Taking Charge

I was more than a little sceptical about the healing powers of Amber. It made some sense that it contains succinic acid, the same ingredient used in ibuprofen and therefore holds the potential to act in a similar way. The basis for my scepticism was the fact that Amber is a substance that has lain on the earth for countless Milena, it has been subject to immense heat and power, rolled through glaciers and pummelled by tsunami’s, with that in mind what difference would its proximity to my skin have on its ability to release succinic acid?

Despite this I decided to treat myself too a raw Baltic Amber bracelet. It is a beautiful thing and we all deserve some beauty! Since it’s arrival I have worn in night and day for the past two weeks. In the shower I soak it in the warm water and use it to massage my spine, in the water the amber becomes much softer, feeling almost pliable and holds alot of heat.

I have been TOTALLY STUNNED with the results! From almost the moment I started wearing it I have generally been feeling much better. Showers have been easier, the watery amber incredibly soothing, I have slept better. The pain is less intense and I haven’t had any petit-mal for a while either!

Perhaps it is merely a Placebo, but as I had such little faith in it and was so skeptical I find that hard to believe. I have been ‘resting’ continuously for over a month now, so I am sure that’s contributing. I have also been Oil Pulling for several weeks now too and I think that must be helping too. At the end of the day, even if it’s a placebo, if it works, as it seems to be, who cares?!

My point in this blog post is to illustrate the fact that I believe that there are four things which are currently contributing the most to my health:

  1. Food –  sources of: iron, omega-3, vitamin c, magnesium
  2. Amber
  3. Oil Pulling
  4. Rest

All of these are things which I have researched myself. It is true that Doctors have mentioned Rest to me in passing, as an after thought, no one has come up with any ideas on what this might look like or what exactly Rest means, that is something I’ve done myself. It is an empowering thought that I have taken charge of my own health in this way. I am in charge of my life, my body, I have not sat back and taken advice only from The Pharmaceutical Experts. No one can know your body like you do.

I hope my blog will inspire others to be less skeptical, to try things that consultant’s don’t tell them about and mostly to LISTEN to themselves. When you find something that works for you, celebrate it, cherish it. It is an amazing accomplishment!

Sit, be sill and listen. Rumi.

Sit, be sill and listen. Rumi.

 

 

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Herbs for Health

In my continuing search for a healthier, painfree body. I have come across lots of herbs that consultants again don’t tell you about  and I thought I’d share a few of the best here.

I think it is so sad and somewhat alarming that we have largely lost this ancient knowledge of plants. That if we are sick we lie prone, starring into the faceless pharmaceutical companies as if they will certainly save us. Before the days of the NHS, people couldn’t afford ‘ready-made’ medicine, healing herby knowledge was passed down, often mother to daughter. People managed well enough. I think children should be taught these things, what happens when the pharmacies shut their doors? Will people know where to look for Willow Bark? and once found, what to do with it? I hardly do, but I at least want to learn.

Herbal heals

credit: www.yogalifestyle.com

A one stop shop for herbs: 55 Best Herbal Remedies – of note to me is the Papaya for back pain.

Not really a herb… but Magnesium is something I’ve been reading more and more about in helping deal with debilitating pain. It is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body and is considered essential to all cells of every known living organisms! Natural magnesium in soil is being depleted, due to over farming and pesticides which kill the microorganisms in the soil and intereupt the creation of magnesium in our food. As well as eating foods containing magnesium, we can also absorb it through our skin. The Ocean is another source of magnesium and trace minerals, so swimming in the sea (if you’re brace in the UK) has huge health benefits!

All these herbs and minerals are all very well, but unless you are a very skilled forager, with time, knowledge and energy to look for them, it is likely you will head to a Health Store or Herbalist to buy them, probably at vast expense as the NHS does not provide access to remedies. Therefore, as well as looking for info on the remedies themselves I am also keen to find wasy to make them myself or access them.

I came across a great blog on how to make your own Magnesium Oil by WellnessMama 

Here are her steps- I can’t wait to try it!

What you need:

  •  1/2 cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • a glass bowl or glass measuring cup
  • A glass spray bottle (plastic will work too)

What to do:

Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture. Put the Magnesium Chloride Flakes in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the bowling water over it.

Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months. I keep in my bathroom to use daily.

To Use:

Spray on arms, legs and stomach daily. I use 10-20 sprays per day. It will tingle on the skin the first few times it is used, and this is normal. It should fade after a few applications, but you can dilute with more water if it bothers you too much.

You can leave on the skin or wash off after 20-30 minutes. I usually apply after a shower and then use coconut oil or a lotion bar to moisturize about 5 minutes later.

Infact I think I have a bit of Blog-Crush – a BLUSH on WellnessMama! There are a host of natural remedies there and awesome pain relieving ideas. Check out the Pain Relief Lotion Bars! Think I’ll be making some of those too!

DIY-Natural-Pain-Relief-Lotion-Bars

credit: Wellness Mama

 

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Amber Healing

As well as plants there are several other remedies for pain and inflamation that your consultant won’t tell you about. I am sure there are many more but here are a few I’ve learn’t about and am keen to explore further.

Amber Healing

I had heard from wonderful Mamma friends of mine about them using amber necklaces to soothe their children’s teething, but I didn’t know too much about it and I didn’t know it might work for grown-ups too.

What is Baltic Amber?

Although it feels as hard as stone, Baltic amber is infact a fossilised resin produced by ancient pine trees, which grew in Northern Europe, around the Baltic sea 300 million years ago. Pieces of amber, naturally torn from the Baltic Sea floor, are carried ashore by waves and collected at ebb-tide. Harvesters, furnished with nets at the end of long poles, wade into shallow waters of the Baltic Sea and drag their nets through seaweeds which may contain masses of entangled amber. Some rake amber up from boats.

How does it heal?

As it is made from resin (similar to frankensince) Baltic amber has high concentrations of a unique substance known as succinic acid. This powerful antioxidant has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery, ease inflammation and bolster the immune system, it helps restore strength and energy to the entire body. Baltic amber is a natural analgesic and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, so is often used to ease joint pain. Baltic amber  is one of the most important natural sources of succinic acid in the world. Baltic amber warms against the skin, holding heat and slowly releasing succinic acid safely and naturally.

Ancient Amber:
Baltic amber was highly prized among the ancient Nordic peoples, as well as by the Celts, the Mediterranean peoples, Arabs, Egyptians and the Chinese. Amber gems were not only valued for their unique beauty but also for their healing and protective qualities. Amber was revered by these ancient peoples as a medicinal substance, and many healing elixirs have been made with it down through the ages. Amber is used to clear the chakras, to fill the body with vitality, alleviate stress, and is believed to help draw disease out of the body and encourage healing. It also acts as a natural antibiotic and has a long history of use in healing wounds. It is touted in Russia and other European countries for its youth preserving and cell rejuvenating properties. It is commonly used in anti-aging formulations and to aid recovery of cancer patients after undergoing standard medical therapies.
I am slightly sceptical about Ambers ability to help inflammation as it is a very hard, strong substance which has lain on the earth for millenia, been subject to immense, heat, pressure and cold, why should it’s proximity to my skin enable it to release this magical succinic acid? However, it is beautiful, I am always up for trying non-invasive things, I deserve a treat! and even if it’s only a placebo, I’m not a scientist- if it works who cares?! With that in mind I have just ordered myself a Medical Baltic Amber Bracelet quite expensive (£18 inc.postage) but a treat with healing potential is sometimes required and I am blessed to be able to afford an experiment. When it’s arrived and I’ve worn it for a bit I’ll write some more then.

 

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“Let your food be your medicine.”

Living with daily doses of heavy synthetic medications I have a heightened awareness of everything else which I put into my body and am always on the look out for ‘Alternative’ and less aggressive treatments.food

Learning to manage my new back condition I have been un-surprised to find that Neuro-suregeons, most of who were classically trained in the west are very keen on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) medication for the spine related inflammatory pain I am experiencing, despite their commonly known and well documented side effects, these include: -increased risk of infection -Dermatitis -Fluid retention -Fat deposits -mood changes -hypertension -stomach ulcers -Osteoporosis -increased appetite -weight gain -depression -hyperglycemia -adrenal suppression -cataracts-worsening of pre-existing medical conditions

As an alternative to facing this worrying list, many plants contain strong anti-inflammatory properties and have much fewer side affects. I have compiled a list of the ones I came across most commonly in my research. If you have used any of them, I would love to hear about your experience. As I work my way through them I will update the blog with experiences:

Natural Anti-inflammatory

1.Tumeric / Curcumin

I have previously carried a bag of this with me when travelling in Asia in an attempt to ward of a dodgy tummy and was stunned when my normally weak tum held on throughout! I felt very disspointed that I could not join in with the daily ‘Poo chat’ on that trip, which I’d previously been leading!

It is also one of the very most effective and potent natural anti-inflammatory agents. Curcumin is derived from Turmeric the yellow spice, part of the ginger family native to Asia, widely enjoyed as both a food and a dye. Extensively well studied for its anti-inflammatory powers, curcumin is scientifically proven to be highly effective at relieving pain, and very safe. Like the NSAID’s, curcumin inhibits COX2. But unlike the NSAID’s, it does not do so selectively. Instead, curcumin also affects the activity of other key factors in inflammation. By inhibiting the activity of all these aspects of inflammation, tumeric delivers far superior anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving activity than most drugs. Curcumin has long been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines as an anti-inflammatory agent, a treatment for digestive disorders, and to enhance wound healing.

2. Omega-3 Fish Oil

Research has shown that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are some of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory agents available. The active ingredients in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), enhance the conversion of COX to prostaglandin E3. A natural anti-inflammatory agent, prostaglandin E3 competitively inhibits the effects of the arachidonic acid conversion to prostaglandin E2, a highly inflammatory substance.

3.Willow Bark

Bark from the white willow tree is one of the oldest herbal remedies for pain and inflammation, dating back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Indian civilizations, as an analgesic and antipyretic agent. The mechanism of action of white willow bark is similar to that of aspirin which is a nonselective inhibitor of COX-1 and COX-2, used to block inflammatory prostaglandins.

4.Green Tea

Green tea has long been recognized to have cardiovascular and cancer preventative characteristics due to its antioxidant properties. Its use as an anti-inflammatory agent has been recognized more recently. The constituents of green tea are polyphenolic compounds called catechins, and epigallocatechin-3 galate is the most abundant catechin in green tea. Green tea also inhibits the aggrecanases which degrade cartilage. Green tea research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects.

5.Frankincense

The gum resin from the Boswellia trees located in India, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Arabian Peninsula. This resin possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and analgesic properties. Clinically, the substance is used in the treatment of degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders.

6. Kelp

Kelp seaweed found commonly around the UK contains fucoidan, a type of complex carbohydrate that is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and anti-oxidative. The high fibre content of kelp also helps to induce fullness, slow fat absorption and promote weight loss. As with fish it is increasingly hard to source kelp from unpolluted seas where high levels of toxins are being found in the waters.

7. Ginger

This relative of turmeric is also highly prized around the world for its anti-inflammatory benefits, and are used to expel cold and relieve motion sickness and vomiting, (a slice of fresh ginger taped on the skin several hours (some need 12 hours or so) before travelling.

8. Papaya

Described by Christopher Columbus as the ‘fruit of the angels’. Papaya’s reminds me of working in South Africa I had a Papaya tree outside my window and a cockrel. This cockrel crowed/screamed all night long….every night… every morning I picked a Papaya and despite that birds best efforts the world was alright again!

Papaya contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme. Together with other nutrients such as vitamin C and E, Papain helps to reduce inflammation, improves digestion and helps heal burns.

9. Blueberry

I didn’t know that these grow in the UK until on our honeymoon in the lake-district we came across a whole medow of them! Bluberries are an antioxidant powerhouse, high in phytonutrients that confer anti-inflammatory protection.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil is Mediterranean’s secret to longevity. Its rich supply of polyphenols protects the heart and blood vessels from inflammation. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are also turned into anti-inflammatory agents by the body that can lower occurrences of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

11. Broccoli

If vegetables were men I’d marry this one! (infact my husband is rather broccoli esq! Bit less green, bit more brown) Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable that contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients such as sulforaphane which helps the body to get rid of potentially carcinogenic compounds.

12. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is another favourite of mine and often overshadowed by other exotic vegetables and fruits. But it is also a good source of complex carbohydrate, beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin B6 and C as well as dietary fibre. Working in concert, these nutrients are powerful antioxidants that help to heal inflammation in the body.

I came across this Womens Natural Heath site which I thought had some good areas and advice on how to use food to heal. However, I don’t agree with everything there so perhaps one to look at with care!

 

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