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Dr Fish

I was at the Vitality Show yesterday and at one of the first stands I passed was a lady sitting with her feet in a tank of fish. Usually I have a look round the show first to see what I fancy trying but I’d always wanted to have my feet nibbled so immediately my shoes and socks came off.

These amazing Doctor Fish, as they are known, are actually two species of fish: Garra rufa and Cyprinion macrostomus and the one’s nibbling my feet were the Garra rufa also known as the reddish log sucker. Strangely these fish have a penchant for dead skin and are used extensively in spas in places like Turkey, Syria and Japan for the treatment of psoriasis. These fish have no teeth and actually suck away dead skin using their powerful sucking lips. They were certainly having a feast on my feet. It’s not psoriasis that it can help, but indeed various skin conditions, dry skin, and wounds. Some places are offering the fish spa as part of a pedicure routine, given the feet an all-over exfoliation.

As I sat there, passing visitors to the show stopped to ask if it tickled. Actually, not not really, it was more of a tingling sensation, rather like pins and needles but softer and didn’t hurt at all. It’s also thought that the fish acitivate certain actupuncture and reflex points as they suck away, which can promote relaxation. I certainly felt very relaxed after my 10 minutes and my feet were far smoother than when I left home and didn’t even smell fish. It was quite fascinating to see the fish darting around my feet, sucking away and gently massaging. Highly recommended.

I had a text from a client yesterday asking me what was good for a headache. If a new client came to me with headaches, my consultation would try to find the cause of the headache and then we would try to help eradicate that with the use of therapy and lifestyle advice. But for a quick first aid there are a few things I suggested.

Firstly, water. A headache is often a sign that we are dehydrated and the body is crying out for water. There is a fab book called “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr Batmanghelidj in which he looks at why simply drinking more plain water can help prevent illness and improve health.

Reflexology is another way of easing the ache and something you can do yourself. Simply apply pressue in caterpillar style movements with one thumb on the opposite thumb and also the big toes, both of which correspond to the head. This reflex action is also great for stress, another cause of headaches.

Thinking along the lines of stress causing the headache, lavendar essential oil is great for soothing and calming. Lavender essential oil is one of the very few oils that can be used neat on skin but only in very minute amounts. Take one small drop and rub between your middle fingers and then rub each finger onto your temples. There are some contraindications with essential oils, eg pregnancy, so always check with your local aromatherapist first that the oil you are using is ok. Alternatively, Forever Living Aloe Heat Lotion is equally as good and something I use a lot for aches and pains.

Finally, try resting your eyes. Lay down and rest two used teabags (any flavour although I’m rather partial to Rose, Vanilla & Camomile) over your eyes for 5 minutes. Of course, this may look a bit daft if you are in the middle of an office so just rest the your palms over your eyes for a short while instead.

Being a therapist isn’t all about treating clients and helping people improve their health. That’s our main role but there are other ways I fill my week.

I love networking and getting to know other therapists. This is one of the reasons I’ve set up the Herts Therapy Network so that therapists can get to know each other, network, learn and give support to each other. I’m fascinated by all therapies and if I learnt them all I’d have no time or energy to see clients, so it’s great to meet up with fellow therapists for a cuppa, find out what they do and perhaps arrange a treatment swap. Last week I met up with several therapists, including Elle-Louise Howe and Sarah-Jane Tepper. Elle is a feng shui consultant and reiki master and being a reiki practitioner myself, I could instantly feel the positive energy coming from Elle when we met. I’ve long be intrigued by feng shui and have followed a few tips from various books I’ve read over the years. One serious tip Elle left me with is that during this Chinese Year I should remove mirrors from any wall on the east of my house to be in line with the energy map of the year. I went home and did this immediately and will soon be booking a full feng shui consultation with her.

On Friday I met up Sarah-Jane Tepper who owns and runs Herts Holistic based in Borehamwood. Sarah-Jane practices reflexology, reiki and is studying massage and, as with Elle, I could feel the positive energy as soon as she sat down. Don’t you just love that, when you meet someone and instantly click with them. I have to thank Sarah-Jane for introducing me to Chai Tea Lattes! 🙂 Sarah-Jane writes a great blog on holistic health which you can find at her website. HertsHolistic.com. I’m really looking forward to having a reiki treatment with her soon whilst I introduce her to Bowen Technique.

Every year therapists have to clock up Continuing Professional Development points to ensure we are keeping up to date with our therapies, adding new skills and developing ourselves. There are lots of ways to do this including attending workshops on various themes. Last Saturday I attended a fabulous workshop run by Jayney Goddard, the President of the Complementary Medical Association, on the subject of public speaking. Jayney is one of those people I could listen to for many hours and not tire as she is so inspirational and passionate about complementary health. I met seven other therapists, all very different and all very passionate about their various therapies. It’s good to meet other therapists to share ideas on treatments, case studies and marketing. This particular workshop, as I mentioned, was about public speaking and giving presentations on complementary health, using up to date facts, figures and research from the CMA. So I’m now an expert 😉 on this and if anyone would like to book me for their club or workplace then feel free to get in contact.

New Year is a time for, well, new things. Out with the old and in with the new as they say. Holistic health isn’t just about the physical therapies but also about helping the mental side too and thinking new thoughts, new ways of living, new thinking will certainly be a good tonic for your mind and spirit.

One tip I’d give is that when thinking about your New Year Resolution, think in positive terms ie. instead of thinking ‘I won’t smoke anymore’ think ‘I shall give the body the health respect it deserves’, instead of thinking ‘I won’t bite my nails’, think ‘I shall grow strong nails on my beautiful hands’. If you think the negative then the Law of Attraction states that you’ll get negative stuff back. So think positive instead and positive stuff will come right back atcha! To find out how Law of Attraction can work for you, I recommend any of the books by Ester & Jerry Hicks, or, closer to home, local Herts Law of Attraction expert Rose Todd.

Clearing out your clutter is also great for lifting a weight off your mind. Choose the spot in your home or office that needs the most help and be ruthless. I guarantee once you are clutter-free you’ll feel much better about that place. If it’s your desk, the new ideas will come clearer, you’ll work smarter and positive energy will flow. This is the essence of Feng Shui – allowing positive energy to flow easily around your life and removing any negative blockages.

Right, I’m off to clear my desk and tidy my treatment room. Let that positive energy flow!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and positive 2011.

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My head is in a spin. In a good way, sort of. I’m spinning with far too many ideas and projects and I want to do them all. Now.

I’ve spent an hour yesterday with another therapist and we share the same view about educating the public as to what holistic therapy is all about. Her home country and places like Australia and Holland are streaks ahead in the importantance of holistic therapy but over here, unfortuantely, we have the sticking plaster effect. Take a pill, subside the symptom. But the root cause is probably still there!! Also, why wait till a symptom comes to the fore? We give our cars a regular MOT, so why not our bodies and use preventative medicine so you don’t get back pain, IBS or frozen shoulder in the first place.

I want to do it all now! But I also have clients, marketing, my health products biz and, oh yes, a life. Ironing doesn’t do itself nor does marketing so I need to concentrate on a few important things to get to where I want in 6 months time.

Two people have helped me see the wood for the trees in the past 7 days. Corinne McGee of Powerful Women is a life coach and I spent an hour with her last week. During that hour she helped me formulate a strategy to get me to where I want to be in 6 months. It wasn’t difficult, just that I couldn’t see it for myself. Corinne, from an objective angle, simply coached out of me what I wanted. It was all there, in my head, just that it was spinning around. I highly recommend Corinne if you need some help with direction and making sense of things. I came out and I could see the wood, the beautiful wood – it looks great from where I’m standing now.

Secondly, I read a short but powerful article on www.4Networking.biz by Paula Hine of Abundant Solutions. I’ve already met with Paula and her husband a while back for some extremely useful business coaching. In her article, Paula talks about scattering too many seeds. I certainly was. And if those seeds are planted, is the ground they fall on suitable for growth, or covered in weeds? Paula’s article worked well alongside Corinne’s work with me and made me see that I need to concentrate on just a few important projects to get me to where I want to be in 6 months. Quality not quantity. Other projects are great, but will they play their part in my 6 months plan. Probably not. So I’ve parked them, for now.

So, if you feel like you’re running fast but going nowhere through the forest, then step back, take stock and check if you’re doing too much too soon. Ask someone else to help you see the way ahead – from their objective standpoint the view is much clearer – and don’t be afraid of a bit of pruning. Like the plants in your garden, you’re life will be stronger for it.

Wow! I’m still buzzing from the course I went on at the weekend. Sports Injuries was the subject of the advanced Bowen Technique course and was run by Paula Esson, a very experienced Bowen teacher, sports scientist, coach at national level and Clinical Director at the Northern Integrated Health Practice.

Paula is one of these people I could listen too constantly, such is her enthusiasm and knowledge for sport and Bowen Technique.

Bowen is a subtle, yet dymanic non-invasive therapy working over muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue, triggering certain nerve endings. The brain sets to work straight away, taking stock of what is happening in the body and what functional problems there may be.

Sports injury management has interested me for a while. I’m a runner (ok, a resting runner at the moment) and over the last 5 years since I started running I have seen countless friends and co-runners falling at the wayside due to injury, but not just one injury, often injury over and over again. When I started learning Bowen, I could see instantly how this amazing therapy could potentially be the key to correct functioning of the body.

Broadening our knowledge of the anatomical working of the body during sport and opening our minds even further to how the body is connected from top to bottom, the course has allowed us to see how Bowen can play a major part in sports therapy. At the moment it’s still a very new idea for athletes, particuarly those who feel the need to be pummelled to ever begin to feel a therapy is doing any good. Bowen is incredibly light but so powerful. Leeds Rhinos are big proponents of the Bowen Technique as are various members of the Danish football team, but it’s going to take many years before Bowen is regarded as a first choice sports therapy. Hopefully this will happen sooner than later, such is the amazing scope of Bowen. I’d love to see Bowen Therapists a central part of the sports staff at Premier League clubs, or included along with physios in the Olympic village.

So, what can Bowen help? First of all, we aren’t looking at symptoms, rather the whole body. What’s happening to the body during a particular sport, what parts of the body are feeling the tension, stress and strain? What is happening biomechanically? By really thinking about what is going on in the body, we can think more logically about where the area of tension is coming from. For example, Paula gave the example of a young sports person with pain in right arm/elbow but through assessment she worked out the problem area was actually the opposite hip.

Runners, gymasts, tennis players, rugby players, cyclists, swimmers, in fact anyone who plays sport can benefit from Bowen. I am so excited about the potential for this therapy and can’t wait to welcome more sports people to my clinic.

If you’d like to know how Bowen may help you contact me at info@sarahpluves.com

Bees have for thousands of years been hailed as something to worship and value. It’s said that Napoleon regarded the bee kingdom as the ideal structure of a nation and thus had a bee on his badge whilst a roman myth had the God Of Love applying honey to his arrow.

Whilst people have been consuming royal jelly and honey for many years, it’s only recently that other bee products, bee pollen and propolis, have been used as excellent products for a healthy lifestyle.

Bee on flower

Bee propolis is not the first thing we think of when we think bees. It’s actually a resin secreted by trees which is harvested by the bees and metabolised by them to line their hives and protect them from germs. It’s said the inside of a beehive is more sterile than any operating theatre. Bee Propolis is nature’s antibiotic and also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties.

Whist there’s a lot more research required into the extent of it’s efficacy, trials carried out so far have been very promising. A recent study in Cuba found it significantly inhibited the growth of human breast cancer cells.

Bee propolis is found in many products and it’s worth taking time to reserach the best supply. One excellent use of bee propolis is in the Forever Bright Toothgel. Proposlis has proved very successful for a variety of dental and mouth problems including plaque, gum disease and ulcers. Brushing daily with toothgel and added propolis can signficantly reduce plaque formation, as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect.

Skin problems are another area that react very well to bee propolis, when applied topically, due to it’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A recent client of mine used Aloe Vera Cream with Bee Propolis to help reduce uticaria, an itchy rash, on her arms to great effect. A recent 3 month trial of 135 patients with warts showed by that those using bee propolis had a greater cure rate that those using a placebo.

I also read this week that bee propolis was used in a study of 40 women with infertilty and mild endometriosis. Amongst those taking 500mg twice a day for six month, there was a 60% pregnancy rate compared with 20 per cent in those taking a placebo. A lot more research is required into this use of propolis but it’s thought that it has a positive effect on oestrogen metabolism. As a specialist in pre-natal and pregnancy reflexology, this is of great interest to me.

It’s also worth taking propolis supplements during the cold and flu season. In fact, taking it before will give your immune system a boost but if you do succumb to a cold then the duration can be up to 3 days less than without supplementation. If you are going into hospital for a stay, then it’s worth taking the bee propolis for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antibiotic properties and early studies have shown that it’s effective against MRSA.

Bee propolis is also commonly used for the treatment of digestive problems such as ulcers and ulcerative colitis. It is thought the anti-inflammatory properties have a healing effect on the stomach and intestines.

As mentioned above, make sure you do your research into reputable brands as some companies mix the propolis with other ingredients thus possibly lessening its effects. I personally recommend Forever Living’s Bee Propolis. In fact I’ve been taken it regularly for the last few months but on those occasions when I haven’t taken it (I forgot to take it on holiday!) I haven noticed my sore throat due to hayfever comes back with avengence but goes immediatley I start taking it.

One last note of caution – if you are allergic to other bee products then it is not recommended you take propolis. Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding then do speak with your qualified GP before taking a supplement as there is not enough information in this area at present.

Image: Christian Meyn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net