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Breathe Easy

An easy to follow and super simple breathing technque that will have you feeling less stresed and more zen in no time!

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What Others Say About Live Well

"From the time you walk into the establishment you are treated in a warm, caring and professional way and the treatment works, thank you!" John Taylor 

"Your treatments removed problems that drugs, physios, GP's, osteopaths and everything under the sun I tried didn't." Tristran Gordon

"My practitioner was very competent and professional. Friendly and helpful receptionists. Nice atmosphere. Genuine commitment to wellbeing of self and clients." Michele Mack

"I love the effect on my body, the difference I feel afterwards and the relaxation." Natasha Robb

Located in Canberra at: 35 Murray Cres MANUKA ACT 2603, the LIVE WELL, Spa and Wellness Centre, brings a range of natural therapies together including MassageAcupuncture and Herbal Medicine. Our centre has a particular focus on providing natural fertility support, solutions for all kinds of pain relief including some of Canberra's best massage therapists as well as  health education including wellness programs and seminars.

Wednesday
Oct152014

A Fertile Life Part I: Why Mind-Body Medicine is Essential for Fertility

In this two part series, I will be exploring how mind-body medicine supports women in creating the family and life they've always wanted. Mind-body medicine treats the whole person: your mind, body, spirit and energy system. This is essential, as the answer to fertility difficulties sometimes  lies beyond the physical body.

Part I Why Mind-Body Medicine is Essential for Fertility discusses the role emotions, thoughts and hormones play in fertility. Part II will explore the broader concept of a fertile life and how in turn this promotes fertility.

Imagine yourself as an intricate pattern of connecting lines, such as a web. Each silk thread is a different aspect – your thoughts, emotions, hormones, nutrients, neurons, organs, glands – the list goes on. Your energy system flows though each of these threads. Energy flows where intention goes so if there is stress or dis-harmony in one connection, then it affects the whole system. The web becomes weak. It is crucial then, to look at the whole person and not just the physical body!

Does it sometimes feel like you've tried everything to get pregnant? Or are you at the beginning of your fertility journey and wondering if all is in place for a healthy pregnancy? Perhaps you're pregnant and wanting to prepare for the birth and life after your baby arrives?

When planning for a baby, most women take into consideration key factors in their lifestyle such as: what they're eating, how much they're exercising and if they need to quit smoking or reduce their alcohol consumption. These areas are widely recognised as crucial to a healthy pregnancy and baby. However, the role of emotional and mental health in promoting fertility is often overlooked. Below are some examples of other aspects affecting fertility for your consideration:

●     Stress hormones are your fertility enemy. In 2009, researchers at the University of California discovered several damaging interactions between stress hormones and fertility hormones. When you are stressed, anxious or depressed, hormones are released into your body that disturb your ovulation, sperm count and desire for sex.

●     The yogic-Chakra system penetrates through your endocrine (hormonal) system. By checking in with each of the chakras you are able to gain insight into what areas of your life you need to pay attention to.

◦      The Crown Chakra penetrates through your hypothalamus which is at the top of the chain of messages within the brain down to your endocrine glands. It is the spiritual aspect of your life and whether you and on your unique path.

◦      Second in line is the pituitary gland which amongst others secretes oxytocin (intimacy and childbirth) and prolactin (breastfeeding) and penetrates through the Brow Chakra. What is your perception of your inner and outer worlds?

 ●     Within your energy system, a balanced Sacral Chakra is key to the successful making of a baby. The Sacral Chakra penetrates through the ovaries and gonads. Surprise, surprise – the Sacral Chakra is all about your emotional self. Questions to ask yourself and your partner are: Am I expressing my emotions? Am I accepting my emotions? Am I a victim to my emotions? Do I need to let go?

And remember, it takes two to make a baby, so successful fertility is both the responsibility of the female and the male!

Returning to the web metaphor; imagine being able to create well-being through healing your energy system. Your meridians and chakras hold the keys to your fertility. Mind-body medicine teaches you a lot about yourself and gives you the power to heal and create the life that's waiting for you.

Book in with Kate Pamphilon, our resident kinesiologist, for help with any aspect of fertility, pregnancy, labour and birth.

Wednesday
Oct082014

Nourish Yourself to a Stress-Free Life – Part 1

The number one cause of all problems, whether they be physical, mental or emotional is stress. Recent research has increasingly confirmed the important role of stress in cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, skin problems, emotional disorders and lowered immune systems. In fact 75-90% of all visits to your doctor are for stress related complaints. I don’t know about you but that is a massive statistic and one that can be reversed with the proper support and guidance.

Nourishing ourselves is not only beneficial for our wellbeing, but also crucial if we are to live our lives optimally and fully. When most of us talk about nourishing ourselves, we think diet. However, I believe it is important to view nourishment in a more holistic sense. If we just focus on our physical bodies through diet and exercise, we could possibly neglect our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well. So, for me nourishment refers to what nourishes our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical bodies with a holistic and complete focus.  This article is divided into four sections addressing how to sustain and nurture all four of our body systems in order to live a stress-free life.

 

Physical Nourishment

Physical nourishment begins with what you put into your body. All of us have probably heard the saying “you are what you eat.” Yes, it may be a cliché it is also true. I for one can vouch for the benefits of changing to a clean diet. Growing up I used to eat lots of junk food; chocolate, chips, processed and refined biscuits, pastries and bread. I had low energy levels and my digestive system was struggling. Five years ago I started cleaning up my diet; I became a vegetarian, reduced and eliminated dairy, processed and refined sugar and gluten. I’m not saying eliminating meat, dairy and gluten are best for everyone. However, reducing at the very least processed and refined foods such as sugar and white flour will set you on the path to greater health. Incorporating and increasing vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and ethically sourced meat (if you’re a meat eater) are the cornerstone of what experts deem as a healthy diet. Focusing on when we are hungry and full - instead of emotional eating, eating until our plates are empty or boredom - will ensure that you are eating for all the right reasons. 

Exercise is equally as important not only to your physical body, but the other three bodies as well. It has been reported that exercise not only makes you physically fit, but can also reduce anxiety, depression and stress. There is no right or wrong way to exercise, what works for one person might not work for another. For example I don’t like running. However, I love walking, swimming and yoga. Different people resonate with different types of exercise more than others. The most important thing is to do something you LOVE. Exercising at least three times a week, for about 30-60 minutes is the agreed upon average by professionals. For me personally, I practice yoga for 30 minutes as soon as I wake up every morning, and I go for a 30-minute walk with my toddler every day. I can tell you right now I didn’t used to exercise this much before having a baby and I can definitely feel the positive effects it has on all aspects of my life. I have more energy so I can chase my little man around all day; I am living in the present and have more clarity of mind to focus on my studies. 

 

Mental Nourishment

Nourishing our mental bodies is probably the least likely talked about. However, it is fun, challenging and gratifying. Just like our physical body we also need to tone and workout our mind.

Many people, me included have what the Tao terms “the monkey mind.” Our minds are running rampant, controlling our lives, and playing scenarios in our heads about possible futures or regretful pasts and torturing our actions. How many of you lie awake at night thinking about your grocery list, the things you need to do tomorrow or what you should have said to your co-worker when they mocked you today at lunch? This used to be my mind all the time, and can still be some of the time when I am not focused on the present moment.

Research has shown that we have between 45,000 and 51,000 thoughts a day. That’s about 150 to 300 thoughts a minute. Research has also shown that for most people 80% of those thoughts are negative. All of these repetitive thoughts are poured into creating your reality. When you start making conscious positive thoughts, you actually become more aware of the negative thoughts that are always threatening to take over.

So how can we wrangle our little monkeys so they are tame and living in the present; not the past or future? The first is meditation. Like exercise there is no right or wrong way to meditate. I know when I first started (and even still occasionally now) my mind wonders. When this happens just gently and lovingly bring your attention back to your breathing. Your breathing is always in the present so it will always bring you back and away from persistent thoughts and worries. There are many different types of meditation and the fastest way to discover them is with Google. However, for now the easiest form of meditation is focusing on your breathing. The cool air coming into your nostrils, and the warm air exiting as you exhale; the feel of your stomach rising and falling with each breath in and out.

Other activities you can practice to work out your mind is reading, learning a new skill, studying, being aware of your internal mind chatter and bringing yourself back to the present, resting your mind, having positive outlooks and goals, reflecting and having a healthy self-esteem. This list is by no means an extensive list of what your mental body can accomplish but it is a starting point.

Next week you can read Part 2 of Nourishing Yourself to a Stress-Free Life where we will discuss Emotional and Spiritual Nourishment.

Much Gratitude,

Steph

Steph Fleeton is Live Well’s Wellbeing Coach and Holistic Therapist. She specialises in successfully treating Stress, Depression & Anxiety, as well as Parenting & Children. Through these coaching sessions you will be able to release the emotional charge fueling your problems such as Stress, and be empowered and inspired to take control of your life, to be happy.

Wednesday
Oct012014

Give you whole body a lift for the start of Summer!

With the change of seasons we can find our skin feeling dry, scaly and itchy and of course those yummy winter foods that we indulge in that may have left us feeling a little sluggish, bloated and low on energy.

As the biggest living organ our skin can be impacted by internal and external factors so it is essential that we continue to support it by helping with the decongestion and stimulating new cell reproduction.

So why not try our treatments Detox Me or Blissthese include a technique of dry brushing the skin, this has many benefits such as:

  • Removing dead layers of skin and other outer impurities.
  • Stimulates and increases blood circulation.
  • Helps release fatty deposits under your skin’s surface.
  • Boosts the Lymphatic system.
  • Rejuvenates your cells.
  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Increases muscle tone and improves skin texture.

This is then followed by an hour massage to continue with stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic system as well as:

  • Reducing muscle tension.
  • Reduction of stress hormones.
  • Increasing joint mobility and flexibility.
  • Heightened mental alertness.
  • Reducing anxiety and depression.

With the many benefits encompassed in this treatment you will be left feeling relaxed and your skin silky smooth and rebalanced to continue to support your body in eliminating toxins and boosting your immune system.

The Bliss treatment also includes a 30 minute reflexology. So why not give your body and skin the boost it needs today, contact Tegan a call on 62 95 0400 to make an appointment.

Please note: There are some contra-indications in relation to this treatment, such as pregnancy, untreated heart, liver or kidney conditions. 

Wednesday
Sep242014

3 Easy Peasy Mindfulness Exercises To Start…Today!

Do you get easily side-tracked from what you’re doing and then not get things done?

Can you get stuck in thoughts and find them hard to shake?

Does your mind often wander rather than “staying present” in the “here and now”?

I’m sure we could all say yes to these at different times, however if you’re noticing they are occurring for you more often lately, here’s three simple mindfulness exercises to help you “zone in” to being present and help “unhook” you from negative thought patterns.

In the current mindfulness training program at Live Well (“Managing the Madness”) participants are now easily integrating these exercises into their daily lives. You might like to try them too.

1. Mindful Breathing – if you’ve only got 6 seconds to spare, that’s OK!

2. Noticing 5 Things You Can See, Hear and Feel … right now

3. Adopting the Three C’s – Curiosity, Concentration and Compassion

For those who may be unfamiliar with mindfulness, a good definition from mindfulness guru Jon Kabat Zinn is “paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”.

In our mindfulness training course, we are cultivating the skill of noticing and observing our experiences and responses from moment to moment, mostly using our breath as an anchor, which  helps us to manage stress, stay calm, centred and present…rather than reacting automatically, doing the same old thing or things we later regret, potentially getting stuck.

Remaining non-judgemental is a challenge for most of us. Not only are our brains wired to constantly observe, analyse, prioritise and make judgements in order to survive, work and function but many of us also have a pretty active “inner critic” to contend with, constantly commentating in the background. Mindfulness training helps us to notice these judgements as an “observing witness” – rather than switching the mind off (which is impossible) these exercises help us to consciously notice the noise and choose to turn down the volume.

1. Mindful Breathing

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about breathing for long hours sitting at the top of a mountain or on retreat (although if you have time to do this, that’s great). This is about being aware of your breath as much as possible wherever you are, throughout your day.

So…when you notice that your mind has wandered off, or that you’re getting fused to thoughts that aren’t helpful, or anytime at all, try taking 5 x 6 Second Mindful Breaths as a circuit breaker.

So that’s six lovely big breaths, simply breathing IN-2-3 and then OUT-2-3.

With each breath, noticing the rise and fall of your belly….the expansion and falling away of your chest…the coolness of the air as you’re breathing into your nostrils and the warmth of the air as you breathing out. Try it now! It’s free!!

And if you take 5 Mindful breaths in this way now and again – you’ve successfully completed a 30 second meditation practice. Hey Presto. Who says you’re too busy to meditate?

2. Five Things You Can See, Hear and Feel right now

This mindfulness exercise helps to ground us by observing what is present in the current moment. If we’re getting too tied up in knots this can introduce a sense of “what else” is in the picture which is a helpful to “unhook” or defuse from the challenging thoughts.

We can do this one any time, whether you are sitting calmly and quietly on your own, in a meeting with other people, in a busy environment – even driving your car. Obviously keeping our eyes open!

So to start – look around your environment and take extra special notice of 5 different things you can see right now. You can name the objects by speaking out loud or just internally but it’s important to notice each object individually.

Then, taking extra special notice of 5 different things you can hear right now. This may be challenging if you’re inside but see if you can notice even very subtle sounds…so it might be something like…1. the humming of the air conditioning 2. The sound of muffled voices 3. The buzzing of the computer 4. The tapping sounds of the keyboard and 5. The sound of your own breath, breathing in and out.

Finally, now noticing 5 different things you can feel right now. Whether they are internal feelings (fluttering tummy, tightness in chest) or external sensations (clothes on your skin, bottom in the chair, feet on the ground, pen in my hand), whatever you are feeling is OK….we are simply noticing and observing what’s present, then moving on to the next thing. Don’t stay too long with each one to the point of analysing it. Notice, observe, move on.

If you want to, you could then return to the beginning of the exercise and then notice 4 Things You can See, Hear and Feel right now….then 3 Things…then 2 Things and finally then just 1 Thing you can See, Hear and Feel.

Chances are you will feel a lot calmer and more centred after doing this exercise. I’ve done it myself in meetings or during stressful events (like when I accidentally backed into someone’s car last year and the driver was screaming at me…my instinct was fight or flight…I felt quite anxious and scared, but still managed to stay calm by noticing 5 things like…she was wearing a green cardigan, she had red shoes, she has a tight lipped expression, she had curly hair and was shaking her fist).

3. Three C’s of Mindfulness – Curiosity, Concentration, Compassion

Let’s take something we all have to do from time to time – like washing up - and consider how it might be a different and potentially even more pleasant experience, if we adopt the 3 C’s….of Curiosity, Concentration and Compassion (or bring to mind another example)

So, as you are next washing up, see if you can bring some Curiosity to the task, which means washing up as though you have never done it before. Notice the warmth of the water, the smell of the detergent, the bubbles and suds, the tinkling sounds of the crockery and swishing of the water etc.

Try to stay with this exercise for a few minutes by Concentrating on just the washing up. One thing at a time. So often we are multi-tasking and not totally taking in our experience of just one thing. So concentrate, and keep focused. While you are doing the washing up…you are ONLY doing the washing up. It can be more challenging than we think!

Finally, whatever we are doing, try bringing a sense of Compassion into your experience also. Sending some loving kindness to your hands, softening your heart and being open to the experience rather than just “getting it done”.

Consider how adopting the 3 C’s could bring a more mindful and calming perspective to a whole range of daily activities and experience in your day. Here’s some that the current participants in Managing the Madness have found the Three C’s to be helpful in staying present and mindful in their lives:

  • Eating breakfast without reading the paper and checking emails all at once
  • Driving to work without the radio on and giving myself some quiet time
  • Conversing with café staff while waiting for my coffee instead of checking Facebook
  • Playing with the kids at the park and not taking the phone
  • Turning off the TV during dinner time, focusing on my family and their conversations

You might find similar opportunities present themselves to you and I hope these simple exercises may be helpful for you in the weeks ahead. Practice is the key. I’d love to hear your feedback, so feel free to let us know what worked well for you and how.

If you’re keen to learn more easy mindfulness exercises, or learn some longer daily meditation practices, our Term 4 intake of Managing the Madness is now open and details are available here.

Wednesday
Sep172014

EFT Meridian Tapping: Part Two

What kinds of things you can use it for, and how it can help you

The beauty of EFT is that it can be used for so many different things. But definitely, being able to “teach an old dog, new tricks” is right up there for me…

What do I mean by that?? Well, EFT is such a gentle, non-intrusive and profound technique -literally at your fingertips(!), which can actually modify and help rewire the old brain, our nervous system, and physiology in general (e.g. stress, hormones, pain, sleep, emotional “wellbeing”… ); including being able to affect both the conscious and subconscious mind; and even, yes, even (and especially) the amygdala or fight/flight centre of the brain. Which means EFT has the capacity to correct imbalances at such a fundamental level (one in which we generally do not have much “control” over). 

I’d encourage you to think about it for a second… How would you feel, and what might you do, if you could “tap” a magic wand (or simply use your fingers to tap on particular meridian points!) and change an emotional response/thought/belief you’ve been harbouring, and remove an old thorn from your side? Or if you were able to gain a valuable new insight or perspective that allowed you to then cut loose and move forward in your life; or to simply short-circuit the stress and craziness of life to find peace, equanimity, clear-mindedness??? Now that’s what I’m talking about!...

We are human… And it’s a part of the human condition that sometimes, despite our best intentions, knowledge, intelligence, and logical mind, we can wind up being led astray and even “hijacked” by our emotions, thoughts and unconscious goings on… This is another way we can use EFT, as it is also a wonderful tool for helping to clear and/or neutralise negative thoughts, emotions and beliefs that may be contributing to poor health, wellbeing and quality of life. 

EFT can also help us to identify, understand, and clear things that may be holding us back or undermining our good efforts; for example, to create desired changes or really go for gold in our lives. Or perhaps, it’s more of a lingering sense of just not feeling good or deserving “enough” that’s holding you up; or a dreaded sense (or fear!) of “failure" casting its cold shadow over things...?

Another way we can understood it, is that there are usually themes we’ll find ourselves in a familiar struggle with, that can generally be traced back to a (misleading) belief. A belief being, the seed of an idea that we then set in stone to believe as true. We then proceed to find evidence for our beliefs, in the way we interpret events and information, to in essence, affirm what we “know” to be fact or true (a process also known as confirmation bias). This “knowing” or backing-up of information that supports of beliefs is then reinforced by our natural physiological and limbic responses to our thoughts/ideas/the way we see the world.

Our thoughts, beliefs, and the way we perceive things create an emotional (limbic) response, which in turn, produces a chemical response in body, thus validating what we “think” we “know”… 

We then put the data + the thoughts we have generated in response to that information + the limbic/emotional imprint + the physiological/chemical feedback, all together to collate the “evidence”… 

With EFT we can impact all of these aspects, by “tapping” on the beliefs, thoughts, emotions and stress responses that have been created in our mind/body.  

When we can bring up a thought/feeling/event/conversation/belief without feeling an emotional charge, or feeling as though it is still true, we can then plant the seeds of positive change… 

Beliefs that we’ve been (consciously or sub-consciously) holding onto, act kind of like a lens that we see our lives through, colouring a great deal of our experiences. EFT is something we can use to address any unresolved stress/events/beliefs, along with emotional and subconscious influences, as likely contributing factors of dis-ease and dysfunction (on various levels), in order to help us open new pathways for health, growth, and healing.

What’s more is that there is no need to “open up old wounds”, dissect or overanalyse stuff to experience wonderful results… By applying the tapping sequences on the meridian points and bringing to mind the thing we wish to work on in a guided manner, we can shift veritable mountains.

In short, the techniques used in EFT meridian tapping can help us to address various aspects of our lives, thoughts, emotions and behaviours that we may have previously struggled to resolve. That’s because we can go straight for the “wiring” (limbic/chemical/physiological response system), to correct and restore balance, clearing blockages and/or stresses in our energetic system (similar to the way Acupuncture and Kinesiology work).
This approach is definitely much more helpful (and user-friendly!) than trying to tackle our challenges stresses with sheer will and determination. And is a wonderful self-care tool that we can use to balance, support ourselves, and help us grow.
It’s also a technique you can learn and take home to continue using for yourself, as well!
The biggest thing being, that we need to practise and actually use it to get the benefits!
 
Examples of what EFT meridian tapping can work on include:
  • Stress, anxiety, anger and other “unwanted” emotions such as guilt, jealousy, resentment, feelings of defeat…
  • Processing events (past or future); 
  • Negative thought patterns, and issues we’re ruminating on but getting nowhere fast!
  • Self-sabotage (e.g procrastination, perfectionism, eating habits, late nights…)
  • Addictions, cravings and detoxification (on all levels)
  • Self-esteem; body image; weight loss/management; disordered eating patterns e.g. emotional/comfort eating, bingeing/restricting.
  • Fears & phobias e.g. fear of failure/success; phobia of flying or spiders…
  • Increase confidence, personal empowerment, create change, enhance relationships
  • Harmonise conflict between our conscious and subconscious 
  • Boost performance levels and achieve goals
  • And the list goes on…  
So if you’re not sure where to start, just have a little think on what it is that may have been a bit of a thorn in your side…?

Or, is there anything you may have been trying to overcome, but for whatever reason (despite being an intelligent, clued-in, self-aware and capable person!) have been in struggle-town with…?

Or perhaps just something “niggling” at you that you’d like to nip in the bud?