Archive for March, 2009

The number of young people with bowel cancer has more than doubled in ten years. In 1997, a survey showed that 63 people under the age of 30 were diagnosed with bowel cancer but 9 years later this figure had risen by 120 per cent to 137. This figure is likely to increase further.

Lifestyle is a crucial factor: the incresae of junk food, fatty diets and foods high in calories, combine with a lack of exercise – all contributing to a decline in health.

Over half those diagnosed with bowel cancer will die. Around 16,000 lives a year are lost to this disease. That’s 50 lives every day!

Awarenss needs to be raised that it is not just a disease of the elderly and that people in their 20s are dying.

If you get any symptoms such as abdominal pain, blood in your stools, diarrhoea, changes in bowel habits then you should see your GP. Doctors are very used to examaining patients so please don’t be embarassed.

Diet is very important in helping prevent this disease. The World Cancer Research Fund warns eating processed meat – including bacon, ham, pastrami, salami and hot dogs – significantly raises the chances of developing bowel cancer. Red meat also raises the risk slightly.

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish and wholegrains can cut the risk. Taking regular exercise and giving up smoking are also thought to reduce the chances of getting bowel cancer.


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Hands up who turned their lights off on Saturday 28th March between 8.00pm and 9.00pm?

To bring awareness to the global issue of carbon emissions, many cities across the world were turning off lights in buildings, usually left on even when no-one is in the building. From global corporations to the little house on the hill, millions of people got involved, in fact 3,943 cities and towns in more than 88 countries around the world.

Unfortunately the pub I happened to be visiting in the Lake District didn’t take part. But what I did notice on the walk back to our lodging, was the amazing sky full of stars, so many more than I have ever ever seen (except in the middle of Australia!). Being in the middle of the Lakes meant very little in the way of light pollution to hide the sky. It was such a glorious sight that I never see in London and made me realise just how much light pollution is out there – if we can’t see the stars due to lights, then that’s a lot of lights being left all contributing to a huge amount of carbon emissions.

Perhaps if you missed Saturday’s official Earth Hour, then why not have your own Earth Hour now – do you need all those lights on in the house right now? I’m switching off, right now.

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A new study from the US says that eating red meat and processed meat is bad for your health. Cancer rates and heart disease are highest in those eating red meat on a regular basis, whereas those eating little meat or white meat had a lower risk.

Meat is high in saturated fats which have been linked to breast and colorectal cancer, while cooking meat at high temperatures stimlates the cancer causing compounds found in the meat.

This study from the US National Cancer Institute comes just after a week after another study, led by Professor Tim Key from the University of Oxford, saying that vegetarians had a significantly lower incidence of cancer. However, the study did find a high rate of colorectal cancer amongst vegetarians which is usually associated with red meat eaters as mentioned above.

I think the answer, as ever, is to have a balanced diet. Whilst I’m not a nutritionist, I do know that it’s important to get your five a day of fruit and veg, to eat white meat and fish and to eat red meat, processed meat and other fats in moderation. We must also ensure an adequate intake of fibre, seeds, beans and pulses.

I do know of several red meat eaters who feel a meal is not complete without meat. They are the ones who need to read this US study and somehow be taught that ‘vegetarian’ meals are not the devils own or mere rabbit food. There are hundreds and hundreds of brilliant recipes made with butter beans, chick peas, tuna, salmon, chicken, eggs, quinoa, rice, cheese, kidney beans, baked beans, etc etc with not a slice of red meat in sight, and possibly more nutritious.

Now, I’m not adverse to bacon and eggs, but I probably wouldn’t then have red meat for several days after that. In fact, I was vegetarian once, having given up meat from a suggestion made by a homeopath who was helping me get over fatigue following glandular fever. He suggested cutting out red meat, so I went the whole way and cut out all meat. My health dramatically improved, I no longer felt fatigued half way through the day, my energy came back. And for the following six or seven years I remained vegetarian. Had I not done, I don’t think I would have discovered the delights of butter beans, chick peas, couscous and aubergines – being a non-meat eater made me more creative with my cooking. I loved it. But then, for various reasons, I went back to eating meat. I like it, I’ll be honest, but I do only have it once or twice a week because I also love other foods too and I love variety.

And, when I do buy meat, I try to make sure it’s organic. It actually tastes better.

See, now I’m hungry, after writing about food and it’s nearly bed time.

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Hayfever sufferers will be very interested to read today of a vaccine that will be available within two years. The prescription-only vaccine requires a jab four times over the course of three weeks. In tests of 1000 people, apparently symptoms were eased by 13 and 27 per cent. It works by triggering a good immune system response to the allergens that cause hayfever.

However, for those that don’t fancy a vaccine and prefer a more natural approach, there are two very good options for you: the first is to start eating a spoonful of your local honey every day from now and the second is Bowen Technique.

Eating local honey gets your body used to the same pollens that are causing your hayfever, yet in honey form do not bring out the same symptoms.

Bowen Technique, a holistic therapy using rolling moves of the thumbs and fingers over soft tissue, helps the body to find it’s own natural state of balance. The whole body is worked on to help alleviate symptoms but , in particular, a treatment may focus on certain points around the face, the temporomandibular joint and drainage of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (the one that you can feel from back of your ears down to the base of your throat). Ideally, sufferers should start their treatments a couple of months before the time they are most affected by hayfever, although starting during the hayfever season will also produce positive results. Case studies have shown people feel relief after just one treatment.

For more information on Bowen Technique, check out http://www.sarahpluves.com

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First, what a beatiful day it’s been.  I had lunch whilst sitting outside in the glorious sunshine.  Might even go for a run later!

So, back on the subject of recycling, which is a more complicated than I thought.

It’s not just a case of putting plastics into one recycling bin, paper into another, glass in another:  oh no, only certain types of plastics can be recycled (which ones is even more confusing); some recycling centres takes paper and cardboard, some don’t.   You have to wash everything out, don’t just chuck dirty cans or milk cartons away and one piece of the wrong type of material can negate a whole bin of recyling.

Have you seen these little symbols on the back of packs – American Society of Plastics Industry marking code.  





Quite helpful to an extent as long as you know what PP or HDPE or PP stands for!  So I emailed the local council about what can and can’t be recycle and got this (fairly) helpful reply:-

“With regards to the plastic bottles recycling skip at Summers Lane, in common with the house hold collection, we simply say anything bottle shaped this can be plastic milk bottles, drinks or detergent bottles providing they are clean.
We also have a hard plastics recycling skip at Summers Lane. It is best to check with staff what can go in here when you get there as it is quite complicated and the rules keep changing due to the requirements of our re-processor. However the below is a rough rule of thumb.
We can take grades 2 (not grocery bags), 3 (not cling film), 5 and some 6 (Solid Polystyrene products only). However we can not accept any plastic that has contained food (meat and fish trays, yogurt pots, margarine containers etc). Once we take these out of the equation along with bottles which as I mentioned above have their own skip this leaves mainly grade 3 and 6. I have listed some examples of what we can take below (plastic tools can also go in although don’t know their number): 
2 (HDPE): Plastic jug
3 (PVC): Pipes, fittings, window and door frames, automotive parts.
5 (PP): Bottle caps, Stationary (remove ink from pens), pill bottles
6 (PS): Kids toys, CD and video cases, disposable kitchen utensils (clean), plastic egg cartons.
I am unaware of anywhere in Barnet that can take mixed plastics for recycling but it may well be the case that one or more of the supermarkets do. As I expect you are away most supermarkets collect carrier bags for recycling”
Ok, but I’ve still got a bag full of stuff that I’m not sure can be recycled or not.  More research needed methinks.
One good thing though that will help us all more in the future is the news that many of our supermarkets are going to adopt or have already adopted the British Retail Consortium recycling label which will standardise the recycling information on our packaging. 
I reckon this is a great step, much clearer and will hopefully encourage many more people to recycle.
Read the full article about the BRC initiative here.

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Hurrah!!!   I passed my Bowen Technique exams and got the results this weekend with a fabulous 93%.  I’m so relieved as I wasn’t entirely confident about the written exam.

For those of you who don’t know about Bowen, it’s a fabulous soft remedial tissue therapy, named after it’s originator, Tom Bowen from Australia, and has quick and long-lasting results.  Unlike other bodywork therapies, there is no manipulation, hard adjustment or massage; the moves are rolling moves using thumbs and fingers over muscles, ligaments and tendons.  The therapy is very gentle and subtle and suitable for all ages, from babies to the elderly.

It’s a holistic therapy, i.e. it treats the person not the symptoms, but saying that, many conditions respond very well including back pain, frozen shoulder, tinnitus, asthma, IBS, knee problems, tight hamstrings, carpel tunnel syndrome, Bells Palsy, neck pain, headaches, hayfever, hip pain and much, much more.  Sports injuries and prevention of injuries are a big player for Bowen, with many sportsmen and women beginning to find out about this wonderful therapy.

The feature of Bowen that sets it apart from other therapies is the 2-5 minute breaks we put in between moves.  These breaks allow the brain to note that something has just happened in the body and that action needs to take place.  The point in the body that is out of balance is flagged to the brain and the brain acts accordingly to rebalance the body. 

My experience of Bowen started two years ago.  I had suffered from lower back ache from almost 20 years, which increased when I started running due to a misaligned pelvis.  I regularly went to a chiroprator and whilst chiropractic undoubtedly helped, it just was a temporary relief and I would revist  6 weeks later.    Then I tried Bowen.  It was unlike anything I had had before and I fell asleep at every session.  After each treatment I could immediately feel that my posture was improving, although the back ache remained after 3 treatments.  But then, all of sudden, one day, about two weeks after my third treatment, I suddenly realised I could do certain moves without even thinking about the pain in my back.  Previously these moves would have had me moving around like a little old women.  It was a revelation – there and then I realised that I free of pain – and it’s remained that way ever since.

I highly recommend it.  I’m almost evangelical about it!  I love it and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite therapies. 

Here’s a video put together by the Bowen Therapists European Register which will give you some more information about the therapy.  It’s not me in the video by the way.


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A rant

Hope that’s ok! I need to get this off my chest. 

I’ve just been to the hospital to see a consultant. As a complementary therapist, I don’t diagnose so I always recomend my clients see their GP to get a diagnosis if they have concern about a medical condition. If they come back to see me then I know what I am working with.

Anyway, the only way ahead for me apparently is to continue with medication. I asked the consultant if something like nutrition could help (I didn’t mention I am a therapist) and he rolled his eyes and said absolutely not. I felt like I’d asked if I could help myself waving pink feathers over me whilst drinking nectar under the sunrise. Know what I mean?

Now, I know from experience that reflexology and nutrition can help as one of my clients is much better. Other therapies have also had excellent results. Needless to say now that I know what exactly is going on with me, I shall see one of my reflexologist friends and continue to give myself reiki. I suppose it just annoys me that many (not all, I know) of the medical profession are so closed to other forms of therapy that don’t include pills (and their many side effects) or surgey. Why? Surely if something makes someone better or at least considerably alleviates their condition, why not embrace it? Aaarggh!!

I feel better now for that.

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