March 7th, 2014
Sometimes pain relief can be found right under your nose – in the form of natural kitchen cupboard remedies.
Today, 83% of us will use Google and online forums to diagnose our health problems, so it’s no surprise quirky home remedies that have been in families for generations are becoming increasingly popular.
While alternative remedies have existed for thousands of years, many have been lost over time as medical treatment has improved. However, there are still some secret remedies that can help treat a range of health problems that may be more than just ‘old wives tales’.
See below for some kitchen cupboard favourites that are thought to have therapeutic benefits:
Tomatoes for bad breath
Bad breath is caused by smelly sulphur compounds produced by bacteria that thrive on the back of the tongue. Tomatoes contain compounds called ionones which are thought to tackle bad breath by making sulphur compounds odourless.
Bicarbonate of soda for body odour
Bicarbonate of soda is considered one of the best and cheapest remedies for body odour – especially for the underarms as it works by stripping the hair of product build-up and oil. Bicarbonate of soda can be dusted on the skin to neutralise and absorb sweat and smells.
Cloves for toothache
Researchers from the University of California and Los Angeles found that chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for up to two hours. Cloves contain the compound, eugenol which is a natural anaesthetic.
Bananas for headaches
The magnesium in bananas helps to relax blood vessels, and as a complex carbohydrate the fruit will also help to keep blood sugar levels even. If you suffer from headaches repeatedly, including bananas in your diet may help reduce the frequency of your headaches or stop them completely.
Turmeric for aching joints
This spice contains the active ingredient, cucumin, which gives it anti-inflammatory qualities. This makes turmeric particularly helpful for treating skin injuries and aching joints. We recommend making a paste with boiling water and leaving it to cool before applying to the affected area. Fix in place with clingfilm and leave for 20-30 minutes.
If you’d like to find out more about alternative remedies and complementary therapies to treat a range of health conditions, please see our therapy topics page.
View and comment on the original Women’s Health article.
March 6th, 2014
This week (3-10 March) is acupuncture awareness week – so what better time to give the treatment a try?
Acupuncture involves fine, sterile needles being placed into certain points of the body. The aim of the therapy is to free up energy channels of the body and overcome physical and mental ailments. Acupuncture has been shown to help with a variety of ailments, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) especially recommends the therapy for chronic back pain.
If you haven’t tried it already, keep reading for 10 reasons to try acupuncture:
1. No negative side effects – Unlike some drug treatments, acupuncture is safe and does not have any negative side effects.
2. Personalised treatment – Practitioners treat everyone individually so your treatment will always be tailored to you.
3. Practitioners will spend time with you – You will never feel rushed, most practitioners spend from 45 minutes to an hour with you during each treatment.
4. May help with conditions that don’t have a clear explanation – While modern medicine may not be able to find the cause of your health problem, acupuncture may be able to help treat the symptoms.
5. Works as a preventative medicine – You don’t have to wait until you get ill before trying acupuncture, many people enjoy its benefits as part of a commitment to overall well-being.
6. Can help with emotional issues too – Acupuncture isn’t just for physical problems, it can help with emotional issues such as depression and anxiety too.
7. Treatment is fun – Practitioners aim to make treatments lighthearted and calming, making the process a pleasure rather than a chore.
8. Can help to keep you healthy – Regular treatments can keep you healthy so you may not need to rely on conventional medicine as much.
9. Low cost – Compared to some modern forms of healthcare, acupuncture is relatively low in price.
10. Two billion people can’t be wrong – Roughly one third of the world’s population use acupuncture as their primary form of healthcare.
Find out more and find an acupuncturist near you on our acupuncture page.
View and comment on the original Alaska Center for Acupuncture article.
March 1st, 2014
Find out how the thoughts we have affect our health and how Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) helps the process.
As we think, our body creates corresponding chemicals; this means that every thought we have has a physiological consequence. If you find yourself thinking “I’m irritated”, “I’m worried” or even “it pains me to see this”, you could be setting yourself up for a fall.
Many of us don’t spend time considering our thoughts and the effects they may have – we just allow them to come and go, potentially disrupting our bodies as they do so. Practitioners of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) believe that we should accept that our thoughts form a major component of our health.
EFT involves a practitioner lightly tapping on specific points of the face and body, which correspond to specific points of the body’s energy meridians, while talking through past issues. By doing this, negative and painful emotions that may be affecting you physically are released.
It may be that when you were younger your mother described you as a ‘pain’ and now the word ‘pain’ has become prevalent in your inner monologue. For some this can lead to physical pain. EFT aims to release negative associations like this to improve both your physical health and your mental well-being.
There are certain ways we can look to promote our own health through the way we think:
- Be more conscious about the language you use when thinking. Choose to think using positive and healthy words to instigate healthy feelings.
- Break negative cycles. Try to shift your attention when you find yourself thinking with a negative tone.
- Practice gratitude and appreciation. Finding things to be thankful for will help you pick yourself up when times get hard.
To find out more about EFT and to find a practitioner near you, please see our Emotional Freedom Technique page.
View and comment on the original Natural Health article.
February 27th, 2014
A recent survey has found that sufferers of back pain add to their agony by ignoring important advice from their GP.
Back pain affects around 85% of the population, but it seems a vast majority are not doing enough to help themselves – making their agony worse.
New research from the back care device makers, bac< has found that two-thirds of sufferers who visit their GP do not follow the advice given or do not do the exercises recommended.
This is despite 27% of the 2,056 people surveyed admitting that they visit their doctor more often when they have back pain, while one in ten claimed his or her back problem appointments lasted longer.
Essentially, millions of Britons are living in needless agony – letting their back pain play havoc with not only their emotional and physical well-being, but also their everyday life and relationships.
As a result of back pain, some 14% of those polled in the study admitted they had to give up sex, while others said it had impacted their relationships with their children, family, friends and work colleagues.
Furthermore, the study showed 24% of those surveyed were experiencing mental health problems, and 35% admitted to acting short tempered and snappy whenever the pain strikes.
Back pain was also found to have a negative effect on studying, with a fifth admitting to such problems, while a quarter said they felt unable to do housework. Daily enjoyment found in hobbies and being able to drive was also noted as being greatly affected.
Mark Critchley, a spokesman for bac<, said that in some cases a trip to the GP isn’t necessary and that back pain can be managed at home with painkillers and gentle exercises.
“Of course, some types of pain do need professional help and if you’re worried it’s worth seeing your GP. But, if you do, listen to them and take their advice, or it’s a waste of a valuable GP appointment and your time.”
This research from bac< follows a report published last year by the Work Foundation think-tank which found that Britons now take 35million working days off a year because of back pain. The figures are the second worst in Europe and the NHS spends £1.5billion a year trying to treat the condition.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, why not consider alternative forms of treatment such as complementary therapy? See our therapy topics page for a range of treatments designed to help relieve the symptoms of back pain and promote healing.
View and comment on the original Daily Express article.
February 21st, 2014
A new study looking at the link between commuting and personal well-being highlights a trend in life dissatisfaction.
Findings from a study conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that commuters are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and life dissatisfaction than workers who do not have to travel to work – even if they are on higher salaries.
Four measures were used in the study to analyse personal well-being: life satisfaction, to what extent the respondent felt the things they did in life were worthwhile, whether the commuters were happy and whether they were anxious.
Although the overall effect of commuting on well-being was small, it was found that each additional minute of commuting time made respondents feel slightly worse up to a certain point. The negative effects only wore off if the commute hit the three-hour mark.
The study also compared the effects of commuting in a private mode of transport – a car, minibus or works van – compared to public forms of transport such as trains, buses, walking and cycling. The results showed that those travelling to work by bus or coach had lower levels of life satisfaction and a lower sense that their daily activities were worthwhile.
This is hardly surprising considering the nature of bus or train travel, particularly in large cities, in which cramped, uncomfortable commutes are common.
Interestingly, a higher salary wasn’t enough to make up for the effects on well-being caused by commuting. The published report said:
“Given the loss of personal well-being generally associated with commuting, the results suggest that other factors such as higher income or better housing may not fully compensate the individual commuter for the negative effects associated with travelling to work and that people may be making sub-optimal choices.”
It does add however, that the financial benefits of commuting to a well-paid job are passed on to other members of the commuter’s household, meaning they are sacrificing themselves for other people’s well-being and satisfaction.
If your daily commute and work-life is making you feel down and anxious, why not consider alternative therapy treatment? For more information and advice about the benefits of complementary medicine on well-being, see our therapy topics page.
View and comment on the original Guardian article.
February 20th, 2014
According to the BBC, Scotland’s only homeopathic hospital may be turning into a centre for chronic pain.
The fate of the Glaswegian hospital has been in doubt due to the controversial nature of homeopathic medication. In recent weeks however, Health Secretary Alex Neil has hinted that a brand new centre for chronic pain treatment could be located there.
He has also commented that he is “determined” to keep the hospital open.
These remarks come as a stark contradiction to official statements made about the hospital 10 years ago when the local health board was proposing its closure.
A public consultation last year revealed that the Scottish public wanted a Centre of Excellence in the treatment of chronic pain in one single location – and rumours are that it is to be located at the homeopathic hospital.
Homeopathy involves treating patients with highly diluted substances. The aim is to trigger the body’s healing mechanism to take care of the issue without the use of medication. The number of homeopathic hospitals in the UK has decreased vastly over the years and today there are just four homeopathic hospitals including the one in Glasgow.
Catherine Hughes went to the hospital 20 years ago as a ‘last resort’ when she developed allergic reactions to her drugs for a chronic illness. Catherine says she wishes she had gone sooner,
“The unit in many ways has been misrepresented as just being a homeopathic service when it offers the best of both worlds, both conventional and complementary under one roof, with a full multidisciplinary staff,” she said.
Doctors at the hospital say they have always focused on holistic care, rather than just homeopathy and already treat a number of people with chronic pain. Catherine says she welcomes the idea of the homeopathic hospital becoming a centre for chronic pain patients too, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the existing services.
Find out more about homeopathy and find a homeopathic therapist near you on our homeopathy page.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.
February 15th, 2014
High blood pressure affects more than a quarter of Britons - it's time to take action!
In the UK, high blood pressure affects 32% of men and 29% of women, and our sedentary, junk food laden lifestyles are putting more of us at risk. The higher your blood pressure becomes, the greater your likelihood of having a stroke or a heart attack in the future.
The good news is there are simple lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce your blood pressure and in some cases completely prevent it.
Visiting your GP is the first step on the road to clearer arteries, but by following these steps you can ensure you are doing everything you can to stay in the healthy blood pressure zone:
The daily-recommended amount of physical activity for adults is at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Find an exercise you love so that you will stay motivated, and if the idea of going to a gym scares you, remember there are lots of other fitness activities to get stuck into, such as swimming, yoga, and home workout DVDs.
Start off by making small changes, building up to more intense levels of fitness and longer sessions. Simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, and walking to work instead of taking the tube will make a big difference.
Limit your salt, saturated fat and sugar intake
Refined, ‘junk’ foods such as biscuits, cakes, burgers and fatty takeaway meals are packed full of sugar, unhealthy fats and salt – common triggers of high blood pressure. Keep your salt intake to 6g a day and always check the ingredients of food. Try and get your five-a-day in fruits and vegetables, and choose leaner meat options. Cooking with fresh ingredients will ensure you know exactly what goes into your food.
Tackle your weight problem
If you are overweight you are more likely to get or suffer from high blood pressure. Losing weight to reach a healthy BMI is crucial to lowering blood pressure and there are various apps and professionals at hand to help you lose weight safely and effectively. Keep a food diary to monitor your food intake and make sure you burn more calories than you consume to shed the pounds.
Combating stress is essential for bringing your blood pressure levels down. Find out how to manage it properly and not let it affect your life by trying holistic therapies such as yoga, tai chi and hypnotherapy.
For more information on various therapies that can help you to tackle stress and lower high blood pressure, visit our therapy topics page.
View and comment on the original Mind the Munchies article.
February 13th, 2014
Make yoga part of your everyday routine by bringing your practice home.
Attending yoga classes is essential to learn the poses and understand the practice better. Once you feel capable of doing yoga unsupervised however, taking your practice out of the classroom and into your everyday life can take you to the next level.
You can pick and choose routines to suit your needs and you have the added bonus of creating your own space – sometimes being in a packed yoga class just isn’t the best environment to foster calm and relaxation. The following tips should help you get started with at-home yoga:
Remember that you make the rules
The first thing to remember when it comes to at-home yoga practice is that you are in control. Sure, you can do a full 90-minute session every day if you want, but starting off with 20-30 minutes every other day is far more doable.
Choose your time
Again, with at-home practice you can fit yoga around your lifestyle. Do you love that post-yoga buzz first thing in the morning? Or do you prefer to stretch out after work before relaxing for the evening? Either way, schedule yourself a time to suit you.
Create a sacred space
Choose a room or spot in the house that you associate with relaxation and take a little time to make it special. If you can, decorate the room with calming colours and light a scented candle while you practice.
Ensure you have the right equipment
A yoga mat is key to practicing safely and you’ll also find the act of unrolling your mat to practice a psychological trigger to relax. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and if you need to, keep your laptop/Smartphone close by to follow online tutorials.
Choose your poses wisely
The poses you practice at home should be ones you feel safe and secure doing. When you want to push yourself, ensure you’ve got the basics of the moves down in class before practicing the move at home. While it is important to challenge yourself with more difficult moves, it is more important to do so safely.
Find out more about the benefits of yoga on our yoga therapy page.
View and comment on the original Fit Sugar article.
February 6th, 2014
Getting too much or too little sleep can lead to depression, according to new research.
New research suggests the amount of sleep you get at night could have an impact on your chances of developing depression.
Two studies published in the journal sleep showed that while adolescents getting too little sleep are at risk of developing depression, adults who have both too little and too much sleep are also likely to be affected.
This research is based on the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended hours of sleep for adults and adolescents – on average seven to nine hours sleep a night is recommended for adults, while teens should get between 8.5 and 9.25 hours.
The adult part of the sleep study involved researchers from the University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin, who carried out tests on 1,788 pairs of same-sex adult twin pairs. All participants shared their typical sleep duration as well as any symptoms of depression.
Overall, participants who slept the recommended amount of hours each night had a 27% chance of developing depression from hereditary causes. Whereas those who slept for fewer or more hours than the ‘normal’ amount had an increased heritability of depressive symptoms – up to 53% for the under-sleepers and 49% for those who slept in later.
The other study examined the sleep and depression levels of 4,175 Houston-based 11 to 17 year olds. Researchers discovered that sleep deprivation and depression is strongly linked – especially if teens are getting six or fewer hours sleep a night.
In the published notes of the study, researchers said:
“These results, particularly for major depression, suggest that quantity of sleep, following DSM-IV guidelines increases risk for major depression, which in turn increases risk for decreased sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This is not surprising, given the phenomenology of both sleep disturbances and major depression.”
To find out how complementary and alternative medicines can help you to sleep better and prevent your chances of developing depression, visit our therapy topics page for a range of services.
View and comment on the original Huffington Post article.
February 5th, 2014
There’s no horsing around when it comes to this one-of-a-kind ‘super herb’.
Horsetail is an unusual looking plant that is reproduced by its spores instead of seeds, but it is considered one of the most potent herbs available to mankind. The ‘super-herb’ can absorb some of the most unique minerals in the world, including silica, which is rarely found in other plants. Providing such a rich source of this chemical compound means horsetail is considered essential for aiding the treatment of a variety of conditions and symptoms, including ageing!
See below for some of the herb’s most interesting benefits:
- Counteracting Osteoporosis: Research has shown that horsetail can have a positive impact on bone density, and it has already been employed in Italy as an alternative therapy to help prevent fractures and boost bone strength. It is thought the high ratio of silicon content is a key reason for this.
- Brittle nails solution: Minerals found in horsetail are thought to be effective in reducing white spots and tackling weak and brittle nails. Reports suggest taking horsetail extract daily, and/or soaking the nails in horsetail to help your nails become stronger and more resilient. Try it yourself by adding two teaspoons of the dry herb to a cup of water to create a solution to dip your nails in.
- Hair care: Studies have linked silica found in horsetail to improvements in hair health and growth, and other potential advantages include tackling dandruff, hair loss, and split ends. Using a horsetail extract shampoo is considered effective treatment for revitalising weak or troublesome scalps, and many herbalists recommend massaging a few drops of the extract into the hair to improve circulation in the scalp.
- Improved cognition: A study conducted by Brazilian scientists found that when given horsetail extract, the cognitive performance of test rats was enhanced – as too were their short-term and long-term memories. The report printed in ‘Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour’ concluded this might be the direct result of the antioxidants found in the herb.
- Anti-inflammatory: A study published in 2004 revealed that horsetail had shown anti-inflammatory properties in mice and helped to reduce edema (abnormal swellings) by 30%.
- Tackling skin problems: Silica is a proven source of collagen that’s vital for the health and growth of connective tissues throughout the body – which is why horsetail is also considered an effective anti-ageing remedy.
If you’d like to know more about how herbs like horsetail can benefit your health, take a look at our herbalism page and find out how a herbal therapist can help.
View and comment on the original Natural Alternative Remedy article.