Shampoo and Conditioner Alternatives

no pooFor many years now I have tried to eliminate unnecessary chemicals in my life, this included switching to natural alternatives for shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturiser, deodorant, body wash, make up and tooth paste. Some of these products have been great and worked really well, and others have had a less than average effect on my skin or hair.

Now that I am pregnant, it’s even more important to me to be avoiding as many harsh chemicals as possible.

Over the next few months I will be writing about my experiences with different beauty regimes.


This month – hair!

I have always had fairly oily hair and moving to natural shampoos didn’t help that at all. In recent years I have also had pimples in my scalp, which can be rather painful and uncomfortable. So I was getting a bit frustrated with frequent washing of my hair, having thick and long hair it would take all day to dry naturally.

So after some internet browsing I found a possible solution that gave me a little hope. It’s called the “no poo” method, and no it’s not constipation. It involves using baking soda as a shampoo alternative and for the conditioner an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse.

This method is not only beneficial for oily hair, but also dry, curly and frizzy hair.

The idea is that the more you wash your hair, the more the natural oils are removed, so your scalp over produces extra oils and you need to wash your hair more. It’s great for shampoo sales but not so great for your scalp. Our ancestors certainly didn’t wash their hair every day or 2, and over the last hundred years the washing has become more and more frequent.

A brief how to;

  • Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with a cup of water for the shampoo
  • Mix 1 tablespoon ACV with a cup of water for the conditioning rinse
  • Brush your hair daily with a bristle brush to distribute hairs away from the scalp
  • Try to extend your hair washing day by 1 each wash so the oils have a chance to rebalance

There are alternatives you can use, such as egg for the shampoo and lemon juice, honey and tea for the conditioner. I did find the honey made my hair oily though so I am sticking with ACV.

My experience has been mostly positive, with a few headband/scarf days when I was at day 4-5. It’s a bit tough at
the time as I hate the feeling of dirty hair, but if you can get through these days it is supposed to make a big difference.

I had been going for about a month and was up to hair washing on day 5 or 6, then went to the (organic) hair dresser for a trim and didn’t want to miss out on the lovely scalp massage so also had shampoo and conditioner. I took a big step backwards after that and feel like I had to retrain my scalp! I think next time I will just be upfront with the hairdresser and ask them just to wet it for the cut. After the hairdresser I am now back to every 5 to 6 days, and interested to see if I can push it further. Some “no poo-ers” get to the point that they don’t even use the baking soda rinse anymore and might just rinse with water a few times a year.

I know many males that never shampoo their hair, and might just rinse it with water every few weeks. I have never noticed oily hair on them, even with all the gel they use.

So all in all I would say this has been a successful experiment, I am washing my hair half as often, I no longer have pimples in my scalp and my hair feels softer and cleaner (for the first few days anyway). It does get a bit stinky on Day 5-6, but hopefully this will get less and less.

For more information refer to;


Sleep peacefully with Oriental Medicine

acupuncture oriental sleepHow did you sleep last night? Could have been better? If you are rubbing your eyes while reading this and trying to counteract the effects of insomnia with coffee, you are not alone. Almost one in four of us has trouble sleeping on a regular basis.

Much has been said about modern life eating into our sleep. In Victorian times, before the electric light bulb, adults generally slept 9-10 hours per night. Ancient Chinese texts describe the idea of the body being governed by a 24-hour clock, with each of the 12 main meridians responsible for a 2-hour segment of the clock. For the body to function at its best, with all meridian pathways and associated organs working smoothly, it is advised to be in deep sleep by 11pm, so to go to bed between 9 and 10pm, and to rise between 5 and 7am. But with today’s long and irregular working hours and access to electronic devices that stimulate the brain instead of winding us down, many of us would struggle to follow these guidelines.

We now know that chronic (long-term) sleep deprivation has a host of health consequences. It plays havoc with your hormonal and metabolic regulation, contributing to weight gain, elevated stress hormones, and raised blood pressure. If you aren’t sleeping well, you are also more likely to struggle to concentrate, have accidents at work or while driving, and to suffer from depression.

If insomnia has been a long-term issue for you, you will probably have tried a lot of the self-help strategies recommended. Even so, it’s worth reading through the list at the end of this article to see if there are ways you could tweak your lifestyle to help promote sleep.

Various medications are available for insomnia, but most have side-effects you’d probably rather be without, like feeling groggy in the day. And for some classes of these drugs, long-term dependence is a real issue. So the ideal approach (in combination with lifestyle changes, of course) is one that’s natural and doesn’t have troublesome side effects.

That’s where Oriental medicine (the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine) come in. This has a long history of use for insomnia. There are several Oriental medicine patterns associated with insomnia, and we work out which is responsible by taking a detailed history of your sleep issues and other aspects of your health, examining your pulse, tongue and abdomen and putting all the information together.

Treatments focus on calming the mind, using a combination of points throughout the body. I use the gentle Japanese style of needling, which inserts very fine needles very shallowly, so is suitable for even the most needle-phobic. Generally, 4-6 weekly sessions will give us a good idea of your response to treatment. After a few sessions, herbal support is often introduced as the frequency of acupuncture treatments is dropped.

There has been quite a bit of research done on acupuncture and sleep, although the quality of the research could be better.

One recent research trial looked at the effect of acupuncture on insomnia, focussing on quality of sleep. This trial was small (180 patients) but had a great design, comparing true acupuncture (points selected to treat insomnia) with sham acupuncture (points that don’t actually treat insomnia) and a commonly used sedative as control measures. This was done to make sure that any effect of the acupuncture treatment was not just due to being paid attention by the practitioner, or relaxing in the treatment room, or some other aspect of the treatment not actually related to needling specific acupuncture points.

After 6 weeks of treatment, those in the true acupuncture group rated their sleep quality as better than those in the sham acupuncture or sedative groups. They also reported less drowsiness and more energy in the daytime (in contrast to those on the sedative, who felt worse during the day even though their sleep improved). These improvements were maintained 2 months after the end of the treatment period.

Another couple of small trials looked at how acupuncture (or in one case, acupressure) works to help you sleep. They found that acupuncture or acupressure tended to normalise the levels of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This is very intriguing; and hopefully larger studies will explore this area in the future to verify the results.

The bottom line? Acupuncture can be a long-lasting remedy for insomnia, giving you better sleep quality without that hung-over feeling from sedatives.


Some tips to help you sleep.

  • Avoid caffeine after 4pm, or noon if you are sensitive to it. Remember that chocolate and green tea also contain small amounts of caffeine that can be too stimulating for some people. Many “energy drinks” contain a lot of caffeine too.
  • Try to get up at around the same time each day and go to bed at the same time each night. This gets your body into a regular pattern, so that the sleep hormone, melatonin, is being produced right when it’s needed.
  • Aim for a short walk in sunlight (about 20 mins without sunglasses if you can tolerate it) first thing in the morning. A surge in melatonin (which promotes sleepiness) happens about 12 hours after this first exposure to sunlight, so this is another measure that can help reset your sleep clock.
  • For at least an hour before bed, limit your use of TV, internet, mobile phones and other electronic devices, which tend to stimulate the brain. For some people who are sensitive, 2 hours may be better.
  • If you can’t sleep after 30 mins, go and do something that’s not very interesting for 10-20 mins in low light, then try again. Avoid TV etc, for the reasons given above.
  • Acupressure (applying pressure to acupuncture points) can help. Run your fingers outwards from the back of the neck at the base of the skull, till you reach a sore point behind the ear (but still under the skull). This is the An Mian (peaceful sleep point). Massage this area with firm pressure. The other point to apply pressure to is Kidney 1, which is on the sole of the foot, about 1/3 of the way down from where the toes join the sole of the foot. When you bend your foot downwards, you can feel a depression here, which may also feel quite tender.


12 ways to stay healthy(ish) over Christmas

naturopathy healthy christmasDecember and early January can be tempting times of year to fall off your usual health regime. In some ways it’s ok to give yourself a little bit of a break and not feel too guilty about it, but there are certainly things you can do, to ensure you don’t fall too far!

Following are some tips I like to follow over this silly season, that’s right, even a Naturopath is tempted at this time.

1. Eat before you go out.

It’s hard to know what sort of food is going to be available at your Christmas party, so it helps to have a light and healthy snack before you go out. This will line your stomach to help absorb the alcohol, stop you from overeating, and ensure you still get some healthy food into you.

2. Natural hangover helpers.

If you do happen to overindulge.. and let’s be honest, it may happen at least once, following are some natural hangover helpers;

a. Coconut water is excellent for rehydrating, as it’s a natural source of electrolytes.

b. B vitamins, as a lot of these are depleted by alcohol consumption.

c. Zinc containing foods or a supplement, zinc helps alcohol dehydrogenase, which is a liver enzyme that helps to break down alcohol.

d. No beer until your wee is clear – actually it’s much better to not drink the day of a hangover, but do drink a lot of water until your urine is clear.

e. Consider taking a herbal supplement of St Mary’s Thistle before you go out, this herb does wonders for protecting the liver.

3. Work for that tart.

If  you have something coming up and you know you will be likely to indulge, earn it first with a workout and then look at it as a reward and enjoy!

4. Well hydrated throughout the day.

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day that you will be drinking so you are well hydrated before you have your first drink. Then alternate 1 drink for 1 water, you can also top your wine glass up with mineral water for a spritzer – nice and refreshing in summer, half the calories and alcohol content.

5. Eat well earlier in the day.

Sometimes when you go out it can be hard to control what you eat, and what is available. Eat all your fruit and vegetables earlier in the day, this way you know you’re getting all of your vitamins and minerals. If there is more in your dinner it is an added bonus.

6. Weight loss.

So the truth is, it’s unlikely that you are going to lose weight over Christmas and New Year, but set yourself a challenge to maintain your weight, rather than gaining any. Enjoy yourself on the days you have to such as Christmas Day and any parties, but try to keep things under control on the other days, with lots of healthy eating and exercise.

If you know you are going to have a really big dinner, then try to cut your caloric intake back for breakfast and lunch.

Don’t fall into feeling that you can eat what you want and start again in January, whatever you put on now will take those extra few weeks to come off in January

7. Keep special occasion special.

Don’t drink and indulge everyday, try to give yourself at least 2-3 days of not drinking at all.

8. Tips for eating well on holidays & when out to dinner.

It is possible to go on holidays and not pile on the kilograms. Base most of your meals around lean protein, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Try not to overindulge in carbohydrates, alcohol and desserts. Keep in mind there are 245 calories in a pina colada, so while it’s nice to enjoy yourself on holidays, the calories really add up if you have too many cocktails.

Make the most of exploring the town you are in… on foot! The walking will help balance out those extra calories.

9. Take a healthy plate.

You may not be able to control what everyone else takes/makes, but at least if you take a healthy plate you can control at least one of them to provide a nutritious meal or snack.

10. The 20 minute rule.

Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly, and allow your body 20 minutes to register before going for seconds. Another helpful tool is to consume fibre 30 minutes before eating, this could be either psyllium, chia seeds, flax or slippery elm mixed in with water. The fibre will bulk up in your stomach and you should get full before you eat too much.

11. Eat liver cleansing foods.

Eating liver cleansing foods regularly is beneficial for everyone, but even more so over this silly season when you will be putting an extra load on your liver. Eating as many of the following foods as possible – onion, garlic, broccoli, beetroot, egg yolks and lots of water.

12. Enjoy yourself.

The holidays are not just about eating and drinking, it is also about spending quality time with those that you love. So find a good balance, have the occasional treat, and enjoy this special time with your friends and family.


What is Neuro Emotional Technique?

NET FormulaNeuro Emotional Technique or NET is a simple mind-body stress reduction intervention aimed at improving behavioral and physical problems, such as in chronic injuries, subluxations, pain, worry, anxiety, depression, etc. It was developed by an american Chiropractor, who like all Chiropractors would regularly see patients where chiropractic adjustments aren’t enough to help them with chronic pain, while also understanding that stress changes our physiology and affects our structure, and hence can lead to musculoskeletal problems.

Its common for a memory to elicit a physiological response in us, such as the example where simply thinking of a food we really enjoy can make us salivate. That occurs more strongly when the memory has some stress associated with it. This physiological response is known as ‘conditioning’, and the stronger the emotion, the stronger the conditioning. Over time this conditioned response will lessen and eventually subside, and this is the normal process of ‘extinction’. Although, if at the time of conditioning the body is not in a balanced state then the process of extinction does not take place. This results in an aberrant response to future similar stimulus. A response that once was appropriate is now unnecessary and even excessive.

An example is someone who almost drowned will be fearful of water initially. They will commonly experience some of the same physiological responses they did at the time of the near drowning, such as heart racing, pupils dilating, sweaty palms etc., when they are in water or even think of being in water. For most people this reaction subsides, but for a few they continue to have this response, which is no longer necessary or appropriate. This can become a problem as it impacts negatively on their life. This lack of extinction can also be a problem in relatively minor day-to-day experiences such as public speaking, confrontations, interviews, flying etc. The impact of this may be very obvious in day to day life, such as the two examples given, but commonly it impacts on us in less obvious ways, and results in chronic pains or illnesses.

NET is a treatment that allows your body to go through that natural process of extinction (which it has failed to do) and hence reduce any of those inappropriate physiological reactions. NET differs from counseling, as it doesn’t involve talking it out, it is a tool that removes any blocks to the bodys natural healing ability and as such allows the body to heal itself more effectively. It can be used in the course of a chiropractic treatment to assist the structural correction, or it can be utilised as the sole treatment in a session to work on specific emotional reactions or blockages that the patient wants to address.


Achieving Wellness for Life

100 birthday

On his 100th birthday, Eubie Blake said “If I had of known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

It is that time of year when good intentions have been set and resolutions made. How have you gone so far? If you have found it too difficult to stay motivated or on track for just a few short weeks, then perhaps it is time to simply get back to the basics of good health. Otherwise, how can you sustain good health for the long term? By following some simple guidelines, most of us can achieve wellness for life.


7 Steps to Wellness

Fad diets are out! Sustainable, healthy eating is truly the best way to achieve your goal of vitality and wellness for the long term. It is easy to eat well and be healthy following these key steps :

  1. Include protein-rich foods in each meal or snack, including fish, poultry, lean meats, eggs, dairy, tofu, and tempeh. Remember fresh is best.
  2. Enjoy a minimum of three cups of fresh vegetables per day to help increase long-term health and vitality. Aim to have a rainbow on your plate to ensure good antioxidant intake and seasonal variety.
  3. Enjoy a minimum of two pieces or one cup of fruit per day.
  4. Starchy carbohydrates should be kept at a minimum, with one to two small serves each day. These include cereals, pasta, bread and rice. Where possible choose low glycaemic index options such as wholegrain varieties.
  5. Include nuts, seeds and healthy oils daily. Enjoy up to two tablespoons of healthy oils such as olive oil, macadamia oil or flaxseed oil, and ¼ cup or a small handful of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds can also provide protein and other nutrients, such as selenium from Brazil nuts.
  6. Ensure you are well hydrated. Enjoy at least eight glasses or two litres of pure water per day. Use natural flavourings such as fresh lemon, lime, mint or watermelon instead of opting for soft drinks. Reduce caffeinated beverages to one to two per day, and minimise alcohol intake.
  7. It can be a challenge to maintain a perfect diet 100% of the time. Allow yourself a freedom meal once a week. This will keep your life-long wellness program achievable, realistic and enjoyable.

Plan to Play, Be Active, Relax and Enjoy:

Achieving wellness can require a bit of juggling initially to maintain balance in all areas of your life; and consistently eating well is only one facet of your wellness plan. It is important to exercise regularly to support your physical and mental wellbeing. Aim for 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise most days of the week. Find an activity that you enjoy doing and stick with it. Relaxation activities such as yoga, spending time in nature, playing with pets or meditation can also help increase the feel good chemicals in your brain and help you to de-stress. Fun social activities, such as sharing a meal or having a laugh with friends and family are also an important aspect of a happy, balanced life. Speak to your Practitioner for advice on setting Wellness goals and monitoring your progress towards health and vitality.

Maintain Your wellness with Key Supplements:

Research shows key natural supplements can complement your wellness diet and lifestyle program such as:

  1. A high quality fish oil to provide daily omega-3 for a healthy heart, supple joints and healthy nervous system.
  2. A high-strength probiotic can help to maintain the right balance in your digestive tract, as many lifestyle factors can throw this balance out. Probiotics can differ depending on strain and species so come in and talk to your Practitioner today to find the right probiotic to help you achieve Wellness.
  3. A daily multivitamin and mineral formula to fill any nutritional gaps that your diet doesn’t fulfil.
  4. A good quality antioxidant formula to support healthy ageing and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease. Resveratrol is a flavonoid commonly found in red wine and is a powerful antioxidant that may assist in preventing age-related diseases.

Resveratrol also supports cardiovascular health and has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial in any Wellness program.


Naturopath’s Top 7 Tips to Increase Energy and Fatigue.

7-tipsWhen was the last time you felt really good? And I mean REALLY good!

Remember when as a kid you would have days where you bounced out of bed in the mornings, excited and energised? Do you now struggle to get out of bed, with energy slumps during the day, propping yourself up with caffeine and sugar, and when you get home you only have the energy to watch a little TV and fall into bed?

Can you pinpoint the day that you lost your energy? For many, loss of energy is something that sneaks up on us. The reduction in our energy most often happens so gradually that we don’t notice the change from one day to the next. The sad thing is that we actually get used to feeling low in energy and this becomes our new “normal”.

There is often a biological reason for why we feel so tired. In our cells are very small things called mitochondria. Mitochondria are a little like batteries that produce energy for the whole body. These mitochondria require several specific nutrients in order to produce energy at an efficient rate. If any of these nutrients are not available, or if the mitochondria are damaged, the energy we have available goes down.

So how can you increase your energy?

Ultimately, there is no quick fix that will work in the long term. The solution is to get back to basic good living to take the load off your mitochondria and really improve your energy. When I feel that my energy is low, these are the seven things that I do:

  1. Get adequate, regular and consistent amounts of sleep each night – if you are having trouble sleeping, my best tip is to switch of all technological devices about 90 minutes before bedtime. This includes the tv, computers, smart phones, tablets etc as the blue light emitting from these devices can disrupt the production of your sleep hormone – melatonin.
  2. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Some people find that reducing the consumption of wheat, dairy and red meat improves overall energy.
  3. Exercise regularly – a gentle walk in the morning sunshine can be helpful for those suffering fatigue and insomnia.
  4. Avoid too many stimulants such as caffeine, foods high in sugar and alcohol.
  5. For some people, just making the above 4 changes is enough to put the bounce back into their step. Many people, however, need more intensive support than this. Certain nutrients can really assist here.
    • CoQ10 – is vital for healthy energy production in our cells and protects our mitochondria from day to day damage. Many of my clients notice a real difference when they take this nutrient regularly.
    • Omega 3, found in fish oils – also protects our mitochondria from damage.
    • N-acetyl carnitine and lipoic acid – shovels nutrients into the mitochondria and stabilises blood sugar levels.
    • B Vitamins – essential for energy production for the mitochondria.
  6. Herbal medicines can also noticeably improve energy levels. These include ginseng – there are a few different types of ginseng available, with slightly different effects. I like Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) for men and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis) for women. Rhodiola is also a good herb to try as it supports the adrenals and balances blood sugar.
  7. Taking care of your emotional and mental health can also enormously improve overall energy levels. This can include:
    • Surrounding yourself with positive and uplifting people, and avoid people who you find draining and toxic.
    • Listen to beautiful music – whatever you find that to be.
    • Search for health, fitness and motivational podcasts.
    • Watching positive television shows and movies – avoid violence, gossip and dark dramas.
    • Reading literature with a positive message and avoiding content that overstimulates or depresses.


Living The Art Of Breathing.

Health In The Bay Breathing

Since your first breath, breathing has been one of the most important biological functions of your body. The rhythm of breath helps regulate a number of your body’s systems:- Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal and Metabolic (Endocrine).
When we are stressed or anxious it’s natural for our breathing to become shallow. Simply improving our breath, by breathing deeply and slowly, benefits us at times of stress and anxiety and helps improve restless sleep and insomnia.
The breath is one of the only bodily functions that can be consciously and unconsciously controlled. It’s not surprising that conscious focus on the breath is the foundation of most Buddhist meditation practices.
The average person takes up to 29,000 breaths per day so you’d think we would be experts at breathing. However, it’s common for many people to practice paradoxical breathing. This is an incorrect form of respiration that involves expansion of the upper chest and sucking in the abdominal muscles during inhalation. Paradoxical breathing is linked to many problems including:
  • Reduced oxygen content.
  • Fatigue.
  • Postural problems.
  • Digestive complaints and bloating.
  • Increased muscular tension especially in the neck and shoulders.
  • Lower back pain.

Health In The Bay BreathingHealthy breathing is when the area between the lower ribs bulges out on the in-breath and deflates on the out-breath. This makes sure that air is drawn into the lower parrts of the lungs. The breathing pattern should be slower, even and gentle. Drawing attention to your breath for 20 minutes per day will improve the way you breathe and your general well being, strengthen your lungs, regulate metabolism and help regulate your emotions and response to stress.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lungs are a source of external Qi (Energy) and are functionally interwoven with the the Heart to regulate flow of blood and Qi around the body. The lungs are also responsible for the nourishment of the exterior body and often dull, lifeless skin or hair can be attributed to poor lung function from a TCM point of view.
Improving lung function, using a combination of Acupuncture, tailored breathing exercises and lifestyle can often have a profound effect on your health and benefit many of the symptoms listed in this article.

Does sitting affect your health?

Health In The Bay Massage HandsWithin the last 30 years, our world has seen astounding advances in our technological capabilities, which has affected the way people carry out their daily lives. Nowadays, most people are required to spend the majority of their working day in an office environment sat at a desk in front of a computer.

Our bodies, however, were not designed to remain in one position for long periods of time; they were made to move. When we are sedentary, our body responds by burning fewer calories and slowing down our circulation. Such a lifestyle also leads to postural problems, which can develop into chronic health issues.

In a seated position, certain postural muscles, especially in our back and neck, start to become short and tight from being overworked. This then leads to issues such as upper or lower back pain, stiff shoulders, neck pain, tight hamstrings, headaches and migraines. The muscles that support our spine also become weak, like our gluteal and abdominal muscles.

Repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are also becoming more widespread and it is not uncommon for keyboard users to complain of wrist, arm and shoulder pain or discomfort.

I am sure the majority of us, including myself, will have experienced some or all of these above symptoms at some point in our lives.

So what can we do about it? Take time to get up and move about, as well as to stretch. Whilst seated, be aware of your own posture and at work try to change the nature of your tasks as often as you can. In addition, try to develop a regular exercise routine even as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day.

Massage therapy is also extremely effective in this situation to release and relax the muscles, as well as to reduce overall tension and fatigue found within the body. Regular massage sessions are thoroughly recommended to assist in maintaining good body health and well-being.