Acne No More

Our cosmetic acupuncturist not only helps slow down the natural ageing process but also helps fight Acne.

Yes she really is our in house skin superhero! Her secret weapon is FDA cleared to treat acne because it’s safe, proven and effective.

Based on scientific research pioneered by NASA, this Low level light therapy device is a phototherapy device, utilizing specific wavelengths of light, produced by light emitting diodes (LEDs) to treat multiple skin conditions.

The therapeutic wavelengths include near- infrared, red, and blue light which has been shown to kill P-acnes and reduce inflammation and lesions.

Blue and red light combination LED phototherapy is an effective, safe and non- painful treatment for mild to moderately severe acne vulgaris, particularly for papulopustular acne lesions.1

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How does this device help acne?

The deeply penetrating wavelengths kill the bacteria that causes breakouts, while reducing the inflammation, pimples and redness associated with acne. A reduction

in lesions and overall improvement in skin appearance is often seen in only a matter of weeks. Outcomes vary depending on severity of the condition.

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So what does it involve?

  • 30 minute treatment time
  • Only have to listen to Andrea chat for 2 minutes before she leaves you to relax for a full 30 minutes
  • Eyewear is placed over your eyes and the mask is placed over your face and then you can sleep! It’s very comfortable
  • $50 per treatment or packages are available
  • Watch your skin improve after each session

Fore more information or to book an appointment with Andrea call 02-84060679 or visit http://www.nbip.com.au

 

Women’s Hormones – How exercise and Nutrition can help

Women’s hormones are responsible for menstruation, fertility, weight management, moods and more. Therefore, you can see keeping them in balance is key for good health. This blog post is talking about hormones in relation to exercise and nutrition for optimum hormonal health.

Exercise is defined as a physical effort that improves our health and wellbeing. If we approach exercise from a place of balance combined with good nutrition we can keep our hormones in check as they are so crucial for our health.

A balanced approach to exercise can help to regulate your cortisol levels, lower inflammatory markers and stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system. All of these things are critical for hormonal balance, strong immunity, mental stability and fertility.

Exercise like all things should be balanced. Ideally a mixture of HIIT, resistance training and restorative practices such as walking, stretching or yoga are the best types of exercise for your hormones.

We know there is a long list of benefits to exercise so I will just list some of the main ones that are relevant to your hormones.

Faster metabolism

Muscle growth

Increased bone density

Increased strength

Increased insulin resistance

Increased ability to regulate estrogen

Reduces inflammation

Supports healthy testosterone levels

The exercise that is not good for your hormones is chronic cardio i.e. Running for long periods of time daily. Chronic cardio raises cortisol levels for prolonged periods of time, this pressure on the adrenals causes the sympathetic nervous system to take over during the workout causing the cortisol levels to be raised chronically.

Some side effects of chronically raised cortisol levels are:

Muscle degradation

Slower metabolism

Suppressed immune function

Excess fat around mid-section

Bone loss

Low progesterone

Adrenal fatigue

Thyroid dysfunction

Hair loss

Hormonal acne

Dysregulation of blood sugars

Just to be clear all exercise raises cortisol to some degree but it becomes harmful when the rise in cortisol goes beyond the benefits of that exercise and becomes a damaging stressor.

What can we do nutritionally to help keep our hormones in balance and get the most from our training?

Eating is a good start! Under eating is one of the biggest problems I see with women, the 1500 calorie rule is false! This is hardly enough to sustain many women’s basic bodily functions, but add in any kind of strenuous exercise or extra need for healing and its far from enough.

If you are not receiving enough fuel, you send a signal to your pituitary gland that there is famine. The body realises this is a really stressful time to be making a baby. It therefore responds to this threat by down regulating or even shutting off hormone signalling and fertility functions. As we rely on fertility as a marker for optimum health, this affects you whether you are trying to have a baby of not. Under eating is not only a hinderance in balancing hormones it can also be the cause of imbalances. Some of the symptoms you may experience are insomnia, hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction and loss of period.

Another relevant area to your nutrition that you may not think of is birth control. Getting informed about birth control is another way in which we can make sure we have healthy hormones. The pill can mask and exacerbate some common hormonal symptoms such as estrogen dominance, hypothalamic amenorrhea, PCOS and low progesterone. We are often prescribed the pill for everything from acne, PMS, irregular periods and any hormonal imbalance not for just birth control. The belief is that it will “solve” the problem but in actual fact, it is simply concealing the symptoms and can lead to the further imbalances.

Taking the pill is a personal choice but being informed about it effects is smart and can help you to manage some of the side effects should you choose to take it. Some common side effects are long term nutrient depletion of critical vitamins and minerals such as B6, Selenium and Vitamin E. The pill also disrupts the bacteria from your gut microbiome which has consequences for our immunity, skin and mental health. Getting educated about your specific hormonal symptoms means you can get to the root cause and not use a Band-Aid fix such as the pill for hormonal problems.

One of the biggest problems for women and their hormones is PMS, which is usually caused by an estrogen excess or imbalance of estrogen to progesterone. Estrogen excess is very common and getting rid of the excess estrogen is very important for health and hormonal balance.

You can do this by supporting your Liver and your Gut.

Some estrogen clearing tips:

  • Drink warm water with lemon upon waking on an empty stomach
  • Sweat and move regularly
  • Consume potent liver supporting foods like dandelion root, broccoli and beetroot,
  • Take magnesium citrate if you struggle with bowel movements
  • Consume gut enriching foods like probiotics and sauerkraut

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best things you can do for your hormones. When inflammation is high, it increases the aromatase enzyme, which takes testosterone and converts it to estrogen. This makes estrogen dominance even worse and increases estrogen metabolites, which makes your PMS worse. When you’re converting and producing more estrogen, with low testosterone, you are likely to experience symptoms such as weepiness, mood swings, fatigue, inability to build muscle, and a low or non-existent sex drive. In order to fight this, we need to increase our consumption of anti-inflammatory foods and decrease inflammatory foods.

Add more of these:

    • Fibre-rich and nutrient dense dark leafy greens
    • Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon
    • Proteins for your neurotransmitter health
    • Berries, citrus fruits and vegetables for antioxidants
    • nourishing fats like Avocados, coconut oil and olive oil
    • starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and pumpkin
    • probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, miso and kimchi

Reduce and limit your consumption of:

    • Sugar
    • Gluten
    • Caffeine
    • Inflammatory fats: seed oils
    • Conventional meat and dairy: they are loaded with antibiotics which screw with your natural hormone levels.
    • Any food that you have a sensitivity to. Food sensitivities are one of the top unknown causes of chronic inflammation even mild exposure will cause inflammation.

What I would like you to take away from this article? Hormones are very important for our health and we do have control over how much we are affected by them. We can manage our nutrition and lifestyle to support healthy hormone production and metabolism. Society has normalised PMS but it’s not normal, it’s become common amongst women but it is not the natural state for our body. Get your hormones in balance and your body will thank you. Book in for a consultation if you are concerned about your health or want some support to implement these changes

For a Nutrition appointment with Bronwen please book with us on 02 8406 0679 or alternatively book online at Northern Beaches Integrative Practitioners at Northern Beaches Integrative Practitioners | Integrative Practitioners Mona Vale, Northern Beaches – Welcome

Chinese Medicine and Stress

I’m naturally a nervous person, so believe me when I say I’ve tried every trick in the book to calm down when stress gets the better of me. 

So for me when i was anxious and wasn’t sleeping well – something like Chinese medicine for stress relief,  may have been a better fit than the pills I was prescribed.

The concept behind traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is, essentially, that your body already has the tools it needs to heal itself from the inside out. To better understand this, think about what your body’s like when you’re sick: Your muscles feel achy, your head is congested, and you feel crummy both on the inside and on the outside, right? Well, according to Chinese medicine, it works both ways: Stress and anxiety can affect your physical health, and in order to guarantee that that doesn’t happen, there are little, everyday behaviours you can adopt.

1. MAKE SMALL ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR EATING HABITS

I am a living, breathing example of how anxiety can affect your gut health and spiral into a  physical and psychological mess. When I’m stressed, my stomach starts to bother me with cramps and constipation – others will lean more towards looser stools.  

Now, eating more of the good stuff (fruits, veggies, etc.) and less of the bad stuff isn’t exactly an automatic quick-fix – however things like mushrooms — which are known to have adaptogenic elements, meaning they can help reduce stress — dark leafy greens for their vitamin B, and whole grains should be added to your meals to “help rebalance [the nervous system].”

Also think about eating at regular times – especially your breakfast – as well as eating slowly and uncomplicated foods.

2. BREAK SOME EGGS (LITERALLY) OR DO SOME BOXING

Finding a physical outlet is an epic way to let out some stress this all comes back to your liver, as Anger / stress are the main emotions related to the Liver, When you’re feeling particularly stressed out or irritable, the worst thing you can do is hold all of that in. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to find ways to let the stress of even the most minor annoyances out of your system.

The Liver being stagnant can be responsible for physical muscle pain, period pain, headaches, digestive upset and twitches. 

3. MEDITATION

It can be daunting at first to sit down and bask in the quiet (or loudness) of your own thoughts, but given the purported benefits of meditation, it’s got its merit. And if the idea of sitting makes you restless, there are other forms of meditation out there for you to try, such as journaling or listening to a guided practice. Me personally? I gave my mediation wheels and take it with me on a walk. That’s when i empty my head the best. 

4. WALK AROUND BAREFOOT

Going sock-less at the office might sound a little gross, but traditional Chinese medicine says barefoot is the way to be. The idea behind this concept — which is called “earthing,” I regularly recommend my patient to get in nature , showed off and back to the sun – think of your back like a solar panel for your organs and it needs to be charged, 

The addition of being barefoot during this process seems to really augment the benefits for anxiety. I direct them to visualise the anxious feelings being absorbed by the earth and dissipating from their bodies. I wouldn’t suggest ditching your entire collection of Adidas sneakers, but try going barefoot occasionally. 

5. GET YOUR BODY MOVING WITH QIGONG

Qigong is a full-body experience that combines meditation with tai chi movements. According to the wellness website Energy Arts, this exercise is meant to be gentle, and it requires you to repeat a sequence of movements over and over again, “building awareness of how the body moves through space.

In traditional Chinese Medicine, the belief is that most of your physical ailments are a result of mental stress and instability, and when you nurse the latter, you’re better able to heal the former. Qigong is physical in practice, but the focus is on mental clarity, in order to produce that calming domino effect.

6. RELEASE MUSCLE TENSION WITH ACUPUNCTURE

When you’re stressed, do you tend to feel a kink in your neck, or sore in your back? A stress doesn’t just make you feel tense; it makes you physically tense, too, so it makes sense why acupuncture is a popular traditional Chinese remedy for stress.

Stress and anxiety would have to be one of the top things i treat in clinic. 

Foods That Give You Energy In The Morning, So You’re Set Up For Success

I am suggesting  that you pay attention to your food choices, how your first meal affects how you feel for the entire day, and to make adjustments accordingly. Oats, Eggs, Salmon, honey and greens are some of my favourite staples. –  We all know I am a big fan of soup for breakfast.

Most of the foods that aid the circulation and dispersion of stagnant qi caused by stress are spices or foods with a pungent flavour. The pungent flavour helps to move qi upwards and outwards, preventing it from stagnating. However, it is important to avoid foods which are very hot and spicy as these can contribute to the formation of internal heat.

Some of the best examples of foods that prevent qi stagnation are:

  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Turmeric
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Radish
  • Watercress
  • Peaches
  • Plums

There is not one of our practitioners in clinic that can’t help you with your stress – give us a call today and see who is right for you. 02 8406 0679

Is BPA-Free plastic safe?

Is BPA-Free plastic safe?
 

Long hailed the healthier alternative to plastic, “BPA free” plastic is everywhere! Water bottles, lunch boxes and even reusable coffee cups are branded “BPA free” for the health conscious consumer.

So, what is BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastic to make it, well.. plastic. It is used to make hard plastics, the kind we use for storing food and beverages.

It had been used in plastics for decades, however studies showed BPA was responsible for multiple health issues and resulted in companies removing it from products.

BPA has been shown to contribute to immune, reproductive and neurological issues, and has been linked to cases of childhood asthma, metabolic disease, obesity, early puberty, poor sperm quality and count, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

You may be wondering, how could a plastic cup cause all of these health issues?

Well, the compound BPA is similar to our hormones in structure. When a coffee cup or lunch box is heated, BPA can leach into the contents of the food and drink inside. When its then ingested, the body can confuse the BPA from that lunch box plastic with our natural hormones. In our bodies, we have hormone receptor sites which are reserved for hormones like oestrogen. With BPA in our systems looking so similar to a hormone in structure, it can sneakily bind to our hormone receptor sites and overload the cells. This overload disrupts our endocrine system, leading to multiple health issues that are influenced by hormones.

It really doesn’t take much BPA in our systems to have this affect either.

Plastic that has been “stressed” releases even more chemicals than unused plastic. Stressed plastic may have been exposed to heat or UV light, a microwave, or a dishwasher, and this can cause further leaching of these chemicals in larger quantities.

Is “BPA Free” Plastic a better option?

Manufacturers have replaced BPA with alternative plastic hardeners Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF). Studies show that the replacements BPS and BPF are having the same affect on our endocrine systems as BPA exposure did.

With this in mind, heres a few tips to minimise your exposure.

  • Never heat your plastic. Ever.
  • If it has been stressed, recycle it, and replenish your tupperware draw with glass or stainless steel food storage containers. 
  • Never heat your babies bottle in a microwave.
  • Avoid packaged foods in plastic wrap and plastic bottles.
  • Stop accepting receipts from the cashier. A study showed that blood levels of BPA in cashiers was much higher due to repetitive handling of receipts! Crazy huh?
  • Eat plenty of fibre to help your body to pass the chemicals and increase your consumption of vegetables from the brassica family. The brassica family include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and mustard.

Curious about other ways to support your hormones? Contact Brooke, our Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist who has a special interest in healthy hormones via email at brooke@nbip.com.au or call the clinic 02 8406 0679

Gratitude = Happiness

For years I have been fascinated with gratitude.  I know it makes me feel better.  But why exactly?  It’s one of the most simple exercises you can do with relatively little effort –  and yet the effects can be quite profound.  Doing some research I was most (pleasantly) surprised to find gratitude linked to all kinds of positive changes that have an effect on not only our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, but also our social relationships and career.  Quite surprisingly studies have show gratitude can help you indirectly achieve your goals, manage your time more efficiently with improved productivity and widen your networking circles.  All of this from a free exercise practiced for five minutes a week.  

Gratitude Makes Us Happier

So how does gratitude “make us happier”?  According to a recent study by Positive Psychology a five-minute weekly gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent ~ which is the same impact as doubling your income!

Gratitude also triggers positive feedback loops.  In other words gratitude makes us feel MORE gratitude.  This is why a five minute a day gratitude journal can make us so much happier.  

The actual gratitude produced during those five minutes is small, but the emotions of gratitude felt during those five minutes are enough to trigger a grateful mood.  The best thing about this is that the grateful mood will trigger more feelings of gratitude and more frequently, which will be more intense and held for longer and we will feel gratitude for more things ~ all at the same time! 

Practiced consistantly gratitude also goes a long way to improving your health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career.

Of course having more money can be great, but because of “hedonic adaption” we humans quickly get bored and stop having as much fun and happiness as we did in the beginning.  

“Hedonic Adaption” means that after repeated exposure to the same emotional stimulus we tend to experience less of the stimulus.  Quite simply – we get used to the good things that happen to us.  We get bored.  Therefore hedonic adaptation keeps us motivated to achieve even greater things.  But it also kills our marriages as we get used to our amazing spouse (or children, or job, or house etc.) and we stop seeing as much positive and then we start to complain.  It is therefore a imperative to resist hedonic adaptation if we want to increase and improve our happiness.  Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have to change this.    

Gratitude can also make us healthier

In a study done in 2003 based on Gratitude called “Counting Blessings before Burdens” keeping a gratitude journal caused participants to report 16% fewer physical symptoms, 19% more time spent exercising, 10% less physical pain, 8% more sleep and 25% increased sleep quality.  

It’s pretty evident that the wide variety of effects that gratitude can have may seem surprising, but a direct look at the brain activity during gratitude can offer some interesting insight. A final study worth sharing comes from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Researchers at NIH examined blood flow in various regions of the brain whilst subjects called up feelings of gratitude (Zahn et al, 2009). They found that people who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. This is significant  because the hypothalamus controls a huge number of essential bodily functions which include eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and levels of stress.  Based on this evidence regarding brain activity and acts of gratitude it starts to become clear how improvements in gratitude could have such wide-ranging effects from increased exercise, and improved sleep to decreased depression and fewer aches and pains.

What’s more these feelings of gratitude directly activate brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine feels so good to get and is generally considered the “reward” neurotransmitter. But dopamine is also important in initiating action. That means a dopamine increase makes you more likely to do the thing you just did.

Something else to consider is that your brain interprets gratitude as optimism.

Optimism or rather regular positive thoughts and reactions to life’s challenges, can be observed in brain scans. Optimistic thoughts calm and soothe the amygdala.  The amygdala is the part of the brain that sounds the stress alarm and optimism counteracts this reaction by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, releasing pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters, and activating the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for rest and relaxation.  

The Benefits to Changing Your Default Button  

People who suffer from anxiety often talk about how their thought patterns can spiral out of control quite quickly.  Rewiring your brain so the default was positive instead of negative doesn’t necessarily happen over night but like any new habit cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes practice ~ but one worth doing.  

Three Easy Steps to Get Your Gratitude On: 

Start with a Gratitude Journal 

Prioritise.  Set aside time to write down things that you are grateful for.  It doesn’t matter when you do it or how many times a day ~ just do it.  Scheduling a time can be more effective to begin with and then the rest can just happen organically.  Most people who practice Gratitude Journalling find it is a part of their daily routine that they rarely skip.

Change your Thoughts 

Start before you even roll out of bed.  Mentally list all of the things you are thankful for ~ your kids, your spouse, your dog, your job, your body.  You will still experience the positive benefits of gratitude even without a journal.  

Tell Someone! 

Tell people you are grateful for them every day.  Remember each act of gratitude will not only feel good for those on the receiving end but it will flood your brain with feelings that can have a profound effect on your life and health.  

For more on gratitude and creating the change that you want to see contact Kim on 0459 308 029 or book online for a consult at www.nbip.com.au