Can you Influence your Immune System?

Can you influence your Immune System? The short answer to this is, Definitely!

We don’t usually think of our Immune System and how it works unless something goes wrong. We get a cold or flu, frequent chest infections or recurrent asthma or maybe something more serious. It’s only then that we feel we may have been doing too much or are ‘run down’ or really start to consider that our Immune system may be depleted.

But how can we have an influence on it?

Our Immune System consists of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The Bone Marrow and Thymus gland are called primary lymphoid organs because they produce our defence cells, the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. These are produced in the Bone Marrow and mature in the Thymus Gland.

The Thymus gland is the size of an orange in children and decreases in size with age. It was believed to have little use in adults but recent research has shown it can still have a significant function in immunity throughout our lives.

The secondary lymphatic organs are where these lymphocytes do their work. This is in the spleen, tonsils, mucous membranes of the bowel and in lymph nodes. Our lymphatic system transports these protective blood cells and removes old and damaged cells.

The Spleen acts as a filter for blood removing old or damaged red blood cells, stores platelets and white blood cells and also produces white blood cells to fight infection.

So as you can see, our Immune system works in amazing ways.

But what can we do to influence it?

Our brain and our Immune system are in constant communication with each other. If we are feeling stressed on a constant basis, our ‘flight or fight’ mechanisms kick in to help us survive. The endocrine system responds with the release of hormones such as cortisol and this severely depresses the immune system. It decreases inflammation, the production of white blood cells and increases the rate of tissue damage.

So reduction of stress is vital if we are to maintain our long term health.

A Diet high in sugar and processed foods has been shown to hamper the ability of white blood cells to fight infection so a healthy diet with plenty of whole foods, fruit and vegetables will make a huge difference.

Alcohol can affect the functioning of immune cells and increase your susceptibility to disease so look at moderating or reducing your consumption.

A good night’s sleep is vital for the replenishing of all your cells, especially your T-cells or lymphocytes so take measures to improve your sleep.

Other factors that can influence your immunity are exercise (increases circulation of antibodies and white blood cells, avoiding excessive use of antibiotics (weakens your immune system), smoking and obesity (trigger allergies and increase inflammation) and sufficient intake of water (helps remove toxins).

Regular Reflexology can have a profound affect on your Immune System too. It stimulates the functioning of your thymus gland and spleen and balances your whole body. It helps remove toxins via the liver and lymphatic system and powerfully reduces stress so your ability to fight disease is strengthened.

As you can see, there are many ways to boost your overall health and your ability to fight disease.

Can you influence your Immune System? Most definitely!

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx


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Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.


Who are your Energy Vampires……and how to get rid of them (without needing garlic).

Although we may not know it, we all have Energy Vampires in our life.

What do I mean by an Energy Vampire? Well it’s a person or event that robs you of your strength, energy and vitality. Something or someone that ‘bleeds’ you dry.

It’s that relative who is always asking you for a favour or the boss who is never satisfied with your work buts keeps asking more and more of you. It’s that friend who rings for a brief chat but is still talking to you an hour and a half later while you try to end the conversation. It’s the committee that keeps asking for your assistance although you are the one who volunteers all the time.

It’s the long queues at Christmas or the people who ring you at all times of the day or night. It’s the family members who expect you to do all the work and never step up to help themselves.

These are all Energy Vampires and we all have them in our lives at some point or other.

What can we do about them? The first step to eliminate them (and yes it is possible), is to recognise what people or events in your life drain your energy.

Once you know what they are, you can start implementing strategies to either remove them or to lessen the impact they have on you. Have a think about the people or events that cause the most fatigue or stress for you. Write them down. Remember that if you are stressed, your energy reserves are being depleted.

Start putting some strong boundaries in place around your time and energy.

If you are asked to help out, say you will let the person know. If you are too tired or really don’t want to commit, this gives you time to think about it and decide what really suits you.

If a chatty friend rings, say you only have a short time available and keep an eye on the clock. Then politely tell them you have to go.

If you boss is being unreasonably demanding, explain how you can be more productive if given extra time to finish something.

If you get phone calls out of hours, don’t answer and check your messages later. Most things can wait.

If the queues at Christmas exhaust you, shop early in the day before it’s too busy or shop online. Many things can easily be bought that way.

If family are putting unreasonable demands on you, tell them you cannot help this time.

Learn to say No and start implementing some boundaries around your availability and your time. You will find that some people may not like this but that’s okay. We are not here to please everyone.

Give yourself time to think before agreeing to something. The more you do to respect yourself and your own needs, the more energy you will have. The more you learn to say No, the more people will respect your boundaries.

People are often unaware of the amount of stress they cause or the energy they take from you. This may be because their own boundaries are weak. Be an example for them so that they can rethink the way they treat others and themselves.

Learn to prioritise what is important in your life. Do more of the things that fill your soul, make you happy and revitalise you. Let go of what isn’t important or delegate it to another day.

Let go of these vampires. Put yourself first and you won’t need any garlic. I can guarantee it!


Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx


Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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Who is the most Important Person in Your Life?

I recently asked this question in a Facebook business group and the answers were interesting. Many people said, “Their children are the most important people in their lives, or Their partners. Others said the answer was ‘Themselves’.

If you had asked me this question some time ago I would have said, My son. Although my thoughts still  immediately go to him, my answer today would be ME.

As a parent, especially when children are small, their needs tend to take priority. This is necessary for their survival. In our workplace, we may have demanding bosses and sometimes unrealistic deadlines need to be adhered to. However it doesn’t mean that your needs should not be met at the same time.

You may think that putting yourself first is selfish or inconsiderate. After all we were brought up to think of others and their needs. This meant that we would grow up unselfish and caring adults. However what happened to me and many others like me, was we totally forgot our own needs and prioritised everyone else first.

As a result, I kept giving until I had nothing left to give and became burnt out. I ended up tired and exhausted not knowing how to change this cycle without offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings by saying, ‘No’. I felt that I always had to be in control, or else nothing was done the way I thought it needed to be done.

Running a sole business certainly tests your Self Care. I would answer the phone at all hours of the day and night to attend to queries. I did not value myself in the prices I charged or in the hours I worked. Slowly I realised what I was doing and how it was affecting me and I now have strict boundaries around ME.

I learn’t to have boundaries around how others treat me and how I treat myself. If I am asked to help out I will say, ‘I’ll let you know’ and then give myself time to see if it suits me or my needs.

If I am tired I will have an early night and not stay up just to please my partner. When I am invited somewhere I will  see how I feel before accepting. I have learned to give myself more space and more time out. I learned to value my time and have stronger boundaries around what is acceptable or not. I have learned to let go of the control and ask for help when I need it.

By giving myself more time and learning to ask for help, I have become happier, more relaxed and more valued. Most importantly, I learnt to value myself!

The more you value and respect yourself, the more others will do the same. The more we fill our own well, the more we will have available to fill the well of others. If we are depleted we have nothing to give, however if we care for ourselves and our own needs first, we can then be there for others in a caring and whole hearted way.

When my son was small, I placed his needs ahead of mine all the time. I realise now that this was not a great example to guide him by as he would grow up repeating my patterns. Luckily I have realised this and am able to advise him otherwise.

I am not asking you to choose between yourself and your family. I am discussing this to raise awareness  about how much value we place on ourselves. Your family, your work and your friends are important but so are You! Remember that the more emphasis you place on your needs and self care, the more you will be available to help others.

So today if I am asked, Who is the Most Important Person in my Life, I can happily say, ME.

What about you?


Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx


Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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Understanding your fatigue …… and what you can do about it!

Feeling tired is something we are all familiar with. It can occur at the end of a busy day or after extensive exercise. It can happen after a run of late nights or after a stressful situation.

But what if you are tired all the time? Fatigue that lingers and is still present after a good night’s sleep needs to be looked at. It can occur as a result of a sleep disorder, or  a medical condition such as anaemia and can creep up on you over a period of time. Often we just keep going until we suddenly realise that we are tired all the time and have been so for ages.

You can also be chronically fatigued without having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The latter requires that you have certain symptoms before you are diagnosed. These include the obvious, fatigue, as well as unrefreshing sleep, impaired memory and concentration, exhaustion after exercise, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches and tender lymph glands. Always seek medical advice if you are always tired. It may be from a metabolic disorder such as a thyroid problem or an infection such as glandular fever and needs to be treated appropriately.

Another form of fatigue is Adrenal Fatigue. Although it is not recognised by many conventional doctors, those who work in Integrative medicine certainly recognise and treat it. It has been described as the 21st century syndrome. Our adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol as part of our ‘flight or fight’ response to danger or stress. This enables the body to respond quickly, at times when we are under extreme stress or in danger. However if we are always on alert or in this ‘flight or fight’ mode, our adrenal glands end up exhausted. Left untreated, this can affect every organ and system in your body.

Now this all sounds very dramatic and obviously any persistent symptom of fatigue needs to be investigated. In the meantime however, what can you do, yourself to help alleviate your constant tiredness?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Try going to bed earlier and stick to a routine. If you are fatigued, make an effort to be in bed by 10pm most nights. Make sure your bedroom is dark without any distracting lights from tv’s, computers or clock radios. Try and switch off from all devices 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed as their bright lights effect your melatonin levels, (the hormone responsible for our sleep cycle).

2. Drink plenty of water during the day. Every cell in your body needs water to survive and often fatigue can be attributed to dehydration. Keep a water bottle with you even when you are at home. I find that I drink the most water when I am sitting at the computer with a glass at hand.

3. Eat a healthy diet and include vegetables, good fats such as avocado, coconut oil and some protein into your meals. Don’t skip meals as this plays havoc with your insulin levels. Breakfast is especially an important meal as it should carry you through to lunchtime without the need for snacks. Include a cereal such as oats, homemade muesli or buckwheat with berries rather than a piece of toast.

4. Do regular meditation even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of meditation in reducing stress and increasing your energy. It also gives you a mini power nap, as you switch off from everything.

5. Exercise every day. This may sound counter-intuitive if you are feeling tired, but even a short walk boosts your circulation, decreases stress and increases the release of those ‘feel good’ hormones.

6. Start implementing some boundaries into your life. Learn to say NO if something wears you out or you’re not happy doing it. Many cases of fatigue occur due to burnout or overwhelm. If we are always saying Yes to everyone else, we leave little time for our own needs or energy. Put boundaries in around your time and don’t always be available for everyone. You deserve some space too.

7. Ask for help. We don’t need to do everything on our own. Who actually benefits from this? It’s good to teach your children how to help out around the house and it’s so important for their own growth and learning. They need to respect you and your time, so be a good example for them. Let go of some of that control. Ask for help in cleaning and preparing meals. Yes it may not be done the way you do it, but does it really matter. I was in the same position and felt I had to ‘run’ the house. This only led to resentment and exhaustion. I now ask for help and accept that even though the dishwasher isn’t stacked like I would do it or the house isn’t vacuumed perfectly in my eyes, it doesn’t really matter.

8. Have regular treatments such as Reflexology to reduce stress. As previously mentioned, stress plays a huge part in whether we have energy or feel fatigued.

Learn to recognise your fatigue. If there isn’t an obvious reason for it, such as a very late night, then have it investigated. If your conventional doctor dismisses it, see an integrative one. There is always a reason why you are tired!

It’s your health and your life. You deserve to have the very best of both!


With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx


Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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References:,, photo from

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.


Feeling Stressed …………….. Could my diet be contributing?

Last month I spoke about the effect that stress can have on your body and how our thoughts can bring about actual chemical changes. But did you know that the food you eat can have an equally damaging effect?

Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. We all need some level of inflammation in our body to stay healthy, however this inflammatory response can  get out of hand.

If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation in your body. Stress causes inflammation and chronic stress affects the bodies ability to regulate inflammation, leading to disease. Low-grade chronic inflammation has been implicated in a range of diseases such as arthritis, asthma, allergies, stroke, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression and autoimmune diseases.

If we live on a diet high in sugar and full of highly processed foods, chances are that you are increasing the inflammation in your body. Sugar triggers the release of inflammatory markers in your body. It isn’t only found in the obvious foods such as cakes, chocolate, fruit juices, soft drinks, ice cream and biscuits or the spoonful of sugar you put in your coffee, but may be disguised as fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, lactose, maltose, malt syrup or  glucose.

Trans fats are another culprit. They are found in fast foods, fried products, processed foods and most margarines. Oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut and vegetable oils, all trigger inflammation. Other foods that are just as guilty, include refined carbohydrates such as white bread, crackers, white rice, white potatoes and many cereals. These foods have a high glycemic index which means they raise your blood sugar very quickly. This stimulates the production of products in your body that increase inflammation.

Other inflammatory foods include alcohol, dairy, processed meats, refined grains and food additives such as MSG.

Instead include more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Try and eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fatty fish such as wild salmon, fermented foods  such as kefir, garlic, blueberries, broccoli, sweet potato, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, green tea and spices such as clove, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and turmeric.

Remember inflammatory reactions in the body are NORMAL, and needed. Our bodies are designed to deal with some inflammation – we just don’t want to be inflamed all the time.  This is what happens when we eat a diet high in inflammatory foods.

So make sensible choices. Eat well, take time out for yourself and decrease the stress on your body.

You will feel so much better for it!

Take care,

Warm regards,

Judy xx

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Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Feeling Stressed…………is it all in my head?

Stress has become synonymous with our daily lives and it’s something that we all encounter at some time, if not on a daily basis. “I’m feeling stressed’ has become the new byline. Just think to yourself how often you say that you are stressed or your life is very stressful.

Does thinking that you’re stressed actually contribute to the stress response? If I think I’m stressed, will I actually feel stress?

Stress is our body’s response to a distressful or dangerous situation. It’s that ‘fight or flight response’ that protects us from harm. Adrenaline and Cortisol are released and our heart rate increases, our blood pressure goes up, glucose is released to our muscles. All these responses help our body prepare for flight or react in an emergency.

More and more research is showing the connection between our thoughts and the physical changes that they may cause in our bodies. As soon as we perceive a situation to be stressful, we tense up, become anxious and may feel ‘butterflies’ in our stomach. A part of our brain, called the Thalamus detects negative thoughts as a real danger, not just a perceived one and sends sensory and motor signals to the rest of our body. Hence even thinking negative or stressful thoughts will cause physical changes.

Stress can also be beneficial in that it can help you stay focused, be more energetic or prepare for a challenge. If the stress is short term, our bodies return to normal but if the stress is ongoing over a long period of time, harmful changes may occur.

Every part of your body is affected by stress. It can suppress your immune system, lead to chronic fatigue, affect your digestive and reproductive systems, speed up ageing and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. It may also lead to depression, anxiety and mood disorders.

The good news is that we can change our thoughts and hence diffuse the situation and decrease the stress response. If we are under constant pressure, take time out to see what changes you can make. What can you cut back on?

Learn to say ‘No’. Delegate! Ask for help. Everything doesn’t have to be done at once. Learn to prioritise.

Don’t try and be everything to everybody. Respect yourself and your time. If you can help someone, do it, but if it stresses you or exhausts you, politely say ‘no’. You might always try and do it all yourself, but perhaps it’s time to let go of that control and ask for help.

Look at how you react to others. Why do they trigger you? Can you respond differently and see their point of view as well. Trying to diffuse a potentially stressful situation may help avoid the stress altogether.

Also, try meditation. Numerous studies have shown the huge benefits of stress reduction from regular meditation practice. If we calm our minds, we become more focused, less reactive and our bodies become calmer. Reflexology is another great tool to deeply relax you and reduce your stress response.


Take some time out from those stressful thoughts. They may only be in your head but they affect every part of your body.

Take care and please let me know what you think.


With love,

Judy xxx

Ps. You can also like our page on Facebook.




Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.