Would you be interested in knowing about some lifestyle changes that may help improve your health?
If the answer is "Yes" then please feel free to browse on this page. You may find something of interest.
I do recognise that everyone is different. We all have individual needs and capabilities.
Some of us prefer to help our illness with medication and / or lifestyle changes. Whatever is your belief I respect it.
Every body has the innate capability for self healing. We just need to listen to our mind-body and love ourself enough to make the necessary changes. I am not saying it is easy. It is not. It requires self-awareness, focused dedication and patience.
This is where a therapist can help. We give you therapeutic interventions to stimulate the body and mind to function better. We truly care: we listen to you, suggest ways of improvement, help draw up a plan and check in with you to see if the strategy works, to see how you are doing. We give you a gentle nudge if needed to keep you on your path, we cheer you on and share your happiness in achieving your goals.
After all visiting a reflexologist is not only about receiving a course of treatments. Neither is it about solely relaxation. The simple act of opening our minds to other ways of approaching our own healthcare means in itself that we are ready to take more responsibility for our own wellbeing and get some conscious control back on how healthy life we want to live.
Here is to a Healthy Lifespan!
List of Content
To make it easier for you to find the piece of information you are particularly interested in I created this list of content. Just click on the item that you would like to read.
Healthy Diet and Nutrition
Fear and the Immune System
Self-Help Hand Reflexology Videos
Not all headaches hurt the same way
If you need copies of any of these handouts, you are welcome to download them from here. Print a copy if you wish or save them to your iPad or tablet if you have one and do your little bit for the environment.
Healthy Diet & Nutrition
The following information is a general guideline that would be useful for everyone. My source is the Oncology Reflexology Practitioners' course material written by the Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine, with their permission I included this information on my website.
Please note that I am not a qualified diet and nutrition advisor. If you need specific advice on nutrition please turn to a qualified nutritionist.
The connection between diet and occurrence of disease - be it cardiovascular, cancer, autoimmune conditions etc. - has been long recognised. Diet plays a very important part in complementary and even alternative treatment.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
The general advice on a healthy diet is:
It should be LOW in: read meat, processed meat, animal fat/protein, sugar (added or naturally occurring), sweeteners, salt, alcohol, Omega 6 fats, trans-fats, preservatives, additives, colourants.
It should be HIGH in: fibre, fresh vegetables specially dark green leafy veg, some fruit and Omega 3 fats.
It is always best to choose organic produce if possible.
Here are some useful tips
Note that they are a lot more than just "Eat your five-a-day". By the way 5 is now more like 8 to 10 portions - a - day of mostly vegetables! One portion is about 80 gr. When preparing your meal take vegetables from the different colours of the rainbow.
Vitamin E antioxidant, found in: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, wheatgerm, organic soy oil,
Beta-carotene the body converts it into Vitamin A which is good for healthy skin and healthy eyes, found in: carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, cherries, spinach
Vitamin C antioxidant, helps absorb iron, essential for bone health and wound healing, found in: red peppers, broccoli, papaya, oranges
Vitamin K plays a role in blood clothing and helps regulate blood calcium levels, found in: greens and broccoli
Lycopene antioxidant, found in: tomatoes
Selenium helps body make antioxidant enzymes, found in: brazil nuts, wholemeal, sunflower seeds, eggs
Zinc for strong immune system, DNA production and growth, found in: oysters, sunflower seeds, poultry, whole grains, chickpeas
Calcium in bio-available from! for maintaining healthy alkaline pH 7.4 of blood, for DNA replication, for feeding every cell, for youth.
Found in: sweet potatoes, home made slow cooked bone stock, kale, broccoli, bok choi, sardines, lentils
Magnesium supports a healthy immune systems, essential for bone health, maintains normal nerve and muscle function. Found in: dark chocolate, dark green leafy vegetables, Epson Salt baths, avocado, banana, beans, chickpeas
Iron for better oxygenation of cells in the body, found in: liver, meat, beans, nuts, brown rice, dried apricots
Omega 3 good for heart health, found in: salmon, herring, mackerel, flax seed, chia
dark red and black fruits, garlic, onions, apples, nuts
Avoid processed and packaged foods, they increase sugar and salt consumption and there are also concerns about packaging toxins.
Freshly prepared food maximises your nourishment.
Whole grains and whole foods release their energy slowly.
Ensure a slow and steady stream of nutrients. Don't stuff yourself.
Salmon, herring, mackerel provide Omega 3 oil reduces cellular inflammation levels. They also contain Vitamin D. Don't forget to get regular exposure to natural sunlight. Why not do it while exercising in the fresh air.
It has anticancer benefits - helps reduce cellular inflammation and limit blood supply to tumours.
They have cleansing properties and they stimulate the immune system.
To nourish your good gut bacteria. These "good guys" help eliminate toxins and oestrogen compounds, they stimulate the immune system, get rid of microbes and yeast. Keep in mind that antibiotics and certain drugs can kill the "good guys".
ONLY if you feel that you cannot get your nourishment fast enough naturally, or you are suffering shortages. Avoid cheap, mass-market, synthetic vitamins. Look for natural compounds.
Being overweight increases your risk of many diseases such as: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer etc. Excess weight also shortens survival times in cases of cancer. If you decide to lose weight make sure you lose it slowly and carefully. Losing weight depends on two factors: regular exercise AND a healthy balanced diet, which IS the starting point.
Glucose is the favourite food of cancer cells !
Some types of sugar, like polysaccharides in garlic, aloe vera, apples and brown rice are extremely beneficial as they stimulate the immune system.
Mother nature created cow's milk for calves, not for humans. The added downside of dairy products is that they are full of growth hormones to stimulate the cows' body to produce more milk for profit. That hormone ends up in our body. Also it contains antibiotics that are associated with weakening our immune system - these too accumulate in our system.
It is proven that alcohol consumption can drive cancers.
Choose plant based mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated oils. Eat oily fish, flax seed on your home made muesli and chia which has the highest content in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fish should be poached to retain its nutritional value.
Steam fry on a little water or other liquid on gentle heat to avoid killing the vitamins.
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Fear and the Immune System
What is the connection between fear, or any stress inducing emotion and the immune system?
Fear is a stressful emotion that seriously inhibits the body's immune fighting capabilities.
Stress hormones, by program, shut down the immune system as it is not essential for an adrenal driven fight or flight state.
Stress hormones are so effective at this that surgeons use it therapeutically to suppress a donor organ receiving patient's immune system before the organ transplant, to try to prevent their immune system from rejecting the foreign tissue.
On another note: it is scientifically proven that positive or negative thinking can have profound effect on the function of the immune system. Research has proven that consciousness controls the function of the immune system.
Positive consciousness is responsible for the Placebo Effect, that has healing potential.
Negative consciousness is responsible for the Nocebo Effect. Again, just like with the Placebo Effect, it is scientifically proven that it has the potential to indirectly lead to any disease inc. cancer, heart disease etc. by weakening our immune response. For example only less than 10% of cancer cases can be linked to inherited genes! The rest 90-92% is caused by lifestyle factors, cancer causing agents.
A strong immune system will help prevent and fight cancer! A strong immune system is easier to maintain if we look after ourselves and manage stress and our emotions well.
The fear of COVID-19 coupled with the threats of survival profoundly inhibits the population's immune system and further exacerbates the pandemic.
So what can we do? You can't just say to yourself: "Come on, pull yourself together and just get on with it! or Pretend that nothings wrong." It is not very likely to really work. It is not being kind to yourself. And in moments like this we need self-compassion to get through it and then to be able to help others.
So look after yourselves and then when you are feeling better you'll be better able to support others.
These are my tried and tested health enhancing practices that will empower your immune system to reduce the severity of any COVID-19 symptoms and help others to overcome their fear.
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Eat lots of fresh veg. If you are an omnivore choose animal products that come from healthy, happy, free-range, fed on their natural diet, animals. Organic, if you can afford. Instead of processed high sugar content snacks choose fruit! Remember: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." For more tips see above the Healthy Diet and Nutrition section.
Consider taking extra Vitamin C. Always read the labels.
Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
Stay away from the screens, get out, no matter what the weather!! At the moment Mother Nature is "showering us" with Vitamin D, another important vitamin for a strong immune system. Get out into your garden, on your balcony or open up your windows wide and soak it in.
2. Recognise that the vast majority of us, who are younger than 75 yrs and haven't got a compromised health, will most likely only have mild symptoms. Those who are more at risk of developing severe symptoms and even complication should take precautions when out and about or having visitors. Always follow the government's rules and follow your gut's feeling. Ask for help if you need it, the community is there, pulling together in a heart warming way.
3. Make every effort to destress:
engage in sports, play games, walk in nature, listen to music, meditate, read, do exercise (my personal favourite is Tai Chi and also yoga as both have mindfulness component), do art, appreciate beauty, do gardening, have a go at self-help hand reflexology. Here is a video to help manage stress and anxiety, or another one on how to support your immune system.
RELAXATION, a healthy weight and lifestyle will significantly enhance the function of your immune system and reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
4. Help flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming the NHS. Take care of yourself and others. Support those in need in your community. Observe social distancing rules, hand and respiratory hygiene measures and please wear a mask.
Norman Cousins: Anatomy of an Illness
As perceived by the patient
A best-selling, groundbreaking classic on taking charge of our own health. An uplifting story of beating the odds by mobilizing the body's own natural resources, proving what an effective healing tool the mind can be.
Dr Rangan Chatterjee: The Stress Solution
The 4 steps to reset your Body, Mind, Relationships & Purpose
Dr Rangan Chatterjee is a pioneer of progressive medicine, a leading voice of the lifestyle medicine movement, a regular radio commentator on BBC, protagonist of the BBC TV show Doctor in the House and host to his Feel Better, Live More chart-topping podcast.
In this book he looks at what causes stress, how we react to it, what are the long-term consequences of unrelenting stress. He explores how stress affects every single aspect of our lives. He offers a four step plan to take back control and lead a more fulfilled and calmer life. The simple but effective solutions are easy to implement and will make you feel healthier and happier.
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Self-Help Hand Reflexology Videos
I would like to share this short video on how to perform reflexology on your own hands to help manage stress and anxiety.
Please do have a go at it. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to answer them.
These moves can be performed as many times during the day as you need it. Whenever you notice that your mind goes into overdrive and your anxiety mounts just follow the steps above and feel your stress and tension melt away.
This is another hand reflexology video on how to support your immune system.
And if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep here is a short hand reflexology sequence to follow to help you sleep better.
You can help your loved ones too by working on their hands. Ask them to give you feedback on the depth of pressure used and how it feels to them.
For the maximum benefit it is best to:
- find a quiet and peaceful place to carry out the moves and set aside at least 10-15 minutes for it (5-7 minutes on each hand)
- make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position, rest your hands on a cushion in a way that your shoulders and arms are relaxed
- concentrate on what you are doing and what/how you feel
- vary the pressure until you find the right one for you, please note that more pressure does not necessarily equal with greater benefit
- first give yourself a hand rub as if you were washing your hands but this time without water or soap
- first work with your dominant hand to really master the moves then change hands, spend the same amount of time on each hand
- repeat the moves as many times as you like
- at the end give yourself a nice hand massage using your favourite hand cream.
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Not all headaches hurt the same way
Many thousands of people suffer with regular headaches. Some find it so debilitating that they are unable to carry out their daily tasks. Others will reach for a painkiller and just carry on with their lives. Some will want to find out why they occur and how they can prevent them. If you are one of those, I put together a short description of different headaches for you so you can identify which one you are suffering with and some tips for preventing them from occurring.
So there are Tension Headaches that feel like a tight band around your head squeezing it constantly. In these headaches some neck muscle may well be tightened. They can last anything between 30 minutes to several hours and can occur on a daily basis. Women are more prone to it.
Sinus Headaches will appear in the cheeks, eyebrows or forehead. If they are cause by a sinus infection they will be accompanied by nasal discharge, compromised sense of smell, a pressure in the sinuses and even fever.
Women often find that so called Hormone Headaches are related to the hormonal changes in their body such as: oestrogen fall before bleeding starts, the hormonal upheaval of peri-menopause, during the combined oral contraceptive pill free week or even in the first few weeks during pregnancy. HRT may help or make headaches worse. At menopause migraines may stop but tension headaches tend to get worse.
Cluster Headaches are rare and they are thought to be linked to the activity in the hypothalamus (a small but very important gland in the middle of our head). They occur in clusters for a long period of time (1-2 months), mostly at the same time of the year. They can be triggered by alcohol, smoking, strong smells. They begin quickly, are sever with a sharp, burning or piercing sensation often around one eye. Attacks generally lasts 15 minutes to 3hours. They can occur 1-8 times a day and tend not to respond well to medication.
Other common causes to headaches:
-As strange as it may sound headaches can be caused by over-medicating with painkillers. They are characterized by a dull, constant pain that tends to be worse in the morning. They will usually get better after a few weeks of stopping medication.
- drinking too much alcohol
- colds and flu
- temporomandibular joint disorder (pain in front + slightly above ears)
- high blood pressure
Possible triggers: stress, anxiety, poor posture, dehydration, tiredness, missed meal, lack of physical activity, bright light, squinting, noise, certain smells, TMJ (jaw problems) disorder, teeth grinding, hormonal changes.
!!! SEEK MEDICAL HELP if:
- Headache comes on suddenly and is “blindingly” severe .
- It doesn’t go away and gets worse over time.
- It occurs after a head injury.
- It occurs in combination of other nervous system symptoms: slurred speech, weakness, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness.
- It occurs in combination with other symptoms such as: high temperature, stiff neck, a rash, vision problems.
Headache treatments are over-the-counter pain killers and/or life style changes.
MY TOP TIPS:
Be mindful of your posture, move about regularly, avoid carrying heavy bags
Attention to your body’s need
Take breaks from intense tasks
Have a regular sleep pattern
Eat regular meals with small frequent, healthy snacks
Apply cool to forehead and warm to back of the neck.
Do keep a diary
Avoid or reduce stress
Chill out with daily relaxation techniques (yoga, tai chi, reflexology, meditation)
Hydrate with at least 1.6 L of water/day
If you want to get to the bottom of your headaches/migraines it is a good idea to keep a diary for 2-3 months. It helps with the medical diagnosis and to identify triggers. You can make your own diary or you can download from the Migraine Trust’s website.
In the diary record: how long it lasts, how severe it is, where the pain is, what type of pain, any other symptoms, what treatment was used (painkillers, NSAIs, anti-depressants, beta blockers), daily activity, missed meals, food, water, sleep, exercise, stress, weather, menstrual cycle, contraceptive methods if any used, HRT. Also note if anything was different 6-8 hours before headache started.
Women are more prone to it. Usually one side of the head is affected by a
throbbing pain, but headache is not always present. Additional symptoms: can be: sensitivity to light and/or noise, aura, nausea, vomiting. They usually start in early adulthood.
It is a unique experience for everyone.
The most common type has no warning however migraine with aura means people will see flashing lights, blind spots, have tunnel vision just before the migraine begins
Causes are unknown, but thought to be the result of temporary changes in chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. May be hereditary.
Hormonal – prior to each period
Certain foods and drinks (gluten, aged cheese, nitrates in processed food, breads, chocolate, alcohol, monosodium glutamate, some fruit, cold foods and drinks, caffeine)
MY TOP TIPS:
Beat stress with daily relaxation techniques
Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water
Allow for regular sleep pattern
Try your very best to limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Improve your fitness and your posture, avoid carrying heavy bags
Take notes in your migraine diary
Reflexology is worth a try!
I encourage you to have a course of treatments if headaches have been an issue for a while.
As part of the after care advice I give I will show you how to work the reflexes on your hands when you feel a headache/migraine coming on. The technique is easy to learn and can be carried out discretely. I will also give you “movements snacks” to loosen up the joints in the neck, shoulders and back with the intention to release them and prevent those nagging headaches from coming on.
N.B. Reflexology starts a process but it is your healing journey. Your commitment is paramount to make those necessary life style changes to achieve better health.
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