Seitai Bodywork

Seitai treats ongoing and acute pain by restoring alignment to your posture through joint mobilisation, stretching and targeted muscle release. Seitai is a Japanese word that translates as ‘properly ordered body”, in other words, it puts you back in balance.

The cause of your pain is not always where you think!

Neck and shoulder pain is usually caused by tight chest muscles, therefore just working on the shoulders and neck will give you temporary relief but the pain and tension will come back. Similarly lower back pain is usually caused by an imbalance in the alignment of the pelvis. Treating the cause means longer lasting relief from pain.

Restore balance to your body and mind

With Seitai bodywork, treatment focuses on releasing deep postural tension to bring your body back into balance. When your posture is rebalanced, pain is resolved and your brain and nervous system are restored to a harmonious state.

Treat the cause

If you have ongoing pain and if you want to treat the cause of the pain rather than get just temporary relief then Seitai bodywork is a wonderful treatment that we can highly recommend.

More on Seitai

•    Time is spent in a thorough assessment of your posture
•    You wear loose comfortable clothing
•    No oil is used  
•    Treatment is focused on the core areas that need attention
•    It’s great for sports injury and to prevent re-injury

About Satomi

Satomi is one of Live Well’s most experienced (not to mention loved!) therapists. Not content with remedial massage’s ability to offer only short term pain relief in difficult cases, she has undertaken extensive further training to be able to offer Seitai bodywork. Satomi is passionate about helping people resolve the cause of their pain enabling them to reclaim their quality of life.

Stress Free with Yoga

Hi everyone, last week Wes introduced us to our health focus for the month- ‘Banishing Stress’ with a great blog on the different ways in which we might both express or supress our symptoms of stress.

I loved the way Wes talked about this as I believe that getting to know yourself well is one of the most important ingredients in learning to manage your health and wellbeing effectively by taking full responsibility for yourself.

As a Yoga teacher I’m slightly biased, but believe that Yoga is a powerful tool for learning about yourself on the physical, emotional and soul levels. Yoga also offers many practices and techniques that you can use to bring you back from the edge of stress or the full blown consequences of it if you pass your tipping point and find yourself in a health crises that requires extended care.

Below I’ve outlined three simple techniques that come from Yoga that you can apply if you’re feeling like the wave of stress is cresting, that might help prevent you from wiping out once again! There’s one that’s suited to each of the ‘stress types’ Wes mentioned last week but I encourage you to explore and experiment with which one works best for you!

Meditation for the ‘Stoic’ on the go – Make space to help listen to your intuition.

Live a busy lifestyle? Does your world revolve around helping others or being the ‘responsible’ one?  Meditation is probably the last thing on your busy mind but incorporating even just five minutes a day could reap you profound benefits in your ability to manage and recover from stress.

Simple, short meditation practices are a wonderful way to create space in your body, mind and day. One of the easiest ways to start a home meditation practice is to set your alarm 5 minutes early each morning and sit quietly for those five minutes in simple observation of your breath.

Yogis believe that cultivating the ability to concentrate is the first ingredient in moving towards meditation and eventually enlightenment. That’s why we give the mind the job of holding focus on one simple thing at a time - to develop our ability to resist distractions - and the breath is a great place to start given it’s always right there with us!

To Practice:

•    Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. It can be a chair with back support or a cushion on the floor – just try not to lie down as you might just fall asleep again!

•    Set a timer so you know how long you’ll be there for and can relax into the experience. Try a soft gentle tone to rouse you – not something that will shock your nervous system!

•    Breathe deeply and use your power of visualisation to connect with the path of breath in and out of your body, eventually imagining it can travel all the way to your toes.

•    Observe if these few minutes of space at the start of your day help you manage all of your tasks in a more effective and calm way.

Pranayama for the ‘Dramatiser’ – Let breath be your conduit to inner calm.

Does your mind move a million miles and hour trying to keep up with all the things you’re overcommitted but unable to say no to for fear of letting anyone else down? Are you stuck in a cycle of negative talk and thoughts about your current life circumstances?  Stop! Take a deep breath. And another one. How do you feel now?

It’s no secret that our bodies and minds are connected. When we have a thought it influences our bodies in hormonal, emotional and physical ways. Luckily for us humans, we also have the power to rewire our brains by using our physical bodies to bring our consciousness back into balance if we’re feeling the signals or symptoms of stress.

Different types of breathing alter our physical and psychological state.  Generally deeper breathing patterns encourage our bodies away from the fight/flight/fright response of adrenaline-fuelled stress and towards a calmer body-mind state of relaxation (rest/digest). It’s a simple circuit breaker you can use when you notice you’re feeling anxious or a regular practice you can incorporate into your day repeated times to help you maintain a sense of calm serenity in the sea of drama queens out there!

To Practice:

•    As I mentioned above…Take a deep breath! Repeat.  As many time as required to reconnect to your body and your sense of internal peace.

•    Generally focusing on breathing deep into your low abdomen, almost puffing out your belly with each inhale can help bring your stress levels back down to earth.

•    Allow the muscles around your jaw to slacken as you breathe out through your mouth. This will help relax tension around your shoulders as well.

•    The beauty of breath is that you can do it anywhere and no one needs to know you’re doing a self-management technique!

•    Observe if these few moments of breath give you some emotional space between your runaway thought train or some clarity on what’s within your power to change, and what’s not.

Somatics for the ‘Secret Stress-head’ – Let your body tell you how you feel.

Got a secret buried so deep even you’ve forgotten what is was? Got a myriad of health challenges but can’t quite pinpoint why or where they come from?

Welcome to the secret society of the masters of internal suppression! It’s a global club way bigger than you’d imagine and you walk through society quietly ‘saving face’ not knowing who else might be one of your secret club members.

As Wes mentioned last week exercise is your friend. But probably not the kind of exercise that you’re used to. Often certified members of secret club stress use exercise to punish themselves or to suppress any feelings that come up, because feelings are too scary/unfamiliar/overwhelming/inconvenient to ‘deal’ with. Life must go on, so you do what you do best and suppress – in any way possible.  

Beginning a relationship with your feelings is tricky, sometimes scary stuff. A lot of us aren’t well versed in the language of emotions but our bodies store up all of our feelings in our tissues until we’re able to express them. Suppressed emotions manifest as physical symptoms.

Beginning a Yoga asana practice that’s kind to your body and mind is a way to unlock and explore some of the emotions that are stored up within you in a gentle way. Restorative Yoga is also a great way to calm a very stressed out nervous system.  

To Practice:

•    You can do your own practice at home or outdoors, take in a local Restorative Yoga class or make an appointment with me at Live Well for a private session and take-home program.

•    If you’re practicing at home, keep any movements you do no faster than one full breath per movement to really help slow you down.

•    Investigate what it’s like to hold poses for longer periods of 10 breaths or more and notice what kinds of feelings arise for you through this challenge.

•    The more you can soften and surrender into the longer held poses, the more your mind and nervous system will relax and you’ll eventually be able to cultivate a sense of connection and calm with your emotions.

•    Make sure you don’t hold anything back. Give yourself permission to feel. Ask questions and notice what answers bubble up from your body and deeper levels of consciousness. This is how you begin to tap in to your intuition!

Overall be patient with yourself. Yoga is not a practice of cultivating perfection, it’s a process of being nice to yourself while you learn new ways of looking after yourself and interacting with the world.

If you can make a commitment to incorporating just one of these practices into your days, weeks and eventually life, you’ll notice the benefits flowing off your mat or meditation cushion and into your daily life in the way you more consciously and kindly act and interact with others.

Have fun exploring your stress-free yoga journey and please feel free to book in for a session with me if you have any questions!


How to Reboot Your Relationship With Stress

Stress: the word conjures so many different reactions, judgments and responses. Can you recognise yourself in the following portraits:

The stoic

You will proclaim “I’m not stressed” only to reel off a list of Herculean tasks you are currently juggling on 5 hours sleep a night. To you, admitting to being stressed is to entertain the possibility of a chink in your armour. Not identifying as being stressed is your way of staying resolute in the face of challenges, to continue to reassert your capacity to cope regardless of the challenges life throws at you.

The upside: tremendous drive, resilience and capacity to get things done. You’re still ploughing on when most mere mortals have fallen in a heap.

The health downside: when you crash you crash hard. Not content with the typical cold or flu, these tough nuts will not slow down until a full blown auto-immune crisis hits, rendering them incapacitated for a lengthy period of time.

Stress reboot tip: Don’t ignore the warnings signs of your health breaking down. Just because you can put up with (insert uncomfortable symptom e.g.: headaches, skin rashes, insomnia etc) doesn't mean your body is not trying to tell you something. Wha starts out as a whisper can end up as a scream if you keep ignoring it.

The dramatiser

Stressful events are mined for their rich potential to provide entertaining stories to regale anyone within earshot. You know you’re stressed but you’ve felt this way for so long now you’ve forgotten what its like to not feel constantly stretched to the limit. Ironically you may find yourself having hour long conversations with people telling them how much you have to do! You are so busy coping with being stressed that you can’t get started on your to do list. You can feel incapacitated and powerless, you procrastinate and are unable to take the first steps into stress reducing action.

The upside: Despite everything you’re often fun to be around, you’ve kept your sense of humour despite the chaos and that’s definitely a good thing

The health downside: you know what to do, you’ve probably already bought the relaxation CD’s.  Your Yoga mat is gathering dust in the cupboard, you keep telling yourself that next month is when you’re going to switch you morning coffee for a green juice. Failure to change your ways leaves your cortisol levels dangerously high, you’re immune system compromised, your energy levels flat and your mood tetchy. You’re better than this, its time to make some changes.

The health reboot: Start small. Commit to doing just one thing every day for this whole month and stick to it. No matter what! In just 31 days time you’ll have laid the foundations to being disciplined about making your health a priority.

The quietly desperate

No one knows how tough you are doing it, you keep up a good front but inside its a different story. You might be so good at coping that you’ve even convinced yourself that your ok but deep down you know you’re struggling.

The upside: You are resilient and people turn to you because, despite the turmoil within you radiate calm (even though your not feeling it). Once you learn to better manage your stress you’ll be able to switch on your true inner zen at will.

The health downside: You’re not coping even though you look like you are, which is dangerous. You might turn to alcohol, sugar or other forms of short term stress relief but it only makes you feel worse. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Stress reboot tip: Feeling good is not as far away as it probably feels right now. You just need to make some positive changes, starting today. Exercise is your friend, as it will perk up your liver, cleanse your blood and lift your mood. Once you get a bit of momentum everything will feel and be easier.

What the Location of Your Headaches Reveals about Your Health

Where is your headache? You might not have stopped to ask but it’s one of the first questions an acupuncturist will ask you as it reveals so much about the cause of your pain.

One of the gems of wisdom that comes from Chinese Medicine is the understanding of the link between areas of the body and the internal organs like the liver, heart and kidneys. Each of the 12 main organs in the Chinese Medicine system is allocated an area of influence in the body as depicted by the meridian system.

Liver headaches

Your pain will typically begin behind one eye and then extend into the temples before lodging in the base of the skull. The pain is often throbbing or stabbing in nature. You may also experience sensitivity to light and nausea (migraine symptoms).

Kidney headaches

Usually a dull headache which can start at the base of the skull (but closer to the spine than a Liver headache) then commonly spreading to the top of the head or the whole head. Usually accompanied by a state of profound physical exhaustion.

Large intestine

Pain across the lower part of the forehead, usually dull but persistent and tenacious. May be in association with constipation and can be eased with a bowel movement. Usually an indication you’re also dehydrated so an indication to drink more water.

Spleen headaches

Starting on the forehead and extending into the hairline, often with a heavy and dull sensation. Typically associated with mental overstrain and accompanied by poor memory and concentration.  

Gall Bladder Headaches

Headaches that involve the temples, can overlap with liver headaches in location and sensation. The classic ice pick in the skull pain – ouch!!

Treat the cause don’t just mask the symptom

Whilst these are the most commonly seen patterns there are many more l variations and combinations of these basic types.  The good news is that once we understand which organ system(s) are out of balance we know exactly what needs to be done to not only resolve your headaches but to reset your whole wellbeing.

Once you’re back in balance you’ll find your energy levels improve, your mood lifts and other symptoms that seemed unrelated like digestive issues, sleep problems, skin irritations and so on will also be resolved. It’s a reminder that headaches are just a message from the body, asking for your attention and support.

Superfoods… Fad, Fact or Fiction?

Are Superfoods some mysterious, amazing or secret product that will prolong your life or are they a clever marketing ploy by the food and manufacturing industry?

There’s a lot of chatter on social media, blogs, websites, books, supplements… all about superfoods. Due to the welcome arrival of spring, I decided September is a great time to investigate superfoods to find out if they really can make us live longer, healthier and happier lives.

What are Superfoods?

If you google the word ‘superfood’ you’re more likely to come across statements such as: “Nutrient powerhouses!” “Packed with antioxidants!” “Reduce the risk of chronic disease!” and less likely to find an actual medical or scientific definition… and that’s probably because there isn’t one. The closest we could find to a definition that was reasonably consistent was the Oxford Dictionary definition: “Superfood: noun, a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being’ .

So, what is ‘a nutrient-rich food’?

Broadly speaking, nutrients is the stuff our body needs on a daily basis to keep us moving, thinking, smiling and looking great! Scientifically speaking, nutrients generate the energy to support our metabolism, they regulate our body functions and they supply materials for repair, growth and maintenance of body tissue. They’re divided up into macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Therefore, a nutrient-rich (or nutrient dense) food is basically a term used to identify the ratio of nutrients to calories (energy) in a particular food or substance. For example, a fresh apple contains about 68 calories but it’s also high in fibre (which will fill you up and keep your digestive tract healthy) and it contains potassium and vitamins C and K. In terms of being nutrient-dense, you get a lot of bang for your buck with an apple: low in calories, high in nutrients… just like all fruit, vegetables, whole grains, meat and dairy.

So, nutrient-dense foods are low in calories but high in nutrients, like the apple and they are opposite to energy-dense foods which are high in calories and low in nutrients, like a Kit Kat.
A Kit Kat (just the little 2 Finger one J) has 105 calories, zero fibre, zero vitamins and it’s high in sugar and saturated fat. Kit Kats, like alcohol, chocolate, cakes and biscuits taste amazing and can bring a smile to your face, but they won’t contrite much to the energy your body needs to fuel itself.

A superfood by any other name…

We now know that the term ‘superfood’ has no scientific definition, but has an accepted definition of ‘nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being’. We also now know that ‘nutrient-rich’ foods are low in calories and high in nutrients such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains etc. Does that mean that superfoods are just regular, boring old wholesome foods that humans have been eating for centuries?

Seems pretty straightforward so far, but we want to go a bit deeper. So join me next week for “Superfoods… Fad, Fact or Fiction? (Part 2)” where we find out what the experts say about superfoods.

Can Osteopathy help with my Headaches?

Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints.  Thankfully, severe headache are rarely caused by serious underlying disease. These days most modern medical treatments for headaches target the pain with medication, often failing to address the underlying cause of the headache. Osteopathy may provide a solution and can avoid unwanted side effects that often accompany prescription drugs, especially when used long term.

There are a number of types of headaches and as a result there are just as many causes. These can vary from a tension type headache to the migraine or cluster headaches. The most common headache is the tension type headache, often as a result of tight and tense muscles in and around the head, neck and shoulders. This often begins with an ache or stiffness in the neck and envelopes the entire head in band like constriction. It’s often described as wearing a hat that’s too tight. Another very common type of headache is the cervicogenic headache. This simply means that the origin of the headache stems from the neck (cervical region). It is most commonly the result of an inflamed or sprained joint between the second and third cervical vertebrae which just sit just below the base of the skull. The pain then creeps up over one side of the head and can often causes eye pain too.

There can be other more serious causes of headaches such as infection, haemorrhage and brain tumour. You should seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by:

•    fever  
•    nausea or vomiting
•    bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears
•    dizziness
•    blurred vision or speech
•    numbness, tingling or paralysis. 

Other varied causes include eyestrain, sinus disease, migraines, jaw misalignment and chronic clenching or grinding. 

During treatment it is often necessary to release chronic stress and strain from past injuries and trauma, particularly in your head and neck. This will not only help relieve the presenting headache, but will also reduce the chance of a recurrence.

I can also help your journey back to health by advising on posture, ergonomics, exercises and stretching. If required, I can communicate with your GP, personal trainer, yoga therapist and/or massage therapist to help develop a total health plan.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give, is drink plenty of water. Buy a water bottle and don't leave your office until you have finished it at least two times per day! It will give you an extra excuse to get away from your desk and help your body do its job. 

What your headache is trying to tell you?

Quite often we can suffer from a headache or migraine and be uncertain as to why. There are many ways to approach the cause and treatment of a headache from working structurally with tension or misalignment within the body to nutritional support and of course, increasing water.

One of the most fascinating ways to understand what your body is trying to tell you with pain from a headache is through the energy system of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the symptoms we feel when energy gets stuck or stagnant. Your meridian energy (and Chakra energy) should flow freely like the electrical system in your house. Once there is a block then electricity can’t flow through and the lights go out or the washing machine stops working.

One of the major themes for stuck energy with headaches is emotional stress or blockages. Often when we feel a headache come on we question if we’ve had enough water that day or had too much coffee, alcohol, gluten or sugar and while these things can certainly play a role in causing headaches, we often fail to reflect on how we are feeling emotionally.

While there are several emotional patterns that can be underneath the pain of a headache, some of the most common emotions stuck in the body are anger, resentment and frustration. While these emotions can be uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to release in ways that are not harmful, like each emotion they have a place in our lives. To give an example of how this awareness can be applied to daily life, I will use myself as a case study!

A few years ago, I was battling with an issue with another person close to me and felt both angry and resentful. I had not voiced how I really felt. One morning I woke with quite a painful, splitting headache. My instinct told me that it was to do with the issue I was trying to ignore and the emotions I was suppressing. I eventually faced the situation and voiced how I felt with an honest discussion. As I spoke and worked through my feelings, my headache completely subsided. I was no longer suppressing my emotions and was validating how I felt . Apart from physically healing, I was able to resolve the situation and move forward. I released that which I was holding on to and once again created movement and flow internally and externally in my life.

It is important to listen to the messages from your body for wherever there is pain, there is an associated emotional and mental pattern. Likewise, your emotions and thoughts can get stored in your body and create dis-ease. The lesson here? Your emotional self needs to be accepted and understood. By expressing your emotions, you are validating and honouring your unique experience in life. Lastly - If you have trouble releasing anger, resentment or frustration, try exercise! To help discover what your body is trying to tell you and to release pain, book in for kinesiology with Kate.

3 Simple Tips to Get Incidental Exercise into Your Day

It's been a long winter this year and I'm sure that many of you have opted for the warm comfort of the couch with a cup of tea and a biscuit instead of walking the dog, hitting the gym or going for a swim. Spring is just around the corner, which means summer isn't too far off... so there's plenty of time to get moving and create healthier habits before summer hits.

Now, don't go rushing for the lycra in the back of your wardrobe and googling the best gym membership options... you don't have to join a gym to get moving or get healthy, you just need to add some incidental exercise into your daily life. What is incidental exercise? It's that minor, secondary type of physical activity like walking and carrying things that have disappeared from our daily lives as technology, progress and convenience has increased. The aim is to build in some activity here and there over a period of weeks so that you're moving incidentally about 30 minutes in total per day. Obviously, incidental exercise won't make you look Arnold Schwarnzegger, but it's an excellent starting point if you're inactive.

Adding incidental exercise into your daily routine will take some thinking, a bit of planning andat first you will have to make a conscious decision to go against your natural instincts... but it will pay off over time and before you know it, you'll getting 30 minutes of exercise a day without even going to the gym!!

Here they are, three simple tips for adding incidental exercise into your daily life:

Tip 1: Walk to work

If you live close to work you may already be doing this, if so, change your route to add in some extra distance or if you work from home, consider taking a walk around the block at the start and end of each day. If you catch the bus, get off one stop early and walk the extra distance, gradually building up to two or three stops (depending on the distance). Or, if you drive to work, look around for parking places further away and use that extra distance to build in some walking time.

Tip 2: Take the stairs

Start with the '3 Floor rule' - if you're going up or down less than 3 floors, take the stairs. Going down stairs works different muscles to going up, so it's a good practice to go both ways.

Over time, increase your 'floor rule' to whatever suits you... or, if you're in really tall buildings, break up the walks by walking and taking the lift. For example if you're going up 10 floors, consider walking 1 to 3, take the lift from 3 - 7 and walk from floor 7 to 10. Every little bit helps!

Tip 3: Move around the house

Technology in the home has made our modern lives much easier, but also more sedentary. Try getting up to change the channel, either by walking to the TV or placing the remote control elsewhere in the room that you have to get up to get it.

Or try putting your washing away one item at a time... place your washing basket in one room and take one item at a time to put away. If you like to chat on the phone, try standing or walking around the house while you do it.

If you want to see the results for yourself, grab a pedometer (apps are great for this) and keep a track of your normal daily routine for one week. Then, incorporate one or two of these incidental activities into your day and see how much your results differ (and feel free to tell us all about it :) ).
These tips may not seem like exercise, but over time you will feel more active and who knows, you may be inspired to try a sport, join a gym or start running... the possibilities are endless!

How about you, do you use incidental exercise in your day? Please share your tips in the comments below.

I Have Back Pain - Where do I Start?


If you’re suffering with pain you already know how much it impacts on your life. Everything you do is measured against the impact it will have on your pain levels. You might have to give up activities you love, working can be difficult, anything that requires concentration is a struggle. You might even feel depressed as it’s not much fun when your life contracts, it can become pretty miserable, lonely and scary place to be.

For all these reasons it’s really important that you get the right help for back pain as every day you’re in pain is one too many. As well as wasting time, you can also burn through a lot of money seeking a cure, so my first piece of advice is if you have been in pain and the treatment you’re already receiving is not working seek an alternative. When I say not working I mean you are feeling only minor improvements after treatment or the improvements only last a day or two. You want to see obvious improvements after a treatment and over the course of a few treatments see significant change, otherwise you have to ask is this treatment really treating the cause of my pain?

There are many options to choose from but these three treatments are the ones I have seen be the most effective for back pain:


Most people associate acupuncture with pain relief and for good reason. Clients invariably walk out feeling significant relief from just their first session and in all but the most difficult cases that improvement is sustained. The reason acupuncture is so effective in treating back pain is that it’s able to do three things exceptionally well: reduce inflammation, release muscular tension and relax your nervous system.


Pain doesn’t just appear out of thin air. Sometimes the pain can be traced to an injury such as a car accident or a fall, however when you think about all the injuries you’ve had in your life, 99% of the time you recover without needing any help. It’s the 1% of the time when the injury has exposed an underlying weakness in you body, an area of chronic tension or postural imbalance for example, when you get stuck. Osteopathy restores optimal movement, corrects postural imbalances and treats the underlying structural causes of why you’re in pain. It also works fast.

Remedial Massage

Not all massages and massage therapists are equal. A properly trained and experienced remedial massage therapist is able to treat the underlying cause of your pain not just offer a temporary feel good experience. They can also advise you about what self care strategies such as specific stretches that will complement the treatment and have you feeling better sooner. We have three senior massage therapists at Live Well who are exceptionally skilled and experience in helping people recover from injury and pain.

If you need help figuring our where to start then please send us an email or give us a call and we’ll direct you to the best possible care. We’d like nothing more than to help you resolve your pain and be able to live you life to the full again.

Acupuncture and Treating Back Pain

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers pain to be caused by the lack of free flow of qi and/or blood.  To put it simply, when the qi and blood move freely, there is no pain. 

Unfortunately, the flow of qi and blood can become inhibited at any and every area of the body. The internal organs, joints and ligaments, muscles and of course, the back can all be affected by qi and blood stagnation.

So what causes this stagnation? Stagnation can be brought about by a number of different mechanisms.  Traumatic injury to soft tissue such as whiplash or a strained muscle can cause stagnation.  There are internal causes, such as deficiency of qi or blood, or a weakness in a particular organ or energy system that impedes the flow of qi and blood and causes stagnation.  External causes such as cold, damp, wind or heat can also interfere with the flow of qi and blood and lead to stagnation.  More often than not, when a client presents with back pain, there is a combination of these above factors that are the root cause of the problem.  

Acupuncture and TCM can be very effective at treating back pain as it addresses these underlying causes of stagnation, thereby not only alleviating pain but also working towards its prevention.

TCM aims to restore the flow of qi and blood in order to alleviate pain with the use of acupuncture, moxibustion (traditional Chinese heat therapy), cupping and herbal medicine, or a combination of these treatments.

As your TCM practitioner I will determine what the best form of treatment is for your specific condition and relieve your back pain naturally.

Techniques to Relieve Back Pain

Back pain can hit anytime, anywhere. You could be at work, at home, out and about or in transit. What is your first response to the pain? Do you immediately call one of your practitioners to book in for a treatment (yes, this is one of the best things you can do!) or do you throw down some pain-killing medication in hope to keep moving until you can get help? Perhaps you have frequent back pain and are resigned to a life of discomfort and restricted activity.

Whatever your scenario, I’m about to change the way you respond to back pain. Firstly, I cannot emphasise enough just how important it is to get some help with back pain from a qualified practitioner. Without correcting structural stress, other areas such as digestion and your nervous system can begin to cease up. Kinesiologists such as myself work to:

  • realign the body so that muscles and organs are not being pulled in the wrong direction
  • release tension held within the physical body, and
  • discover what other aspects are related to the pain such as emotional and mental stress.

However, in the meantime there are some fantastic points on your body that you can massage to help release natural painkillers and relieve tension! These ancient points are within the Traditional Chinese Medicine system so not only are you relieving your physical body of pain, you’re balancing your mind, body and spirit and encouraging your body to heal.

Hand point for pain

This point must be one of the most well-known and it’s obvious why - it’s easy to locate and massage. If you search for ‘Large Intestine 4 acupoint’ in Google images you will see some simple images showing its location. Basically, find the bone in your hand that joins onto your index finger. The point lies halfway along this bone. Press in with some decent pressure and you should feel pain. If you don’t feel pain, keep pressing along the bone until you find the sore point as pressing in will help release natural painkillers within your body. You don’t need to press too hard and a few minutes should be enough. You can use both hands.

Foot point for pain

Find the joint on the top of your foot, between your big toe and second toe (Google ‘Liver 3 acupoint’). Gently massage this area on both feet to relieve your back pain. You can massage this point whilst lying down or sitting. If you are unsure as to whether you are hitting the right area, then massage in a large circle and you’ll be sure to hit the right spot.

Point for neck pain and headaches

A common side effect of back pain is neck pain and headaches. This can simply be tension located in your neck or it can be caused by misalignment and tension in the lower parts of your spine which in-turn pull out the rest of your body. This last point is also used as a pressure point which feels great to massage. Find the bone at the base of your skull that’s behind your ear. Move your fingers toward your spine and you’ll find a small depression - this is place to massage on both sides for a few minutes (Google ‘Gall Bladder 20 acupoint’).

Try each of these techniques and you’ll notice that each time one or more of these points will be best. You can use them as a first aid response until you can get some help to get your body back into balance and perhaps even start to prevent further injury! If you need help to heal your back pain, you can book online or call 6295 0400.

Homeopathy and Back Pain

A unique aspect of homeopathy is that it does not just focus on clinical conditions. Of course, its aim is to treat your clinical condition, but in order to determine the appropriate treatment the homeopath needs to understand when the problem started, what contributed to it (including mental and emotional factors) and what else it is associated with. In this sense, a homeopathic assessment is truly ‘holistic’. The best way to illustrate this is always via a real life example.

Case of chronic back pain

A woman, early 40s, came in presenting with chronic lower back pain, for which she received regular chiropractic treatment that helped manage the condition. As well as back pain, she also suffered from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reflux, stiffness in her jaw, teeth grinding, poor sleep (waking around 2AM worrying) and a number of other more minor symptoms.

Whereas a doctor would regard these as separate conditions needing a combination of different drugs and/or treatments, to a homeopath they are all just expressions of a single underlying problem. One of my favourite sayings is, “the symptoms is the cure in process”, as symptoms are the way the body dissipates any inner imbalance towards the exterior of the body, with whatever vitality it can muster. When vitality is low, disease tends to sit towards the interior of the body, in the major organs. As a person’s vitality rises, disease processes can start to move out towards the surface. Dr James Compton-Burnett, a famous 19th century British homeopathic physician noticed that when patients started to recover from cancer, they would sometimes pass large numbers of threadworms (an example of symptoms moving outwards from vital central organs to peripheral ones towards the exterior).

A primary aim of homeopathic treatment is to help raise a person’s vitality, so that the body has the strength to begin its healing process.

Back to the case. Upon further questioning, she revealed that her back pain had co-existed with years of the strain of having to run her own business, raise children, care for her parents (who lived with her family) as well being responsible for their financial affairs. In fact, nearly all of her health issues corresponded with this timeline.
The key word in her case was ‘responsibility’. Ironically, she had great capacity and acceptance in fulfilling this role, however her body was increasingly showing the strain of shouldering it. Naturally, she was tired - “4/10”.

She was prescribed the medicine Aurum-mur-nat., which matched the gestalt of her physiological and psychological symptoms. She very quickly experienced an upsurge in vitality, which corresponded with alleviation of her back pain by 70% within two weeks. This improvement held and further gradually improved over the coming months. She also experienced improvement in her sleep, IBS and other ‘conditions’ - as they were all really aspects of a single underlying imbalance. Importantly she also started feeling less burdened by responsibility and was able to factor in time to look after her own needs, which had felt too hard before.

Such integrated responses are common outcomes of homeopathic treatment. Remember, your body has the inherent ability to heal itself. All that is needed is the right trigger to get the process started.

Five things I learned from Doctors… and it isn’t what you’d expect.

If, like me, you’re currently suffering or have previously suffered from food intolerances, chances are you’ve encountered a plethora of Doctors… some great and god bless them, they tried hard… some nice but totally useless and out of their depth in this area… and some, sadly who give the medical profession a bad name for their lack of empathy and unwillingness to think outside the box.

Now, I know a few Doctors personally and I know how much training, dedication and commitment it took for them to become Doctors. I admire them, I respect their profession generally and with the vast amount of illness, disease and trauma out there, I appreciate they can’t know everything! My personal associations aside, my experience with Doctors regarding my food intolerances over the years has left me with five distinct insights.

The five things I learned from Doctors…

1) I wasted a lot of money. In the course of my adult life, at the behest of uncertain Doctors, I have overspent on pointless, excessive medical procedures, tests  and/or treatments to the point that instead I could have bought a nice little sports car to whiz around in during my mid-life crisis ;).

2) Doctors are not infallible. I know that Doctors are only human, but I now hold a belief that Doctors should recognise their limitations and their human frailty and be able to admit when something is outside their scope of training or understanding, rather than project their inability to accurately diagnose onto their patients… often leaving their patients bewildered, confused and perhaps a little crazy!.

3) Doctors don’t know everything. I recognise they know a lot, and I mentioned earlier, they undertake a great deal of training and commitment to be able to call themselves Doctors… but I know that when it comes to something like food intolerances, they conduct tests merely to force your weird, seemingly unrelated symptoms into a neat little box with a name they know and understand. And when that doesn’t work, they tell you there is nothing wrong with you, or worse ‘it’s all in your head’.

4) To trust myself. I know my body, I know what feels right and I know when something is amiss and just because a ‘medical test’ can’t confirm it, doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong with me. Trusting myself, I now seek alternate means of diagnosis and/or treatment through Kinesiology, Acupuncture or Naturopathy. And of course, I’ve coached myself to wellness .

5) A new career path. Best of all, I gained an inspired career path to help those people that the Doctors have let slip through the cracks or left to fend for themselves because in their professional medical opinion, there was nothing wrong. My experience with Doctors over the years, guided me to do my own research, seek my own remedies and become a Lifestyle, Food and Wellness Coach – and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a gazillion things that Doctors are great at and I’ve had other ailments over the years that required medical assistance and were treated quite effectively… but in the world of food intolerances, if it isn’t a food allergy or other specific diagnosable digestive disease like Crohn’s or Coeliac Disease, in my experience, Doctors are at a loss.

If you’ve had similar experiences with Doctors over the years, don’t despair, there are people like me for example who specialise in helping you navigate the often times confusing world of food intolerances. To find out more book in for a free 15 minute consultation with me.

Is Your Posture Causing You Back Pain?

Back pain has to be the most common type of complaint I see in the clinic. At any one time, 26 per cent of Australians have lower back pain and 79 per cent of the population will experience it at some time in their lives. The direct costs are minor at about $1 billion annually, compared with the indirect costs of $8 billion that arise as a consequence of lost productivity and disability. However, I think the real costs comes at the expense of the people and families that are affected directly and indirectly but what can be a debilitating condition.

Back problems can be caused by injury, inflammation, tension or spasm, and may affect muscles, ligaments, cartilage or bone. Other common causes include arthritis, muscle strain, osteoporosis, sciatica and stress. Staying active is an important part of managing back pain. Yet often, we don’t challenge our bodies anymore, we sit ‘comfortably’ in chairs and cars and couches and now 1 in 20 people can touch their toes. Babies can eat their toes (or at least try) but it seems we have lost a lot of the drive to keep exploring our physical bodies or simply staying in touch with them. Preferring to explore our dopamine hits from the control centre upstairs which is fun but it’s the combination of the two that allows us to live long and healthy and content lives.

The sad reality is back pain is dramatically increasing and I don’t see myself running out of work any time soon. High stress levels and the sedentary nature of modern day lives can extract a heavy burden. But my real concern lies in the future. More and more studies show the importance of exercise and relaxation. How many times have you looked around and see an entire group of students after school looking down directly at their devices. How many kids stay at home on the X-box or watching TV versus riding to a friend’s place or playing in the park?

At the start of the year I attended a paediatric conference in London and a paediatrician mentioned a few interesting studies. One looked at 10 year olds who ran 1 mile, then when their kids reached 10 they also ran 1 mile. Their kids ran 90 sec slower which is approximately 1 whole lap slower than their parents. Another trial in Scotland tested grip strength in children now and 20 years ago. It’s a third less.

But let’s look at just one aspect that relates to young and old, forward head posture. For every inch your head posture sits forward, the head gains 4.5kgs in weight. On top of this mechanical burden an increased forward head posture has been strongly associated with decreased respiratory muscle strength in patients [1], which can affect the ability to breathe and reduce lung capacity by as much as 30% [2]. Oxygen is obviously pretty important but diaphragmatic action also helps to pump fluids around the body and assists in digestion and visceral (organ) function.

Forward head posture has also been linked to tension-type headaches [3], as well as increased blood pressure [4]. Long term forward head posture leads to muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves and instability [5].

I think this clearly stresses the importance of just one aspect of posture and how it can affect your overall health. Do yourself a favour and go to that yoga class, to that stretch class, take a break every 30 minutes, every time you go to the toilet take 2 minutes to do some pec stretches, consciously think about tucking in your chin and bringing your throat towards your spine and bring your shoulder blades together. Breathe deeply. And if you need some extra help, get some.

I’ll leave you with a quote from yesterday, from an 8 year old patient of mine “Hope. Hold on pain ends.”

Reference for cost of low back pain:

1. E Kapreli, E., Vourazanis, E.,  Billis, E., Oldham, J.A., and Strimpakos, N. (2009) Respiratory Dysfunction in Chronic Neck Pain Patients. A Pilot Study. Cephalalgia  29, 701-710 (FHP)

2. Lyon, M., (2009). Posture – One of the Most Important Aspects of your Life!   (FHP)

3. Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., Alonso-Blanco, C., Luz Cuadrado, M., Gerwin, R.D., Pareja, J.A.. (2006) Trigger Points in the Suboccipital Muscles and Forward Head Posture in Tension-Type Headache. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 46 (3), 454—460.  (FHP)

4. New Scientist (2007). Bad Posture Could Raise Your Blood Pressure. Retrieved on March 14th 2010 (FHP)

5. Posture. (n.d) Dynamic Family Chiropractic. (FHP) Bac


Yoga for Insomnia

There are a myriad of reasons for interrupted sleep. Whether you suffer chronic insomnia or find yourself having a hard time getting back into a healthy sleep routine after travel or a change in stress levels or life circumstances, Yoga offers a range of techniques to calm your busy mind and relax your tired body so that you can do what you're meant to overnight; recover and restore. 

The forward bending family of poses are a great place to start for calming an outwardly focused mind and tuning into the natural internal rhythms of your body to prepare for a good night's sleep. 

Forward folds come in all shapes and sizes from standing to seated and wide leg to one leg at time. Generally in Yoga, forward folding postures are credited with encouraging mental rejuvenation and stress relief by bringing stillness to an overactive mind, physical release along the back side of the body including hamstrings, upper and lower back and balancing us energetically by asking us to look within, rather than without for the answers to all we may seek to find, to stop running away from pain or chasing the next high and instead rest in that which we are experiencing right now and finally with listening to our hearts, instead of getting caught up in the melodrama of our minds. 

If you struggle with getting to sleep or with getting back to sleep after waking in the night, a simple sequence of floor based, restorative forward folds paired with deep, intentional breath can help prepare you to reenter 'rest and digest' as soon as your head hits the pillow. 

There are plenty of forward folding poses you can try from simple child's pose, seated forwards folds with straight legs, wide legs, crossed legs and folding over one extended leg at a time. Have a play with what feels good for your body and use as much support as you can such as pillows, cushions or blankets to support the front side of your body. This support will help you really relax into your chosen forward fold. If you suffer sciatica or have other lower back or hamstring injuries, please be careful that your forward folds don't aggravate your condition. 

Spending at least 5-10 deep breaths in each position will allow you to gain some of the benefits of mental quiet and emotional space from each pose. A helpful mindfulness tool to pair with each pose is to visualise breathing right down to the soles of your feet and working your awareness back up the body, piece by piece, breath by breath. This is a great way to get out of your head and back into connection with the grounding energy of your lower body. 

So next time you find yourself fighting to find sleep, take five minutes out of bed and set yourself the intention to surrender to the still place inside your body, through a series of simple forward folds. Hopefully you'll reset your system to find peace and have a new tool to add to your personal wellbeing toolbox! 

 Namaste and sweet dreams! 

Insomnia - accept it or banish it?

“I’m an insomniac - I just live with it”. Sound familiar? It’s quite common to hear people say comments such as “I live on four hours sleep, I’ve just trained my body to deal with it” or “I’ve had insomnia for years, it’s just how I am”. Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady!), Bill Clinton and Madonna are all well-known for saying they function on just four hours sleep per night and this created a movement of people following in their path, believing they could be highly productive and healthy with little sleep. However, there is a plethora of research that reveals we need to have around eight hours per night. As you’ve read in previous Live Well blogs, sleep is not something we do just for the sake of it.

Sleep plays a crucial role to our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

So, whose fault is it that so many of us are struggling to reach the golden 8 hours per night? Factors such as medication, diet, weight, chronic disease, anxiety and depression are well-known players in the game of sleep. Of course, the biggest culprit is a term we’ve come to use in daily life - stress. In fact, stress from the working week has created a community of ‘sleep bulimics’, a term coined by associate professor of psychiatry, Robert Stickgold whereby those who sleep very little from Monday to Friday are binging on sleep at the weekend. The problem with this is that sleep is accumulative and a simple binge on the weekend won’t make up for the negative effect the week has had on your mind, body and emotions. Indeed, the body craves to be at one with the day-night cycle, known as the circadian rhythm.

Complementary medicine can help you reset your sleeping patterns by treating the underlying causes of insomnia such as your hormones and your nervous system and help you to deal with external stressors such as work and relationships. I have written much about sleep and how complementary medicine can help, so start by reading my most popular article Why You Wake Up At The Same Time Each Night.

So, do you accept that you’re an insomniac or someone who ‘functions’ on very little sleep?

Or do you challenge this limiting belief and give credit where credit is due? Sleep is an invaluable part of your health, wellness and basic survival. Without it, you sacrifice a healthy immune system, a strong mental state and a balance of emotional well-being - all for the sake of getting even more done that you’re already doing. I know which one I choose. What about you? Choose sleep and then see how much you get done! I work with all ages, so book in with me for kinesiology and start breaking the pattern of insomnia.

A Naturopathic Perspective on Insomnia

When it comes to insomnia and poor sleep my clinical experience tells me that what we really need to be doing is look at the source. In other words, if you were a tree and the insomnia or poor quality of sleep (the symptoms) are represented by the leaves, our inquiry needs to be centred around what’s happening at the level of the soil and at the roots (of the proverbial tree). This is where we find the diet, stress and lifestyle factors that contribute to nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, inflammation and the other driving factors that are causing the disturbances and symptoms in the first place. So rather than just trying to band-aid or prune the leaves and branches with various remedies (that are not going to treat at the source level), you’ll find it more effective (and life-changing) to work from the ground up…

So what does that mean?

The substances we put in our body have such a major influence on our physiology –from our hormones and nervous system (including our brain), our immune system function, how we feel emotionally, clarity of mind and concentration, ageing processes, you name it –the lot! And whilst there are many factors that can contribute to a person’s experience of insomnia, our diet and the kinds of things we’re eating and drinking can be a (if not THE) major culprit. To read more on food & sleep, see my Guide to Eating Right for Better Sleep)

If you’re suffering through your own version of poor sleep or insomnia, it’s likely you’re not feeling great. Once insomnia and poor sleep establishes a habit, it can become difficult to cope after a while.  You probably still having to get up and appear like a normal, functioning person…  So what do you do?

Well, most people begin to rely on caffeine and high energy, sugar-laden foods to get up and going and push you through the walls of fatigue and dullness so they can show up and get things done. Physiologically, blood-sugars will spike -which will help you through; but they’ll soon also crash -which is a bit like catching a wave to surf and then being dumped! It essentially creates a cycle of reliance on substances and behaviours –for example, that propensity for an alcoholic beverage of an evening, carb/sweet or salty cravings, inordinate amounts of screen-time and being sedentary.

Whilst these practices initially appear to help in managing the fallout from the poor quality sleep, it also creates not only a deficit in the system (from poor nutrition and unbalanced stress and lifestyle factors) but establishes an unhealthy crutch that you probably feel you need to go about your day and demands, and to get through. You’ll likely be relying on “uppers” –things you’ve found that help to get you functioning -like coffee or chocolate for example; and “downers” like alcohol, a big rich meal or even chocolate again (seemingly conversely, but it also hits the “reward” centres in the brain and alters the brain chemistry to soothe, as well as pep you up). These things appear to work in the short term and help bring you back to a place that feels more “relaxed” or is more conducive to falling asleep. 

But how you feel in the morning when you wake is usually the best sign to go by, as it is your indicator for quality of sleep. And we’ve all had those “perfect” 8+hr nights of sleep and woken feeling less-than-amazing. So it’s not necessarily about the amount of sleep-time you’ve clocked up in a night, nor the fact that you may be sleeping through. So let’s explore quality of sleep a little further…

What kind of sleep disturbances are you experiencing?

□      Having difficulty getting to sleep, feeling tired, but too “wired”, and unable to wind down at the end of the day?  

□      Have you come to rely upon certain “crutches” -like alcohol, chocolate, ice-cream or tv to help you wind down?

□      Are you generally able to fall asleep OK, but are waking during the night?

□      Are you technically “sleeping through”, but your sleep is restless and non-refreshing –are you waking feeling just as tired (or more so!) than when you went to bed the night before, feeling headachy, unmotivated, slow  or foggy on a regular basis?

□      Do you find yourself waking too early in the (middle-of-the-night) morning, having 2 a.m, 3 a.m and 4 a.m wake-ups; lying awake for hours at a time and unable to fall back asleep, or falling asleep right before your alarm goes off…?

Well, you’re not alone!

Here are some of the most common factors that play a role in insomnia and poor quality of sleep:

·       Stress! Plays a huge role in insomnia, and is an absolute must-look in any case.

·       Diet and nutrition: excesses, deficiencies, toxicity and inflammation; psychoactive substances such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, opioids and medications.

·       Blood glucose imbalances (one of the triggers for insomnia) can cause a neuroendocrine response that activates the brain to be awake -hence, an early dinner that is not rich and is easily digestible + a light snack or gentle supper in the hour before bedtime can help. (see my Guide to Eating Right for Better Sleep for more information on how our food choices can help you sleep better)

·       Hormonal disturbances and irregularities e.g. menopause

·       Rich meals and desserts

·       Stimulant intake throughout the day - sugar, caffeine, alcohol (yes, alcohol initially acts as a depressant on the nervous system; but it winds up messing with blood glucose levels and burdening the liver, which can be a major causative factor in sleep issues)

·       Electromagnetic disturbances from electronic gadgetry, wiring and lights in the bedroom

·       Exposure to short wavelength blue light emitted from our phones/tv which impacts the pineal gland and reduces melatonin (the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep and circadian rhythm)

·       Other underlying conditions, for example:  stress, anxiety or depression; sleep apnoea; menopause; arthritis; gastric ulcer

·       Medications

·       Sedentary lifestyle

It is worth noting that many of the factors listed above are not only underlying causes in insomnia and poor quality of sleep; but many –such as elevated stress hormones, intake of high-caloric, sugary, quick energy-releasing foods, use of stimulants, hormonal disturbances, depression, anxiety and states of inflammation like arthritis –are also behaviours and effects that are in turn, driven by insomnia and poor sleep. So a vicious cycle ensues, and it can be a real “chicken or egg” situation.

Good quality of sleep is so vital to our health and wellbeing.

If we’re sleeping poorly, it not only impacts our energy, how we feel, or our focus, cognition, and how we eat on any given day. Chronic poor quality sleep also sparks inflammation and disease pathways in the body, can cause leaky gut, foggy head -and even brain damage; it promotes metabolic, endocrine and cardiovascular disorders, and is terrible for mood and mental health. In essence, if you are experiencing consistent poor quality sleep or insomnia it’s an awful space to be in, and it’s important you to seek professional help so you can feel well and be well again soon!

Food Intolerance

When you first hear the words “You’ve got a food intolerance”, for just a second, the world stops, the noise disappears and that little two year old inside you throws a giant tantrum internally screaming ‘noooooooooo’! And right then and there, you’re catapulted into an alternate universe that you don’t recognise, have no idea how to navigate and you’re wondering if you’ll even be able to survive it… well, you can and you will, and these three easy practical steps can help you get started.

1.      Understand what you’re dealing with.

It’s estimated that 25% of the Australian population suffers from a food intolerance in some form or another, and the term is so commonly bandied around these days, most people think they understand what a food intolerance is, but here’s a simple concept, just in case. A food intolerance occurs when the body can’t digest a certain food, chemical or additive. It’s basically an adverse reaction to food that causes a wide array of unpleasant symptoms, usually digestive and can result in severe and prolonged illness. Though they can be quite debilitating for the sufferer, they are generally not life-threatening: which is significantly different from a classic food allergy, that can be life threatening and is an immune response to a specific food protein.

2.      Recognise your symptoms.

People can develop sensitivity to anything from wheat and milk to sulphites and histamines, the list is actually mind blowing and the symptoms are as wide and varied as the ice-cream flavours at Ben and Jerry’s! Typically though, the most common symptoms of a food intolerance can be as specific as bloating, nausea, migraines and wheezing to vague ones like brain fog and general malaise. Once you’ve been diagnosed, it’s time to listen closely to your body and start identifying those symptoms that are related to your food sensitivity – understanding the symptoms and your reactions to food triggers, can help you make better and informed eating choices moving forward.

3.      Take action to implement change

When you’re diagnosed with a food intolerance, change without your consent occurs across many aspects of your life, including: grocery shopping, cooking, dining out and travelling. It can be overwhelming and daunting and many people struggle to understand both the change required and how to implement it. The secret is to start small, with weekly goals that you build on and develop over time so that you will enact the positive, long-term and sustainable change required to live healthily and happily within your new food landscape: remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

The thing is you don’t have to figure out this new landscape all on your own, you can get expert guidance and support and in fact that’s where I come in! I am a lifestyle, food and wellness coach and a specialist in providing you the structured guidance and support that will empower you to learn, grow and develop beyond what you can do alone. I can help you navigate your way from confusion and panic about what to eat to confidence, ease and wellbeing.

Homeopathy and insomnia

A recurring theme in previous blogs about homeopathy is that no one condition exists in isolation. In order to treat a clinical condition, it needs to be understood in the context of the whole person suffering from that condition, including the totality of mental, emotional and physiological symptoms.

Insomnia is no exception to this rule. In fact, insomnia is most often a symptom of some other underlying factor. It may be a consequence of stress, dietary habits including excessive alcohol and coffee intake, grief, depression, having a baby, travelling, poor sleep hygiene, amongst many others. In the case of “stress” for example, the line of questioning follows a path of “what kind of stress?”: as it is so unique to each individual. Identifying causative factors underlying insomnia is also important.

I recall two recent cases of women with chronic insomnia that had gone on for years. Both women would wake between 2-4AM; one with worries about her children and the health of her elderly sick father. Both women also experienced menstrual problems and lower back pain. The turning point for both women was since having had children: “since children my sleep has never been the same”.

Sound familiar?

Although a number of medicines are indicated in such cases, both women received the homeopathic medicine Kali Carbonicum, with excellent results. It helped break the pattern. Within a few weeks their sleep patterns normalised resulting in longer, deeper, more restful sleep.

I very often observe that until the underlying causative factors are dealt with, symptoms such as insomnia will tend to persist and recur. If you want to get to the bottom of your insomnia, consider homeopathy.

Sleep Hygiene Tips Part 2

...continued on from Part 1

Be mindful of bright light exposure after dark. Research has demonstrated that night time light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles.

Unfortunately melatonin suppression has far worse consequences than simply poor sleep outcomes: it has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair immune system function, and possibly lead to cardio metabolic consequences such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease. 1-hour and 2-hour exposure to light from self-luminous devices could significantly suppressed melatonin by approximately 23% and 38% respectively.*

Along with blue light emitted from electronic devices, research has shown that being exposed to normal levels of room lighting can have similar negative effects on melatonin.

Things that can help. Applications on your computer e.g. f.lux (free download), a program that makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. This program can be installed on computers, iPads, and iPhones, and may have a significant effect on your melatonin secretion when using these devices at night.

Or if you want to get serious amber-lensed goggles once the sun has gone down. These blue-blocking lenses are highly effective in reducing the effects of blue light exposure, and in most cases completely eliminate the short-wavelength radiation necessary for nocturnal melatonin suppression.

These goggles have been shown to improve sleep quality as well as mood, simply by blocking blue light and simulating physiologic darkness.*
Sleep Well,