Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why?

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why and what actually is it?

The words, ‘self care’ have been bandied about in newspapers and on social media. They are the new buzz words. Take care of yourself, put yourself first, be more gentle with yourself, eat more healthily, exercise more, do more meditation.

I’m not undermining the importance of these actions. Any form of self care is beneficial. However it needs to be more than the occasional outing for a massage or reflexology treatment. It needs to be more than the ‘walk around the block’ or the odd smoothie.

Self care needs to be a concerted effort to put yourself first. All the time. This is where extreme self care comes in. It means loving yourself enough so that the actions you take and the decisions you make on a daily basis reflect this self love.

It means having strong boundaries and only saying ‘Yes’ to what you really want and need. It means listening to your body and what he/she is telling you. It means not trying to push through when all your body wants is rest.

You may think it is selfish to put yourself first all the time. This is what we were taught as children. We need to give to others first, put other’s needs before our own. We need to give, give and give until you have no more to give, then give some more. We give out of obligation and we give out of guilt. We give because we feel it is expected of us.

How many of us end up burnt out, exhausted, defeated and resentful? We are perpetuating a myth. Trying to live up to an impossible image of perfection. This was my story too. So much of my self worth was based on my achievements, helping others, being the ‘good girl’, aiming for perfectionism. As author, Cheryl Richardson says, “So many of us, especially women, have taken on this ‘noble’ role. What we don’t realise, until it’s too late, is the high price for being ‘generous.”

Ending up exhausted and always fatigued, made me realise that my life had to change. Extreme self care was warranted.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care or is this your story too? If so, how can you start implementing more extreme measures? How can you start putting yourself first? By learning to love and accept yourself. All of you. Your perfections and imperfections. We all have them and it’s time to accept ourselves as we are. No more comparing ourselves with others. We are all different. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us. Embrace them.

Accept where you are at. We all start this journey at different points. Sometimes it is easy to make changes and sometimes it is really hard, but make a start. It may feel uncomfortable putting yourself first. You may fear the judgement and criticism of others. You may feel guilty. But do it anyway. It will get easier.

Know too, that the more you do for yourself, the more energy you will have to give to others. The more you start to care for yourself, the greater your ability to make choices from a place of love and compassion. The more you demonstrate extreme self care, the more you will inspire others to do the same.

So start small so that it feels doable. Start with some simple self care. Drink more water, every day. Go to bed earlier. Start adding more vegetables to your meals. Look after your health, so go for those overdue dental check ups or eye checks. See your GP when needed. Don’t put your health in the “do later” basket.

Start asking for help. It may not be done the way you would do it, but that’s okay. You don’t have to do it all! If you are invited out socially or asked to help out, don’t say ‘Yes’ straight away. Say you will get back to them. Then think about it and decide whether it is something you really want to do or have the energy for.

Begin saying Yes to more fun, more creativity, more ‘me’ time, on a daily basis. Book in your regular reflexology or self care practices. Set limits on your availability. The more you respect your time, the more you allow others to do the same. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just sitting in the sun every day or going for a walk.

Do more of what lights you up. Give more to yourself. Do things that fill your soul. As you start to finally listen to your own needs you will begin to feel more fulfilled and happier in your life. You will then be able to give to others from a space of true giving. No guilt. No obligation. Just a place of appreciation and connection with those around you.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, perhaps it’s time to start. It’s never too late.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: The Art of Extreme Self-Care By Cheryl Richardson, Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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.

Can you find Peace in a Crazy World?

Can you find Peace in a crazy world when so much seems to be out of our control? How can you switch off from the constant stress that seems to surround us on an everyday basis?

It isn’t easy, but it is possible and there are things you can do today to remove you from that ‘fight or flight’ response.

Firstly, acknowledge when you are feeling stressed or impatient or anxious. If we stop and recognise our feelings, we can do something to address them.

There is no shame here. The last few years have brought up so many anxieties and fears that we never knew we were capable of feeling. Current world events only add to this stress. It’s okay to be angry or feel scared. We are in unfamiliar territory and that’s uncomfortable and often frightening.

So we react in different ways, depending on our past experiences, beliefs and values. We may lash out at others in anger or impatience, we may retreat from the world in fear or we may experience physical symptoms that affect our health.

Acknowledge that this is okay. Don’t criticise or condemn yourself. It may not feel pleasant, but we are just reacting to our circumstances and so many of these circumstances are out of our control. Try and give yourself space in your day. Space where you are not always meeting the needs of others. Space where you can just be and sit or have a nap if you need to. Nurturing ourselves is so important.

Try some meditation. It has huge proven benefits to still the mind. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit still and chant. It can be as simple as sitting outside with the sun on your face, while you tune in to the sounds around you. Being present in the moment is deeply healing.

Go for a walk or dance around the house. Move your body. This encourages those ‘feel good’ hormones to flood your system and leaves you feeling more relaxed and energised. Scream out loud if you need to or sing at the top of your voice. You may feel more comfortable doing this at home, but do it whenever you can, as it helps to release pent up emotions.

Spend time with those who make you laugh. Laughter also releases those ‘feel good’ hormones, such as Dopamine and Serotonin. If you need time alone, then do that. Sit in stillness at home, binge on Netflix or read a book. We all need some down time. Don’t feel guilty!

Definitely, don’t watch the news. It’s meant to be dramatic and alarming, to catch our attention. Your nervous system doesn’t need that. By all means stay informed, but a quick look on the internet will fill you in on all you need to know.

Eat healthily. This may sound strange, but junk food has a negative effect on our brain and hence, affects our mood. It is highly addictive, so the more you eat, the more you want. It gives us temporary pleasure so our brain encourages us to repeat that ‘fix’. It is also inflammatory and can damage our neurones or nerve cells.

Engage in supportive treatments such as Reflexology. It addresses any underlying emotion or trauma and is deeply healing and powerfully relaxing. Try yoga or tai chi. Both are very grounding and stress-reducing practices.

Can you find peace in this crazy world? I really believe you can, but it does take some effort. You need to be willing to change and be accepting of how you are feeling, without judgement. I try and do this on a regular occurrence. I don’t always get it right but I know I have the tools to become more grounded when I need to.

Try and give it a go. Recognise your emotions and don’t judge yourself. Accept that life is weird and uncomfortable now. Then sit in stillness, laugh out loud, dance and sing as if no one is watching and find peace in your life and hopefully, peace in your Heart.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

This facial reflexology chart may be helpful to reduce fear and anxiety. You can download it here. https://solevitality.com.au/fear-and-anxiety/

References: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/sep/five-ways-junk-food-changes-your-brain, Photo by Javardh on Unsplash 

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.

Do You find it easy to Declutter your Life?

Do you find it easy to Declutter your life? Do you find it easy to let go of things that no longer serve you or do you hold on for dear life?

Many years ago, a Japanese lady called Marie Condo wrote a book called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” In it she recommended only keeping the things in your life that ‘spark joy.’ While her book was based on physical items, I believe it’s a great practice to apply in all areas of your life.

How many of us hold onto behaviours or beliefs that no longer serve us? We’re scared of change or letting go of what is comfortable, even if it’s not healthy for us. It’s too hard, we will be judged, what will our friends or family say, others may not approve. So we stay the same. Change is difficult. What if we fail? What if it’s a disaster? We tell ourselves so many stories that we convince ourselves that our current lives aren’t too bad. We may not be happy, but we are comfortable!

But what if we challenged this status quo? What if we began to look at our lives in a new way, letting go of the old and allowing some new energy to come in instead. This may involve physical or emotional things, but the result is the same. Each time you let go, even a little, you allow space for the ‘new’ to come in.

What if you let go of control, of needing to manage the people and events in your life? What if you created better boundaries around your time and availability and let go of the need to be the people pleaser? What if you decluttered jobs, friends, relationships that only bring you grief and anxiety? What if you asked for help instead of trying to do it all yourself? What if you said “No” to the things that don’t bring you happiness and ask instead, what ‘sparks joy’ in my life?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Lungs and Large Intestine represent control and letting go. The lungs hold onto grief and how easily we ‘breathe’ through life. Whether we are holding on to someone or something or are unable to move on. The Large Bowel also represents letting go, not just of waste products but of ideas, thoughts and emotions that are toxic or hold us back. In Reflexology I always give extra attention to these areas for we all hold tension to some degree in the lungs and bowels.

The Lungs and Large Intestine are part of the Metal element in TCM and Autumn is the season of the Metal element. As we near the season of Autumn, it’s the perfect time to look at what we can let go of or declutter in our life.

Do you find it easy to Declutter? If not, look at what you are holding onto and the reasons why. Is it fear? So many of us hold onto life because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of upsetting someone, fear of being judged or criticised.

But what if you began small? Just started with one thing. Perhaps saying ‘No’ to extra work or that job you have always said ‘yes’ to but resented. Perhaps declining an invitation because you needed some time to yourself. Perhaps asking for help around the house instead of feeling you need to do everything. Perhaps letting go of perfectionism. Perhaps eating more vegetables or removing one unhealthy food from your diet.

When you let go of the old, you allow more space and energy to come in to your life. You allow more joy and more of the things that light you up to enter in. You begin to live a more authentic life, on your terms.

Do you find it easy to Declutter? If so, that’s great. Keep it up. If not, take one step at a time. As you start to make change, you will find it becomes easier, and more sustainable change follows. You will also start to notice more joy and abundance creeping into your life.

As we move away from summer, think of the trees. They begin to shed their beautiful autumnal leaves without resistance, letting go of the old decaying remnants that no longer serve them. They know that more beauty and growth lie ahead in the months to come.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, www.acupuncturepathways.com/news/2017 Photo by Our Bahcivancilar on Unsplash

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.

May you all find Happiness this Christmas.

May you all find Happiness this Christmas, whatever the day may hold for you.

It has certainly been another very challenging year and the future seems uncertain. Yet as this very special time of year, I believe that it’s important to pause and reflect on the year gone by. Not everyone celebrates Christmas and I know that for many, it can be a sad and lonely time. Families get together and tensions may arise. However it’s important to remember that happiness can be found, whatever the circumstances.

I have been fortunate to have very fond memories of Christmas. It was always a magical time for me as a child. It began early with the feast of St Nicholas celebrated on December 6th. My sisters and I would leave our shoes outside our bedroom door, in the hope that they would be filled with small gifts by the morning. If we had been good (we were always told this as an incentive), we would find some nuts, fruit and chocolates waiting for us. Apparently St Nicholas loved children and these tokens were a reminder of the simple things and allowing ourselves to receive. The rest of the month was then spent excitedly waiting for Christmas to arrive.

As I reflect on the past twelve months, despite the difficulties of trying to run a business during the constant lockdowns, there has been a lot to be grateful for. As a family, we have had a lot of time together. This can be stressful at times, but there have been so many laughs and fun times together. We have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries in ways we haven’t before. Although we could not go out for these occasions, we still dressed up and had a lovely meal to make the most of the day.

Often opportunities present when you least expect them to and I have had time to write a book, as well as some poetry. I have also joined a group of creatives, that have supported my endeavours in the artistic field. I have returned to photography and am playing around with painting. No masterpieces yet but it has been fun.

Whatever happens in life, be it illness, loss or some other stress, there is always been some joy to be found. Nature keeps giving to us repeatedly, and it’s so rewarding to spend some time walking in the local area or spending time in the garden. What have you done to bring joy and wonder into your life? It is always there, even if sometimes, you have to look a bit harder.

Give yourself the gift of slowing down, of finding time just for you. It can be hard, as life gets very busy leading up to Christmas, but take an hour or even a few minutes every day. Remember to breathe, give thanks for all that your have and sit in the moment. A new year is around the corner and with that comes the magic of possibility.

May you all find Happiness this Christmas and may it be a peaceful and joyous occasion for you. Thank you so much for your support of Reflexology, all your care and for reading these newsletters. It is all greatly appreciated.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Photo by  Max Beck on Unsplash

Who is responsible for your Healing?

Healing. Taking back your power.

Who is responsible for your Healing? Is it you or your practitioner?

I recently pondered this after completing a personal development course. We looked at our ego and belief systems and how they affect our behaviours and how we tend to stay in the same dysfunctional patterns. I believe that this also applies to our health.

If we are unwell, we may seek advice or a diagnosis from a doctor. In turn, they may give us some medication to help us get better or refer us for further tests. He/she may then follow up with us, to check on how we are progressing. The doctor has done his/her part in your healing and you can do yours by taking the advice given.

But does it go further than this? I believe it does. Doctors take an oath to treat those who are ill. They are responsible for those who seek their care. However the buck doesn’t stop there. You are responsible too, if not to a higher degree.

Healing is never straightforward. It involves the physical body, but it also involves the emotional, and the latter, often to a higher degree. In Reflexology I address the health issues that present, but also look at the emotional factors. How is that person feeling today? How are they feeling about their illness? Are they looking after themselves and how are they treating themselves? What language are they using? There are many layers involved in our healing.

How we react to our illness may also affect its’ outcome. If we remain anxious and stressed we remain in a constant ‘fight or flight’ mode. Our cortisone and adrenaline levels are always elevated and our immune system is suppressed. The incidence of heart disease is increased and chronic stress has also been linked to cancer.

If we remain in a ‘victim mode’ we are feeding into this negativity. I totally understand this, as it’s never easy if you have a chronic health condition. It is draining and exhausting and if it’s life threatening, it can be terrifying. But if we remain a victim, we stay powerless.

It’s important to look at how we are reacting and become aware of our behaviours. This doesn’t mean that we criticise ourselves, but instead look at our actions proactively. So many of our behavioural patterns are learned in childhood. If we are always yelled at as children, we take on certain behaviours to stay and feel safe. We may not express our feelings or our needs. If there are high expectations made of us, we feel that as adults we need to be perfect.

Dr Gabor Mate says that when we don’t express our own needs and feelings effectively, our physiology is also affected. Chronic emotional stress affects our immune system.  When our needs aren’t met in childhood, we play out our behaviours as adults. We compensate for the things we missed out on, or the behaviours that affected our upbringing. We forget to look after ourselves and end up meeting everyone else’s needs first. He says, “When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.”

So what can we do to change this?

Put yourself first! This may sound rather obvious, but to a habitual people pleaser like myself, it took many health issues for this to sink in. Whatever your diagnosis, choose yourself and choose healing. Take responsibility for yourself. Express how you feel, even if it’s just to family and ask for help if needed. Become aware of your reactions. We tend to repeat our behaviours, no matter the circumstances. We all have our own dysfunctional patterns.

Then take measures to reduce stress in your life. Yes illness is scary and yes, it is exhausting. But you can choose to stay it’s victim or you can choose to take back the power. Do more fun things for yourself, laugh(a lot) to boost those feel good hormones, which reduce the inflammatory response and move your body, even if all you feel up to is a walk around your garden.

Eat healthily, meditate, sing, dance, swim, spend time in nature, or do whatever reduces your stress levels. Find someone to talk to about how you really feel and look at the behaviours that no longer serve you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. It isn’t easy as this opens us up to fear, criticism or self-judgement, but it’s an important part of our healing.

Practise reframing your words. If they are always negative, this will reflect on how you are feeling. Biologist Bruce Lipton showed that changing how we look at things changes the chemistry in our body.

Healing is a multi-faceted thing. It’s important to remember that our body is always working to support us. Who then, is responsible for your Healing? I believe we need to collaborate with health professionals when needed, but ultimately the responsibility lies within ourselves.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: “When the Body says No – The cost of Hidden Stress” by Dr Gabor Mate, “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton, PhD. Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash 

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.

Did you know you had a ‘Calming’ nerve?

Did you know you had a ‘Calming’ nerve and you can use it to benefit your health? Let me tell you about it.

As you know, our nervous system is a very complex system, made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. It is our body’s communication system and controls a lot of the body’s functions.

An important part of our nervous system is the network of cranial nerves that connect the brain to our head, neck and body. They are either sensory or motor. Think of our sense of smell, taste and touch and movement of muscles. These are just some of the functions of the cranial nerves.

Parts of our nervous system operate automatically eg breathing, digestion, heart rate. Our sympathetic nerves are involved in our ‘fight or flight’ response, physical activity, heart rate and innervation of many body processes.

Parasympathetic nerves on the other hand, are our ‘rest and digest’ nerves. They regulate the function of organs during rest and have a slowing down or dampening effect.

This is where the ‘Calming’ nerve comes in. It is called the Vagus nerve and is the tenth cranial nerve. It’s also one of the most important parasympathetic nerves and one of the longest in the body. It originates in the Brain stem and travels right through the neck, chest, abdomen and the digestive system to the middle of the large intestine. Its’ name comes from ‘vagabond’ and it’s known as the wandering nerve.

The Vagus nerve is truly a calming nerve because it slows down breathing and heart rate so aids in relaxation. It communicates between the gut and the brain and decreases stress, anxiety and fear. It controls our digestion and slows down heart rate. It is also involved in the immune system and decreases inflammation.

Did you know you had a ‘calming’ nerve? We all do and can use it to benefit our health? We are living in an unprecedented time, when so much is out of our control. The news is full of drama and alarm and our stress response has never been so activated. It’s very easy to get caught up in that ‘fight or flight’ mode and never truly relax.

This is where the Vagus nerve comes in. You can work the nerve point for it on your face whenever you are feeling stressed. Do it on a daily basis and you will start to see its’ benefits. You can find the chart here.

You can also take measures to decrease your reaction to stress by avoiding the news, spending time in nature, exercising, eating healthily (most of the time), doing meditation, laughing, being creative and putting some more fun back into your day.

When so much is out of our control, it’s so important to remember what remains in our control. Working the Vagus nerve, our ‘calming’ nerve is something every one of us can do. After all, reducing our stress and staying relaxed is one of the best ways to stay healthy.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Multireflexology Dien Chan by Patrick Aguilar Cassara & Anna Roca, https://www.healthline.com/health/12-cranial-nerves, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/functions-of-the-autonomic-nervous-system/, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318128#What-is-the-vagus-nerve, Touchpoint Denmark – Webinar on Digestion by Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund,

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.

Are we Energetic Beings or is this some New Age nonsense?

Energetic being

Are we Energetic Beings and what does this even mean? Or is this just some New Age nonsense that is prevalent in the news and social media?

I believe that we are all made of Energy. Every single process that occurs in our body involves energy. Doctors measure the electrical energy of our heart via an Electrocardiogram, an ECG. Our brain activity is measured via an Electroencephalogram, an EEG. Every nerve connection, the release of every hormone and the chemical messages that take place in our body on a constant basis, all involve an exchange of energy.

We are all energetic beings. If you doubt this, just rub your hands together. What do you create? Heat. Heat is energy.

Why is this energy important? Because it affects our overall health. The functioning of every cell in our body is affected by this flow of energy. Scientists have found that an electrical energy exists between a cell and its’ cell membrane. When disease occurs, this energy is depleted.

Reflexologists, kinesiologists, reiki masters, acupuncturists, cranial sacral therapists and many other practitioners, all tap into this energy. The Hindus call it Prana and the Chinese, Chi. It is our life force.

Our emotions also affect the flow of this energy. In her book, ‘Molecules of Emotion,’ neuroscientist Candace Pert talks about the connection between our emotions and our minds. She discusses how chemicals are released in response to different emotions. When blocked emotions are released through touch or other methods, the energy pathways in our body are restored.

While Western medicine only measures energy in terms of metabolic processes in the body, many ancient and complementary therapists see our Life force energy as a combination of our physical and emotional being. Candace Pert sees this energy as a flow of information carried by our emotions and their biochemical messengers.

So what affects this flow of energy throughout our body? The reasons are varied but they include stress, our environment, sleep, the food we eat, our emotions and how we deal with life’s challenges. All of these factors may lead to disease. If there is a balance, in all aspects of our lives, the flow of energy is not disrupted and leads to health.

As a Reflexologist, I work with your energy. What does this mean? It means that by using various maps of the face, nerve points and acupuncture points, I can tap into your energy and work with your body to rebalance it. All your energetic pathways, your circulation, nerve supply, endocrine system are stimulated to bring your body back into balance.

So next time you think of your Body, marvel at its’ many accomplishments. Your body is always working to support you. You are an energetic being filled with a vibrant life force. Sometimes this is depleted and needs some assistance to restore but never forget that healing is possible. It’s what your body is always striving to do.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

I also wanted to tell you about a wellness device that I have been using called the Healy. It uses both a micro current and a frequency to restore the energy of your cells. The micro current works to restore the depleted energy of the cells while the frequency works directly on your bioenergetic field, that is, all systems, organs, tissues and cells of the body. It has helped me with sleep, back pain and boosting my immune balance, to name just a few of its’ benefits.

It is on sale until the end of June. From the 1st July it is changing to a subscription model and prices are increasing. I just wanted to tell you about, it in case you are interested.

To read more about this device, which is an energetic device, click here.

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.

References: Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, https://www.healthline.com/health/qi-deficiency#causes

Do you Allow yourself to Receive?

Gift of receiving

Do you allow yourself to receive and how well do you receive?

As children, most of us are brought up to give rather than receive. When we do receive, we are told to do so graciously. If we expect too much, we are considered to be selfish or greedy. Giving makes us a better person. It makes us feel happy to give. Giving a smile to a stranger, or kindness to someone in need, stimulates our brain to produce endorphins, our ‘feel good’ hormones.

Giving is also said to be beneficial for our health as it reduces stress. This is certainly shown in the practice of gratitude. If you are feeling anxious about something, but concentrate instead on what you are grateful for in your life, those feelings of anxiety diminish.

Do you also allow yourself to receive? It’s great to give to others, but it’s also very important to learn to receive for yourself. Being a martyr doesn’t serve anyone and those who never allow themselves to receive, may end up resentful. I’m not just talking about material things, but also simple gestures such as compliments. If someone compliments you on your hair or your dress, do you accept reluctantly and feel you instantly have to compliment them on their own appearance? Or can you accept the compliment as it is, without feeling that you have to give one back?

If a friend spontaneously buys you a gift, do you feel you have to buy one back or can you accept the gift happily and excitedly, in the manner in which it is given?

It isn’t always easy to receive and many of us aren’t very good at doing it. If we are brought up to always think of others, we very often forget to think of ourselves and our own needs and then neglect them. As children we may have been given love and validation mostly when we gave to others. We may feel that we will be judged if we receive too much or else feel guilty when we do.

Consequently we try and compensate by giving something back to lessen the guilt, or we may refuse the gift because we feel we are unworthy. If I accept help, I may be perceived as weak, or if I am given too much, there will be expectations placed on me to reciprocate.

We may have poor boundaries and allow others to dictate their needs, instead of respecting ours. We may ignore our own desires because we always put others first. We may not treat our own health with the priority it deserves, because we put the health of others first.

How often have you pushed through when feeling exhausted, just so that you didn’t disappoint a friend or client? How often have you worked late to meet a deadline for your boss, when your body craved to be in bed? Why not give your body the rest it needs? What about treatments such as Reflexology? Do you see them as just pampering your body, or do you allow yourself to receive the deep gift of relaxation and rebalancing that your health needs?

Allowing ourselves to receive is a gesture of self love and self worth. If we truly care about ourselves, we know that we are worthy of receiving.

To give to others is a wonderful practice. It makes us kinder, more considerate human beings. However to be really happy, healthy and fulfilled within ourselves, it is equally as important to allow ourselves to receive in abundance.

When did you last allow yourself to receive? I would love to know.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you

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.

Viruses: What are they and why do they make us sick?

Viruses

Viruses are a hot topic at the moment. What actually are they and why do they make us sick?

Viruses are microscopic organisms made up of genetic material, either DNA or RNA. They are an intricate part of life forms, including humans and some scientists believe they are the precursors to life. 80% of our genes are said to have originated from viruses. They are an important part of the microorganisms that live within us. There are said to be 1-2 million different types of viruses, but only 5-6,000 have been identified.

Viruses cannot replicate by themselves so they need a host cell to survive. They attach to human cells in different ways and once inside our cells, they replicate and spread to surrounding tissue to create more virus particles.

As they replicate, mutations occur and these mutations happen all the time. These mutations are errors and the virus tries to correct these. If it’s a DNA virus it can repair errors, but if it’s a RNA virus it can’t. Coronavirus is a RNA virus so many mutations occur. Some mutations are able to infect more people and become stronger, while most mutations actually destroy the virus.

So why do viruses make us sick? Viruses make us sick by killing cells or disrupting their function, depending on how quickly they are released inside the body. We become ill when a virus has established an infection in multiple cells and the body’s normal functioning is changed.

Our immune system is our defence system and acts to fight foreign substances. It is also a repair system. Whenever there is tissue damage eg. from a wound, it removes dead cells and helps new ones to form.

When our immune system detects a virus, it starts to produce antibodies to fight the invader. Our body responds with a fever to inactivate the virus with heat, and secretes chemicals that stop the virus from reproducing. Our immune system works to eliminate the infection and remembers the virus, in case a swift response is needed next time it meets it again.

We’re exposed to viruses every day, but our immune system prevents the vast majority of them from taking hold – especially those that we’ve fought off before, or been vaccinated against.

So what can we do to prevent becoming ill when we encounter a virus? A strong and healthy immune system is our best defence. The state of our immune system will determine whether we become ill or how quickly we recover. In terms of vaccinations, a strong immune system will also determine if you have reactions and how severe they are.

A healthy diet with lots of green leafy vegetables, less processed food and adequate hydration, along with immune boosting supplements such as Vitamin C, D3, A and Zinc will all boost the immune system.

Practical measures such as hand washing with soap or using alcohol, breaks down the cell membrane of viruses such as the Coronavirus and kills the virus. Reducing stress and spending time in nature, moving your body and using meditation have also been shown to be of great benefit. Also replacing fear with knowledge, spending time with friends and boosting those ‘feel good’ hormones.

Reflexology is another powerful tool to increase nutrition, circulation and nerve supply to all your cells. It boosts the immune system by reducing inflammation, stimulating our immune receptors and decreasing stress.

Another thing to remember is that not all viruses are harmful. Viruses in the gut are part of our natural immune system and actually protect the body from invading bacteria. What was once an ancient virus, has now formed into a protein needed for the formation of the placenta in a developing foetus.

Viruses are ever present. They have increased over the years, through environmental changes such as de-forestation, over-breeding of animals, over-processing of foods, climate change, poverty and famine.

Perhaps instead of focusing on destroying viruses, we can instead try and influence our environment, nutrition and our Immune system so that any detrimental impact is lessened. If we can live in harmony, maybe we can find that a balance exists between all parts of our world.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/how-do-viruses-make-us-ill/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209710/, https://www.livescience.com/53272-what-is-a-virus.html, https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2020/04/03/how-coronaviruses-infect-us-how-infectious-viruses-created-us/, https://microbiologysociety.org/why-microbiology-matters/what-is-microbiology/viruses.html, Touchpoint Denmark – Webinar on Viruses by Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund.

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.

All Health begins in your Gut

All health begins in your Gut.

You may think this is a bold statement but I believe it’s very true. We have been told countless times that ‘you are what you eat’, and it’s pretty obvious that if you eat lots of processed, sugary foods, you will gain weight, increase inflammation in your body and are at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

However I am talking about the importance of your Gut for overall health, not just from the food we eat. The Gut is actually the most important part of our Immune System. All health begins in our Gut. Our Small and Large intestines total approximately 6 metres in length and along the walls of the intestines are huge amounts of immune cells.

Did you know that 70-80% of all the immune cells in the body are located in the intestinal walls? The Gut contains large amounts of lymphoid tissue, which in turn contains many immune cells such as T-cells, plasma cells and macrophages which all fight disease. Certain cells in the gut lining spend all their time releasing huge amounts of antibodies into the gut. The immune cells within the intestines don’t just stay there. They can leave and travel to areas where they are needed.

Our immune system is the body’s defence system against infections and foreign substances. It is believed that the reason for the large concentration of immune cells in the gut, is because our intestines are the main route of contact with our outside environment. This may be in the form of viruses, bacteria or even the food we eat.

We also have a lymphatic system that filters the blood and lymph nodes, which are found throughout the body, and produce white blood cells. The largest concentration of lymph nodes in the body is found along the Superior Mesenteric Artery, (a blood vessel that supplies the gut) where the head of the pancreas meets the duodenum. All within the gut.

Organs such as the Spleen, Bone Marrow, Thymus Gland, Liver and Adrenal glands also perform important functions in our immune response.

A lot has been said about the Gut-Brain connection and it has been found that a two-way communication occurs between the gut and the brain. There are actually more nerve cells in the gut than in the whole spinal cord. These nerve cells produce neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Serotonin in large quantities. These chemical messengers affect not only our mood, but also the motility of the gut, regulation of blood flow, absorption of nutrients and the gut’s immune system.

We are all familiar with having a ‘gut feeling’ about something or ‘butterflies’ in the stomach before a new job or exam, but research has shown that this is due to a communication between the gut and the brain in what is known as the Enteric Nervous system. The Gut has the ability to make decisions independently of the brain eg. Digestion occurs irrespective of the brain, and many of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut.

Obviously factors such as lifestyle, genetics and our environment influence our health and it’s very easy to underestimate the importance of the gut in relation to our health. In Reflexology the gut is always addressed. It covers a large area on the foot and reflexes can be stimulated to increase nerve supply and circulation and stimulate an immune response. In Facial Reflexology, the immune system and hormones within the gut are also treated.

So next time you sit down for a meal, consider the food you are about to eat and how relaxed your meal times are. Every thing we put into our bodies, be it food or negative emotions, all have an impact, because ultimately, all health begins in your Gut.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

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.

References: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/advancements-in-research/fundamentals/in-depth/the-gut-where-bacteria-and-immune-system-meet, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772764/, Gut and Immunity Webinar by Touchpoint Reflexology with Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen.