CONSTIPATION – a common condition causing chaos

Constipation can be defined as the passing of hard or infrequent stools. Due to individual perception of what is deemed “normal”, this condition often goes undiagnosed. In general terms, if you are experiencing two or more of the following symptoms you may be suffering from constipation:

  • Hard or lumpy stools
  • Less than three to four stools per week
  • Straining
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation / retained stool content
  • Feeling of obstruction inside the anus

Many factors can contribute to constipation including inactivity, anxiety, lack of fibre in the diet, dehydration, poor diet and lifestyle choices, imbalance of intestinal flora and stress. Other causes may be certain medications such as codeine and some antacids, some nutritional supplements including certain iron and calcium supplements, poor gastrointestinal smooth muscle tone, anatomical obstruction, ingestion of allergens causing gut dysbiosis and other medical conditions including hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis and colorectal cancer.

Signs and symptoms of constipation are varied and can present as secondary symptoms including headaches, skin conditions, irritability, abdominal discomfort and bloating, pain in the rectum or lower torso, disturbed sleep and haemorrhoids.

Constipation can affect people of any age, race or gender, however, children, elderly people and pregnant women tend to experience higher rates of this condition.

Constipation, if left untreated, can lead to inflammation and chronic disease due to the release of waste toxins in the colon back into the blood stream and reabsorption of these toxins by the body. This in turn puts additional stress on the liver for detoxification and affects all other organs of the body.

The bowel may become impacted with faeces (faecal impaction) which can cause pain and discomfort and require medical intervention. Laxatives are often used as an acute treatment to soften the stool to enable a bowel motion. It should be noted that dependence on laxatives can cause the bowel to become lazy which then requires retraining at a later stage. If you find yourself using laxatives frequently, consider seeing a Naturopath to support you in implementing dietary and lifestyle changes to regulate your bowel pattern naturally.

Constipation is often quite simple to treat and can usually be treated naturally via dietary and lifestyle modifications. By simply increasing your daily water consumption and fibre intake may be all that is needed to alleviate this condition. Some simple lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, keeping a routine sleep pattern and stress management can all help to reduce constipation and keep your bowel pattern regular.

Some individuals may find they need additional support, this is where herbal medicine can be very effective in treating constipation. Herbal medicine can provide targeted liver support and stimulate peristalsis in the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. Peristalsis is the contraction of the smooth muscle that occurs in wave-like motions through the gastrointestinal tract. Peristalsis is responsible for moving food product and waste product through the gut and facilitating its excretion through the bowels and rectum.

Exercise and stress management are important factors in the treatment of constipation. Exercise enhances metabolic processes in the body, improving bowel transit time and regular excretion of waste.

Stress management is also important in the treatment of constipation. If the body is producing elevated levels of stress hormones, blood is being directed away from the digestive system which results in impaired digestion often leading to slower transit time, reduced defaecation and stagnation.

If you think you or your child may be suffering from constipation and you’d like to treat this problem naturally, reach out to our Naturopath, Belle, who can provide lasting relief from this condition and the accompanying symptoms. Contact our clinic on 02 8406 0679 or Belle directly at belle@nbip.com.au for more information.bristol stool samle

Bullying & Building resilience In Our Children

Maybe you’ve noticed some changes in your child’s behaviour – a once bubbly primary schooler forever enthusiastic about school and learning is in frequent tears and now complains of a sore tummy before school.  Or maybe your previously happy-go-lucky teenager refuses to talk about what is bothering them, returning from school with a broken pencil case and a mysterious bruise on their upper arm.    

According to the National Centre Against Bullying – the definition of bullying ”is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.”  

It is a terrible truth that many of us as parents and caregivers are not only faced with the daunting task of how to deal with bullying within schools, but may very well be experiencing (or witnessing) it in the workplace.  There are some estimates that suggest that up to 70% of young people have experienced bullying at some point.  And although it is important to note that this figure includes being witness to bullying or being the actual “perpetrator” it’s no surprise to me that so many of my clients have held onto these experiences well into their adult lives.  

Some ways in which bullying can be experienced can include verbally, physically and mentally.  

  • Verbal bullying includes name calling, possibly gossiping about another person and/or threatening and making fun of others. 
  • Physical bullying involves hitting, punching, tripping, pushing and/or damaging a person’s property.
  • Mental bullying involves exclusion, rumour spreading, cyber bullying and often ignoring a person. 

As parents it is often really difficult to protect our children when they are outside of our care.  Helping to build their resilience and self-esteem is so important in helping to put a stop to bullying.  This can work both ways – for the perpetrator and the victim of the bullying.  A person with good coping mechanisms and healthy self esteem is less likely to look for a punching bag.  The same can apply to the “victim” in these situations – when you are grounded and sure of your self-worth you are probably a less likely target for those people looking for someone to pick on.  

“Building resilience in children is not about making them tough.  Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties and mange how you feel.” www.easypeasykids.com.au 

Help kids feel accepted at home – kids who feel you believe in them and genuinely like who they are find the issues with bullying to be less debilitating because of the acceptance they already feel.  

Nurture a healthy self-esteem – when children see value in what they have to offer to the world, they see themselves in a positive light which is especially important during difficult times.  This can determine how they bounce back as they can see the bullying for what it is – not a reflection of who they are, but rather a reflection the choices made by the bullies. 

Encourage positive thinking – this is not to say that we should ignore negative thoughts and feelings.  But learning to find pleasure and humour is important.  Providing  opportunities for children to relax and have fun with nothing scheduled can help them find joy even in the little things.

Teach children how to manage their emotions – it is important for children to learn how to calm themselves when they are feeling aggressive and angry.  Help them learn to recognise and name their feelings and reactions.  Explore ideas on how to then manage those feelings for the more positive outcome.

Promote and develop problem solving skills – show children how to be flexible in there responses to something negative.  When your child faces a problem, you can brainstorm possible solutions together.  Talk out the pros and cons of the different options and practice role playing if necessary.  Allow them to choose the best course of action.  Show them that you trust their decisions so that they can learn to problem solve without the fear of “messing up”.  

Focus on a “bright” future – part of ensuring our kids stay positive and overcome difficulties is to future pace.  Guide them in visualising a future beyond their current situation.  Ask them to think about what they do want and how they can begin to implement this desired outcome. 

Challenge their critical inner voice – it is very important that you challenge this type of critical thinking.  Don’t allow this negative self talk to become a way of life.  

Encourage children to try something new and different – this can be good for children to accept challenges and to try new things.  Find balance between leaving them to figure it out alone and overprotecting them.  Overprotecting them  an leave them feeling dependent and helpless. 

Address problems immediately – don’t ever pretend to not notice a problem.  Ignoring the fact that your child is struggling with bullies will not encourage your child to toughen up and can leave them feeling alone and very isolated!  If your child has an issue address it right away with the relevant authorities. 

Discourage avoidant behaviours – encourage your child to talk about painful events.  Making sense out of talking about those experiences is a healthy way to deal with things.  Avoiding the issue can result in behaviour problems, anxiety, stress and fear.  

Learn to reframe negative experiences – this is so helpful in helping your child to keep things in perspective.  When experiencing a significant challenge, reframe the situation so they can learn from it.  Although this exercise is not about avoiding their pain, it is helpful to remember to not overly dwell on the negative and engage in victim energy.  Instead you can encourage them to try to discover what they can learn from the situation and how to best overcome bullying. 

Look for self-discovery opportunities – faced with less than desirable situation can be a great time for children to learn something about who they are.  For example, your child may find that they have a lot of self-control or that situations are easier to navigate when they ask for help.  

And lastly – be a good role model.  If you demonstrate thT you can handle difficult situations and bounce back, your kids will learn by your example.  If you do struggle with any of these things you may want to focus on changing these behaviours in your own life first – and then focus on helping your child! 

Kim is a kinesiologist on Sydney’s Northern Beaches who passionately works with her clients on a vast range of issues such as these – continuously resolving and continuously evolving past and present.  For more on Bush Essences and for some self-love contact Kim at NBIP on 02 8406 0679 or book online @ www.nbip.com.au 

Bullying & Building resilience In Our Children

Maybe you’ve noticed some changes in your child’s behaviour – a once bubbly primary schooler forever enthusiastic about school and learning is in frequent tears and now complains of a sore tummy before school.  Or maybe your previously happy-go-lucky teenager refuses to talk about what is bothering them, returning from school with a broken pencil case and a mysterious bruise on their upper arm.    

According to the National Centre Against Bullying – the definition of bullying ”is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.”  

It is a terrible truth that many of us as parents and caregivers are not only faced with the daunting task of how to deal with bullying within schools, but may very well be experiencing (or witnessing) it in the workplace.  There are some estimates that suggest that up to 70% of young people have experienced bullying at some point.  And although it is important to note that this figure includes being witness to bullying or being the actual “perpetrator” it’s no surprise to me that so many of my clients have held onto these experiences well into their adult lives.  

Some ways in which bullying can be experienced can include verbally, physically and mentally.  

  • Verbal bullying includes name calling, possibly gossiping about another person and/or threatening and making fun of others. 
  • Physical bullying involves hitting, punching, tripping, pushing and/or damaging a person’s property.
  • Mental bullying involves exclusion, rumour spreading, cyber bullying and often ignoring a person. 

As parents it is often really difficult to protect our children when they are outside of our care.  Helping to build their resilience and self-esteem is so important in helping to put a stop to bullying.  This can work both ways – for the perpetrator and the victim of the bullying.  A person with good coping mechanisms and healthy self esteem is less likely to look for a punching bag.  The same can apply to the “victim” in these situations – when you are grounded and sure of your self-worth you are probably a less likely target for those people looking for someone to pick on.  

“Building resilience in children is not about making them tough.  Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties and mange how you feel.” www.easypeasykids.com.au 

Help kids feel accepted at home – kids who feel you believe in them and genuinely like who they are find the issues with bullying to be less debilitating because of the acceptance they already feel.  

Nurture a healthy self-esteem – when children see value in what they have to offer to the world, they see themselves in a positive light which is especially important during difficult times.  This can determine how they bounce back as they can see the bullying for what it is – not a reflection of who they are, but rather a reflection the choices made by the bullies. 

Encourage positive thinking – this is not to say that we should ignore negative thoughts and feelings.  But learning to find pleasure and humour is important.  Providing  opportunities for children to relax and have fun with nothing scheduled can help them find joy even in the little things.

Teach children how to manage their emotions – it is important for children to learn how to calm themselves when they are feeling aggressive and angry.  Help them learn to recognise and name their feelings and reactions.  Explore ideas on how to then manage those feelings for the more positive outcome.

Promote and develop problem solving skills – show children how to be flexible in there responses to something negative.  When your child faces a problem, you can brainstorm possible solutions together.  Talk out the pros and cons of the different options and practice role playing if necessary.  Allow them to choose the best course of action.  Show them that you trust their decisions so that they can learn to problem solve without the fear of “messing up”.  

Focus on a “bright” future – part of ensuring our kids stay positive and overcome difficulties is to future pace.  Guide them in visualising a future beyond their current situation.  Ask them to think about what they do want and how they can begin to implement this desired outcome. 

Challenge their critical inner voice – it is very important that you challenge this type of critical thinking.  Don’t allow this negative self talk to become a way of life.  

Encourage children to try something new and different – this can be good for children to accept challenges and to try new things.  Find balance between leaving them to figure it out alone and overprotecting them.  Overprotecting them  an leave them feeling dependent and helpless. 

Address problems immediately – don’t ever pretend to not notice a problem.  Ignoring the fact that your child is struggling with bullies will not encourage your child to toughen up and can leave them feeling alone and very isolated!  If your child has an issue address it right away with the relevant authorities. 

Discourage avoidant behaviours – encourage your child to talk about painful events.  Making sense out of talking about those experiences is a healthy way to deal with things.  Avoiding the issue can result in behaviour problems, anxiety, stress and fear.  

Learn to reframe negative experiences – this is so helpful in helping your child to keep things in perspective.  When experiencing a significant challenge, reframe the situation so they can learn from it.  Although this exercise is not about avoiding their pain, it is helpful to remember to not overly dwell on the negative and engage in victim energy.  Instead you can encourage them to try to discover what they can learn from the situation and how to best overcome bullying. 

Look for self-discovery opportunities – faced with less than desirable situation can be a great time for children to learn something about who they are.  For example, your child may find that they have a lot of self-control or that situations are easier to navigate when they ask for help.  

And lastly – be a good role model.  If you demonstrate thT you can handle difficult situations and bounce back, your kids will learn by your example.  If you do struggle with any of these things you may want to focus on changing these behaviours in your own life first – and then focus on helping your child! 

Kim is a kinesiologist on Sydney’s Northern Beaches who passionately works with her clients on a vast range of issues such as these – continuously resolving and continuously evolving past and present.  For more on Bush Essences and for some self-love contact Kim at NBIP on 02 8406 0679 or book online @ www.nbip.com.au 

Not Sleeping? Here’s what our Naturopath has to say.

Sleep disturbance and insomnia are becoming more prevalent in our society and we are seeing an increasing number of patients in clinic suffering from sleep disorders. During the sleep phase, the body is subject to significant restorative activity which nurtures the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system and the respiratory system.

If individuals are not getting enough sleep or if they are not entering all the different phases of sleep including the different stages of REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement), they will not be getting the therapeutic benefits that restorative sleep brings to those body systems.

Sleep disorders may relate to one of the following conditions:

  • Sleep onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep at night)
  • Sleep maintenance insomnia (waking during the night or continuous awakening early in the morning)
  • Non-restorative sleep (adequate quantity of sleep but poor quality of sleep)

Ongoing sleep disturbance can impact our lives in many ways:-

  • Stress, irritability and nervous tension / anxiety
  • Poor memory and impaired cognitive function
  • Low mood and depression
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular aches and pains

Chronic sleep disorders can be caused by numerous factors so it is important to find out what is causing the sleep disturbance and treat the condition with a holistic approach.

Insomnia can present as a symptom of an underlying issue that won’t resolve until the underlying issue is addressed. In the interim though, here are some tips to help you sleep a little easier and a little more soundly:

1) Keep a regular sleep pattern – go to bed at the same time each night and wake around

the same time each morning. This can be difficult for some whose routine involves shift work or new parents but keeping a regular pattern can help with sleep issues. Napping can also cause sleep disturbance so unless you can no longer keep your eyes open, try skipping that afternoon nap.

2) Avoid screen time for at least 30-60 minutes prior to bed time. All screens including phones, laptops, iPads, television and other electronic devices are stimulating to the brain and can switch our brain over from winding down to gearing up.

3) Ensure you are getting enough protein and essential fatty acids in your diet as these nutrients promote restful sleep by regulating hormones such as serotonin and melatonin and support the nervous system.

4) Avoid stimulating food and drinks including caffeine, alcohol and sugar. These stimulants are known to wreak havoc with sleep and reduce the quality of sleep. Recreational drugs can also cause disturbance to the natural sleep pattern and reduce the quality of sleep.

5) Drink calming, sedating herbal teas in the evening such as chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm or lavender. These teas contain sedative properties that help induce sleep and improve the quality of sleep.

6) Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the occurrence of insomnia and promote restorative sleep. It is important, however, not to exercise too close to bed time as this can be stimulating to the body and impair the sleep onset stage.

7) Winding down before bed time by having a warm bath, turning down the lights and turning off electronic devices or doing some relaxation exercises or meditation can help to calm the nervous system, relax the body and induce sound sleep.

8) Ensure your bed and bedroom are set at a suitable temperature. Overheating or being too cool during the night will cause disruption to sleep. Try to find and maintain a comfortable temperature to facilitate restful sleep.

If you are experiencing sleep disturbance and would like to resolve the problem, consider natural medicine which takes a holistic approach to treatment and may include herbal medicine formulas, nutritional medicine and/or supplementation and dietary recommendations, lifestyle modifications and other natural therapies. Belle is a Naturopath at Northern Beaches Integrative Practitioners and can help you to sleep soundly again.

To book a consultation with Belle please phone 8406 0679 or book online at http://www.nbip.com.au

Injured? Think twice before you ICE!

Revisiting this old chestnut. ICE!

Why do you want to go against nature and stop blood, Qi, rbc’s and wbc’s etc from getting to an injured area?

“Ice Is for Dead People” – Ice is useful for preserving things in static state. It slows or halts the decay of food and dead bodies but does not help damaged tissue repair itself. Ice does reduce the initial swelling and inflammation of a fresh injury, and it does reduce pain, but at a cost.

Contracting local blood vessels and tissues by freezing them inhibits the restoration of normal circulation. The static blood and fluids congeal, contracts, and harden with icing, making them harder or impossible to disperse later. It is not uncommon to see a sprained ankle that was iced still slightly swollen more than a year after the original injury.

The Chinese knew this for thousands of years and have been using alternative methods to accelerate the healing process by not disturbing the body’s natural ability to heal.  It’s interesting that science has just caught up.

The Science: Just read this phenomenal book, “Iced” by Dr. Gary Reinl. We love quick fixes, and are blissfully quick to believe that arbitrarily putting ice on an injured area is more effective than letting the body do what it’s perfected through millennia of evolution – keeping the body healthy.

Research:

There are a grand total of ZERO peer-reviewed articles that have found that ice enhances the healing process. (BJSM, 2012). If icing were introduced today, the FDA would never approve it.

Numerous studies have found that icing delays the healing process by interrupting the local neuromuscular connection, inhibiting the muscle pump and preventing the travel of lymphatic fluid back into circulation (JSCR, 2013)

Icing has been found to increase the BACKFLOW of lymphatic fluid, thus not only not helping, but slowing the healing process it is supposed to help. (AJSM, 1986)

Icing post-workout has been found to attenuate post-exercise strength gains and slow recovery (JSCR, 2013).

Instead, heal your body with controlled, relatively pain-free motions to activate the natural muscle pump.

Try it – Add warmth!

 

Call Chloe our acupuncturist to find out more. 02 8406 0679

Think twice before you ICE

Revisiting this old chestnut. ICE!

Why do you want to go against nature and stop blood, Qi, rbc’s and wbc’s etc from getting to an injured area?

“Ice Is for Dead People” – Ice is useful for preserving things in static state. It slows or halts the decay of food and dead bodies but does not help damaged tissue repair itself. Ice does reduce the initial swelling and inflammation of a fresh injury, and it does reduce pain, but at a cost.

Contracting local blood vessels and tissues by freezing them inhibits the restoration of normal circulation. The static blood and fluids congeal, contracts, and harden with icing, making them harder or impossible to disperse later. It is not uncommon to see a sprained ankle that was iced still slightly swollen more than a year after the original injury.

The Chinese knew this for thousands of years and have been using alternative methods to accelerate the healing process by not disturbing the body’s natural ability to heal.  It’s interesting that science has just caught up.

The Science: Just read this phenomenal book, “Iced” by Dr. Gary Reinl. We love quick fixes, and are blissfully quick to believe that arbitrarily putting ice on an injured area is more effective than letting the body do what it’s perfected through millennia of evolution – keeping the body healthy.

Research:

There are a grand total of ZERO peer-reviewed articles that have found that ice enhances the healing process. (BJSM, 2012). If icing were introduced today, the FDA would never approve it.

Numerous studies have found that icing delays the healing process by interrupting the local neuromuscular connection, inhibiting the muscle pump and preventing the travel of lymphatic fluid back into circulation (JSCR, 2013)

Icing has been found to increase the BACKFLOW of lymphatic fluid, thus not only not helping, but slowing the healing process it is supposed to help. (AJSM, 1986)

Icing post-workout has been found to attenuate post-exercise strength gains and slow recovery (JSCR, 2013).

Instead, heal your body with controlled, relatively pain-free motions to activate the natural muscle pump.

Try it – Add warmth!

What are those marks? 

Cupping marks cannot be called bruises simply because of the way bruises are caused. Bruises appear when the body experiences some kind of blunt injury or trauma. The impact can break the blood capillaries present under the skin, which is why you see the redness. The body responds to the injuries with a rush of healing fluids to the area that also contribute to the bruising or redness. When the proteins at the injury site begin to coagulate, blood circulation reduces and the patient feels pain.

Cupping marks are caused by suction from the cupping set instead of the pressure in case of trauma, and works to bring toxins to the surface. The most important differentiating factor is the cupping marks do not cause pain and if there is any discomfort, it is minimal and goes away quickly.

What does cupping do?

Cupping draws stagnant blood and other fluids that has fallen out of healthy circulation up to skin the level and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area. Being that skin is the body’s largest organ, it contains about 20% of your blood volume at any given time.

When a condition exists within a deeper muscle layer and is dredged up during treatment, discoloration will appear on the skin. As treatments cumulate and even though each time the cupping may focus on the same area, for the same duration, with the same amount of suction – less discoloration will appear over time

• Cupping is an excellent diagnostic method. We can use cupping to better understand whether the problem is toxin build up, muscle spasm, or something else. A nerve or bone issue will not produce any significant colour change.

•Cupping demonstrates the exact location of the problem since we usually cup an area larger than the pain centre to guarantee everything is covered. The area with the most significant amount of stagnation will have the deepest amount of colour. Even the area directly under a single cup will show variation whee a small part may colour while the rest does not.

• Cupping will tell us the severity of the problem. Moderate blockages cause the skin to become pink or red and generally take only take a day or two for the colour dissipate. Severe stagnation will produce a deep scarlet, purple, or even black discoloration which may take seven to ten days for the dark colour to disperse.

•Cupping can be used to help detox. Sometimes symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, or headaches could be a symptom of toxic overload that your body is trying to manage. If you’ve been on medications long term, you need to be gentle with cupping because it will reintroduce substances locked in the muscle layer and you want to ensure your liver can properly breakdown anything that comes its way.

How long with the marks last for?

I advise patients to hope for an hour but prepare for 3 weeks! So always inform your practitioner of any big social events where the area will be exposed (even though it’s a pretty cool talking point!)

Fun Fact!

The dramatic marks seen on swimmers in the Olympics, though true athletes and healthy, most likely come from lactic acid build-up in addition to the toxins they’re exposed to from long hours in chlorinated pools. If they were on a less regimented exercise schedule out of the pool, the cup marks may not have been as entertaining!

To book call Chloe 02 8406 0679