still feeling tired and low, was reluctant to keep a meeting with her niece and two young children at Kew. But she made the effort, wrapped up warm, and felt stimulated by the conversations, and the joy of Kew's Palm House and other indoor spaces. She was so glad she had made the effort.
Don't dismiss the healing effects of the world outside your home. If no longer feverish or exhausted, plan a modest outing and see if it makes a difference.
A couple of items currently out of fashion. Is it time for a revival?
There's two words which we simply don't read about any more in our press, or hear about in our conversations: housework and wisdom.
Housework brings no economic reward, is somewhat unglamourous, and needs effort, time and application which is often underappreciated. It can also lead to despair (that the effects won't last for long and will need repeating sooner or later), and provide a battleground for couples and flatmates to war over.(unequal distribution of effort and labour.) But in the 1950's, it was elevated to an art form, as propaganda ushered in the era of the housewife - the woman's role would be a proud homemaker, while the man reclaimed his place in the work force.
In one of my newsletters in the Spring, I wrote in praise of housework: how it offered a very viable alternative to the gym with all the stretching, shifting, lifting and variety. It burned calories and offered an immediate reward of a sparkling space.
Wisdom, likewise, is a word which is seldom used in our instant, short term, more narcissistic age. We like change and novelty, and undervalue those with knowledge and depth of understanding which germinates Wisdom. Which Government now would plan for changes which would only manifest in a generation's time? Statistics show which groups are most likely to vote and those are wooed with policies in their favour for that election. Sadly, it's not the young, who yet are our future. Wisdom would see that we should invest in that future and introduce significant changes and initiatives now which will bear fruit in many years time.
And hard pressed medics seldom have time to see the wisdom of simply spending times with their patients to better listen and understand their issues. (See previous blog)
The NHS isn't always right.
A number of clients have come to me recently with stories of disappointment at how they have been dealt with by their GP or hospital consultant. I appreciate that I'm in a position where I am going to attract those who find their treatments either unsatisfactory or ineffective, who come to me to find an alternative. One woman was only offered steroid injections for her painful shoulder. She has quite a complex series of other ailments as well, including headaches, and she didn't want to be dependent on steroids. After a couple of sessions with me, her shoulder had considerably improved. There were further unexpected benefits:
'I have had an incredible amount of emotional release and hopefully more in the next session, and the bypass scar is a lot better too, so thank you very much.'
Another client came to me at the Feltham Centre. He was in considerable pain- again in his shoulder area. A recent operation had resolved an injury, but had re-ignited all the pain from a previous injury. Nothing untoward had shown up on scans and, therefore, he was dismissed. The exercises from a physiotherapist had helped very little and he suffered pain daily, but did try to keep moving and tend his allotment. After the first treatment, he felt better with a little more movement in his neck, and each time he has come, another small but incremental improvement takes place. He is delighted and more hopeful.
A Consultant had diagnosed the knee pain experienced by another young woman as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Having taken matters into her own hands to improve her fitness level and weight, she discovered that the diagnosis had been wrong, and that regular exercising had greatly reduced the pain. But, as any of you who exercise will know, there can be a fine judgement to be made when to rest and when to push into the barriers. Her PT had made the wrong call, and she came to me with excruciating sciatica pain, barely able to make the stairs. After a highly targeted 30 minute treatment, she was smiling again, her pain had reduced significantly, and she was able to walk home.
I wish our medical profession could be trained in a more holistic way, to include knowledge of nutrition, exercise and alternative therapies and how to really listen to their patients, instead of relying on machines and prescriptions. Then, we can all work together.
A Contrast in Theory and Practice
Emerging from the annual Exhibition this month at Olympia on Health and Wellbeing, (as well as Beauty), I noted the contrastbetween all the talks I had just heard -and what I could witness on the streets. I'd just listened to talks about the importance of eating colourful fresh foods, on ensuring we get plenty of sleep, on living closer to nature and appreciating the seasons and taking time to stop, reflect and withdraw as autumn draws in, ready to regenerate with the fresh energies of Spring. I'd heard about the toxic overload on the body from the chemical by- products on the foods we consume in our 21st century, or the cleaning products we use in our homes and work places, or the cosmetics, creams and lotions we apply to our bodies.
Yet there on those city streets were pedestrians rushing around, cutting into the personal spaces of others, speaking on their phones and quite oblivious to their surroundings and exposed to those hidden toxic waves. There were people carrying take away coffees , adding to their adrenal load in an already stressed out body, and adding to the environmental load with their non biodegradable cups. Women with fake tans and heavy make- up, never thinking twice that in 4 minutes, anything they apply to their skins will reach their liver to be dealt with. Add to this mix, the air pollution of our new London buses, and the cars, vans and lorries on these busy streets and there lies before me a veritable cocktail of problems.
Turning a negative into a positive
Following on from my last blog, I've another weather comment. After a week of rain, it's very easy to see the negatives - angry about a wasted summer month, unable to dry the clothes, still needing to wear jumpers....... But if we turn it around, there are many positives too:- no need to water the garden/garden boxes/the allotment (quite a time saver for some individuals), keeps the parks and verges juicy and green, and - for me, the best of all is being able to walk in the parks and tow path without every one else! In London, that truly is a treat.
June 20th 2016
Alternative Ways to Wake you up
I've recently come across a piece of research which analysed a group of College aged students who were very sleep deprived.
After several tests, it was found that the group who ran up and down stairs for 10 minutes, were actually more mentally alert and awake than those who drank coffee instead!
Another alternative to the caffeine fix, was suggested by another health worker. He takes bee pollen tablets instead! He found them to be remarkably effective, and of course, presumably much healthier than loading up with caffeine.
Taking Time out this summer
Have you taken time out this summer yet? Are you going to? Or are you, like many of us, finding reasons not to? - not enough money, too busy at work, too many others to care for, things to catch up with at home etc. It's just so easy to find excuses, but staying with the old routine provides no opportunity to refresh and recharge.
What 'taking time out' can do is to put you back in touch with yourself, your body, soul and mind. Away from the usual routine and surroundings, you can be more alive to new experiences and sensations. Challenge yourself to do something different, go somewhere new, and reconnect with the natural environment if you can. Forests, summer meadows, hills and seaside are all free! The UK has an extensive road and rail network to take you there.
You simply need to Plan ahead, Block out a day or two or more, and do it!
This is an image of me 'taking time out' - doing what I loved and feeling (literally) on top of the world!