Topic: Appointments

The feelings are there anyway

It’s OK to feel your feelings… but then what?

I have long been struck by how much we try not to feel. How much I try not to feel. How we are surrounded by things which orchestrate, choreograph our feelings and yet, we aim to avoid feeling. Or, we passionately express our feelings in peculiar places like on the social media post of someone we’ve never met or rant at the bus driver.

Recently, I read this from Elisabeth Brooke’s book Herbal Therapy for Women (a book to which I turn often to guide me on using herbs to support a patient from an emotional perspective).

In our culture, we are not encouraged to express our feelings – it is more acceptable to remain cool and logical and not rant and rave.

Elisabeth Brooke, Herbal Therapy for Women (1992)

Since the writing of the book, I think that this has changed and now we are bombarded with images of people overwhelmed with emotion in times of extremity – reality TV is full of emotive scenarios and people being plunged into places which expose them to their fears. I am not sure this counts. These are large feelings in usually unreal situations such as swimming under ice or dropping off a cliff with some elastic around you. These are the choreographed spaces where you would be fool NOT to feel terrified, as it goes against every grain of our survival instinct to do these things.

But, what I think Elisabeth is talking about, are the day-to-day feelings which we push down in order not to be seen a certain way, or to appear miserable/complaining/negative… there’s a long list of the things we’d rather not be seen to be. But, they are all very real daily experiences, some of which are messages which need to be heard.

‘Messages which need to be heard’. Messages which we often try to ignore, push down or hope will just go away. Messages from our bodies. Messages from our hearts. And, this is what Elisabeth goes on to say:

From a health point of view, this is a disaster as the feelings are there anyway, whether they are expressed or not.

Elisabeth Brooke, Herbal Therapy for Women (1992)

This is what struck me so forcefully; “…the feelings are there anyway…” Those feelings are there anyway. You have those feelings whether you choose to acknowledge them or not, whether they are expressed or not. Whether we express them appropriately or not. Whether we dish them out to whichever poor soul gets in the way or not. They are there anyway.

This is obvious and logical. But, for some reason, it has struck me as new. And, it has given me ready pause for thought. Each time we fight down our feelings, or they subside, or we squash them out of existence, we are not releasing them, we are not healthfully acknowledging them, we are trying to pretend they are not there.

This. This is what’s so important to me. As, it is my strong belief that those squashed down feelings are not lying passively in a forgotten corner, they have not become benign because they are ignored. I believe that they are on many levels creating a kind of chaos in physical and emotional health. And this is the crux of how how I want to be supported in my journey. And, it is the way I aim to support the people who come to me. To release those things which are creating internal havoc in our systems. Whether it is a light, ‘niggly’ symptom or a swathe of raw emotion, they almost invariably have come from a place within our psyche. We are all one. There is no mind, body, spirit. It is all one.

So, in our defense, we set up all kinds of protective mechanisms against re-feeling or re-experiencing whatever it was which caused us that first pain. This is normal and a predictable response – we are programmed for survival. And, whilst they worked and served us well for that instance, they rarely do, once it is over. But, we fiercely protect ourselves against pain and keep those protections in place because they worked that first time.

I feel. I feel deeply and often. It’s sometimes overwhelming. It’s sometimes cathartic but it’s always there. Day-to-day feelings as well as feelings from old experiences and protections. I think this is normal. Am I more attuned to my feelings? Some of them but certainly not all of them. Do I try to push down and ignore my deeper, more hurt parts of my self? Of course. Does this work out for me? No, not really.

But, just like you, I am often afraid of my feelings. And, it’s all very well being told it’s OK to feel them, but what if they overwhelm me, create more trouble, are too much, will destroy those around me or I can’t cope with them? What then?

And, you can feel it coming, can’t you? The moral of this story.

Well, I am not sure I have one. It’s a journey I am still on. A journey I anticipate will be with me the rest of my life. But I am trawling the murky depths. I am exploring what it is like to feel my feels. And, I am finding out that they don’t destroy me or anyone around me as long as I don’t act out on them. And, that’s the key. I have learned that feeling is one thing. Acting out and trying to give them to someone else is quite another!

So, what do I do? I think. I feel. I tap and I use herbs. All of these things have the power to shift and change my experience of the old, the new and the current space.

And, I am exploring new modalities, ways of thinking and being, ways of understanding our inner world and this is a wonderful journey.

I am not going to stop you being too afraid to face your feels. I don’t have that power but if you are ready to take that first step towards lifting your life out of those old feel patterns get in touch.

An unexpected lesson from Rosemary! Sleep part 10

I tend to think of herbs as slow medicines. As a gradual shift back into health and wellness. As a re-education. But, sometimes, they are just as powerful as pharmaceuticals. And, they can surprise me at how little can have such a positive impact on someone!

I gave a talk for a local WI this week. After a few days, I got an email. It went like this:

I was at the W I on Tuesday evening,and I had the best nights sleep I have had for months

WI member

WOW! What an amazing testimonial. I am so thrilled that herbs have had this effect for her (I don’t think it was the effect of my talk as I am far too bouncy for that!)

One of the actions of Rosemary is sedative but I had always assumed it was only mild because it has such a perky smell and is stimulant in some of its actions! A great lesson for me.

I gave each person in attendance a fingerful of tea in a cup. To my mind, it was enough to truly get a taste of it and that was about all.

It seems I was wrong.

And, I am delighted to have been wrong. It shows me that there are other ways to think about what I do and reminds me that there are other outcomes from those which I might expect. It’s good to be pushed out of our zone of comfort.

It also reminds me not to underestimate the power of the herbs. After all, our most potent anodynes come from plants, as do our most addictive substances.

I now welcome Rosemary with open arms to my sleep herb armoury. I have used it in many ways prior to now but never considered it for a sleep mix. This also has a poweful potential in symbiosis with the other actions of Rosemary. There are many situations in which I would now add this herb to a blend for someone. How very exciting.

Thank you for showing me your other side, little green one.

Move Mountains with me

National Stress Awareness Week

How I reduce your stress with herbs and EFT

So, we all know how it feels to be stressed. We all know what it’s like in our bodies, in our minds and how it impacts on us.

Or, do we?

Do you notice the relentless micro-stressors in your daily life? Do you feel the constant onslaught of more things to do and get done, more blips on your phone nagging at you, your children tugging your sleeve wanting things and maybe your partner asking for things from you too?

Sometimes, you will and you feel ok about it and sometimes, it all builds up into TOO MUCH and that’s when we might eg shout at someone we love and then feel guilty. It’s a relentless cycle sometimes.

How can herbs help me with that? That’s just in my head, isn’t it? It’s up to me to be more controlled and in control of myself. Right?

How’s that been going for you?

Adaptogens

As a herbalist, I have an entire armoury of wonderful medicines at my disposal to support you. There are different ways of approaching it. If you are feeling stressed and that’s the predominant feature, I can prescribe one out of many different adaptogens. These literally do what they say – they assist your mind and body adapt to stress.

My most recent work with a patient who is taking the lovely adaptogen Withania somnifera has been remarkable. Withania is indicated in many scenarios but particularly for the ‘tired and wired’ and can be brilliant for busy, working mums. We’re also using EFT-tapping and she’s finding the ramifications of the double-pronged approach and subtle changes to be really far-reaching:

  • She is calmer at work, choosing to lead with love (she’s in what she describes as a ruthless industry)
  • She has told me that she has chosen the humble path with her husband and that an argument was diffused and she felt much stronger and less petty

These changes are not directed by me, she is growing them from within her as she feels stronger and more at peace. How much more peaceful (and less stressful) are the choice of humility and love? Those outcomes may not completely resonate for you but these outcomes feel right for this person.

Don’t forget nervines…

A medicinal preparation, usually of herbal origin, which is said to act on the nervous system, reduce anxiety and tension (nervine relaxant), and stimulate or strengthen neural function.

https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/nervine

Nervines calm you by soothing and nourishing the nervous system. We have a wide variety of nervine herbs with subtly differing actions – some also support the digestion, some support the gynaecological system, some the muscularskeletal system and others the cardiovascular system. I choose the herbs which align most closely with your experience. Is feeling stressed sending your blood pressure through the roof? There’s a herb for that. Are you getting palpitations when you’re uptight? There’s a herb for that. Do you get bloating in your belly? There’s loads of herbs for that!

I would use a nervous system trophorestorative when someone’s body is far out of whack with what would be considered normal rhythms and responses. Perhaps you’re a hypervigilant new mum who can’t fall asleep as every noise triggers an ‘alarm’ response preventing the ‘permission’ to sink into sleep. Or a distressed student who is feeling totally overwhelmed and panicked by the volume of work they have to tackle and the upcoming assessments and deadlines. Maybe the business person who lies awake half the night, then eventually oversleeps and ends up dashing for the train every morning…

Maybe one of those describes you?

When we work together and using herbs and healthful food choices to nudge the body back to a state of wellness and the EFT to clear out habitual patterns of emotional responses, we can, almost literally, move mountains. Those old thought patterns get tapped away so that the herbally nourished body can flourish.

I have seen it time and again. When our frenetic brains lead the way and we forget our bodies, then we can move out of balance and into a situation of illness. Often something with no name but a collection of life-impacting symptoms. Maybe it’s a dodgy digestion, hurting head, aches and pains, tired all the time…? There are so many annoying ways our clever body devises to send out the SOS signals. My job is to hear them and help you to find the best ways to soothe them and take notice in a constructive, reparative way.

Sounds difficult? Not got time? We do it in ways which work for you and with your routines. Baby steps or giant leaps, whatever you need and are ready for. There is no set path as it is entirely tailored to you. Every prescription is different. Every bit of advice on food and lifestyle. Each takes into account what you can do and manage. This mountain is not moved in one day and not by you on your own. We’re in this together, picking up the pebbles and step-by-step, moving your mountain.

Let’s do it! Contact me to support you in choosing the pebbles to move to become a less stressed and healthier you.

Hypertension

Millstone diagnosis or manageable condition?

The diagnosis of high blood pressure (primary hypertension) can be a difficult thing to receive. If you have received this diagnosis, you’re not alone. It’s pretty common; 1/3 of adult-folk in the UK have hypertension but may not even know. Hypertension brings with it so many comorbidities and due to side effects, pharmaceutical medication doesn’t always seem the right answer even if it reduces risk of the resultant complications.

The risks of untreated hypertension:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Dementia and more

So, what do you do?

As a herbalist, you won’t be suprised to hear that I think that the introduction of herbs into your daily routine is a good plan. There are many herbs which will help to reduce blood pressure and I won’t list them here are the sheer number would seem overwhelming and not lead you to a way of making choices about those herbs for yourself. And, if I only suggested herbs, it would be a bit like putting you on BP meds for the rest of your life. They may not have the same negative side effects but you would likely take them in an on-going manner.

What other interventions would also be required? As you might expect with personalised medicine, there is no one size fits all. This might sound like a bit of a downer if you were hoping for a quick win, but really, it’s brilliant as it gives so many more options of things to try.

The majority of factors, as with so many chronic conditions, can be attributed to lifestyle.

  1. Stress. We all know that lowering stress can be easier said than done. There are herbs to assist with that, foods which assist with that and, in my experience, EFT-tapping helps with that as well. All tools which you would receive guidance on in an appointment with me.
  2. A missing nutrient for many is magnesium and dosing with magnesium can reduce anxiety, body tension and lower blood pressure.
  3. Insulin resistance is a contributing factor as well and tackling that will improve many other areas of your health as well
  4. Do you snore? If you do, then sleep apnoea (another, perhaps surprising, factor which can influence blood pressure) is likely featuring in your life and could do with some attention.
  5. Inflammation is a root cause factor in many, many diseases and conditions. Reduce inflammation with dietary changes, herbs, improving sleep and lowering stress

But what can I do about all this?

Does reading this make you feel more stressed and anxious? Do you feel stuck, overwhelmed and unable to help yourself?

First things first. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment or two to settle. Then, try this tapping sequence to support your blood pressure health: Tapping for High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is known as the silent killer. It is a serious health condition which you can be empowered to manage through dietary, lifestyle and other factors such as herbal medicines. If you would like support in lowering your blood pressure, get in touch so that we can discuss an appointment for your health journey to begin.

Autumnal bug-share

The school’s are nearly going back, the leaves have begun to fall (yup, I know, we’ve hardly had summery weather in the UK this year and we’re already heading into the darkness). And, after all this isolation, distancing and more with Covid-19 measures, we’re going to start mingling our germs too. Usually, that would be OK. In fact it still is, as being exposed to new mildly pathogenic microbes is part of keeping a strong and fit immune system.

HOWEVER, it also means that we are being bombarded with the potential for those seemingly endless Autumnal and Winter infections.

Do you seem to get every bug going? Are you constantly streaming with snot and snuffling, sneezing and coughing? Are you worried that you’ll catch everything the children do but worse?

I can help.

Herbs are brilliant at managing symptoms of these kinds of self-limiting, minor infections, shortening the duration and preventing them occuring in the first place.

You have a couple of options for working on this with me:

A mini consultation where we discuss you most usual symptoms and how the infection progresses and I make you up a special herbal tincture mix to take in small doses as prevention and then an ’emergency’ mix for if you do get something. These can be teas or tincture blends.

Children’s appointments – Children respond so well to herbs. They are brilliant as their bodies are less stuck in habits and habitual ways. I love working with them as they are so honest about what happens to them. My 4-year-old loves my ‘bogey picking nail’ (which is just a long pinkie finger nail which happens to fit up her nose for those chunky boogers she’s not yet old enough to care about! She loves taking her herbal syrups and often reminds me to dose her up each day.

A Winter wellness plan for the whole season. This is an in-depth treatment plan of herbs, food, lifestyle and tapping to prime your immune system for the winter. You’ll receive weekly emails filled with tips on feeding your immune system with great foods and herbs and a tapalong video. You have 1-2-1 sessions with me to keep yourself on track with the lifestyle changes specific to you. I’ll also create an emergency tincture mix in case anything passes your new resilience and a special early bird tea blend bonus. Click here to find out more. We begin in October.

Kills 99.9% of all known… life form?

Look around you. How many products in your house say kills 99.9% of all known germs? Does that feel good to you? I am really upset by those labels and I’ll share with you why that is.

Did you know that 99.9% also includes the beneficial ones which keep us healthy? These bacteria are called commensal. They live with us, on us and are there to protect us. Our skin requires a strong colony of specific commensal bacterium to remain in protective balance. Every time you use antibacterial agents, you wipe this away, leaving your skin potentially vulnerable to colonisation with other, possibly less ‘friendly’ bacterium.

WASH YOUR HANDS: We’re being advised to clean our hands every where we go. This is good practice. Sanitising agents are not.

SANITISERS: Anything with less than 60% alcohol will slow the growth of some tougher microbes but not kill them. 60-90% is the best at getting rid of them but there there’s the additional issue of alcohol drying out the skin on the hands which will make it less supple and more prone to cracking. Cracked skin is a much poorer defence making us vulnerable to bacteria invading our skin altogether. Doesn’t sound good, does it?

So, what should we do instead? It has been shown that plain old bars of soap and hot water do the job the best. It gets your hands the cleanest and doesn’t flood the waterways with antibacterial agents which contribute to bacterial resistance.

SOAP: Soap on the other hand, is good at destroying the membranes of the microbes which kills them. The friction of hand washing, combined with the addition of running water all help remove grease and grime as well as unwanted bacteria.

So, wash your hands as soon as you get home. Wash your hands before you eat. Wash your hands after you visit the loo. Most of this advice is not new. It’s good, normal hygiene practise.

DRY SKIN? Ultimately, all this additional hand washing is not great for the skin on our hands. In order to keep my skin supple and free from chapping, I make a beautiful, thick, nutritive and deeply penetrating ‘Skin Salve-ation’ in small heart shapes or in wooden trinket pots. I carry it and use it all the time but the best thing is to put it on thickly late evening and allow it to all penetrate through the night. BUY IT HERE

BREAD EXPERIMENT: Have you seen this experiment with school children and slices of bread? Whether or not it is a great experiment, what it shows is that using sanitiser doesn’t actually clean your hands all that well. And, if you use an anti-BACTERIAL one, it won’t be effective on viruses and fungi (dependent on level of alcohol present). [What is also shows is that sliced bread which hasn’t been wiped on grubby little fingers doesn’t go mouldy after a week in a sealed bag… hmmm, not sure that’s all that great either, TBH! My fresh, homemade bread without preservative beyond a little salt would be getting mouldy by then!]

CLOTHES: Do you really need your normal, everyday clothes free from bacteria? Do you think that using antibacterial agents in your washing machine is going to make much difference to your clothes? I would anticipate that once hung, these damp clothes are unlikely to remain bacteria free. But, even if they do get bacteria on them, are those bacteria actually *harmful to us? If they’re in the environment around us, they really shouldn’t be. Therefore, once again, if we choose those wash powders, what we are doing is polluting the waterways with antibacterial agents for no apparent benefit.

Like in a previous article, I wrote about my concerns about what we will do when we no longer have antibiotics to protect us from nasty infections. I have genuine fears as we have continually over-used them on everything regardless of what i would consider to be actual need. For my money, I would far rather use herbs to treat minor infections (at which they can be so effective), avoid the gut biome destruction and resultant thrush/windy gut etc that comes with it. I successfully treat cystitis, UTIs, coughs, colds and other bacterial sequelae of viral infections all the time.

If you are concerned about a minor infection, use of antibiotics, talk to me about my Mini Consultation where we discuss a current, acute medical concern after which I prescribe a short course of herbs to treat the condition.

*NOTE: This does not apply to eg medical uniforms where potential contamination with infectious substances is possible. But, soap and a hot wash should also sort that out.

**Photo is a screen snip from this article: https://www.matconlist.com/2019/12/school-science-experiments-for-kids-bread-experiment.html

Food Plate

Working with my patients on their health, I always look at their food choices. I say that the herbs are like your dominant hand – really effective on its own at getting things done all day long – but when you bring your other hand (food!) along to the party then that’s when we really make a difference to your health. And, those differences are the ones you are empowered to continue by yourself.

What we think we eat and what we actually eat are often quite different. We also tend to think we eat pretty healthily but once we examine it, the things we’ve put in our mouths e.g. after temptation (shop tills, TV adverts), stress and comfort eating and so on have come our way, it can turn out to be quite different to the things we have intentionally put in our mouths.

5-A-DAY? It’s just not enough. And, many of us don’t even achieve that. Aim for 8-10 instead with only two of those being sweet fruits.

My favourite way of thinking about what to eat is based on rainbows! Eating a daily rainbow of fruit and vegetable colours is a great way to get a good variety of the nutrients we need. The BHF talk about it here but mostly we don’t eat 5-a-day let alone the much more ideal 8/10-a-day. If counting portions isn’t your thing, imagine your lunch and dinner plates are 50% covered by colourful veg. Then you will hit that target. It doesn’t have to be 50% steamed veg, it includes pulses, beans and a whole heap of fun, tasty and exciting ways to eat veg like in warm or cold salads.

In my opinion, the NHS eatwell plate is not the best balanced version. I much prefer the Alliance for Natural Health plate instead (there is a different one for children under 6 years old). Look at how differently it is balanced with a strong emphasis on vegetables, low emphasis on fruit and only gluten-free grains, plenty of protein and fats and a good wallop of spices and herbs thrown in for good measure.

A wobbly screen shot of the ANH food plate!

Just think of all the wonderful meals you could eat and feed your family with if you ate like this! Does your diet look like this?

HOW I DO IT: Currently, most of my fruit eating goes on my breakfast with stewed apples (sweetened with cinnamon), some berries or dates if we’ve neither of those in the house. Lunch is often a big salad with a slice of homemade brown Spelt bread with seeds and a protein – tuna & beans, smoked salmon, occasional mortadella/salami/ham etc. We have been experimenting with recipe boxes and the veg portions in our evening meals are generally too few but as I get to know the recipes better, I will be padding them out with more veg or beans.

Sleep part 6 – Sleeping soundly

Do you sleep well?

I used to. I used to sleep so many hours and so easily. And then, I started to share a bed and, even worse (for my sleep!), became a mother… both of which seem to have interfered with my ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and remain that way until the alarm wakes me.

My sleep got broken!

How do you fix broken sleep? After all, it should be so natural, right? We’re born to it and whilst it can take a few years, we usually sleep really well as children – deep, peaceful, restful and undisturbed sleep. Not always, of course, because life happens as well, but generally, it’s that way.

I think I have fixed my sleep…

What did I do?

I have been using the most unlikely practice.

I am using ‘sleep tape’ at night. No, it isn’t an old fashioned way of talking about pre-recorded music on a cassette, I am putting medical tape over my mouth at night! Sounds weird, huh? I started 3 weeks ago and my sleep is transformed. It’s really as simple as that.

The full glory of sleep taping…

I have had the best sleep in years since I started doing this peculiar thing and I hear from others that they are experiencing the same.

CAUTION: this is not suitable if you have sinus congestion or a cold

However, there are many, many scenarios in which this may improve your sleep too!

Are you game to give it a go? What have you got to lose?

Let me know if you experiment with sleep tape and how you got on.

With thanks to Ben Wolff and James Nestor for awakening me to this idea.

How seeing a herbalist works – 1

Before we even meet…

I have a 15-min free chat with potential patients before we meet. I think this is crucial as it helps us to know whether we think we might work well together.

A big part of any complementary medicine appointment is the therapeutic relationship. If you don’t like me, that just won’t be there. And vice versa! 🙂

I explain how I work and give you some things to do before we even meet!

  • pre-appointment medical health questionnaire
  • food & drinks journal
  • quiz

Yes, I am a big fan of the quiz. It’s by Gretchen Rubin who looks at how we respond to making changes. Herbal medicine treatment generally requires quite a few lifestyle and dietary changes in addition to taking the herbs I prescribe. After all, you want something about your health to change. That’s why you’re seeking help.

BUT, those changes to your health don’t happen without you making changes too. And, if you aren’t ready for that, it’s going to be an uphill battle for us both. Frankly, there’s likely to be little point trying!

I sometimes say it’s a little like tying your non-dominant hand behind your back. You can go about your life pretty well, but it’s so much better when you can use both your hands. (In this little analogy, the herbs are your dominant hand and the changes I ask of you are your non-dominant hand)

This way, I know how you will best respond to suggestions of change, what other health challenges you have faced and will have a snapshot of how you fuel your body. I get a lot of fodder from these inputs and that enables us to focus our time together on why you are coming to see me.

HERBAL-REIKI RELAXATION

Advert poster

HERBAL-REIKI RELAXATION

Never heard of it before? Well, that’s because it’s probably a new thing… I think I’ve invented it!!

I practised Reiki some years ago but stopped working with clients after moving but continued to use this marvellous energy medicine on myself.

Then, I qualified as a herbalist and moved into a different paradigm.

NOW, IT’S TIME TO BRING THEM TOGETHER!  So… what happens?

How your appointment goes:

  • ** medical history

  • ** a delicious infusion of relaxing and nourishing herbs

  • ** 45 mins of Reiki treatment

A quiet contemplative space to be you, where you are and at peace. The air filled with lush essential oils or incense and sounds of nature.

ALL THIS FOR JUST £35

IT’S NEW!
After keeping Herbs and Reiki as separate practices, it now feels right to bring them together. I have a deep sense that the two modalities will complement each other.

BETA TESTERS REQUIRED 🙂
As this is a new venture, I am offering you the opportunity to experience this marvellous therapy combination at a reduced price. In return, I ask that you rate & review on Google and Facebook and fill in a feedback form.

This is a one-time hugely reduced price offer so, book your places now. 🙂