Psoriasis – A brief Herbal Perspective

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Psoriasis is a common skin disease, the cause of which still remains unknown. The severity of the condition can vary greatly, from one or two small lesions to the whole body being affected. Because the cause of Psoriasis is unknown, it is important to understand the process of what happens to the skin in this condition. The skin cells undergo much faster maturation than usual which leads to a large cell build up, forming the typical lesions. Some believe the cause for this is nutritional, others that stress and psychological factors play a role, and it is sometimes described as an autoimmune disease. Therefore the therapeutic approach is very individual and it is difficult to give general advice.

However, there are a few things that apply to everyone. The herb group considered most relevant in the treatment of Psoriasis are Alteratives. These are herbs which help eliminate toxins from the body, mostly via the liver. This is important because a build up of toxins often leads to skin eruptions; therefore these herbs are also relevant for the treatment of eczema and acne. An infusion of Alteratives for Psoriasis could be: Burdock, Cleavers and Nettle. Take 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture per cup, fill the cup with boiling water and steep for 5-10 minutes, drink 3-4 cups per day.

Topical herbal applications include Marigold cream or Chickweed cream, both of which aid the skin healing process.

There are many other herbs which can be used to treat this condition, however, not everyone responds in the same way to the same herbs. Therefore an individual treatment plan considering your general health, life style and other factors is vital.

Herbal treatment of this condition would always include a broader context of treatment where diet and lifestyle are also taken into consideration. Generally, safe exposure to sunlight is beneficial for many people with psoriasis, as well as using dead sea salt in the bath. It is also important to build up a good immune system with a balanced diet and possibly a high potency multi-vitamin supplement and an Omega 3 supplement such as Flaxseed Oil.

By Marion Colledge, Medical Herbalist MNIMH (BSc Hons)

The Little Escape offer free fifteen minute consultations for all therapies, book on-line or call in to find out more about Herbal Medicine.

An introduction to Kinesiology

Here at The Little Escape, we have a brand new therapist, Kostas. I was lucky enough to catch his talk on Kinesiology last week and thought I would share what I learnt about this interesting therapy.

Kinesiology (pronounced Kin-easy-ology), is a way of identifying any imbalances a person has by monitoring their ability to hold their muscles against light pressure.

Each muscle is related to an organ and also to an energy pathway called a meridian. Together the muscle, organ and meridian form a circuit. If there are chemical, emotional, structural or energetic stresses affecting the circuit, the muscle tested will feel ‘spongy’, indicating an imbalance.

Once an imbalance is found the Kinesiologist uses the muscle test again to get feedback from the person’s body about what factors are aggravating the imbalance and what will help to rebalance it.

Here is how it works…

Each time a relevant factor is introduced the muscles responses change, a bit like a switch. Imagine a spongy muscle as being ‘off’. If the person then thinks of an emotional stress and the muscle is suddenly able to hold against the pressure, i.e it switches ‘on’, that indicates that emotional stress is involved in that imbalance.

Similarly, if a particular nutrient when placed on the body, causes the muscle to switch ‘on’, we know it will be helpful. The same process can be used to find related structural problems and energetic factors.

Based on feedback the Kinesiologist and client can discover exactly what it is involved in the imbalance and devise a treatment plan. These can include nutritional supplements, various emotional stress release techniques, homeopathy, flower remedies, acupressure,  chakra rebalancing, suggested lifestyle changes and more. The exact treatment you receive depends on feedback your body gives through the muscle test about what it needs to return to health.

Kostas is with us every Thursday evening for you to come and experience this for yourself. Also you can check out his website http://totalhealthnow.co.uk/

Sandra x

Hello Autumn!

Hello Autumn!

Your colours are looking particularly fabulous this year.  Apparently this has something to do with the wet summer (yep, not many days when it was safe to leave that umbrella at home) and then a sudden drop in temperature.  I’d be lying if I said I was any kind of expert on this but I am enjoying the vibrant display that’s on show.  It’s nice to have this slow transition to gently ease us into winter.  The odd warm day is throw into the mix, but in general there is a feeling of winding down after the heady excess of summer.

However, it can be a time when we feel a little melancholy as we get to grips with the shorter days and start to feel the pinch of the cold in the air.  This season is all about preparation for the winter.  So how can we make the most of this time of year and feel more in tune with the season?  And how can we hold on to that energy and sunlight that we gained during the summer months so it can see us through the winter?

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My yoga teacher Gabrielle recently taught me a lovely version of a “sun salutation”.  A sun salutation is a flowing sequence of yoga movements designed to literally salute the sun. This one emphasised the opening up of the body to the sky and sun in order to draw in as much of this energy as possible.  I had a feeling of grasping those last summer rays before they faded away!  It was nice to think about adapting my yoga practice to the season.  Slowing it down, but also realising the importance of keeping the body active at a time when things are naturally drawing inwards.

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In nature Autumn is a time of harvest and also of cutting back that which is no longer necessary.  Of storing that which is precious and valuable and that which will keep everything healthy and nourished over the coming months.  We don’t have so much energy during the winter for rushing around so we can become a little more focussed and turn to those things that are most important to us.  Booking a treatment that you love is nice at this time of year.  It can be a good opportunity to gather some energy and feel balanced in the midst of all the changes going on around us.  A massage can bring some much needed relaxation into the body.  During my treatments at the moment am using a lovely oil that contains lemongrass, ginger and clove.  It is great for warming the muscles but the smell is so delicious that it warms the heart too!

So look after yourselves during this season of change.  It can be difficult to leave those summer days behind, but we can try to embrace the change and look forward to those cosy nights ahead.  And we can watch and enjoy this lovely Autumn display in the process!

Anna

www.shinebodywork.com

A First-Time Cranio-Sacral Eye-Opener

Last week at The Little Escape I had a client call in and ask, in desperation, for a massage or some kind of treatment for a painful shoulder, and unfortunately we didn’t have anybody available to relieve their pain that day, except Gabrielle. In my ignorance of Cranio-Sacral I didn’t realise that I could have suggested this therapy for them as a way to ease sore muscles. And so Gabrielle and I agreed that the best way for me to learn about the benefits of this therapy – hitherto unbeknown to me – would be to have a treatment myself.

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We began with a relaxed and intimate chat about things that have been bothering me, or have been causing stress or tension in certain parts of my body. Then, she had me lie down on my back on the treatment table (with everything on except my shoes) and began by putting her hands around my feet. She talked me through some breathing techniques, breathing in from deep within my lungs, pulling the breath up from as far down as possible, and breathing out easily, dispelling it in a natural and comfortable way. If I’m honest – I wasn’t fully aware of what she was doing, once I shut my eyes and concentrated on my breathing, I became wonderfully relaxed and felt myself drifting peacefully off! I could feel her fingers gently moving to different positions, but I mainly felt the warm, still presence of her hands holding my feet.

She then moved round to my side, where she put both hands under my back – one under my liver, and the other hand on the middle of my spine. She remained there for a long time, occasionally shifting her hands so more (but light) pressure was coming from the heels of her palms or from her fingers. At this point I really did drift off to sleep for a few minutes! She later said that she felt my spine suddenly and totally relax, like someone had flicked a switch and it simply decided to let go and sink into her hands and the table. When she went to move onto my head I felt like my back was made of silk – sinking naturally and effortlessly into place.

Finally she put her hands around the base of my skull and under my neck. Up until this point, I had become aware that while my body was bit by bit becoming more and more relaxed – as though it was returning to a toally natural, tension-free, state – my neck and head were not relaxed. I was conscious of how my head rested on the pillow, and felt like I wasn’t sure how I should hold it. But when she held my neck it only took a few minutes with the support of her hands before I lost that awareness and allowed myself to let go of tension.

After the treatment I can safely say I was incredibly spaced out (definitely in a good way!). I felt wide-eyed and almost giggly, invigorated, and my body felt fluid; my movements easy and natural. I had a very long shift that day – many hours sat in front of the computer – but it passed by quickly and comfortably, and I didn’t feel the usual aches in my lower back and shoulders.

And so, from my personal experience, I can say that Cranio-Sacral is a wonderful way to let go of tension and pain in areas of your body where you’re not even aware you held any, through a warm energy, presence and support. It was like having those problem areas gently encouraged to simply let go. Oof!

If you want some good, detailed information on Cranio-Sacral and the principles behind this practice have a little shifty of this website: http://www.craniosacraltherapy.org/Whatis.htm

Over and out,

Eve.