Bowel Health

Confucius knew what he was talking about when he said that ‘bliss begins in the bowels’.

The importance of bowel health and its effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual well being cannot be underestimated.

The bowel or colon is the first place that registers if we are stressed, and as stress leads to dehydration keeping hydrated is the first and probably most important thing we can do to support our bowel health. This means making choices about what we eat and drink that will as much as possible hydrate and not dehydrate us. Minimizing stress within our lifestyles also has an impact so we have quite a challenge on our hands – given the demanding lives that so many of us lead!

Any imbalance in the colon has the potential to back up within our bodies and create further problems elsewhere – particularly the skin, lungs and mind.

This makes sense as we all know how sluggish we can feel when ‘things’ aren’t moving! And when all is well how much more energy, motivation and clarity we have.

Remember too that no part of our body works in isolation. Whatever we do to support healthy functioning of our bowels will have a knock on effect on the rest of our health. i.e our liver, skin, lungs, mind etc…

Here are some suggestions to support bowel health:

– Drink at least 2 litres of fresh clean water daily.

– Keep regular tea/ coffee to a minimum – these are not hydrating drinks.

Short grain brown rice is a great soothing food for the colon – and hydrating.  Have daily if you can eat grains.

Juicing vegetables is a great support to the body’s cleansing process – especially green foods i.e. celery, cucumber, lettuce, kale.

– Aim to have a diet rich in vegetables – this will give you valuable nutrients that can protect against disease, and natural fibre which helps the digestive tract to keep things moving!

– For some, pasta and bread can be a real challenge to digest – it can sit like glue in the digestive tract. Become more aware of what hinders and helps your bowels to keep eliminating regularly.

– Taking regular exercise -even walking a bit more than usual can help our body’s detoxification process.

– Taking time to meditate or just relax in the park, or in a quiet space, can help the body to relax and switch off the ‘fight or flight’ programme that we are often in even without realising, and which can impact unfavourably on our digestive health.

Have a look at the Bladder and Bowel Foundation for more information: http://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org/bowel/healthy-bowel.asp

And this is a very informative website on Nutritional advice for a healthy colon: http://www.livestrong.com/article/272990-nutrition-for-a-healthy-colon/

Take care and look after yourself always! 🙂

Fiona.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system, which has many and varying causes and symptoms. Its symptoms can involve any of the following: Diarrhoea, constipation, gas/flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, haemorrhoids  intestinal cramping/spasming, indigestion. These symptoms can come in any number or combination, and each sufferer is affected differently. IBS is unpredictable in nature – it can go for long periods of time and then suddenly flair up for no obvious reason. It can be painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing, and have a very negative effect on your quality of life. According to the NHS, 3 out of 4 IBS sufferers have had a least one bout of depression, and just over half will develop generalized anxiety disorder (overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear and dread).

There is no medically agreed cure for IBS – a condition with such varied causes and symptoms can be hard to pin down, and a general cure is therefore difficult to find. This is where holistic and alternative therapy can help, because at the heart of all holistic therapies lies the principle of looking in depth at the individual – their lifestyle, diet, emotions and feelings, energy levels, psychological state and so forth; it acknowledges everybody’s individuality and therefore has space to treat very specifically to the person. Treatment plans are tailored and unique to the individual, and can be very effective by taking into account the body as a whole, looking at not only the physical symptoms but how these can manifest and be influenced by psychological, mental and emotional factors.

There are a number of ways in which IBS can be treated, if we look at the factors that affect it – such as stress and food. Nutritional Therapy can offer help in formulating a dietary plan that avoids foods that trigger or exacerbate the symptoms. Again, different foods have different effects on (different) people, and a consultation can determine the types to avoid.

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One of the most commonly   agreed causes (or it can most certainly exacerbate symptoms) is stress and worry. It becomes a dangerous spiral of anxiety, as the symptoms and inability to control your digestive system and bowel movements in public can cause embarrassment and panic, which then in turn amplify the symptoms.

Relaxation can help ease symptoms and allow you to deal with the effects in a calmer and healthier way – it can help turn off the distress and upset. Yoga and Meditation can be very effective in this way; guided meditation for a beginner unused to the techniques can allow the effects to carry on into everyday life and practice. Hypnotherapy is another common therapy to help treat IBS – working at breaking patterns within the mind that cause stress and anxiety can have a knock-on effect on the body’s way of responding to these negative feelings.

Another popular form of treatment for IBS is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help in a number of ways, by treating different aspects of the syndrome. It provides pain relief, helps calm and reduce stress, and can help control the bowel’s tendency to move uncontrollably of its own accord. The British Acupuncture Council website explains how acupuncture can help and the treatment in more detail, though of course individual treatments will vary.

If you suffer from IBS and are looking for some holistic help but aren’t sure which of these therapies will be right for you – we offer free 15 minute consultations for all of our treatments. There is often a bit of cross-over between treatments and we will try to help you find the one that suits you best! Contact us for more information 🙂

Eve

The January Detox (original i know…)

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So! boring boring….

Yes, every year I say I am going to do a January detox, and I think last year it lasted a week or two, but this time I mean it! Its time to treat my body well for a while and hope at least some of it continues! (Saying it publicly means I can’t lame out…)

So first step- I saw a Nutritional therapistJayne @supernourished who said that yes, she would suggest an initial cleansing detox as my symptoms (mild psoriasis, puffy eyes, erratic digestion and sleep, stress etc) indicated some ‘liver issues’ so we agreed a plan:

no alcohol (eek), no dairy (easier) no wheat (hmmm) no refined sugar (hmmm) no caffeine (except green tea).  I’m vegetarian anyway so i don’t have to cut out meat…. I drew the line at no gluten as I want my rye bread! And my occasional injera! But she prescribed some milk thistle, some Magnesium and B vitamins, and plenty of leafy greens every day, plenty of cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli) as they contain “indole-3-carbinols” which apparently support the detoxification pathways. Chia seeds, avocado, nuts and seeds, lentils – all sounds good! And the classic hot water with lemon juice in the mornings.

…and that’s that! I also vow to do lots of yoga, and swimming and get back into my cycling which has somehow fallen by the wayside this past year…. And i almost forgot! Massage is definitely part of my detox plan! whoop! 🙂

I’m 4 days in and all is well.  I think I’m sleeping better? my skin seems pretty clear, and someone said my eyes look sparkly. its early days.  I’m avoiding temptation, invites to pubs and gigs….Yesterday I went to my first ever “Tropical Hot Yoga”- i don’t remember ever sweating that much- in all my travels, or in all my steam room experience- my clothes were actually soaked.  I am *not* a convert, I’m not sure I see the point- I’d rather concentrate on the actual yoga than just suffering from heat exhaustion, and surely a good dynamic class creates its own heat from within and more ‘real’ sweat? but each to their own…!

Tomorrow I’ll be drinking water in the pub with old friends and feeling a bit boring.  but I’m sure it will be worth it at the end of the month.  Watch this space 😉

Lilja

Treating Migraines Holistically

Migraines are the most common neurological condition affecting 1 in 7 people – two thirds of which are women but it can occur at any age and to any part of the population. The causes of migraines are not as yet fully understood, as no diagnostic test exists to study it. It is generally believed, however, that they are caused by changing chemicals in the brain – namely Serotonin (known as the happy chemical), levels of which greatly decrease during a migraine. As serotonin goes down, the blood vessels suddenly contract and become narrower which causes aura (this is the name given to the range of ‘warning signs’ that some people can get before an onset) and then widen, causing the headache.

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Another cause is believed to be fluctuating levels of hormones – Migraines seem to occur frequently in women around the time of their period, just before the start of which levels of estrogen fall. Not all women are affected by this, however, and some of those who are suffer solely from menstrual migraines, whereas others can get them at other times also.

There are a number of things that can trigger this condition, however, such as emotional; environmental; dietary; and physical factors. There are a whole range of different Alternative and Complementary therapies that can be taken to help treat and ease the symptoms of Migraines, and as each patient is different, and some migraines have different causes, certain treatments may be more or less suitable and effective. The best way to do this, then, in order to understand how Migraines can be treated is by listing the different triggers and their own suitable holistic therapies and methods.

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Acne – Holistic Treaments

An article came out on the BBC this week (and a subsequent documentary) about the overuse and damaging side-effects of drugs prescribed to treat Acne, in particular ‘Roaccutane’. It is a heavy and commonly prescribed acne treatment and has raised a lot of debate based on claims of depression and suicidal desires that it evokes in a number of patients.

Skin problems can be psychologically very difficult to deal with, especially blemishes of the face, and Acne often occurs in teenagers and young people. Stress and worry can exacerbate if not outright cause symptoms, and at a socially difficult age this common affliction can take a big emotional toll and be very hard to live with. Stress, worry, embarrassment: all these negative emotions can have varying effects on the body, and all-round health and well-being are affected.

So what alternative treatments can be sought for Acne? There are a number of options within the Alternative and Complementary Therapy world, namely Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Therapy and Aromatherapy. Other alternatives could include talking therapies such as Psychotherapy, NLP and Hypnotherapy. These can help resolve and understand the emotional effects and reduce stress, which could in some cases ease symptoms, or at least make the condition easier to deal with.

Our Herbal Therapist, Marion, kindly supplied me with some advice and tips on the Herbal treatment of Acne:

Acne is treated internally as well as externally. Several factors predispose a person to acne and they include genetic disposition, nutrition, hormonal changes and skin flora. At the core of the herbal treatment of acne is a group of herbs called ‘Alteratives’, which help the body’s detoxification and metabolic process to restore it back to normal function. The most commonly used herbs are Burdock, Cleavers and Nettle. All can be taken in tincture form but Cleavers and Nettle make a pleasant tea which has the additional effect of ‘flushing’ the system. Topically, an infusion of Marigold and Witch hazel makes an antimicrobial and soothing skin wash.

For treatment of more severe cases, other factors will have to be taken into consideration and it is advisable to see an herbal practitioner who will tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs.

For more information on the use of Acupuncture for treating Acne, this is a good website.

Eve.