Give us a hug!

Virginia Satir, a famous family therapist, once said:

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

There are moments in time when no present in the world could boost the sense of belonging, of being accepted and appreciated for what you are. Hugs are designed for that, as they are simple and pure manifestations of empathy.

So what’s the science behind it?

Hugs improve levels of oxytocin, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, allowing you to restore your emotional balance.  Oxytocin also helps by lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels (cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease).

A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgment of another person.  

Think about it, how many times have you just felt better from a good hug?! 

Affection also helps in the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The University of Miami School of Medicine has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant positive effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.

Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra which stimulates the thymus gland, regulating the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.

With almost 70% of communication being nonverbal, the interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal.

Hugs stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for self-motivation!

Hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels. When released, these improve feelings of pleasure and negate pain and sadness.  They also decrease the chances of getting heart problems, help fight excess weight and prolong life.

Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Anyone with a pet will know this already! 

Hugging for an extended time lifts our serotonin levels, lifting our mood and creating feelings of happiness.

But as we became more and more confined in our in our own lives, with stress for jobs, worries and social norms, we also got uneasy to ask or to offer hugs, despite their health enhancing effects.

So don’t hold back, give a someone a hug today, it’s good for their health and yours

Sophie x

I just want a good night’s sleep!

Sleep issues are one of the many reasons people come and see me for help and support.  Alongside remedies and herbs, there are a number of self-help options available to you…….

Spend time in natural light

Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm which tells your body when it is day time and when it is night time, this “clock” is triggered mostly by light. 

One of the first things I look at with people is their own rhythm of sleep, what time they go to bed and what time they wake up, to ascertain how their own sleep cycle operates.

Sunlight and natural daylight help to keep this rhythm healthy.  Stress and anxiety of any kind, keeping the body in a state of ‘fight or flight’ has the opposite effect!  Using remedies and herbs to help address the stress and support the adrenal glands, people are more able to maintain a regular sleep pattern

Avoid blue light at night

Exposure to natural light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure, particularly to that from computer and phone screens has the opposite effect!

Again, due to the impact on your circadian rhythm … when we are exposed to blue light at night it triggers our brain into thinking it is still day time, and completely disturbs your sleep hormones. Avoiding screen use and not having your phone in the bedroom at night will greatly reduce the amount of blue light your body is exposed to.

Reduce your caffeine intake

An obvious one. When consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.

A recent study found that consuming caffeine even up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality! Even decaf drinks still contain some caffeine, so consider stopping drinking them after midday.  Many people’s energy levels drop mid-afternoon, which is when they reach for a pick me up.  I often suggest people try coca complex for a natural caffeine free, mood enhancing alternative. I also suggest the Neal’s Yard supplement Beauty Sleep, a combination of vitamins and herbs to support the skin and nervous system to aid sleep and improve your skin!

Develop a Routine

The body loves routine! By setting your alarm for the same time each day, and going to sleep around the same time each evening, your body will be more likely to find its own routine for the sleep/wake cycle.

Bedroom Temperature

One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise!  Having a warm bath before bed helps many people, but make sure you don’t use the buddle bath labelled ‘invigorating’ instead consider a relaxing buddle bath or some beauty sleep butter and a relaxing aromatherapy roller ball to place on your wrists.  A pillow spray with lavender works well for some too. My daughter swears by the Goodnight Pillow Spray from Neal’s Yard!

Avoid eating late at night

Eating late at night can disrupt your body’s ability to have a restful sleep and eating a high carb meal 4 hours before bed helps aid a great night sleep … now carbs may not be the answer for everyone, but consider cutting out heavy foods more than 4 hours before bed, to allow your digestive system to have a break.

These are just a few suggestions, do get in touch if you’d like some more support or advice on any remedies or products which may help

Sophie x

Superhuman or super stressed?

 You’re a busy, efficient person, juggling a daily ‘to do’ list, racing everywhere at 100mph trying to achieve as much as you can every day.

You do so much for everyone around you, the kids, colleagues at work, your friends and partner, the neighbour, the dog the cat.  You get the picture!

You are SuperhumanSuper-efficient, never complaining, it’s GREAT to be able to do so much.

But you are EXHAUSTED and STRESSED. You’re definitely not FINE!!

Yes, you do perhaps rely too heavily on coffee and sugar to get you through the day.  So the weight gain is probably easily sorted by reducing your intake of sweets and cookies, and if you just knocked a few things off your ‘to do’ list, you would probably be less forgetful as you’d have less to remember!

Let’s just check that you’re not TOO stressed. Let’s take a look at your adrenal glands and see if you’re showing signs of adrenal fatigue.

Most of us are so used to having some form of ongoing stress in our lives, that we actually aren’t aware of it.

Our body’s adapt to keep us going and hormones such as Cortisol are produced by the body to ‘keep us going’ Cortisol is also the hormone that gives us that ‘spare tyre’ around our midriff. Its role is to balance blood sugar and regulate inflammation in our cells and muscles, so an imbalance of this not only causes us to crave stimulants, and gain weight, but can also result in muscle pain and other inflammatory processes.

The adrenals produce hormones that affect energy, blood chemistry and are involved in the ‘fight or flight’ process that kicks in when we are in danger or stressed.  For many of us, who have been in a chronic state of stress for any period of time, could find that we have been in a state of ‘fight or flight’ for months or even years.

So what happens when our adrenals respond to stress?

Our heart rate speeds up, which raises blood sugar levels and blood pressure. This would be fine if it was a short term thing because we were being chased by a tiger, it’s not a good thing if it’s minute after minute, day after day.

The ‘dangers‘ of today, meeting deadlines, juggling chores, being in the right place at the right time are all dangers that don’t go away like the tiger perhaps would.

Being in this state of constant ‘fear’ sends our adrenals into overdrive and our hormones go into melt down, often leading to adrenal fatigue or burn out.

The thing is, the adrenal glands are just one of the glands in the body, which all work together and help balance each other out.  So yes, you guessed it, when one gland is out, they are all out and the entire hormonal system becomes unbalanced.

So although you think you’re OK and can deal with the stressed state you’re in, it may be that your chronic state of stress is actually the reason why your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly, or your menstrual cycle has gone haywire or why you are constantly suffering with colds and stomach bugs.

How many of these symptoms can you recognise in yourself?

  • Constant tiredness, even trying to get out of bed is an effort.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Low metabolism and/or low thyroid.
  • Muscle weakness/pain.
  • Low immune system and catching coughs, colds and ‘flu.
  • Irregular periods with sore/lumpy breasts.  Also lack of ovulation and difficulty falling pregnant. 
  • Allergies and/or asthma.
  • Depression. 
  • Trouble handling stress and coping with life. 

It’s important to see you Doctor if you’re worried about your health, but what can you do to help yourself?

AVOID!!

  • Adding more stress!
  • Stimulants – yes quit the caffeine…coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, alcohol
  • Sugar and refined carbs because they send your blood sugar, energy and moods on a rollercoaster.
  • Processed foods, anything with additives in, which puts a stress on the body to break down and process.

WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF

  • Try to manage your stress. Get into the habit of asking for help!
  • Get enough rest and sleep.  ‘Me time’ is important too.
  • Eat nutritionally rich foods. Plenty of fruit and veg, good fats – yes some fats are good for you! good quality protein, complex carbs. And try to drink more water!
  • Take the best quality multivitamin and mineral complex you can afford. Buying the cheapest in the shop is a false economy. I particularly like those from Cytoplan, a UK based company offering high quality vitamins at an affordable price. 
  • Magnesium levels are often low in us all nowadays, which can add to muscle soreness and fatigue, consider adding some bath salts to your bath to improve your levels.  I like Neal’s Yard bath salts with added Arnica to soothe sore muscles, you can have a browse of their lovely products via this website. 

If you’d like some more help and advice on how to tackle your stress levels, drop me a line today!

Is your medication undermining your healthy diet?

So what would your response to that question be?  Is your daily medication, which you take to reduce your blood pressure, stop your menopausal symptoms, reduce your asthma symptoms, whatever the medication is for, could it be undermining your healthy diet, by depleting your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs.

The answer is yes!

Regardless of whether they are prescription drugs or over the counter medication, without hesitation, they will be stripping the body of what it requires on a daily basis to maintain a level of health and wellbeing.

So, now not only do we need to think about eating enough fruit and veg every day, we also need to think about what shortfalls there may be as a result of medication. Enough already!

Let’s look at a few examples of this

Antibiotics are widely taken across the world and it is commonly known as a medication which depletes the body of beneficial gut flora, the friendly bacteria in our guts.  In addition to this, antibiotics will also steal from our body’s stores of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Blood pressure medication will remove a large number of vitamins and minerals from the body.  Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, potassium, melatonin and zinc.

How about HRT and other hormonal medications?  These will deplete the body of beneficial gut flora, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C and B.

A simple pain relief pill, taken for a headache perhaps, will deplete the bodies’ stores of vitamin C, Folic acid and iron.

Regardless of what the medication is for, the effects will be a shortfall of essential nutrients.

But what does this mean to our general health? The symptoms of these shortfalls in vitamins and minerals are varied.

Vitamin C, which we all think to take when we need to boost our immune system, is responsible for the integrity of connective tissue in the body. A lack of the vitamin will result in frequent infections, lack of energy, bleeding gums, slow wound healing and poor skin.

Vitamin D, helps to support bone health. A shortfall will lead to muscle cramps, arthritic pains, tooth decay, hair loss, excessive sweating and a lack of energy.

A lack of Zinc in the diet will cause infertility issues, poor sense of taste and smell, skin issues, frequent infections, poor appetite and depression. A sure sign that you have a Zinc deficiency are white marks on your nails.

The big one, which the majority of us are short on regardless of what medication we take, is magnesium. Magnesium is a natural tranquiliser, soothing and cooling the nervous system and brain. A lack of this mineral causes muscle weakness and pain, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and an irregular heart beat. It can also lead to constipation as it is a natural laxative.

Can I just nip to the shops and buy a cheap multivitamin?

When clients come to see me for nutritional advice, I always suggest they buy the most expensive vitamins they can afford (such as those made by Cytoplan).  It’s the one area that I advise not trying to scrimp and save on.  Vitamins from the supermarket may seem good value, because they are inexpensive, but this is because they are full of cheap fillers such as corn starch and chalk, which in themselves cause problems in the body.

Our bodies are literally under attack every day. From the environments we live in, our stressful and busy schedules, the pesticides used for foods and the chemicals added to foods and water.   It would be a tall order to try and remove all of these from our diets and eat clean, organic foods, avoid medications and pollutants every day for the rest of our lives. However, making a few small conscious changes to your everyday life will have long term benefits for our body’s various organs and our quality of life.

And of course, I’m here to help

Sophie x

A Case of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – pain no more!

It is not unusual for me to find that patients forget how ill they used to be, or how much pain they were originally in before they came to try Homeopathy!

If, at an initial consultation, a patient can use a scale of 1-10 to measure a symptom they have, such as pain or itchiness as an example, then I use this as a record of how symptoms have improved.  Time and time again, patients simply forget how they felt at that first appointment and are quite amazed by the improvements they’ve attained!

As an example, Trudy came to see me today for her second appointment, having seen me initially a month again for the symptoms and constant pain she was suffering with from Carpel Tunnel syndrome, a condition which affects the nerves in the arms and hands of people, giving them intense pain, numbness, tingling, swelling and weakness.  Mostly resulting in a need for surgery at some point.

A month previously, Trudy had scored her pain as 9 out of 10 with a need to take strong pain relief daily and throughout the night, as the pain was bad enough to wake her most nights.   Having taken Trudy’s presenting symptoms down and made a note of the intensity of her pain I prescribed a combination of Homeopathic remedies and Homeobotanical tinctures which would support her body to improve the pain and burning sensation she felt 24/7.

When I initially asked Trudy how her month had been, she said she felt there had been some improvement, but was unsure if it was significant.  I asked Trudy if she was still taking co-codemol daily and during the night when she woke, to which she replied ‘oh no, I barely take any pain relief, perhaps just once or twice a week!’   I then went on to ask how her sleep had been, again Trudy replied that her sleep had been great as she wasn’t waking up in pain each night.

At this point, I showed Trudy the score she had previously given her daily pain, the 9 out of 10, which had been awarded by her a month ago she felt had reduced to a 2 or 3 out of 10!

The subtlety of Homeopathy is often its downfall. Patients often aren’t able to remember how bad their symptoms were before they started and the gradual improvement of symptoms between appointments is difficult to gauge without the simple scoring system used by many homeopaths to measure the improvements.

If this sounds familiar to you, drop me a line I’d love to hear more about your experiences.

“Aargh! I’ve Got Another Cold Sore”

“Aargh, I’ve got another cold sore” is something I hear regularly in clinic, mostly because word has got out that I’ve had so much success in curing them, thanks to my all singing, all dancing box of tricks!

Cold sores are in fact the herpes virus (also in this family are chicken pox, shingles and mononucleosis), which can flare up in times of stress, a low immune system, hormonal changes, sunburn or a cold/flu.

Sufferers can generally ‘feel’ a cold sore (also known as fever blister) forming as they get a sensation of tingling in the spot where the blister will appear.  A couple of days later, a raw open sore will appear, which will crust over.  This blister may last a few days or even weeks and can cause real discomfort as well as making the person feel self-conscious.

As a viral infection, the use of antibiotics isn’t available and many people who come to me have tried all of the over the counter medications and found no long term relief.

Roll out the box of tricks!

Over the last few years, I’ve successfully helped a number of people who have suffered from cold sores for years.  All of them are now cold sore free and remain amazed that within 3 months of treatment, the virus that has plagued them for years has gone.

Homeopathically, each of my patients are given an individualised bag of remedies to take to alleviate the symptoms they have.  Typically these are remedies such as Rhus Tox, which is used for fever blisters around the mouth and Nat Mur a remedy for red inflamed skin and watery blisters.

Alongside this, each patient is given a combination of Homeobotanical remedies in a tincture to support the skin, immune system and anti-viral support.

Finally and most importantly, each patient is given a 3 month supply of Red Algae from Platinum.  Red Algae, found in the 1970’s has been developed into a supplement which assists the body’s immune response and plays a major role in preventing the recurrence of viruses.

http://www.platinumuk.biz/wisehealth/product/2510e

This supplement has been the big game changer in supporting patients with any form of viral condition.  Even patients with colds and flu viruses have reported how quickly their symptoms are reduced from taking this medicinal supplement.

So that’s my three pronged approach to helping patients become cold sore free, often for the first time in years.  Let me know if you’d like some help in becoming free from them too.

New Year, New You!

New Year New You!  How many times at this point of the year have you said:

‘This is it, from 1st January I’m going to focus on my health and well-being, I’m going to lose weight and eat properly, I’m going to exercise regularly, I’m going to look after myself!’

Then by the second week of January it’s all been forgotten, you’re back eating too many sweet things, or too much bread or consuming too much coffee or alcohol.

Whatever your own personal Kryptonite is, it’s back on your daily intake list.

As a Homeopath and well-being coach I have to look after myself, I can’t ask others to look after themselves, if I don’t practice what I preach.  That doesn’t mean I spend countless hours in the gym or count every single calorie I consume.

What it does mean is with the aid of Bioresonance, I’ve worked out what foods I’m intolerant too, what vitamin and mineral deficiencies there are in my diet and I’ve balanced my hormones, stress and improved my energy levels using Homeopathic remedies and Homeobotanical tinctures.

So as we move into 2017, I’d like to help you do the same.

So what’s on offer?

A 3 month detox and support programme, which includes:

  • An initial 1 hour health and well-being check
  • Weekly 15 min check in call
  • Final month 45 min review appointment
  • Selection of individualised Homeopathic & Homeobotanical remedies
  • 10 Day Transformational cleanse with support guide worth over £300
  • 50.00 Euro voucher to spend on a selection of health & well-being products.

The total cost of the 3 month support programme is £455, which can be paid for in full or in 3 payments of £152.00.

Is this for you?

  • If you need help and support to get you started on the road to a new you
  • If you know you need help beating your cravings for the wrong foods
  • If you want to feel fitter and healthier than you have for years
  • If you’re ready to make real changes to your health and well-being

Then this is for you!

Places are limited, so if you’d like to find out more, drop me an email using the contact me form now.