Living the Life. I often get expressions of surprise when I tell people that I live much of the time in Tirohanga (Opotiki) and travel fortnightly to Papamoa to work…..why???? Well mainly, the opportunity to Live Life how I have always wanted to. Such as…..
– Growing my own organic vegetables, meat and poultry (in our case ducks).
– Watching the moon rise behind tall trees, through un-curtained
windows and then watching the sun rise the same way.
– The delight of waking to the song of Tui and warblers and often also the sound of my ducks winging past on their way to worms in the back paddock…..those I haven’t managed to catch and give a wing clip to.
The same ducks ‘help’ me dig the garden—often in the way as they scramble for worms…..especially Maisie, the biggest, fattest, boss Muscovy out there. Very tame—I can have ‘duck cuddles ’ at times—usually after a huge feed of cockroaches—caviar to ducks!
– Seeing new calves and ducklings arrive.
– Seeing the garden orchard alive with peach blossom in early spring.
– Only just being able to see the neighbours.
– Enjoying the fragrance of huge frangipani trees.
– Having an empty beach across the road and rivers to swim in on those HOT summer days.
– Always having cats curled up on the bed.
– Watching for the tiny Quail that appear each summer.
Before doing this I was feeling like something had been missed off the ‘bucket list’, and at times life seems so short, ……….and because time is so short I feel it’s best to make the most of every
To do this you need to keep healthy, keep well, keep active and be happy.
This can be difficult at times and to that end I endeavour to be on hand to help as many people as possible through their difficult times.
Seeking help for what appear to BIG problems can often make them seem much smaller.
No doubt this year we will find something new to put on the ‘’list’’!
Summer gut complaints.I am always very wary of re-heating meats during the summer—especially chicken. This is a popular cheap food now-days and often used cold in salads or put on BBQs. Chicken HAS TO BE properly cooked—a little pink in the middle is not good, neither is re-heated, as is often found in take-away meals. The main symptoms of campylobacter is watery, smelly diarrhoea, stomach pain and cramping, fever, headache, sometimes vomiting, muscle ache and tiredness. Dehydration can be common and is important to watch out for in children. Salmonella and Giardia can cause similar symptoms. The very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems will always be the ones at the most risk.
New Zealand has very high levels of campylobacter which is one of the main causes of gastrointestinal complaints—especially in the summer. Campylobacter bacteria is found in the gut of poultry, as well as in other birds and animals. It is spread through contaminated food or contact with infected people. The most common form of contact is via raw or undercooked chicken. Raw chicken ‘juice’ can be on meat packs, MAKE sure you WASH your hands after supermarket visits and make sure raw chicken juice doesn’t touch other foods! Use a separate chopping boards for cutting up chicken/meats and keep them super clean. Campylobacter can also be contracted by drinking from streams and rivers so be very careful with drinking water when camping. I feel that in many cases there can be long term sub-liminal levels present that just cause a mild stomach discomfort, often with bloating and possibly sudden loose bowel motions. For many years I have been able to successfully treat this type of stomach complaint using herbs. This recently has become easier as the appropriate herbs can now be taken in tableted form, where as previously liquids was the main form and tasted YUK! Supplementing with extra minerals is always important especially where watery diarrhoea is present. At times slippery elm powder can be useful to ease gut inflammation and diarrhoea.
More on Posture. In my last article on the importance of Posture—I mentioned that lifting laptop screens higher can help hugely, but that doesn’t help much when using cell phones and iPads. Here the tendency to slouch forward is even worse and the long term effect on the body will not be nice. Thoracic pain, neck and shoulder pain from incorrect and prolonged device use are already extremely common. Having treatments to make sure the body is not all scrunched up IS VERY important but doing regular easy exercise while using these devices can be invaluable. . So try these. Sit in an upright chair (kitchen or good office chair) and look to see exactly what your body shape is. Is the stomach rounded and feeling ‘’stuck out’’, are the shoulders rounded, are the thoracics rounded, is there no curve in the lower back, is your chin sticking out??? Any of these anatomical positions are going to cause problems or pain in the body. Now straighten up, take note of how the stomach tightens and appears less rounded, the shoulders will feel higher and thoracics should be straighter. The chin should be tucked in and neck straight. If you can’t do this without discomfort—you need a treatment. If you can do reasonably well at this—go further. Tuck the stomach in harder still, pull the body up further, relax the shoulders, watch the lower back curve increase.
Now go further still. Take a breath in, stretch your arms up over your head as far as you can, lean very slightly back, hold it there for a moment, breath out as you let the arms relax but continue to hold the body shape. How do you feel? How easy was that? Now you should be in an easy comfortable posture that with practise (and core strength) you should be able to maintain. If it wasn’t easy, if there was pain on stretching up then most likely you need a treatment. At the same time I can also show you other very easy exercises that can help you improve posture and relieve pain and discomfort. Sports people often have other problems due to overworking the muscles. This can also cause pain and at times cramping or spasm. Garred (Sports masseuse) is now available by appointment week days and Saturday mornings to help you in this regard.
Why bother visit a Naturopath? I really do have a love/hate relationship with all the media hype on using health products. It can do a wonderful job of helping people become more informed and educated as to the use of alternative health measures, BUT you should see the shopping bags full (and I do mean full) of products that are brought into the clinic in order for people to show me what they are taking – or alternatively for me to work out what they actually need – usually only about 10%. Unfortunately it is very common to find people wasting a lot of time and money taking the incorrect product and using incorrect dosages.
The over-load can arise when people buy off the shelf on friend’s recommendations or because the symptoms they are experiencing sound the same as those listed beside an advertised product. Also many companies are advertising similar products under different names and the consumer often ends up with several products with similar ingredients, and takes them all. The end result being ‘mega’ dosing of some ingredients to wasteful and sometimes dangerous levels and under dosing of others.
This becomes even more confusing to the consumer when you realise that many products nowadays are ‘standardised”. This means that one particular component of a herb is brought to a much higher level than you would find in an un-standardised product. Another potential problem I see is people self medicating on herbals for much longer than is safe to do so. To be effective ‘natural’ remedies need to be taken in the correct dosages and in the correct combinations. It is often a far better idea to make an appointment with an experienced Naturopath and get things right the first time! I have been in the business of Naturopathy for 29 years now and try my best to keep up with what’s what on the market and to help people sort out their health problems for the least cost where ever possible. Also as a Osteopath I can often help sort out problems that can stem from the spine and may be affecting the entire body. Taking ‘’products’’ in this case are not going to work effectively. If you are a Sports enthusiast, then my son Garred may be able to help you keep in better shape with Sports massage either to help heal or just to keep toned.
(August 2017) Hi everyone, is this spring??? We have daffodils, and other bulbs flowering, a few nice days that are getting longer and some lovely evenings. I can’t believe that it is nearly August and by the time you get this—it will be. Time rushes by, the more you try and fit in—the quicker it goes. Trying to do less is hard BUT is often the best advice.
The Importance of correct POSTURE and how to correct it.
Poor posture can cause many symptoms that can be very worrying, and Osteopathic check-ups are often left far too late. Back pain, neck/shoulder pain, headaches, chest pain, trouble sleeping, dizziness, trouble concentrating/thinking, muscular tension, rapid heartbeat and generally feeling stressed etc. can often be avoided if the body’s balance is corrected regularly.
Posture can also greatly affect your ability to breathe correctly and may affect your blood pressure, especially if you are in the habit of stooping, sitting in a slumped position or leaning forward while at the computer. You can check the difference in your blood pressure by having a blood pressure monitor at home and checking your blood pressure while in your normal sitting position and then again when you have made an effort to sit upright, back straight, shoulders back…… but relaxed. Breathing can be especially affected if using devices with small keyboards such as laptops, IPads and cell phones. These have the keys closer together and this creates “shoulder scrunch” with tense muscles and reduced circulation. Using the mouse in the middle of the keyboard further scrunches the body and can reduce the capacity to breathe fully. Try to use a laptop on a raised stand (screen at eye level) and with a separate key board and mouse …its make a HUGE difference.
Poor posture can also be habitual or caused by poor work positions. Working long hours on a computer, driving, lifting, carrying can all contribute to this problem. While walking and sitting make more effort to keep the back straight with the shoulders relaxed and most importantly make sure that the chin is not pushed forward. If you find this difficult then often an Osteopathic spinal treatment or a good firm massage will help. This is because if the thoracic, shoulder or neck areas are extremely tight and restricted then relaxing this area and allowing it to move can make a huge difference to the posture. Similarly, if the lower back is misaligned and restricted then correcting this can make a huge difference to how you feel and move.
(July 2017)Hello folks, well we can say we are now on the upward road to Summer…I always feel like that anyway once the shortest day has passed. Makes me feel very optimistic! I do love some of the calm days we have during winter, when the beach is so still and the colours lovely….but it is still very up-lifting to look forward to the energy of spring.
Sports massage. Sports massage is specifically designed to help athletes perform at their peak. The techniques used during a Sports massage are similar to those used during a Swedish massage, but can work much deeper into the muscles. During a Sports massage the therapist will often work on individual injuries and problems and one session may be taken up working specifically on this problem, rather than working on the entire body.
Sports massage can do a number of things: it has the ability to reduce muscle tension, soreness and swelling. The reduction of muscle tension can help reduce an athlete’s chances of sustaining injury.
It can help remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourages the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which will help them recover quicker.
It can stretch muscles that could not otherwise be stretched by the usual methods.
It can help break down scar tissue which could be the result of previous injuries and can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
Sports massage may also help to reverse the hardening of tissues which can be the result of long term hard training.
When having a massage is very important to speak up, and let your therapist know if you need the pressure to be corrected – if you need them to lighten up because it is too deep, or to apply more because it is not deep enough. Most people need more pressure in some areas and less in others.
(June 2017) Hi everyone, well I am back from a lovely break in Samoa with my daughter. What a wonderful place to relax and un-wind. A break like that does wonders for the body—including the blood pressure. However if you are un-able to take a break and have problem with blood pressure here are some notes that may help.
Problems with high Blood Pressure.
A rise in blood pressure is a common problem as people get older, as our arteries gradually become less pliable and hormone levels change (sad but true), our posture deteriorates. It is often noticed more markedly when people are working hard and although they don’t always notice it, they are often over stressed. A little ‘stress’ can be a good thing and can keep you motivated but for many, too much stress is ‘normal’ in today’s lifestyle and goes un-noticed. The body sure notices though and starts to give us warning that not all is well. Blood pressure rises, cholesterol rises, sleep deteriorates, energy lags and if we are not careful life becomes a drag.
By using natural treatments it is possible to modify these symptoms but ideally we need to look at the underlying causes first. Dietary changes may be necessary and sources of stress may have to be addressed by making changes to our busy lifestyle.
Finding time to relax and enjoy life, go for a walk, go to Yoga or Tai Chi, have a regular massage can be wonderful, but not always easy to achieve.
Adding natural treatments can help.
These can include:
–Taking Colloidal minerals
-Herbals such as Californian Poppy and Passionflower can be useful, often combined with Ginseng for added strength.
-Eating more oily fish or taking high strength fish oil capsules can help blood
circulation and ease BP in some people. (remember that good fish oil does NOT TASTE ‘FISHY!) Herbs such as Olive, Garlic, Cayenne and Hawthorn can help. I can if necessary make up herbal blends similar to other marketed ’heart’ drops and if necessary add relaxing herbs to the same blend.
Red yeast Rice extract can help with high cholesterol problems but should be teamed with Co-enzyme Q10. At times liver herbs can also help in this regard, providing all hard fats, excess sugars, refined carbs etc have already been removed from the diet.
Getting adequate, good sleep is important, this is when the body relaxes, rests and rejuvenates.
Posture too is very important as when the upper body slumps, or the shoulders are too tense blood pressure will also tend to rise….take note of how you use your computer!
(May 2017) Hi everyone, we are now shifting into winter, so time for a closer look at your own AND your family’s immune system. I will be taking myself away for a week or so in May to help recharge my own immune system, but for those that are un-able to do that, below are a few hints to help get through the winter un-hindered by coughs, colds and flus.
Immune system up-grade.
Firstly, ALWAYS take a mineral supplement. I use Colloidal minerals on a daily basis as without adequate minerals your body just can’t maintain a healthy immune system.
Secondly, have a healthy diet—free of added sugars and refined foods and high in fruit & veges. This is hugely important as your Vitamins are supplied by the diet and by a healthy gut. Minerals aid in the manufacture of vitamins. Generally a healthy, sugar free diet will help maintain healthy gut flora –but not always. Stress, antibiotics, microbes from unwashed hands, inadequately cooked or reheated foods can upset the balance. A bloated gut, badly formed or smelly bowel motions will let you know that the gut is unhappy. A course of the correct probiotic or a course of herbs to get rid of unhealthy microbes, such as Intestinal support type herbs can work wonders. Reflux or excessive burping will tell you the stomach is not able to digest adequately. The correct food enzyme will help, but the diet may well need improving.
It is also a great idea to take a course of immune boosting herbs over the winter months. Propolis, Echinacea, Golden Seal, Thyme, Sage, Olive, Elderberry are just a few of the herbs that can help in this respect. Most can be taken as a low dose for several months and it pays to start before the winter really sets in and also before air travel.
Propolis (full strength) used as a few drops on the back of the throat at night is a fantastic immune boost and prevents sore / tickly throats becoming something worse. I also have a convenient throat spray that also contains Propolis that is great for the handbag or for work, or to use frequently when travelling by air. I also have a lovely Thai balm that is great to use around a sore or tickly throat.
Always get adequate rest and sleep, especially if feeling un-well. This may not always be easy, but also cannot be over emphasized as the body heals and rejuvenates when sleeping. Boring maybe BUT necessary! If these measures fail and you find yourself with a cold, Quercetin can be brilliant to help clear the head & chest and help prevent a re-occurrence. Taken before bed, Quercetin can also ease the congestion that can build-up over night.
Sleep problems: (April 2017)
Getting adequate sleep can be BIG problem for many people and it is very important to get adequate sleep as that is when the body rejuvenates and heals. There are a great number of sleep ‘remedies’ on the market, but as is usual I find that only a few actually work well and in some cases people choose the wrong remedy for their situation. For example if the body is in pain then a treatment that does not address this is not likely to help as well as it should. For this reason it is ALWAYS best to have an Osteopathic treatment initially, as in ALL cases an uncomfortable or painful body will ALWAYS cause sleep issues. In many cases an Osteopathic treatment may be all that will be required.
In cases where there is inflammatory pain, then addressing this with something like a high dose Turmeric or Tart Cherry, as well as a treatment maybe needed. In cases of excessive tension
Magnesium may make a huge difference.
Relaxing herbs may also help. For some people Valerian has long been a wonderful help in improving sleep especially where there is STRESS involved. Other herbs such as passionflower, hops, kava, and californian poppy. …..are also wonderful in helping the body to relax. I usually make these up into individual blends that are specific for each person to get maximum results. Make an appointment if you think this option is best for you.
Tart Cherry can also be wonderful both where the melatonin levels are low—which is common as coffee, alcohol, stress, late nights, blue light (TV, computers) and age can all cause levels to drop. Melatonin not only helps induce sleep but also increases the duration of sleep.
Tart Cherry is also one of the original treatments for inflammation and GOUT. Adenosine can also be useful in some circumstances (it appears to really help stop that mind whizzing round—just when you want it be calm). Several of the Bach flower remedies can also help in this regard.
Saving your memory: (March 2017)
As we get older I think we all get worried about our memory lapses at some stage. I know I do (am I tired, moving too fast or just plain getting old!). However there are a few natural remedies that can truly help improve or retain your cognitive ability.
Ginkgo Biloba—is a well known treatment which may show benefits in mood, alertness, and mental ability in healthy people who take it. However it does not appear to actually prevent dementia although it may help improve or stabilize symptoms so that they don’t get worse. Although ginkgo biloba is generally safe, you should be aware of its blood-thinning properties. Stop using ginkgo biloba before surgery or dental procedures. Your risk for bleeding is also greater if you are taking any medication to thin the blood.
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is another effective herb and is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal remedy, used as a nerve and brain tonic for improving memory, learning, and concentration. Both these herbs are effective because they increases cerebral blood flow, delivering more oxygen, nutrients, and glucose to the brain.
Overall I prefer to use these herbs in conjunction with phosphatidylserine as found in Neuro-Max11. Phosphatidylserine, is a compound similar to a dietary fat which is highly prevalent in human neural tissue. It can be synthesized as well as consumed through the diet , but further benefits can be gained through supplementation. It is vital for cognitive function and supplementation in older persons seems to improve memory and cognitive capacity as in more focus and better speed of recall. See Article on memory:
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is also a traditional Ayurvedic natural remedy. It has been given a lot of attention recently for its use as a antioxidant, for arthritis and also for memory as people who consume it as part of their traditional cuisine apparently have the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s in the world.Curcumin, turmeric’s main active ingredient, can improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow, neurotransmitter formation, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates new brain cell production. All work better of course if you have adequate B Vitamins (especially choline), adequate sleep, less stress etc…..
Joint pain—why put up with it! (February 2017)
Many, many people have joint pain—often resulting from old injuries sustained when we were younger (and supposedly bullet proof). There are also many, many natural treatments on the market that claim they can help ease this pain. Some work, some don’t and this can be very confusing. There are several that I have found over the years that do work, however, I ALWAYS find that having an osteopathic treatment before trying any remedy is beneficial and may need to be continued at intervals. This is because no joint/pain remedy is going to help optimally if the body is out of alignment……as the joints will be too.
Having done that, some that I have seen work very well are: Magnesium—always needs to be used where there is persistent muscular tension remaining once an Osteopathic treatment has been given. I find the Glycinate versions probably work best. Always better in the long term when combined with Colloidal minerals.
Tart Cherry—this is a very old natural treatment for gout and can be also be effective for any arthritic pain. Particular brands can be very good—but not all (see me). Often best used where there is an associated problem with sleep as it can improve serotonin levels and also acts as an anti-oxidant.
Artemisia— long used for gut problems and as a lot of joint pain can be associated with ‘’leaky gut’’ syndrome this can be extremely effective where there is joint pain of the arthritic type associated with bowel/gut problems.
Turmeric—can be very effective in higher doses. Once again some brands are very good but not others. (See me for my take on this!)
Glucosamine— can work very well and often can be used as the cheaper Glucosamine HCL version rather than the expensive Glucosamine Sulphate with equal results (in my opinion anyway).
‘’Seatone’’ – Green lipped mussel extract—an old but effective treatment. Green lipped muscle contains Glucosamine in its natural form and also fish oils and other nutrients. It is best used long term as results often take 2-4 weeks to become noticeable. Fish oils—always a good idea where the intake of oily fish or oils in general in the diet is limited. Has a mild anti-inflammatory action but mainly improves blood flow.
The importance of enzymes in food (Nov 2016)
For the last few newsletters I have been trying to interest people in the importance of fresh, raw foods and the use/effect of different components in our foods. One I find that is often known about but not emphasised enough is the importance of enzymes.
These are in all raw, uncooked, unprocessed foods but are destroyed by heat. They are particularly high in fruits such as kiwifruit, pineapple and papaya. Enzymes have a huge number of uses in the body. They help improve digestion and therefore increase nutrient bio-avaialability. This is important as all enzymes are proteins so initially all proteins have to be broken down (digested) in order for the body processes to take place. http://alisonodey.com/enzymes-facts/
They are required by the body to: Help balance pH of body fluids. Build & repair tissue. To maintain a strong immune system. Produce energy and many other actions. For more information go to: http://alisonodey.com/enzymes-what-they-do/
The ability to digest protein properly is not a simple problem .As protein itself has to be digested and broken down into its components in order for other enzymes to be produced. This is why other types of enzymes are added to a product that may contain mainly protease. I have used and recommended NESS enzymes for many years as they are of vegetarian origin (no animal guts), are gentle, effective and come in different strengths and combinations to suit varying conditions For instance where someone has a very sensitive stomach, or has been using a medication such as LOSEC for some time, I can use a very mild enzyme product (often combined with slippery elm powder) until such time that the stomach lining has healed to the point that a stronger product can be tolerated. Where someone has had their gall bladder removed then specific enzymes can be used to help overcome problems digesting fats and oils. This can at times be a lengthy process but in many cases can be quite simple, it really depends on the initial situation.
Sprouting nuts & seeds. (October 2016)
Phytic acid is a compound that humans can’t digest. It is found in all nuts & seeds. Phytic acid is a strategy employed to prevent the nut or seed from sprouting before the ideal conditions are present. Essentially it binds to the minerals in the food and prevents us from absorbing them, therefore nutrients in foods will do you little good if the phytic acid in the food is preventing your body from using them. Phytic acid can also interfere with digestive enzymes and otherwise irritate your gut. Soaking and sprouting replicates germination, which activates and multiplies nutrients (particularly Vitamins A, B, and C), neutralizes enzyme inhibitors (such as phytic acid) and promotes the growth of vital digestive enzymes. Note that many “raw” nuts and seeds have been pasteurized and irradiated. Truly raw almonds and peanuts will sprout, but those that have been pasteurized and irradiated will “activate” with soaking, but will not physically “sprout.” However, soaking still removes anti-nutrients which helps improve the absorption of nutrients, increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible.
Protease inhibitors inhibit some of the key enzymes that help us digest protein they also prevent you from breaking down the proteins from everything else in your gut at the time. Found in soybeans, and also found in other beans, grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables of the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant) and various fruits and vegetables. Cooking deactivates most of the protease inhibitors. However the protease inhibitors in soybeans are not only more numerous than those found in other beans and foods, but more resistant to neutralization by cooking and processing. Only the old-fashioned fermentation techniques used to make miso, tempeh and natto come close to deactivating all of them. But given the growing tendency to use al dente cooking and “live food” (raw) vegan diets, more and more people are eating foods with their protease inhibitor content intact. This in turn may cause problems with protein breakdown/digestion. Hope this helps a little, if not, do some more research yourself……..what to eat and keep healthy, can be confusing.