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.

first aid tools

Can Facial Reflexology be used as a First Aid tool?

First aid

If you asked me, can Facial Reflexology be used as a first aid tool, my answer would be, definitely! I’m not talking about a life or death situation, though there is a resuscitation point on the face, but I’m discussing those aches and pains that can disrupt our lives when they present. Knowing a few ‘first aid’ techniques that you can easily use, can make all the difference.

Our face contains many neurological pathways that connect directly with the Brain. Our brain sends messages to our nervous and endocrine systems to bring about a response. Dien Chan Facial Reflexology was originally developed in Vietnam by an acupuncturist, Professor Chau.

He first used it to treat those who were ill and addicted to drugs following the Vietnam War. He initially used needles, but later found that working certain points on the face using only his fingers, was equally effective. It was also more affordable, for the many who would benefit from his services.

He found that certain points were more painful than others and were specific for a particular symptom. A reflex point will only react if there is an imbalance or disease process in the organ. These tools I’m about to mention, do not replace a medical consultation. They do however, help relieve pain and discomfort until you can receive further treatment if needed.

Many of us suffer from the occasional Headache. For some it is more severe and others may even get Migraines. Try these facial nerve points next time you start to feel a headache coming on. You may very well find that you don’t need any further intervention. You can find a facial reflex chart here: https://solevitality.com.au/headache-handout/

Back pain is a very common symptom and can occur as a result of poor posture, lifestyle, sprains and strains, a lack of fitness or due to a disease process. It can be extremely debilitating and can cause significant disruption to your life. These facial points may help ease muscle spasms and relieve the pain. The corresponding chart can be found here: https://solevitality.com.au/back-pain-handout/

I sometimes wake with a sore neck, especially if I have slept awkwardly or stayed somewhere with uncomfortable pillows. It can feel really painful to have restricted movement of your head and may sometimes lead to an accompanying headache. Try these points next time you wake with a stiff neck. They can work very quickly to relieve any discomfort. Find them here: https://solevitality.com.au/neck-pain/

Do you every overeat or get abdominal cramps if you have eaten something that disagrees with you? Maybe you have had a stomach bug with abdominal spasms? I recently had some gut issues and although I needed medical intervention and consequently medication, these nerve points helped relieve a lot of my discomfort, while I was waiting for the medication to work. You can use these points whenever you have an upset stomach or abdominal cramps. Follow this link here: https://solevitality.com.au/gut-or-abdominal-pain/

This next reflex point is also known as a Resuscitation point. If someone collapses, obviously call for an ambulance and start whatever First aid is warranted. This point however, has been found to be very useful for fainting or to expel a foreign body if someone is choking. If ever you are feeling faint yourself, you can work this point too. You can find it here: https://solevitality.com.au/resuscitation-point/

These are just a few examples of how Facial Reflexology can be used as a First Aid tool. Often these nerve points will ease the symptoms without further intervention being needed. Sometimes when the pain persists, these points will support you until you can receive additional help and remember, always seek medical assistance if pain persists or becomes a serious issue.

It’s very easy to pop a pill whenever pain strikes but many medications have side effects. Of course, medication may be needed for a disease process or chronic condition but if sudden pain strikes, try these nerve reflex points to see if they can make a difference. You may be surprised at how effective they are.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906, Multireflexology Dien Chan by Patrick Cassara and Anna Roca.

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.

New Year, hopes, dreams

How do you Welcome in a New Year?

New Year, creation, dreams

How do you welcome in a New Year?

Do you see it as just another day, do you celebrate quietly or do you party all night? We all have different ways of acknowledging the year that has passed and the new one just beginning.

Last year was a very challenging year for so many of us. It brought up fears and insecurities, hopes dashed and work circumstances altered. It also brought up unexpected opportunities for us all to slow down and re-evaluate our lives.

A New Year brings with it hope and the opportunity to plan what we would like the unfolding twelve months to look like. Yes there is still uncertainty and a lot is out of our control, but we can still plan and put in place structures and dreams to guide us forwards.

Many make New Year’s resolutions, but these are often forgotten by the time February comes. I, now choose to find a word that describes how I want to feel this year and my word for 2021 is Fearless. To me, this is a Bold word. I am a worrier and fear often presents in my life. My Mother was a worrier too and whether her anxiety had an impact on me or experiences in my life brought this up, I don’t know. I expect, a bit of both and perhaps it’s also part of my nature.

So I’m acknowledging this and seeing it as an opportunity to grow. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable and not play small. I am allowing my creativity to shine and continue spreading my message about the benefits of Reflexology. I am speaking up and sharing my thoughts and creations. Yes this feels scary, but it also feels empowering. As Marianne Williamson said, ” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. ………Your playing small does not serve the world.”

My Mother was once praised for a painting she did as a child. However, it was an art she never pursued and when she was very old, she said she had wished she had painted a rose. I encouraged her to do it then. It wasn’t too late. But she never did.

Do you have dreams and ideas about what you want to change or bring into your life? A new career, great health, writing a book, creating a sculpture or some unique jewellery, taking up a new sport or hobby? We all have dreams, but how many of them remain just that. We lose focus, ‘life’ takes over and we move on. We never accomplish our dreams.

So how do we get started? I suggest sitting quietly and thinking about what you loved to do as a child, or thinking of something that you would love to explore or bring into your life. Write it down to make it more attainable, then set goals as to how you can bring it into reality.

If it’s great health, then start by looking at your diet and including more healthy foods and exercise into your life. Set up a regime, even if it’s just a walk around the block each day. Start having treatments such as Reflexology to reduce stress and help balance your body. If it’s writing or painting, then put aside some time each week and stick to it. If it’s finding a new career, then sign up for a sample course or taster session to see if it is something that you want to seriously pursue.

Keep a journal or diary and refer to it to keep you on course. Be focused and take action. It’s all very well to have ideas but unless you take action on them, nothing changes. Action doesn’t have to be big or scary. Just one step at a time. That’s all you need to build momentum.

How do you welcome in a New Year? Is it just another day or is it the beginning of something exciting and new? Make each day count. We all have it in us to be ‘powerful beyond measure.’ I know that when I become very old, I don’t want to say, ‘I wish I had painted that Rose’.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return to Love’.

It’s almost Christmas time.

It’s almost Christmas time and nearly the end of another year. 2020 has been a year like no other. We have never experienced so many months of uncertainly, fear, confusion and disruption to our normal lives. Are you just hanging out for it to be over or have you learnt any lessons from it? Were there any benefits to slowing down or was it just a nightmare for you?

I found it a very mixed year. At first I allowed the fear to enter and I became swamped by it. I watched the news every night, worried about closing my clinic, became anxious about catching the virus, feared being in lockdown and was concerned about a lack of income.

But slowly I realised that how I was living was no fun and not sustainable. I couldn’t control external circumstances, but I could change my attitude and how I was living my life. So firstly, I stopped watching the news! This not only reduced my fear levels and that of my family, but it freed up time that I usually spent just staring at a screen.

I signed up for lots of courses, some free and some paid. I worked a lot on my personal development and realised that I was missing the creative aspect of my life. I started to write …. and write…… and write and a book is slowly forming. I had always loved writing as a child but it had long been left behind, along with creative pursuits that were considered a waste of time. I returned to my photography and began painting the flowers that I had captured on my camera.

Suddenly I felt alive again.

I realised that these past few months in lockdown, although not welcome, were an opportunity to re-evaluate my life and find what was missing. I realised that freedom to be me, to explore my passions, needed to have priority. I realised that I could combine my love of Reflexology with my love of the arts and rather than being overwhelmed, I would actually find more peace and time for myself.

What has this year brought up for you? Have you found that you actually crave more freedom and space in your life or have you missed the fast pace of always being on the go? Have you discovered a new hobby or resurrected an old one? I know that many people have returned to gardening or commenced it for the first time. Time to use our hands and connect with nature always has its’ rewards.

Was this year particularly isolating for you? I was blessed to have family at home but I know that many didn’t and found it very hard. I hope that the new freedoms we are now experiencing, particularly here in Australia lead to healing on all levels.

It’s almost Christmas time and each year we buy a live Christmas tree, a precious tradition from my childhood. I love the vibrant green of the branches and the evocative scent of pine that wafts through the house and greets me on rising each morning. It is now up and decorated, ready to be enjoyed by us all.

I know that the clinic has been closed more months than it has been open this year, but I thank you all for your wonderful support and look forward to seeing your beautiful faces next year.

What will the New Year hold for you? I hope it brings with it a sense of hope and optimism and excitement for what is yet to come.

Whatever traditions you hold dear or whichever way you choose to spend this time of year, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash.

Dealing with Chronic Disease isn’t easy………can you change your focus?

Change of focus

Dealing with Chronic Disease isn’t easy. If you suffer from any condition that affects the way you live your life, you have to make changes. These may involve modifying your behaviour or actions, or it may mean compromising on how you work, socialise or generally live from day to day.

A chronic condition may cause constant pain, a decrease in movement, fatigue, digestive issues, anxiety or irritability and frustration. What can you do to make life better? How can you deal with something that you may have to live with for many years?

I’m not saying it’s easy because it isn’t. There may be times that you feel fed up and really despondent and can’t see a solution. There may be times that you rebel, or feel angry or just give up. These are all understandable and normal reactions.

But what if you could change how you looked at life? What if you could use the resources available to make your life happier and easier, despite the pain or anxiety?

Concentrating on your condition every day gives more power to that condition. If all you focus on is pain, then all you will notice in your life is pain. Medications may be needed, but also consider changing your focus. What else can you do that lights you up? What things bring you joy? Focus on these instead.

There is a saying. ‘What you focus on you create.’ The brain constantly filters information. Our past experiences and beliefs shape our behaviour. As a result our brains can form new neural pathways. This is known as Neuroplasticity. The brain will change its’ messages according to new activities or changes in our environment.

Every time we have an experience, corresponding neurons are activated. Repeating or prolonging an experience will keep the connections between neurons strong and ensure that they stay. Genes are also involved. Regularly practicing meditation, for example, will increase the activity of genes that are able to soothe a stress reaction, ultimately making you more able to deal with stress.

Everything you experience will alter the physical structure of your brain in some way. So why not focus on positive things that bring you happiness and fulfilment.

Dealing with chronic disease isn’t easy and I’m certainly not advocating that it is. But we can all take measures to improve the quality of our lives. Reflexology is one therapy that can help. It improves nerve supply so that those positive neurons can be stimulated. It reduces inflammation so pain can be relieved. It increases circulation to help bring nutrients to all your cells. It helps balance your whole endocrine system so that the body’s chemical messengers are activated.

Reflexology also works on the brain. In conditions such as Fibromyalgia it addresses pain pathways by stimulating the Brain, Central Nervous system and Hormonal system. In Parkinson’s Disease it treats the brain and other areas involved in the production of dopamine, such as the retina of the eyes and the adrenal glands. It also helps reduce tremors and muscle tension.

In Diabetes, it helps to balance blood sugar levels and improve nerve supply and circulation to the kidneys and extremities. Research has also supported Reflexology’s efficacy in reducing fatigue and improving sleep. In those suffering from Cancer, it boosts the immune system, reduces pain and helps to increase physical strength. In Autoimmune conditions, it not only addresses the Immune system but also your emotions and the chemical reactions that take place in your body.

No matter what condition we are living with, we can always take back some control. If we are suffering from anything serious, it’s important to get medical advice but we don’t have to give all our power away. We can change our diet, drink more water, take up meditation, have regular Reflexology treatments, see a Naturopath. We always have choices.

It’s very easy to see your condition as the main focus of your life but it is only a part of your life. Yes it may take up a lot of your time and energy, but there is still so much of your life that exists outside of a diagnosis. Is there something you have always wanted to do, such as painting or writing? Would you like to learn a language or how to cook gourmet meals? There is so much available online now and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Find what lights you up, something that you have always wanted to do or perhaps never dreamt you could do. Give it a try. You will be surprised how fulfilling it can be. Taking the focus off something negative in your life, changes its’ impact on you.

Dealing with Chronic Disease can be very challenging. It is however, possible to retain some control and give your power back to yourself rather than to the disease.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References:www.reflexologyresearch.net. https://www.medicinenet.com/neuroplasticity/definition.htm https://www.heysigmund.com/why-what-you-focus-on-is-what-becomes-powerful-why-your-thoughts-and-feelings-matter/ Photo by Tim Swaan 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.

relaxation, well being, pain free

Taking the Power out of Pain

Relaxation, mindfulness, pain free.

Taking the power out of Pain is possible.

We have all experienced pain at some time in our lives. It may be from a headache, a cut to your finger, a broken bone or from a disease process. Many people live with chronic pain. Many others suffer emotional pain from heartache, a broken relationship, abandonment, loss or grief.

Pain has been described as an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience that can start as a mild discomfort or something more severe. It can be just an irritation or it can be agonising and we all experience it in different ways. This is dependent on the actual pain and our tolerance to it and is also influenced by our attitudes, beliefs, personality and social factors. It can affect our emotional and mental wellbeing and totally dominate our lives.

We can however, take the power out of Pain. What do I mean by this? We can look at the power and attention we give to our pain and change this. We can change our attitude towards pain and our focus on it. I am by no means, diminishing the extent of the pain that you may be feeling. Pain is real and if we are in severe pain, our whole life can be dominated by it.

However we can address the response we give to pain. Pain is influenced by emotions, and the cycle of pain and emotions are connected. Emotions may also affect physical change. For example, when you are anxious or angry, your muscles may tighten, and this change can contribute to increased pain. Our thoughts also influence how we feel pain. If we are anxious, our sense of pain heightens and we feel more pain and become more stressed, which in turn exacerbates the pain. Pain will also affect our sleep and if we can’t sleep, we don’t cope so well with any discomfort we may be feeling.

So what can we change? How can we live more comfortably with pain?

The first step is to acknowledge and accept that you have Pain. This may sound rather obvious as your body is screaming at you that you are definitely uncomfortable, but by taking this step you are starting to take back control. You are acknowledging what is there and now you can do something about it.

Pain does not define you! It is something you are currently living with but it is not who you are. Recognise this because it means that you still have a life outside of your physical and emotional feelings.

Stay informed about measures you can take in your life. If you need to take medication then become aware of what is available. Look at complementary therapies that can help too. Facial Reflexology is a very powerful therapy used in the treatment of pain. Regular treatments will reduce stress and inflammation and improve the nerve supply and circulation to help ease your discomfort. Specific charts can be designed for your particular area of pain so you can take back some control and become involved in your own care.

Practice meditation and deep breathing. This helps reduce stress and relaxes your body and takes the focus off any negative thoughts you may be experiencing. Engage in some exercise every day. Even if it’s a short walk outside. Do what you enjoy. Every time you move your body, you are helping strengthen your muscles, bones and joints. You are also reducing stress and improving your sleep. Just try it for short periods and increase when you feel more able to.

Look at your diet. Try and avoid foods that cause inflammation, as inflammation in the body stimulates the immune response. A heightened immune system, that is, one that’s always on alert, will affect our nervous system. This stimulates the brain to produce hormones, such a cortisol, that bring on anxiety and depression, rather than our ‘feel good hormones such as serotonin, that make us feel better. If our bodies are stressed or inflamed, they become more sensitive to pain, so that pain management techniques may not be as effective.

Foods that cause inflammation include dairy, refined flours, sugar, cakes, biscuits, vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower and corn oils, fried foods, processed foods and alcohol.

The best anti-inflammatory foods include foods that are as unprocessed as possible, fresh whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole grain breads and pasta, beans, lentils, chick peas and other legumes, nuts and seeds, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, seafood and poultry. Spices such as turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon and thyme have also been found to reduce inflammation.

Know that you can have an impact on how you experience pain. Acknowledge where you are without judgment. We all deal with pain differently and no way is right or wrong. Then look at your lifestyle and see what changes you can make. Take back control.

Pain is not an easy thing to live with, especially if it’s chronic pain but you can take the power out of it.

Let me know if you need any help.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

I am also offering online consultations to help with Pain relief. They can be booked here. https://solevitalitybooking.as.me/?appointmentType=13076781

References: www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/what-is-pain, https://www.hss.edu/conditions_emotional-impact-pain-experience.asp, https://www.msk.org.au/pain-guide/

Taking back your Power during a Pandemic.

Power, Empowerment.

Taking back your Power during a Pandemic is possible.

At a time when most of us are facing limitations on our normal lives, it’s very easy to feel powerless. However we still have the capacity to take back some control. I’m not talking about ignoring health advice or jumping on board with conspiracy theories, but instead I’m suggesting that we still have options. Options in how we choose to navigate the restrictions placed on us and how much impact they have on our lives.

Those of us in Melbourne are still in strict lockdown and this can be exhausting and depressing. It can be hard to see the positives in our lives when so much is far from normal. We can stay with these feelings of powerlessness or we can make the most of the opportunities available to us and take back our power.

Here are a few suggestions.

Put some structure into your week. For those who aren’t working or are working reduced hours from home, one day soon drifts into another. Why not put things in place that happen on certain days and so give some structure and meaning to your week. Perhaps do an exercise or dance class online every Wednesday, something creative on Mondays, shopping on Thursdays and rest on weekends. Make it a regular thing that happens on a certain day each week.

Exercise regularly. There is so much available online and a lot of it is free. Maybe you have always wanted to do Yoga or Tai Chi or a dance class. Now is the time. YouTube has some great ones. Get out in nature and enjoy these beautiful sunny days. I’m loving the blossoms and smells of Spring.

Get into the garden and plant some veggies, even in a pot. The winter ones are finishing but summer ones will be available soon. Growing your own food is so rewarding and helps you to stay focused and in the present. No room for fear or worry in the outdoors.

Have you always wanted to meditate but never found the time? Try Insight Timer. It’s a free app and has lots of different mediations from 5 minutes to an hour or more. Give yourself the benefits of this wonderful stress relieving practice. It has become such a part of my morning ritual that I feel unbalanced if I don’t do it.

Want to be creative? Start drawing or painting or just get your phone out and take some photos. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just have fun. I have been re-engaging with my camera and taking photos outside. I even tried out my son’s watercolour paints and had a ball. Creativity develops your whole brain as it requires you to ‘think outside the box’ and engage in some lateral thinking. No room for perfectionism or judgement here. Just play. You will find it so rewarding.

Work your Reflexology nerve points. These will help to balance your body and any underlying issues. There are some free charts under the Products page on my website.

Do something completely different and out of your normal routine. I was gifted an online cooking class recently and had so much fun preparing the (supplied) food. My son and I did it together on Instagram. We had so many laughs trying to keep up with the chef and reading everyone else’s hilarious comments. Look up Providoor.com.au. If you don’t want to cook, have a meal delivered instead.

Talk to your friends and family, often! It’s very easy to become isolated and lonely. Reach out to others and if you need to, ask for help. Don’t be ashamed if you aren’t coping. We all go through ups and downs during this crisis. I recently lost a much loved family pet, then we had some huge storms and no power for 27 hours. On top of that we had to start boiling our drinking water and that was the final straw. A beautiful friend sent me a gift and totally restored my optimism and resilience. Don’t be hard on yourself if things are difficult. We are going through unprecedented times and none of us know how to navigate our way through.

Talk to others and write down how you are feeling. Journalling helps take the anxiety and worry out and puts it on the page instead. Don’t watch the news and laugh, often. Even if its just a silly meme or Gif or a funny movie. They all help to lift your mood. Think of things that you have always wanted to do, be it drawing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument and just do it!

Taking back your power during a pandemic IS possible. You just have to remember that the power is within You.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Photo by Fuu J. on Unsplash

Our Eyesight is arguably our most important sense. Can we improve it?

eyes

Our Eyesight is arguably our most important sense. 80% of what we perceive in the world happens via our sight. Our cognition, learning and motor abilities are mediated through our vision. Because our visual cortex takes up the largest area of any sense, it is usually the most acute sense we perceive. So can we improve our eyesight and if so, how?

Due to current circumstances, many of us are spending longer hours in front of a screen, be it television or computer. This can cause a lot of strain on our eyes leading to headaches or blurred vision. As we age, the lenses of our eyes become less flexible which makes it harder to focus on close objects. Our eyes may also become drier as we produce less tears, there may be a loss of muscle tone in the muscles around the pupil and we may also develop cataracts. There are said to be 570 named illnesses that can affect the eye.

This all sounds a bit dismal, but there are many things you can do to preserve your eyesight and prevent deterioration. Facial Reflexology is one of them. It is a very powerful therapy that works on all levels of the body – physical, mental and emotional. Firstly, it improves the circulation to every part of the eye which is very important, as of those 570 illnesses, most are related to eye circulation. By increasing blood flow to the eyes, function will be improved.

Nerve supply is also stimulated to assist with messages from the brain via the Optic nerve. Facial reflexology can work the muscles on the face and the muscles around the eye. Many of these muscles receive their blood supply via major arteries that run through the face and are innervated by cranial nerves, which are again worked through Facial reflexology.

Facial reflexology uses the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is believed the all eye problems come from an organ problem and most diseases affecting the eye are closely related to the liver and gallbladder meridians.

The eye is nourished by all of the internal organs in the body and an imbalance in any of these internal organs will lead to a dysfunction in the eyes. Facial Reflexology looks at which organs and meridians are most out of balance and treats these along with the liver and gallbladder meridians. It also addresses the immune system to help with any infections in the eye , such as Conjunctivitis and the Spleen and Stomach meridians to help with circulation to the eyes.

Other factors to consider for eye health are diet, stress, the type of work we do, computer use, exercise and lifestyle. A diet rich in betacarotene, vitamins C and E, and sulfur-bearing amino acids are recommended. Foods rich in these nutrients include garlic, onions, beans, spinach, celery, turnips, yellow and orange vegetables, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, apples, oranges and tomatoes. It’s also important to have plenty of water to help hydrate the eyes, exercise to improve circulation, frequent breaks from computer use and meditation, yoga or other forms of stress relief.

These will all benefit your eye health.

We are often told that worsening eyesight is just a part of ageing and that nothing can be done to stop this decline in our eyesight. However, numerous peer-review studies show clearly that many eye conditions can respond to proper diet, lifestyle adaptations and nutritional supplementation, and that people can preserve their vision. 

Reflexology is also a very powerful tool and many eye conditions can be helped. I always remember a story told by my Reflexology tutor about a boy with a rare congenital condition, Q18 syndrome, who was born deaf and blind. He had intensive daily reflexology for three years and regained 100% of his hearing and eyesight.

Our eyesight is arguably, our most important sense so why not take measures to improve it.

I would love to know your thoughts.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

You can find a chart of Facial Reflexology points to work on your eyesight here.

References: www.newjerseyeyesight.com, www.theconversation.com, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441907, Ocular Therapy Course by Lone Sorensen, www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Healthy+Eyes+with+Chinese+Medicine.

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.

When the World is changing, can Reflexology help?

Peace, stress free, reflexology, wellness, balance.

When the world is rapidly changing and life feels uncertain, can having a Reflexology treatment help? Can it actually make any difference?

I believe so.

Having regular Reflexology treatments won’t change world events, but it can change how you react to them. This year has seen unprecedented circumstances that have affected all of our lives. Australia experienced horrendous bushfires, then the Coronavirus struck around the world and now racial injustice is in the headlines. The old world order has gone, things are changing and life may never be as it was before.

Change is needed but it can bring up worry and anxiety.

Change can also lead to stress, as the unknown often brings up fear. As we all know, chronic stress contributes to so many diseases. Every time we feel anxious, or think a fearful thought or a negative emotion, we stimulate our hormonal and nervous system. Any emotion or thought that causes stress, no matter how small, results in the release of stress hormones. This is an energetic response of the body to cope with the stress. Not all stress is bad but a constant stimulation of our stress hormones, depletes our energy.

Long term stress can also lead to elevated blood pressure, elevated glucose levels, anxiety and worry and impact our immune, digestive and cardiovascular systems. At a time when most of us want to remain really healthy, this is not ideal.

Reflexology can make a significant difference. It deeply calms the body and mind and helps in the release of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. These so called, ‘feel-good’ hormones affect our mood, memory, motor function, sleep, learning ability and digestion as well as relieving pain.

Reflexology boosts the immune system, increases circulation and blood supply, hence bringing more oxygenation and nutrition to all of our cells. It also improves the nerve supply to the whole body and helps reduce our sympathetic response so that we don’t stay in that ‘fight or flight’ mode. As mentioned before, it also has a powerful effect on the Hormonal system.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that our bodies hold trauma and unless we deal with the emotions involved, be it sadness, anger, anxiety or worry, a disease process begins. Facial reflexology looks at the areas in your body where this disease process started, that is, where you first started to hold this emotion or stress. It then works to relieve this and reduce the impact it is having on your body.

This year has brought up many challenges and fears. We may feel powerless to make a change, though we do have our voice and can let our voices be heard. We can also acknowledge how we are feeling and do something about it. When the world is changing, we still have the power in our hands and Reflexology is a very powerful weapon.

Why not use it!

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

Please note that the clinic has reopened with strict Infection Control policies in place. To book in for a Reflexology treatment, current clients can use this link https://solevitalitybooking.as.me/reflexology

New clients please contact me here https://solevitality.com.au/news/

References: https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone#sunlight

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.