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Anticipatory anxiety

 A lot of the anxiety felt at this time of year is about performance and expectation. Will you live up to your own or others, sometimes impossible standards? If you also lack self-confidence and don’t enjoy meeting new people try a dose of Silica 30c before the event. If you have a tendency to nausea and diarrhoea (especially after sweet things) and feel rushed and stressed a dose of Argentum Nitricum 30c may help. Lycopodium 30c is a great homeopathic remedy for those who don’t like the thought of public speaking but are fine once they get going (playing host, proposing a toast etc), often feeling bloated and gassy when they feel anxious. If you are almost unable to speak or function and suffer sore throats or loose bowels before a social engagement a try a dose of Gelsemium 30c beforehand.

 

Hangovers and eating too much

The over-indulgence of Christmas whether excess of food or drink can be relieved with a dose of Nux Vomica 30c. If you are aware of your swimming head before you sleep take a dose and have a large glass of water beside your bed. Ideally drink the equivalent water as booze to help keep you hydrated. The herbs Chelidonium or Milk Thistle help to support your liver. Carbo Veg 30c can help when feeling sluggish and cold with bloating and flatulence after eating too much especially if burping relieves symptoms. Pulsatilla 30c can be taken when overeating fatty foods causes the usually sweet natured to become tearful and emotionally upset with a tummy ache. If you suffer Irritable Bowel Symptoms read November’s blog to select the appropriate remedy.

 

Strung out kids

Over tired children who can’t sleep can try a dose of Coffea 6c to calm them. If the excitement causes tantrums, with shouting and throwing things Chamomilla 6c should do the trick.

 

Exhaustion

If you’re feeling exhausted from all the shopping and preparing for the big day the wonderful homeopathic remedy Arnica will be of benefit. If your legs are aching and although you’re not yourself you will be telling others “I’m fine” especially if accompanied by a detached almost jet lagged feeling try a dose of Arnica 30c to help.

 

Coping with the In-Laws

Now… that’s asking a bit much of homeopathy!!!  Happy New Year and health and happiness for 2012

 

Where to buy Homeopathic remedies – Homeopathic remedies can be bought from healthfood shops, chemists or pop into the clinic.

 

Homeopathic remedies are often used as self-help for simple conditions, however for more serious complaints a homeopath, GP or health professional should be consulted before using homeopathic medicines.

 

Written by Sarah Allenby-Byrne, Homeopath

 

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Book and pay for a treatment of Reflexology by November 18th and all you will have to pay is the reduced rate of £30.

We will also donate a further £5.00 to Children in Need.

It’s a win win situation.

Call us now on 01273 321133 or check out our website www.coast-chiropractic.co.uk

A few weeks ago I took a long weekend; my first break in ages. I needed some time and space away from my normal environment to make a new life plan, as I felt I had lost the plot a little as far as work / life balance was concerned. So I spent 4 days with a friend, at a beautiful spa resort in Sussex. It was perfect. I slept and I ate and I slept and I exercised and I slept and I read and I slept and I was massaged and I slept and I slept and I slept. I felt so good and it showed on my face.

I really didn’t realise I needed to sleep so much. I knew I was stressed, running a small business in this economic environment is difficult, plus there is always some crisis either just happened or about to happen, so sometimes my sleep patterns are disturbed as I toss and turn when my thoughts won’t stop. Now I realise, I was sleep deprived.

A recent study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm investigated whether sleep deprived people were perceived as less healthy and less attractive than people that had had a full night’s sleep. They took 23 participants aged between 18-31 years and photographed them after a full 8 hour night’s sleep. They then deprived the participants of sleep and once again photographed them in the morning. These photographs were then presented to 65 untrained individuals, between the ages of 18-61, to rate the participants attractiveness and perceived health on a 1-10 scale.

Their findings revealed that those images showing the sleep deprived versions of the participants had overwhelmingly lower scores and that those versions of the participants were perceived as less healthy, less attractive and more tired compared with when they were well rested.

So beauty sleep is just that; a chance for your mind and body to rest and recover. And for those of you that didn’t see me in the first few days after my return to the clinic (and therefore can’t disagree with this statement) I looked REALLY good.

Now there are other studies on sleep deprivation that suggest that poor sleep effects heart health, cholesterol levels, hormone levels, the appearance of skin and hair, obesity, depression and diabetes.

Sleep, is obviously, one of the most important aspects of our health and well-being. The average adult needs 8 hours of sleep per night. However, studies show that most adults get a lot less than that, an average of 5 hours of sleep per night (that’s probably all you parents out there). Insomnia caused by stress causes more stress and can be a vicious cycle. So here are some tips for a good night’s sleep.

  • Regular exercise like walking will reduce stress hormones (but don’t exercise within two hours of your bedtime, it may keep you awake).

  • Don’t nap late in the afternoon.

  • Don’t drink caffeine drinks (coffee, tea, soft drinks) after 3pm.

  • Avoid large meals a couple of hours before you sleep. A light snack is fine.

  • Stop working on any task an hour before you retire to bed, so that you have time to calm your brain.

  • Don’t discuss emotional issues right before bedtime.

  • Don’t watch TV or work on the computer in your bedroom.

  • Make sure your bedroom room temperature is comfortable and well ventilated.

  • Keep noise and light to a minimum.

  • Learn a relaxation technique.

 

Here are some products that have been known to aid a good night’s sleep

  • Chamomile – tea and essential oil have been used for their calming effects and for insomnia relief. Do not use if pregnant as it may stimulate uterine contractions.

  • Valerian – has been found to not only decrease sleep onset time but also promotes a deeper sleep in small studies. This herb becomes more effective overtime, so taking it nightly works better than taking it only on the odd night.

  • 5HTP – is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter (you may have heard of because of the rampant use of antidepressants) which then goes on to make Melatonin that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle (circadian cycles). This product can help whether the trouble is falling asleep or staying asleep. Melatonin is available over the counter in North American but unfortunately, you cannot buy it here, however, 5HTP is available in this country. Do not take this product if you are on antidepressants.

Get a good night’s sleep and chances are you will live a longer healthier life AND look good.

Written by Anne French

 References-:

Association of onset of obesity with sleep duration and shift work among Japanese adults.

Itani O, Kaneita Y, Murata A, Yokoyama E, Ohida T.

Sleep Med. 2011 Apr;12(4):341-5. 

Obesity and metabolic syndrome: Association with chronodisruption, sleep deprivation, and melatonin suppression.

Reiter RJ, Tan DX, Korkmaz A, Ma S.

Ann Med. 2011 Jun 13.

 Beauty sleep: experimantal study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people.

Axelsson J, Sundelin T, Ingre M, Van Someren EJ, Olsson A, Lekander M.

BMJ. 2010 Dec 14;341:c6614. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c6614.

This has been put together by Ginny Haswell, our Yoga Instructor, for which I am truly thankful because many of you Coasters find it difficult to breathe correctly.  This results in you breathing very shallow or Chest Breathing, especially when you are stressed. Poor breathing habits result in not only insufficient oxygen exchange, but when breathing is shallow, the neck muscles have to work much harder to (unnaturally) lift the upper ribcage and commonly results in neck pain and/or headaches.

Alternatively, deep breathing or Abdominal Breathing, which means you are breathing from the belly, results in expansion of your belly,  your lower ribcage and lower back as you inhale. Therefore, on inhalation, you are naturally massaging your inner organs aiding in detoxification and peristalsis, which is the movement of the intestines necessary for a healthy bowel. Deep breathing also helps to promote blood flow  and pump the lymph more efficiently through our lymphatic system. The lymphatic system,  is an important part of our immune system and has a great impact on your health.

So take the time to read this – relax and give yourself an internal massage.

Abdominal Breathing 

The abdominal breath enhances the action of the diaphragm, which when functioning correctly, promotes the most efficient type of breathing (as opposed to chest breathing) as less effort is used to obtain the same amount of air.  Abdominal breathing, also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, is associated with physical and mental wellbeing yet it can often be lost due to poor posture, tight clothing and tension.

Lie down and observe your own natural breath for a minute or two.

Place the right hand on the abdomen just above the navel and the left hand over the centre of the chest. 

Breathe from the diaphragm so that the right hand will move up with inhalation, down with exhalation whilst the left hand should not move with the breath.

There should be no tension in the abdomen.

Do not force the movement but try not to expand the chest or move the shoulders. 

Continue for at least a few minutes and notice the feeling of relaxation that washes over you.

Written by Ginny Haswell

Ginny Haswell is doing a Relaxation Yoga Workshop on Saturday, 22nd January 2011.  Book your place by calling the clinic on 01273 321133

Hope this has helped. We would appreciate any comments and any suggestions on what you would like us to write about.  Happy breathing…

I’m sure you are all tired of me harping on about stress. Especially when you come in with acute lower back pain and one of the first things out of my mouth is, ‘Are you under more stress than usual?’ I am going to try to explain to you here, why my question is relevant.

I should explain firstly what I mean by stress. Stress is any stimulus that is more than we can cope with and any stress causes muscle tension which can lead to pain.

Sources of stress-

  1. Physical – such as poor posture; a work position or a repetitive position; a trauma, old or new.
  2. Emotional – usually relating to either love money or job satisfaction.
  3. Chemical – such as pollutants, recreational drugs, medication, artificial hormones e.g. oral contraceptive pill, HRT, there are also artificial hormones in our foods along with herbicides and pesticides, processed foods, alcohol, nicotine, fire retardants in our pillows, mattresses and carpets; cleaning products, detergents, shower gels, deodorants; the list goes on and on…
  4. Temperature – this can be extremes in temperature but also can be caused by seasonal changes.

It’s a juggling act for your body. For example, let’s take a typical morning for many people. Stay in bed too long and therefore have to miss breakfast, it’s a really cold morning; run to get the train to find that it is standing room

Train travel during London to Brighton rush hour (ok- it's not but it sure feels like it sometimes).

Train travel during London to Brighton rush hour (ok- it’s not but it sure feels like it sometimes).

only; then the train is held up (due to leaves on the tracks!); you are going to be late for work and there is no air-conditioning in the carriage; you can read a newspaper over someone’s shoulder to discover train fares are going up again. So many stresses and you haven’t even got to work yet!

Now the interesting thing is the body doesn’t differentiate between these sources of stress. It’s just ‘stress’ and the body has the same physiological response – which causes muscle tension – which leads to restricted movement, inflammation and pain – getting how the stress maybe relevant?

Now in the old days, we’re talking stone-age here. We would react to the stress by either running away, over powering it or killing it. The body has a reaction to deal with any of these needs; it is called the Alarm Reaction or ‘fight or flight’ reaction. The body then needs to recover from the stress, or not. The human body today is virtually the same as it was 100,000 years ago, according to anthropologists. However, our stresses these days are very different, they are less extreme (a mammoth is not attacking us) but much more frequent and ongoing. We even experience stress while we think we are relaxing, e.g. watching a thriller on TV.

Nowadays, we are continually under stress but the situations cannot be dealt with by running away or punching someone (I wish) we just swallow, continue and then something else stresses us again in ten minutes. We appear to be continually under a myriad of physical, emotional or environmental stresses daily and we expect our adrenal glands to keep up with our demands. Our adrenal glands need time to recoup or they will become exhausted.

Let’s look at the Alarm Reaction in a little more depth and what it does to the body. So we are going to break this down into three stages: 1.Alarm, 2.Resistance and 3.Exhaustion.

1. Alarm

  • Stress stimulus initiates an emergency signal to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, to command the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland to release a hormone called ACTH into the bloodstream. This will command the adrenal glands(stress glands that sit on top of the kidneys) to release cortisol which has the following effects:
  1. Causes sodium and water retention in the kidneys (prolonged stress can result in craving salty foods, e.g. crisps)
  2. Causes protein breakdown to sugar for instant energy so that you can either run away or fight. This can affect the immune system as initially the protein is taken from the thymus gland and the lymphatic system.
  3. Sugar is also released from the liver (stressed people crave stimulants, sugar is a stimulant)
  • Simultaneously the brain also commands that the adrenals produce adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. These three major hormones instantly mobilize the body for ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ by initiating the following:

a)     Shuts down digestion as it’s not necessary and shunts blood away from digestive organs to skeletal muscles.

b)    Bladder and rectal muscles relax.

c)     Heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure rises.

d)    Breathing becomes fast and shallow to supply oxygen to heart, lungs and muscles.

e)     Muscles tension increases.

f)      Sweat increases.

g)      Pupils dilate.

h)    Increases blood clotting.

For a few brief moments, these functional changes could give you super human strength enabling you save someone from a burning car etc. This strength is usually followed by a drop in hormone production, therefore, a drop in energy that could last for hours or days depending on the magnitude of stress and the condition of the adrenal glands. This is the recovery phase.

2. Resistance

If a body is repeatedly stressed, the adrenal glands enlarge. They do this to try to accommodate with the demand. The amount of time that a body can continue in the resistance stage is unpredictable; anything from a few months to 20 years but if new stresses suddenly arise, the body will eventually go into the stage of exhaustion.

3. Exhaustion

Excessive stress results in adrenal exhaustion which means the adrenal glands are unable to produce adequate hormones and our ability to adapt to stressful situations is decreased. I know this doesn’t sound like much but it’s a big deal if you’ve ever experienced it. This is burn out! Classic symptoms include lack of drive, fatigue, impaired memory, anxiety, and depression.

The guy who first described these three stages, known as the general adaption syndrome, was Hans Selye in 1925. He noted the symptoms accompanying stress which included rashes, fever, and inflamed tonsils. On the dissection of stressed rats he found enlarged adrenal glands, atrophied thymus, lymph nodes and all lymphatic structures (resulting in decreased immunity); stomach and duodenal ulcers, enlarged spleen or liver.

Graph showing alarm, resistance and exhaustion phases

Based on the preceding information a variety of health problems can be predicted with prolonged stress:

  • Stress headaches, neck/shoulder pain, back pain, jaw clenching/grinding
  • Skin conditions
  • Heartburn, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, ulcers, IBS
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Colds, coughs and recurrent infections
  • Depression, anxiety, OCD
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue or no energy
  • Allergies, autoimmune conditions
  • Fainting on rising
  • Decreased memory, concentration and learning
  • Swollen extremities
  • Heart palpitations, high blood pressure
  • PMS, infertility, sexual dysfunction
  • Increased susceptibility to addictions

There is no standard medical test for slight or moderate adrenal exhaustion so it is regularly missed. The symptoms, however, are usually treated, as opposed to the cause (medication in itself can be a form of chemical stress), which commonly results in more stress on the body.

Okay – so now you get the idea that the question of ‘have you been under more stress recently’ might be relevant. But what can we do to help our adrenal glands?

Well, the answer to that question will be in next month’s blog.  Bet you can’t wait!

Written by Anne French, Chiropractor.

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