Understanding Spinal Disc injury (April 2019)
The discs are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae. They have a rubbery casing and a jelly like contents. The health of the disc
depends on the internal pressure of the disc remaining stable. This will increase if standing correctly erect or lying down and decrease by compression if posture is in-correct. Such as when slouching, stooping or bending especially if repetitive or prolonged, or by sudden load while in a bent or twisted position.
The discs have few nerve endings and do not give warning when they are under stress, therefore the pain of injury may appear to be sudden and the patient unaware that they have ‘done anything’ to cause it.
Muscles and ligaments will produce pain when fatigued or stretched whereas discs will cause pain as the bulging disc presses on nerves around the spine. There may be pain down the leg, in the feet, or numbness, pins & needles or weakness in the muscles.
Diagnosis is made by the clinical picture. Sometimes XRays help, but they do not show the disc accurately. MRI is the most accurate but usually has to be referred by an orthopaedic surgeon and is expensive. Osteopathic tests can give a reasonably accurate estimate of the degree of nerve injury and the rate of improvement.
A bulge of the disc often recovers quickly, but can be easily
aggravated and lead to a full disc collapse where the fluids burst out of the disc and cause swelling around the nerve, if not carefully managed. Recovery from a disc injury can be slower than from a muscle or joint injury. Allow a good 6-8 weeks.
To aid recovery:
– Avoid bending, sitting and driving as much as possible. The most comfortable is often lying on your side or back with the knees
supported. When getting up from lying down, roll on your side and push up with your hands.
– Exercise by lying on your back and gently rocking with knees drawn to the chest.
– Once you are mobile – gentle swimming, cycling the legs in water or aqua jogging can help.
– Make sure you sit correctly – no slouching.
– Gentle massage/stretching and Osteopathic treatments can help.
– Anti-inflammatories either herbal orthodox will ease muscle pain but not always nerve pain.
– Taking magnesium will often help as it aids the surrounding
muscles to relax.
Treating older clients (March 2019)
I have always enjoyed treating my older clients. Many are very
interesting to talk to and have a thing or two to teach us about
enduring change and handling life’s adversity. Even if a senior’s
hearing or memory isn’t what it was in the past, there is often great wisdom to impart.
I guess I am an ‘’older’’ person myself now, a grandmother and great grandmother. My memory isn’t perfect any more either, neither is my body not as flexible as it was 30 years ago, but because of these things it has become easier to understand the concerns of the older person…and I also, hopefully, have great wisdom and expertise to impart!
The older person’s body often has a story to tell as well and sadly not always a very comfortable one – and that is where my job comes in. I love being able to gently coerce the older body into becoming more comfortable, more flexible, more moveable.
It’s a joy to see people who were previously having trouble walking to the letterbox become able to walk to the shops again.
To see those who were in constant pain feel pain ease.
To hear that people who were previously unable to sleep, gradually start having more hours comfortable refreshing sleep.
To see those that were perhaps feeling a little depressed, start to feel better in themselves and those whose energy was lacking start to feel more energized and able to enjoy life to a better degree.
I do not have a magic wand, but I do understand the small things that can make the difference between an enjoyable, effective treatment and one that is not – and I enjoy a challenge!
I can and do combine Naturopathic treatment with Osteopathic treatments which means that treatments can often be far more in depth and cover multiple problems. This can be useful because there is very seldom one single cause to a problem, there is always multiple facets to everything.
Older people are not always eager to seek help for their problems and often self –manage things or take on board unsolicited advice, which may not always be accurate and in doing so can miss out on effective simple treatment. Sad.
My clinic is not on a main road, so is usually quiet and parking (usually) easy. So if you live nearby and would like some help – make an appointment!
Sulphite Allergy (February 2019)
Suffering from air-borne allergies is one thing, at least you can say that that is an act of nature, but suffering from an allergy to a man made additive is another. Most are avoidable if you know what to look for.
One of the most common additive groups that cause people problems is Sulphites and an amazing number of people do not even recognize the fact that it causing a problem. Sulphites are added to processed foods to stop them browning or changing colour. Bright orange dried apricots are a good example. (Naturally dried apricots will be dark brown or black).
Symptoms of sulphite allergy can vary from a stuffy/ runny nose, a mildly flushed face or a mild headache to abdominal pain, breathing difficulties, severe headache, irritability or anger and usually occur with in half an hour or so of consuming a sulphite additive. Because one of the major food groups that this additive appears in is wines and beers many people I have come across interpret these feelings as being mildly (or majorly!) intoxicated and yet it is often not the alcohol causing the problem but the sulphite added.
Sulphites can also be the problem behind many asthma attacks and headaches.
Sulphites can be checked for in food products by simply checking the labels for the additive number code. Sodium Dioxide (220) is in most wines, beers, many fruit juices and dried fruits as well as many other food products. Look also for Sodium Sulphite (221), Sodium Hydrogen Sulphite (222), Sodium Metabisulphite (223) and Potassium Metabisulphite (224).
As a rule sulphite levels are higher in cask wine than in bottled wine and often in higher concentrations in white wine than in red, when the natural tannins help preserve the wine. There are a few wines available that the wine-makers state that they haven’t added
sulphites too, but even these may have very low levels of sulphite
Many naturally brewed beers however, appear to be free of this additive.
If you think you have been affected by a sulphite additive, often the symptoms can be alleviated by using a natural antihistamine product such as those that contain Quercetin.
Evening Primrose Oil taken in larger doses can also help because of its anti-inflammatory action.
I have also seen a great improvement to allergies in general once people have taken a course of specific Probiotics.
SKIN – taking care of it (Jan 2019)
Sun, sea, wind, bad diet…. the skin always tells a story. However we can help improve some of the outward signs that show themselves on our skin.
Dry skin can be caused through a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet. Try using Organic Evening Primrose oil or taking more fish oils. The skin will also often look dry and ‘wrinkly’ if the body is
dehydrated. A major improvement can often be obtained simply by drinking far more water. A quick check can be to pinch the skin on the back of the hand. A well hydrated skin will feel and look quite ‘plump’, whereas a dehydrated skin will feel and look thin and dry.
Lack of elasticity (wrinkles), can be a sign of mineral deficiency but in some instances can also be caused through a low protein intake and/or lack of exercise and toning…or unfortunately, age, as the skin loses some of its collagen.
Ex-smokers will always have a tendency to wrinkle prematurely no matter how long ago they last smoked!
Brownish skin spots are often considered to be a sign of poor liver function (hence being called ‘liver spots’), but are actually caused by long term sun exposure which causes excessive melanin production. Use a chemical free sun block…ALL the time.
Skin will look pale if iron levels are low and will lack lustre where mineral deficiency is general and/or the body tired. Even a healthy diet can be mineral deficient as most of our produce is grown on mineral deficient soils and our body’s requirements are much higher if living under some stress and subject to pollution – and who isn’t nowadays. Taking more minerals (ideally the Colloidal variety) can help greatly.
Sleep is of major importance and I feel is greatly under-rated when it comes to skin looking good. Dark shadows under the eyes are a dead give-away but can also occur where there is a problem with the liver and/or intolerance to certain foods.
When it comes to what to put on your skin it is important to avoid any skin creams that are based on petroleum synthetics or
derivatives. Check the ingredients. Buy creams based on Vit E or
natural oils such as avocado, almond, jojoba, coconut or Aloe Vera.
Applying Organic Aloe Vera to the skin directly night and morning helps greatly to protect from sun and wind, helps heal damaged skin and best of all can help tighten up those very fine lines! However, the majority of healing and improvement has to come from inside.
The Importance of gut health. (Dec 2018)
This is particularly important in summer when it is so easy to get gastrointestinal infections from improperly cooked chicken or
reheated foods. Interestingly this can include rice.
“Uncooked rice can contain spores of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will multiply and may produce poisons that cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
Reheating the rice won’t get rid of these poisons’’. Put all
cooked rice in the fridge and throw away after 2 days if un-used.
There are several antibiotic type herbs that are effective if
gastrointestinal infection is suspected.
Remember Hippocrates “all disease begins in the gut”. This is so true as more and more research shows that the microbial populations of the gut and gut functioning is linked to almost every known
This not only includes digestive problems, bowel conditions, allergies, autoimmune problems but also every other inflammatory
condition including joint problems and arthritis. Gut dysbiosis and ‘’leaky’’ gut are also thought to have a lot to do with depression and imbalanced mental states.
This is because the gut houses a massive number of nerves that
influence the whole body and also has a huge effect on the immune system.
Even a minor disruption in the gut can have consequences on the rest of the body.
There are several obvious things that can disrupt the delicate
balance of the gut.
2. Excess Sugar
Then there are less known things such as:
1. An unvaried diet– for example a diet that is high in carbs and
proteins but contains little or no fruit and veges.
2. Too little exercise.
3. Lack of sunshine (Vit D)
6. In many cases gluten
To improve your gut health and therefore your overall health you can take note of all the above points and add a few more items!
1. Use food enzymes with meals to improve digestion
2. Use more organic foods.
3. Try using fermented foods
4. Use specific probiotics if needed.
PMS. (November 2018)
PMS is the cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that appear
during the luteal (later) phase of the menstrual cycle and diminish or completely disappear after the onset of the menstrual cycle.
These symptoms can range from the psychological symptoms such as mood swings, depression and irritability to physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating and headache.
It is thought that PMS can be brought about by a hormonal
imbalance between progesterone and estrogen.
However, the reasons for these imbalances occurring can be unclear as all bodily systems can influence hormonal balance.
My own opinion is that PMS is predominantly a disorder brought on by inflammation, hence many treatments that have an
anti-inflammatory action will help. The most predominant of these being DIET! Therefore treatment should take into account nutritional
insufficiencies, and psychological/stress factors as well as the use of herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Evening Primrose Oil, is a great anti-inflammatory. Used at a dosage of 3000mg per dose 1-3 times daily can also be excellent for feelings of anxiety and also for those nasty “weepy’ phases. Also useful for breast tenderness.
Where breast tenderness is a problem it is important to avoid all excess sugars, fats, ‘junk’ foods, Coke, wine and coffee as they will greatly compromise liver function and cause inflammation and tenderness to worsen. In many instances this can be the sole cause of breast tenderness and other PMS symptoms.
Avoiding these foods groups also helps avoid mood swings.
Other herbal treatments work extremely well where any hormonal
imbalance is concerned as they stimulate the pituitary to work more effectively, hence providing a better balance of hormones.
Most need to be taken over a period of 3-4 months (not weeks) to be really effective, while at the same time looking to the diet.
The herb Chaste Tree is often the herb of choice as a tonic to the female reproductive system. Chaste Tree is best used throughout the cycle, not just in the latter half. Other herbs such as Dong Quai, may relieve heavy clotting and dark unhealthy looking bleeding. Wild Yam, Black Cohosh and Paeonia, may also be useful as balancers and tonics.
Saving your memory. (October 2018)
A question I get asked frequently, is how to improve memory.
Many people are also very concerned about the likely hood of other brain orientated diseases occurring as they age. It is an area of health in which scientific research is continuing but still has to come up with reliable treatments. This is majorly because causes are so little understood and possibilities so varied.
The human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change—even into old age. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and memory can improve. Try these pointers to improve your memory.
– Do more physical exercise, it brings more oxygen and glucose to the brain. Extremely important.
– Get sufficient sleep…….Tart Cherry can help
– Relax, make time for friends and have a good laugh
– Keep stress in check.
– Eat a brain-boosting diet—lots of fresh foods and oily fish.
– Give your brain a workout—try learning something new, or do cross words.
– Identify and treat health problems—high BP and diabetes could cause memory decline, but be aware that some medications such as antidepressants, sleeping tablets etc, can make memory sluggish.
Many people know of the benefits of using Gingko Biloba which very definitely helps improve memory. It works by dilating the very small capillaries and there fore improving blood flow through out the body and to the brain. It does need to be taken daily and long term.
The addition of Phosphatidylserine however, can further improve the action of Gingko. Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid which is known to enhance cellular metabolism and communication. It is also thought to protect the nerve cells from free radical damage and
increases nutrition to the brain.
Most studies done on the use of Phosphatidylserine have been done using either Parkinson’s patients or those with Alzheimers rather than with people with more minor problems, but the results show a definite improvement in name/face and name/place cognition, also recall of events from the previous day or week, and in ability to concentrate.
Organic or neglected? (September 2018)
Many people are—or should be—attempting to grow their own
organic foods. However, the term organic means foods that are grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticides. This does not
necessarily mean there are No fertilizers or pesticides used.
It might be nice (and easier) to say that your garden is organic – therefore healthy—when in actual fact if there is no effort put into fertilizing the soils or avoiding critters, then you are not getting the best nutrition you can from those foods.
Foraged foods also (weeds) may sound very natural and presumably organic but may not always particularly nutritional….or even organic if picked from along road sides or drains.
Fertilizing the soil adequately to grow great veges can be hard work.
I can remember when one of my grand-daughters dug in just one barrow of cow manure for me and afterwards came back with the comment ‘’Nana, I will never complain about the price of organic food again—that was hard work!’’…..and it is. I have dug in many, many barrows of cow dung over the years!
I have also tried using sea weeds. These can be soaked to make a seaweed concentrate, then diluted to a ”tea” and watered or sprayed on, but if dug into compost directly often do not rot down very well.
In the past I have had better results rinsing off the salt and spreading the seaweed over the lawn to dry. Once dry put the lawn mower over with the catcher on. The resulting blend of lawn clippings and sea weed rots down very well in the compost or dug directly into the garden.
Worm farms work very well and are great for the small gardener. They also however need a little care. Worms do not like citrus or onion skins. They do not like being too wet or too hot. Normal kitchen waste is great but is utilized better if layered with a little dry hay or maybe shredded newspapers. The resulting concentrate needs to be diluted before use, so it looks like a weak tea. If put on too strong, small seedlings can just drop dead!
Compost itself has to be properly managed, turned adequately and often needs lime added. If not it will just be a stinky rotting mess.
So try growing your own…in pots if need be, and have fun!
Do Not be reluctant! (August 2018)
I decided to write this as I have had many people in the clinic
over the years who initially have been VERY reluctant to come but after one treatment have left wondering why they never made the move previously.
They may been a little achy the next day but after that movement that previously had been difficult or stiff started to become easier and life more enjoyable.
This often happens with older people who are un-used to any type of alternative treatment. But there is no need. My treatments are simple, gentle, non-evasive and you will feel quite safe!
I think lack of ease in ”normal’’ movement creeps up on people .
The ease of turning over in bed, becomes hold on to one side and pull.
The ease of swinging out of bed becomes a slow turn and push up while wondering if your feet are going to hurt when put on the floor.
The ease of turning the head while backing the car,becomes……..better to use the mirrors!
The ease of jumping up out of a low chair becomes a slide forward to the edge of the seat and careful push-up with the arms.
The ease of getting up from the floor having got down on the floor to do some floor exercises, becomes a slow crawl to the nearest firm object in order to pull your self back to the feet. Get the picture?
And often people don’t even realise its happening OR pass it off as ‘’just getting old’’. Well we all get older BUT we don’t all have to be slow and stiff.
Osteopathic work combined with massage, muscle releases and stretching can help tremendously.
Sometimes only one treatment is necessary but for most people the most benefit is gained if these treatments are combined with regular exercise and on-going monthly treatments.
At times herbal or other natural remedies can be of help.
Some have a lovely anti-inflammatory action.
Others have a protective effect on the cartilage and stomach.
However be careful of taking doses that are too high….more is NOT always better!
In many cases extra magnesium is of great help. If taking magnesium it is best to take it AWAY from meals as it is very alkaline and can have a detrimental affect on your digestion.
Foot pain. (July 2018)
Feet, they are extremely important, more important than we give them credit for. Some time ago I attended a seminar that reminded me of this and also the incredible weights that get transferred through our feet with each step we take.
Because the feet are very small compared with the rest of the body, the impact of each step exerts tremendous force upon them. This force is about 50% greater than the person’s body weight and far more if running.
Not surprisingly, foot pain is very common. Some foot pain is caused by shoes that do not fit properly or that force the feet into unnatural shapes. It can also be caused by misalignment in the lumbar spine.
A problem in the lumbar spine is going to affect the hips, knees and feet. The reverse is also true. If there is a problem with your feet then you will most likely also have a problem with your knees, hips and lumbar spine.
The warning signals that something is not quite right can be simple things such as your feet ‘burning’ at night, feet that are painful to put on the floor in the morning, knees that ache (often medially), knees that ‘click’ (often if going up stairs), hips and lumbar that ache or feel stiff or your bottom ‘sticking out’ when you walk!
The foot is a complex structure of 26 bones and 33 joints, and all these need to be in the correct alignment if the foot is to serve its functions adequately and without pain. The feet help not only to support weight and act as a shock absorbers but also serve as levers to propel the leg forward and help maintain balance by adjusting the body to uneven surfaces.
These problems can and should be remedied as if left to ‘just come right’ then you risking bigger problems occurring later on. Joints will ‘wear’ unevenly, leading to arthritis then leading to knee and hip ‘replacements’.
An Osteopathic treatment should ideally check all and correct all components.
Sore throat & Sinus: (June 2018)
The first thing to know is that sore or tickly throats needn’t
necessarily turn into a full blown cold or flu as long as you treat it
immediately you notice the throat feeling uncomfortable, AND
always make an effort to keep the immune system as strong as possible.
One of the best and fastest methods I know of to treat a sore throat, is to use full strength Propolis extract (NOT the lozenges) and put 1-2 drops directly on the back of the throat 2-3 times daily. Follow it with a mouthful of water.
It is safe to swallow as it is also a very effective method of boosting the immune system. It may also be used diluted as a gargle but often this is not direct enough to stop an infection in its tracks.
Propolis is an excellent antibiotic for any mouth/throat infection and especially for the gums as it tends to ‘stick’ and not wash off directly. However it does stain if dropped onto anything and can be very difficult to remove so use it carefully, it’s worth the effort!
(For convenience I also have throat sprays that contain Propolis plus Echinacea, Sage and St John’s Wort. Not as strong but great if you want a spray for handbags, the desk or while travelling.
Great to take on a plane to stop infection).The next important step is to always take the LifeSprings Colloidal minerals, at least 1tbsp daily to help build the body’s immunity. These contain Zinc in good quantities which has direct anti-viral activity and is essential for immune system function.
If sinus is a problem, then I find that Quercetin is extremely
effective. Quercetin works by inhibiting histamine release and therefore helps prevent allergic reactions as well as being a great
anti-inflammatory and reducing swelling and congestion. It is also effective as an anti-bacterial, but if infection is severe then further anti-bacterial herbals will be needed.
Anti-congestive and anti-spasmodic herbals are also great to use after a cold or flu to get rid of a persistent cough or chest
Where chest congestion, sinus or a cough remains persistent then make an appointment for an Osteopathic treatment— this can help greatly in decongesting the chest and/or the sinuses.
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) .
It is often noticed more markedly when people are working hard and
although they don’t always notice it, they are 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 cause s first.
Dietary changes may be necessary and sources of stress may have to
addressed by making changes to our busy lifestyle.
Exercise may need to be increased in some cases or decreased in others—don’t push too hard!
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 Hawthorne daily. This can help hugely.
–Taking extra magnesium—works best with Colloidal minerals taken daily.
-Eating more oily fish or taking high strength fish oil capsules (remember that good fish oil does NOT TASTE ‘FISHY!) can help some people.
–Co-enzyme Q10 at times can help others.
–Taurine may be needed in some instances
-Other herbs such as Olive, Garlic, Cayenne can also
We are all individuals and treatments ideally need to be prescribed individually.
Red yeast rice can often help those with high cholesterol. 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.
The best prevention is to be AWARE and do what ever is necessary early.
Some things are so Very Simple.
I have been in business as a Naturopath and Osteopath for 30 years. It is a long time and there is much I have learned over time that books cannot teach you (empirical knowledge). One of these things is that in many instances the answer to a person’s problems can be so very simple. No need for expensive treatments.
Here are several:
Take sleep for example. In many cases people struggle with poor, irregular and unrefreshing sleep. A very simple old fashioned remedy that works well is NUTMEG. Nutmeg taken correctly is not just a spice to add to the top of junket but a very good way to help soothe and relax the body, and aid sleep.
Do not over does with this spice! Just use 1/2 tsp mixed into warm milk, with a half tsp of honey and take before bed time….or if you wake at 2am take it then! It can also be mixed with yoghurt.
If that doesn’t help and you are still waking at night then it may be time to bring your body into see me for an Osteopathic treatment
Often very simply releasing the tension in the body and realigning/rebalancing the body can make a world of difference . Not only to the way the body relaxes and sleeps but to a myriad of other aches and pains.
Another very simple thing to be aware of is dehydration. I probably should have mentioned this earlier in the year—however a very easy way to check whether your body is dehydrated is to simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If it is wrinkly rather than plump looking and doesn’t bounce back into place—then your body is dehydrated and will not be functioning at optimum. You may feel ‘fuzzy’ in your thinking, confused……and be aware of children becoming dehydrated as well, they will just grizzle!
Bloated stomach—this is extremely common and can often be simply remedied by stopping the eating of bread. This may be because you are not digesting gluten adequately and need to cut down. Try using rice or corn products instead. If no improvement, then make an appointment to see me.
Frequent ‘’migrains’’ or headaches—check for ‘’220’’ (sulphites) in all your foods—The common culprit is wine, but also some dried fruits. If no change then bring your body in for a spinal check—mis-alignment /tension of the neck can also cause frequent headaches, confusion, fuzziness, poor eye sight etc.
For more you may have to visit me in the clinic.
This is one of the most common complaints that people present with when they visit this clinic. There can be many reasons for this including the following:
Go to http://alisonodey.com/energy-lack-of-it/ for all web site links
Mineral deficiencies—some people may think of Iron deficiency (anaemia) as being a possible reason behind their tiredness, but often other mineral deficiencies can be implicated. This can be easily remedied by using a good quality liquid mineral. There are many of these on the market but I have not found that they all are equally effective. However I have in the clinic a colloidal mineral supplement that so far has never failed to please.
Spinal misalignment – this can cause pain and ANY pain will make the body tired, but also can be the cause of very tired legs, sore feet and general lack of energy.
See me for an Osteopathic consultation if this sounds like you.
Inflammation-from any cause will cause fatigue. I would need to see you to sort this one out as there can be many causes and the treatment has to be appropriate.
Gut flora imbalanced-this can often be an underlying cause of
inflammation. It can also be a cause of poor mineral/nutrient absorption.
Thyroid function-not being optimum. This is more common than many people suspect. It is a common cause of that totally ‘can’t move’ feeling in the late afternoon, especially in middle aged and older people. I have excellent natural products available to help this condition.
Blood sugar levels -fluctuating or too low. This is also very common especially in people whose diet contains a high level of refined/high sugar/high carbohydrate foods.
Post viral fatigue–extremely common and unlike what many people think it is treatable. There are many natural products that can boost the immune system to the point that it can overcome this syndrome.
Stress –this can be huge drain on energy that people often do not realise as it is an on-going part of life. However it is important to address this as it will not go away by itself. Re-structuring your life-style is best but if this is not possible then there are many natural products and various types of body work that can help greatly. http://alisonodey.com/stress-and-how-to-deal-wth-it/
Visualization actually works:
It sounds a bit ‘’out there’’ I guess, but mounting evidence shows that visualization really works.
Psychologists have known for decades that the images you create in your mind can have a potent effect on your body, now researchers are proving it. I have at times (not often enough) put some mind energy into this and YES, have got excellent results.
However visualization takes some effort. It needs to be done in detail. One study showed that people who vowed to up their intake of fruit and pictured every step of the process—seeing an apple, reaching for it, smelling it, and then biting into and chewing it—were twice as successful as folks who envisioned only the eating part.
This is true. If you have a sore throat for example, don’t just ask that the sore throat go away—put more effort into seeing the redness of the throat disappear, the bacteria dying off and the throat membranes becoming healthy. I think the technical term for this strategy is ‘’process imagery’’ or ‘’motivational general-mastery imagery’’. ‘’Visualization’’ works fine for me.
However visualization can be used also to strengthen the body as it enhances neural pathways in your brain so it’s easier for your nervous system to activate those muscles in real life. Thinking positively, helping to eliminate nervousness and self-doubt. I CAN do it. I CAN be healthy, my body IS healing/has healed……
In a clinical situation I sometimes (not often) come across people who want ME to heal their body, rather than having to do anything themselves. It does not work like that. I can facilitate, I can help, I can give advice, I can help in correcting the imbalances whether they be postural, dietary, life style or stress related, but the body ultimately has to heal itself.
It can only do this with the owner of the body having positive thought, making positive changes, and if possible visualizing the changes and improvement needed.
In other words “if one desires a change, one must BE that change, before change can take place’.
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.