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Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Practice in the Heart of the West End!

This post is to let you know that I am opening a new practice in central London. I will have two large therapy rooms in New Cavendish Street, which is just one block away from Harley Street. It is convenient to get to via tube - Oxford Circus, Great Portland Street and Regent's Park stations are all close.

The new address is:

New Cavendish Practice
48 New Cavendish Street
London W1G 8TG

Monday, October 08, 2007

Slow cooking

As the weather gets colder, a lot of people start to change their eating habits by including more soups, casseroles and stews in their diet. Gone is al-fresco summer dining on BBQs and salads!

So I think now is the ideal time to start using a slow cooker. Slow cookers have a somewhat 'untrendy' image, which is possibly fair enough, but they really are very useful, especially for people who are out at work all day.

Slow cookers require minimal food preparation, are very economical energy-wise, and minimise nutrient losses. It really is very simple to put all the raw ingredients into a pot in the morning before work, and then when you get home a lovely cooked meal is waiting for you! Coming home to the smell of a home cooked meal is priceless after a day at work. Stews, casseroles and curries are the best options.

You can buy a decent slow cooker from Amazon for £17, so you don't have to worry about re-mortgaging.

So why not go retro with a slow cooker?


Monday, September 10, 2007

Ecotherapy for Depression

Two studies commissioned by mental health charity Mind have shown that outdoor activities have a significant positive effect on people suffering from various forms of mental distress, including depression.

Mind commissioned the University of Essex carry out the studies, both of which investigated the benefits of ecotherapy on mental health. One of the studies examined the effect of environment on the effectiveness of exercise on mental wellbeing. This study involved participants going for a ‘green walk’ around a country park in Essex, and also for a walk in an indoor shopping centre. The results were quite marked, with respondents reporting increased self-esteem, reduced tension, reduced anger and decreased levels of depression after the green walk. In contrast, the indoor walk reduced self-esteem and increased depression in some subjects.

These results seem to indicate that something as simple as being outdoors in a green environment could be an effective treatment for depression. Of course I am very interested in this study because I am always fascinated by alternative natural treatments for chronic conditions.

But even more interesting for me is the mechanism of action. How does ecotherapy work? What’s going on in the body when we go outside and get close to nature? There must be something other than the release of endorphins from exercising, because the study examined the effects of indoor exercise and found no similar benefit. Is there something else about being outside that benefits the body? Is it the fresh air , or does the colour green light reflected by foliage affect the brain in some way? Does walking on uneven ground stimulate proprioceptors in our muscles in some way that makes us feel better? Or is it the ‘energy’ of the natural world that stimulates and invigorates our own energy system to make us feel more vibrant? It’s probably a combination of a variety of things, which we are yet to discover.

I am very glad to see research like this. 'Ecotherapy' is almost entirely free and allows people suffering from mental distress to take some control over their condition, and is a valid alternative to the antidepressant drugs that are so often prescribed.

The full report can be viewed here.


Monday, August 13, 2007

High Blood Pressure

It's becoming more and more common for young people in their 20s and 30s to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The orthodox medical approach to these conditions is to prescribe drugs to address these symptoms. Often only rudimentary advice is given to lifestyle and diet (both of which are major causes of these conditions). However, many young people who have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol have reasonably healthy lifestyles. So why do they have these symptoms?

With my clients I take a naturopathic approach to these problems. The liver is the organ which produces cholesterol in the body, and breaks down unused cholesterol into bile. It is very important to pay attention to the health of the liver when treating someone with high cholesterol. Fibre is also vitally important in making sure excess cholesterol (in the form of bile) is taken out of the body with the faeces. Nutritional therapy programmes are very successful in lowering cholesterol, using a combination of supplements and dietary changes. I have always believed it is better to tackle the root of the problem rather than to take a medication to mask the effect of the symptoms, and this is always my approach.

High salt intake is a cause of high blood pressure, and one of the most important dietary changes when treating high blood pressure is to greatly reduce salt intake. But some of the healthy young people that I come across with high blood pressure do not have diets high in salt, so what could be the cause of their problem? Magnesium is a mineral that is often ignored by the orthodox medical profession, and it has myriad important roles in the body. One of its functions is in regulating blood pressure and sometimes simply taking a balanced magnesium supplement can reduce blood pressure to normal levels. I have seen this time and time again with my clients.

High blood pressure is also a condition that can be caused by stress and emotional pressures. There are few drugs that can be prescribed to alleviate these factors (without resorting to antidepressants and tranquilisers). Health Kinesiology is a fantastic therapy to help reduce stress and internal emotional problems that could be contributing to high blood pressure, and in my opinion it is a much better option than the anti-hypertensive drugs that are so commonly prescribed.

PS: Of course, it is always important to see your doctor if you have any of these conditions so that they can check there is not a more serious underlying problem, and to prescribe accordingly. And always check with your doctor or nutritionist before taking a nutritional supplement for a particular health concern.

Dorset Cereals

You may have noticed the incredibly successful re-brand of Dorset Cereals in the past few months. In fact, Dorset Cereals has been highly commended in the Brand Revitalisation category in The Marketing Society Awards for Excellence, 2007. The new packaging is very attractive and on one occasion I had to stop myself from buying a variety pack of mini Dorset Cereals just because they looked nice! This re-brand has not come without a price though; there has been an increase in price of about £1 per pack.

However, they have just launched a new type of cereal made with spelt flakes. Spelt is an ancient type of wheat, the predecessor of the modern wheat we use today. Spelt has a fragile gluten structure that is more water soluble than modern wheat making it easier to digest. Ideal for anyone wishing to eat less wheat. Some people who can't tolerate wheat in its modern form have no difficulties with spelt.

I have tried this cereal, and it really is delicious. It's great on it's own, or a good idea is to mix it in with your own homemade muesli. This would make a fantastically tasty, high fibre, healthy breakfast option!



Last month I completed my final assessment in Health Kinesiology, and have since been very busy with new clients who want to experience this wonderful therapy. Initial responses from clients have been very positive, and it is a very popular therapy.

I am currently running a special offer for previous and existing clients where until the end of September, an initial consultation is £35 instead of the full price of £50. This also applies to all the people who
left me their details at the Camden Green Fair.

Health Kinesiology (HK) can be used to treat almost any concern you have, both physical, psychological and emotional. It works on a very deep level within the body, unblocking and strengthening subtle energy pathways. When these pathways are working properly, the body has the capacity to heal itself.

It also has some special uses, for example there are specific corrections that can be done to help repair and strengthen weak neural connections in the brain that might be causing dyslexia, poor co-ordination or difficulties when driving. These corrections can be especially helpful for sports people to help them develop better hand/eye co-ordination.

Alongside these specialised uses of HK has excellent results with treating such conditions as IBS, PMS, eczema, aches & pains, dizziness & vertigo, high blood pressure, stress, allergies. The list goes on and on.

If you are interested in trying something completely different to address your health and wellbeing concerns, then why not try HK? And if you are not sure if it is for you or not, I would be happy to have a no obligation chat to run through any queries you might have.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Calcium in chilren's foods

There are many adverts for foods aimed at children which are fortified with calcium for strong teeth and bones. Things like yoghurts, fromage frais and children's cheeses.

Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but surely weak bones in children are not really a problem in this country? Or are there large numbers of children who have brittle or weak bones, and are prone to fractures?

I thought allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity and behavioural problems were more prevalent. Many of these children's yoghurts and cheeses are highly processed and contain sugar and artificial additives, all of which can contribute to the these problems.

As westerners we eat more calcium and dairy products than any other population, and calcium is a-plenty. Many of our health problems are due to imbalances of other minerals, like magnesium and zinc.

As a famous nutritionist once told me, if it's advertised on television, don't eat it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nutrients to help protect us from the sun

I have long believed that good nutrition is an important aspect in helping to protect the skin from sun damage. But that's probably because I believe that good nutrition improves every aspect of how our body's function! Think about it - if we are not eating healthily, then the mechanisms we have in our skin to protect us from sun damage might not be working efficiently because they will not have the materials they need to function properly.

The recent BBC series 'The Truth About Food' featured a lady who was particularly prone to sunburn. She took part in an experiment to find out whether lycopene (an antioxidant found in tomatoes) would help protect her skin from sunburn. She ate 55g of concentrated tomato paste every day for 12 weeks. Her skin was tested for its capacity to burn before and after the 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, her skin showed a 30% increase in skin protection, which is a very significant increase. She was delighted and could already notice the benefits of being able to sit in the sun without burning straight away.

I've seen another piece of research recently. This time, a nutrient called lutein was shown to help protect the skin from premature ageing caused by exposure to the sun. Lutein is a yellow pigment found naturally in vegetables and fruits where it helps to protect the green chlorophyll against damaging ultraviolet light.

Researchers at Naples university conducted a study on 120 women aged between 25 and 50 over 12 weeks. Some took a supplement of lutein, others a supplement of lutein plus a cream containing lutein, while others used placebos.
It was found that the skin of those taking the lutein supplement multiplied its photo-protective activity by 25 times.
The research was carried out using a supplement containing 10mg of lutein extracted from marigold flowers known as FloraGLO. If you want to maximise the lutein content of your diet through food alone, then it helps if you like your greens. A 100g serving each of spinach and watercress will give you 10mg of this yellow pigment, as will a large red pepper or 200g of romaine lettuce. Just 50g of kale will also do the trick.

This research suggests that eating more lutein-rich foods may help your anti-ageing plan, although alcohol hinders absorption of this pigment.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Camden Green Fair

On Sunday June 3rd, I will be at the Health Village at the Camden Green Fair in Regents Park. Camden Green Fair celebrates everything going on in London to protect the environment and improve the quality of our lives, showing everyone how to have low environmental impact and also how to improve and maintain a good state of physical, mental and emotional health.

It looks like a great day out for the whole family. Lots of lovely organic food, free massages and things to buy.


Freaky Eaters, new website and new therapy

It's been a while since my last post because I've been busy with a whole manner of projects. One of which has been rebuilding my website. It has a whole new look and feel, and includes information on kinesiology, which I am now practising. I've really enjoyed doing the new site, but it's taken a lot longer than I had anticipated! I guess these things always do.

Another very exciting project I've been involved in is the BBC3 programme 'Freaky Eaters'. This series features people who have various difficulties with food. The producers describe these people as having eating disorders, but they don't have traditional eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia - they generally will only eat one sort of food, and exclude other types of food from their diet. Some of the programmes have been titled 'Addicted to chocolate' and 'Addicted to crisps'. Anyway, a nutritionist and psychotherapist are on hand to help these people change their ways. The nutritionist who currently appears on the programme was not sure if she could commit to a second series, and I have been in talks with the production company about taking over this role. Unfortunately for me, at the last minute, the nutritionist from series one decided that she would continue for a second series so they no longer needed me. Which is a bit of a shame, but I've got such a lot on at the moment, I've not had long to dwell on it.

Have a look at the new site. I have some specially selected organic products available to buy. All personally tested by me!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Decaffeinated Coffee

People often ask me whether decaffeinated coffee is better than the caffeinated variety. My answer is usually 'marginally'.

Here is a good overview from the people at Nutri.
Many of us drink decaffeinated coffee in the belief that it is healthier than the caffeinated version. But is it really any good for us or are we being misled?

Coffee contains three stimulants: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. Although the worst offender, caffeine, has been removed from the decaf, the other two stimulants remain present. Hence, decaf coffee may still impact the autonomic nervous system, causing a host of physiological symptoms, although maybe not quite as noticeable. In addition, regular and decaf coffee also contain a substance called chlorogenic acid, which can raise both cholesterol and homocysteine, both of which are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The method of decaffeination is another source of concern for decaf coffee drinkers; some of the ways in which the caffeine has been removed from the coffee could actually be making it much more harmful to drink than regular coffee. Coffee is most commonly decaffeinated using one of two methods: either a water process or one which uses harmful chemical solvents. It is obviously preferable to choose manufacturers that are using the water process to decaffeinate their coffee, and any reputable company should be able to tell you which one they use.

On balance, decaf coffee could never really be described as a ‘healthy option’ but, for hardened coffee drinkers, it can certainly help to reduce caffeine in the diet. Unfortunately though, decaf coffee is never going to be able to compete with the real healthy alternatives such as dandelion coffee, redbush tea or fruit and herbal infusions – the ones that are really going to do you some good!
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