Linking integrative wellness and cancer treatment

As an Integrated Wellness Specialist, I was very pleased to be invited to the Yes to Life conference in November. The theme was Starting the conversation and the aim of the conference was to explore ways in which integrating cancer care and lifestyle medicine can improve client outcomes.

Robin Daly, Founder and Chairman of Yes to Life set up the charity 14 years ago. They empower people with cancer and have helped huge numbers of people to obtain support and access to integrated medicine along their cancer journey. The aim of my article here is to share the key messages from the conference and to highlight some of the powerful initiatives and latest advancements in the field of integrated medicine for cancer.

Where are we now?

Although many people, including Robin Daly and Dr Patricia Peat, who co-hosted the conference have been working tirelessly for many years, there’s a long way to go in this important subject. However, as Robin Daly said “Change is at last afoot, it’s beginning to happen.”

Why is there a long way to go?

Cancer is complicated and it is very individual. The treatment and wellness options available for cancer are endless. These facts make it understandably confusing for cancer sufferers. Cancer Options run by Dr Patricia Peat, who has worked in this field for over 20 years, takes this overwhelm away. She makes it simple by narrowing down all the options and delivering personalised, expert information relevant to the patient enabling them to make the right choices for their unique situation. Dr Peat highlighted the two main problems with cancer -

1.       It can be resistant to treatment

2.       It can keep coming back

She stated that the reason for these two problems is due to the environment of the cells. If you support the body, create and maintain a cellular environment that is healthy, the cancer loses it strength and you are more able to stop the continuous process. If you don’t support the body, the cancer takes what it needs from the body to survive, including blood supply, cells and creates inflammation which blocks the immune cells from working. This can then block the chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stop cancer drugs from working effectively.

How do you improve the cell environment?

Dr Peat explained it focuses around optimising metabolism, pH of the body, gut health, hydration, diet, oxygen levels, plus mind, body and spirit support. When asked the question, “What’s the most important element when dealing with cancer?” Dr Peat’s reply is “All of it, it’s a method not an element and balance is key”.

Physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual health all need to be supported to achieve the best, long term outcomes.  The more integrated support the body has, the more power it has to fight the cancer. For this reason, Dr Peat works closely with the Chemothermia clinic in Istanbul. They offer a novel and effective therapeutic strategy to clients using a protocol that focuses on 5 areas;

1.       Metabolically supported chemotherapy (improved metabolism = improved effectiveness of chemotherapy)

2.       Hyperthermia (which exploits heat sensitivity of cancer and improves effectiveness of radiotherapy and chemotherapy)

3.       Hyberbaric oxygen therapy (more oxygen = more efficient chemotherapy and radiotherapy) cancer)

4.       Ketogenic diet (reduce acidity of body to improve outcomes)

5.       Oral medications (re-purposed drugs and supplements)

As Dr Slocum of Chemothermia explained “Cancer is a metabolic disease and this approach works synergistically by targeting several overlapping metabolic pathways and vulnerabilities of cancer cells”.  He showed the outstanding successes of this treatment which improves the client’s cell environment so they need less chemotherapy, have more immune support and get less side effects.

The move towards Integrated Health

Dr Ashwin Mehta, Medical Director of the Memorial Division of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Hospital, Florida spoke of the Integrative and Lifestyle medicine in the USA, which is way ahead of the UK. He had a great analogy for cancer care; “If the body is the garden, and cancer is the weed, it’s the oncologist’s job to eradicate the weed. Once the weed is gone, it is our job is to support the soil to stop the weed from coming back.” At his hospital, once the client is diagnosed, they are able to follow a patient-centred model where they ask the client to “measure yourself – your concerns and wellbeing”. With the results they provide integrated health support such as -

  • Emotional support and mindfulness

  • Physical exercise

  • Nutrition advice

  • Sleep advice

  • Yoga, pain and inflammation support

  • Touch therapies and

  • Supplement advice

This approach, which I continue to use in my work, is to meet the client to see where they are, explain the ideal solution, break it down into individual steps and support them to integrate it into their lives, knowing that different people will have different levels of engagement.

The importance of Social Prescribing

This tailored patient-centred approach is becoming more prevalent in the UK and was reiterated by Dr Marie Polley, co-chair of the Social Prescribing network and lecturer at the University of Westminster. Social Prescribing is about meeting a person at their point of need with appropriate advice. This may be social, emotional, financial or health related. The social prescribing network is aimed at complex needs or long term physical and mental health conditions.

Doctors’ workloads only permit them to have 10 minutes so this additional NHS service, provided by a link worker, gives patients the time to be listened to, to feel heard and to really play a role in their own health which can motivate them to do more to support their wellness. As she commented and I fully support this view -“there is always something that can be done”.

Robin Daly reminded us that anyone who has a NHS Continuing Health care plan (CHC) is entitled top extra support through a personal health budget. Patients, together with their local NHS team, create a personalised care and support plan identifying their health and wellbeing goals. The plan sets out how the budget will be spent to reach their goals, including expenditure on healthcare and support, treatments, equipment and personal care.

Sharing lifestyle medicine is key

Patients look to the Doctors for advice, however, when it comes to sharing nutritional advice as a lifestyle medicine, doctors often don’t feel confident sharing this information. Ally Jaffee and Iain Broadway, two medical students from Bristol University have a mission to get doctors appropriately trained to confidently deliver this information; “We would like to gain confirmation from each UK based medical school that they will commit to increasing nutrition and lifestyle education within their medical school curricula as soon as possible or by the end of 2019.”

They stated that 80% of patient walk-ins to GP’s have conditions related to poor diet or lifestyle choices. So you can see how our next generations of GPs desperately need this training to be able to share this valuable lifestyle medicine knowledge, allowing the amazing NHS to focus key resources on non-lifestyle related issues.

Continuing the conversation

The Yes to Life conference definitely got the conversation going and showcased integrative, innovative and effective ways of dealing with cancer. So as the conversation has definitely started, now it’s the job of all of us is to keep talking about it, support the integrated health causes and charities and keep sharing the messages, especially that message of hope. There are always ways to support the body and the more integrated support we can give it, the more power the body has to help us to get the best out of life.

Please see Yes to Life for more details about the excellent work of the charity, empowering people with cancer.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lou Tassell

Integrated Wellness Specialist

 

The Keys to Wellness - doing the right thing for you and mastering the basics

We are halfway through January and no doubt you have been bombarded by many, many different ways you could improve your wellness. This makes January a confusing, frustrating and overwhelming month, resulting in us potentially wasting time and money on things not right for us - or doing nothing at all. In this blog - The Keys to Wellness - I’ll explain more about doing the right thing for you and mastering the basics.

What I’ve found out over the years is that most of my clients feel like a rabbit, an ostrich or a hamster - or even a mixture of both or all three!

  • Rabbit in headlights - overloaded with wellness and nutrition information, but confused about what to do

  • Ostrich with head in the sand - stressed, in pain, not feeling right, but ignoring everything that's wrong

  • Hamster in a wheel - wanting to make changes, but with no confidence or energy to get off the wheel

So which one do you feel like?  Let me know!

The keys to wellness is doing the right thing for you at the right time. Here’s some tips to mastering the basics!

Detoxing can be helpful if it is done correctly and if your body is able to benefit from it. However, if you already have digestive issues, feel tired all the time, have low immunity or don’t drink a lot of water, it is likely that your detox organs are already struggling. A detox releases extra toxins into your body to be removed putting even more pressure and stress on these already stressed out organs. This can reduce the benefits of the detox and possibly make your detox organs and body even more tired and out of balance than before.  

On the emotional side, if you are stressed or unhappy, your digestive system and immune system are also unhappy. This is why you may be feeling tired and not feeling all the good vibes you want to feel during the winter months.

The same goes for trying to lose weight. A healthy mindset and digestive system is key for effective weight loss.

So, if you were to focus on one area this winter, I would say master the basics first by making small changes that you can integrate into your life. Here are some tips to get you started;

Listen to your body. How is it currently feeling, any stresses, niggles or pains that are stopping you from getting the most out of life? Write them down so you can track improvements as we often forget how these things affect and limit our daily lives.

Do all you can to get a good night’s sleep. It will help you to achieve any wellness goal. Put screens down and find ways to wind down and relax before bedtime. Sleep is key for recharging, replenishing and repairing the mind and all the body systems including your immune system so ask for help if you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep.

Make water your new best friend for 2019. It may not be ‘new news’ but we are 75% water! Each of our body systems needs water - including our muscles, brain, skin, digestive and immune system. Not drinking enough water is like running your car on a minimum tank of fuel every day so unsurprisingly you may feel pain, tired, anxious, sluggish, have a foggy head and be more prone to catching winter bugs.

Move every day. As well as your cardiovascular system, your immune system, your detox organs and digestive system also rely on movement to work optimally. Build in exercise into every day and make sure you get up from that desk several times during the day. A 20-30 minute walk every day works wonders for the body and clears the mind so you may have your best ideas when you are out and about!

Sort out that stress! Work out what is stressing you, what can you control/can’t control. Find ways to reduce any unhelpful emotions such as anxiety, overwhelm and fear as over time they can wreak havoc on your physical wellness. Talk to a practitioner about what is stressing you, learn simple reflexology, tapping, breathing or meditation techniques to help release the stresses.  

Follow the 80/20 rule and be kind to yourself.  Knowing we can step out of our wellness habits at times and still enjoy our favourite foods or have time totally chilling on the sofa instead of exercising makes the changes easier to maintain as we don’t feel deprived.

The reason all of these basics will help you with any wellness goal is because they all help to create a healthy cell environment. This reduces the risk of chronic inflammation which has been identified as the key cause of many symptoms.  We are all unique and there is no wellness plan that fits all. Knowledge is power and the more you can understand your unique body, what helps it and what stresses it, the more you can support it in the right way at the right time.  

To gain clear wellness insight and expertise to know exactly what you need to focus on in 2019, call me on 07966 502611 for a free 20 minute wellness consultation.

To find courage to create change this year or to finally find ways to connect to yourself, feel calm and maximise the power of each breath, then it would be great to see you at my events on 26th January and 10th February detailed on the Events page here.

Find the courage to create change and be you - see booking page here.

Wishing you all a 2019 full of smiles, success and wellness.

Lou
07966 502611

Pictures owned by Optimal Vitality 

Wishing you calmness, clarity and courage this Christmas

So it’s started! Everyone has their to do list’s as long as their arms. Heads spinning with zillions of thoughts about work, home, family and working out how you are going to get it all sorted in time!

To help you over the next couple of weeks and the festive period, I thought I would share a reassuring thought, plus a couple of tools, that you can use any time to make sure you get the most out of Christmas.

Take the pressure of yourself

Remember that one of the most important thing at Christmas is time together with family and friends, being connected.

When I asked my son what he liked about Christmas, he said “playing Pictionary with Grandad Bob and seeing his hilarious drawings that only he understands!” Whoever you are with, you can create special memories that will never run out of batteries, go out of date or out of fashion. It is important to bank these special moments so they stay with you.

How to bank those special memories

Do this by placing your hand on your heart and the other hand at the back of your head. Think of the memory or what you see and imagine banking it in your heart. 

Move from unwanted stress or overwhelm to calm and clarity

Have one hand with the palm upwards and with the other hand use three fingers to tap gently on the area of your wrist where your watch strap would go.

  • Whilst tapping in that area, breathe in positive feelings you would like to feel like calmness and breathe out negative emotions like stress or overwhelm. Make the exhale longer as this also has a calming effect on the body.

Reduce physical tension in the body

  • Stress headache too?  A quick way to help a headache (and stress) is to gently rub the pad of the thumb with any knuckle from other hand, along with some nice deep breaths with a longer exhale than inhale.

My year of courage, clarity and change

I would like to thank you all for your support this year. I have purposely been courageous this year, which has created a year full of clarity, exciting change and wonderful collaborations - one of the best Christmas gifts I could have asked for.

So, if you want to find courage to create change next year or to finally find ways to connect to yourself, feel calm and maximise the power of each breath, then it would be great to see you at my New Year events detailed here Optimal Vitality events.

Call me on 07966 502611 for details and book now via the link as early bird prices finish on 20th December!

Find the courage to create change and be you booking link

Wishing you all a Christmas of calm, smiles and a celebration of the simple things in life!

Lou

 

 

 

 



EFT is mentioned in the NICE PTSD Guideline

As an Integrated Wellness specialist and an advanced EFT practitioner I was very excited to receive notification from AAMET International, my regulatory body, that the UK government agency NICE has officially recommended EFT as worthy of government research funds for trauma/PTSD. 

EFT is now mentioned in the final NICE PTSD Guideline (NG116) issued on 5 December 2018, under “Other recommendations for research”.  

This is a major step forward for collaborative wellness.

A huge thanks to AAMET, ACEP, EFT-Universe and also EFT- researcher Dr David Feinstein for all the commitment and hard work that made this historic and exciting achievement possible.  

 

What would being pain free mean to you or someone you know?

Being pain free means freedom, freedom to do the things we want, being able to sleep well and making the most out of life. Whilst pain is normally not life threatening, it can be very frustrating, limiting and debilitating for the sufferer. Just recently, Dentist Dr Simin Soltani from Dentist Smile Clinic Surbiton, Chiropractor Dr Sanvir Maharaj of Healing Hands Richmond and Physiotherapist Kate Sheehy from Richmond Physiotherapy (all of whom who I recommend to my clients) told me that they are seeing many people with TMJ syndrome, which is more commonly known as jaw pain.

What TMJ syndrome is

TMJ syndrome (Temporomandibular joint) is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury or inflammation to the temporomandibular joint which connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ and Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are more common in women aged 18-44 and can be caused by a number of issues from jaw misalignment, physical trauma or injury to the head, teeth or jaw, poor posture and arthritis. 

It can cause a variety of symptoms from headaches, to aching pain around the ear, joint locking or popping and difficulty chewing. 

The root cause is not always a physical issue

With this list of issues, you can see why people are seeing a variety of health professionals from dentists, to ear, nose and throat doctors, physios, chiropractors and joint specialists for jaw pain. However, the dentist, chiropractor and physiotherapist all acknowledged that from their experience, the root cause is not always an 'issue with the tissue', a physical issue.

They recognise that it can’t always be solved by physical adjustments because the pain is often linked to an emotional issue - hence our working together. The latest research and the NHS state that pain, including TMJ pain, can be caused by or made worse by an over sensitive nervous system triggered by anxiety, stress or emotional traumas including childhood traumas.

Why it’s emotional

The body stores emotional memories in the body. It’s not widely known that those unreleased emotions can create or increase pain. It’s the body's way of trying to get your attention to deal with whatever you are feeling.

So even if you are in tip top form physically, the pain can keep coming back until you release those emotions or memories. Emotional pain can show up in the same place (often an old injury point or a weak area), sometimes in a different place and can come and go.

This explains why people can often have good days and bad days with pain.

Why the jaw?

The jaw is a very common place to hold tension and emotional stress, especially emotions of anger, resentment and desire for revenge, all of which can create tense muscles, jaw clenching and pain. Pain causes stress (as well as more anger, resentment and frustration!), stress causes pain and also makes us more sensitive to toxins and other disruptive energies like wi-fi, mobile phones.

So it is not surprising that people get stuck in a loop. It’s one of the reasons why painkillers won’t help long term as they are not dealing with the emotional element that may be one of the root causes. 

Here are my 4 top tips for pain

1.     Don’t ignore the pain, even if it’s a niggle. It’s the body’s cry for help, like a warning light on your dashboard that won’t go away until you fix it. Pain in one area can often be linked to another area, for example the jaw is linked to the hip and lower back, so wherever the pain is showing up, take notice of it.

2.     Understand your pain and your pain triggers. Is it happening at a regular time or when you are doing a specific activity? If you were to connect to that pain, what emotion is sitting in it? Are you full of anger or resentment and unable to let go of past experiences? Is the pain worse after certain foods, when you don’t drink enough water or when you are tired? Do you feel more pain after being at your desk or being on the phone or computer?

3.     Small changes make a big difference. Look at ways to improve your sleep, your posture, do appropriate exercise for your body and build it up slowly – a 20 minute walk every day is awesome exercise a few times a week, eat anti-inflammatory and stress reducing foods like avocados, bananas, berries, sweet potato, oatmeal, spinach, swiss chard or dark chocolate (in moderation!), take time to rest, relax and recharge.

4.     Never give up hope. There are many ways you can instantly support your body by reducing physical and emotional stresses, you just need to find the right support for you.

Helping clients with TMJ

I recently helped a client with TMJ pain to release stuck emotions. She was advised to use the technique I use, Emotional Freedom Technique, by Dr Andrea Haas from the Royal London Integrated Hospital for Integrated Medicine in Great Ormond Street. Here’s what she had to say:-

“After having TMJ (jaw) pain for some time, my NHS dentist referred me to a dental hospital, where they offered a multidisciplinary approach to managing the condition. This included acupuncture at the NHS London Integrated Hospital. The doctor there also suggested EFT as a way of getting to the root of any underlying anxieties.

Lou is a local practitioner and pain was an area she specialises in. She was very friendly on the phone and I booked in for a session, which was great. I think using EFT helps me to accept my anxieties rather than to resist them. It also helps to put them into context and not be consumed by them. Lou is a supportive practitioner. “ Katie, Surbiton

Everyone's body is unique as are the factors causing pain

Freedom from pain comes from working on your specific physical and emotional triggers of the pain. That’s why I collaborate with other health practitioners and why the NHS encourages patients in pain to work with professionals to understand any physical issues and also to reduce the emotional stresses and release stuck emotions that are disrupting the body.  

If you would like me to support you to find pain relief and freedom, please call for a no- obligation 20 minute chat. If I am not the right person to support you at this time, I will give you details from my trusted network of practitioners including those below who share my belief that physical and emotional wellness can give you freedom from pain.

All good wishes.

Lou

Photo by Grace Madeline on Unsplash

 

Integrative Health - Doctors & Therapists working together

As an Integrated Wellness Specialist, I was very pleased to attend the Integrative Health conference in London. The conference was organised by two inspiring Integrative Health GPs, supported by the College of Medicine and attended by GPs and Complementary Therapists. 

The aim of my article here is to share the key messages from the conference and to highlight some of the ways that GPs and Complementary Therapists can keep the conference momentum going and move ahead in a positive direction.

What is Integrative Health?

Integrative Health is the joining of traditional medicine and Complementary Therapies. At the conference Dr Toh Wong and Dr Naveed Akhtar brought together GPs and Complementary Therapists from around the world - to connect and to gain insight on each other’s health and wellness work.

We attended because we recognise that Integrative Health represents:

-          A combined approach which is powerful for delivering health support for patients

-          A combination of physical and emotional elements are key factors for wellness

The 33 speakers delivered quality, informative talks. A selection of these are available to watch free of charge here Integrative Health Convention and I highly recommend you check them out.  

The power of shared values

From the start of the conference, attendees felt connected and inspired by the same shared values – a true desire to help people, to make a difference, an absolute commitment to give the best care, have the courage to create change and a willingness to learn and work together. 

Dr Wong’s opening words to the conference were: “You are here because you believe we can work better, we can bridge that gap between the two approaches.”

Why is bridging the gap so vital?

This bridging of the gap is key to the future health of people.  The sad reality is the NHS, amazing as it is, cannot meet increasing demands:

o   There were 60% more prescriptions in 2007 than in 1997 (Simon Mills, College of Medicine) and 108.5% more anti-depressants prescriptions in 2016 than in 2006 (NHS Digital)

o   Lifestyle illnesses such as anxiety, tired all the time (TATT), diabetes and pain are constantly increasing:

1 in 2 are overweight (Dr Toh Wong)

1 in 2 have heart disease (Dr Toh Wong)

1 in 2 are stressed with work/life in general (Dr Toh Wong)

1/3 of all sickness is due to stress, anxiety and depression (Dr Toh Wong)

1 in 3 have cancer (Dr Toh Wong)

Empowering and educating people about self-care, helping people to work on the root cause instead of the symptom and showing people that there are alternative ways to support the body and mind other than via a prescription is fundamental. This is backed up by the statistics and the ‘Social Prescription’ initiatives that the NHS and the College of Medicine are involved in:

o   40% of patients come in with complaints suitable for self-care – most frequently pain and fatigue) (Simon Mills, College of Medicine)

o   20% of consultation issues seen by GPs (back pain, fatigue, stress, IBS, anxiety) involving annual costs of 38k per GP, are suitable for self-care (Simon Mills, College of Medicine)

o   On average we have 5 visits per year to the GP (approx. 1-2 hours), that leaves 8758 hours for us to take care of ourselves (Simon Mills, College of Medicine)

o   Only 2% of the NHS budget is spent on Public Health and Prevention. (Dr Toh Wong)

As we all know, no change equates to no change and you don’t know what you don’t know! So, an important part of the conference was to gain insight into the barriers that have been preventing this combined approach from happening.

Why GPs hands are often tied and tired!

GPs see or talk to between 30-70 patients a day for 10 minutes each. Within that short time GPs need to understand the issue, diagnose and give advice. GPs fully recognise patients deserve more time and support, yet it’s the lack of time, the patient expectation of a quick fix prescription and the main issues below that stop them from discussing Complementary Therapies and other non-drug alternatives:  

-          GPs don’t know enough about the benefits of the many Complementary Therapies available, and don’t know which to recommend

-          Everything is heavily regulated for GPs – they are unsure whether the Complementary Therapy is evidenced, regulated, covered by therapist’s insurance

What Complementary Therapists want GPs to know

-          Complementary Therapists are trained, qualified, insured, and are members of professional bodies. Proof of these important quality and integrity standards can be easily provided

-          There are many techniques and self-care tools available that give invaluable support to a patient in a short time that reduces GP patient workload

-          Complementary Therapists recognise red flags and know when to refer to conventional medicine

-          Most Complementary Therapists are willing to give free initial advice

-          One hour of someone listening to a patient, understanding the patient as a whole person and giving a patient wellness expertise is often of much greater value to patients than the cost of a session

-          Complementary Therapists know the importance of confidentiality and are always willing to give time and demonstrations to explain how they can best help GPs and patients - with no obligation

What can we do to support the NHS and keep the conference momentum going?

For GPs

-          Be open minded and allow fully qualified, regulated and insured practitioners into Practice meetings to demonstrate the benefits of Complementary Therapy

-          Ask or survey your Practice staff or patients to see if they currently use any Complementary Therapies or would be open to them, have any personal recommendations for local Complementary Therapists?

-          Explain the inherent link between illness and emotion or stress to patients and consider offering supported self-care initiatives such as free talks or demonstrations for patients to learn simple tools they can use every day to manage common stress-related complaints such as pain, anxiety and digestive issues

For Complementary Therapists

-          Offer an open hour, free taster sessions or informative websites/blogs/case studies/testimonials so people can easily access your therapy and expertise

-          Provide a reduced rate for GP referrals and keep up to date with evidence-based research

-          Keep sharing the benefits of what you do and your credibility

-          When you work with a GP surgery, ask for a testimonial to share with other GP surgeries

All of us combined

-          Accept responsibility for our health - the best way to support our amazing NHS is to do everything we can to support our own health every day

-          Take advantage of the free initial consultation many Complementary Therapists offer, even if you don’t feel motivated or have the energy to make change – ask for help so you can learn how to help yourself (only use fully insured therapists listed with their associated Regulatory body)

-          Share existing self-care information with others to help patient

Let’s do this!

People are getting sick of being ill, not feeling the way they want to and the NHS doesn’t have the time or the resources to give everyone all the support they need as we are all unique.

Let’s bridge the gap and help people to maximise physical and emotional wellness through educating, supporting and empowering patients both inside and outside of the GP’s surgery. The numerous benefits of this will ripple far and wide. Especially to our amazing NHS staff who give so much every day and need to focus their limited, precious resources and energy on the illnesses that self-care cannot resolve. 

The momentum is there now and if you have any ideas on how we can keep moving forward, please get in touch with Dr Wong, Dr Akhtar or myself Lou Tassell.

 

Lou Tassell

November 2018

 

How to cope with back to school stress – chimp management style!

What a fabulous summer!  I hope all my readers took some time out to relax, spend time with family and friends and discover new horizons. Now, for many families, it's back to school mode - and with this comes the inevitable stress.  So, a few questions for you all - do you wonder -

  • Why you overreact in a situation at home or at work that wasn’t serious?
  • Why you feel constantly on alert and worry about things so much?
  • Why your brain seems to race and feel more stressed at night?

Well, it’s because your chimp is reacting, not you!  Let me explain!

On holiday this summer, I re-read an awesome book called 'The Chimp Paradox' by Professor Steve Peters.  The book simplifies the complicated world of neural science and explains why we often behave in a way that we don’t want to and why we can’t always control it. My recommendation is that you read the book as it's packed with excellent material and tips.

With 'back to school' getting every nearer (a very stressful time for all family members) I want to share my top 3 learning takeaways with you to ease that stress -

1.       Understand and respect your chimp

  •  Your chimp is a key part of your brain that is hard wired and designed to help you survive (and stills thinks it is in the jungle!)
  • Every situation you experience in life will always get presented to the chimp first
  • It thinks and reacts to situations emotionally and irrationally often with paranoia, catastrophising, and black and white thinking
  • The chimp is in total control at night

You are probably starting to understand why you don’t always feel in control of your thoughts. As Steve Peters says - “Whenever you are having feelings, thoughts or behaviours that you don’t want or welcome, you’re being hijacked by your chimp!”

2.       You don’t have to be constantly hijacked!

  • The good news is that there are two other areas of the brain that can calm down and manage the chimp
  • Your human brain reacts and thinks logically, it is evidence based (works on facts and truths), see things in context with perspective and is open minded

Here’s a personal example to illustrate how the chimp and human brain view the same situation very differently.  On the first morning of our summer holiday, tired after a late arrival the night before, my partner and I went out onto our balcony (on the 13th floor) to admire the sea view, then realised the door was stuck.  We tried three times but it wouldn’t open and both our phones were inside the apartment!

The chimp reaction was - aaarrgghhh!  We’re stuck out here, it’s hot, we’ll get dehydrated or even worse, no-one is around to help or hear our cries!!

The human reaction was - let’s try it again, look for anything blocking the door, how could this have happened, we didn’t turn a key, where is the locking part?  This doesn’t make sense, try it again (didn’t budge), try a different technique of wobbling it a bit. After 8 minutes (which felt like a lot longer!) the wobble worked, but both our chimps were getting slightly stressed about the whole thing and getting annoyed with each other! I know if my son had been with us, the chimp hijacking would have been much worse!  When we argue with family members, worry about something or feel anxious, the chimp is in control.  I’m sure you can think of situations you’ve been in where the emotional chimp brain has taken over instead of the logical human brain.

The other element of your brain which manages the chimp is your computer. This holds your view of the world, experiences, beliefs and values. The computer is the most powerful element as both the human and the chimp always use the computer as the ultimate reference source.

3.       To get the most out of life you need effective “chimp” management

Your chimp is with you for life and will never change, so the key to a happy life is to find ways to nurture and manage it:-

 

  • Ideally be in bed by 10.30pm to get a good sleep so the logical brain can recharge and don’t make any decisions at night time when the chimp is on duty
  • Recognise and take away any extra pressures or expectations that you are placing on yourself or others that are not helpful or realistic so you can all relax more e.g. have to be on time, has to be perfect, can’t let anyone down, can’t say no, has to be done in this way
  • Find ways and time to relax – the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your chimp is!

Building up your self esteem, self confidence and identifying any unhelpful emotions or beliefs in your computer (your subconscious brain) that are holding you back include feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, fear of failure or not feeling not good enough. To effectively remove unhelpful emotions and change limiting beliefs held in your computer, you need to access the subconscious mind (which you can’t just do through talking) so talk to a professional like myself.

Every week, I help my clients to relax, to re-balance their body and mind and expertly connect them to their unique computer allowing them to make the necessary changes to get the most out of life. Moving from feelings of anxiety to calm, from fear to confidence, from restrictions in life to maximum enjoyment.  I've recently helped Emily and Viv:-

"I’ve gone from feeling total overwhelm, tiredness and anxiety every day to feeling calm, self confident and alive again - it has been life changing" – Emily, Hampton

“The emotional freedom and power you have given me feels like winning the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I cannot thank you enough.” Viv, Surbiton

For more information on ways to help you and your family with the back to school stresses including a practical technique to instantly calm the chimp down, please talk to me.

If you would like to nurture and manage your chimp by recharging, relaxing and re-balancing, I’m offering a 15% discount on sessions that are booked in September - just mention this blog.  All readers are welcome to a 30 minute for £30 taster session.

Lou

 

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

 

 

Guest blog by Julie Clark, Nutritional Therapist - How to know if your child has a food intolerance

This month I'm delighted to post a guest blog from Julie Clark, Nutritional Therapist, on the subject of food intolerance in children.  This is an insightful blog for all parents.  Please place any comments/questions on the page too.

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How to know if your child has a food intolerance (not to be confused with food allergy)?

I have rather a lot of experience and knowledge of food intolerance. Not just professionally but also personally.  In this blog, I give you the most common reasons that children experience the symptoms of food intolerance. You will be given the signs to look out for – some of which may surprise you!  You will also find out what to do if you suspect your child has a problem. From going to the GP to getting a private test done.

You need to know this first

How to know if your child has a food intolerance (not to be confused with food allergy)?

Food intolerance is not to be confused with a food allergy. An allergy is a full blown, immediate immune response. This can be life threatening. Those with a food allergy (i.e. peanut allergy) must completely avoid the food and carry medication to counter the effects of accidental consumption.  If you suspect a food allergy (and you will know) then it is likely to have been an emergency. A food allergy will be diagnosed and treated by your GP/Consultant. It is unusual to seek private help with regards to a true food allergy; however, a nutritionist can help you plan your diet if you need to exclude a food.

What is food intolerance?

Cases of food intolerance have been on the rise in recent years, especially in young children. Personally, I have my views on this, which I won’t go in to here (it involves the gut ecology) and there are many who feel it’s rather ‘fashionable’ to be intolerant! Speaking from experience there is nothing ‘trendy’ about having to avoid certain foods. It can be incredibly isolating, anti-social, embarrassing, costly, time-consuming and incredibly inconvenient!

The Factors

When I see babies and children there is often a common theme that makes them more likely to be susceptible to food intolerance.

1.       Family history

2.       Born by C-Section

3.       Early exposure to cow’s milk (i.e. formula feeding in the first 6 weeks)

4.       Mother’s health during pregnancy (stress is a major factor)

5.       Severe tummy bug or food poisoning at an early age

6.       Use of antibiotics

7.       Colic or reflux (also a symptom)

8.       Eczema and/or asthma (also a symptom)

The Symptoms

Your baby or child may have many of the symptoms below or just one or two.

·       Bowels: loose stools, constipation, undigested foods, unusual colour of stool, blood in stool, mucous in stool. Basically, anything that just isn’t normal (normal is light brown sausage shaped stool!)

·       Urinary: bed wetting, constant need for the toilet

·       Digestion: reflux, tummy pains, bloating, noisy stomach, offensive gas, lots of gas, solid tummy

·       Skin: rashes, redness, dry skin, eczema, dark circles under the eyes

·       Immune System: excess mucous, constant cough, susceptible to illness, recurrent ear, nose & throat infections, croup, asthma, chest infections, hay fever

·       Physical: rocking, rigid/stiff, repeated actions (like tapping constantly), clumsiness

·       Sleep: disturbed sleep

·       Mood: tearful, overwhelmed, severe mood swings, emotional, angry, perceived as naughty, link with ADHD, anxious, unhappy

·       Growth & Development: failure to thrive, low weight, not hitting usual milestones

·       Energy: big swings in energy

Quite often a parent will say to me “my child just doesn’t seem quite right or settled”.

There is a HUGE emotional link with food intolerance and this can affect behaviour and mood. There is a big link between the gut, mind and immune system.

What to do?

Write a food diary. If your baby is younger than 6 months and you are breastfeeding then keep a diary of your food intake. Note the symptoms along with the food diary. Food intolerance can give a delayed onset reaction so symptoms can sometimes take a couple of days to show.

Can you see a common theme?

If you are concerned or worried about your child always see your GP or speak with your Health Visitor.  An exclusion diet can be carried out for 2 weeks. I would highly recommend you get help with this. You could exclude any food you’ve noticed from the food diary then reintroduce it to see any changes. The most common culprits are dairy, wheat, gluten, egg and soya.

The most common food allergens are as follows:

Cow’s milk, Wheat, Gluten, Yeast, Egg, Cashew nuts, Garlic, Soya, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Corn, Hazelnuts, Oats, Lentils, Kiwi fruit, Chilli, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts

Allergy UK have classified the following list of symptoms:

Abdominal pains, Aches and pains, Asthma/Wheezing, Arthritis, Bloating, Constipation, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diarrhoea, Eczema, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Fluid retention, Headaches, Lethargy, M.E., Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Skin problems, Stomach cramps, Tension, Urticaria, Weight loss, Restless Leg Syndrome

Getting tested

There are various ways to get tested although the NHS does not support or recommend private food intolerance tests. I personally use both kinesiology (muscle testing) and IgG blood testing. Children cannot be tested via the IgG route until they are 2 years which is why I also use muscle testing. The elimination diet is the best option but it is difficult to do and time consuming. A private blood test will usually involve taking a small blood sample via a pin prick of the finger. This can be traumatic for some children and often you will need to see a nurse to get an adequate blood sample. The blood is then sent to the lab and is tested for a IgG immune response against a panel of foods. Some consider this test to be unreliable, however in my experience I find this test to be incredibly useful.  If you would like more information about testing please contact me directly.

How to manage a child’s diet

If you have concluded that your child needs to avoid a food then you will need to make sure that their diet compensates for this. This is particularly important with regards to dairy foods. Someone like me, a Registered Nutritional Therapist, can help you with this.

Food intolerance is not necessarily a life sentence. Most children and babies I see just need some digestive and immune support. On occasions, other therapies may be used to boost their systems or correct any imbalance. Removing the food in the short term can allow healing to take place. Most children are able to reintroduce the food some weeks, months or years later.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT EXCLUDE ANY FOODS/FOOD GROUPS FROM YOUR CHILD’S DIET FOR LONGER THAN 2 WEEKS WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND HELP.

For help or advice with regards to food intolerance please contact me at:- www.julieclarknutrition.co.uk and follow me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/julieclarknutrition/

Julie Clark

The key to wellness - doing the right thing at the right time

We are halfway through January and no doubt you have been bombarded by many, many different ways to improve your wellness. I believe knowledge is power but too much information can be both confusing and overwhelming. This results in you either doing something that may not be right for your body or doing nothing at all as you are unsure what to do! 

The real key to wellness, is doing the right thing for you at the right time.

Take detoxing for example. Detoxing can be helpful if it is done correctly and if your body is able to benefit from it. However, if you already have digestive issues, feel tired all the time, have low immunity or don’t drink a lot of water, it is likely that your detox organs are already struggling. A detox will put even more pressure and stress on them which will definitely reduce the benefits of the detox and possibly make them even more tired and out of balance.    

The same goes for trying to lose weight. A healthy digestive system is key for effective weight loss.

On the emotional side, if your digestive system isn’t happy, your mind is likely to be unhappy too so you will not be feeling all the good vibes you may want to feel during the winter months.

So, if you were to focus on one area this winter, as well as getting a good night’s sleep, I would say, find ways to support your digestive system.  This will improve the effectiveness of all the other changes you may plan to do as well as boosting your mood and your immune system - at a time when the bugs seem to be everywhere!

My top 3 suggestions would be;

-          Support your gut bacteria with foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, Jerusalem artichoke, under ripe banana, raw onion, raw garlic (or a quality probiotic/prebiotic supplement)

-          Chew your food more – the more you break it down, the less pressure you put on your digestive system

-          Move regularly in the day and find ways to switch off and relax in the evening

We are unique and there is no wellness plan that fits all. So the more you can understand about your body, the more you can support it in the right way at the right time. To understand how to best support your physical and emotional wellness – and reduce your stress levels this winter, call me for a free 15 minute wellness consultation.

Alternatively, if you are looking for detailed insight and knowledge of your body, call and book your winter wellness review now before the special offer finishes at the end of the month. The review includes a discussion on your wellness situation and 2 bioresonance body scanning sessions - Special Winter Offer £175.

Lou Tassell 07966 502611

lou@optimalvitality.co.uk

Natural Wellness Tips for Winter

Winter is here!  It's the coldest of our seasons, daylight hours are shorter and we’re susceptible to catching colds, sore throats and even flu!  So, to keep you performing at your best, whether that’s at work, socialising, doing sports or out on the pitch cheering your team on, here’s some healthy living tips to boost your winter wellness -

·       Reduce stress levels – Stress depletes the body of all immune boosting nutrients. Minimising your stress will release more energy for your immune system and your overall wellness.

·       Love your gut – it houses arounds 70% of your immune power. Support your gut with a balanced diet including a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, protein and good fats. Fermented products and live, organic natural yoghurt are all full of good bacteria which will protect you from the winter bugs.

·       Drink water – Dehydration reduces our immune system and energy levels, so stay hydrated this winter. The moisture also boosts the bacteria fighting powers of mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses. If you do get mucousy, cut out dairy. Plus, your muscles are 75% water, so water will also help you avoid injury and maximise performance.

·       Sleep - The body rebalances, recharges and regenerates overnight and 11pm to 3am is a key time for this crucial wellness process, so ideally be in bed by 10pm to get the sleep your body deserves and needs.

·       Exercise – regular exercise helps your immune and digestive system work more optimally and produces happy hormones in the colder weather. Exercise moves the lymphatic system which takes all the toxins, bad bacteria and other waste chemicals away, so keep moving!

To understand how to best support your physical and emotional wellness– and reduce your stress levels this winter, book a consultation with me for a winter wellness review.

The review includes a discussion on your wellness situation and 2 bioresonance body scanning sessions. - Special Winter Offer £175.

Keep warm!

Lou Tassell

07966 502611

lou@optimalvitality.co.uk

 

 

How to cope with back to school stress

The new school year is full of stress for the family.  Some school things you’ll know about, some things you won’t know about.  What makes this a challenging time for parents is that stress is contagious. Children pick up on your feelings and you pick up on theirs!  You know what to put in their lunchbox and what uniform to buy, but how can you cope with stress and help your child deal with their anxieties about going back to school for a new year? 

The answer is to have some emotional freedom techniques on hand and say to the kids “You have Superpowers in your fingers!” -

  • Explain to your children that it is normal to feel anxious or nervous, you sometimes feel like this too but you can show them how to feel better
  • Ask your children to tell you the biggest emotion they are feeling about going back to school e.g. fear or worry and get them to describe where they feel this most in their body
  • Talk to your children how they want to feel about going back to school e.g. calm or confident
  • Start doing breathing exercises together - breathe in deeply and have one hand with the palm upwards.  With the other hand use three fingers to tap gently on the middle area of your wrist about two fingertips width down from the bottom of your hand.
  • Breathe in positive feelings like calmness and breathe out negative emotions like stress.
  • Stress headache too?  A quick way to help a headache (and stress) is to rub the pad of the thumb with your other hand.

Using Emotional Freedom Techniques, also called Tapping Therapy can help shift and reduce unhelpful emotions until you or your child feel calmer. If you’re watching sport on the television, you’ll often notice many athletes ‘tapping’ to control emotions, now you can too wherever you are.

To help support your family’s wellness, contact Lou Tassell at Optimal Vitality.  Appointments available in Richmond, New Malden and Surbiton.

Mention 'Back to School with Optimal Vitality' to receive a special offer individual 1 hour wellness review for £65 or a 1.5 hour family review for £85. 

What to do when our emotions just get the better of us

Let’s face it, there are times when our emotions can get the better of us - we all get stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated with ourselves or someone else. Unhelpful and negative emotions affect how we behave, how we communicate with others - they limit our capabilities and always (as proven by science) have a physical effect on the body.

Well, you can finally relax as you don't have to carry on putting up with these feelings, I will explain how you can change them and move forward. 

I often say we are made like onions - with many layers of emotions and beliefs! 

The ability to feel emotions differentiates us from most other animals and is hugely important to our lives. However, our brain is naturally wired to be negative so our default program is to feel the negative emotion, rather than the positive one. That often triggers the fight or flight emotion and at this point your logic, clarity and focus switch off - which is not helpful when we need a solution. It's an automatic reaction that you can't stop!

This pre-wired automatic negative response to situations means that unless we learn new ways to effectively manage that emotional reaction we will always plunge into the debilitating stress response which does not help us achieve the outcome we are looking for (unless you are in a truly life threatening or dangerous situation, then you definitely need it!).  

Tapping is a form of acupuncture for emotions without the needles.  Instead of using needles we tap on the meridian points of the body to access the unhelpful emotions and beliefs that we have collected over our lifetime which are held in our subconscious mind. Negative or unhelpful feelings such as anxiety, unable to cope, and not good enough disrupt the flow of energy (chi) in our body.  The process of talking about that emotion at the same time as tapping releases the energy disruption in our body and sends calming messages to the brain. This clears and rebalances our nervous system and also reduces our cortisol levels which is a stress hormone. Once you clear the negative emotions, the mind is ready to fully experience the benefits of positive emotions and regains logic, clarity and focus allowing you to move forward. It is very powerful and often used by sports men and women.  You see Olympian athletes release pre-event nerves and promote maximum performance – see 400m runner Bralon Taplin tapping before a race here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfnsV3URoRU

The great news is that your whole family can use this volume control button for emotions to turn down emotions any time - at home, work or school. Adults who might be feeling overwhelm of responsibility or work stress and children/teenagers who may be feeling the pressures of school, exams, friendships or lack of confidence. 

Once you learn the technique, you have a tool for life which you can always turn to for emotional support and share with family and friends.  Emotions are an important part of our daily life and cannot be avoided!

If you would like to learn this empowering, always available and highly effective tool that allows you to turn those unhelpful emotions into positive ones, take back emotional control and allow you to get the most out of life, then please give me a call today for a free 20 minute wellness chat on 07966 502611 or email me at lou@optimalvitality.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

Special Spring Vitality Offer

With the warmer Spring weather here and the Spring flowers all around us it's a good time to check up on what your body needs so you can get that bounce back in your step and enjoy life even more!

Here's my special Spring Vitality Offer to you - come and see me for 2 bioresonance sessions for just £199, a Spring saving of £50.

The offer includes -

Tailored bioresonance scan & rebalance plus effective wellness recommendations - just for you

Bookings must be made by 30th April and appointments taken before the end of May please.

If you have any questions, please email me at lou@optimalvitality.co.uk or call me on 07966 502 611.

Are you taking synthetic or natural supplements?

Are you taking synthetic or natural supplements?

Our bodies were built to obtain the nutrients they need from food. Food comes in a food matrix where it is mixed with other biological components that means your body knows exactly what to do with it, likes cogs working together in a machine. With this, your body absorbs and uses the nutrients optimally.  However, with mass market food production the nutrition in food is decreasing and we are suffering from a nutrition gap

How to reduce radiation exposure from mobiles

I am sharing this insight with you, firstly as a parent of an 11 year old who is part of the tech generation and secondly as a wellness practitioner, who sees imbalances in the body most days of the week when treating clients. There are many research papers out there that discuss the negative impact of radiation from mobile devices, computers and Wi-Fi on our health, and there are those that will argue it is not a serious problem.