The Effect of Bhramari Pranayama (Bumblebee Breath) on Tinnitus

By Beth Vaughn, Yoga Teacher at Halos Clinic

There are ‘8 limbs’ to the practice of Yoga. 2 of which are asana (movement practice) and pranayama (breath practice). It’s an ancient practice that is said to bring many, physical, mental and spiritual benefits. However, if yoga is going to be incorporated into heath care, then there needs to be a shift towards a practice that is more evidence based- this means scientific research to find out which bits of yoga, bring which benefits and to whom. 

One branch of yoga that’s really gaining interest from the scientific community is the practice of pranayama. There’s an ever growing body of evidence that practicing pranayama can decrease the heart rate, suggesting increased activation of the parasympathic or ‘rest and digest’ part of the nervous system,  essentially showing it is a way to actively relax our bodies. 

Studies into the effects of pranayama have been carried out over a wide range of topics, ranging from subjective stress and wellbeing , exercise tolerance in COPD  patients and levels of depression . However, one article that caught my eye as a creative and original way to use pranayama, was on the effects of Bhramari pranayama or Humming Bee breath on tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a condition in which the person hears sound, which isn’t coming from the external environment, often, described as ringing in the ears.
Patients describe the condition as an annoyance and disturbance and in turn this correlates with increased levels of anxiety and depression. Currently, there is no single effective treatment for tinnitus so research continues to look for new ways to treat and manage the condition. One current treatment offered is sound therapy, for example ‘Masking Therapy’ which involves listing to external sounds to distract from the tinnitus , this research investigates if Bhramari breath could be used as a form of self administered sound therapy. 
 
Bharmari Pranyama starts by finding a relaxed, supported posture, either laying supine or in seated and then bringing the minds attention to the space between the eyebrows (or third eye in yoga terms). With the eyes close the thumbs are placed over the tragus of the ears, the first finger gently rests on eye lids, middle finger touches the sides of the nose and then the index and pinkie rest just above and below the closed lips. Next, a sound is created by inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling with a low-pitched humming sound.  The result sounds very much like a bee buzzing to the person performing the breath and a sensation of vibration is experienced inside the head and over the face.

The study involved 84 participants, 21 of whom were taught how to perform Bhramari Pranayama and allocated this as their treatment. Bhramari was shown to reduce the reported loudness of tinnitus, how much tinnitus was affecting the lives of the patients and also reduced the anxiety and depression related to it. 
The authors suggest that 2 elements of performing Bhramari are responsible for these results. 

No. 1 – Its relaxing! The supported, comfortable posture in which we practice Bhramari suggests to our minds and bodies that its time to relax. On top of this, closing the eyes and focusing on the breathing shifts the nervous system towards its parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest state’. Over time this trains the nervous system, so instead of going into fight or flight mode at the onset of tinnitus attack it moves more towards its parasympathetic state, reducing the anxiety associated with an attack.

No2- The Sound! The sound produced by Bhramari distracts from tinnitus sound, and as it is self-administered the pitch of which can with in some degree be adjusted by the patient to suit them. 

Another group in this study were given conventional masking therapy; the results suggest that Bhramari has a greater effect on Tinnitus than masking therapy in all the parameters tested. 
Studies such as this one show that there is a place for yoga within health care, but studies of this kind are generally small, so much more research is needed to truly understand the benefits that yoga can bring into health care. 

Beth teaches Yoga at Halos on a Saturday morning at 9.15am. On the 21st April she will be adding a second class to her morning here. Please contact reception for more information. 

 

[1] Shashikiran HC, Prashanth Shetty, Chethan Kumar R, Shivaprasad Shetty (2015) Effect of Yoga in Autonomic functions in medical students: A pilot study. International journal of research in medical sciences 3(5) [1] Naik G.S., Gaur G.S. and Pal G.K. (2018) Effect of Modified Slow Breathing Exercise on Perceived Stress and Basal Cardiovascular Parameters. International Journal of Yoga. 11(1). 53–58. [1] Chu I-Hua, Wu Wen-Lan, Lin I-Mei, Chang Yu-Kai, Lin Yuh-Jen, and Yang Pin-Chen.(2017) Effect of Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) on Exercise Tolerance in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomized, Controlled Trial The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 23(4): 310-316. [1] Kaminsky David A., Guntupalli Kalpalatha K., Lippmann Joan, Burns Stephanie M., Brock Melissa A., Skelly Joan, DeSarno Michael, Pecott-Grimm Heidi, Mohsin Ali, LaRock-McMahon Catherine, Warren Penney, Whitney Martha C., and Hanania Nicola A. (2017) Effects of Yoga on Heart Rate Variability and Depressive Symptoms in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 23(9): 696-704. [1] Pandey S., Mahato K.N., and Ravishankar Navale (2010) Role of self-induced sound therapy: Bhramari Pranayama in Tinnitus Audiological Medicine.8(3) 137-141 [1] NHS Choices, (2015) Tinnitus. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tinnitus/ [Accessed 21/02/18]

 

 

Real Men Do Pilates

Written by Aileen Ross, Sports Therapist & Pilates Instructor at Halos Clinic. 

Inspired by an article in the Daily Telegraph (1.)  given to me by one of my male Pilates pupils entitled ‘Real Men do Pilates, too’.  I wanted to explore why so often men come to Pilates as a ‘last resort’.   Pilates was designed by a man (Joseph Pilates) for men (to rehabilitate German soldiers during the First World War) so when and why did it become perceived as a predominantly female pastime?

Looking at the demographic of people I have taught over the past 13 years, their age ranges from 16-89 and approximately 80% of them are female.  Men often only tried Pilates as a last resort if they had tried everything else.  In the case of the author of the article (Joe Shute) his physiotherapist told him if he wanted to avoid surgery and ensure the same thing didn’t happen again he had to make some major changes.   However I believe that the tide is slowly changing and more men are taking up Pilates; one of my classes is now 50% male. On asking these men why they do Pilates their answers included “to help me recover from back pain and/or another injury, to counteract hours sitting down at work and to improve my performance on the golf course”. 

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What can Pilates offer men? 


Increased flexibility and core strength -
Pilates focuses primarily on developing core strength and flexibility as well as breathing and balance within the body.   By helping to increase flexibility through lengthening the short tight muscles and increasing both core and postural muscle strength it will help to prevent injury and keep the body supple.  

Improved sports performance - 
Pilates is also applicable to many sports e.g. improving spinal mobility and rotation in golfers, maintaining shoulder stability and mobility in swimmers, balancing out left and right side in unilateral sports such as tennis.   

Recovery from injury and injury prevention - 
Pilates is also an ideal antidote for those who spend large chunks of their day sitting at a desk.  NICE estimates that low back pain is responsible for 37% of all chronic back pain in men (2.) . As Shute article explains humans are “evolved to move, twist, bend and roam and not sit hunched in an office chair for 12 hours a day (3.)”.   

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If you are a man or a women and would like to try Pilates we offer one to one sessions and classes on a Tuesday and Thursday (evening appointments available). 
 

1. Real men do Pilates, too, Joe Shute, Daily Telegraph, p 17-19,  24.7.2017

2. https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-publishes-updated-advice-on-treating-low-back-pain

3. Real men do Pilates, too, Joe Shute, Daily Telegraph, p 17-19, 24.7.2107
 

What's All The Fuss About Fermented Foods?

By Helen Moynihan - Nutritional Therapist at Halos Clinic - 

One of my health goals for 2018 is to delve into fermented foods.  I went to a great workshop at Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row a couple of weeks ago and now have my very own jars of kimchi and sauerkraut brewing in my kitchen!

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Popular across cultures for centuries, fermenting has made a fashionable comeback as a provider of ‘good’ bacteria that contributes to a healthy digestive system. Want to know what the fuss is all about?

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics.

Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form.  This, along with high levels of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.

Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, from sauerkraut in Germany to kimchi in Korea.  Studies have shown links between probiotic rich foods and overall health. Sadly, with the advances in technology and food preparation, these traditional foods have been largely lost in our society.

Where have all the fermented foods gone?

The amount of probiotics and enzymes available in the average diet has declined sharply over the last few decades as pasteurized milk has replaced raw, pasteurized yogurt has replaced homemade, and vinegar based pickles and sauerkraut have replaced traditional lacto-fermented versions.

Even grains were safer to eat in earlier times since their preparation included soaking, sprouting and fermenting, which largely reduces the anti-nutrient content and helps us to digest them.

Instead of the nutrient rich foods full of enzymes and probiotics that our grandparents probably ate, the average diet today consists mainly of sugar laden, lab created “dead” foods.

Fermentation can produce quite distinctive, strong, slightly sour flavours.

Why Eat Fermented Foods?

 Besides the fact that they taste great and really grow on you, there are several great reasons to start making and eating fermented foods:

  • Probiotics – eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help increase the diversity of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity!
  • Absorb Food Better – having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with a healthy balanced diet and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat.
  • Budget Friendly – incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own fermented foods inexpensively – you can start with some cabbage and some salt!
  • Preserves Food Easily – lacto-fermentation allows you to store foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients you would with preserving food in a tin.

 

Probiotic powerhouses to include in your diet: 

  1. Kefir – a probiotic cultured drink, kefir contains multiple strains of bacteria and yeast. Kefir is rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin K.
  2. Sauerkraut – easy to make at home, this fermented cabbage dish has been around for centuries. It’s high in fibre, as well as vitamins A, C, K and various B vitamins. It’s also a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium and calcium.
  3. Miso – this traditional Japanese paste is made from fermented soybeans and grains consisting of millions of beneficial bacteria. It’s rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid.
  4. Kimchi – spicier than sauerkraut, kimchi is also a form of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and minerals such as iron, calcium and selenium.
  5. Lassi – made from soured milk, lassi has been drunk as a pre-dinner yogurt drink for centuries. They are a popular way of achieving probiotic bacteria.
  6. Kombucha – a fizzy, fermented black tea. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and bacteria called acetobacter convert the alcohol into acetic acid, giving it a sour taste. Watch out for sugar in shop-bought kombucha, you’re better off making it at home.
  7. Tempeh – another version of fermented soy beans, it is a rich protein source so a good choice for vegetarians.
  8. Sourdough bread – made from dough that is fermented.
  9. Yoghurt – lactobacilli bacteria convert lactose sugar in milk into glucose and galactose, which break down further into lactic acid, giving yogurt its sour taste. Live bacteria remain in the yogurt and provide a valuable contribution to gut microflora.

Here is a link for the easy sauerkraut recipe that I use (I replaced the white cabbage with red cabbage and added juniper berries) https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/simple-sauerkraut.

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Helen's next on-line nutrition and lifestyle programme starts 28th February 2018 - please see here for more info and to sign up! Venus Renew - 28 day on-line nutrition and lifestyle plan 

 

Postnatal Massage at Halos

Having carried, grown and nurtured your tiny miracle for nine months, your body will have experienced many changes.

Not only is your body recovering from childbirth (which in itself is likely to have put a strain on your body, particularly your abdomen, lower back and hips), but your new job as a mum (including lifting, carrying, feeding and falling asleep with your baby in strange positions, sleepless nights, and tension and worry about your little bundle), may be causing a whole new series of aches and pains.

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After having a baby is the time when you need a massage the most. Your body has been through a great deal and you definitely need some TLC! The postnatal period is a time for healing, rest and recovery, and massage can help with that process.

Whilst there are many obvious physical and emotional benefits to massage, post-natal massage can also help:

· release tight diaphragms to support correct breathing and alignment

· support diastasis recti recovery by realigning the body and easing tensions to give the diastasis the best possible chance to heal

· aid c-section recovery, reducing the sensation of pulling, increasing blood supply to the area and helping with internal healing

· improve ‘mum’ posture and ease muscle strain from pregnancy and labour

· minimise postnatal related aches and pains

· release knots and muscular tensions as a result of postural changes, feeding/holding your baby, and the inevitable worry that comes with being a new parent

· ease constipation and help with digestion as your organs take time to re-adjust and come back into place

· encourage the release of endorphins and oxytocin which can assist in milk production for breast-feeding mums and enhance mood for all

· improve well-being and immunity by stimulating lymph flow

· provide some much needed ‘mum-time’.

Debbie Rice offers postnatal massage at Halos Clinic on Mondays and 1st & 3rd Saturdays of every month. For more information or to book an appointment with her please contact Halos reception 01883 713434. 

PCOS & Acupuncture/Chinese Herbs

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormonal disease affecting 5-10% of women[1] in many ways including:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Fertility and pregnancy rates
  • Cardiovascular risks
  •  Weight gain and increased risk of diabetes

PCOS has also been associated with metabolic syndrome which is a potential precursor to diabetes but also explains why some women really struggle with weight loss[2].

Conventional methods of treatment struggle to treat PCOS effectively, however, there is increasing evidence suggesting that combining Chinese herbal medicine[3] and acupuncture[4] with prescribed medicines increases the effectiveness of PCOS treatment.  Furthermore, correct nutrition and lifestyle is essential to empowering long term management of symptoms.

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At Halos, our Chinese medicine practitioner Robin Burby has a decade of experience in helping women manage the symptoms of PCOS alongside conventional medications and has found that over a course of only a few months can significantly improve women's health for the long term.  Helen Moynihan is our Nutritional therapist whom has a special interest in working with women suffering with PCOS, having had personal experience in how nutrition was the key to getting pregnant and balancing her hormones.  Together, Robin and Helen are able to holistically treat and manage PCOS under one roof.

So if you are suffering with any of the symptoms related to PCOS, or know someone who is, give Halos a call or send an email to arrange an appointment – take action now and don't suffer needlessly any longer!

 

 

[1] Randeva H (2017) Is cardiovascular risk increased in women with PCOS? - FOR. Endocrine Abstracts 49 D4.1

[1] Ranasinha S, Joham AE, Norman RJ, Shaw JE, Zoungas S, Boyle J, Moran L and Teede HJ (2015), The association between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and metabolic syndrome: a statistical modelling approach. Clin Endocrinol, 83: 879–887. doi:10.1111/cen.1283

[1] Ma, Qian-Wen, & Tan, Yong (2017) Effectiveness of co-treatment with traditional Chinese medicine and letrozole for polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis. Journal of integrative medicine, ISSN: 2095-4964, Vol: 15, Issue: 2, Page: 95-101

[1] Stener-Victorin E, Kokosar M, Maliqueo M, Sazonova A, Behre CJ, Højlund K, Benrick A, Tivesten A and Ohlsson C (2015) Repeated Acupuncture Treatments Increases Whole Body Glucose Uptake and Decrease Circulating Testosterone in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  Endocrine Society's 97th Annual Meeting and Expo, March 5–8, 2015 - San Diego

 

2018 Mindfulness Meditation Courses

8 Week General Mindfulness Course


This course is designed to give a good overall understanding of mindfulness and mindfulness practices, leading to a greater sense of well-being. The course is suitable for anybody who is interested in bringing mindful practice into their personal and/or professional lives.

8 Week General Mindfulness Course at Halos
Start Date: Friday 26/1/2018
Times: 2:30pm to 4:15pm
Cost: £180


8 Week General Mindfulness Course at Halos
Start Date: Saturday 27/1/2018
Times: 2:30pm to 4:15pm
Cost: £180

 

6 Week Follow On Course at Halos


This is an ongoing course designed for people who have already attended the 8 Week General Mindfulness Course either at Halos or elsewhere. It is an opportunity to explore Mindfulness and Meditation more deeply.

6 Week Follow On Course
Start Date: Monday 8/1/2018
Times: 6:45pm to 7:45pm
Cost: £50

6 Week Follow On Course at Halos
Start Date: Saturday 27/1/2018
Times: 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Cost: £50

 

Please contact either Halos reception on 01883 713 434 or David O'Mahony directly on david@davidomahonymindfulness.co.uk for more information and to reserve your space.

The London Marathon 2017

Advice and Support from Tina Howard - Sports and Remedial Bodywork Therapist

With the London Marathon just around the corner and all of those months of hard work, training on frosty mornings, cold dark nights and months of fundraising behind you are you feeling prepared?

Hopefully you have got through your training without injury, or with a few minor niggles that have been addressed along the way.

Most of you are now only one or two long runs away from the all-important taper.

Use these last long runs to think about your water intake. How much can you take on before the run? At which miles do you need to take the water on? Remember, if you feel thirsty, you will already be dehydrated. It’s important to take the water on, before this happens, and best to know your optimum, so you can plan when and where your water stations are on marathon day. The same with fuel, know when you need it, remember your glycogen stores can’t possibly last for 26.2 miles.

For the marathon veterans, I’m sure you know your ideal tapering period.  

Tapering is about giving your body time to recover, you have the miles in your legs, don’t be tempted to add an extra-long run in just so that you know you can do it. Because, you can!

Use your taper period wisely, keep yourself ticking over, keep up at least one core session per week. This would be a great time to come in for sports massage, to make sure you are lining up with the healthiest set of muscles possible, releasing any unwanted tension does prevent injury and encourages your body to work as economically as possible, therefore allowing you the best performance and recovery.  

We can also discuss any race day concerns you have with your body. If you are carrying any weakness into your marathon we can use Kinesio Tape to support or facilitate your muscles, or mechanically correct to allow your body to function at its best. 

Post marathon, it will take a few days for your muscles to calm down. You need to concentrate on rehydration. Although you may have a post marathon massage on the day, it is a good idea to have massage in the week post marathon, to aid recovery and restore muscle balance and know how your body really came out of it.  Recovery runs do work, if you’re are up to it! Do remember it takes your body at least one day per mile that you ran to recover from a marathon… so go a little easy for at least 26 days!

By Tina Howard – Sports and Remedial Bodywork Therapist – Halos Clinic Team member

Tina will be at Halos Clinic on Saturday 22nd April offering pre-race Kinesio Taping and advice for runners in the Marathon, free of charge. 11.30am – 12.30pm – Call us directly to book your session with her.

Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture in Autumn

Chinese medicine and acupuncture is often a misunderstood treatment option, and so over the next year our resident practitioner Robin Burby will be going through various health areas where Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be beneficial to your health, and at times offer alternative treatment options to acute/chronic conditions.

Today’s blog is concerned with the upper respiratory tract, i.e. the sinuses, allergies, post nasal drip and a low immune system.  Through Chinese medical diagnosis, it can be discerned what is underlying your symptoms and how best to treat the root cause.

We are now well into autumn, and within Chinese medicine we associate this time of year with allergies and sinus infections.  You may have noticed the odd sneeze, or maybe a dry cough, or even a cold that is just lingering on and won’t go.  You may be finding that you’re sensitive to the cold weather and finding it difficult to get warm, or maybe you have started having more regular headaches.  Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can be extremely helpful in strengthening your immune system to shake off these issues and get you back on track, breathing freely and feeling full of energy again!

It is also common at this time of year for your asthma to start to flare up or for you to develop a dry cough.  Again, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may be of help in supporting your regular control of asthma and help you take back control.

Contact Halos on 01883 713434 for more information and to book in for a consultation.

Robin Burby is fully registered with Tandridge council and is comprehensively insured with the British Acupuncture Council.  Robin is a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture with just under 10 years’ experience, having trained in both London and China.  Although enjoying treating a variety of conditions, Robin has very good success rates in musculoskeletal acute and chronic problems, headaches, skin diseases, cancer support, gynaecological irregularities, and support in pregnancy.

 

Honor Thy Body

For some of us, "Honor thy self" can be a well used phrase that we have heard many times, especially from the media, most of which promote how we should be looking after ourselves while coping with our busy lives.  And what would our interpretation of honor thy self be?  Do we think about it in terms of treating ourselves, a good work/life balance or nurturing ourselves.

During these stressful times, do we ever stop and take the time to think about what our body actually needs and requires, or the short and long term effects of our busy lives on our body.  Often our body actually informs us of what it wants, we're just not necessarily adept at listening to it properly or even giving it the time it deserves.  We listen to our children, partners and friends but seem to side step our body as we "don't have time". 

It can be so easy to 'go with the flow' and just follow all the advice that is being handed to us through the media and any other method that reaches out to us. So often we are being told what food our body requires, whether that be a high fat diet, a high protein this or a low carb that. Or what exercise would best serve us, or what will help us lose weight quickly.  It's no wonder we're feeling stressed out, tired or just plain exhausted, we simply don't know which way to turn.

But have you ever thought about the effect that stress actually has on your body?  Mostly we have an awareness of some of the effects as we feel them and often read about them, but do we ever stop and change things.

So what does happen to us?  It's known as the "fight or flight response".  This is our body's primitive, automatic inborn response that prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from a perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.  It was first described by Walter Cannon in the 1920's as a theory that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system.  A very simple description of what happens in the body would be that chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol are released into our bloodstream.  These chemicals cause a series of very dramatic changes in our bodies: Our breathing rate increases. Blood gets directed away from our digestive system and redirected into our muscles Our pupils dilate and our sight sharpens Our awareness intensifies Our perception of pain diminishes.

So when our fight or flight system is activated, we tend to perceive everything around us as a possible threat to our environment.  The system bypasses our rational mind and moves us into "attack"mode" causing us to see everyone and everything as a possible enemy, we may overreact to the slightest comment and our thinking can become distorted. Unlike animals who have the ability to release the chemicals that surge through their bodies by simply shaking them out, we don't, or not that ever has been witnessed.  Generally, animals don't tend to carry stress around with them because of this ability to release the chemicals.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that something significant needs to happen for the fight or flight response to be activated, but it doesn't. These days it can be everything and anything, from the diary full of daily appointments to the cancelled train, from the exercise class you attend to the posture you adopt.  Without knowing it we end up in the "freeze" state and fail to move into the second stage, releasing the chemicals surging through our body.  Instead it ends up in our connective tissue and muscles. 

Exercise can be a great contributor to the Fight/Flight Response without us even realising it.  Posturecan also play a significant role, anyone who has poor posture can be at risk of increasing the adrenal response throughout their body, compressing the joints and affecting the fascial network which in turn is perceived as a threat, this then weakens the rest of the our body. Our digestive systems suffer as a result of the hormones and chemical changes and we can end up gaining weight along with other potential digestive problems.

So what can we do to help minimise the effects of stress?

An open posture can create spaces in the joints and encourage the body's ability to release its pent up stress.  With an lovely open posture, the hormone cortisol can release itself, the joints then have the opportunity to have spaces between them and this in turn will encourage a strong system of support.  We can breathe properly and fully, which then nourishes the body naturally as well as the organs it houses - who wouldn't want that.....

We can make sure we feed our bodies with wholesome nourishing foods.  Our inner body is likened to a garden that is well tended and cared for.  Gardeners spend time and immense effort nurturing their gardens and we should do the same with our digestive systems - choosing the foods that best serve us and taking time to eat and digest them.

Massage treatment will work on the connective tissue that holds the stress.  Focusing on the muscles that keep us in a flexed posture will start to bring relief to the body and that relief canrelease us into the desired open posture.  You might not realise that your posture has changed as our body has an innate ability to correct itself just by levelling our eye focus accordingly. As a Massage Therapist I see many people who have ended up with chronic muscular problems, this can then lead to skeletal issues if left untreated.  If left long enough, problems can evolve into acute situations which cause pain and discomfort and then the cycle begins again, we end up back in the "Fight or Flight" response, causing the chemical release through the body, only this time the pain doesn't diminish, it increases.

Massage can also have amazing effects on our Parasympathetic Nervous System, the system required to serve in the release of the stress hormones, slow the heart rate and generally relax the body overall.  So many people come away from this type massage feeling lighter, relaxed, calm,  soothed and generally more comfortable in their body.  The benefits of different types of massage treatment are endless, they all have immense value, you just need to decide which one would most benefit you and your body.

Of course, there are many other things, such as Pilates, Yoga or Acupuncture, that can contribute to ensuring we aren't constantly reacting with a 'Fight or Flight" Response, you just need to listen to what your body is asking for....

Honor thy Body!

By Helen Randall 

Do You Really Have To Live With Pain?

 by Robin Burby MATCM, MBAcC

Halos Centre for Complementary Healthcare

How many times has the doctor told you that the pain you are suffering from is something you just have to put up with? Or that the symptoms you are feeling are just normal and part of everyday life? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a second opinion, or maybe even analyse your overall health by taking account of all your symptoms before reaching a diagnosis?

Many people have been living in pain for years despite having had several operations, steroid injections, and a tummy full of pain killers when in many cases their suffering just isn’t necessary and can either be significantly reduced or in some cases even cured.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture is an ancient medical system that has been developed, researched and refined for more than 2,000 years and is now widely used and accepted all over the world and throughout the UK including within the NHS. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work to maintain the body’s equilibrium by focusing on all aspects of wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional), and then arriving at a diagnosis and henceforth a treatment plan.

When a patient comes for acupuncture treatment, ultra-fine needles are inserted at chosen points around the body (commonly known as pressure points) which attempts to stimulate the body’s own healing response and restore its natural balance. Treatment is always aimed at the root of the condition as well as the symptoms so it’s not simply a substitute for your current medication. 

Robin Burby is a practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture at Halos who studied fulltime for five years both in London and China. He is a member and insured by both the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture (ATCMA) and is covered by most private medical insurance policies.

 by Robin Burby MATCM, MBAcC