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Christmas is one of the most testing periods of the year. It can be stressful but also challenging for our digestive system. We are excited but also anxious about organising the festivities and celebrations, whilst at the same time agonise about what presents to get for our friends and family. Being the end of the year we are also preparing to ‘wind down’ and regenerate for the New Year.


‘Tis the season for Flu and Colds’

Changes from autumn to winter means that the period prior to Christmas is full of flu and colds. This can carry on well into the spring. Frequent travel both local and distant exposes us to different cold viruses. Minimise your risks by maintaining a healthy immune system so you are more able to fight off any viruses. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and not smoking will help. More about flu supplements.


 ‘All I want for Christmas is Food’ 

Food and drink is a large part of Christmas. We must remember to stuff the turkey, but not ourselves. Food is always plenty at Christmas, turkey, nuts, chocolates, cheese, pudding, mince pies and cheese straws.  One Christmas dinner can add up to 3000 calories, between 500 -1200 calories more than the average adult requirement.  This does not include what we eat the rest of the day. Slowing down the speed of eating and savouring each bite will help to make the meal more satisfying. Remember that it takes our brain 20 min to register that the stomach is full.  A huge meal will give us indigestion and make us tired, thus contributing to weight gain. Be mindful about what you eat, and decide if it is something you really want before popping it into your mouth. Don’t eat it just because it is there.


‘Keep calm and say Ho, Ho, Ho……’                                                         

Don’t stress about making sure Christmas is Stress-Free. Most of us will be working through long lists of shopping, cooking and cleaning and visitors, so try to keep things manageable. Plan ahead and try to be organised. Shopping online can make things easier and if you are terrible at wrapping presents use gift bags.  It’s not a disaster if everything is not perfect and the mashed potatoes were a bit lumpy, or that the top of the Christmas tree you bought is not perfect – it’s what makes Christmas memorable. You could think ahead and consider organising some therapeutic treatments in the New year. Complementary therapies work really well for stress relief.


Peace, love and Joy’ 

Catching up with family and friends is a big part of the Christmas spirit. Instead of the usual salutatory wishes in a festive card, consider instead a photo card or a few sentences updating them about you and the family.   We have little choice in who we are related to, so there will always be a critical mother-in-law or a disapproving relative.  Prepare yourself for what is to come, but remember it is only for one day and you still have the rest of the year without them.


‘Silent night’

Make sure you rest and renew with plenty of restful sleep. Despite the time off work, late night celebrations from Christmas to the New Year will disturb our normal sleep pattern. Sleep hugely influences our physical and mental wellbeing. It is when our body heals and recovers from our waking activities. Try to return to your normal sleep pattern as soon as possible. Further about the benefits of sleep here.


‘Don’t get Ho, Ho, Hammered!’ 

During Christmas, alcohol is free flowing, mulled wine, bucks fizz, brandy, wine and even alcoholic punch. Don’t just indulge, decide what your limits are and then keep tabs on how much you are drinking. Mix non-alcoholic drinks in between and it will make it much more enjoyable. Excess alcohol can affect others. Be aware that although it can lift your mood initially, it is also a depressant and in some people can bring out unsociable and aggressive behaviour.  There is a considerable rise in the number of assaults and drink driving over Christmas and New Year. Added to this is increased incidence of alcohol poisoning.


Happy New Year! 

Let’s be honest, most of us spend the entire year not thinking about our health. Review the past year and consider if your health needs some attention. If you have had more frequent flu and colds, developed an allergy or skin condition, tend to get tired more quickly, fatigued most of the time, bones and joints ache, have a brain fog or spend time feeling frustrated and depressed, then it is time to make a plan to do something about it. It is more important than ever to get out the vitamins and minerals, consider having some therapies or book a doctor’s appointment.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

From the seemingly innocent to the definitely ominous, additives are everywhere.  Even if you cook or bake everything you consume from scratch, you’re still adding substances to food that aren’t naturally found in the raw ingredients.  And even if you buy products marked “organic” or “all natural,” they are likely to have added preservatives such as tocopherols (vitamin E) or citric acid–found in fruits such as lemons and oranges, and now produced industrially.

We add subtances to food that aren’t naturally found in the raw ingredients.  And even if you buy products marked “organic” or “all natural,” they are likely to have added preservatives such as tocopherols (vitamin E) or citric acid–found in fruits such as lemons and oranges, and now produced industrially.


Additives serve many purposes:

  • Colours  that enhance appearance
  • Preservatives that help protect against food deterioration caused by bacteria.
  • Antioxidants that slow down or stop the oxidative deterioration of foods–what we call rancidity
  • Artificial sweeteners which are lower in calories than sugar–and cheaper to use.
  • Flavour enhancers that improve the taste and aroma of food.
  • Presentation and texture enhancers e.g. thickeners, gelling agents, emulsifiers, emulsifiers.
  • Nutrient additions that increase the nutrient value of foods

The history of food additives is as old as civilization.  Salt, sugar and vinegar were the first preservatives commonly used by cultures around the world, as well as techniques such as smoking and drying.  Chemicals have been developed to accelerate or mimic these processes, or as cheaper alternatives to traditional methods.

Although the chemical additives commonly used in foods must be demonstrated to be safe for human consumption, there are still many concerns about their use:

Allergic Reactions

  • Sulphite and sulphur dioxide (E220-28) have been known to cause allergic reactions. Specifically, asthma sufferers should avoid sulphur dioxide gas due to increased sensitivity, but there are also recorded cases of worsening of asthma after drinking soft drinks containing it. They are mainly found in dried fruits, dessicated coconut, relishes and fruit-based pie fillings.
  • Food colours like tartrazine (E102)can cause mild allergic reactions and some studies show that sunset yellow (E1 10) can cause tumours.
  • Annatto, a natural food colouring found in margarine, cheese, smoked fish and cakes is implicated in allergic reactions and irritable bowel.


  • Aspartame (E951) has been linked to various cancers(1,2,3), although studies by US National Cancer Institute and European Food Safety Authority concluded that it did not increase the risk of cancers.
  • Erythrosine is a red food colour. Research has highlighted concerns about its potentialtumour formation and inhibition of the normal functioning of the thyroid.
  • Allura red has been associated with cancer in mice but evidence is not consistent.
  • Nitrites and nitrates (E249-52) may convert in the stomach to potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines.


  • Although a definitive link has not yet been established food colours like sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), carmoisine (E122), allura red (E129), tartrazine (E102) and ponceau 4R (E124) have been associated with hyperactivity in some children. These are commonly found in a variety of processed foods, especially in children’s sweets, confectionary, squashes, soft drinks, jams and cakes. Prevalence of hyperactivity is estimated to be about 2.5%.
  • Aspartame has also been linked with changes in behaviour.


  • MSG (monosodium glutamate- E621) is a flavour enhancer can cause headaches in some people. Although in a recent review there was no conclusive direct evidence.
  • Aspartame is also linked with causing headaches.


  • Gums (E412, E414) are used to thicken food and improve texture. Theycan give rise to flatulence and abdominal pain.

The Bottom Line

Additives are overused in the processed foods industry, so try to avoid them as much as possible.

  • Always read food labels to be fully aware of what you are buying.
  • Keep processed foods to a minimum, including sweeteners, sweets, lollies, soft drinks and cakes.
  • Be careful of foods that are presented as low-fat, sugar-free as they are likely to be additive-rich and nutrient-poor.
  • Every individual reacts differently to food and additives. It’s possible to be allergic to anything–even the most “natural” subtance.  If you suspect a sensitivity to anything you eat, try a process of elimination to discover the source of the problem, or consult a practitioner trained in nutrition.
  • If your child shows signs of hyperactivity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) then eliminating some colours from their diet may prove beneficial.

If you have concerns about your own diet or that of a family member, and how it may be affecting health, consider scheduling a consultation with us.

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Artificial sweeteners are non-nutritive, manufactured chemicals with few or no calories. In the UK permitted sweeteners include; aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium (known as acesulfame K), cyclamate and sucralose. We are addicted to the taste of sweetness and the widespread use of sweetener substitutes in food and drink has made our sweet tooth even worse.

Artificial sweetener

Unsurprisingly, sweeteners have been found to be responsible for weight gain rather than weight loss. This is applicable even if Aspartame is taken at levels recommended by the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Research carried out in young hamsters found that those on Aspartame tended to eat more and there was also evidence of damage to brain and liver cells. Other studies carried out in rats have also shown that compared to sugar, sweeteners saccharin and aspartame cause weight gain which is unrelated to caloric intake.

Researchers  have speculated the cause of weight gain to be either reduced energy expenditure or an increase in fluid retention. Breakdown of aspartame produces phenylalanine which is a known inhibitor of a gut enzyme IAP (intestinal alkaline phosphatase). IAP in mice has been shown to prevent metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.  In another study aspartame was linked to reduced insulin sensitivity therefore affecting blood sugar regulation.

The act of eating requires a feeling of satiety and satisfaction. A pilot review suggests that sweeteners only offer partial activation of the food reward pathways in the brain. This may also be responsible for the consequent increase in appetite as an attempt to complete the satiety cycle. Such impaired activation has been observed in obese adolescent girls after drinking milkshake.

Intake of artificial sweeteners has a huge contributory effect of our weight gain and obesity problem.  Although not immediately apparent, over the longer term it significantly increases the risk of health problems. Convinced that they are doing the right thing many people choose a diet option. Their aim is to try to lose or maintain their weight but ironically it is causing just the opposite.

The dangers of sweeteners need to be acknowledged by the public health sector and the food industry. Introducing manufactured substances into our body in the form of artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and in many other commercial products has a major influence on our body’s chemistry, creating a chemical disaster equivalent to a tsunami. The human body is not made to digest artificial foods that may look and taste similar and nutritionally they can never replace fresh natural foods.



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Birchfied Big Local recently conducted video interviews of clients and their views on the service.

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A ‘trapped nerve’ describes compression on the nerve, usually due to pressure applied by the surrounding tissue, muscle, tendon or bone. This can present as pain in the neck and shoulder, back, legs, arms and wrists. Common examples include; bulging of the spinal discs and carpel tunnel syndrome. In other less serious causes it can be due to muscle spasm or other mechanical factors.

Nerve compression

The resulting pressure results in inflammation of the nerves giving rise to pain in the area which may radiates to other parts of the body, numbness and tingling, burning sensation and weakness. Once the pressure is relieved the nerve function recovers, but with chronic pain permanent nerve damage can occur.

At the Integrated Health Clinic cases of pain caused by nerve compression are quite common. Most present with severe almost agonising pain. There is limited or very little relief from pain killers, they are unable to sit, lie down or walk without discomfort, unable to adequately perform daily activities, have to take time off work and a good night’s sleep has become a distant memory.  Where the problem is muscular Acupuncture can be used effectively for pain relief, reduce inflammation and easing the muscle spasm.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the ‘Qi’ (vital energy) to flow properly within the impaired qi pathways known as ‘meridians’. Needles help to release neurochemicals such as endorphins which change the way pain is processed in the brain and spinal cord, as well as release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors that reduce inflammation. As a standard the clinic also uses heat treatment some soft tissue manipulation such as massage or cupping to reduce soft tissue constraints, tension and enhance blood flow. Our experience shows that a combined integrative treatment approach greatly enhances the overall outcome.

After suffering from agonising and tearful shoulder pain, a client recently received a combined acupuncture and massage treatment, along with electro-acupuncture which involves the use of electrical needle stimulation. Not only did their pain symptoms and numbness significantly improve but they were pleasantly surprised that their mood was considerably uplifted. Their feedback was…. “I feel so much happier”. This is a welcome and inevitable effect of acupuncture, confirming results from many scientific studies that it benefits not just the physical but also the mental and emotional.

To learn more about how acupuncture or a combined treatment can help you, call or book an appointment.

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If you are struggling with your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms (IBS), don’t give up just yet instead, Take back control !

IBS is a functional disorder athat affects the colon and causes irritable of the lining of the colon. Symptoms can include; diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, gas and abdominal cramps. Whilst a small proportion of sufferers need to take medication, most people can control it with dietary changes. Studies have shown that avoiding certain foods can help to reduced severity and fewer symptoms, with much improvement in quality of life.

All IBS Is Not The Same

Understanding your IBS is the best way to manage it. Some general tips are;

  • Have regular meal times, chew well and avoid eating in haste to help the process of digestion.
  • Drink at least 8 cups of fluids a day. This can include water, soups, herbal or non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Regular exercise has shown to help reduce symptoms.
  • Reduce stress
  • Benefit can be had from gaining advice on nutritional supplements e.g. multivitamins, essential fatty acids and probiotics to remedy any nutritional deficiencies that may have resulted due to prolonged IBS symptoms.
  • Complementary therapies like acupuncture can help to reduce symptoms and calm the digestive system. It is particularly effective for functional problems. It can also help to reduce stress caused by a busy and demanding lifestyle.

Dietary Changes

  1. Avoid or restrict drinking tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks.
  2. Avoid artificial sweeteners.
  3. Avoid fatty foods.
  4. Start to keep a food diary and when symptoms occur. This will help to identify problem foods.
  5. Avoid or limit foods that may worsen symptoms.
  6. If you have persistent or frequent bloating, a low FODMAP diet can help. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Essentially these are carbohydrate, but specifically FODMAPS are certain types of carbohydrates that are not easily broken down and so have difficulty being absorbed by the gut. Left undigested in the gut they quickly start to ferment to release gases resulting in bloating. Low FODMAP diet essentially involves restricting your intake of high FODMAP foods e.g. some fruits and vegetables, animal milk, wheat products and beans. There is a danger of eliminating too many foods, potentially impacting on general health. Thus seeking guidance from a knowledgeable professional will ensure that you maintain a healthy balanced diet. You can read more about the low FODMAP diet here.

Give Foods Another Chance

When you are actively experiencing IBS symptoms it can seem like you react to almost everything that you eat. Often people may have eliminated food that they are able to eat if their colon is not in a reactive state. Thus, after a minimum of 3-4 weeks of food avoidance or limitation, the colon will have rested and calmed down. At this time you can start to can bring back foods one at a time at a rate of one item per week. You might be pleased to discover that you’re only sensitive to one or two FODMAP carbs, not all of them e.g. wheat is a problem but dairy is OK.

Creating Your Own Personalised Diet

The aim is to find out what foods or other factors (e.g. stress) trigger your IBS symptoms. In this way you can create your own personal diet which gives you all the nutrients you need but only includes the foods that you can handle.

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What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols naturally occurring in foods or as an additive.  As a group they are known as FODMAPs (Fermentable Oliogosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs and the content level also varies.

Collectively they have three common properties:

  1. Incomplete digestion and absorption. They can be classified into two groups;
    • Those that are partly absorbed FODMAPs (fructose, lactose polyols)
    • Those which are not absorbed in anyone (fructans and galactooligosaccharides)
  2. Osmotically active action drawing in water into the large bowel.
  3. Rapidly fermented by bacteria due to their short chain molecular structure.

FODMAP image
Low FODMAP diets are scientifically proven and was first pioneered in Melboune, Australia for the management of IBS. However, in the UK it is still a relatively new concept. The effectiveness of FODMAP diets is variable. In people with IBS it is around 70%. All FODMAPs have a role in symptom development, but the dietary amount varies across the different genetic, ethnic and dietary groups. For example people who can digest lactose, dairy products are not a problem. Fructans and fructose are most common in North American, Western and European diets. Furthermore, we have to consider that the rate of absorption of fructose in the small intestine is widely variable and consequently the effects experienced by different people will also vary.

How do FODMAPs affect the bowel?

Luminal distension is considered to be the common physiological cause of many functional gut disorders. It induces symptoms of pain, bloating and abdominal distension. This evidence comes from Barostat and gas infusion research studies. FODMAP food that has not been digested passes through the small intestine to the colon where they are fermented by the bacteria resulting in the release of gas causing bloating, wind and pain. Due to their osmotic nature water enters the colon resulting in loose motions and diarrhoea. Research has shown that in individuals with sensitive bowel function (e.g. IBS) FODMAPs tend to react more readily.

What can I do to find out what if FODMAPs affect me?

If you have gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating and/or cramping then you are more likely to be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs. Reduce your intake of high FODMAP foods for 4-8 weeks and observe whether your symptoms improve. If they do then you can start to reintroduce some of the higher FODMAP food one at a time to see if your symptoms recur. You can track your symptoms in a diary or use a symptom tracker app.  The lists below will also be helpful.

  1. Low FODMAP shopping list (Kate Scarlata, 2014) PDF
  2. Low FODMAP food list (SIG, 2016) PDF 


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Majority of the time there is no single reason for back pain, and similarly there may back painnot be one single cure. Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints that present to the GP or to practitioners of complementary therapy such as massage, acupuncture, osteopathy or chiropractic. Around 95% of acute low back pain is non-specific and may have been caused by bending the wrong way, lifting something heavy or aggravated by other conditions like arthritis, hairline spine fractures, spinal disc degeneration, kidney infections, cancer and others. Regardless of the cause back pain can be extremely disabling and almost everyone can expect to experience it at some time in their lives.

There are times when back pain is clearly serious, particularly when it is associated with numbness, weakness or tingling in the legs. In such cases a visit to the doctor is a must. But for other more routine low back pain there are a few tips which can be tried at home.

  1. Ice or Heat ?: If you have physically injured the back by banging it then in the first 24 hrs cold packs can help to dull the pain and reduce inflammation. However after this, heat and particularly in the case of chronic back pain heat is the treatment of choice. It improves local circulation, relaxes the muscles and eases pain. Muscle spasms and trigger points respond better to heat.
  1. Have a hot soak: If more than 24 hours have passed since the injury occurred, ice will not help reduce pain or inflammation. Try soaking in a tub of hot water for 20 minutes or more. This will help ease the muscles and help you to relax. The addition of epsom salts will reduce inflammation.
  1. Keep moving: Keep mobile, but don’t overdo it. The spine likes movement and the worst thing you can do is stay still so carry on doing your daily activities as much as you can.
  1. Release Body endorphins: Our body naturally produces endorphins which help block pain signals. Endorphins also help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, which have been linked to worsening of chronic back pain. Some feel good measures include; meditation, aerobic or stretch exercises. Therapies like acupuncture and massage stimulate the production of endorphins.
  1. Emotional health: There is increasing evidence that our mental state and the ability to address stress determines whether we are able to more effectively mange pain. Back pain and other types of pain can be exacerbated by psychological and emotional issues. Complementary therapies can be useful to manage stress.
  2. Chamomile and ginger: Chamomile is a relaxant, whilst ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh ginger sliced (2-4) or grated boiled in two mugs of water until it is reduced to half the original volume will make a delicious and fragrant tea. Honey or sugar can be added for taste. Drink this 2-3 times a day. Grated ginger added to your vegetable juice is a good idea as well.
  3. Restorative sleep: Inadequate sleep aggravates back pain Sleeping_Positions_for_Back_Painand enhances recovery. Sleep on a firm surface on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Changing your sleep posture can also be helpful.
  4. Massage, Essential oils & Complementary therapies: Self massage (or from a trained professional) and using essential oils can help your muscles relax and relieve pain. Essential oils such as eucalyptus, camphor and black pepper blended in almond or grapeseed oil have muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory actions. Complementary Therapies like acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, Alexander technique can also be very effective.
  5. Pepper pain relief: Capsaicin (pepper) cream or ointment containing 0.075% or 0.025 capsaicin applied on the pain surface can help alleviate pain. It may take a few weeks for the full effects to be felt. Capsaicin acts by desensitising the sensory receptors in the skin by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical substance in nerve cells essential for the transmission of pain signals to your brain. Hence lower levels of substance P in the circulation reduce the pain sensations.
  1. Posture: Modern lifestyle makes us spends more time sitting down, whether it’s at work or home. Long periods of sitting or static positions can be more harmful when you have back pain. Sitting properly can minimize these effects.  Avoid slouching. Correct posture in a chair means having all the bones in your spine lined up neatly, like a stack of perfectly aligned blocks. This means keeping your feet flat on the floor and your computer keyboard within easy reach so you’re not leaning forward. This is one part of proper office ergonomics.
  2. Stretch: Don’t just sit or lie down. If you have a stretching routine like yoga then do it every 2-3 hrs. The body muscles and bones are all interconnected so a whole body stretch is important.  A few simple stretches are;Overhead stretch: Lie on your back with arms on the side. Slowly raise your stretched arms overhead and stay in the position for 15-30 sec. Next, gently pull one knee as close as you can to your chest again stay in this position for 15-30 sec, and release the leg back to its original position. Do this with the other leg. Repeat 5 -10 times.
    Knee-rolls: Lie down with your arms stretched to the sides bend your knees and roll the knees to one side. Hold the stretch for five breaths and then return it back to the middle. Do this on the other side. Repeat 5 -10 times.
    See exercises here.
  3. Structural decompression: Structural decompression helps to improve posture and eliminate back pain. When done properly it helps to lengthen the hip flexor muscles and stabilize the spine, thus supporting the core abdominal muscles. Overall, this strengthens the back and lifts and opens the chest. Below is a video of yoga postures for structural decompression.


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Having depression comes with the feeling of being helpless when medication is your  only option. Thankfully, you are not limited to this and there are a number of therapies that can be used. These therapies can do a lot to fight back and they range from direct effects on brain chemicals responsible for mood, mind-body and physiological changes. Not all therapies are suitable for everyone, but most people will find that there will be some that will work for them.

Life Style Changes: Eating well, physical activity and getting sleep are crucial to good mental and physical health. Trying something new and set (realistic) goals for personal achievement.

Laughter Therapy: Develop a good sense of humour and laugh. Laughing gives you an instant hit of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that controls feelings pleasure and reward. Of course, laughing by yourself may be hard to achieve, so you can try to use a laugh phone app. One study by Loma Linda University researchers found that even the anticipation of a jovial laugh reduces the levels of stress hormone cortisol, which increases when you are anxious.

Planned rest and relaxation:  A planned period of relaxation “Time for myself” has profound benefits. This can be anything from 3 mins of quiet contemplation or 30 min of meditation, yoga, walking, tai chi, or anything you find therapeutic and relaxing e.g. reading, dancing, gardening or singing. Researchers have found that after a period of relaxation, shy men with social anxiety had lower heart rates after they interacted with people.

Essential Oils: Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and bergamot are good for treating depression. Lavender has a calming effect and can be safely used in the home. A drop on the collar bone or on the chest, or gently rubbed into either side of the temple.  The odour is extremely relaxing and studies have shown that it induces calm.

Grounding: In the event of an anxiety attack  “do something tangible” to distract your brain e.g. pick up a pen and run your fingers along it, hold a ball or a paper weight in your hand. This works because your brain cannot be in two places at the same time and it will shift negative catastrophic thoughts.

Planned rest and relaxation:  A planned period of relaxation “Time for myself” has profound benefits. This can be anything from 3 mins of quiet contemplation or 30 min of meditation, yoga, walking, tai chi, or anything you find therapeutic and relaxing e.g. reading, dancing, gardening or singing. Researchers have found that after a period of relaxation, shy men with social anxiety had lower heart rates after they interacted with people.

Acupressure: Stimulating acupuncture points are known to make positive changes to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation. It also deactivates the ‘analytical brain’ which controls anxiety and worry. Research also shows reversal of stress related behaviour changes and biochemistry. Applying finger pressure, with tiny circular movements for a few minutes will stimulate the points. Stimulating these points can also be used as a grounding technique. Some useful points are; Lu 1, P6, LI4.

P6 acupoint.jpg Lu1 point Li4

Yoga: Research has found that yoga boosts levels of the amino acid GABA are higher in those that carry out yoga. GABA is essential for brain function which helps promote a state of calm in the body. Low levels of GABA is associated with anxiety and depression. Here is a video on yoga breathing techniques to reduce anxiety.

Tai Chi and Qi Qong: Tai Chi and Qi Qong is a form of mind-body exercise that originated from China. It is a form of ‘mindful exercise’ using slow meditative movements and breathing. Beneficial effects include; lowering of blood pressure, greater physical functioning and more likely to have reduction in depression symptoms. Here is a tai chi video you can try.

Tea: Chamomile is a good anti-anxiety tea with mild relaxing effects. Green tea is rich in L-theanine amino acid which lowers heart rate, blood pressure and ease anxiety. Lemon Balm has sedative effect therefore calms the nerves, but also beneficial for digestion.

Face the fear: Sometimes it helps to confront your ‘fear’. Understanding what you are scared of can best way to allay your anxiety. Talk to a friend or a mentor.

Supplements: There are a variety of supplements that can help anxiety and depression disorders. These include; multivitamins, essential fatty acids, B-complex, L-Theanine, GABA, 5-HTP and St John’s Wort. It is important to remember that supplements can interact with other medication therefore consulting a knowledgeable health professional is essential.

It does take effort to help yourself, but once you get started it becomes easier and gradually you will start to have Fun. when you reach this just remember “don’t stop” !

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