Massage vs Myotherapy – What’s the difference?

A massage is a massage right? Anyone who gets massage regularly knows that this is definitely not the case! Massage therapist vary in their skills, expertise and techniques. Personal preferences and experience are part of the reason why there is variation, but a large part of it lies with the education that a massage practitioner can have.

A remedial massage therapist has studied massage, including hands on techniques, physiology and muscular anatomy. It is possible in Australia to get a certificate in massage in just 6 months. Of course, at Brisbane Natural Health we require our massage therapists to have a minimum of and Advanced Diploma in massage (usually 1 1/2 years in a reputable institution) to ensure they have the background training to help our patients. There are many fantastic massage therapists who get great results with patients.

Serious issues are often better dealt with by a Myotherapist / MST.

Musculoskeletal Therapy (MST), otherwise known as myotherapy, differs from Remedial Massage in that therapists are trained to critically evaluate and assess a presenting musculoskeletal condition, identify the causes and contributing factors, and develop a holistic management plan that will provide an effective result. As well as the hands on treatment you may also get an exercise prescription, be coached on postural awareness and have your condition explained to you in greater detail. Although there are massage therapists which do these things it is usually self taught rather than learned in their studies. A Musculoskeletal therapist or myotherapist studies for 3 years to obtain a Bachelor degree in Health Science.

Both Remedial Massage therapists and Myotherapists can help you with tight muscles, pain and discomfort. If you have a specific or chronic condition, often seeing an Myotherapist first will help you gain a better insight to the cause of the issue and what you need to do to fix it. Myotherapists are often better at finding the cause of the issue and identifying if you need to be referred to other therapists. This is particularly helpful if you have a chronic condition that is slow to respond to treatment.

If a relaxation massage is what you’re after then a Remedial Massage Therapist is the way to go. We usually find even in our relaxation massage patients there is some tightness and knots to work out – so it ends up being a combination of both!

To make an appointment with a Remedial Massage Therapist or Myotherapist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3367 0337 now!

Do I need to Quit Sugar?

There’s a lot of hype about quitting sugar out there at the moment. The popular book ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson, offers an 8 week plan to ditch sugar in the diet for renewed health. But what exactly is sugar?

In I Quit Sugar, sugar removal is based on fructose, a sugar identified as ‘bad’ in the work of David Gillepsi in his book Sweet Poison. Studies have identified that a high intake of fructose can have detrimental affect on health. Not only is eating fructose thought to make you eat more, but your body can easily convert it straight into fat. Studies have also shown that fructose may be linked to dementia, cancer, infertility, ageing and immune problems.

But before we get carried away and strip all fructose from the diet, including fruit, we need to take the results of these studies in context. There is no real evidence that an everyday intake of fructose, such as that contained in a couple of pieces of fruit, will cause harm. There are however many studies linking a high intake of fructose, such as that contained in high fructose corn syrup and soft drinks, to some serious health detriments.

I have to admit, I am a bit of a Nazi when it comes to sugar – I believe that refined sugar is a huge part of the reason why chronic diseases have shot through the roof. I’m a big promoter that foods with added sugar should be avoided and that we should avoid other refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and baked goods.

Sarah Wilson mentions in her book that fruit should not be demonized. I agree with this comment – fruit has a unique array of fibre and nutrients that are different to veggies and I think that they are a vital part of the diet. The trick with fruit is that you don’t want to be eating too much – 2 serves a day is plenty otherwise you are getting in too much sugar. It has to be whole fruit though – the fibre in fruit helps your body to break it down more slowly, avoiding spikes in blood sugar. Fruit juice should be avoided as this provides a concentrated source of sugar that goes straight into your bloodstream.

Here’s the food you want to steer clear of to keep your sugar intake to a minimum:

  • Commercial cereal
  • Muesli with added sweeteners
  • Sweetened yoghurt
  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juice
  • Muesli bars
  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Jam
  • Sauces
  • Mayonnaise
  • Marinades
  • Baked beans and tinned spaghetti
  • Frozen meals

And if you’re cooking yourself, here are some refined sugar alternatives that you can use:

  • Stevia
  • Xylitol
  • Raw honey
  • Maple syrup (natural)

 

So, what’s the verdict? Keep added sugar to a minimum and don’t overdo it on the fruit and you’ll be fine. If you are a sugar addict, it might be worthwhile trying the I Quit Sugar program, which has some great recipes. You could also check in with your naturopath, as sugar cravings are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong (often originally caused by sugar in the first place).

Like this post? You might also like…

Naturopathy for weight loss 

The good, the bad and the ugly; The truth about fats and oils

10 Things you can do to prevent cancer

 

Do you have hypothyroidism?

Are you tired or moody? Do you have difficulty losing weight, constipation or dry skin? Is your memory failing you? These are all common symptoms of hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid gland. Up to 15% of the people have an under active thyroid gland, with many people going undiagnosed.

However it’s not always black and white, different people will present with different symptoms.

If you have hypothyroidism you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue or low energy
  • Depression or feeling melancholy and/or anxiety
  • Constipation or harder stools
  • Puffy face and eyelids
  • Memory loss, confusion, brain fog
  • Weight gain that is difficult to lose
  • Dry coarse skin
  • Intolerance to temperatures, hot or cold
  • Menstrual issues
  • Infertility/ recurrent miscarriage
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tinnitus
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loos of libido
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced sweating

So what exactly is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits just over your wind pipe in the middle of the throat. The thyroid gland has the job of regulating every tissue and organ in the body. Your thyroid controls your metabolism, moods, digestion, hormone balance, energy levels and much, much more.

How do I know if I have a thyroid problem?

As well as evaluating your symptom picture, there are several tests that may be useful to determine if your thyroid is under functioning.

TSH

TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, is secreted by the body to stimulate the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones. The higher the TSH, the more the body is trying to encourage the thyroid to work harder. A high TSH indicates a lowered thyroid function.

TSH is a poor indicator of thyroid function, as it doesn’t really take into account the whole picture. Unfortunately this is the gold standard that doctors use to check thyroid function, and if you are ‘in range’ then you are dismissed as being normal.

T4 and T3

T4 and T3 are your actual thyroid hormones. T4, the inactive form, coverts into T3, which is the hormone used to regulate tissues in the body. You need to have adequate levels of both T4 and T3 in order for your thyroid to function optimally. By testing T4 and T3, we can assess if there is a problem with hormone production or the conversion of T4 to T3. There are different nutrients involved at each stage, so we are able to gain insight into nutrient deficiencies and know what to prescribe based on these results.

Reverse T3

Reverse T3 occurs when T3 ‘flips’ into a reverse form. Reverse T3 attaches to receptors and prevents T3 from binding to them. Checking for reverse T3 is important as your T3 could be normal, however if you have high reverse T3 then you will still have an underactive thyroid. Reverse T3 is not recognized by most doctors as being important, however we find it an essential part of the picture when evaluating someone with hypothyroidism.

Thyroid autoantibodies

Thyroid autoantibodies can show if there is are immune factors that could be causing an autoimmune thyroiditis called Hashimoto’s disease. In Hashimoto’s, your immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to dysfunction. Autoimmune thyroid problems require different treatment to standard hypothyroidism, so it is important that this is ruled out.

Cholesterol

Unknown to many, often the cause of high cholesterol levels is hypothyroidism. In fact, high cholesterol was previously used by doctors as an indicator of hypothyroidism. This was before the introduction of statin drugs, which it seems are the only thing that are looked at when a cholesterol issue arises. The problem with this is that you could end up on cholesterol lowering drugs, while the underlying cause is not rectified.

Nutritional testing

There are many nutrients involved in thyroid function. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause hypothyroidism to occur.

  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Tyrosine (an amino acid)

Urinary Iodine

Iodine is needed to make your thyroid hormones – T4 and T3. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of hypothyroism. Iodine is best tested through the urine, this test can be ordered through the clinic.

Hair mineral analysis

A hair mineral analysis can assess mineral levels in the body, as well as how your body is functioning. There are also many heavy metals that can inhibit thyroid function, so it is worthwhile ruling out this.

What treatment options are available?

Thankfully, there are many herbs and nutrients that have been clinically proven to improve thyroid function. If you have a suspected thyroid problem, seeing one of our naturopaths is a good first step. First we’ll make sure you have all of the right testing done, and then we’ll develop a treatment plan based on your individual symptom picture. Our naturopaths have helped hundreds of patients to overcome hypothyroidism so that they can get their mojo back.

Acupuncture is also a good option for those with thyroid problems, from a TCM perspective. Treatment can include a combination of acupuncture, herbs and nutrition in those with severe or chronic thyroid problems.

To make an appointment or to discuss treatment options with out team, call us on 07 3367 0337 and we’ll be happy to help.

thyroid gland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiropractic For Neck Pain

Can chiropractic help with neck pain?

Yes! Our chiropractors help patients overcome neck pain every day. Chiropractic is clinically proven to be of help with neck pain. Besides us getting excellent results for our clients in this area, here is what researchers have found:

A randomised controlled trial involving 183 patients with neck pain compared chiropractic, physiotherapy and general practitioner (GP) care (counselling, education and drug therapy) over 52 weeks. The study found that chiropractic resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy or GP care. As well as this, it was found that the total cost of chiropractic over the other therapies was about one-third of the other interventions.

— Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial, British Medical Journal

A study involving 272 participants evaluated the effectiveness of chiropractic vs. pain medications or exercise recommendations. After 12 weeks, 57% of those who received chiropractic care had a 75% reduction in pain, compared to 33% of the medication group. After 12 months, 53% of the drug-free groups reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, compared to just a 38% pain reduction from those on medication.

— Bronfort et al. (2012), Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report, Annals of Internal Medicine

 So how does it work?

Chiropractic works for neck pain by removing blockages in the cervical (neck) spine, which can lead to surrounding muscle tension and pain. When the joints are not moving freely, it can cause inflammation and tightness around the site. As well as moving the joints back into alignment, our chiropractors will help to release the surrounding muscles to help relieve pain in the area.

But, it’s not always about the neck. The shoulders and lower back can also play a role in neck pain, due to the resulting misalignment. Our chiropractors will look at the whole body and will also give you some basic stretches to do at home to help relieve the situation.

Will I need X-rays?

Our chiropractors will likely order X-rays to look at your spine. X-Rays allow our chiropractors to pick up any structural abnormalities, degradation or other issues that could be contributing to your neck pain. Getting a diagnosis for your pain is important, as we don’t want to just treat the symptoms.

How long will it take to get better?

Most patients begin to notice changes in their neck pain in the first couple of weeks of treatment. To correct the problem may however take several months, depending on the severity. Initially your body will need more treatment to respond, then as things stabilize, your treatments will become less frequent.

What about massage?

Massage can be an important factor in recovery for those with neck pain. We know that muscles and bones work together, so we offer all new chiropractic patients a complimentary 30 minute massage to evaluate the state of your muscles and recommend a course of treatment based on this.

You can make an appointment at our Brisbane clinic by calling 07 3367 0337 or using the online booking button below to make your own appointment online.

 

 

chiropractic and neck pain

7 Tips To Love Your Liver

Your liver cops a beating. It has the huge job of processing nearly every toxin, metabolite, hormone and chemical mediator in your body. The liver is a bit like the checkout in the supermarket – every item needs to be scanned through it before it leaves your body.

We live in a world where we are constantly exposed to toxins in the form of pesticides, alcohol, processed foods, excess coffee, toxins in cleaning products and skin care and even the air we breathe. As these toxins accumulate in the body, your liver is working overtime to excrete them, and if they are coming faster than your liver can handle them, they will stay in your body.

Most people’s livers need a little loving to help them function at their peak. Here are my top 7 tips for loving your liver.

#1 – Have some lemon

Lemons and other sour foods help to stimulate the release of bile from the liver, helping them to detoxify. Try having lemon juice in water on rising, lemon juice on your salads and a slice of lemon in your water bottle.

#2 – Limit the caffeine

Excess coffee consumption puts a strain on the liver and uses up its detoxifying capacity that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. Keep coffee to 1-2 cups a day (that’s standard shots) and have at least one coffee-free day per week to give your body a rest.

#3 – Avoid binge drinking

Binge drinking really pushes your liver to its limits, so try not to get super intoxicated

#4 – Stay hydrated

Keeping your water intake up will help you liver do its job properly. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate with a glass of water in between each drink.

#5 – Beet it

Beetroot has been found to have a protective effect on the liver in several studies. Juice it, grate it up and put in salads or roast it.

#6 – Eat your greens

Green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, silverbeet and rocket help your liver to detoxify more effectively.

#7 – Eat bitter foods

Bitter foods such as watercress, rocket and chard help to stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder, which helps to release toxins.

Your really does help to look after you – so make sure you use these tips to give it some lovin’!

love your liver

Want to look a little deeper? Our naturopaths are experts in liver detoxification and can develop a program to get your liver back to functioning at it’s best. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to make an appointment. 

 

 

 

 

Why you shouldn’t skimp on stretching

Stretching – that activity that we know we should no but generally don’t, leaves you feeling nice and warmed up and ready to take on the world… but why is stretching important, and does it really matter if you decide to skimp on it? In this article our Musculoskeletal Therapist Emma shares her wisdom on stretching.

Range of motion

Generally speaking, the range of motion is dictated by two factors: your joints and muscles. Muscle provides passive and active tension to joints, with neuroreceptive qualities to it, dependent on its contractile state. Movement is also dependent on the amount of range of motion a synovial joint has (synovial being a joint that has a capsule filled with synovial fluid).

Muscle tension decreases range of motion

So from this we have one major factor that we can control: muscle tension. Muscle tension can result from a variety of things; anything from your day-to-day activities – work, exertional exercise, walking, even sitting down and watching television has some factor in which muscles create tension, and which muscles are switching off and not doing their job.

Without even working your muscles can become tense from your body’s amazing ability to adapt and overcome situations. This can include scar tissue, neurological impairment, or certain postures (think desk work, five days a week situations).

Stretching helps the muscles and the joints

Stretching generally focuses on the muscular length between the joints where it originates, and where it attaches. When you stretch, your muscle increases in length due to muscle: brain communication through certain receptors. As well as stretching muscles, actively stretching allows your joints to increase in space, allowing less compression between bones. This reduces deterioration of joint structures, ultimately allowing your ligaments and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding your muscles, bones, joints, blood vessels etc) to release. Regular stretching can therefore prevent pain and discomfort that arises from both muscular tension and joint pain.

Stretching calms the mind

Active stretching, the kind that puts you through your entire range of motion – holding and releasing several times, can also induce a meditative state, where you are able to enjoy the full benefit of your feel good endorphins! Combining stretching with some deep breathing exercises will help you to be able to stretch longer with the added benefit of relaxation.

Stretching for people who ‘can’t stretch’

Are you particularly tense and feels like you just can’t reach that happy point of no pain and/or length when stretching? Getting some passive stretches from a Musculoskeletal or Remedial Massage Therapist can greatly reduce the restrictive feeling of active stretching as they work with your own body dynamics, rather than against them. It feels fantastic to stretch like this since you’re immediately relaxing into it and allowing your body to naturally move in ways that would otherwise be limited from the psychological barriers in place to reduce injury.

So to recap, you shouldn’t skimp on stretching because…

  • It lengthens muscles to relieve tightness
  • It helps to increase space in the joints, which can prevent pain and discomfort
  • It helps to prevent injury
  • It increases range of motion, to help you move more freely

So now that you know, try not to skimp on stretching. It really is an important part of keeping your body healthy and mobile through the years. Happy stretching, everyone!

Want your own tailored stretching program? Make an appointment with a musculoskeletal or remedial massage therapist by calling 07 3367 0337 and we will help you on the way to recovery. 

How to Activate Nuts

Nuts are a fantastic food for your health, being high in protein and health giving essential fats, and rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. The problem is that nuts are notoriously difficult to digest, meaning you may not be getting all of these juicy nutrients into your body.

You can bypass this problem by activating your nuts, a process in which you soak them to make them more digestible and better for your health. This is especially useful for those with digestive problems or those with nutrient deficiencies, both of which often go hand in hand.

How to do it

Activating nuts is very easy. All you need to do is…

  1. Soak them overnight in pure, filtered water.
  2. Discard the water and give them a good rinse. This help to remove any naturally occurring ‘enzyme inhibitors’ – compounds that can impair the digestion of the nuts in question.
  3. Now you need to decide how you want to use them. You can eat them right here and now, in their juicy hydrated form. This is the best option if you’re making them to put into smoothies or power balls or the like.

If you want to eat them like you would normal dried nuts, you can actually dry them out again. You’ll need to do this at a low temperature (under 40 degrees Celsius) using a dehydrator for best results. You can also try putting them on a tray in your oven on the lowest setting, with the door slightly ajar. If you’re storing them for a while then make sure you dehydrate them until they are nice and crisp, to prevent spoiling.

Another thing you can do is put the rinsed nuts in a paper bag in the fridge. This will dry them out slightly and last a week or so until they go bad. You can also freeze your hydrated nuts to use in smoothies so you have them on hand.

A note on salted nuts

If you have a hankering for salted nuts, you can achieve this by adding some Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to the soaking water. The nuts will take up the salt and if you dehydrate them you’ll be left with crunchy, salty goodness. Enjoy!

 

10 Things You Can Do To Prevent Cancer

There are so many things that have been strongly linked with fighting off cancer, that we thought we should share them! Here are our top health and lifestyle picks for warding off cancer.

#1 – Eat Garlic

Garlic has been studied widely for its ability to prevent cancer. It has shown to be especially protective against cancers of the digestive system, particularly bowel cancer, stomach cancer, intestinal cancer, esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Garlic may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer, with an intake of garlic and scallions reducing the risk by 50% in one study. Garlic may also help to keep breast cancer at bay – with a French study showing a statistically significant reduction in those that consumed more fibre, garlic and onions.

It is not known how garlic works to prevent cancer, but naturopaths and herbalists have used garlic for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties for centuries. Perhaps its ability to modify gut flora may play a part in its anti-cancer effect in the digestive tract. Most studies are population-based and look at dietary intake. It seems that the more garlic and other foods from the allium family you eat, such as onions and scallions, the more protection you will have against these cancers. Try eating 1 or 2 small cloves per day, some cooked and some raw for the best benefit

 

#2 – Up Your Cruciferous Vegetable Intake

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the brassica family. They include these vegetables, as well as others:

Bok ChoyBroccoliBrussels sproutsCabbageCauliflower

Collard greens

Horseradish

KaleRadishesRocketTurnipsWatercress

Wasabi

A higher intake of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of developing several cancers, including breast, colon and lung cancer. Their anticancer properties are thought to come from their sulfur compounds, such as indoles and isothiocyanates. In vitro studies have found that indoles and isothiocynates can help to inactive carcinogens, protect cells from DNA damage and help to induce apoptosis (pre-programmed cell death that prevents tumour formation). They can also inhibit angiogenesis (blood supply to the tumour) and tumour cell migration (stop cancer cells moving), both of which are essential to cancer treatment and prevention.

You should try and eat at least 1 serve of cruciferous vegetables every single day, and if you are at high risk of cancer then more than this wouldn’t be a bad idea.

 

 

#3 – Have a Cuppa

Tea contains polyphenol compounds, in particular catechins, which may help with cancer prevention. These catechins have significant free radical scavenging activity, which can help to protect cells from DNA damage, which helps them to function as they are intended. Polyphenols, green tea in particular, have been shown to inhibit tumor cell proliferation (growing) and induce apoptosis. Green tea can also help to activate the detoxification enzymes glutathione s-transferase and quinone reductase, which can protect against tumor development.

Although green tea’s anti-cancer properties are well established in-vitro, there have been mixed results in clinical studies. In saying this, there are many positive studies on green tea intake being associated with reductions in the risk of cancers such as prostate, colon, breast and lung cancer. Inconsistencies in results may be due to the different preparations of tea being used, how long they are brewed for and when they are consumed. All of this considered there is still a large body of evidence that suggests that having 3 or more cups of green tea per day significantly reduces your risk of cancer development. Green tea does contain caffeine, so try not to drink it too late at night.

 

#4 – Get Some Sun

Wait – haven’t we been told to stay out of the sun to prevent cancer? For years we have been warned of the dangers of the sun but it is now apparent that we need it more than we need to avoid it. Most of your Vitamin D is created in your skin as a result of sun exposure. Deficiencies of Vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of bowel cancer, and may help to prevent breast cancer, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Vitamin D has roles in the immune system and acts like a hormonal modulator in the body. We are learning more and more about vitamin D every day but what is apparent is that we really need good levels and that we are not getting enough.

To increase your vitamin D levels through sunlight you need to expose your unprotected skin (no sunscreen etc) between the hours of 10am and 2pm. Short periods of approx. 10 minutes with the forearms or belly exposed will give you the best conversion. It is important not to let your skin become too hot and never burned, those with fair skin may need to take care and have less exposure. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement if you cannot get adequate sun exposure.

Vitamin D can also be found in fatty fish, cod liver oil and organic eggs. If you’re unsure if you’re getting enough, ask your naturopath or your GP to check your levels.

 

#5 – Boost Your Antioxidant Intake

Antioxidants include nutrients such as vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, zinc, bioflavonoids and lipoic acid as well as dozens of phytochemicals that have identified for their effects. Antioxidants work to prevent cancer by scavenging free radicals – compounds, which in excessive amounts can cause cellular damage and lead to precancerous changes in the cell. Antioxidants also have a role in buffering and assisting with the elimination of toxins such as heavy metals, which can increase cancer risk when there is too much in the body.

The studies that have been done on isolated antioxidants have been found to protect against some cancer types. To gain the most anticancer effects it is best to eat a diet rich in a wide range of antioxidants, rather than taking a supplement. Foods with high antioxidant levels include berries, kiwifruit, pineapple, paw paw, lemons, capsicum, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, nuts and seeds. Generally foods that are brightly coloured are high in antioxidants, so aim for a rainbow on your plate.

 

#6 – Go Organic

Although some may say that eating organic isn’t worth the money, one thing is clear; eating organic is the only way to avoid cancer-causing chemicals that you ingest from your food. Studies have suggested that pesticides can increase the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, brain tumours, bladder cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

There is strong evidence that a higher level of pesticide exposure, for example in the home (fly spray or vermicide use) or those living in agricultural areas have a much higher change of developing several cancers. Eating organic in an urban setting is essential if we are to break the cycle of pesticide use to reduce the risk to workers and residents in farming communities. Pesticides in the home should be used cautiously and sparingly if absolutely essential.

 

#7 – Move Your Booty

There is strong evidence that exercise is associated with reduced rates of colon and breast cancer. There has also been links between how much you move and uterine, lung and prostate cancer.

Physical activity has been found to affect a number of immune factors and has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Exercise can also modulate insulin, hormones and energy balance so may affect cancers this way.

Research is also indicating that exercise helps to improve quality of life and breast cancer survival rates for those already diagnosed.

Exercising moderately for 30 minutes 5 days a week, or intensely for 20 minutes 3 days a week is considered the minimum amount that we need to stay healthy. Doing 3 longer sessions of 1 hour in the week would also be a great level of physical activity.

 

#8 – Shed Those Extra Kilos

If the link between inactivity and cancer hasn’t got you off the couch yet, this will. Obesity increases your risk of developing cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, bowel, rectum, breast, uterus, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder. In some cancers, obesity can increase the risk of development by up to 40%.

Excess fat in the body causes more hormones that can stimulate cancer growth. Obese people are also in a state of inflammation, which can further increase the risk of cancer. If you are overweight then checking in with a naturopath may help. As well as giving you a diet and lifestyle plan they can prescribe you supplements to help improve metabolism and check out if there is anything that could be stopping you from losing weight.

 

#9 – Ditch the Plastic

Studies have shown that bisphenol A (BPA), a common ingredient in plastics may increase your risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer, and a study published this year (2014) found that liver tumors were found in mice whose mothers were exposed to BPA during gestation and nursing. BPA is found in plastic water bottles and other drink bottles, plastic food storage containers, CDs and in the plastic that lines canned food. BPA is lipophilic (fat loving) so is easily leached into your food through these mediums. It can also be found in children’s toys and household items.

BPA is directly linked to exposure and avoiding it can help to decrease concentrations in the blood quite quickly. Use a glass or stainless steel drinking bottle, avoiding ‘wet’ foods that are in plastic, particularly if they have been heated up (no microwaving) and avoiding canned food will help to decrease your levels. BPA free plastics may be no better; they often contain other bisphenol compound that could be just as harmful.

Another plastic toxin is phthalates, and is found in food wrappings, babies toys and plastic wrap. They can disrupt the endocrine system and have been found to alter gene expression and increase proliferation of cancer cells in-vitro. Avoiding all plastic is the safest way to go.

 

#10 – Give Your Beauty Cabinet a Health Check

Are cancer-causing compounds lurking in your beauty cabinet? From your lippy to your moisturiser, there are many things you need to look out for that can increase your risk of cancer.

Lipstick

May contain lead, a known human carcinogen. Most of your lippy ends up being consumed by you, so this one is essential to get organic.

Fragrance

Fragrance is an ingredient that can contain hundreds of different chemicals. Most commonly they contain phthalates, which have been shown to disrupt the way that cells behave, which could increase cancer risk. Perfume is the highest source of phthalates, but most scented beauty products contain some level of this chemical. Even those that are ‘unscented’ often have a chemical concoction to mask the smells of the product.

Nail polish

Nail polish contains benzene, a known human carcinogen and has strong links to breast cancer. Look for natural based polishes that are free from this chemical.

Moisturisers, cleansers and makeup

These products can contain parabens, which are endocrine disruptors that have the potential to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Skin lighteners/brighteners

These products may contain a chemical called hydroquinone, which has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, and should be avoided.

 

10 Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds, the tiny black and white seeds originating rom Mexico and Guatemala, have been touted as a superfood with good reason. They are a great addition to any diet and can help with a wide range of issues. Here are our top 10 reasons to eat chia seeds.

1. High in omega 3

Chia seeds are an excellent source of vegetarian omega 3, with one 15g serve containing over 3g of this essential fatty acid. Omega 3 is essential for heart health, brain function, reducing inflammation in the body and more.

2. Helps keep you bowel healthy.

A daily dose of chia seeds will help to provide fibre that can prevent constipation and colon cancer. Each 15g serving of chia contains 5g of fibre in a blend of soluble and insoluble forms. This helps to improve digestive health, preventing constipation and potentially colon cancer down the line.

3. Helps to heal your digestion

The soluble fibre and mucilage (i.e. – slime) in chia seeds helps to heal your gut and provides fuel for the trillions of good bacteria living in your gut. By presoaking your chia seeds overnight you’ll release the mucilage and help it to sooth and heal your intestinal lining.

4. Improves gut immunity

By providing fibre to feed the microorganisms in your gut chia seeds can improve your immunity. 80% of your immune system is in your gut and it is all dependent on your ‘good guys’ (ie probiotics) to keep your immunity up and running.

5. Good source of protein

Chia seeds contains 8 essential and 9 non-essential (your body can make them) amino acids. It also has 20% protein and can add to your daily intake. Protein is essential for muscle building, mood balance, sleep, hormones and so much more!

6. Antioxidant boost

Chia seeds have an ORAC antioxidant value of 10,250 which is pretty darn high. This means that it has powerful antioxidant nutrients that can help to fight free radicals in the body. Less free radicals means less chance of disease.

7. Great for diabetics

The fibre in chia seeds helps to slow the absorption of sugars in the intestine, leading to a slower and more regulated release of sugar into the blood. This is great for balancing blood sugar and diabetics, who require a steady level of blood sugar to prevent becoming hyper- or hypo-glycemic.

8. Great for detoxification

The insoluble and soluble fibre in chia seeds make them an excellent adjuvant to any detoxification program. Eating 1 tbsp, presoaked in water each day helps to bind toxins in the gut and carry them though the bowel for excretion.

9. Improve heart health

Chia seeds have been found in a study to decrease blood pressure and C-Reactive protein, a sign of inflammation. They may also reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. This may be due tot eh presence of omega 3 which has longstanding evidence for its benefit in cardiovascular disease.

10. Good source on minerals

Chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium and magnesium and also contain iron, potassium and manganese. Eating chia seeds in their raw, uncooked form will help to maximize absorption of these minerals.

Now you know how amazing chia seeds are for your health, you need to know how you eat them. Chia seeds can easily be sprinkled onto muesli, salads and yoghurt, or added to smoothies. The best way to eat chia is presoaked, just in some water overnight then used in smoothies, cereals with fruit or yoghurt. You can also make a chia pudding, which is delicious and allows you to get a good amount of chia in so you can take advantage of all the health benefits.

 

Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage

Hugh Hayward – Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

All of us can relate to the sensation of a gut feeling, the tightness in the abdomen or nausea that we experience while on a first date, walking up to that life changing job interview or casually hanging from a cliff.

Situations like this are perfectly manageable when sparked on the odd occasion however, the reality is that we commonly deal with these sensations on a perpetual basis just enduring life itself, the pressure of the work place, peak-hour traffic, our relationships and our responsibilities.

While most of us don’t experience full fledged panic attacks or vomiting episodes brought on by stress, a general feeling of unease is societally acceptable. In fact if you are not a little stressed out, people will usually think you are not working hard enough or perhaps that you are high on drugs!

The clinical significance of this in Chinese medicine lies in the gut-brain mechanism. The enteric nervous system consists of neuron sheaths fixed throughout walls of our gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Measuring out to roughly nine meters from esophagus to anus, the enteric gut-brain contains a network of over 100 million neurons – more than in the peripheral nervous system or spinal cord. In addition, our GIT contains almost every hormone and neurotransmitter that innovates the brain such as, Serotonin, GABA, Nor epinephrine and Dopamine and dozens more naturally occurring endogenous opioids and feel-good chemical mediators. For instance, serotonin is actually found in abundance in the GIT. Over 95% of your bodies ‘natural ecstasy hormone’ is produced in the GIT and derived from the amino acid – tryptophan, found in foods that we consume. This particular neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating our memory, mood, cognition, sleep and appetite, among other crucial functions in the body.

So with this in mind, it is no wonder that when we are upset, we feel it in our stomach. In essence, you are what you eat. That gut feeling is not in your head, it is the result of a barrage of biological reactions occurring in response to acute or long term anxiety or stress. This intimate connection works both ways and while your environment can trigger gut sensations, your emotions can be a product of the environment in your GIT.

The Chinese have known this for a millennia. The ancient taoist practice of Chi Nei Tsang is a form of Chinese abdominal massage that deals with detoxification of the gut in purging toxic matter and energy built up in the lymphatic system, pancreas, liver and intestines. Pent up emotional stress is often stored in the abdomen, just as we store memories in our cognitive brain, the gut-brain stores sensations that are reactive to traumatic incidences and lifestyles.

Flash-backs or recurring incidences of Post Traumatic Stress disorder, shock, addiction or abusive relationships, as well as many mood imbalances which are not usually deemed to be of clinical significance, manifest as a predisposition to specific sensational reactions that begin in the gut and are then perceived by our cognitive minds. Akin to muscle memory, like the automated motion of catching a ball, the mind can also induce these reactions, as if we hold the posture of anxiety or aggression or addictive behavior before it even manifests.

Just as a physiotherapist rehabilitates injured limbs, using Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, breathing exercises, acupuncture and dietary advice, we are able to rehabilitate the mind. This is very important for anyone with any mood disturbance such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, fearfulness or agitation as well as those with digestive complaints that can often be exacerbated by emotional triggers.

To make an appointment with Hugh to help with digestive and mood problems, call Brisbane Natural Health on 07 3367 0337 or click here.