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?

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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:

Acupuncture

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.

Osteopathy

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: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15038680.

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,
 
Bryden

Sleep Hygiene Tips Part 1

'Sleep hygiene' means habits that help you have a good night's sleep, something we all know and love but don’t often get. Common sleeping problems (eg. insomnia) are often brought about by bad habits reinforced over years but you can learn to retrain your body and mind so that you sleep well and wake feeling rested.

Some basic points:

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep as the body begins to metabolise the alcohol, causing arousal. Other drawbacks include waking frequently to go to the toilet and hangovers. Instead, have a warm, milky drink, since milk contains a sleep-enhancing amino acid.
  • Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
  • Obey your body clock. Get up at the same time every day. This will help to ‘set’ your body clock.
  • Don’t ignore tiredness. Go to bed when your body tells you to!
  • Don’t go to bed if you don’t feel tired. You will only reinforce bad habits such as lying awake.
  • Get enough early morning sunshine. Exposure to light during early waking hours helps to set your body clock. Especially in the first 30 minutes.
  • Food can be disruptive right before sleep.  Stay away from large meals close to bedtime. It’s better to have a bigger lunch and light dinner.
  • Good sleep is more likely if your bedroom feels restful and comfortable. Invest in a mattress that is neither too hard nor too soft. Ensure the room is dark enough. Buy a pair of earplugs if needed or a good poking stick for your partner whatever works for you!
  • Sleeping pills – drawbacks include daytime sleepiness, failure to address the causes of sleeping problems, and the ‘rebound’ effect – after a stint of using sleeping pills, falling asleep without them tends to be even harder. These drugs should only be used as a temporary last resort and under strict medical advice.
  • Relax. Take a warm bath. We’re very good at worrying as it is, so don’t practice in your sleep! Try relaxation exercises.  There are a heap of options, so you just need to find the right one for you. For starters, you could consciously relax every part of your body, starting with your toes and working up to your head (don’t forget your jaw). Or you could concentrate on the rhythmic rise and fall of your breathing expelling your tension on the out breaths.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time, get out of bed and do something else for half an hour or so, such as reading a book.
  • Come see one of us. As an Osteopath- a sign that the treatment is helping is your sleep improves. Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Kineosiology, Acupuncture, Yoga and massage can all help in different ways.

Take Care.

Banish Insomnia

The Perfect Night’s Sleep

Ahhh sleep, you know the drill, your head hits the pillow and you drift effortlessly into a long, peaceful and rejuvenating nights rest….or maybe…..not! Unfortunately, for many this is not your reality.

Instead your mind is awash with the thoughts and experiences of the day playing over and over again on repeat. You revisit the annoying conversation, the difficult conflict or the embarrassing moment ad nauseam.

Or perhaps it’s not a particular thought that keeps you awake, rather a general sense of restlessness and irritation or physical discomfort.

For others getting to sleep is the easy part, staying asleep is the problem. You wake at the same time each night and then toss and turn until the alarm goes off and signals the end of another unsatisfactory night. Or something wakes you like a crying baby, a pet or a crazy neighbour and you lie awake long after the interruption has passed.

Sleep and your health

The problem with these scenarios is that sleep is no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’; it is an essential foundation of wellbeing. Poor sleep not only leads to chronic exhaustion but also to chronic disease. Anxiety, depression, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes are just some of the many conditions linked to chronic insomnia.

The reason sleep is so super important is because the quality of your sleep determines the health of your nervous system and when your nervous system is out of balance it effects everything else: immune system, hormone balance, metabolism, mental health, digestion and so on.

If you want to prevent cancer, if you want to heal from auto-immune disease, if you want to lose weight, if you want to overcome depression or anxiety then start by addressing the quality of your sleep and the rest will follow.

Quality and quantity

What about those people who have chronic illness and already sleep a lot? It comes down to quantity plus quality. Many people with conditions like chronic fatigue or depression will sleep for long hours but wake up feeling exhausted. This indicates that whilst your eyes might be shut your body and mind are stuck in a limbo land between wakefulness and deep rest. It’s like you’re dipping your toes in the waters of relaxation when every cell of your body wants to be able to dive right in and soak up the recuperative waters.

Banishing insomnia

The good news is natural therapies are very effective in restoring quality sleep. Everyone’s pattern of insomnia is different and the underlying causes are as unique as the person themselves which is why holistic approaches are often successful where other avenues have failed.

Throughout July at Live Well, we’re focused on helping you solve the puzzle of getting a good night sleep. So stay tuned and keep an eye out for blogs, information resources, seminars and more to help you get the quality sleep and rejuvenation you deserve.

If you do struggle with sleep, don't ignore it or put up with it any longer. It’s not a trivial issue so make a time to connect with one of our practitioners and get help. The quality of your wellbeing is depending on it.

We are here to help.

Keep your spine supple with Yoga this winter!

Yoga Pose! Seated twist: Bharadvajasana

With the winter chill in Canberra seriously setting in, there are a range of that Yoga practices that can help you keep you feeling supple and centred despite the cold.
 
Whether you have sore wrists, achy knees or a stiff back from arthritis, there are still gentle Yoga poses you can make a part of your day to help keep your body feeling elastic and flexible throughout winter.
 
Some Yogis and other health professionals believe that optimal health starts with our spines. So keeping your spine mobile and limber throughout the chill of winter can have benefits from improved posture, reduced pain and an improved sense of mental and emotional wellbeing.
 
Gentle seated twists are a great way to encourage healthy range of motion in your spine and assist with improving your posture, digestion freedom of movement. This seated twist 'Bharadvajasana' doesn't take a lot of time and you can even it them from the comfort of your office chair.

To set up: 

Find a comfortable seat that allows you to sit up straight and tall. You can sit on the floor or on a firm, stable chair that won't limit your twisting movements.

Begin to focus on the rhythm of your breath, noticing your inhale and exhale. Eventually invite a deeper breath in as you sit up taller and as you exhale gently connect into your core muscles.

To twist:

On an inhale breath sit up tall as you exhale twist your chest and shoulders to the right.
try to keep your chin in line with the centre of your chest.

You can place your right hand on your knee and use your left hand behind you for support against the floor or chair back.

Spent 2-3 breaths here, sitting taller with each inhale and gently exploring the twist with each exhale.

On an exhale breath, gently release back to centre. Repeat opposite side.
 
You can repeat this twist as many times as you like throughout the day to help re-set your posture and your reinvigorate your mindset. As along with the physical benefits of flexibility to your hips, spine and chest, breathing deeply helps flush out stale air in your lungs and enliven your mind to bring some energy back to your attitude!  

Be careful to:

Move slowly and gently - if you meet any sharp pain, stop and see your health professional for advice. Sit up tall at all time - this is the safest way to avoid compression in your vertebrae.
Stretch across smile on your dial as well! A little movement and breath can help drop away the winter blues and leave your feeling happier each day!
 
Namaste!

Arthritis: movement beyond your joints

One of the most effective ways to approach dis-eases such as arthritis is to remind ourselves that we are more than just our physical body. As Aristotle so eloquently explained ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Eastern healing traditions such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and yogic-Chakra medicine have known this for hundreds of years and have always encompassed the mind, body and spirit. For Eastern medicine, the physical body is not seen as separate to our other ‘bodies’ such as emotional, mental and spiritual; together they create a blueprint of ‘energy’ that is unique to each of us. They’re intricately connected. Kinesiology draws upon both Eastern and Western healing wisdom and techniques in order to treat the whole person. And here’s why this approach helps those who suffer from arthritis - let’s explore this through two of the most difficult symptoms of arthritis: pain and lack of movement or stiffness.

Pain as stored emotions or thoughts

As a general rule, wherever there is physical pain in the body, there is an associated emotional and mental pattern and the same can be said for emotional pain being held in the physical body. So often we try to shift pain yet it continues to return. We question what it is that we’re doing to trigger the pain again and again. However, the answer lies not only within the structure of your joints, but within the life you have experienced. When you reflect on your life thus far, what emotions and moments did you try to ignore or put away as they were too confronting or uncomfortable? When you don’t resolve aspects from your life, it gets stored in your energy system and as it builds can create stress, dis-ease or pain within the body.

Stuck in body; stuck in life

This leads me to the next common symptom of arthritis which is lack of movement or stiffness. A common theme for people who suffer from arthritis, or have limited motion within joints, or painful areas within the moving parts of the body is their relationship with direction, change and flexibility. I’m not talking about the ability to simply freely move your hips or fingers, or to bend your knees and take a step. I’m talking about how you respond to the hurdles and challenges that life brings you. Do you go with the flow and adapt with the changes of the wind, or do you remain intent to hold onto your direction, views and behaviours? Your body can reflect your inner workings of feeling stuck with what to do next, how to move forward or how to let go.

Your body is your guide

In Kinesiology, we are able to get detailed enough to explore the different areas of your body that are inflamed or stiff and sore. For example, the elbows are a reflection of your ability to embrace life and to embrace others. Conversely, you could be holding your arms tightly and protecting yourself from the world around you. When we experience inflammation in particular part of the body, it’s an opportunity to listen to your body and understand what it’s trying to tell you.
 
By revealing what it is that we need to understand and accept and to then release this, we can begin to ease the inflamed response from your body. Essentially, flexibility in life brings a free flowing movement within your energy system and from this you can roll with the punches and feel peaceful, calm and centred. If you would like to talk to your body through Kinesiology and work to release the blocks, book in for a session with me, Live Well’s resident Kinesiologist.

Arthritis - the homeopathic & herbal approach

Homeopathy and herbal medicine can be simple and very effective therapies for people with arthritis. Well-known UK homeopath, Ian Watson, found homeopathy to be so successful in helping people with musculo-skeletal problems (including arthritis) in his clinic, that he published a book on the subject (Aspects of Homeopathy: Musculo-Skeletal Problems).

There are many types of ‘arthritis’, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis. There’s also rheumatism, fibromyalgia, polymyalgia, gout, gouty arthritis, Raynaud’s Disease. Then there’s “I have stiff knees”, “I’m aching all over but my Doctor says I’m fine”, “I’m not moving as well as I used to”, “the cold weather’s getting to me”, and so on.

What type do you have? Does it fit into a neat box?

To a homeopath or herbalist, a diagnosis of “arthritis” is just the start, not the end point.

There is no ‘medicine for arthritis’. Rather, the approach we take is to understand the unique physiological makeup of the person who has the arthritis and its characterising symptoms, as it uniquely expresses in that person. Bundled into this is assessing any causal factors: Is it an inherited familial trait? Is it the result of an old sports injury? Has it been triggered by hormonal changes during menopause? Does it happen before rain?

To illustrate the approach, imagine two people that have received a diagnosis of ‘osteoarthritis’. The first person experiences stiffness and pain in the morning upon waking, which gets progressively better throughout the day as he moves the joints and ‘limbers up’. For the second person, his arthritis symptoms worsen the more he moves; he only gets relief when he is still. This is just the start - the homeopath/herbalist then also looks for other unique, guiding symptoms and/or conditions that together define the overall pattern of illness. A medicine is chosen on the basis of this overall pattern.

For example, Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) may be prescribed for someone with rheumatic arthritis, who also experiences menstrual irregularities, faulty digestion and experiences migraines with changes in weather (especially before rain).

The following cases help illustrate how this works in practice

Years ago an old dairy farmer came in with debilitating arthritis in his spine. He was on a waiting list for surgery, scheduled six months down the track, but he was having great difficulty managing his pain during the wait (even with strong pain suppressant medication). His arthritis was the result of multiple old injuries, including a broken back, from earlier in his life. Homeopathic Symphytum, which is often indicated in injuries or trauma to the skeletal system (no matter how old), successfully provided the relief he needed to manage the pain until his surgery.

Another man presented to the clinic with painful osteoarthritis in his big toe joints, which had become progressively worse throughout his fifties. His toe joints had advanced osteophyte formation (bony bumps). He was worried because he had booked an overseas hiking trip with his wife later in the year, and already his movement was becoming restricted; was there anything that could be done? Conventional wisdom would say “not in such a case”; the advanced state of his joint deformation didn't fill me with hope that he’d be trekking ever again. His experienced of ‘osteoarthritis’ was as follows: pain and stiffness, worse in the morning upon waking, alleviated by heat and movement (gradually better as the day went on), much worse in cold weather and especially when it was cold and wet. His diet was good; there were no old injuries, no other major stresses in his life. I prescribed the homeopathic medicine Rhus tox to be taken daily. He came back to see me for follow a couple of months later and I don't know who was more surprised. Not only had his arthritis symptoms (pain & stiffness) considerably improved, but the osteoarthritic growths on his toe joints had reduced by 60%. He continued to take the medicine and comfortably completed his overseas trek later that year. I saw him again a couple of years later as the problem had started to worsen again - because he had stopped taking the medicine as he had felt so much better. Resuming the medicine got him back on track. This is a good example of how chronic conditions need to be worked with over time.

Let me know if I can help.

Gerry

Arthritis and How Osteopathy Can Help

Our bodies are very good at compensating for different stressors and strains we put on the body and it's only when we push it that little bit too far that I often get to see you. These compensation patterns can lead to poor biomechanics of the body. This can be due to having some muscles too weak and other muscles too tight and this can cause joints to function poorly. Which can then lead to arthritis if left untreated for a few decades, but it’s never too late to start improving posture and muscle tone. Movement is key.

I think arthritis often develops in the joints that have become ‘stuck’ and no longer have good vascular and lymphatic drainage leading to inflammation and degeneration. So getting things ‘moving’ again is key. Simply things like breathing from your diaphragm, sitting on the floor versus the couch, walking barefoot on the grass and looking into classes that encourage movement and strength through the body. Like Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi are fantastic.  
 
Often other parts of the body are affected, for example a bad knee may affect the hip, pelvis or lower back causing extra problems such as back or hip pain. This can also work in reverse – the aggravated hip or back then causes postural changes which go on to make the knee even worse. With treatment, we aim to assess and solve these other issues in order to improve overall body function. I can also offer advice on the right forms of gentle exercises that can help mobilise the affected joints and release surrounding muscle tension.
 
Osteopathic treatment cannot cure the actual arthritis but aims to reduce pain and improve the range of movement that is available without pain so the problem will be less noticeable. It can help people to move better and have more normal lives. Pain in arthritis is often made worse by tight muscles surrounding the joint.

Easing this muscle tightness can substantially relieve the discomfort. Mobilisation of the joints, stretching and massage can improve blood flow and nutrition to the joints promoting healing. You spend thousands getting your car serviced each year (a depreciating asset), maybe it’s worth giving your body some of the attention it deserves? Because unfortunately there’s no trade ins.
 

The First Step to Overcoming Depression

If you're reading this and you suffer from depression, then please know I'm going to keep this short and simple. The last thing you need is to be bombarded with too much information. If you're reading this for yourself or with someone in mind, please know that the message I'm about to give you is the starting place from which to begin healing. It's the very first step. It's how to get up and get going again.

From experience of working with people who suffer from depression, which now spans 11 years, the worst thing you can say is “just get up”, “just get a good night's sleep”, “just go for a run and you'll feel better” or the very worst “just get over it”.  The point that these comments are missing is, that a person with depression does not have the energy to click their fingers and make change. And by 'energy', I'm not just talking about calories and endurance – I'm talking about the energetic fuel for life that comes from within.

I particularly love how Dr. Alexander Lowen in 'Depression and the Body' explains that “Depression is a loss of an organism's internal force comparable in one sense to the loss of air in a balloon or tire. This internal force is the constant flow of impulses and feeling from the vital centres of the body to the periphery... what moves the body is an energetic charge. When it results in an action, we call it an impulse – a pulse from within. In the depressed state impulse formation is sharply reduced both as to number of impulses and their strength...a loss of feeling on the inside and action on the outside.” Thus, saying“just get up” is illogical.

Rather than kicking you when you're down and exposing the pieces of your life that immobilise you, the most beneficial place to start is by reversing your deflation. This is done by helping you to tap into your internal force, the fire in your belly and the spark you once knew. Once you regain your balance of energy, we can begin to look at your triggers, trauma or behaviours. You'll feel stronger to face them, more powerful to heal them and already on the way to reaching your full potential.

I always love to share some techniques to try at home and help you on your way, so let's start with sleep. There's a mountain of research that connects depression with insomnia and other sleep disorders. One may lead to the other and for some, it's unclear as to which started first.

Have a read of The Sanctuary of Sleep Series Part Three: techniques to help you relax and sleep and try one or two of these simple techniques. Life is often that much better after proper rest and rejuvenation.

The gentle practices of kinesiology will help you connect back with your internal fire, teach you a lot about yourself and the ways in which you can be your own friend. It's about being able to feel life again and break the hold that depression can have on you. Depression is the opposite to feeling as it is indeed, the absence of feeling. Most importantly, depression is a cloud and no matter your history with it, I leave you with the ancient writings of Persian Sufi poets, with “This too shall pass”. Start moving the cloud by booking in for kinesiology!

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