Allergies – an epidemic?

Allergies have become a major health concern over the past decade with the number of individuals suffering allergies or sensitivities reaching crisis levels. Australia has one of the highest levels of both adult and childhood allergy rates in the world.

An allergy occurs when the immune system initiates an inflammatory response to an allergen that may not necessarily be harmful in other individuals. Allergens may be contained in foods, they may be synthetic products such as perfume or cleaning agents or they can be present in our surrounding environment such as pollens, mould or smoke.

Identifying the severity of the allergy or intolerance is important in the management of these conditions. Reactions can range from severe and life threatening to mild, they can present as an immediate reaction or as a delayed onset reaction.

Numerous factors can trigger or predispose individuals to allergies or intolerances including bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, genetic predisposition, environmental changes and stress. Some studies suggest that the changed nature of our food chain with the inclusion of preservatives, additives, artificial flavours and colourings, genetically modified foods and significantly changed farming practices have led to increased food allergies and intolerances.

The symptoms of food allergies and intolerances are so diverse that it can be difficult to initially identify the underlying cause of the symptoms. Symptoms can range from nasal congestion/hay fever, eczema, anxiety, headache, joint and muscle pain, poor concentration and fatigue to the more common gut disturbances of constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and cramps etc.

An allergic reaction can be life threatening in the case of anaphylactic reaction and many children and schools are now having to carry EpiPens due to the rise in serious allergy rates. An EpiPen contains epinephrine which causes the blood vessels to contract and dilates the airways to the lungs which rapidly narrow during anaphylactic shock.

Allergies are a complex condition which can implicate several systems in the body, the most common being the immune system, digestive system, integumentary system and the respiratory system.

If you suspect allergies or intolerances, there is testing that can be performed to determine the severity of the allergies or intolerances as well as the actual identity of the allergen itself. A Naturopath can order testing, analyse and interpret the results and produce a treatment or management plan tailored to the individual.

Keeping a whole food diet and avoiding allergenic foods can be helpful. Specific nutrients including the B vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids and vitamin C are useful in modulating the immune-mediated inflammatory response. Some herbal medicines are particularly helpful in down-regulating the allergic response, inhibiting the release of histamine and balancing the function of the immune system.

If you or your child is suffering from symptoms associated with allergies or intolerances/sensitivities, book an appointment with our qualified Naturopath, Belle. Bookings can be made by phoning 8406 0679 or 0405 128 213 or emailing belle@nbip.com.au

Massage

We have all heard – you are what you eat. When it comes to health and giving our body and mind a resilient composition to step out into the world, the focus must go inwards. The saying you are what you eat, refers to the nutrients and minerals building and replenishing our body, resulting in collagen rich skin, ease in movement, a sharpness in thought and dialogue with your peers. 

Massage nourishes the undercurrent of fluids, and just like ringing out a dirtying wet sponge, relieves muscles, fascia, and connective tissue from the days efforts.

When we train our muscles at the gym, the muscle building or growth occurs when we rest, not when we squat, lunge pull and press. Would it not be true that massage, will enhance the efficiency of this soft tissue growing and replenishing?

Various allied health practitioners and reputable people in the health industry have concluded massage trumps stretching, a sauna, and even a cool down post workout as the best means for DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and as a tip top adjunct to recovery in general. 

In summary, our body is an ever regenerating cosmos of microorganisms, and cell conversions. When you crunch the numbers, finding professional, and effective ways to nourish this undercurrent that is quietly working away 24/7, its a no brainer to get your internal environment consistently reset and replenished.

The numbers……we grow a new heart every 15 years. We grow new red blood cells every 2-3 hours. We grow new smooth muscle tissue in our small intestine every 3-4 days. You grow new bone via osteoblasts every 7 years, and I’ll complete this blog with my favourite organ, that I personally have learnt more and more about recently, the liver. This general of all organs can have 70% cut out during surgery, and it will regrow back to almost full size within months. Alcohol effected livers aside, our lovers will be regenerate with the matrix of fluids supporting the time and rapid growth to ensure the body they inhabit, becomes ready to be their best, with out Joe, Jess or Michael, having a real conscious awareness of what is magically happening just below and to the right of their ribcage.

Book in for Nutritional consultation, a Remedial Massage, Naturopathy, or an Acupuncture session, not only to gain some time out from life, a friendly ‘all about you’ chat, but receive at varying degrees positive change to the undercurrent within….

Is living on the Northern Beaches a Pain in the Neck? 

Today, The World Health Organisation recognizes acupuncture as a safe and effective method of managing and eliminating pain, among other things.

There is a very old, yet precise saying in the acupuncture medical classics, “where there is pain, there is stagnation and where there is stagnation, there is pain.” 

Essentially, pain is the body’s way of alerting us that the free flow of energy has been disrupted and “stagnation” has set in.

Stagnation of qi and blood, that is, scar tissue, metabolic fluid, actual blood from injuries, post-operative care and lifestyle over time can impair function throughout the body.

In the Yellow Emperor’s Classic’s it is said, “People and nature are inseparable” 

All of the things that cause a problem in the natural world (heat, cold, dry, damp, wind, etc.) can also cause problems in your body.

It is helpful to think of the energy that flows through your body as a stream of water in nature. In this example, stagnation is akin to something blocking the stream’s flow. In the case of neck pain, stagnation may be occurring along the muscles, tendons, ligaments or vertebrae in the cervical region. Neck pain may also be a result of stagnation occurring lower in the back, in associated muscles and structures throughout the back or other areas of the body.

In keeping with our “energy as a stream” metaphor, let’s consider several scenarios to illustrate the different types of stagnation that can cause neck pain to occur.

  • Heat. If the weather has been hot for several weeks, water will naturally evaporate from a stream causing the flow of water to stagnate. In nature, this heat is usually caused by seasonal temperature changes. In your body, too much heat can occur from eating greasy, fatty, fried, high sugar and processed foods. Just as in nature, acupuncture theory sees that this dietary heat can “evaporate” the blood, causing the stream to stagnate. Remember, when there is stagnation there is pain. This is a good example of how your diet may be affecting your pain.
  • Cold. Conversely, when the weather is exceptionally cold and water freezes, the stream also slows or stops flowing evenly due to the ice that forms. In acupuncture theory, it is possible for the cold air from outside to get “stuck” inside your body. If that cold is able to lodge in the muscles, it will cause stagnation in the stream. If cold lodging in your body sounds too strange, think of any time you have slept next to an open window or under a direct fan – it is very common to have a “crick” in the neck when you wake up. This is exactly the cold stagnation we are talking about here. 
  • Obstruction. Water could be flowing well down the stream, but then a tree falls causing a dam in the stream where water can no longer flow. The way this can play out in your body is from a direct trauma or injury.

Despite how stagnation may have initially occurred, our acupuncturists are much like a detective, asking questions about the nuances of your personal lifestyle to discover how stagnation may have become lodged in the body to begin with. First, we will concentrate treatment on relieving your experience of neck pain. In this case, releasing muscle motor points along the cervical vertebrae will help dissolve pain and therefore stagnation. We may not only use needles, but also cupping, gua sha and/or heat therapy.  Patients report increased range of motion in the neck, less discomfort and pain, reduced headache and overall improved well-being.

What distinguishes acupuncture as an exceptional treatment from other modalities is that our acupuncturists will not only treat your pain, but discover the underlying cause of stagnation. Be it cold, heat or whatever the cause, we will create whole body wellness by eliminating the root of stagnation to restore physiological balance. To reduce potential future stagnation from setting in, we will discuss what frequency of preventive acupuncture sessions are most ideal for your personal health.

To book in with our Acupuncturists in Mona Vale contact

 02 -84060679 or visit www.nbip.com.au 

Andrea works Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays 

Chloe works Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays