In the yin and yang world of Chinese medicine, there isn’t a particular aspect that is especially masculine or feminine. However, one area we can always focus on to strengthen men’s health is the Kidney’s function.
Those of you who know me may have heard me refer to the Kidney* as the fireplace of the home. It is the area where warmth radiates from and where friends and family congregate around. Architecturally it is often the focal point of a room. The Kidney is very much the VIP in the Chinese medicine organ system.
When the VIP is unhappy or unwell all kinds of problems can arise, including low back pain or knee pain or hair loss. A person with strong Kidney qi, whether they are young or old, will look and feel good. They are those people who bounce back from injuries much easier. They are the ones with vigour who never “look their age”. Mentally and physically they are alert and present, with less aches and pains. Their hair may be white but the hair is strong.
In Chinese medicine we refer to the Kidney as the place that stores the “essence of life”, a collective term to describe the congenital essence (essentially what the ancient Chinese called genes and hereditary characteristics as we know it today) andacquired essence, basically the nutrients we absorb from our food. This is an important point because it means that the start you had in life can be impacted by your choices later on. A poorly baby can be described as having “weak congenital essence” but grow up to be healthy and strong. A healthy teenager may go on to have type II diabetes due to a poor diet.
Since human growth and development are imperative in both men and women, then surely everyone would benefit from strengthening their Kidney functions. This is true but men can be affected by a weak Kidney in a very singularly obvious way, and that is sexual health.
All manners of private sexual male dysfunction (such as premature ejaculation, nocturia, impotence) can be due to impaired Kidney function. Traditionally it would be due to an overly active sexual life (every time there is an ejaculation the body needs time to recuperate from the loss of “essence”). However in today’s society it can be any combination of stress, overwork, lifestyle, relationships and diet that can wreck havoc on the Kidney.
But self-care can be very effective. Besides having acupuncture and Chinese medicine either as treatment or a preventative measure, nutrition should be your main port of call. Eat well, keep your mind and body happy and your Kidney can enjoy the party. On the other hand, excessive work, excessive exercise, sex, drugs, alcohol, excessive caffeine, anxiety, and stress will deplete kidney essence before its time.
Winter is the season of the kidney, a time when the body naturally seeks warmth and nourishment. So enjoy the summer and soak in the rays to give yourself a good head start.
*Important: The Kidney in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) means more than the actual human organ. It is rather a group of functions, such as the regulation of water metabolism, storage of energy, and providing nourishment for bodily growth. If in doubt always get clarification from your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner.
by Ka Hang Leoungk
21-22 June 2014 Mind Body Spirit Event at White Light Events in MILTON KEYNES. To find out more head to: whitelightevents.co.uk
14th June 2014 Free HOLISTIC FAIR at Weatherstone Therapies in Wood Green Central Library, London. To find out more head to: weatherstonetherapies.co.uk
28/29 June 2014 BUXTON HEALTH & HEALING FESTIVAL at Pavilion Gardens. To find out more head to: mbsfestivals.com
8th June 2014 Spiritual Birmingham Holistic Event Love & Light Events in Birmingham. To find out more head to: eventbrite.co.uk
If you have an event you would like published online to share with HTM readers please contact the online editor.
This report of 2014 has some unique features. First, it describes some progress made in alcohol policy development in WHO Member States after endorsement of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol in 2010. Second, this report provides a wealth of information on alcohol-related indicators for the comprehensive global monitoring framework for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly.
Following the endorsement of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol WHO has strengthened its actions and activities to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm at all levels.
Above taken from the forward of the report written by Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health.
As part of the report, WHO highlights the Health Consequences shown below, and then further details these in the document.
o In 2012, about 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption.
o There are significant sex differences in the proportion of global deaths attributable to alcohol, for example, in 2012 7.6% of deaths among males and 4.0% of deaths among females were attributable to alcohol.
o In 2012 139 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), or 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury, were attributable to alcohol consumption.
o There is also wide geographical variation in the proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths and DALYs, with the highest alcohol-attributable fractions reported in the WHO European Region.
This report is a great read to further and up-date your knowledge so that as therapists we can use our platform to keep clients abreast of such important information. This report is especially useful for those therapists working with patients effected by alcoholism either personally or as a family member.
The report includes sections such as: Regulating availability of alcohol, Reducing negative consequences of drinking, and Drink–driving countermeasures.
And can be downloaded from the WHO website here.
It is fast approaching the time when the boots are shelved and the open-toe flats, flip-flops, and peep toes are lined up waiting to see a little sunshine. And of course it is holiday season and so our feet will be seeing the light of day! Maybe your particular modality requires you to be bare foot? - Feet… they are probably the least aesthetic things on the human body – or at least they get bad press! They can be webbed, flat, and often pretty unattractive, but they do serve a great purpose – and it is so important we give them a little gratitude and TLC right? For most of us mere mortals it certainly takes some work to ensure our feet look decent.
They get squished into all kinds of shaped shoes, and your long suffering feet also have to stand for hours on end. So all you really have to do is take a little time once a week to pamper your feet – or better still you could get somebody else to do it.
QUICK TOOTSY FIX:
You’ll need: a towel, a bowl of water, a 30-45 minutes.
- Scoop a finger full of vaseline and rub into your feet, add some large grain salt or sugar into the vaseline.
- Add some natural moisturizing shower gel or organic soap to your feet and mix it in with the sugar/salt vaseline before rinsing with warm water.
- Leave your feet in the warm water for about 10 minutes – you can add porridge oats if you would like a creamy softness on your skin.
- Now your feet are feeling great – scrub any hard skin away from your heels with a file and use a brush to clean your toenails.
- Pat your feet dry with a towel and massage some natural foot cream into the feet up to your shins.
- Pop your feet up to give them a nice rest so they will be ready to wear a lovely pair of sandals the next time you head out.
FOOT TIP 1: Remember to be careful if you are pregnant when using certain creams. Also, some foot creams have the wonderful ingredients of tea-tree oil, eucalyptus, or peppermint – and these can give a lovely tingly, refreshing sensation as well as having an anti-bacterial effect… but some of these aromas can keep you from falling asleep, and so if you are pampering your feet prior to bedtime, substitute your invigorating foot cream for a fragrance-free hand cream.
FOOT TIP 2: If you plan to polish your toe nails, then ensure that you do so prior to moisturizing your feet. Ensure your feet are thoroughly dry and free of any greasy residue.
Okay – so not all dark chocolate is kind to trees – but this stuff – is my personally current favorite – tasting amazingly delicious, as well as being ethical in every way. You may noticed that the image is of empty packets… well, this is because it has been unwrapped, chewed and swallowed by me… And I’m not afraid to admit – that I shall be purchasing another bar shortly… And I will feel good about eating it and buying it because it is organic, fair trade, and the productions allows work for farmers, as well as preservation of tree/farming land… and plans to plant more.
I love trees just as much as I like good quality chocolate!
Here are five reasons why dark chocolate is good for you:
- Some research shows that a small amount of dark chocolate eaten daily can reduce blood pressure.
- Dark chocolate includes chemical compound that have positive effects on the brain, and also create feelings of happiness.
- The bitter taste of dark chocolate can reduce your cravings for more, so you only need a small dose of the good stuff.
- Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants, and it also contains something called Theobromine, which is supposed to help keep tooth enamel hard.
- Dark chocolate’s flavonoids help the body to use insulin efficiently.
Oh – and it tastes GOOD!
Here are five reasons why quinoa is good for you:
- It is a super food – and protein rich.
- It contains more fibre than most other grains.
- It contains iron, and Lysine – vital for growth and repair.
- It is rich in Magnesium.
- And rich in B2 vitamins.
Oh – and it tastes GOOD!
Here are five reasons why trees are good for you:
- Trees purify the air – our air.
- Trees provide oxygen – HELLO! isn’t that the stuff we breath in to survive!
- Trees preserve energy, whilst keeping the streets cool.
- Trees provide food, shelter, soil preservation and more.
- Trees are spiritual and beautiful… and so much more!
Oh – DON’T eat them! Save them… and even HUG them! ;o)
You can find out more about Alter Ego.
So we all begin the New Year with an investment in gym membership, chucking out all of the festive food, and any new year booze, and we promise ourselves NO MORE! We all know that this shock tactic can lead to eating more, doing less and sneaking the odd pint of beer or glass of wine during the week… not to mention that gym membership not been used three times a week as planned!
SO WHAT IS THE TRICK TO STICKING TO THE NEW YEAR HEALTH PLAN? There is no right answer for everybody, as we are all different, but for those of us that struggle with committing to a new health plan… the trick is simply to do it slowly, without pressure – after all, we don’t want to be in this position each year right? It is much better to make a permanent shift in lifestyle than to yo-yo diet or binge on booze than stop altogether.
Here are some tips to help you to integrate your lifestyle shift slowly:
- Start by switching sweets and chocolate to a nice juicy apple or a nut snake… EASY!
- Walk or cycle to work instead of public transport or driving, if you have stairs at work or go via tube – walk up the escalators and opt for the stairs… YES if really does make a huge difference over the course of a day or week.
- Get a chair yoga DVD and do stretches and exercises during the day – no need to change your clothes and twenty minutes is plenty to get your lifestyle shifting in a healthier direction.
- DON’T go supermarket shopping when you are hungry.. you will grab every bargain going – as well as eat a packet of crisps or choccy bar before you’ve even reached home. So maybe write a shopping list and stick to it.
- Plan your meals – particularly your lunch.
- Make a healthy switch for the whole family, so you do not feel left out – try not to pressure your partner or kids to eat or live a particular way, just encourage it gradually, as you are doing with yourself… so bring in a family bike ride, or walk, or swim.
- Make sure your shift is fun – you are more likely to stick to it… try a new hobby that is exciting but also a good form of exercise – so don’t assume that the gym is the only way to stay fit! What about netball, rock climbing, dancing?
- Turn off Face Book and switch off the TV – even if you start one day a week and see what you can do with your time. We tend to snack a lot when we are watching movies. Dedicate just one evening to an electronic-free one.
- Write sticky notes with inspirational phrases – stick them on your fridge, your mirror, the toilet door… read them and pay attention to your words!!!
YOU CAN DO IT! WE ALL CAN!
Innovation in self-care is happening all around us, whether a gadget to tell you how many steps you’re taking everyday or monitor your eating habits, it’s clear that the future of our wellbeing is looking decidedly digital.
With this in mind, health and wellbeing platform Puffell.com was created. It’s free to use, and a place for you to set yourself goals, track your progress and find advice and support along the way. So far, so good?
Digital self-care can also be holistic: “Behaviour research tells us people want to look after themselves but need a little help…” Stuart Jackson, Puffell co-creator explains, “The best thing about Puffell is the offline connections being made in the community. Puffell’s groups feature means you can connect digitally like you might on social media site Facebook, then linked with like-minded people in your postcode, start a walking group or other wellbeing activity with the advantage of having a place to track your progress online.”
Sign up on: https://puffell.com/
Befriend on/Like: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Puffell
We are sure that the HTM readers would like to join the whole team in congratulating the MD and his lovely partner, on the arrival of their beautiful daughter.
Thank you Jessica for your smile, and for the wonder in your eyes; for reminding us that everybody was once a child, and that each and every human-being is beautiful.
Importance: Of family; Of union; Of commitment; Of love; Of the purity and innocence of new life. Children bring the seemingly important things into true perspective – not everything we place effort, or time on is as important as we believe it to be. The wonder of children is grounding, beautiful; the true essence of existence. So whether it is a friend’s child, a family member, or your own child, be inspired by them, and embrace a moment to feel your childlike nature again. Drink in that wonderful feeling of youth. Look at the sky as though it is the first time you have seen it (blues, pinks – and even shades of grey), be engulfed by the beauty in this world, the beauty, which we so-often take for granted. Just for a moment absorb it, maybe a moment per day, and gradually, perhaps these moments will stretch out and alter our perception forever.
Do you already have your issue of HTM? You can subscribe online…
Woohoo! Jump for joy at the thought of this beautiful season… It’s summertime! I love the unpredictable nature of the British weather… the anticipation of sunshine is always accompanied by the same warmth in the smiles of people passing by. There is a unique vibrancy and soulfulness in the air and this positive energy is shared with the clouded skies of silver, because we all know that the sun will show itself soon enough.
… And what better way to enjoy the random showers of sunshine than camping with your family (page 50). It is the perfect opportunity to visit a day spa or a retreat, and revitalise your body, mind, heart and soul… check out our great reviews this issue: Jan heads to the Homefield Grange (page 44), Yvonne visits Deer Lake Lodge (page 65), and Kate reviews facial reflexology (page 64). We have plenty more for you and your health as always.
…But as you all know, Holistic Therapist Magazine is the industry’s number one business guide, and so we have heaps of advice and tips for you to continue to flourish in your business, and reinforce the industry as a whole, so that together we can share the benefits of holistic therapies and lifestyles!
We revisit advertising with an article on writing effective flyers (page 24), as well as offering some words of wisdom from Louise Jensen (page 22) and Mark Shields (page 23). From advertising advice, we head to Marketing on a Shoestring, expertly written by Rachel Fairweather (page 26). Jonathan Pollinger sheds more light on the world of social-networking, focusing this issue on the business website, LinkedIn (page 16)… And one of my favorite news pieces this issue has to be that written by Doctor Stephen Hopwood (page 13).
Enjoy journeying through this issue of HTM, and remember I am just an email away on Jordan@holistictherapistmagazine.com. So if you have a product or book you’d like us to review, or an interesting story or case study please do contact me.
Warmth and love this season
Model: Sarah Parker
Stylist: Daniella Jukic
MUA: Jolina O’Hair
At least 25 percent of couples planning a baby will have trouble conceiving, and more and more couples are turning to fertility treatments to help them have a family. With a growing number of women waiting until their careers are established before they try to conceive, conception can be more difficult.
Helping couples to future-proof their fertility
Many people are unaware of the fact that diet can help to correct hormone imbalances that may affect a couple’s ability to conceive. The following should be included:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Complex carbohydrates – wholegrains like brown rice, oats and wholemeal bread
- Organic foods where possible
- Oily foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and oils
- Reduced intake of saturated fats from dairy products
- Increased intake of fibre
- Avoid additives, preservatives and chemicals, such as artificial sweeteners
- Avoid sugar, both on its own and hidden in food
Having four cups of coffee or any caffeinated drink a day makes it 26% less likely that a woman will conceive and drinking only 2 cups of coffee a day is associated with a 25% increased risk of miscarriage. And problems with sperm health are connected with increased coffee intake.
Alcohol will also make it more difficult to get pregnant with only just three alcoholic drinks or more a week. The same is true for male fertility, as we know that alcohol can lower sperm counts and will also block the body’s ability to absorb fertility boosting nutrients like zinc.
A woman is twice as likely to get pregnant if she doesn’t smoke compared to a woman who does. And smoking is linked to 5,000 miscarriages per year.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage DNA in sperm which can make it harder to conceive because fertilisation can’t take place or if it is does, it can increase the risk of a miscarriage as nature will always work on survival of the fittest.
If a couple has a combination of four negative lifestyle factors (including tea/coffee, smoking and alcohol) it can take them seven times longer to get pregnant.
3. Fertility Boosting Supplements
We know that certain nutrients increase the chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant.
It is well known that folic acid can prevent spina bifida. Folic acid is important, but it is just part of the very important family of B vitamins that are necessary to produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA.
Zinc is the most widely studied nutrient in terms of fertility for both men and women. A zinc deficiency can cause chromosome changes in either men or women, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage. Men given a combination of zinc and folic acid, showed a 74% increase in total sperm count.
Selenium is an antioxidant that can prevent chromosome breakage, which is known to be a cause of birth defects and miscarriages. Selenium supplementation given to men increases sperm count, motility and the number of normal sperm.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant and has been shown to increase fertility when given to both men and women. With men, vitamin E helps to increase fertilisation rates during ICSI treatments. If a woman over the age of 35 is told that her fertility problems are caused by her age, then it is likely that she could benefit from taking both vitamins E and C.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and we know that women who take vitamin C while they are doing IVF have a significantly increased pregnancy rate. Vitamin C is also good for men as it can help to increase sperm counts by up to a third.
A review of 34 studies with men going for IVF/ICSI cycles has shown that when men take antioxidants (including zinc, selenium, vitamins C and E) their partner is five times more likely to have a live birth compared to a placebo.
Two amino acids, L-arginine and L-carnitine are particularly important for sperm health. The L-arginine is essential for healthy sperm production and protects the sperm against oxidative damage. The higher the levels of L-carnitine in sperm cells, the higher the sperm count and motility.
Omega 3 fatty acids
The Omega 3 fatty acids have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning.
When men supplement with Omega 3 fish oils there is a significant increase in sperm counts compared to a placebo.
Vitamin D helps to balance a woman’s immune system which is important in getting and staying pregnant. In order for a woman to stay pregnant, her immune system has to quieten down because half the baby’s DNA is not hers. Normally if the body detects something foreign it aims to expel it from the body. For some women, their immune systems do not quieten down and so they can’t get or stay pregnant
Vitamin D is also important for male fertility as low levels of this nutrient is associated with low sperm motility and more abnormal forms.
In the clinic I use two supplements that contain the most important nutrients for fertility. They are called Fertility Support for Women and Fertility Support for Men and are available from www.naturalhealthpractice.com
Finally, three months is the recommended period of time for dietary and lifestyle changes to take effect and for food supplements to work their magic. And according to psychologists it also takes at least three months to replace dietary and lifestyle habits that aren’t doing you any good with healthier ones. Think about it – old habits diehard and your body and mind need that period to adjust to fertility and health-boosting changes.
Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. She is the Former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine and the author of a number of internationally best selling books including ‘Getting Pregnant Faster’ and ‘Natural Solutions to PCOS’. For more information go to www.marilynglenville.com. Dr Glenville runs a number of women’s health clinics in London, Tunbridge Wells and Dublin. If you are interested in a consultation, you can contact Dr Glenville’s clinic on 0870 5329244 or by email: email@example.com.
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