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Stressed about high blood pressure?

| News and Events | 05/06/2013

Tayma Wallbridge

If you are one of the 1 in 3 adults in the UK with high blood pressure you may be mystified as to why you have it.   This is because in only 10% of cases is there a known physical reason for it.  That means that for over 90% of people with high blood pressure there is no identifiable medical cause.  This type of high blood pressure is labelled ‘Primary’ or ‘Essential’ Hypertension.

Because there are very clear associated risks with strokes and coronary heart disease most sufferers then start taking medication to control their high blood pressure – sometimes for the rest of their lives.

What is well known about the causes of this type of high blood pressure is that there are often aggravating factors. There are a tiny number of people affected by sodium, but scientific opinion nowadays is that the link between salt and hypertension is very tenuous. The aggravating factors that undoubtedly have the most impact are a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking or drinking too much alcohol.   It certainly makes a lot of sense to consider these factors and make any necessary lifestyle changes.

But for many people, even when these factors have been eliminated, their blood pressure still does not go back to a safe level.  The prevailing theories are that an underlying emotional factor known as ‘Sympathetic Overstimulation’ is responsible. In other words  stress, worry, anger, anxiety and fear.  When we feel these emotions we release stress hormones and a variety of physical changes occur in our body, including a rise in blood pressure.  And if you live daily with these emotions it may be the cause of your primary hypertension.

The good news is that there is much that you can do yourself to address these emotional factors.  It might mean just buying a relaxation CD to listen to each day, finding an absorbing hobby, taking more exercise or having more fun with family and friends.  For those who require more support however, there are hypertension professionals who will work with you, to reduce the stress in your life as well as make any lifestyle changes necessary.  You really do not have to resign yourself to a life of high blood pressure.

Tayma Wallbridge is a clinical hypnotherapist www.accreditedhypnotherapy.co.uk and a certified hypnotension practitioner www.hypnotension.com

Sunshine-love it or hate it?

| News and Events | 31/05/2013

Peyton Principles

For years we have been told to be very wary of the sun. With ever increasing levels of skin cancer the advice has been to cover up with sunscreen or clothes and stay out of the sun.

When my daughters attended primary school I packed them off to school already smothered in high factor suntan lotion, with a spare tube in their bags.

But there is a shift now towards recognising that sunshine is a good thing and actually beneficial to our health. We all know that the sun makes us feel better, it improves our mood, lifts our spirits, it’s generally good for our souls. But beyond that, sunshine is an absolute necessity for our health due to its essential role in vitamin D production.

No doubt you have heard about vitamin D deficiency, especially due to our poor summers. But even with a relatively sunny summer a deficiency is possible since we live in the Northern Hemisphere.

The way to optimise vitamin D status in our bodies is to expose our skin to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day (before skin starts to redden) without suntan lotion. Common sense is needed as lying in the midday sun on a hot day may cause many people to start to burn and burning is not what is required.  In fact very suntanned skin may inhibit vitamin D production. So mid morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is not at its peak is best.

We need to try to maximize our exposure during the summer months. Vitamin D is fat soluble so it will be stored in the body, but because of our long dark winters our stores may become depleted before winter is over.

Why is vitamin D so important? It supports our natural immunity, bone health and strong teeth. We are even hearing cases of rickets emerging again.

Diet is important too but the amount obtained from food is small compared to the sun. The only sources are from fats in the diets such as butter, oily fish, milk and dairy and some foods are now fortified with it due to falling natural levels.

So enjoy the sunshine, roll up your sleeves, leave off the SPF unless very hot sun or prolonged exposure, and welcome in this important vitamin.


About The Author

Caroline Peyton is a fully qualified naturopathic nutritional therapist with practices in Cheltenham and Swindon and at home in Kempsford. She is also Principal of the Natural Healthcare College. Please contact Caroline to see how nutritional therapy may be of benefit to you. 01285 810320 or 07730 513303; e-mail: caroline@peytonprinciples.com. www.peytonprinciples.com


Useful Tips towards a Healthier Body

| News and Events | 31/05/2013

Caroline Peyton

As I write this Spring is finally on its way. The bulbs are out, the trees are starting to turn green and the birds are singing. This puts a smile on our faces but does it translate into more natural energy day to day?

Of course at all times we want to feel vibrant but our lifestyles and food choices may hinder these feelings of wellbeing. Some people choose to undertake a detox but rather than consider restrictive practices, here are a few tips to follow in the coming months ahead.

I see many people who don’t consume sufficient hydrating fluids. This is not just about water but herbal teas or very diluted juices or cordials too. I always start my day with slices of lemon in warm water- so refreshing! Cut back on teas and coffees that may add stress to the body and replace with these more natural alternatives.

Try to avoid packet foods as much as possible. The more packaged foods we buy, the more likely it is to be processed in some way and therefore contain hidden chemicals, sugars, salts or “bad” fats.  Vegetables, fruit and protein foods (such as chicken, eggs, fish) are not processed and therefore your body has less to deal with in terms of digestion and the toxic load – especially if organic.

Add to this nuts and seeds- yes they are in a packet- but only for the shops’ convenience. These are a great replacement for biscuits, cakes or crisps. A fantastic source of essential fatty acids- those that the body cannot make for itself. These fats are so important for our skin, brain, cardiovascular system, joints. In fact every cell membrane including nerve cells are composed of these fats so we must have them in our diets! These fats, together with protein foods, also help to keep us fuller for longer so we’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy foods.

Do eat as wide a variety of vegetables as possible. Different colours have different levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins so don’t stick to the same ones, be adventurous. Have at least a third of your plate filled with a variety to maximise your nutrient intake.  Eat a couple of pieces of fruit a day but favour vegetables which are less sugary and so help maintain stable blood sugar and energy.

Lighter days call for lighter foods – use this time of year to lighten the load and see the benefits.

 About The Author

Caroline Peyton is a fully qualified naturopathic nutritional therapist with practices in Cheltenham and Swindon and at home in Kempsford. She is also Principal of the Natural Healthcare College. Please contact Caroline to see how nutritional therapy may be of benefit to you. 01285 810320 or 07730 513303; e-mail: caroline@peytonprinciples.com. www.peytonprinciples.com


Advice on sleeping and beds

| News and Events | 15/02/2013

Your bed could be the cause of back pain and the British Chiropractic Association has some great advice for sleep posture and how to choose your bed and pillow. Choosing the right bed can minimise those factors that may lead to back pain.

We come in different weights, shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common; we spend more than a third of our lives in bed, so should choose our beds carefully. Which is better, a hard or soft mattress?

The best mattress is a ’supportive one‘. A 16 stone person sleeping on a mattress may not get the same support as a 10 stone person sleeping on the same mattress.

How do I know which is the right mattress for me?

If you are lying on your side, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and your spine should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate this feeling will be. Your pillow should be an extension of this i.e. your neck should be a continuation of the straight spine and not too high or too low. Also it should be noticeably

Memory Foam or Springs?

This can be about personal preference. Memory foam mattresses are becoming more popular. Some research has found that memory foam mattress put less pressure on the body and joints, therefore making it more comfortable. It can however be very expensive. You can also try a combination spring
mattress with a built in memory foam topper which is a good combination. The best way is to try out different mattress with a specific budget in mind, but beware you usually get what you pay for, so it is not worth skimping on a mattress if you can.

What things can I do to help prevent back problems even with my new mattress?

Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back. For example, lying on
your side is better than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side. Keep moving and avoid
being in any one position for too long. No matter how comfy the position may initially feel, the longer you
stay in one position, the more this will ‘load joints’. If your partner moves around a lot at night, try separate beds for a while as your partner’s movement could aggravate YOUR back condition! Drink water. Keep
well hydrated; dehydration can make muscles ache.

Don’t leap out of bed first thing in the morning. After you wake up, try some gentle stretches. Wake up your body. Once up, avoid bending or doing anything sudden or strenuous until you back wakes up! If you do have back pain do not leave it too long to get it looked at by a chiropractor, the longer you leave it the more likely the condition will become chronic and more problematic.

Happy sleeping!

Matthew Eatwell, Doctor of Chiropractic

Top 10 tips for gardening this season

| News and Events | 02/10/2012


From when the gardening season begins in spring and until the end of the summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.

The main cause of back pain when gardening is prolonged stretching and overuse of the ligaments and joints in the spine.

1. Get your muscles warm before doing any stretching. You should never stretch a cold muscle as this increases the chances of injury. Get your heart rate up by doing some brisk walking or even some gentle jogging if you are up for it.

2. Do not bounce or jerk your body when stretching and stretch only as far as comfortable. You should not feel any pain, just tension in the muscle you are stretching.

3. Start with lighter jobs first. Once you are warmed up and ready to start, don’t dive into the heavy garden work first. Start and end with the lighter jobs, this will prepare your body further before heavy work and help you cool down at the end.

4. When raking leaves draw the rake in the direction of your navel.

5. Kneel on one leg rather than bending down repeatedly from the hips and use a cushion to support your knee.

6. Try and keep your back hollow when digging, with the legs spaced apart.

7. Try and vary the tasks of the day into short bursts of different activities rather than slogging all day at one thing.

8. When mowing lawns with a hover mower try to resist the temptation to swing the mower from side to side in an arc. Instead, mow forwards and backwards as you would with a conventional cylinder mower.

9. Keep yourself warm and covered, i.e. keep shirts tucked in as this prevents the muscles becoming chilled.

10. If you ache the next day; rest and seek the advice of your chiropractor who will advise whether you should apply heat or icepacks to the area, or indeed require further treatment.

REMEMBER – You should exercise to keep fit so that you can enjoy your gardening rather than using your gardening to keep fit!