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Free Massages for Local Heroes

Free massages for Local HeroesTo celebrate our 20th year of providing better lives by restoring people’s health, over 20 weeks we will be donating 20 massages to 20 deserving people who have made a significant contribution to our community.

If you know someone who has made a real difference to other people’s lives, please let us know their name and why you are nominating them, and each week we will give a free one hour massage to someone whose story and contribution stands out. As well as entering the person to win an hour of rest and relaxation, this is a wonderful chance to showcase some of our local unsung heroes.

So if you know someone who deserves a free massage, please go to our Facebook page, pop into our clinic, or send us an email. (You can also send us a private message through Facebook if you prefer.) We would love to look after those who look after others.

1st Free Massage Recipient

Belinda KarnaghanCongratulations to Belinda Karnaghan, who was selected to receive the first of our ‘Free Massages for Local Heroes’. Here is her nomination-

“Hi Centenary Natural Therapies, I saw your facebook post about nominating people who give to the community.

I would love to nominate … Belinda Karnaghan. She works tirelessly throughout each year to organise the Centenary Rocks! festival, and the Centenary Santa Sleigh. She also voluntarily managed the Centenary Community Centre, ‘The Hub’. She also organises and runs several other community events and projects each year. She has been an outstanding member of our community for as long as I can remember. … she ran the local Safety House, was P&C president at Jindalee State School for several years, and rallied to get Centenary High built. She was also a part of Neighbour Hood watch.

(She) has done all of this on a voluntary basis, she is a wonderful role model and someone who I truly admire.”

Thanks very much Belinda for the great work that you do!

2nd Free Massage Recipient

Lucas PatchettCongratulations to Lucas Patchett, who was selected to receive the second of our ‘Free Massages for Local Heroes’.

Lucas co-founded Orange Sky Laundry, the world’s first free mobile laundry service for the homeless. He and his friend Nicholas Marchesi installed a donated washer and dryer in a van and hit the streets. Orange Sky has now grown to 10 services across Australia in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, SE Melbourne and Hobart. They have also gone into cyclone-ravaged communities in far north Queensland. The laundry now does over 6.1 tonnes of laundry every week. However, most importantly, they conduct 1,300 hours of positive and genuine conversations with homeless people every week.

From the Orange Sky website -“Orange Sky Laundry is a catalyst for conversation. In the one hour time it takes to wash and dry someone’s clothes there is absolutely nothing to do but sit down on one of our 6 orange chairs and have a positive and genuine conversation between our everyday volunteers and everyday friends on the street.”

From an interview with Nicholas- “We’re a charity run purely by sponsors and donations. Each van costs $110,000 to build, and each load of washing and drying costs $6. We have 500 awesome volunteers who each make a fortnightly commitment. Lucas and I don’t earn a wage; we’re full-time volunteers … when Orange Sky Laundry pulls up under railway bridges, people are brought to tears with excitement. Shy, reserved individuals, who might not have spoken to anyone for a couple of days, open up. The most important thing our vans carry isn’t the washing machines or dryers and detergents. It’s the six orange chairs that foster a really great conversation.”

The two of them were named 2016 Young Australians of the Year for the amazing work they do.

Lucas lives in the Centenary area, and we are very proud to provide him a free 1 hour massage.

3rd Free Massage Recipient

Toni BothToni Both has been holding ‘Girl’s Nights In’ for more than 10 years now to raise money for breast cancer research. In that time she has raised over $30,000! That’s wonderful Toni, and we really enjoyed thanking you for your good work with a free 1 hour massage.

4th Free Massage Recipient

Elizabeth P. is one of those kind-hearted people who love to go around quietly helping others. This includes helping out at local funerals, taking elderly ladies to hospital, their church, the hairdresser or their podiatrist, visiting people in their homes that are housebound, etc. Elizabeth is always cheerful and friendly, but doesn’t like to talk about all of the good things she does. We think you are wonderful Elizabeth, and are honoured to be giving you a free massage.

5th Free Massage Recipient

Kay WhitbyKay Whitby has been a volunteer with the Australian Breastfeeding Association for the past 20 years. She is a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor, and goes out of her way to provide support and advice to new mums. Great work Kay, and I am sure you enjoyed your massage!

6th Free Massage Recipient

Rae TaylorThis is a remarkable story of selflessly caring for other people who are less fortunate. We are very grateful that people like Rae and her husband Dave are around, and Rae we hope you enjoyed your free massage as a token of our appreciation.

“I nominate Rae Taylor. Rae and her husband Dave spent countless hours supporting a local homeless guy in Forest Lake. They fed him for nearly three months, drove him to medical appts, supported him at a court hearing, gathered community support and launched a fundraising campaign to pay for flights and accommodation for two months for Geremy to get home to NZ, where he is now able to access income support, and pay for a roof over his head (something the Aussie system won’t cover for unemployed Kiwis).

Geremy has dignity and hope now, because Rae didn’t walk past.

This was all done whilst Rae was sick herself and off work for a few months.

Rae is very deserving of recognition for her financial and personal generosity.

(I also know that she would benefit mightily from the skill and knowledge that Roger has brought to your practice.)”

Geremy came to Australia from NZ to be with his partner and small child. He fell on hard times when his relationship broke down and he sustained an injury which left him unable to work. Geremy ended up homeless on the streets, with no money, no work prospects, and no current passport to get back to NZ. After completely turning this total stranger’s life around, Rae continues to touch base with Geremy most weeks to check on how he is going.

7th Free Massage Recipient

Sandy DowMeet Sandy Dow, our latest free massage recipient – she takes on dogs that are about to be put down as they don’t meet behavioral assessments at the shelters they’ve been surrendered to, trains them and finds them homes. She works seven days a week, and always answers her phone in case there’s a dog that needs her.

She took on her first rescue dog around 20 years ago. 8 years ago she started working at the Animal Welfare League, and five years ago she started her own dog training business – all while maintaining her commitment to finding homes for animals that even shelters had written off.

We’re very pleased to have been able to offer Sandy some relaxation and pampering.

8th Free Massage Recipient

Karolyn OwensKarolyn Owens is heavily involved in the Night Watch Patrol, where volunteers in purple shirts patrol inner city streets at night to help anyone in crisis, at risk or in need. They deal with everything from violence, injury and drug overdoses, to food and accommodation problems. Night Watch volunteers work between 10.30 pm and 5.30 am every Friday and Saturday night. They are trained in first aid, and how to intervene and defuse challenging situations.

As well as being a volunteer for 7 years, Karolyn is also the counsellor for the Brisbane Night Watch, and so helps other volunteers who have had to deal with fatal or near-fatal situations.

Thanks very much Karolyn for your caring support of people in need, and enjoy your free massage!

9th Free Massage Recipient

Diana Sumner-Armstrong is another very worthy recipient of a free ‘Thank You’ massage from us. Here is her nomination.

“I would love to nominate Diana Sumner-Armstrong. She is a hard working community member who has been a crisis support counsellor for Brisbane Lifeline for 5 years now. She works 5 night shifts a week as a crisis and suicide interventionist, keeping many around Brisbane and Australia out of harms way! As well as this, Diana works 3 days at Kenmore Woolworths.

She also worked tirelessly with Community Recovery following cyclone Marcia in Rockhampton; visiting families, providing basic needs and counselling support through Uniting Care.

She is truly a kind, caring citizen who deserves a much deserved reward for all her efforts!”

Congratulations Diana, and have a wonderful massage!

10th & 11th Free Massage Recipients

Brett SwannCarolyn SwannCongratulations to Brett and Carolyn Swann, who have certainly earned a free massage from us. They are an amazing couple, who dedicate their time and energy to helping young people with disabilities and their parents. Here is their nomination.

“Brett & Carolyn run Enhanced Care which is a respite home for children and young adults with high needs/multiple impairments, to give their parents a break. They also work tirelessly to care and run another centre for these children to learn new skills, hang out, and they nurture them to be their best.”

They have also established and run Empowered Futures, which provides services to young adults with disabilities and their parents, including

  • in-home support
  • overnight respite centres
  • day support services at two Community Hubs they established (at Jindalee and Ipswich)

Carolyn also runs the My Time program every 6 weeks at Mt Ommaney Special School, to provide info and support to parents with disabled children.

Thank you both for your wonderful work!

12th & 13th Free Massage Recipients

Giving Grannies gifts

“I would like to nominate Lynn Atkinson and her husband Neil … they run Giving Grannies and do amazing work within our community and beyond .. they give their time and hard work to help others and best of all they are lovely people.”

Giving Grannies are a not for profit group who collect and distribute pre-loved baby and children’s goods. This includes clothes, shoes, toys, books, prams, cots and other baby furniture. They also provide Baby Welcome Kits to mums who need a helping hand when a new baby is on the way. These Kits include singlets, mittens, socks, bibs, hats, clothing, cot sheets, bunny rugs, blankets, toys, books, towels, face washer, nappies, wipes, baby toiletries, etc. They may also include a small gift for the mother, formula, baby bottles and other items of use. Giving Grannies rely totally on donations, and they receive referrals from hospitals, community groups, refugee organisations and other charitable groups.

Thank you Lynn and Neil for looking after our new mums so well, and making our community a better place. Please enjoy a free 1 hour massage on us as a token of our appreciation.

14th Free Massage Recipient

Small acts can transform a community

We are very pleased to announce that Lisa Baillie, the founder and an Admin of the ‘4074 Community & Beyond’ Facebook page, is the latest winner of a free massage from us. Here are a few comments about her from that page.

‘Well done Lisa and admins. You have brought this community together like no-one else before. You have achieved and helped others achieve so much. There’s a lot more sharing and caring in this community because of you, people are looking out for each other, and sharing experiences, advice, and resources. Your efforts have shown how many people from different walks of life with just a postcode in common can come together, work together and play together. This is a generous, friendly postcode, and it has become much closer because of the medium you have provided us. My wife and I have met, helped, and been helped by countless people over the past few years, and it all comes down to you and your helpers. You are an asset to the community and we owe you an enormous debt of gratitude. As our local political rep, I hope that Matt Bourke is able to facilitate some more formal recognition as Australia Day nears. It is people like you, who do so much for our community, that deserve proper recognition. You are touching many lives, both directly and indirectly, and making a difference that cannot be under-estimated, particularly as it is done in your spare time and on a zero budget. THANK YOU. Well done, and please keep up the great work; it is very much appreciated.’

‘Well said Steve. I have seen the hard work she puts in and the many hours it takes to pull together events like the Family Fun Day and last weekends Trivia Trail. Yes, she has her trusty group of helpers and the support from our local members and businesses but the ideas and drive all belong to her. She is one amazing lady who I’m very blessed to call a friend.’

Lisa also recently established the 4074 Health & Beyond Facebook page to ‘promote a healthier way of living in the Western suburbs of Brisbane’, and the 4074 Community & Beyond RACK webpage, to promote Random Acts of Community Kindness. She never stops trying to give to our community!

15th Free Massage Recipient

Michael Devlin

Michael Devlin is a member of the Brisbane Motorcycle Street Feed group, who provide free hot, home-cooked meals to homeless people. Once a week they feed 150 – 300 needy people, and Michael has been doing this for over a year. Sometimes people donate clothes to Michael and other members of the group, and these are also passed on to the homeless. In winter, they also make a special effort to collect and distribute socks to help homeless people keep their feet warm.

Thanks Michael for your caring and selfless work. Enjoy your massage!

16th Free Massage Recipient

The Nappy Collective

Natasha Butcher has been convening the South West Brisbane Nappy Collective for the past 3 years, and in that time she has collected 50,000 nappies for community organisations who work on the front line with women in need, including domestic violence support groups, homeless groups, and teenage mums. (For more details about the Nappy Collective please see www.thenappycollective.com.) Natasha has just been elevated to the role of Brisbane coordinator in recognition of her hard work and dedication to helping these women.

Thank you Natasha for looking after our new mothers in need, and helping to make our community a better place. Please enjoy a free 1 hour massage on us as a token of our appreciation.

17th Free Massage Recipient

Kara-Leigh James

Kara-Leigh James is the latest winner of our Free Massages for Community Heroes.

“Hi there, I would love to nominate an amazing local community member Kara-Leigh James! She gives so much of herself to this community and Jindalee State School P & C association. She donates so much of her own time and effort so selflessly. There would hardly be a person in this community that wouldn’t know and acknowledge how much she gives and couldn’t think of a more deserving person for this prize. … PS if you would like references of her amazing work you would only need to ask the community, school and 4074 as I’m sure they will all vouch. There are local MPs that have known her for years also! An amazing strong lady, sooo deserving!”

(I personally am amazed at the huge amount of time, effort and creativity she puts into making the Jindalee State School Fete a great success every year.)

Congratulations Kara-Leigh! Have a massage on us for all your good work.

18th Free Massage Recipient

Inga Werber

Congratulations to Inga Werber, who we have chosen to receive a free massage from us for her good work. Inga runs the Middle Park Knitting Stars and the Jambo Knitters programs, and she gets people to knit woolen squares. She and the students from the Middle Park and Jamboree Heights State Schools then knit these squares into blankets for the homeless. Inga has won the Matthew Bourke Community Award, and this year she also initiated the Twiddlemuff Project for dementia patients. A Twiddlemuff is a double thickness hand muff with bits and bobs attached inside and out, and is designed to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands for those suffering from dementia. Inga arranged for the Centenary Knitting and Crochet Circle and other members of the community to knit these Twiddlemuffs to help those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Thanks Inga for your caring support of our community. Have a great massage!

19th Free Massage Recipient

Karen BennettKaren Bennett has played a huge role in the retention of the Early Childhood Development Program. This Program is designed to help assist preschool children with learning disabilities or challenges, so that they can then attend a mainstream school instead of a special school. The Program was to be scrapped, however Karen organised a Facebook page to raise awareness of this issue, and she gathered support from families all over Queensland. She organised a petition to have the Program continue, and obtained over 30,000 signatures for it. The Program now has funding guaranteed by the government until 2020, largely due to Karen’s efforts.

Thank you Karen for your work looking after disabled children, and enjoy a free massage on us!

20th Free Massage Recipient

Vicki Mynott“I would like to nominate Vicki Mynott as deserving of a free massage for her many years of dedicated volunteer work for the community, by researching and producing many local histories for the Inala History Association.

Her work has resulted in capturing local histories in detail, for use by the communities and students. There a number of local publications in which she has been the major researcher and writer.”

Have a wonderful massage Vicki!


Cupping- Not Just for Olympians

Cupping marks on Michael PhelpsSeen the large cupping marks on Michael Phelps, the swimmer who recently won his 23rd Olympic Gold Medal? Cupping is becoming very popular lately, with many sportspeople and celebrities using it to repair their bodies or improve their health. According to Ralph Reiff, a sports performance expert who has worked on over 100 members of the current U.S. Olympic team, the therapy also is popular with the USA track and field team as well as the swimming stars. He said “It’s very much common in our practice. We’ve found it to be an effective alternative therapy to add to our toolkit of resources.’’

Cupping advocates are also said to include LaShawn Merritt, who has recorded the top time in the world this year in the 400 meters, while champion tennis player Andy Murray and boxer Floyd Mayweather have been seen sporting cupping marks.

Olympic gymnast Alex Naddour has found the treatment “provides relief from the soreness and pounding that come from gymnastics”. He told a reporter “That’s been the secret that I have had through this year that keeps me healthy. It’s been better than any money I’ve spent on anything else. It has saved me from a lot of pain.”

Meanwhile movies stars Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Jessica Simpson have been using cupping for years to improve their health.

What is Cupping?

Cupping on the backGlass or plastic ‘cups’ are placed on the skin and a suction is created to draw the skin and muscle up a little. For ‘vacuum cups’ some of the air is pumped out of the cup to create the suction, and for ‘fire cups’, a flame is used to create the vacuum before the cup is quickly placed on the skin. (We only use vacuum cups at our clinic, as the pressure can be controlled far more accurately.)

What Does Cupping Do?

Dr Ayaaz Farhat, the co-director of the London Cupping Clinic, said “It is a very effective way to enhance, encourage and even accelerate the body’s own immune response to injury.”

“The main benefits are encouraging the inflammatory response of the body and speeding up muscular and soft tissue recovery after injury and strain. Cupping therapy has widened significantly though in the last few years and newer techniques are being used for conditions and diseases away from sports therapy such as migraines and eczema.”

In a nutshell, cupping loosens tight muscles, improves blood flow, clears toxins, and improves healing.

How it Helps the Muscles

Loosens Tight Muscles

Massage works by pushing down on muscles to cause them to relax. Cupping has a similar effect, but pulls the muscles up instead of pushing them down.

Reduces Muscle Soreness

Strenuous exercise or prolonged muscle tightness results in metabolic wastes that can cause muscles soreness, and the increased blood flow from cupping helps to get rid of these wastes, allowing the muscles to feel better and recover faster.

By increasing the blood flow, cupping also helps to flush out old toxins, which may have been hanging around for years.

Improves Healing

The increased blood flow brings extra oxygen and nutrients to the area, allowing any muscle damage such as micro-tearing (a very common effect of exercise) to repair much more quickly and effectively. This also means there is far less chance of tiny amounts of scar tissue forming in the muscles.

Cupping is therefore very good for muscle soreness, recovery from training or sports events, sports injuries, preparation for sports events, back pain, hip pain, sciatic problems, shoulder pain, etc. It is often included as part of a massage or acupuncture treatment.

How it Improves Your Health

In acupuncture and many other traditional systems of medicine, poor blood flow can cause almost any part of the body to not work properly. Think of the cells of your body like little plants- if you give them plenty of water and nutrients, they will be healthy, thrive, and perform well. (On the other hand, what happens if you put your plants in a dark cupboard and don’t water them?) In the same way, cells in your body that have plenty of oxygen and nutrients, and have their wastes cleared quickly, will be healthy and perform well; those with poor blood flow will not do well, and are likely to perform badly or become diseased.

Jennifer Aniston's cupping marks

Jennifer Aniston’s cupping marks

In Japan, it is a recognised therapy, and highly-trained cupping practitioners treat a very broad variety of conditions.

Used for Thousands of Years

There is reason to believe cupping was used as early as 3,000 BC, and it has been a part of traditional medicine in most parts of the world for thousands of years. Cupping was practiced in the Babylon – Assyrian Empire, and an Egyptian papyrus from 1,550 BC describes its use. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’, used cupping for internal diseases and structural problems, and it was also popular with the Arabs. Cupping was also practiced in many other places in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. The modern methods of use originated in China and Japan thousands of years ago, and it continues to be used in many locations around the world today, such as Italy, Egypt, Greece, Holland, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam. In 1946, the writer George Orwell described cupping being performed in a Paris hospital.

Types of Cupping

There are two main forms of cupping used today- Chinese (which may cause bruise marks) and Japanese (no bruise marks). In Australia, the Chinese method is mostly used for muscle or structural problems, especially back pain, sciatic or shoulder pain, whereas the Japanese technique is used more for internal health problems. Japanese cupping can even be used on young children, who usually find it fun!

Precautions

However, as with any therapy, it is important to see a properly trained therapist. Cupping should never be performed over broken skin, on the abdomen or back of pregnant women, over inflamed or bleeding organs (such as a stomach ulcer), or on anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, heart issues, or blood vessel problems.

Having said that, all of the cupping therapists at our clinic are highly trained and experienced. We offer both the Chinese (may bruise) and Japanese (no bruise) styles.

How Effective Would Cupping be for Me?

So if you have a health problem that is not getting better, if you often have tight sore muscles, have a back, shoulder, or other structural problem, or if you want to perform better and recover faster after your sport or training, please feel free to give us a call on 3376 6911 and talk to our Head Therapist. He will be able to advise you on just how effective cupping treatments will be for your condition.

Common Causes of Hip and Lower Back Pain

Hip pain is often caused by a problem with the alignment of the body. It can often be caused by a misalignment of the feet (such as an old ankle injury) or from the lower back. We frequently find that our clients have hips that are twisted, tilted or raised on one side. Because your spine is supported by your pelvis, if your hips are not in the correct position your spine will have to compensate, so it can cause problems almost anywhere along your spine, but especially in your lower back or neck. Just as the hips are used to balance the lower body, the shoulders are used to balance the upper body, so if the hips are out often the shoulders will be out as well.

Back and hips very out of alignmentHave a look at the picture to the right- you can see this person’s right hip is about one grid square higher than her left, and  because her hips are on an angle, the spine in her lower back starts going up at an angle to the left. It then has to bend back to the right to try and straighten her up. Also look at how her right shoulder is slightly to the left of her right hip, but her left shoulder is way to the left of her left hip. (If you look carefully, you might be able to see how tight the muscles are in her lower back, and in her upper back between her shoulder blades. Her right shoulder is also slightly higher than her left.)

Another possible cause of hip problems is the liver. The liver is on the right side of the body, underneath the lower ribs, and sometimes if the liver gets congested or irritated, the muscles over it can become tight, particularly below the right shoulder blade. (You can see a little of this in the above photo.) This can then pull the right hip up or the right shoulder down, putting the body out of alignment, and could cause lower back, hip, neck or shoulder problems.

So for structural problems,

  • Most muscle or joint pain occurs when the body is out of alignment, and correcting the alignment will often resolve the pain
  • Congestion in the liver can cause a distortion in the body, which may lead to neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee, or sciatic problems
  • There may be other factors that have to be addressed as well, especially inflammation
  • Sometimes there is not much improvement until all of the important causes are addressed
  • Even when there is no more pain, if there are still alignment issues, it is a good idea to have additional treatments to correct these, otherwise the problem will tend to recur

With the right diagnosis and treatment, the majority of back, neck, hip and shoulder problems can become a thing of the past.

Five Benefits of Green Tea

  

Reduces Depression and Anxiety

Theanine, an amino acid with relaxing and tranquilizing properties is thought to be the reason behind tea’s relaxing, soothing effects.

Delays Memory Loss and Other Neurological Signs of Aging

Studies in mice strongly suggest that green tea is able to prevent the damage caused by Alzheimers and Parkinson’s; in said study, it protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged cells.

Assists in Weight Loss

Green tea increases metabolism; the polyphenol found in green tea increases the rate at which your body is able to turn food into fuel, as well as boosting fat oxidation.

Improves Brain Function

Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but there is still enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work alongside caffeine to improve brain function.

Better Dental Health

While it’s obvious that swapping sugary drinks for green tea is going to improve the health of your teeth, the benefits may go beyond that. Some studies have shown that the catechins in green tea can help to destroy harmful bacteria in the mouth.

The Different Types of Massage

Different types of remedial massage 

The word “massage” might conjure up images of rich women with cucumber on their eyes, but relaxation massage is one small niche; there’s a wide range of massage techniques, for a wide range of health conditions. Here’s a basic guide.

Swedish Massage

This is the most common type of massage, and is characterised by long sweeping strokes, muscle kneading and rolling (like kneading dough), and rhythmic tapping.

Hot Stone Massage

This is fairly self-explanatory; hot stones are placed on the body, and the masseuse may (usually) uses hot stones to massage the body at the same time. This form is very good for releasing tension.

Chair Massage

This is the type of massage you’ll see at events or at kiosks in the mall (sitting face forward in a special chair). The major focus is on your neck and shoulders, and it’s used to get tension out of your upper body.

Deep Tissue/Trigger Point (Remedial) Massage

This type of massage, as the name suggests, applies strong pressure to points that are causing you trouble. It’s not “pleasant”, but you can ask your therapist to adjust the pressure if you’re finding it too much and it’s incredibly important to find a fully trained therapist who you trust (as untrained hands on an injury can make it worse).

Shiatsu Massage

Gentle stretches plus finger pressure are used to improve the flow of energy within the body.

Herbs to Improve Your Memory

  
If herbal medicines can help people with dementia and Alzheimers to retain and improve their memories, it stands to reason that they’d be able to help the rest of us maintain and improve this aspect of our health. Here are some herbs that have been shown to have a positive effect on cognitive function.

Ginkgo Bilboa

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published studies showing the positive effect of this herb on dementia leading to Alzheimers. It’s particularly effective in patients whose memory problems are the result of aging.

Ginseng

Studies have shown that ginseng is fantastic for all aspects of cognitive function, including memory. It’s easily available over the counter, but consult with a herbalist to ensure you’re getting the right dose and a good quality supplement.

Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb with a lot of carnosic acid; it’s an antioxidant, and goes directly to your cerebral vascular tissues to dilate them and improve memory. Just smelling rosemary has been shown to have a positive effect.

Sage

Scientists from the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria performed trials which proved that those given sage performed much better on a word recall test than those given a placebo. Sage makes a great addition to many savory dishes, especially soups and stews.

Eating with the Seasons 

 

You’ve probably noticed that you crave different foods at different times of the year; starchy potatoes and filling soups in winter, fruit and sliced tomatoes in summer. And interestingly, these are the foods that are in season during those times. The synergy between our bodies and nature is really remarkable. 

We’ve become so used to seeing vegetables and fruit all year round in the supermarket, even though we feel the pinch in our wallet if we say, really want fresh mango during July. But it may be worth keeping an eye on grower’s guides, and figuring out what’s actually in season – and adjusting your shopping list accordingly.

When foods have been in cold storage for a long time, traveling from greenhouses or a long way interstate, their nutritional value starts to go down. They’re also more likely to have been sprayed or preserved in ways that just aren’t good for your body.

While we absolutely advocate eating widely and as much fruit and veg as possible, take the time to ask your local farmers at the market what’s in season where you are, and what they recommend. It lets you help the “little guy” (no big supermarket chains giving them a pittance while adding a huge markup), and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel.

Stress the Destroyer

StressStress can be a healthy thing; our stress response is there to help us deal with challenging or dangerous situations. If a tiger jumps out at you from behind a tree, your heart suddenly beats faster, your breathing gets faster, various muscles will tighten, your blood sugar levels rise, and non-emergency systems in your body are suppressed (such as your digestive system).  Your body is now in ‘Fight or Flight’ mode, which is great for emergencies.

We usually don’t encounter too many tigers in our lives, instead in our society we often have lots of little stressful situations throughout our day. Rushing to get ready in the morning, fighting the traffic, work pressure, family hassles, money worries, etc. Most of these pressures are based on a fear of not enough, and lack of time is one of the big ones.

Time Pressure

In this fast paced age, we hear that every minute counts. Day after day, week after week, all this pressure to achieve, meet goals, finish daily tasks, begins to build up inside of us until one day we are locked in the throes of time pressure. A chief contributor to time pressure is emotional identity. This happens when you invest a great deal of mental and emotional energy in a situation. All that energy can create tunnel vision, leaving you unable to see or appreciate other important things in your life. When someone or something interferes with that focus, the result frequently is irritation, anxiousness and frustration, especially when deadlines must be met. You push people away, neglect other areas of your life, but still proceed until eventually you lapse into emotional chaos. In the end, time pressure can seriously damage not only your relationships and quality of life, but even the situation in which you buried yourself to the exclusion of all else. Time pressure takes a toll on our nervous, immune and hormonal systems, and left unattended will likely produce cycles of anxiety, fatigue and temporary despair. As this process continues it makes us more susceptible to health problems.

Time Pressure Symptoms

Always rushed, too much to do, not enough time; mentally scattered, not feeling in control, tunnel vision, irritation at anyone or anything that breaks your focus, internal pressure, a gnawing feeling in your solar plexus, impatience, lack of compassion for self and others, feeling a constant slow burn inside, low grade stress and strain, feeling disconnected from life, decreased enjoyment of projects, relationships or life in general.

How Stress Affects Your Health

Stress is so common and has such a broad effect on the body that it is often a factor with almost any health problem. However, here are the most common ways it can affect you.

  1. Your Physical Body

We have already mentioned the physical changes in your body that stress causes, so let’s look at how these can affect your health.

  • Your heart beats faster and harder, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart problems and strokes
  • Various muscles tighten, often causing back, neck or shoulder problems
  • Blood sugar levels are raised, increasing the risk of diabetes
  • Non-emergency systems in your body are suppressed, so your digestion, immune system, and reproductive system (including your hormones and fertility) are disrupted. (Because your stomach is a muscular organ, it is particularly affected; in Japan, the stomach is sometimes referred to as ‘the reflection of stress’.)
  1. Your Energy Levels

Adrenaline and the other hormones we produce when we are stressed are stimulants. So too much stress over a long time will leave your body drained and depleted, causing you to constantly feel tired or burnt out, and can even lead to adrenal exhaustion or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

  1. Your Mental and Emotional State

Short-term stress can be a good thing- it can help stimulate your body and mind so that you can meet a deadline, perform better at sport, or cram for an exam. However, prolonged stress often causes the body to get stuck in the ‘Fight or Flight’ emergency mode all the time. When this happens, the constant mental or emotional stress accumulates in the body, causing the person to feel tense most of the time. Because of this accumulated stress in their body, any stress has a bigger effect on them than usual, and they may react more strongly to situations, so their internal stress builds up even more. Because of this, they may feel they don’t have much control of their life, which can create additional stress for them. Over time, this accumulated stress may manifest as anxiety, depression, poor sleep, irritability, cloudy thinking, relationship difficulties, panic attacks, etc.

  1. Fertility

When your body is stressed, it puts everything that isn’t directly related to survival on the back burner (like reproduction). Plus, stress and fertility involve many of the same glands and pathways – when stress hormones are being released in the brain, they wreak all kinds of havoc with your reproductive hormones.

Your pituitary gland is the link between your hypothalamus (brain) and your endocrine system (hormones). It communicates with your ovaries through your bloodstream; first, it releases hormones that tell your eggs to mature, and then it releases hormones that cause ovulation. When you’re stressed, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are engaged in another chain reaction; the hypothalamus releases a hormone called CRH, which causes the pituitary to produce another hormone (ACTH), which in turn triggers the adrenal glands. This stress circuit temporarily shuts down your other hormonal systems, including reproduction, so your body can divert all of its energy into dealing with the perceived threat.

Or, in simpler terms: if your brain is busy with stress, it may not send the right messages to your ovaries, which means you won’t ovulate. If there’s no egg, the sperm have nothing to fertilise naturally, and you won’t fall pregnant. Even if you are still ovulating, some studies suggest that stress can reduce blood flow to the uterus and cause issues with implantation.

The Stress Solution

We often hear people say that they realise how stress is affecting them, but they can’t do anything about it. They can’t change the way their kids are behaving, they can’t quit their job, the bills keep coming in, etc. They also don’t have time to meditate, exercise or take time out every day. The answer is to clear out the accumulated stress from their body, which allows them to feel calm, relaxed, in control, and not get stressed easily. Usually this involves calming and relaxing the nervous system, and switching it from ‘Fight or Flight’ to the healthier ‘Rest, Repair and Reproduce’ mode. Often we will need to settle the person’s adrenaline levels down as well, particularly if they are feeling tired all the time. Acupuncture and naturopathy are both excellent for correcting the nervous system and the adrenaline levels. (A combination of the two is often ideal.)

If you suspect that stress may be an issue for you, please book in for a free Comprehensive Health Assessment so that we can check and let you know the extent of accumulated stress in your body, as well as the best way to treat it.

Read Your Way to Better Health

  
Taking the time to read and learn something new may not seem like it would impact our health, but it has multiple benefits.

When you read and relax, your heart rate and adrenal system gets a rest (research done in the UK in 2009 showed reading to be more effective at reducing stress than tea, music, and even walking). Keeping your brain active keeps it healthy, and can stave off Alzheimers in people who don’t carry the gene. It reduces muscle tension, and can help you sleep. 

So: pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Your body and brain will thank you.

Australian Natural Medicines Lead the World

IMPORTANT CLIENT INFORMATION

Extensively tested for naturopaths‘Practitioner-Products’ are only available from qualified practitioners who are equally invested in your health and wellbeing.

Australian Natural Medicine companies lead the world in manufacturing nutritional and herbal supplements. In contrast, supplements manufactured in other countries, including the US, may not always meet the quality and safety standards expected by consumers.

Manufacturing standards are not as stringent in the US, China, India or elsewhere as they are in Australia. Products produced in some of these countries may have elevated levels of heavy metals, pesticides, or microbial contaminants as they are not screened for these in many countries. They may also contain low levels of stated herbal active ingredients, the wrong herb entirely, or be adulterated with other unknown ingredients. This poses a serious risk to unwell and vulnerable patients.

The Australian made supplements we provide are extensively tested throughout their production.

  • Herbal ingredients are tested before they go into a formula to ensure the correct material is used
  • Nutritional ingredients are tested to ensure the correct composition
  • Products are manufactured under stringent Good Manufacturing Practice conditions
  • Finished products are then tested again to confirm that active ingredients have survived the manufacturing process
  • Microbiological tests are performed to ensure safety before release
  • Products are placed on stability trials so that you know what is on the label is in the product

Australian regulations insist upon the manufacture of natural medicines to pharmaceutical standards. In most countries supplements are considered “foods” so it is not compulsory to perform any of the above tests. For example, studies have confirmed that a high percentage of US made products do not contain ANY of the ingredients or contain different ingredients than stated on the label.

Your health is the most important asset you have. Nurture it and be rewarded by the investment.

You deserve the best!

(Based on a 2016 handout by Biomedica Nutraceuticals)