Naturopathy and Mental Health

naturopathy mental healthWe live in a stressful and busy world. Once upon a time our bodies went into fight or flight when we were chasing the woolly mammoth or sabre tooth tiger, and then we could sit back and relax and enjoy our well earned meal. Now many of us are in a constant state of stress, which leaves cortisol and adrenalin levels high and therefore contributes to a host of other problems such as cardiovascular disease, reproductive difficulties, digestive complaints and poor immunity to name a few.

What you may not realise is that diet and lifestyle are a major contributing factor to stress, anxiety and depression. There are certain things that would be beneficial to cut out, and other things that would be very helpful to add, to help balance your some of your neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.

Can Naturopathy help with those not wanting to take medication, or reacting poorly to it?

If you are looking for natural alternatives for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, then your naturopath may be able to help. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your health, with initial consultations going for approximately 1 hour. We will then devise a treatment plan with food as medicine, necessary lifestyle changes and appropriate nutritional and herbal supplementation.

Some of the conditions Naturopathy can help with

  • Insomnia and sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • PMS moodiness
  • Low energy and motivation

Stress and your body, part 1.

stress ballStress is a term commonly used everyday, it is usually considered a negative concept that has some impact on one’s mental or physical wellbeing, but it can be either the cause or the effect.

In nature most processes strive to maintain equilibrium, a steady state of balance, this includes our body on a physical level (our bones and muscles) as well as a physiological level (our organ systems). Environmental factors, internal or external stimuli, continually disrupt this balance, and these factors can be interpreted as stress.

As a chiropractor I am constantly dealing with and correcting the effects of physical stress. These physical stresses include falls and bumps, lifting or carrying heavy loads, prolonged periods of time in poor chairs, unsupportive mattresses or bad shoes, sustained posture, repetitive work or changes in our body for which it must compensate such as pregnancy or a broken bone in the foot, or knee surgery. On a physical level it is often clear to see how these stresses impact us and our wellbeing.

What is not always easy to see is how Emotional stresses impact our body and our wellbeing. I estimate that close to 75% of problems I see in clinic are due either directly or indirectly to emotional stress, but when I say that, people often can’t understand how emotional stress can affect us physically. It can be easier to understand when you consider situations of extreme stress, such as if your life were in danger.

In such a situation you would be feeling alot of emotions such as fear and panic, but your body would also be reacting, in a way that is known as a fight or flight reaction. This means that your body is getting prepared to fight or to flee. There are several things that happen but probably the most obvious sign would be that your heart would begin racing, this would result in you sweating, your body will produce adrenaline,which would make you feel buzzy or nervy. Your pupils will dilate, your blood will be directed to areas of your body that are important for fighting or fleeing (such as your muscles, your lungs and your brain) and away from areas that are not needed for the moment (such as your digestive organs). So you can see that emotions go hand in hand with physical changes.

Thankfully, it is not that common for us to be in a situation that is life threatening, but our modern lifestyles do entail alot of stress, and our bodies are constantly reacting to this stress in many ways, at a low level. These reactions will impact on our bodies in a physical way. Stress and your Body Part 2 will detail signs and symptoms your body may show in response to common low level daily stresses.


What to Expect from a Chiropractic Consultation

Health In The Bay Chiro ImageWhat to Expect from a Chiropractic Consultation

Chiropractic treatments focus on restoring alignment and function to the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractor uses massage, manipulation and other techniques to provide relief from pain, improve function and restore balance to the joints and nerves.

Chiropractic Looks at Whole Lifestyle

Your chiropractor will take is a detailed medical history, including details of any specific problems. They will ask about prior health conditions, exercise, diet and lifestyle and may recommend an x-ray or other tests.


Chiropractic Observes Function

They will then conduct a manual examination using palpation and observation. They will assess the range of motion and function in different areas of the spine, pelvis and body. They may ask you stand, walk or balance. They may assess:

  • Cranial nerves
  • Reflexes
  • Muscles strength
  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Bilateral weight scale measurement
  • Flexibility
  • Sensation

Undergoing Chiropractic Treatment

Treatment usually involves some massage and gentle adjustment or manipulation of the spine or other areas that aren’t functioning properly. He or she may also use heat or ice and acupuncture. The treatment will be designed specifically for your symptoms. You may experience initial soreness after a treatment or find it brings immediate relief to your symptoms. You can also expect advice about posture, exercise and lifestyle.
Chiropractor Treatment Plan

Your chiropractor will devise a treatment plan, usually outlining short-term goals – generally aimed at relieving pain and limitations – and long-term goals that focus on maintaining good musculoskeletal function.

A visit to the chiropractic should bring about relief from symptoms and arm you with a plan to enhance your overall health and well-being.




This article was reproduced with permission from Natural Therapy Pages – Australia’s most visited natural health site.

Silent Inflammation

Health In The Bay Thumb

Imagine that you have slammed your finger in a door. The pain will be rapidly followed by reddening, swelling and heating up of the affected area. This kind of inflammation, whilst infuriating, is actually a good thing. Your immune system is responding to the trauma by sending white blood cells and other hormone-like substances to your finger to heal it.
But there’s another kind of inflammation, one that could be present throughout your cells and tissues, and it’s not so good. It would seem that more and more research is supporting the idea that this “silent inflammation” may be the cause of many degenerative diseases – especially obesity, heart disease and diabetes, as well as arthritis, dementia and even some cancers. Wrinkles and skin complaints can also blame this low-level of inflammation as a factor.
Inflammation is a normal and healthy part of the body’s healing system. It is the immune system attempting to nourish and defend the area under attack. It may happen on the surface of our body, and also internally such as at sites of infection or as an allergic response. The problem starts when inflammation refuses to go away. Inflammation is a powerful and sometimes destructive response, and it needs to end when its work is done.
The process of inflammation is caused by prostaglandins (a type of hormone) which work to either strengthen or diminish inflammation. When these hormones get out of balance, the inflammation process may start to malfunction. This imbalance can be caused by poor diet and stress.

Is your diet pro-inflammatory?

Our bodies manufacture prostaglandins from fatty acids in foods. Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids (such as those found in vegetable oils) encourage the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. On the other hand, our body requires omega-3 fatty acids  – found in oily fish, flaxseeds and leafy vegetables – to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.  Most of us are eating pro-inflammatory diets as we consume more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.
Other foods that can contribute to inflammation include refined, carbohydrates such as white bread and white flour products, packaged breakfast cereals, white potatoes and white rice. A study at Harvard Medical School found that women who ate large quantities of these foods had high levels of CRP, a protein which is released during the inflammation process.
Furthermore, eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates causes your blood sugar levels to soar and your body releases insulin which increases stored body fat and triggers the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals.

The stress factor.

No doubt you’ve already heard of the many conditions that stress can cause or exacerbate, and here is another reason to avoid stress. It plays havoc with our hormone balance by releasing adrenalin and cortisol, hormones which have a, you guessed it, inflammatory effect. These hormones are part of the fight-or-flight response – preparing our bodies to either fight off a primeval attack or run fast from it. Everyday stress also produces the overproduction of these hormones, leading to abnormal inflammation.

Calming down inflammation.

So, to counter inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and skin complaints, and to correct low-level silent inflammation, it all comes down to making positive dietary and lifestyle changes. By making these changes, you will notice you have more energy and better moods, and your digestion and skin will improve within a few months. You may have fewer aches and pains, will sleep better, and maybe even lose weight.
To read more about how the relationship between diet and inflammation, you may want to read Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil and The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford.

Health In The Bay Berries

Anti-inflammatory foods to include:

  • Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
  • Ground flaxseed and its oil
  • Berries
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic, onions, turmeric and ginger
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Green tea

Foods to limit:

  • Sugar, sugary foods and drinks
  • Refined grains (white bread, white pasta and white rice)
  • Processed foods
  • Trans fats
  • Animal products especially red meat and dairy
  • Potatoes
  • Corn, safflower and peanut cooking oils


Some nutrients and herbs can provide additional support to calm inflammation. Fish oils, antioxidant formulas, vitamin B, zinc and magnesium can all help. Even certain strains of probiotics are powerful anti-inflammatories.
It is best to see a naturopath, herbalist or nutritionist to find out the most suitable herb and nutrient for your health needs, and to make sure that you receive a potent, practitioner-quality supplement.

Reducing Stress

  • Set boundaries with work, family and relationships
  • Exercise – any way you can and any way you like
  • Try yoga, Tai Chi or meditation practices
  • Spend time in nature
  • Turn of all technology (including computers, smart phones and even the television) by 9.30pm every night
  • Reduce intake of caffeinated beverages
Some herbs and nutrients can also be very effective in help the body balance the hormone response and cope better with stress. Again, it is important to consult a healthcare practitioner who is trained in the use of herbs and nutrients (such as a naturopath) to receive the right combination for you.