Archive for the ‘stress’ Category

Mindfulness + Kinesiology

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Mindfulness + Kinesi

We’ve talked about mindfulness before. While there’s a lot of information available as to the benefits, how does it fit in with kinesiology? Why do they work so well together?

 

What is Mindfulness? Why is it so good?

Mindfulness (or meditation) is a practice to calm the mind. It has been shown by calming the mind we can calm the nervous system and our stress response to daily stimuli. By calming stress it basically means from a physiological point of view we are reducing the production of hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, acetylcholine and glutamate. All of these up regulate the nervous system and therefore the body’s performance, increasing the demand on cells and therefore requirements for nutrients as building blocks for all the systems to function efficiently. When all of the systems’ requirements are upregulated it puts more strain on the whole and will impact parts of the system as well. When this continues this is where we often see the link between stress and dis-ease, illness or even injuries. Therefore, to downregulate the stress response is an advantage for the overall system which in turn means any practice that helps to reduce stress is advantageous especially in this modern lifestyle we all lead!

 

By practicing a form of mindfulness or meditation each day it is actually practicing how to focus on a feeling of calm rather than allowing the momentum of an unspecific distraction build which upregulates the stress systems. I believe it is this literal practice of letting go of the unspecific stresses, the busy mind that allows the body to reset to a place of wellbeing. It helps reduce down any fight, flight or freeze tendencies and helps the feel good hormones like serotonin, GABA and dopamine to kick in allowing us to feel good and comfortable. However, what if we are activated into fight or flight and we can’t turn it off? And why can’t we turn it off??

 

What is Kinesiology? Why is it so good?

Kinesiology (Kinesi) is a way of asking the body where stress is being held in the body. There are different types of kinesiology but the purposes of this article we will refer to kinesiology in general. By mapping where the stress is being held in the body and down regulating it (usually via balancing the meridians and brain/emotional triggers) this helps to reduce the physiological strain on the body thus improving the overall performance back to a place of wellbeing. A chance to reset the fight or flight stress, if you will.

 

 

The Fight or Flight response: what is it?

The fight or flight response refers to when our brain determines a perceived threat and switches off the parasympathetic nervous system and switches on the sympathetic nervous. This is to prepare the body to either fight the perceived threat or flight from it. I.e. if there was a sabertooth tiger standing at the front of our cave the brain will perceive it as a threat, switch the sympathetic nervous system on to prepare for the decision whether to stand and fight the tiger off or flight and run away. This in turn does a number of things physiologically.

 

Sympathetic Nervous System functions include:

  • Switches off the enteric system aka the digestion. As we don’t need to digest food if we’re fighting a tiger, right??
  • Upregulates the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline (adrenaline for the brain) and acetylcholine to keep the brain alert and focused on the tiger.
  • Switches the production of serotonin off. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that tells our brain we’re happy. If we have too much of this in our system the brain will not be perceiving the tiger as the danger that it is.
  • By switching the attention of the nervous system away from the digestion all the attention is on the extremities via the influx of adrenaline. Adrenaline in the blood makes our pupils dilate (allowing more light in and better vision), increases the heart rate (pumping more blood and faster to the muscles so they are ready to fight or flight), and dilates our lungs so we can get more air and oxygen in to get to the muscles for fuel.

 

Why do we turn on the Fight or Flight system?

This is a really good system when there is a threat. For example, if we’re crossing a road and we see a big truck hurtling towards us. In that split second of realizing it is there all attention is focused on the truck. The noradrenaline gives us a depth of field allowing us to discern how long we have to make a decision regarding if it is best to stand and fight the truck or whether it is best to flight (i.e. step off the road). The acetylcholine makes our brain very focused on the truck rather than being distracted on the cute puppy playing on the side of the road. This is a very effective system when it is required.

 

Can we switch off the Fight or Flight system?

Animals have a reset to the fight or flight response. But the problem is us humans can’t reset and down regulate it very well…. Or not at all. Furthermore how our brain has evolved along with our modern lifestyles means that many of our fight or flight triggers are not physical threats anymore, they are more mental and/or emotional based. Which means we are much more likely to be triggered into a fight or flight response and unlikely to be able to rest and reset.

 

Mindfulness and meditation helps to train the person how to reset. But it needs to be practiced regularly so when there is a significant stress all the practice comes into play and it is almost habit to turn down the sympathetic nervous system. This is what a lifetime of meditation earns you! Meanwhile for the rest of us who are only halfway through our lives, or  are just starting a meditation practice (say ten years in) or have no meditation practice at all… what do we do to reset? Try to sleep and hope for the best the next day??

 

 

What are the triggers?

Often the triggers are not what we think they are as the brain may perceive something that is happening in real time like something that happened years ago at band camp which wasn’t a pleasant ending and go into protection mode. Protection mode meaning stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and therefore Fight or Flight. It can happen instantly, from what may be an innocent comment (from someone elses point of view) or from something more significant like work, money or home life. And most people don’t even realise it’s happening o how wound up and stressed they are until something relatively small happens and they snap! Or it can be just the result of a really busy life as being busy will also upregulate all the same hormones and neurotransmitters and is translated the same way in the body. So many of us function from a mid to high level physiological stress, thinking and calling this normal. Often it is not until we really unwind that we notice the difference, many people feeling the mind just keep going with circular thoughts. For example, when the mind doesn’t switch off to go to sleep.

 

How do we know if we have Fight or Flight triggers?

Some key indications of Fight or Flight in every day lives are:

  • Constantly need to move and can’t keep still or relax.
  • Feel jumpy, startle at slight noises, touches or unexpected movements.
  • Constantly thinking, overthinking things, circular thoughts, over focused on a particular subject.
  • Can’t switch mind off to go to sleep and lay awake trying to sleep, restless sleep.
  • Faster heart beat, heart palpitations.
  • Extra sweating under arms, hands and feet or just generally.
  • Digestion either speeds up when stressed or slows down. That is faster bowel motions and more frequently or slower and further apart.
  • Butterflies in the stomach.
  • Loss of appetite, not wanting to eat or not needing as much to fill up.
  • Even loss of weight if it is prolonged.

 

 

How can we actually reset the Fight and Flight system??

This is where Kinesi comes in! Because Kinesi is a way of determining how the stress is affecting the body it is also a way of asking the body what it needs to rebalance and down regulate the stress responses like fight or flight. It is fascinating as to how much information can be gain from the body when using the kinetics (muscles). We can ascertain what the triggers are of the Fight or Flight system and how to downregulate it specifically for the individual.

 

How to maintain the resetting of the Fight or Flight system:

By resetting with a Kinesi balance the question is then: how do you maintain this balance?

As a naturopath this is where herbs and nutritionals can really help, depending what systems need support for you the individual. There are many herbs that can help support the nervous system and adrenals to help maintain the calm of the rest and digest phase of the parasympathetic nervous system. That is when the Fight or Flight is switched off!

 

And also adopting some frequent routine of mindfulness or meditation can really help. This might include a form of exercises that helps you get into that zone, some mindfulness moments in the mornings or some yogic breathing exercises. Whatever works for you can definitely assist in maintaining the Kinesi balance J

 

 

 

 

Photo cred: denmeditation.com

 

The Average Teenage Brain – Great Article!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I found this fantastic article about the teenage brain – how tough is it being a parent these days? There’s more anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and damaging behaviours – our children are suffering.   Children respond so well to kinesiology – it helps to diffuse the stress patterns, naturopathically we can support better mood and hormone levels and energetically we can support keeping kids balanced.  Eventually teenage stress leads to adrenal exhaustion or immune dysfunction, creating challenges in their early adult years.

Luckily at New Leaf Natural Therapies there are many things we can do to help teenagers – treatments and nutrients.  Call us on 3348 6098 to discuss how we can help your child.

“During adolescence the brain’s ability to change is especially pronounced—and that can be a double-edged sword. Jay N. Giedd, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health who specializes in brain imaging, points out that the brain’s plasticity allows adolescents to learn and adapt, which paves the way for independence. But it also poses dangers: different rates of development can lead to poor decision making, risk taking—and, in some cases, diagnosable disorders.

Across cultures and millennia, the teen years have been noted as a time of dramatic changes in body and behaviour. During this time most people successfully navigate the transition from depending upon family to becoming a self-sufficient adult member of the society. However, adolescence is also a time of increased conflicts with parents, mood volatility, risky behaviour and, for some, the emergence of psychopathology.

The physical changes associated with puberty are conspicuous and well described. The brain’s transformation is every bit as dramatic but, to the unaided eye, is visible only in terms of new and different behaviour. The teen brain is not broken or defective. Rather, it is wonderfully optimised to promote our success as a species.

Beginning in childhood and continuing through adolescence, dynamic processes drive brain development, creating the flexibility that allows the brain to refine itself, specialize and sharpen its functions for the specific demands of its environment. Maturing connections pave the way for increased communication among brain regions, enabling greater integration and complexity of thought. When what we call adolescence arrives, a changing balance between brain systems involved in emotion and regulating emotion spawns increased novelty seeking, risk taking and a shift toward peer-based interactions.

These behaviours, found in all social mammals, encourage separating from the comfort and safety of our families to explore new environments and seek unrelated mates.1 However, these potentially adaptive behaviours also pose substantial dangers, especially when mixed with modern temptations and easy access to potent substances of abuse, firearms and high-speed motor vehicles.

In many ways adolescence is the healthiest time of life. The immune system, resistance to cancer, tolerance for heat and cold and several other variables are at their peak. Despite physical strengths, however, illness and mortality increase 200 percent to 300 percent. As of 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, motor vehicle accidents, the No. 1 cause, accounted for about half of deaths. Nos. 2 and 3 were homicide and suicide.2 Understanding this healthy-body, risk-taking-brain paradox will require greater insight into how the brain changes during this period of life. Such enhanced understanding may help to guide interventions when illnesses emerge or to inform parenting or educational approaches to encourage healthy development.

Adolescent Neurobiology: Three Themes

The brain, the most protected organ of the body, has been particularly opaque to investigation of what occurs during adolescence. But now the picture emerging from the science of adolescent neurobiology highlights both the brain’s capacity to handle increasing cognitive complexity and an enormous potential for plasticity—the brain’s ongoing ability to change. The advent of structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which combines a powerful magnet, radio waves, and sophisticated computer technology to provide exquisitely accurate pictures of brain anatomy and physiology, has opened an unprecedented window into the biology of the brain, including how its tissues function and how particular mental or physical activities change blood flow. Because the technique does not use ionizing radiation, it is well suited for pediatric studies and has launched a new era of neuroscience. Three themes emerge from neuroimaging research in adolescents:

  1. Brain cells, their connections and receptors for chemical messengers called neurotransmitters peak during childhood, then decline in adolescence.
  2. Connectivity among brain regions increases.
  3. The balance among frontal (executive-control) and limbic (emotional) systems changes.

These themes appear again and again in our studies of the biological underpinnings for cognitive and behavioral changes in teenagers.

Theme 1: Childhood Peaks Followed by Adolescent Declines in Cells, Connections and Receptors

The brain’s 100 billion neurons and quadrillion synapses create a multitude of potential connection patterns. As teens interact with the unique challenges of their environment, these connections form and re-form, giving rise to specific behaviors—with positive or negative outcomes. This plasticity is the essence of adolescent neurobiology and underlies both the enormous learning potential and the vulnerability of the teen years.

Neuroimaging reveals that gray matter volumes—which reflect the size and number of branches of brain cells—increase during childhood, peak at different times depending on the location in the brain, decline through adolescence, level off during adulthood and then decline somewhat further in senescence. This pattern of childhood peaks followed by adolescent declines occurs not only in gray matter volumes but also in the number of synapses and the densities of neurotransmitter receptors.3 This one-two punch—overproduction followed by competitive elimination—drives complexity not only in brain development but also across myriad natural systems.

Theme 2: Increased Connectivity

Many cognitive advances during adolescence stem from faster communication in brain circuitry and increased integration of brain activity. To use a language metaphor, brain maturation is not so much a matter of adding new letters as it is one of combining existing letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs.

“Connectivity” characterizes several neuroscience concepts. In anatomic studies connectivity can mean a physical link between areas of the brain that share common developmental trajectories. In studies of brain function, connectivity describes the relationship between different parts of the brain that activate together during a task. In genetic studies it refers to different regions that are influenced by the same genetic or environmental factors. All of these types of connectivity increase during adolescence.

In structural magnetic resonance imaging studies of brain anatomy, connectivity, as indicated by the volume of white matter—bundles of nerve cells’ axons, which link various regions or areas of the brain—increases throughout childhood and adolescence and continues to grow until women reach their 40s and men their 30s. The foundation of this increase in wiring is myelination, the formation of a fatty sheath of electrical insulation around axons, which speeds conduction of nerve impulses. The increase is not subtle—myelinated axons transmit impulses up to 100 times faster than unmyelinated axons. Myelination also accelerates the brain’s information processing via a decrease in the recovery time between firings. That allows up to a 30-fold increase in the frequency with which a given neuron can transmit information. This combination—the increase in speed and the decrease in recovery time—is roughly equivalent to a 3,000-fold increase in computer bandwidth.

However, recent investigations into white matter are revealing a much more nuanced role for myelin than a simple “pedal to the metal” increase in transmission speed. Neurons integrate information from other neurons by summing excitatory and inhibitory input. If excitatory input exceeds a certain threshold, the receiving neuron fires and initiates a series of molecular changes that strengthens the synapses, or connections, from the input neurons. Donald Hebb famously described this process in 1940 as “cells that fire together wire together.” It forms the basis for learning. In order for input from nearby and more distant neurons to arrive simultaneously, the transmission must be exquisitely timed. Myelin is intimately involved in the fine-tuning of this timing, which encodes the basis for thought, consciousness and meaning in the brain. The dynamic activity of myelination during adolescence reflects how much new wiring is occurring.

On the flip side, recent research reveals that myelination also helps close the windows of plasticity by inhibiting axon sprouting and the creation of new synapses.4 Thus, as myelination proceeds, circuitry that is used the most becomes faster, but at the cost of decreased plasticity.

Advances in imaging techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetization transfer (MT) imaging have helped spark interest in these processes by allowing researchers to characterize the direction of axons and the microstructure of white matter. These new techniques further confirm an increase in white matter organization during adolescence, which correlates in specific brain regions with improvements in language,5 reading,6 ability to inhibit a response7 and memory.5

Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies also consistently demonstrate increasing and more efficient communication among brain regions during child and adolescent development. We can measure this communication by comparing regions’ activation during a task. In studies assessing memory8 and resistance to peer pressure,9 the efficiency of communication in the relevant circuitry was a better predictor of how teens performed than was a measurement of metabolic activity in the regions involved.

These lines of investigation, along with EEG studies indicating increased linking of electrical activity in different brain regions, converge to establish a fundamental maturation pattern in the brain: an increase in cognitive activity that relies on tying together and integrating information from multiple sources. These changes allow for greater complexity and depth of thought.

Theme 3: Changing Frontal/Limbic Balance

The relationship between earlier-maturing limbic system networks, which are the seat of emotion, and later-maturing frontal lobe networks, which help regulate emotion, is dynamic. Appreciating the interplay between limbic and cognitive systems is imperative for understanding decision making during adolescence. Psychological tests are usually conducted under conditions of “cold cognition”—hypothetical, low-emotion situations. However, real-world decision making often occurs under conditions of “hot cognition”—high arousal, with peer pressure and real consequences. Neuroimaging investigations continue to discern the different biological circuitry involved in hot and cold cognition and are beginning to map how the parts of the brain involved in decision making mature.

Frontal lobe circuitry mediates “executive functioning,” a term encompassing a broad array of abilities, including attention, response inhibition, regulation of emotion, organization and long-range planning. Structural MRI studies of cortical thickness indicate that areas involved in high-level integration of input from disparate parts of the brain mature particularly late and do not reach adult levels until the mid 20s

Across a wide variety of tasks, fMRI studies consistently show an increasing proportion of frontal versus striatal or limbic activity as we progress from childhood to adulthood. For example, among 37 study participants aged 7–29, the response to rewards in the nucleus accumbens (related to pleasure seeking) of adolescents was equivalent to that in adults, but activity in the adolescent orbitofrontal cortex (involved in motivation) was similar to that in children.11 The changing balance between frontal and limbic systems helps us understand many of the cognitive and behavioral changes of adolescence.

Normal Changes versus Pathology

One of the greatest challenges for parents and others who work with teens is to distinguish sometimes exasperating behavior from genuine pathology. Against the backdrop of healthy adolescence, which includes a wide range of mood fluctuations and occasional poor judgment, is the reality that many types of pathology emerge during adolescence, including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, psychosis, and substance abuse. The relationship between normal neurobiological variations and the onset of psychopathology is complicated, but one underlying theme may be that “moving parts get broken.” In other words, development may go awry, predisposing adolescents to disorders. Although neuroimaging is beginning to establish correlations between brain structure or function and behavior, a link between typical behavioral variations and psychopathology has not been firmly established. For example, the neural circuitry underlying teen moodiness may not be the same circuitry involved in depression or bipolar disorder. A greater understanding of the relationship between specific adolescent brain changes and their specific cognitive, behavioral and emotional consequences may provide insight into prevention or treatment.

In the meantime, late maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is essential in judgment, decision making and impulse control, has prominently entered discourse affecting the social, legislative, judicial, parenting and educational realms. Despite the temptation to trade the complexity and ambiguity of human behavior for the clarity and aesthetic beauty of colorful brain images, we must be careful not to over-interpret the neuroimaging findings as they relate to public policy. Age-of-consent questions are particularly enmeshed in political and social contexts. For example, currently in the United States a person must be at least 15 to 17 years old (depending on the state) to drive, at least 18 to vote, buy cigarettes, or be in the military, and at least 21 to drink alcohol. The minimum age for holding political office varies as well: some municipalities allow mayors as young as 16, and the minimum age for governors ranges from 18 to 30. (On the national level, 25 is the minimum age to be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 35 to be a senator or the president.) The age to consent to sexual relations varies worldwide from puberty (with no specific age attached) to age 18. In most laws the age at which a female can consent to sexual relations is lower than the age for a male. In the United States the legal age to consent to sexual intercourse varies by state from 14 to 17 for females and from 15 to 18 for males. Clearly, these demarcations reflect strong societal influences and do not pinpoint a biological “age of maturation.” For instance, the age of majority was increased from 15 to 21 in 13th-century England because one needed both to be strong enough to bear the weight of protective armor and to acquire the necessary skills for combat. Societal influences also contributed to the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which in 1971 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 to address the discrepancy between being able to be drafted and being able to vote. Delineating the proper role of developmental neuroscience, particularly neuroimaging, in informing public policy on age-of-consent issues will require extensive deliberation with input from many disciplines.

From the perspective of evolutionary adaptation, it is not surprising that the brain is particularly changeable during adolescence—a time when we need to learn how to survive independently in whatever environment we find ourselves. Humans can survive in the frozen tundra of the North Pole or in the balmy tropics on the equator. With the aid of technologies that began as ideas from our brains, we can even survive in outer space. Ten thousand years ago, a blink of an eye in evolutionary time spans, our brains may have been optimized for hunting or for gathering berries. Now our brains may be fine-tuned for reading or programming computers. This incredible changeability, or plasticity, of the human brain is perhaps the most distinctive feature of our species. It makes adolescence a time of great risk and great opportunity.

 

References

1. L. P. Spear, “The Adolescent Brain and Age-Related Behavioral Manifestations,” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 24, no. 4 (2000): 417.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Data Interactive, http://205.207.175.93/hdi/ReportFolders/ReportFolders.aspx?IF_ActivePath=P,21, Mortality by underlying and multiple cause, ages 18+: US, 1981-2005 (Source: NVSS); accessed February 23, 2009.

3. F. M. Benes, in C. A. Nelson and M. Luciana, eds., Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), 79.

4. R. D. Fields, “White Matter in Learning, Cognition, and Psychiatric Disorders,” Trends in Neurosciences 31, no. 7 (2008): 361.

5. Z. Nagy, H. Westerberg, and T. Klingberg, “Maturation of White Matter Is Associated with the Development of Cognitive Functions during Childhood,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16, no. 7 (2004): 1227.

6. G. K. Deutsch, R. F. Dougherty, R. Bammer, W. T. Siok, J. D. E. Gabrieli1,  B. Wandell, “Children’s Reading Performance Is Correlated with White Matter Structure Measured by Diffusion Tensor Imaging,” Cortex 41, no. 3 (2005): 354.

7. C. Liston, R. Watts, N. Tottenham, M. C. Davidson, S. Niogi, A. M. U., B.J. Casey, “Frontostriatal Microstructure Modulates Efficient Recruitment of Cognitive Control,” Cerebral Cortex 16, no. 4 (2006): 553.

8. V. Menon and S. Crottaz-Herbette, “Combined EEG and fMRI Studies of Human Brain Function,” International Review of Neurobiology 66 (2005): 291.

9. M. H. Grosbras, M. Jansen, G. Leonard, A. McIntosh, K. Osswald, C. Poulsen, L. Steinberg, R. Toro, and T. Paus, “Neural Mechanisms of Resistance to Peer Influence in Early Adolescence,” Journal of Neuroscience 27, no. 30 (2007): 8040.

10. N. Gogtay, J. N. Giedd*, L. Lusk, K. M. Hayashi, D. Greenstein, A. C. Vaituzis, T. F. Nugent III, D. H. Herman, L. S. Clasen, A.r W. Toga, J. L. Rapoport, and P. M. Thompson, “Dynamic Mapping of Human Cortical Development during Childhood through Early Adulthood,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101, no. 21 (2004): 8174.

11. J. M. Bjork, B. Knutson, G. W. Fong, D. M. Caggiano, S. M. Bennett, and D. W. Hommer, “Incentive-Elicited Brain Activation in Adolescents: Similarities and Differences from Young Adults,” Journal of Neuroscience 24, no. 8 (2004): 1793.

Memory. Cortisol. Stress.

Friday, March 25th, 2016
Hee hee. I was chatting to a client about memory yesterday – and was doing my usual spiel about memory and some key things that stop memory working well…  Thought I’d share my thoughts.
1. Cortisol. If we’re running on either stress or in pain – our adrenal glands release cortisol. Cortisol is well-known to shut down short-term memory.
2. Stress. as per #1. When we’re stressed – if we also activate survival patterns (which can be diffused with kinesiology and Pranic healings) the survival patterns shut off our memory centre because survival is about action – fight, flight or freeze… and therefore memory is unimportant.
3. Logic and Gestalt sides of the brain – memories are allocated to memory centres depending on our hormones. If we’re happy they should store in ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ brain centres, if they’re stressed memories they should be stored in survival pathways – but it’s not even as simple as that! If the pathways aren’t even connecting as well as they should they can get lost in no-man’s-land! It takes time, but kinesiology starts to open these pathways, naturopathy starts balancing these hormones and then the memory has a chance to kick-into-action.
4. Supplements such as Omega Braincare and BrahmiTone are 2 supplements we often prescribe for poor memory. Don’t forget there are millions and millions of neurons and glial cells which need repair when our memory has been dysfunctional for sometime. Take it easy. Allow your brain to heal.
5. Drugs. There are drugs that are well known to deteriorate the size of the brain by 5% per year – so the longer we’re on them (and there are several) the more our brain pays the price.
We can help with memory issues, stress problems, drug dependency and re-integrating the brain.
Madonna Guy ND
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au
3348 6098

Looking After Others Means Looking After Yourself

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

One of the challenging things in life is when we start to get older and family or close friends start to receive diagnosis of their health. Yes, I’m talking cancer in the family. It’s one of the most challenging things one goes through when loved ones start to show symptoms, go through treatment with drastic side effects and with the looming query of: what’s going to happen next?

The overwhelming sense that one can’t really do much, the underwhelm of not being able to do much except comfort the person which is really hard to do when we’re rundown, exhausted, worried and busy with normal life. So what can we do apart from cook dinners?

You can look after yourself. Yes, it is one of the best things you can do as a support person to someone and don’t feel guilty about good health! When you’re rocking the sense of wellbeing:

  • it is a natural pick-me-up for others
  • you have more energy to do support jobs i.e. driving to appointments, cooking and preparing food, changing bed sheets, helping shower
  • it’s easier to maintain positive, non-judgemental and a calming vibe
  • you become more emotionally resilient
  • and are more able to enjoy more moments along the way

Let’s break it down:

Maintaining a sense of personal balance and wellbeing actually means:

  • maintaining good sleep wherever possible. Sleep is necessary for the body to replenish stores and do minor repairs around the body from the day.
  • Maintaining a balance of hormones. Why is this so important? Hormones are the bodies messengers to tell parts of the body to do things. Yes, reproduction is a result from hormones but they also have a great effect on keeping us calm, awake, good focus, active with energy and even sleep when it’s bed time. If one is over used then it’s eventually like a game of domino’s, but not quite as fun.
  • Maintaining good energy means everything becomes easier! Doom and gloom isn’t an overbearing sense but more a sense of acceptance and you are more likely to make more good moments.
  • Having good energy means eating good food and often. Food is our fuel therefore there is some truth to “You are what you eat”. Good energy means having enough energy to make breakfast lunch and dinner for yourself and whoever else you need to. When we’re busy, stressed and overwhelmed one of the first things to go out the window is dinner and/or breakfast. This is effectively not putting good fuel in the engine and expecting it to do a Formula 1 race every day. The maths just doesn’t add up, does it? Preparing good nutritious food is paramount and may take a bit of organising but should be a priority on your to-do list.
  • Taking care of any aches, pains and health issues of your own so when you’re with your loved one you can be as present and focussed with them as possible.

So we’ve talked benefits, now the big question is: how?

I’m a Naturopath and Kinesiologist so I’m going to say naturopathy and kinesiology works wonders! So I will go through some benefits however if your thing is massage do that. And do it regularly!

I love naturopathy as essentially it’s utilising herbs, nutrients, food as medicine, flower essences and even appropriate homeopathics to support and maintain wellbeing. For example often stress and energy are big ones that need support as they can unwind everything else. There are some fantastic herbs called adaptogens that help support energy levels whilst calming the nerves. Herbs can cater specifically for your personal health requirements whether it be stress, energy, pain and inflammation or digestion. They can make day to day life easier!

Whereas Kinesiology can essential give an indication of where the stress is affecting your body, how to balance it and what herbs, nutrients, foods or other remedies are the priority to maintain wellbeing and balance J

Other fantastic modalities that can be used alongside or instead of are:

  • Massage – If you have aches and pains and respond well to massage book one in regularly. A one off is nice, but an ongoing weekly or fortnightly massage works wonders for stress and energy management long term.
  • Reflexology – via pressure points on the feet this modality also works on rebalancing energy systems (and organs). Plus you get to lie down for one hour and totally relax into an amazing foot rub!
  • Chi Nei Tsang – this is a particular massage style for your belly. It is really good for digestion as when we are stressed, busy and tired our digestion often takes the brunt of it all and starts to not work as well. And what does digestion do? It processes our fuel (i.e. food) so we can use it efficiently. Therefore digestion is really important.

Some people like to mix it up, that is naturopathy/kinesiology every three weeks to keep on top of things and in between a massage, reflexology or chi nei tsang. It’s whatever works for you!

Herbs – Our Little Helpers for Coughs and Colds

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Why is a Liquid herbal mix so effective with colds and flus?

Herbs – our little helpers. Santa Claus isn’t the only one that needs helpers, from time to time we do too. Especially around this time of year as people are often effected by those persistent coughs and colds.

Do you try to ride the cold out only to have it drag on for another few weeks and just when you’re feeling better contract another cold to do it all again? Or just come down with that one cold a season that renders you in-operational for days bordering on weeks? Either way it’s not any fun battling colds and flu.

Why is a liquid herbal mix made for you so effective? Vitamin C and zinc are well known for supporting immunity and then there’s herbs. There are many herbal supplementation formula’s so why is it better to see a naturopath specifically for a cold? Does that bottle of liquid herbs (fertiliser or twig juice otherwise affectionately known as) really work? And if so, why?

Basically, herbs are multi-faceted in action. That is each herb has many constituents which each support different aspects of body systems in different ways. In other words herbs are broad-spectrum in action. Essentially one can say that herbs can be selected to create a formula specific to support for the individual’s health needs at that time.

For example, herbs such as Echinacea and Andrographis are particularly well known as immune supporters but they both support other systems in the body which as an end result contributes to the speedy recovery of the patient. That is, Echinacea stimulates and modulates the immune system but also increases circulation, helps vasodilation and supports lymphatic drainage. That means when you’re glands are swollen with a sore throat it helps to drain them and clear away the waste products from each cell efficiently.

Whereas Andrographis stimulates the immune system and also supports liver function, stimulates bile flow and is one of the strongest anti-oxidants of the plant kingdom, which are all important actions to promote and protect each cell whilst the body is under fire of an infection.

Although the predominant focus of action of these two herbs is supporting immunity, each of them also support the body in different ways. They are both suitable herbs individually but more effective together as a team. Therefore it is advantageous to combine these two herbs in one formula for a synergistic effect. That is, different actions of herbs working in harmony to support the one overall health goal – in this case help the body fight the infection.

When considering an herbal formula for any particular pesky cold there are certain factors which are taken into consideration. Factors include:

  • Presenting symptoms – sore throat, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, digestive changes, aches and pains, feeling of malaise
  • Progression of symptoms – how fast are these symptoms appearing? What is the usual progression for this person? Is this going faster or slower than usual
  • Health history – Does this person come down with colds & flus a lot? If so how long does it normally take to recover? Does it normally develop into secondary infections such as coughs, bronchitis, etc. Are there other factors in this persons health history which lead to this point?
  • Other current health issues – how efficiently are other systems working in the body? For example, often when the liver has a lot of detoxification to do it can impede the efficiency of the immune system and making recovery a lot more drawn out.
  • Lifestyle factors – is the person burning the candle at both ends? Are they coming into contact with other infected people?
  • External stressors – Stress does not help at all. Is this person really busy at work? Being sick can add to stress when the daily to-do list is not getting any shorter!
  • Current dietary factors – Is this person eating nutrient packed foods? If so, is it enough?
  • Sleep quality – Is this person sleeping well? Are they getting enough sleep, rest and reco-operation for the body to recovery?
  • Daily energy – how is this person’s energy throughout the day? Are they wiped out by lunchtime and reaching for stimulants for energy.
  • Iridology or constitution – Are there area’s of the body when it’s under stress needs more support than others? i.e. some people have very sensitive nervous system’s other’s have very sensitive digestive systems.

The basis for creating an efficient herbal mix for the individual relies upon the consideration of each herbal action matching them with areas of the individual’s body which needs support to reach wellbeing again. For example with a cold considerations may include an herb that stops the mucous production of the sinuses, one to preserve lung tissue tone or help calm coughing or making a cough productive (depending on what that patient’s symptoms are) and another to support adrenal function and energy. Such herbs for each of these actions may have other actions such as supporting digestion, soothing raw inflamed linings such as the throat or further antibacterial and antiviral support. When mixed together this little team of helpers all creating a synergistic effect working together to support the body as a whole to reach wellbeing again.

 

Georgia Kilpatrick – Ba H Sc (Nat) – SSNT

Naturopath/Kinesiologist

Stress Anxiety and Depression – a common phenomenon for familys – parents, kids, step families….

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

New Leaf Natural TherapiesParents and kids these days are incredibly susceptibly to stress, anxiety and depression – trying to avoid medication seems to be a common society problem.  But what is the answer?  Small business owners have a constant barrage of stressors – but let’s think about what really starts it all…  If you’re taking medications and would like to chat about how to start the process of going natural, book an apt to discuss the possibilities…

  • Fatigue.  It’s easy to get depression and fatigue mixed up.  Let’s face it – when we’re working hard, relaxing at the end of the day feels not only important, but the only way to re-boot our energy systems.  Depression switches off our motivation and energy hormones.  There are natural supplements that help your adrenals and mitochondria regenerate:  Adrenotone; Adaptan; MitoActivate; Thyrobalance… to name a few.  An OligoScan is a great way to find out how well your metabolism, your stress, your nerves are doing…
  • Sleeping too much or not enough.  Hormones linked to stress and depression (and sleeping too much or too much) are the same.  We need serotonin (our feel happy hormone) to convert to melatonin to help us sleep.  So a deficiency can affect our going-to-sleep and waking-up and being-happy hormones.  Supplements such as Proxan, Stressan and Calm X are some of our favourite serotonin supplements.
  • Diet – dodgy diet – inflamed brain.  Healthy diet – healthy brain.  There’s a massive gut-brain connection – you can’t eat crap and expect to think happy thoughts.  Ask about our  IgG Food Detective with your next apt to find out if your foods are messing with your brain!
  • Chronic pain, stomach ache and backache – these can go hand in hand with depression.  Feel-good-hormones such as serotonin are anti-inflammatory, and pain hormones shut down our feel-good-hormones.  It’s hard to feel happy when you’re in pain!  And drugs DON’T fix the feel-good-hormones.  Probiotics such as Probex for IBS, MetaFibre and Calm X for the gut lining can support the gut…  and we have many treatment options for chronic pain conditions – kinesiology, massage, microcurrent, supplements, infrared saunas & reiki.
  • Irritability – feeling frustrated with the wife, kids or boss too easily?  Stress hormones (and too much coffee and sugar!) can make us depressed and irritable and give us a shorter fuse.  Getting our hormones balanced – yeh, I know!, helps us feel like we’re happy again.  Relaxan, Resilian and Stressan are fantastic for balancing the moods – Resist X & Chromium Plus are great for balancing blood sugar.
  • Difficulty Concentrating – when we’re depressed we’re constantly thinking about the negative side of things, so it’s hard to stay on task and organised.  Brahmitone & Omega Brain Care are a few of our favourite brain combos.
  • Anger or Hostility – The Chinese call this ‘excess chi’ when we’ve got too much anger.  It tends to be linked with liver stress and there are herbs and nutrients that help to calm anger.  Stressan and Calm X are our favourites for calming our ‘excess chi’. hee hee
  • Stress – men are more likely to report stress than depression, probably because it’s more socially acceptable to do so.  The good thing about natural health is we’re more interested in getting you to feel better, than we are in ‘naming’ and ‘diagnosing’ the disease – and then coming up with an appropriate drug.  Tribulus Synergy, Calm X and Adrenotone are my favourite men’s supplements.
  • Anxiety – it’s easier to admit anxiety than depression – anxiety, once again, feels more socially acceptable – being worried, being stressed, feeling anxious about life, kids, relationships, business, job, money… the list goes on.  Anxiety is often a pre-cursor to depression.  GABA powder or capsules is ‘the anti-anxiety’ nutrient – Adaptan and Calm X are great anti-anxiety combos…
  • Substance Abuse – And here’s the kicker… how easy is it to relax and forget your stress, worry, depression – with a scotch or beer in one hand – and some hot chips in the other!  Our brain needs to feel good, unfortunately alcohol often fills that role – but the side effects (when we abuse it) are high.  Higher risk of everything – cardiac disease, cancers, gut problems, pain issues, headaches, migraines, poor libido!  which leads us to….
  • Sexual anxiety & performance issues – yep, to add insult to injury – depression doesn’t help the testosterone levels.  We need the same building blocks in the body for all hormones (feel-good hormones/stress hormones/sexual hormones) so if our body is feeling stressed, there’s little nutrition left over for making babies – and let’s face it, sex is about making babies!  For women, we have O-Lift and Tribulus Synergy – to boost oestrogen and testosterone, for men we have Tribulus Synergy and Androtone…testosterone boosters!
  • Indecision – when our body isn’t feeling good – our brain determines what’s important and what’s not!?  Bills aren’t important, deciding what to eat isn’t important – decisions become increasingly challenging and it’s harder and harder to feel motivated to et things done.  We use kinesiology, reiki and reflexology to help the brain function more effectively.
  • Suicidal Thoughts.  Okay.  Hopefully you haven’t been here, but so many people have!  When life feels overwhelming, stressful, bad enough so that worry and sadness take over, it’s hard to find a solution.  Please believe us when we say there is hope!  Our combination of nutritionals and herbals can bring people back from the brink – kinesiology and reiki can start to give you another perspective.  Reflexology & massage increase dopamine & serotonin.  One day at a time.  Breathe.  Get support and start dealing with it.  The great thing as well with kinesiology or reiki or reflexology is that you don’t NEED to talk if you don’t want to.  It works.  We’d often recommend a combination of B Complex, adrenal support, serotonin/GABA/dopamine supplements – and check toxicity levels (Live Blood or OligoScan) so that we can see if serotonin pathways are working or not!

Call us on 3348 6098 to discuss what appointment will be best for you.  Consider the OligoScan (14 years and over – hormones, stress, toxicity, minerals, heavy metals); Looking at your blood – in real time! (toxicity, gut, essential fatty acids) testing.

First Aid Kit – Colds and Viruses

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

 

 

 

With the colder months about to start and the year in full swing come busy days, exhaustion and for some families the inevitable colds and virus season. So what are some go to natural solutions we can keep in the cupboard/fridge and dose up on the first signs of colds? This can save valuable time and help to prevent the virus or cold from developing into something more serious like days of work and school. Here is a good all round First Aid Kit for Colds and Viruses.

 

  • Andrographis Complex by Mediherb or Andro NK by Metagenics (available at New Leaf Natural Therapies). When a cold is rapidly taking effect it is good to start Andrographis Complex as soon as possible. Dose: 2 tablets 3 times daily for an adult dosage. Can take every two hours for vigour viruses.
  • Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that is utilised around the body for many different reasons including skin repair, immunity, detoxification and as a catalyst for a myriad of enzymatic reactions around the body. Therefore it is in high demand especially with today’s modern lifestyle and exposure to our environment, such as car fumes, perfumes, plastics etc. Zinc is a major mineral for the immune system and usually very easy to replenish in the system. Therefore, at the first sign of a cold or a virus zinc is a good mineral to dose up on. Dose: a therapeutic dosage range is between 20-40 mg per day. However, if a virus rapidly taking hold and zinc levels are low it is generally acceptable it increase that dose by 2 or 3 times for 4 to 5 days.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin is widely known for it’s role in immunity and for good reason. Vitamin C stabilises the immune cells and is an excellent anti-oxidant which is in need when a virus is spreading. Vitamin C works alongside zinc synergistically and therefore are often in formula’s together. For a virus taking at least 3,000 – 4,000 mg in 500 – 1000 mg increments throughout the day. For a rapidly moving virus it is recommended to take 1000 mg up to what is called bowel tolerance. Bowel tolerance is essentially how much vitamin C the bowel can absorb. If it can’t absorb any more the vitamin C will remain in the lumen of the bowel and attract water to it thus bowel movements become looser. Sometimes a lot looser. Therefore once someone has reached bowel tolerance drop the dose by 1 -2 doses the next day and stay on that until the virus has run its course.
  • Probiotics. Ultra Flora Immune by Metagenics. The immune system is produced on the other side of our digestive system. Therefore the quality of the digestive process can affect the production of the immune system. There are many different species of probiotics which all extenuate different processes and functions, some in a negative manner, some not at all and some in a positive manner. Therefore it can be tricky to figure out which probiotics are right however when coming down for a cold reach for the probiotics that help stabilise the digestion and support the immune system. It is good to have what is called a loading dose for a 3 – 7 days and then drop to a maintenance dose. This is to support the immune system to make new cells if it needs to which can take up to 7 – 10 days i.e. 2 capsules twice a day before food for a loading dose and then drop to 1 capsule twice a day for the duration of the cold. If a virus is a common occurrence it would be recommended to have a maintenance dose of 1 capsule per day for 1 – 3 month afterwards.
  • Naso Clear by Metagenics. Whenever there is any congestion especially in sinuses which are prone to infection a god sinus flush works wonders! Naso Clear is not only a antibacterial but also breaks down any films which can form that bacteria harbour in making it difficult for the immune system to search and destroy them. One to two pumps per nostril at least first thing in the morning and again before bed can work absolute wonders!
  • Herbal Throat Spray by Mediherb. Sore throats can be the entry point of many viruses and therefore good to soothe and assist in maintaining the area’s defences. Herbs helps to do just that by soothing, antibacterial/antiseptic actions and helps support lymphatic drainage so the immune system can reach the area and carry away the
    • We’ve all heard of gargles, but who has time to gargle during a busy day? So a spray can be very convenient!
  • Homeopathics. Homeopathics can work really well for the sensitive people, easy to take and gentle on the pocket! BioResearch Formula 5 is a good immune supporter especially with re-occuring sore throats, colds and flu’s. For infections which have gone into secondary infections Formula C or Formula CR for chest coughs. Homeopathics should be taken 10-15minute away from strong flavours such as toothpaste, breathmints or even strong coffee.
  • Cells need weekends too! In a word recuperation and convalescents. If it is the beginning of a cold a warm easy to digest meal such as soup or casserole is great. These meals often need time to cook thus the food is already starting to break down and less work for the digestion to do. Rug up, get comfortable and enjoy some cosiness for the evening.. down time is a the path the new convalescence.

 

 

 

If a course of antibiotics is needed these products will be fine with these. If any other medications are prescribed and you have concerns it is best to take the Andrographis Complex 2 hours apart to avoid interactions or call the girls on 3348 6098 to see if we can help you with your health concerns.

 

Chi Nei Tsang –Why it is so beneficial for stress and anxiety

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Chi Nei Tsang works specifically on the abdomen using techniques derived from Chinese massage techniques and theory. The theory around this technique focuses largely on the detoxification of toxic energies or ‘winds’, by massaging the abdomen with specific techniques. But what does this mean and how does it help us? While this is a hard definition to understand, we certainly see wonderful benefits in people receiving this treatment. So how can we understand this in physiological terms?

What a large number of our clients find when receiving this treatment is generally two main effects; in the short term, relaxation and stress relief, and in the longer term, greatly improved digestive function. A lot of our clients also experience greater body awareness, such as better and more aware breathing patterns, and better understanding how certain foods and stresses impact their digestive function. These are invaluable tools on the path to self care. This is our ultimate goal – to help others find the tools they need to take charge of their own health. That’s why we love Chi Nei Tsang!

As a practitioner of this technique I have been searching for the ‘why’ of this – these benefits, what is actually happening in the body when they occur? Why is this seemingly simple technique so beneficial? Through further reading and clinical practice, this is what I come to understand:

Chi Nei Tsang is working on the enteric nervous system, or the so-called ‘second brain’ or ‘gut brain’. This system is becoming increasingly recognised as closely linked to the actual brain, and that the two systems interact and influence each other. It’s also working on the diaphragm, reducing tension in this important muscle.

The Second Brain

While the enteric nervous system cannot think or process the way our actual brain can, it is responsible for a large portion of our neurotransmitter production, including about 95% of the body’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning, and is generally considered our ‘feel good’ hormone. Many anti-depressant or anti-anxiety hormones work by sparing the amount of serotonin that is broken down by the body. The main two factors that affect the production of neurotransmitters in the gut are stress and nutrition. Simply put, if we eat poorly and don’t relax, both our gut and our brain suffer. With Nutritional guidance and Chi Nei Tsang, we can change our brain chemistry for the better.  

The diaphragm and breathing

The diaphragm is a key muscle for the function of breathing, and needs to be used properly for deep breathing to occur. When the diaphragm is tense or not used effectively, shallow chest breathing results. This is an issue for us because our breathing pattern predisposes us to either relaxation or to the stress response, depending on how it is that we breathe and how we use the diaphragm.

Deep, abdominal diaphragmatic breathing puts the nervous system in parasympathetic mode, which could be called our ‘tend and befriend’ mode – where the body is calms, regulates its functions better and heals better. When we breathe in the chest and use the diaphragm poorly, we increase the sympathetic response, the stress response. Chest breathing predisposes us towards anxiety and stress. For susceptible people, proper breathing can make a huge difference to quality of life in terms of managing anxiety and stress. Chi Nei Tsang helps to release tension in the diaphragm and in the process of the treatment we teach proper breathing patterns.  It is however not easy to breathe deeply when the digestive system is in distress. This is why Chi Nei Tsang helps so much – by working on both the diaphragm and on releasing tension from the digestive system, we optimise breathing and calm the ‘second brain’.

When treating our clients with Chi Nei Tsang, we learn a lot about how the body manifests and unravels the effects of stress and improper breathing. We’ve seen severe menstrual pain disappear, and chronic back pain resolve. Of course, digestive issues improve significantly with this treatment, as well as anxiety, energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing.

For further questions or to book an appointment, please contact us!

 New Leaf Natural Therapies

3348 6098

LEAP Assessment: What do we do?

Friday, June 7th, 2013

LEAP Assessment

LEAP (Learning Enhancement Acupressure Programme) is a process based on core neurology of the brain.  We use a muscle monitoring process which has been used on tens of thousands of people to find which areas of the brain are functioning, and which aren’t.  We initially do an assessment on your or your family member and find where the deficits are:

  • where is the logic in the brain?
  • where is the gestalt/visual-spatial part of the brain?
  • what is the dominant hand? eye?
  • how much function is there in some connecting pathways?
  • are the visual memory areas of the brain functioning?
  • how is comprehension?
  • how is problem solving?

Our process has been developed by Dr Charles Krebs over the past 28 years.  Charles is a researcher who’s life has been working towards helping people reach their potential, finding the ways of testing and correcting neurology imbalances that stress us when we are trying to do something new.  Charles’ book ‘A Revolutionary Way of Thinking’ was released over 10 years ago and really gives a great understanding of the brain, its potential, what shuts down its potential – it’s a great read!

What stresses you in life?

  • bookwork
  • paperwork
  • your kids homework
  • helping your child to do their maths or spelling
  • feeling like your child just isn’t remembering properly? (It feels sometimes like they’re just not trying!?)
  • stress in exams
  • stress in meetings
  • stress in front of a room full of people
  • avoidance of anything new
  • anxiety? depression? panic attacks? behavioural changes at school/work compared to at home?
  • memory – walking into one room and not being able to remember properly

These are the type of issues that the LEAP Programme helps to correct.  It is aimed at helping people reach their potential – the potential of their individual brain!  Not everyone is an Einstein (not that we’d want to be) but we can always find ways of improving the way our brain works.

Call us to book an assessment today!

3348 6098
Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies

LEAP Practitioners, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia!

 

LEAP Programme: Learning Enhancement Acupressure Programme as taught by Dr Charles Krebs

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Did you know??

Our LEAP Programme is for children (of any age haha) and adults who need their brains to function a little better.

For kids who get their letters mixed up, have comprehension issues (read but can’t make sense); where maths is difficult, where balance is off.  But, it’s never a quick fix.  The brain is complicated, and unfortunately in our modern world it’s taking longer to correct the brain than 10 years ago…  LEAP is a process, usually 10-20 sessions for a fairly ‘normal’ kid with learning problems/behavioural problems (usually brain disintegration causes behaviour), more if the child is severely stressed, toxic, allergic…

There are many reasons for brain disintegration – birthing stresses, birthing medications, vaccine toxins, lack of oxygen (in a specific neuronal pathway), mother stress, breastfeeding issues, birth of siblings, moving house, moving schools, allergies, candida, fungal infections, addictions, medications, teacher voices, teacher stresses, virus and viral particles and so much more!

Changes happen slowly but consistently on the programme as neurological pathways are working better and better.  Multi-sensory pathways support improvement with vision, hearing, sight, smell (such as anosmia), touch imbalances.  Primitive reflexes that are jammed that create excess fear, threats and dangers in life are slowly released.

Our initial LEAP Assessment with Norm is only $106.50 for 1.5 hours.  Find out if LEAP can help you and your family…

3348 6098