- My 10 week old baby cries much of the time, especially at night. He has been unsettled from birth, and it is often difficult to console him. My health visitor assures me that he is healthy, and that he will grow out of this, but is there anything that could help in the meantime?There are several treatments that can be helpful for this type of problem, especially if the birth was a difficult one. Bowen Technique is particularly appropriate for babies. Treatments are short, and movements are light and quick. Some of the effects of Bowen are release muscular tension, encourage structural re-alignment, and to encourage the body to relax in a way that will promote healing and repair.
Cranial Osteopathy is becoming well recognised as an effective treatment for many health problems. It is a subtle, gentle treatment for the skull, pelvis and spine, applying the principles of balance and symmetry using very light pressure. Babies relax during the treatment and seem to enjoy the technique.
Homeopathy may also be helpful if the child is very sensitive and irritable, and if the pregnancy was stressful.
- I have had a very stressful year this year, and even though things have settled down, I still have difficulty sleeping, and seem to be constantly ‘on edge’. I don’t want to take anti-depressants, and would like to try natural treatments instead. What can you suggest?Again, there are several treatments that may help. Reflexology is particularly good for promoting deep relaxation, and is helpful for mild insomnia. The treatment involves gentle pressure on the feet, working on points which correspond which influence all parts of the body. Most people find that after just a few treatments they have a sense of well-being and feel revitalised.
If there are still unresolved issues from the past, Hypnotherapy may be useful in helping you to let go of the negative feelings, and allowing you to move forward in your life, whilst giving you tools to help you cope with any new pressures that life throws at you
- Every winter I suffer constant colds and viruses. I can’t keep having time off work, but I don’t like to inflict my constant sneezing on my colleagues. Is there anything I can take to boost my immune system?Nature has provided us with it’s very own medical chest. Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years, and offers remedies for all kinds of health problems. At the first sign of a cold, of if those around you are suffering, try Echinacea. Add warming spices such as chilli and ginger to your food, to boost circulation, and keep the chills at bay. If you are suffering from a cold, remember to drink plenty of water. Vitamin C can also be helpful in helping your body to fight the virus.
If you are particularly susceptible to colds, consider seeing a Medical Herbalist who can prepare a herbal remedy that is tailored to your particular needs.
A poor diet which lacks vital nutrients can also leave you vunerable to viruses. Take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, or see a Nutritionist who can advise you how to improve your general health through your diet.
- I am a keen golfer, and play at least 1 – 2 times per week. I have recently developed elbow pain when I am playing, and it can take a few days to ease. I don’t want to give up playing, so is there anything that can be done to help?Chris Whiteley, Chartered Physiotherapist:
Problems with arms, elbows and shoulders in golf can be due to lack of back mobility as the upper limbs try to compensate for the spine. It could also be due to technical problems with the golf grip, which can be improved by seeking advice from a golf professional.
As a qualified physiotherapist working with the English Ladies Golf Association I offer musculo-skeletal screening to test for flexibility, core stability and strength, which will help to take pressure off the upper limbs, ironing out problems before they result in injury.
Treatment may involve manipulation and ultrasound to encourage the healing process. I also use acupuncture which offers excellent pain relief. Individually prescribed exercises will also be recommended to prevent recurrence of the problem.
- My 1 year old daughter has started to develop eczema, mainly behind her knees and elbows, which can get very inflamed and itchy. Hydrocortisone cream does help, but are there any natural treatments that I can try as well? Irene Roberts, Homeopath:
Eczema can be due to a variety of causes – it can be due to an allergic response to something in the environment, for example dust, detergents, animals, or it may be linked to certain food intolerances for example dairy products. It can also be triggered by stress. Often there is a family tendency to the condition. It is quite common in babies and children from an early age.
Hydrocortisone creams may appear to help, but need to be used for long periods to be effective, and may have side effects. Non steroidal creams such as Calendula are a soothing alternative which can be used daily without side effects.
Homeopathic remedies can be extremely effective in the treatment of eczema, and are especially suitable for babies and children. Homeopathy recognises that external ailments can be a sign of internal imbalance. The treatment stimulates the bodies own healing ability, by using minute doses of substances, which can reduce a person’s susceptibility and alleviate the problem for the long term. Often just one or two treatments can clear the eczema.
- I get extremely bloated just before a period, my breasts become tender and I go up a couple of dress sizes. Is there anything that can I do to prevent this?Julie Smith, Massage and Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist:
Oedema, or water retention, is a common problem for many women. Fortunately there are several treatments which may help. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a specialised therapy designed to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system. This is achieved through gentle rhythmical movements of the skin which stimulates the contractions of the lymphatic system. Regular treatments are extremely beneficial for the treatment of water retention, and other inflammatory conditions such as puffy eyes, swollen ankles and sinusitis.
You should try to reduce the amount or salt in your diet. Dandelion is a natural diuretic which can be taken as a tea or as a tincture. Regular exercise can also help to reduce premenstrual water retention, as will eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
- Having smoked for almost 15 years, I have made it my New Year’s Resolution to stop. I have tried using nicotine patches in the past, but still gave in to the cravings. I don’t have the will power to do it on my own, so what can you recommend to help?
- Rosemary Reeves, Hypnotherapist:
I would suggest hypnotherapy. Nicotine replacements and will power can help stopping smoking but nicotine patches, gum, etc only address the physical addiction to cigarettes by attempting to reduce the physical cravings, they do not address the psychological addiction to smoking. Will power can also aid, but without changing the ways that you actually ‘think’ about smoking, will power can soon wane.
Hypnotherapy in contrast tackles the psychological addiction by addressing the underlying causes of why you smoke and how you think about cigarettes. Just think about the times when you are more likely to smoke, perhaps when stressed or bored. Or are there may be particular times of the day that you have learnt to associate with smoking, for example coffee breaks at work, or when out with friends.
Hypnotherapy is extremely successful in breaking down these negative thoughts and associations about smoking, and so breaks the psychological addiction. The power of ‘suggestion’ (positive statements) within hypnosis ensures that when you awake as a non-smoker feeling fantastic you will never want to go back to smoking. Hypnotherapy is so easy and so successful because it beats the psychological habit, which is always the most difficult to break.
- I have completely over-indulged this Christmas, and now feel really sluggish. My skin looks dull and quite spotty. I feel like I need to detox, but I don’t think I could follow a strict diet. Do you have any other suggestions that would help? Natalia Kerkham, Medical Herbalist:
There are some simple steps that you can take to revitalise and detoxify your body. The first and most important is to drink plenty of water regularly throughout the day. Taking the herb Milk Thistle is a good way to help your liver to detoxify the body. You can also buy some great herbal Detox teas which combine several herbs which work together for maximum benefit (I notice that a local supermarket now stocks Dr Stuart’s teas, including a great Detox blend).
To help to clear your skin, try steaming your face over a bowl of hot water. You can make a cheap but effective face mask by peeling and coring an apple, blending, and squeezing out the juice to leave a pulp which you then apply to your face. Leave on for 10 minutes, remove and rinse. This will leave your skin looking brighter and more radiant.
If your symptoms persist, or if you have bad breath, a permanent unpleasant taste in your mouth, feel constipated or get a hangover after drinking only a small amount of alcohol, then you should consider having a professionally supervised detox programme which will address the underlying problem.
- I have just got over a heavy cold, but my sinuses are still completely blocked, and I have a dull headache all the time. I don’t want to keep using nasal sprays, and I would like to avoid the need for antibiotics. Are there any natural treatments that I could try?Julie Smith, Massage and Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist:
Sinusitis develops when mucous builds up in the sinuses (the air filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose), causing inflammation of the membrane lining. This is usually as a result of bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by polyps, allergies or a deviated septum. Sinusitis is extremely common, and many people suffer an attack after every common cold.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage gently stimulates the entire sinus area which helps to remove the congestion causing the problem. A short course of treatment can lead to long lasting improvements. You can also massage around the forehead and down the sides of the nose, using downward sweeping movements, perhaps with a tiny amount of Eucalyptus oil. Regular use of steam inhalation, again using a drop of Eucalyptus oil, is extremely effective. You can buy a steam inhalation kit from a chemist, which fits over your nose and mouth, and is more convenient than steaming over a bowl.
If you do suffer from recurrent sinusitis, you need to get to the root of the problem. A Nutritional Therapist will help you to identify possible aggravating factors in your diet, or possible allergens, and advise on ways to boost your immune system to help prevent recurrent infections.
- I am forty this year and have decided it is time for a ‘new me’. I have tried dieting several times, and lose weight at first, but then I lose my motivation and just put the weight back on again. Also I find any excuse for not exercising. How can I sort myself out?Angela Bailey, Nutritional Therapist:
You are not alone with this problem. Successful long term weight loss depends upon several factors. Many weight management programmes can lead to significant weight loss, but this may be at the expense of general good health. Often the body loses not only fluid but also muscle mass rather than excess fat, leading to an unhealthy body composition and poorly sustained weight loss. A more balanced approach is to look at weight loss as part of a health improvement regime.
From February, you can take part in a 12 week weight management and body composition programme at Cheshire Natural Health. The programme starts with a detailed nutrition consultation to discuss specific health concerns (not necessarily just weight loss), measure body composition by bio-impedance, analyse nutrient needs and to plan individual dietary and lifestyle changes. This is followed by weekly group sessions to discuss different aspects of healthy eating, diet, exercise and stress management. Individual progress will be measured and personal goals revised twice during the programme. High-quality supplements are an integral part of the course and have been formulated specifically to aid general improvements in health, vitality and well-being, as well as encourage efficient fat burning.
If you need extra motivation, then why not have a ‘Kick Start to Weight Loss’ session with my colleague Rosie Reeves, Senior Hypnotherapist.
- I was involved in a car accident a few months ago, and since then have suffered from pain in my neck and shoulders, which my GP has diagnosed as whiplash. What treatments can you recommend to help?Adrian Murray, Osteopath:
A typical whiplash injury involves the neck and head accelerating as another car impacts yours. Your body is restrained by the seatbelt, though the unrestrained shoulder also moves forward. As the head snaps forward the ligaments, muscles, disc coatings, joint capsules and nerves are stretched and damaged. As the head moves backward the joint surfaces impact causing further damage.
This injury causes a lot of inflammation in the area and resultant spasm in the surrounding muscles. Pain can occur immediately although some symptoms may not appear until several weeks afterward.
Depending upon the impact, symptoms can persist intermittently for many months afterward. Sometimes the cervical and thoracic spine never fully recovers, with residual muscle tension causing long-term restriction of movement.
To improve this condition, Osteopathic treatment decreases muscle tension through massage and mobilisation of the vertebrae. This also stimulates the circulation that in turn improves nutrition to the area, encouraging the healing process. Inflammation is reduced, making the area less painful.
Most insurance companies will cover the cost of treatment as part of a claim.
- I get pains in my muscles and around my joints and I feel constantly tired. I don’t seem to feel refreshed when I wake up in the mornings. My GP thinks I may have fibromyalgia. Is there anything that could give me some relief?Sheila Hind, Bowen Therapist:
Muscle pain and sensitivity, even if it is not diagnosed as fibromyalgia, is not an uncommon problem, and therapists are reporting real benefits in the use of Bowen in such cases.
A Bowen therapist carries out a series of roll- style moves over muscles and around joints and ligaments, stimulating the nervous systems and informing the body of the tension levels in muscles. A number of moves coincide with acupuncture points that are known to stimulate and balance the body’s energy. The moves are tailored to meet individual needs and are completed through loose clothing.
The treatments last about one hour and as well as obtaining pain relief, people frequently report feeling more relaxed and sleeping better.
- I suffer from hay fever every year, and start with symptoms as early as May. Can you recommend any natural treatments which I could try instead of using anti-histamines?Andreas Feyler, Acupuncturist:
Hay fever is a common condition that can make the sufferer’s life a misery for many months. It is usually an allergy to pollen released by trees and grasses in the spring and summer. The pollen causes cells to release histamine and other chemicals, resulting in the classic symptoms of a runny, itchy nose, sneezing, blocked sinuses, irritated eyes, and sometimes a sore, itchy throat. Similar symptoms may be experienced all year round through an allergy to other airborne allergens such as house dust, mites and pet fur. This is allergic rhinitis.
Fortunately there are natural treatments, for example Acupuncture, which are extremely effective in helping both these conditions. For hay fever, it is most effective when treatment is given before the onset of symptoms. A short course of treatment is required initially and thereafter top up treatments once a year can keep the problem at bay.
Irene Roberts, Homeopath also recommends homeopathic treatment for both hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Again, treatment from a qualified homeopath before the start of the season can prevent hay fever from developing, but there are also over the counter remedies, for example Mixed Pollen, that can help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Taking 200mg slow release Vitamin C twice daily may also help.
- I have recently been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, after suffering from some months with abdominal pains after certain foods, and bowel movements which vary from constipation to diarrhoea. What can you recommend to help? Tracey Turton, Clinic Director and Reflexologist:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition which occurs when the muscles lining the intestinal walls go into spasm, causing the symptoms that you have mentioned, and also often bloating and flatulence. The problem is usually associated with one or more of a number of factors: food sensitivity (often wheat, dairy products, coffee, tea and citrus fruits may be implicated) – try keeping a food diary to help identify any offending foods, and bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. Stress and anxiety can also be a major factor in the development of many digestive problems.
Consider taking a supplement of acidophilus or live yoghurt on a regular basis to restore levels of health intestinal bacteria. Don’t rush your food – chewing it properly makes it much easier to digest. Peppermint tea after a meal can help to sooth the digestive system. Relaxing therapies such as Reflexology, Massage or Hypnotherapy can help to reduce stress levels and help to prevent the frequency of attacks.
- I suffer from osteoarthritis in my knees which is starting to affect my mobility. I am interested in taking natural remedies to help the problem. What do you recommend?Natalia Kerkham, Medical Herbalist:
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition affecting the joints, causing pain and stiffness. It is important to keep your weight under control to ease the load on your knees. The herb Devil’s Claw can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. It’s generally very safe and has few side effects, although you should not take it during flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis, or if you have stomach ulcers or inflammation. Devil’s Claw is available in tablet form from health food shops and chemists. Other natural supplements can be beneficial, for example Fish Oils help to inhibit enzymes that cause inflammation, the basis of most people’s pain. In addition, Glucosamine Sulphate helps to regenerate the joint surface. Try to eat a balanced diet, reducing intake of processed foods and fats, especially artificially saturated fats such as margarine.
Consult a professional herbalist if your arthritis is severe, or if you are concerned about side effects from conventional medicines. The herbalist will tailor a medicine to your needs, to reduce pain and inflammation, improve the overall health of your joints, and help you sleep better if the pain disturbs you at night. Professionally prescribed herbal treatment can safely be taken alongside conventional medications, and should reduce the amount you need to take, so that you are less likely to suffer unwanted side effects from them.
- I am 34 and have been trying to get pregnant for over a year and I am starting to worry that it will never happen. My partner and I have had initial tests which do not indicate anything obvious that is wrong, and we have been told to give it a while longer before we consider IVF. Are there any natural treatments that I can try in the meantime that may help?Tracey Turton, Clinical Reflexologist:
This is one of the most common problems that people contact us about at the clinic. Where no specific problems are indicated, we would look to improve the general health of both partners through a variety of means.
Reflexology has been talked about a lot in the media in relation to helping people achieve a successful pregnancy. Whilst there is no real scientific evidence to prove that it works, myself and hundreds of other Reflexologists have treated many people with unexplained infertility that have become pregnant after a few months of Reflexology treatment.
Reflexology seems to help fertility in a number of ways. Inability to conceive can lead to a vicious cycle of stress, which has a further detrimental effect on fertility. Reflexology helps the client to cope with the stress at a very deep level, both physically and emotionally. This in turn has a positive effect on the endocrine system, and there are a number of specific Reflexology techniques that seem to help to balance the hormones enough to make a difference.
We would perhaps also recommend consulting a qualified Medical Herbalist, who can prescribe herbs which may help to increase both male and female fertility. A consultation with a Nutritional Therapist may help to identify specific nutritional factors which may be contributing to low fertility. If a client has started to get extremely and anxious about the whole issue, Hypnotherapy may help them to adopt a more balanced approach.
- I have suffered from migraines for many years. I have tried most of the prescription and over the counter medicines, but they only lessen the symptoms of an attack once it has already started, but don’t help to prevent them. They seem to get worse at particular times of my monthly cycle, and also when I am feeling stressed. Can you recommend any treatments that may help?Irene Roberts, Homeopath:
Migraines occur in at least 10 per cent of the population, and are three times more common in women than in men. Typical symptoms include a severe headache which may last up to 2 days, with possible visual disturbances and nausea/ vomiting. There does not seem to be one single cause, and a number of factors can trigger an attack, including stress, certain foods (particularly chocolate, cheese and other dairy products, red wine, fried food and citrus fruits), bright light, menstruation and the contraceptive pill.
If your GP has ruled out anything serious, then there are several therapies which would be worth trying. I have had some great success using Homeopathy where other treatments have not helped. A detailed consultation is required to identify the remedy which is most suited to the client, taking account of general health, specific migraine symptoms, and various other factors which are unique to the individual. Often, just one treatment can make a difference, and significant improvements can be seen after a short course.
A Nutritional consultation can help to identify specific food triggers, and Reflexology and Massage can help to reduce levels of stress, which may help to prevent attacks.
- I have been feeling extremely tired for the past few months, for no obvious reason. I have also noticed that I seem to be losing quite a lot of hair, my skin is quite dry, I am always cold and frustratingly I have started to put on weight for the first time in my life. Is it just my age (I am 43) or could there be something else causing my problems? Can you suggest anything which could help?Angela Bailey, Nutritional Therapist:
There can be a number of reasons for your tiredness, such as food sensitivities or a blood sugar imbalance. However, as you are also complaining of persistent hair loss, dry skin, problems with weight management and feeling chilly all the time, it would be worth having your thyroid checked out. The thyroid gland is responsible for controlling your metabolism. A thyroid function test can be performed via your GP or can be arranged here at the clinic. Often test results come back normal from the hospital, but if you have a number of symptoms of low thyroid function, including those mentioned above, it is possible that your thyroid is not functioning at its optimal level and that you would benefit from a nutritional approach (diet and supplements) to help your thyroid The test that we use gives a great deal of information which enables me to tailor your treatment to your individual needs, ensuring that this important gland has all the nutrients it needs to do its job properly.
You may also consider using homeopathy, which may help to correct the underlying imbalance that is causing your problem. There are also herbs which may help, but these should be used under the advice of a Medical Herbalist.
- I have a very stressful job, and I am starting to feel overwhelmed by everything. Can you recommend any treatments which would help me to cope, as changing my job is not an option.
Rosemary Reeves, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist.
Stress is experienced when the pressures a person faces exceed their ability to cope. In such cases the pressures, (be these work, family or financial related) are viewed as a threat to our bodies, so our mind activates the fight or flight response. This is an instinctual self protection mechanism that in times of danger sends all the oxygenated blood in our bodies to our major organs, so we are on alert. Adrenalin is also released so we feel supercharged and feel more able to make a fast get away from the danger/threat, or put up a fight.
Unfortunately many of the pressures that cause stress cannot be resolved by ‘fighting’ or taking ‘flight’ So what can you do?
There are two ways of addressing stress. You can learn to identify what makes you stressed and why, and try to remove the causes (often this is not possible), or learn more effective ways of coping with stress.
Hypnotherapy is fantastic for alleviating and learning to cope with stress. I have seen so many people who have tried so many things who finally try hypnotherapy. For such clients, that first session is a real life change; the depth of relaxation they achieve with hypnotherapy is a (good) shock to the system. The relaxation alone carries dramatic benefits. Add to this new coping mechanisms, which include visualisation and breathing techniques that they learn, and in a short time stress is dramatically reduced.
Often 2 sessions is all it takes to feel the difference and many clients continue to come back every now and then to enjoy the wonderful relaxation effect they experience in hypnotherapy.
- I’m forty-six years old and am concerned that I shall shortly be reaching the menopause. Fortunately, as yet, I have not had any symptoms, but I am a great believer in doing as much as I can to help prevent any problems in the future. My mother broke her hip and the doctor said that it was due to osteoporosis. How can I find out whether I am at risk of developing this condition and what can be done to help prevent it?Angela Bailey, Nutritional Therapist
You are right that osteoporosis (low bone density) can run in families and if you have close family member with the disease, then your risk of osteoporosis and possible fracture is greater. A good starting point to find out whether you have low bone density is to have an ultrasound heel scan, which is a quick and painless procedure (please contact the clinic for more information). The scan is a good screening tool, but it may then be necessary to have a DEXA scan to confirm findings. This is an x-ray, which is considered to be the gold standard for identifying low bone density. However, both these procedures are just a snapshot of the condition of your bones at a point in time, so you may be interested in doing an osteoporosis risk assessment urine test to see whether you are actually losing bone. This test can be conducted through the clinic and if the results indicate that you are losing bone mass, I would recommend a full nutrition consultation to help look for the cause of the bone loss and to formulate a dietary and supplement programme specifically to address the problem. Despite what many people believe, calcium and vitamin D are not the only important nutrients to help bones.
Although people often associate osteoporosis with the menopause, it also affects about one in twelve men and is not uncommon in those as young as in their twenties and thirties. So all you men and younger ladies, don’t forget your bones!
Bone is laid down until your mid-thirties. From then on, it starts to decline with a larger drop round about the menopause. Diet and lifestyle have a major impact on how quickly you build and lose bone mass, so it makes sense to consider your bones early on rather than wait until there is a problem later on in life. Even small changes can have a beneficial effect which delays or helps to prevent the condition occurring.
- I have very poor circulation which mainly affects my hands and feet. In winter my feet turn purple and are extremely painful. Even in the hot weather they still feel cold. Are there any natural treatments that you can suggest?Tracey Turton, Clinical Reflexologist
Reflexology is a particularly good treatment for circulation problems. Although Reflexology has a healing effect on the entire body, the treatment itself involves pressure applied to specific points on the feet and sometimes hands, which makes it especially beneficial for helping circulation to these areas. Reflexology is deeply relaxing which is also helpful for circulation and blood pressure. Regular treatments throughout the winter months are recommended for maximum benefit.
In addition, it is recommended that you take regular exercise such as walking or swimming. If you smoke, then it is advisable to give up as nicotine can damage the arteries. Aim for a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fats.
There are various supplements that you can take, for example fish oils, and the herb Ginko (check with your GP first if you are taking Warfarin). Adding cayenne, garlic and ginger to food can also help.
Several patients have also used magnetic insoles with good results.
The advice given is for guidance only, and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your GP or other health care professional.