Pre-Natal Yoga

Somehow, in the wonderful way the western world has of taking an ancient teaching and morphing, modernising and making it their own, yoga has become a form of 'exercise' and quite recently something that women take up for the first time when they become pregnant. Prenatal yoga has become 'the thing to do' if you want to have a peaceful, healthy pregnancy.

I am all for more people participating in yoga but I'm also passionate about promoting the fact that yoga is far more than a physical activity performed in a room under the guidance of a self proclaimed modern guru.

So... With that out of the way!

What is it that yoga can offer pregnant women?

1. Space - whether you already have kids at home or you just need some time to yourself that's not at work or at home, prenatal yoga classes offer an opportunity for 60-90 mins of dedicated 'me time'. You get to be completely self- focussed, self-absorbed and self-centred in a fully sanctioned and supported way!

2. Rest - again, similar to the above, whether you're already a working mum of one or more or working while navigating the new territory of your first pregnancy, there are times you can feel completely exhausted. Prenatal yoga classes can offer you an opportunity to restore your energy

3. Strength/power - labor can be long. You need not only physical stamina but mental focus as well. Prenatal yoga can help build your physical strength and teach you skills to help direct your focus either towards calm when it's necessary or for commitment to tapping into your internal reserves of strength, stamina and determination in the face of fear and challenge.

4. Peace - the internal working of our minds and be loud, busy, hectic and chaotic - just as sometimes our lives are as well. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean what you worry about stops or that the rest of your life and its demands stop either. Prenatal yoga is a place you can learn tools and techniques to manage the madness - whether it stems from internal stories and habits, or external forces and circumstances of your life. Practices such as pranayama and meditation are excellent tools for cultivating inner peace as they develop concentration, disciplined mental focus and help promote calming of the nervous system.

5. Connection - to others to your body/yourself to your baby. Especially in a transient town like Canberra, where many people may not have family or close friends available to support you through or talk to about your pregnancy, sometimes it can feel quite isolating. Prenatal yoga classes can be a great place to meet and connect with people who may be experiencing similar things to you! A good prenatal yoga class should feel like a safe space where you can share what's going on for you physically and emotionally and feel supported by your teacher and the group to hold space for you to express what you're feeling. Connecting with people is a great way to not feel like you're bearing the load or feeling fears, insecurities all on your own. Sharing and sometimes even just hearing others share how they feel can be so helpful in understanding you're not on your own.

During Pregnancy your body undergoes significant changes in physical, hormonal and emotional ways. Prenatal yoga can help you build a deeper understanding of how your body is changing. This knowledge of your mind/body connection can help you be aware of the changes your body undergoes in the stages of labour. Being present during the process - and applying some of the techniques of breath modulation, focussed mental commitment and physical stamina also learned in prenatal class - can help get you through your labor successfully.

Finally, the meditation, visualisation and breathing techniques you learn in prenatal yoga class can help build a closer, deeper connection between you and your baby. Energy flows where intention goes and Cultivating a relationship between you and your baby can begin long before you get to meet them face to face!

There are many more ways that prenatal yoga can be beneficial during your pregnancy and also how postnatal yoga can help you recover and return to physical and mental balance and health post pregnancy.

If you've got questions or would like to experience pre or post natal yoga if love to hear from you!

Preparing For Labour and Birth

While every pregnancy is unique, the trimesters of pregnancy have a natural progression that can be both exciting and challenging. The first trimester is well known as the time of ‘morning sickness’ which for many women should really be called ‘all day sickness’! The second trimester, if you’re lucky, can be a wonderful time of renewed energy, continuing exercise, work and just getting on with it!

It’s not often until the third trimester that pregnant women begin to focus on getting set-up for the arrival of the baby, known as ‘nesting’, and reality sets in - this growing baby inside your swelling belly will need to come out!

These days, for many pregnant women there are several options for:

●      the type of birth you choose (or at least - plan for!)

●      location of labour and birth (home, conventional hospital, birth centre or water)

●      who supports you through your labour and birth (obstetrician, midwife, doula) and,

●      the many painkillers available, if needed.

In many ways, these options have supported women to have the right to choose how they plan for the birth of their child. On the other hand, the cascade of intervention has increased. Whatever your choices are around the many aspects of the coming labour and birth, it’s important to prepare so that you feel physically, emotionally and mentally strong. This way, you have the best chance of having the labour and birth you wish for.

Focus on grounding, earthing and opening

To bring your beautiful baby into this world requires a focus on lowering and opening your energy, and your body will follow suit. We often look at birth as the baby coming ‘out’, however it is more about the baby ‘moving down’ then out. This can be seen through the natural physiology of birth preparation. As you venture further into the third trimester, your baby’s head and body start to move lower down into your pelvis, this is known as ‘engaging’. It’s a sign that you and your baby are getting ready. Once you’re into the full swing of contractions, and you’re often fully dilated, you begin to feel ‘bearing down’ contractions which is an intense need to push down into your bottom to help the baby down and out.

This natural pull toward Mother Earth is why many women across the world give birth in a squatting, standing or kneeling position as these positions support the need to bear down and allow your body to best open up. Allowing your energy to lower, will also help you to calm your mind, rein in your emotions and balance your hormones - thus, the important phase of ‘nesting’. The key, therefore, is during your third trimester spend time grounding yourself by:

●      taking time out to calm your mind and emotions through activities that are relaxing (swimming, baths, gentle walks, reading, gardening, mindfulness - yes, go buy a colouring book, better yet - make something for the nursery!)

●      keeping an eye on your stress levels (this raises your energy up toward your head instead of lowering, and can knock out the balance of hormones)

●      spending time in a gentle and supported squatting position (prenatal yoga classes are wonderful for teaching this)

●      meditation and visualisation focusing on a smooth, safe and joyful labour and birth

●      practice breathing down into your body and sending your breath to where pain is so as to ease the sensation, and

●      sit and fold baby clothes and blankets!

Build your team

An integrative approach to your health and wellbeing throughout pregnancy is vital. By ‘integrative’, I mean accessing both the mainstream medicine field just as much as kinesiology, acupuncture, naturopathy, osteopathy and yoga. Many women who come for kinesiology report that the ease, success and recovery of labour and birth came down to how physically, emotionally and mentally fit they were.

Pregnancy is quite a ride; one full of wonder, awe, anxieties, fears, tears and joys. Be gentle on yourself with how you’re feeling and know that somewhere, around the world there’s another woman (if not, many more) feeling just like you. If you’re feeling worried or anxious about labour and birth, if you would like to check in on your body, hormones, emotions or mental strength for pain, if you would like to check in on your baby to see if s/he needs anything, or if you would like to learn cool tips and tricks then come along to Live Well for some kinesiology. It’s all about team work for you and your baby.

Take A Pregnant Pause Before You Swallow That Supplement!

There’s perhaps not a more important time to be more scrupulous and selective about what we are putting into our bodies than when you are pregnant, lactating, or looking to conceive. With so many conception and pregnancy products on the market, which ones do you need to take? And what brands should you choose? I hope this article may shed some light on what can be a confusing matter, and help you to make the most considered, informed choices that you can for a healthy, happy pregnancy and beyond.

Have you ever wondered what the real difference is between the supplements you pick up from your local supermarket/chemist/healthfood store and those your Natural Health Practitioner (Naturopath, Nutritionist, Chiropractor etc) prescribe you?

Practitioner-only products are nutritional and herbal supplements that are only available by prescription through consultation with a qualified health practitioner. These products are not available for self-selection or over-the-counter (OTC) sale.

The reason why Practitioner-only products need to be prescribed for use by qualified health practitioners is because they contain more concentrated, therapeutic doses of key ingredients and co-factors needed for maximum efficacy. This includes co-factors to ensure nutrient absorption, ready uptake and utilisation at a cellular level (even down to a particular type of a specific nutrient -for example a magnesium is not just a magnesium…); as well as synergistic effect -that is, having the necessary components for the desired therapeutic outcome that together, interact in such a way that they actually increase the overall effect.

These products are highly researched and developed so treatment can be more targeted, rather than generic. Your Practitioner will have an understanding of your unique needs, as well as a comprehensive working knowledge of the nutrients, herbs and formulas they prescribe. Qualified Health Practitioners attend numerous courses and seminars, and partake in various other forms of continued professional development each year to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date and they can give their clients the best healthcare options available to them.

The select few Practitioner-only company products that I personally use (both in clinic for my clients, as well as for myself and my family) are dedicated to not only the innovation (e.g. upgrading product formulas to reflect new knowledge), research and development side of things; but to sourcing the highest quality raw materials, and placing products under stringent quality-assurance assays (e.g. for purity and stability), and follow strict manufacturing processes in order to confirm both the raw materials and the final products are the purest and most efficacious. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Over-the-counter products.

There is so much information out there, freely available -online especially. Which in many ways is wonderful that we can just ‘Google’ something to find out more about it, and can educate ourselves in countless ways. But often, when it comes to seeking advice on our health it can be confusing -there’s a lot of conflicting information out there; who or what can you trust?

It seems there is an epidemic of unqualified or poorly qualified health “bloggers” out there; spouting health information with next to no accountability for the advice they are giving out. Not to mention crafty marketing tactics that are “informing” our choices. Indeed, there are so many products available at the local chemist, supermarket or healthfood store -that what it really comes down to for most consumers IS the marketing-the brand positioning,  buzz words and ingredients, a celebrity endorsement or commercial on tv…

According to the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), which is a Government initiative for complementary medicine research -over 70% of Australian adults use over-the-counter complementary medicine products. Of that 70% who are using these medicines, it is estimated that only 5% of these people consult a qualified health practitioner; and rely instead on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members, or indeed self-prescribe after checking with ‘Dr Google’.

There are definitely benefits and much empowerment that comes from being able to research our health and wellbeing, and I am all for people having the knowledge and being empowered to take care of their health. But is this really how we choose to take care of our health? It is possibly where the supplements being “expensive urine” and Natural medicines “don’t work” arguments stem from; generic advice (often given by Dr Google) combined with the use of substandard, over-the-counter products that are ultimately ineffective.

Using Practitioner-only products also minimises the risks associated with OTC products, such as the use of low grade raw materials, lack of purity (especially when it comes to fish oils!), substitution or contamination, manufacturing standards or misleading labelling.

To me it’s about maintaining a certain level of integrity, and my commitment to my clients to provide the best healthcare options and support available. It’s important that these recommendations are made specifically for an individual, by a professional who has an in-depth, working knowledge and the ability to be discerning with regard to technical information on exactly why specific types of nutrients, herbs or formulations will be beneficial to the individual’s physiology -that is, the treatment is personalised, based on health history and context of a person’s life, work, mental/emotional/physical stressors etc; rather than a cookie-cutter or protocol approach.

I personally consider the use of pure, high-potencyproducts of crucial importance in my practise. As a healthcare practitioner, I want to know about the latest research and developments and how it translates into better, more effective therapeutic products for my clients. I also want to be assured that the ingredients are pure and of the highest quality.

Miscarriage and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a long history of treating and preventing miscarriages.  While some miscarriages are inevitable, it is reassuring to know that there are treatment options available, especially in cases of threatened miscarriage.  According to TCM, one of the most common causes of miscarriage is a deficiency of Spleen and Kidney energy leading to deficiency of qi and blood.

These deficiencies result in the uterus not getting enough blood supply to support sufficient growth and nourishment of the foetus, resulting in miscarriage.  In order to prevent miscarriage, women should ensure that their body is balanced even before planning a pregnancy. This can take time, and in some instances some fairly drastic lifestyle changes are required.

Work and family commitments should be re-arranged where necessary to avoid overdoing it and depleting the qi.  Working long hours depletes the qi, there is no way around it.

Ask for help where necessary.  If you are looking after young children and are exhausted, ask your partner/family/friends for some help, be specific, chances are they have no idea how run down you are and would love to help if only they knew how.  Exercise should be kept to a minimum, and only at a low intensity, walking is perfect.

If you have a previous history of miscarriage, it is important to take some time to allow your body to recover and replenish qi and blood before attempting to fall pregnant again.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be of great benefit here. If you are currently pregnant, have a history of miscarriage and feel that you have not fully replenished your energy, don’t panic! Slow down, relax and make an appointment to see a local TCM practitioner. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs can be prescribed to prevent threatened miscarriage and are very effective. There is no effective conventional (Western) medical treatment for threatened miscarriage to date, however any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to your doctor.

The following is a very popular congee (rice porridge) dish in China that has been used for many years as a preventive measure for miscarriage.  This dish can be eaten three times a week, before or during pregnancy.  Lotus seeds are a medicinal food in Chinese Medicine and can be used to strengthen the Spleen and Kidney energies to prevent miscarriage.  Red dates are nutrient rich, a good source of fibre and iron, and act to tonify the blood.  Red dates and lotus seeds are available from Asian grocers.

Red Date Lotus Seed Congee

1 Handful of white rice
15 Lotus seeds
10 Chinese red dates, rinsed
500ml-800ml (approx. 2-3 cups) of water
Soak Lotus Seeds for 2-3 hours before cooking
Cook rice and lotus seeds in 500ml-800ml water on simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice softens.
NB Do not eat Lotus seeds if suffering from a cold or flu or have a fever.

Feeling Stressed? What next?

Stress is often perceived as an outside force putting us under mental strain.  Such as bills that need to be paid, boss’s pleased and keeping family happy, especially with Christmas around the corner!

The reality is there are too many causes of stress to simply list them all here. But what is stress really? Why does it make us anxious?  Why do we get headaches, a sore neck, sore shoulders, and a myriad of other physical symptoms?

Going back to our good old flight or fight response we need to realise that despite our obvious advancements as a human race, our basic framework of anatomy and physiology has not evolved at the same rate as our intellect, which leaves us a little unable to cope with the 21st century stress placed on our bodies. When under acute stress, our brain knows that you are either going to have to fight and kill, or run like the wind.  Either way this is going to use a lot of energy, so we are going to need oxygen because without it we’re not going to get far. So in conjunction with that initial burst of adrenaline, we start to breathe differently.

Normally in order to take a breath in, the diaphragm descends, which creates more space in our thorax, which brings air into the lungs. When we need a greater volume of air we need to create a bigger thorax.  Which is achieved by employing muscles in the neck and chest which are attached to the upper ribs.  Those muscles hoist the upper ribs up and expand the rib cage which gives us more oxygen to work with.

Now when a bear was chasing you, this response was wholly appropriate. However, today it can be problematic. Since we can’t physically fight our bosses (as much as we would like to sometimes), and we can’t run away from bills and other responsibilities, our stress response is now somewhat inappropriate.  This means that we never use the energy we are trying to store, and we carry on breathing as if we are about to run away or fight. Therefore those muscles in the neck and chest that are only meant to be used in the short term become tight, shortened and over worked.  This can cause neck pain, shoulder tension, headaches, dizziness and lead to more anxiety.

So what can be done about this?

Osteopathy is an excellent approach to combat stress.  Because so much of our stress response is so physical, it follows that a hands on treatment would be very effective.  By gently working on the neck, shoulders and upper ribs, the built-up tension can be eased. What else? Many people are familiar with the sub-occipital release, with the practitioners fingers strategically placed in the soft-tissue at the base of the skull (feels great). This, and other cranial techniques, can reduce irritation of the vagus nerves, the primary parasympathetic nerves, as they exit the skull to pass to the heart, lungs, and digestive organs.

Work at the sacrum can have a similar effect via the parasympathetic nerves to the pelvic organs.  The adrenals live in proximity to the thoracolumbar junction of the spine where the diaphragm and psoas muscle meet. Normalising tensions in those structures and mobilizing the spine can improve adrenal function. I can also teach you some breathing exercises and simple stretches. Giving your body a much better threshold for dealing with stress.  

To get you started. A simple breathing exercise is to breath in to the count of 4, hold for 6 and breath out to the count of 6. Cycle through for a few minutes. Give it a go!

Stress: Look Deeper, See Further

By now, most people understand what it feels like to be stressed. In previous articles, I have explained the hormonal connection of stress, which when not tamed can lead to anxiety, insomnia and possibly depression. Individually, we all respond to stress in different ways whether it’s held in your muscles and posture, digestion, immunity, or emotional and mental stress to name just a few (tip - many people ignore the effects of emotional and mental stress).

Sadly, we often become so well acquainted with being stressed that it begins to be the norm for daily life. Consequently, you can begin to say “No, I’m not stressed”. What once might have been quite high levels of stress is then considered to be ‘OK’. Especially, given that we can look around us and see others doing the same thing! That doesn’t make it OK though, does it?

Why we’re talking about stress

A common message throughout the articles for this month’s theme of ‘Banishing Stress’ is actually recognising stress within your life - how you react to stress, different approaches to healing stress and the hot tips for preventing stress. For me, Live Well is lighting up a big sign that says ‘Don’t ignore stress in your life’! Don’t accept your stress levels as they are; it’s like asking you to live a life that is second best or worse.

What do you typically view as stress - being very busy at work, run off your feet and on the go? Sure, this can indeed be stressful. However, what about stress related to troubles within an intimate or important relationship, stress related to finding a network and social circle within your community or stress around accepting and loving who you are? How about those mental loops and not being able to move forward with a thought or issue? I’d love to hear about what you find stressful and how stress affects you as this discussion will help others to see that it’s a much bigger field than they think. It’s why the word ‘stress’ has become one of the most highly searched terms online.

Tip for overcoming stress

The essential oil ‘Sandalwood’ keeps showing up in clinic this October and it has a great message for everyone no matter if you believe you’re stressed or not - it’s easy to become entrenched in your own life and the story that we create. Sandalwood supports us to take a step back and reflect on what is actually happening. It’s like walking to the top of a hill to be able to gain a new perspective on things. Indeed, this is a lovely action toward mindfulness!

Your homework this week is to find a hill or mountain and climb it - the very action of looking out toward the horizon and the bigger picture will enable you to do this for the many layers of your life. Gain a new perspective, see the way through and change how you do things for the better.

6 ways to turn stress around, fast!

We all have our ways that we “deal” with stress. Commonly, it’s a very tried and very tested autopilot response by which our brain and nervous system “cope” under pressure to meet the demands of our daily lives. But tolerating stress all the time is tiring (literally).

Here are 6 things you can do today to help you feel more ease, rather than stressed, and restore more of the good feelings in life:

1.     B-R-E-A-T-H-E deep into your belly. Allow your belly to fill with air and expand like a big balloon. Then release… This is an instant de-stressor to both the body and mind. Do this 1 time, do it 3 times, or do it as many times as you need in order to clear your head and create a circuit-breaker. The more often we can practise this technique, the more we will feel the benefits of “un-plugging” from our stress response. I know I’ve said it a bunch of times when it comes to dealing with stress, but this is arguably the quickest way to do so.

2.     Go easy on the caffeine. I’m sorry to say this - I am :), but the physiological impact of that coffee is like actually drinking a cup of liquid stress; this is the hormonal impact it has on the body as it activates a stress (hormone) response. Interestingly, when we’ve been in stress mode for an extended period of time our adrenals start to flag and we find ourselves on a seesaw of stress and fatigue, so our caffeine intake (e.g. from coffee, black tea, chocolate, soft drinks and energy beverages) can become a crutch to help get us through the fatigue and keep pumping, or at least, remaining functional. Unfortunately though, the way caffeine (and also, sugar) is broken down and metabolised in the body creates a substance called lactate (you may already be familiar with lactate build-up in your muscles after exercise). A build-up of lactate in the system has been shown to elevate stress and anxiety levels, and to even induce anxiety attacks in some studies. That caffeine hit usually gives us the sense of relief from our stresses momentarily, but it acts like a credit card in the sense that it gives us energy we don’t actually have. “Borrowing” energy and stimulating the adrenals in this way “buys” us time and keeps us steaming along in survival mode to do what we need to do. But it comes with extra interest, and we pay that price when our adrenal glands become so depleted that instead of playing on that seesaw of stress and fatigue we eventually just hit the wall -with fatigue, poor mood and a decline in mental and physical function. The hormonal and metabolic pathway of caffeine in the body also places stress on the liver, spikes blood sugars, raises cholesterol levels and places the body in fat-storage mode, leading to unhealthy weight gain. Initially, even the idea itself can be difficult to come to grips with, but it’s worth noting that forgoing our usual caffeine intake can dramatically decrease physiological stress levels with each fix we choose not to have. Of course, having something to substitute it with is equally important. You may like to trade it for a herbal tea -for example, roasted, unprocessed dandelion root or peppermint; a lemon or lime water; fresh vegie juice or a homemade energy ball snack.

3.     Take a closer look at your blood glucose levels and try to manage them appropriately. Dishevelled blood glucose levels are a major physiological cause of stress in the body that also causes havoc on our hormones. Stress activates adrenalin and cortisol to initiate the release of glucose into the bloodstream which causes blood glucose levels to spike, and then crash. Thus perpetuating the physiological stress response as well as the energy deficit. Making sure you don’t leave too long between meals and keeping meals and snacks well-balanced with a portion of protein, healthy fats, fresh vegies and other complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa are good rules of thumb to start with.

4.     Get your hands on some Lemon balm -Fresh or dried leaves or the essential oil itself -scrunch it, inhale it, dab the oil on yourself or steep it in hot water and drink as a tea. The aromatic essential oils of Lemon balm (aka Melissa Officinalis) are calming and rejuvenating for the head, heart and nerves, lifting the spirits and helping to ease stress and emotions.

5.     Do a brain dump -This where you blurt out (through writing) all that’s stressing you and playing on your mind. Much of our stress these days is perpetuated by a psychological element that involves the way we perceive, think and feel about things being directly processed by our nervous system all the time. So it can be helpful to get all your stresses, worries, thoughts and feelings out onto paper. For a more constructive and perhaps effective version of this: try a mind map. If you’re not familiar or have a limited understanding of exactly what mind mapping is and how it works, there are some excellent online sources that will take you through how to do it and explain the many benefits. It can be an effective stress-busting exercise whereby we lay out a detailed roadmap of the issues at hand; you can see what’s going on and what needs to be addressed more clearly, and begin to understand how things are tied together. You can then do another one for all the potential solutions. Try to remain open to new possibilities that may arise during this exercise. It’s a powerful clarifying tool and good a way to stop your stress from “swimming” around in your head and body like a big, accumulating stormcloud running amok. It’s helpful to finish by redirecting your thoughts to workable solutions that you can act on now.

6.     Go out of your way to treat the physical: Book yourself a bodywork session -whether it’s craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, or a Yoga, Zumba or Tai chi class. Perhaps taking a hike (and a picnic) up one of Canberra’s many mountains, booking in for a trail ride on a horse, or doing some gardening is just the thing. We can also affect the finer physiology of our brain chemistry and nervous system activity by going back to step one and focusing on stress relief through the breath; listening to a guided meditation or visualisation can also give us some much-needed mental space; or some helpful binaural tones that directly change the electrochemical activity through specific audiotones that can induce relaxation throughout to improve resilience, mood, sleep, and cognition.

Here’s a bonus tip that works: Make yourself hold a smile and breathe deeply for as long as you can. This will change the tone pretty quickly. Even if initially it feels ridiculous; it may feel ironic, somewhat exasperating or outright absurd -it may probably even feel like a little of all of the above. This is because it feels incredibly counter-intuitive to be smiling away when you’re in the middle of a stress-out! When we’re under pressure and most need to use this trick we’re also likely to resist it madly. But if you can persevere, even just for a minute or two, you may just find it does the trick to get you into a better frame of mind or have you feeling a bit silly and more able to laugh at yourself and your problems rather than get stuck in a mental loop about them.

I encourage you to try one (or all) of these tips for yourself the next time you’re feeling stressed. They will not only help to create a bit of space from your experience of stress, but they help facilitate a mental and nervous system shift so you can then redirect your energies and change the way you’re feeling for a better outcome.

Naturopathic support is always a game-changer when it comes to feeling stressed, and I can help you to naturally enhance your resilience and to feel, and cope better. So if you feel you could do with a bit of a “tune-up” or you’re ready to just not-feel-this-way anymore, you can call Live Well to book an appointment, or use our online booking system and find a time and day that suits you.

Best wishes,


P.S Check out my Little Things You Can Do To Unplug for some extra useful ways to tackle the stress in your life.

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.