Posted by & filed under Diet, Exercise.

How many diets have you been on in the past that didn’t last for a month? Bet there are more examples than you care to mention but don’t feel too bad, you are not on your own and there are plenty of people in the same position.  There are multiple reasons why a diet is prone to failure, some of which are covered in this article.

Lack of appeal – Boring diets are destined to fail, you need to find a diet that holds your interest otherwise how do you expect it to succeed? There are numerous diet plans out there and plenty of healthy recipe ideas that won’t tug at your waistline, look for an innovative diet plan or ways to eat healthier that involve tastier meal suggestions.

Lack of interest – People underestimate what it takes to reach their target weight, they think miracles happen overnight and when they don’t see the results they were hoping for in a short space of time they quickly lose interest in the diet. Set a long term target to achieve your weight loss goals, try to aim for a set amount of weight loss per month and when you see the pounds slipping off this should spur you on.

Too much expectation – Try not to overdo the long term target though, aiming too high can have the opposite effect. Be realistic about the amount of weight you can lose in a month, don’t put too much pressure on yourself because if you don’t make the weight one month this could put you off continuing with the diet.

Lack of exercise – Incorporate some type of exercise as part of your diet as well. Eating healthy helps, cutting out sugars and other fattening foods is crucial but some kind of exercise is required too. Diets fail because people don’t exercise, they think a change of eating habits is enough. Believe me it’s not, you need to work out or find a way of exercising that you like coupled to a healthy eating plan.

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Back Pain, Breech Baby, Depression, Nausea, Pain, Pregnancy, Stress, Women's Health.

Expectant mums suffer from a variety of symptoms during pregnancy, tiredness, nausea, backache and general aches and pains are common when you are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your little one. Acupuncture is a gentle therapy suitable for all stages of pregnancy and it helps women in the following ways.

Ease morning sickness – One of the most discomforting symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness, particularly during the first trimester. Acupuncture helps mums to cope with feelings of nausea, it calms the digestive system and symptoms of sickness disappear. If you feel sick during pregnancy try acupuncture, regular bouts of vomiting should reduce or stop altogether.

Relieve pain – It feels like everything is against you during pregnancy, your back aches, your legs ache, you can’t sleep at night, there are pains in parts of your body that you didn’t know you had! Pain killers merely numbs the discomfort, try acupuncture instead. It helps to alleviate all types of pain, give it a go, you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Reduce stress – It’s hard not to feel stressed when you are pregnant. You feel like a hippo, you waddle around, you have all these worries running through you mind. When you get time to relax you can’t because your back is aching or you are suffering from haemorrhoids. Charming isn’t it? Lower your stress levels with a course of acupuncture, it increases blood flow, decreases inflammation in the body and makes you feel better about yourself.

Aid depression – Pre and post-natal depression are common during pregnancies. Instead of taking antidepressants use acupuncture instead. Studies have shown that this natural procedure helps to relieve feelings of depression so you can take better care of yourself and your baby as well.

Resolves Breeches – Enter your last trimester with a baby in the breech position and you should definitely consider acupuncture. You can optimise the position of the baby from week 34 onwards by using acupuncture, it really does help babies to turn.

If you need any more information about acupuncture during pregnancy please feel free to get in touch with Sabine Acupuncture whenever you like.

Have a happy and healthy birth!

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Allergies, Prevention.

If you suffer from annoying allergies then you’ll be all too familiar with the symptoms.  An itchy throat, congested nose and sinuses, watery or swollen eyes, itchy skin and a runny nose are just a few of the irritating symptoms associated with allergies.

If you’re fed up with taking over the counter medication to try to beat the symptoms then why not try some of these natural remedies.

HEPA filters – Rather than constantly trying to cure your symptoms the first thing that you should try to do is take preventative steps against your allergies.  HEPA filters purify the air within a room by filtering out small particles like allergens.

Hypo-allergenic bedding – This one is particularly important if you suffer from dust-mite allergies.  Sickeningly, house dust mites thrive when living in your bed where there is lots of heat, moisture and dead skin cells.  Anti-allergy bedding can keep levels of dust mites low by completely enclosing the bedding whilst ensuring that it remains breathable.

Shower regularly – Not only does showering help to remove allergens from your skin and hair, the hot steam will also help to soothe and clear your sinuses.

Acupuncture – If the energy in your body is not balanced and flowing as it should be it can cause symptoms of illness to arise. Acupuncture can naturally relieve pain by gently using needles to get the energy flowing freely throughout your body again.

Eucalyptus oil – If you’re feeling congested and your nose and sinuses are blocked then eucalyptus oil can provide the relief that you’re looking for.  Breathing in the menthol-like aroma will help to open up your nasal passage and clear your sinuses so that you can breathe easier.  Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of steaming hot water, put your head over it and breathe in the steamy vapour.

Flush with saltwater – Flushing out your nasal cavity using salt water will wash out allergens and ease nasal congestion.  Neti pots are pots resembling very small watering cans.  They are used to wash the nasal passage out using saline solution.  Most supermarkets stock easy-to-use saline nasal sprays that have a similar effect if you find neti pots too difficult to use.

Posted by & filed under Anxiety, Holistic Therapy, Stress.

Anxiety is perfectly normal emotion to feel, especially if you’re under a lot of stress.  However if you find yourself feeling anxious more of the time than not, and feel like it’s beginning to affect your day-to-day life then this is when anxiety can become a problem.

Symptoms

Some people suffer from anxiety following a particularly stressful experience, whereas others can develop anxiety for no apparent reason.

The symptoms of anxiety can be extremely distressing and scary for anyone suffering from it.  Psychological symptoms include being unable to concentrate, feeling constantly restless, on edge or irritable, and being easily distracted.  Physical symptoms of anxiety include headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea, heart palpitations, muscle aches, shortness of breath, excessive sweating and even panic attacks.

Unfortunately and inexplicably there can still be some stigma surrounding mental illnesses like anxiety and people often don’t realise how debilitating it can be unless they’ve suffered from it themselves at some point in their lives. Because of this it takes a lot of courage for some people to eventually seek help from their GP.

Disadvantages of prescribed drugs

There are a whole variety of different drugs that your GP could prescribe you to treat symptoms of anxiety; however as with any kind of drug they can cause a whole host of unpleasant side effects.  Side effects may include nausea, lowered sex-drive, diarrhoea, constipation, dry mouth, loss of appetite, sweating, insomnia and feeling agitated.  As you can imagine it can be extremely disappointing and disheartening for anyone suffering from anxiety if they pluck up the courage to seek help for their condition only to end up with a whole host of other problems related to the medication they’re prescribed.

Treating anxiety naturally

For many people natural and psychological treatments for anxiety are safer and more reliable than prescription drugs.  There are many different types of natural treatment to choose from, so sometimes it can be a case of trial and error until you find something that works for you.  Everyone is different and people suffer from different symptoms for different reasons, so what works for one person may not work for another.  Here are a just a few of the natural treatments that may help you to cope with anxiety.

Acupuncture

Your acupuncturist will look carefully at your individual symptoms and identify any imbalances in your body that are causing your symptoms so that they can focus your treatment on these problem areas.  Acupuncture can help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety by acting on the areas of the brain that reduce sensitivity to pain and stress.  Acupuncture can also help to promote relaxation and ‘deactivate’ the analytical part of your brain that produces feelings of stress and worry.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is also known as CBT and is very effective at changing the behaviour that causes stress and anxiety in many people.  For many people stress and anxiety is caused by the way that they negatively interpret the things that go on around them.  Cognitive behavioural therapy teaches people to realise the link between the way that they think and the way that they feel and helps them to correct negative and harmful thought patterns.

Yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques

For many people our hectic, contemporary lifestyles leave very little time for reflection and relaxation.  If you’re suffering from anxiety then it is extremely important that you take time out your daily routine to forget about everything that has happened during the day, enjoy the sound of silence, and consciously relax your body.  Yoga and meditation can help you to reach a deeper state of relaxation and teach you to focus your mind to help to control and combat anxiety.

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Arthritis, Pain.

Visit your doctor when you are suffering from painful joint conditions like arthritis and they’ll probably prescribe a course of anti-inflammatory drugs and give you a few painkillers at the same time. If you want to take a natural approach to pain relief though you might want to try one of the following remedies to experience a little comfort.

  • Have a massage: A massage is fabulous for health and wellbeing, it stimulates blood circulation and targets problem areas in the body. Have a holistic massage and ease away the pain as you lay on a treatment table, you’ll feel wonderfully revitalised afterwards.
  • Try heat therapies: Intense heat is great for painful joint conditions so spend time in a steam room or try an infa-red sauna instead. You’ll notice the pain start to go as heat radiates over the target area and this should ease stiffness in the joints.
  • Put ice on the problem: Cold treatments are equally as effective for joint conditions. Stick an ice pack on the pain or grab a bag of peas out of the freezer, wrap them in a tea towel and place them on the problem area.
  • Take a dip: Swimming is a brilliant form of exercise and the movement will help to maintain flexibility in your joints. You’ll feel fitter, get a good workout and ease stiffness at the same time if you visit your local pool as often as you can.
  • Lose weight: If you are little overweight change your diet because that excess baggage could be putting strain on your joints. Look at healthier eating options and you’ll be more mobile and reduce stress on your hips and legs.
  • Use acupuncture: This ancient medical procedure has been used to relieve joint pain for thousands of years. If you haven’t tried acupuncture before give it a go, you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Posted by & filed under Colds and Flu, Diet.

The onset of winter means one thing, you are bound to pick up a cold bug at some point. Germs spiral out of control over the winter and before you know it you’ll be reaching for the tissues and drinking a cup of hot lemon. Try to avoid colds this winter if you can and follow these tips for some general advice.

  • Wash your hands regular: Good hygiene helps to prevent the transfer of cold and flu bugs so make sure you wash your hands on a regular basis. Colds spread due to direct contact with people and you can pick up germs from everyday things you touch on a daily basis. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you during your travels and this way if you can’t find a place to wash your hands with soap and water you’ll still have a way to keep them free from germs.
  • Eat healthily: A good diet can ward off germs and bugs so make sure your menu is chocked full of vegetables and fruits that are packed with vitamins. Make alterations to your diet if you have to and reassess the types of food you are eating at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with the odd naughty thing every now and again just make sure you balance things up with healthy food that’ll give your body all the nutrients it needs to fight germs and bacteria.
  • Take vitamin supplements: If you think your diet might be lacking in vitamins start taking supplements to top up your system. Packs of multi-vitamins are good, just take one daily, or pick something more specific like vitamin C which is a great boost for the immune system in general.
  • Drink plenty of water and fresh orange juice: Get into the habit of drinking a large amount of water to help purify and cleanse your body. Pure orange juice is great as well, it’s packed with vitamin C and good to drink at breakfast, lunch or any time of the day.
  • Stay warm: Keep as warm and as dry as can over the winter and avoid stale air-conditioned environments as well. If you look after yourself during the cold and flu season there’s less chance you’ll catch something nasty that’ll wipe you out for days.

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Prevention, Tiredness.

I am getting really excited about my first FREE talk. Finding ways to get healthier that are working for you is something I always do with my patients. It is part of their treatment just as much as needles are. This time, I want to let people know what they can do for themselves to regain their energy so they don’t even need to come and see me.

 

During this talk, we will be talking about practical ways of beating tiredness and regaining your energy. You will learn:
  • What and How to eat so you are getting all the energy you need from what you are eating (clue: this is NOT about what you must or mustn’t eat)
  • How and How much to exercise so that you are able to get be both fit and healthy (clue: being fit and being healthy aren’t always the same thing)
  • How acupressure (that’s putting some pressure on specific acupuncture points) can help you (clue: there are no needles involved)
Who is it for:
Anyone who feels more tired than usual and is looking for practical ways to help themselves.
When and where is it:
12th November 2012 at 7.00pm. The talk will be held at Yarm Osteopath, 16 High Street Yarm.
How to join:
Its’ FREE! Book your place now. or you can confirm by telephone on 01642 694063
And don’t forget to share with friends too! See you on the 12th!

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Exercise, Prevention, Stress, Tiredness.

So in my last post, I was talking about how it is important to adapt the amount of exercise (and the type of exercise) to your own energy levels.
This time, I would like to talk about practicalities.

1- Check your own energy levels.

If you have already done a 10 hours day, been on your feet all day, you are tired and only want to go to sleep, then this is probably not the right time for you to go for a 4 miles run.

2- Check the time of the day.

 If you want to go to the gym, then doing it in the morning is much better than last thing at night. I do realize that for most people  going for a run at 21h00 is the one and only time in the day where they finally have a bit of time for themselves. Except that it is also the time the body is getting ready to sleep. Instead, the body will go into a ‘woken up mode’ which is at the opposite end of what it’s supposed to do. What it also means is that, if you have problems falling asleep, it will be even more difficult to do so.

3- See how you are feeling after your work out.

 If you are feeling refreshed and dynamic after an hour at the gym, then it’s probably right for you. If you are feeling washed out and tired after a 20 minute swim, then it’s not. It can be that you need to find a more gentle type of exercise (let’s say Yoga instead of Zumba) or that you need to reduce the length of your workout (doing only 20 minutes instead of 1 hour).

4- Know how to differentiate lack of energy from stress

Both will make you feel tired. But in the first case, you want to reduce your exercise routine, whereas in the second case, you want to maintain it or to do some exercise more often. A good way to differentiate tiredness from stress and from lack of energy is the way you feel after some exercise. If you feel full of energy, bouncing around and ready to take on the world, then stress was the likely culprit of your tiredness.

5- Choose your type of exercise according the time of the month.

This is really an advice for women. It takes extra energy to menstruate and because of that, women need to be extra careful at this time of the month. It’s best to avoid strenuous exercise to let the body recover. It is also better to avoid swimming.

6- Remember that exercise isn’t just about going to the gym.

 You can just walk the dog, cycle to work or with your children. You can play football with your children. You can go for a run on your own or join a running club. One of the most important thing you can do is to find something you enjoy doing at the level that is right for you.

7- And above all, ensure that exercise is part of your daily/weekly routine.

 Even if it is only 5 minutes of gentle walking because you are too frail to do more, exercise is important to become and stay healthy.
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Photo by stubailey via Flickr

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Diet, Exercise, Holistic Therapy, Prevention, Stress, Tiredness.

Most of us have heard how the lack of exercise is leading us to more and more health issues. From obesity to heart problem and some cancers, a lot of today’s illnesses have been linked to our sedentary life style. So some people try to go to the gym once a week or go for a run at the end of their working day and get real benefit from it. They are fitter, more relaxed, and have more energy all together.

1- Exercise Is Good For Your Health

Exercise is a fantastic way to help the energy and the blood in your body move. After sitting for hours in our car, in front of our desk and computer, exercise allows us:
  • To move the energy in the body
  • To stimulate the whole body
  • To strengthen and regulate the different systems in the body

 

By doing so, it makes us fitter but also healthier. Exercise helps the energy moves around in the body better, a very good reason why exercise is fantastic to deal with stress and all the issues linked to it (from poor sleep to IBS or anxiety).

Stress can also lead to a feeling of tiredness. When the energy doesn’t flow smoothly in the body, when the energy gets ‘stuck’, the body can’t function optimally. So we feel tired. This is why we can feel much more energetic after a workout. The exercise has helped releasing the energy that was there in the first place but wasn’t ‘accessible’ anymore.
When exercise is good for you, you should feel:
  • Keen to exercise (daily)
  • Happy (ranging from excitement to deep contentment) immediately following exercise
  • Energized and optimistic after exercise
  • A gradual improvement in strength, endurance, and flexibility (physical, as well as mental/emotional)
  • An improvement in all aspects and quality of life
  • A gradual reduction in symptoms of any lingering illness
  • An increased immune system strength, as evidenced by fewer common colds and illnesses

2- But Sometimes, Exercise Is Not Good for You.

Here is the case of Sam, a man in in his mid-30s who started to run to get a bit fitter. He enjoyed it so much, he did longer and longer runs until he decided to train for a marathon. For 5 years, he has been running an average of 5 miles a day and has been doing several marathons each year. But for some time now, he also has started to have problems with his sleep, he needs to get up to go to the loo once or twice every night, something he wasn’t expecting to happen until well into his 60s. He also developed some anxiety and was catching every cold or bugs passing by. Sam was a very fit man but he wasn’t healthy any more. So what was going on?
Sam has been over exercising, going over his own limits energy wise and after a while, it has started to have some effects on his health.
Look at Casey, a young woman who has been diagnosed with ME. She can still go to work but collapses when she arrives back home. She has a quick meal and goes to bed. For Casey, trying to reach the 2~3 hours of exercise a week as recommended by our guidelineswould be very probably send her to bed for a few days.
You are doing too much exercise when you experience:
  • Lethargy or low energy following the exercise routine
  • Pain or soreness prohibiting further exercise
  • Negative attitude following training or towards the exercise, in general
  • Frequent exercise-related injuries
  • The need to reduce intensity of the specific exercise over time
  • The need for significant, regular training aids, such as equipment (e.g. wrist/knee support), liniments (pre- or post- workout), and dietary supplements.

3- So How Much Should You Exercise?

For exercise to be beneficial, you will need to find the right sort of exercise for you as well as the right intensity/length.
This will vary for one person to the next as well as from one week to the next.
You might want to use the guidelines of 2.5 hours a week as a starting point and then work out what is working best for you.
Casey, our woman with ME, might want to try a 10 min gentle walk to start with or try some gently exercise such as yoga.
Sam will need to reduce the length of his daily training and ensure he is scheduling some days rest after running a marathon.
The most important thing is to find the right balance for you between replenishing your energy through exercise and spending energy exercising so that you get the full benefit, getting fitter and healthier.
In my next blog post, I will be looking at how to best exercise (how, when, what to do).
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Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Colds and Flu, Diet, Digestion, Prevention.

I am sure you have heard comments such as ‘Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis’  or ‘Watching too much TV will damage your eyes’. Old wives’ tales are like that, some have might have been useful at some point, some are just superstition and others actually are very useful and efficient. After all, many of the ‘Old wives’ tales’ have been handed down by midwives and healers that were valued medical practitioners.
I have collected for you 6 ‘Old wives’ tales’ that do work.

1- Don’t go outside with wet hair or go to bed with wet hair or you will catch a cold.

According to Chinese Medicine, the damp and the cold (especially in winter) from going outside with a wet hair can lead to an invasion of cold, the start of what we normally call ‘a cold’. Whilst this sounds a bit surprising, research has recently shown that being cold actually lower our immune system, making us more prone to catch a cold.

2- If you feel nauseous, take some ginger.

This is a trick that quite a few pregnant women suffering from morning sickness have tried.  And it works, especially if the woman is tired and tends to be cold. You can buy some ginger capsules over the counter or even better, you can make a brew with about one teaspoon of grated fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. One or two ‘ginger tea’ a day is usually plenty to keep the nausea at bay.

3- Don’t eat spicy foods if you are prone to ulcers.

Mouth ulcers can be due to very different reasons. But if your ulcers look red, either very red-rimmed or pale red-rimmed ulcers, then you probably better keeping off very heating substances such as hot peppers and chilli.

4- Chicken soup will cure your cold.

This is certainly what our grandparents would have told us to do. And with good reasons. Chicken Soup is a really good way to fight tiredness and give you a boost thereby supporting your body to fight the infection off.

5- If you have a stomach ache or indigestion, drink peppermint tea.

Peppermint tea is a cooling and moving herb making the ideal solution when you have over indulged yourself. It will help the stomach to cope with the excess of food and ensure that the food keeps moving (and not stay like a huge weight on your stomach).

6- If your back hurts, put some cold/heat on it.

Actually, I am sure you have realized that the advice here is usually conflicting. Some people advise to put some heat on the painful area and others advise to put some cold.
When your back, neck or joints such as the knee hurt, both cold or heat can help relieving the pain. If the joint is hot to touch, looks red, then cold is the best solution. You can use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and put in your knee for example.
But if the area is at a normal temperature or feels cold, if the pain feels more like an ache, then a heat pad is a better solution. You can use heat pads sold at the chemist or wheat bag warmed in the microwave. Hot water bottles, whilst nicely warm, can be detrimental in the long run as they are also making the area damp, something you really want to avoid if the joint is swollen for example.
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Image by iconoclast 020 via Flickr