Bladder infection or no bladder infection

chiro bladderInterestingly, in the past year I have seen a few female patients that have mentioned ongoing bladder infection-type symptoms, but there was no bladder infection. In all the cases, urine tests were negative for infection, and a few were given antibiotics which did not make a difference to their symptoms. This doesn’t really make sense in the medical world. According to symptoms it seems like an infection but it doesn’t test as one and doesn’t respond like one. In these cases they were all women who had had children. Some had noticed these symptoms on and off since childbirth, while others many years after childbirth.

What I found was that they all responded well, (although some faster than others) to an adjustment to their bladder. An organ adjustment might sound strange but it is literally getting the organ to move slightly within the body cavity to a better position. Our organs are held in place by a type of skin that connects between all our organs. Sometimes for different reasons, such as surgery, the strain of pregnancy or giving birth, or accidents the organs can be jarred, twisted or pushed out of position and the skin that holds them in place may tighten and end up holding them in that new incorrect position. This can cause a sense of tension in the body, or it can cause some changes to the organs ability to function ideally, for example if the Large Intestine is affected it may lead to constipation.

In this case I found there was a downward pressure of the bladder onto the urethra which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder on urination. This pressure caused irritation to the bladder and urethra and hence resulted in infection type sensation. In one case the symptoms would return slightly whenever she lifted something heavy, so again this would create downward pressure in the abdominal cavity and therefore affect the bladder again.

Organ adjustments is a Chiropractic technique that can be used for many different symptoms. It is often used in addition to other adjustments or muscle releases. It may be used for digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation or indigestion. It can also be useful for areas of pain or tightness such as in the ribs or throat. It is a technique that is also very helpful for ongoing tension or pulling sensations following surgery, as you may need some adjusting simply due to the invasive nature of surgery or to break up scar tissue as a result of surgery.


How does Acupuncture work?

acupuncture-pointsIt might seem bizarre that inserting needles into various points on the body can influence the way our cells work. But a lot of research shows this is the case.

One of the areas most studied is the pain-killing effect of acupuncture. We have known for some time now that acupuncture affects nerve conduction within the spinal cord. The basis of the theory is that acupuncture stimulation ‘closes a gate’ within the spinal cord, preventing pain signals from travelling up the spinal cord and getting to the brain.

Beyond this, we also know that acupuncture has hormonal effects. Researchers initially noted that when people addicted to narcotic drugs (like heroin or morphine) had surgery using acupuncture as anaesthesia, they did not experience the withdrawal syndrome that you’d usually expect when the narcotics were stopped. This is because endorphins, the chemicals released by the brain when you exercise that are responsible for the “feel-good” phenomenon, are also released during acupuncture. This effect can be blocked with an endorphin-blocking drug.

We also know that acupuncture increases blood flow at the site needled, probably through local release of biochemically active substances.

Do meridians really exist?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy (Qi) flows through the body along pathways or meridians, and acupuncture influences this flow. These meridian lines are depicted in texts that are at least 2000 years old.

Scientists have found that electrical resistance of the skin is much lower at acupuncture points (which are mainly situated along the meridians) than other points. This supports the idea of a flow of electrical energy through the body along meridians, which can be accessed via the skin at the acupuncture points.


acupuncture meridiansBut has science found any other evidence that meridians exist?

One study injected radioactive tracer molecules into acupuncture points (on meridians) and random points not on meridians. At the acupuncture points, the tracer travelled in a line consistent with the traditional description of the meridian, whereas it just diffused outwards at the non-meridian point.

When we look down a conventional microscope, meridians have been elusive. But some studies using electron microscopy (giving a much more magnified view in which individual cells can be seen) have shown thread-like structures within lymphatics, within blood vessels, on the surface of organs, and elsewhere. These structures appeared to contain fluid and may be the meridians described in ancient texts.

Although further research into this is required, the preliminary findings are fascinating. Clearly we are only just beginning to understand the science behind what the ancient texts described thousands of years ago.


Healing from your kitchen – Ginger soak/poultice for injuries and pain.

acupuncture gingerApart from having Acupuncture, people often want to know what they can do themselves to aid recovery from injuries, loosen tight muscles, or ease the pain of arthritis.

The answer is to raid your kitchen (or the local supermarket) for some ginger. This is the basis of a handy DIY external treatment that has excellent anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant effects. It also acts as a mild irritant to the skin, increasing blood flow and mobilising the body’s own healing mechanisms.

I have used ginger soaks and poultices (medicated bandages) successfully for knee pain from osteoarthritis, low back pain, finger injuries, and thumb/wrist pain as part of an overuse syndrome.

If you’re thinking about using these techniques for arthritis, be aware that they are not suitable for rheumatoid or any other condition where the joints are hot and swollen. Also avoid using them if the skin is broken.


You’ll need:

  • A bit of fresh ginger roughly half as big as your thumb.
  • 2 saucepans or large bowls. If you are going to use it for soaking (best for the fingers, wrists, feet, or ankles), the bowl or pan needs to be deep enough to immerse the injury.
  • A cheese grater
  • A sieve
  • A small hand towel or flannel and a large towel to protect clothing, the sofa etc.


What to do:

Grate up the ginger and put it in a bowl or saucepan. Add boiling water and let the ginger steep for 10 mins. At the end of this time, add some cold water so that the temperature is hot but not intolerable. Strain into another bowl or pan to remove the grated bits of ginger (this is optional, but makes it less messy!).

For a soak, immerse the affected area for 10-20 mins. Periodically add more hot water so that the water temperature stays hot.

For a poultice, soak the flannel in the ginger solution, wring out slightly, fold into a pad and then apply it to the area. It usually feels best with a bit of pressure.

This works well for many injuries, but sometimes a stronger version is needed. This should not be used if you have sensitive skin. For this version, you grate up a bit more ginger – enough to cover the area. Put this directly on the skin and cover with a flannel soaked in hot water, and then wrap with cling film. It will usually start to feel quite hot after 10 mins or so – remove the ginger at this stage.

Local reactions to the ginger (like long-lasting redness or blistering) are rare, but if this occurs, do not use again.

Best results are achieved if you use these ginger treatments daily until the pain subsides. For stubborn conditions not relieved by ginger poultices and soaks, it is best to come in for assessment and treatment, as Acupuncture can be very beneficial for these conditions.


Naturopathy and Skin Disease

naturopathy skin deseaseThe skin is an organ of elimination, and often we find that when skin problems arise, it can be a manifestation of something else that is going on within.  This could be toxicity, liver dysfunction, allergic reactions to foods and other substances, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and digestive disorders.

What sort of skin conditions can a Naturopath treat?

  • Psoriasis,
  • Eczema/Dermatitis
  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Slow wound healing

Conventionally, skin problems may be treated with steroids, antibiotics, and the oral contraceptive pill. If you do not react well to these, or are looking for a natural alternative, your naturopath could help. We look at things in a holistic way, with an assessment of diet, lifestyle and digestion. Getting to the cause of the problem, will give us the best chance to clear things up more permanently.


What to expect from your Naturopath?

The initial consultation goes for approximately 1 hour, your naturopath will take a thorough case history, as well as physical examination (depending on the location) and then work out a program that will best help your condition. You will be advised on dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as medicinal herbs and/or nutritional supplements. There will generally be a follow up 2 weeks later to assess the changes, and from there the appointments are less frequent, depending on your progress.


Acupuncture for migraine

migraine1If you suffer from migraines, you will know how disabling these headaches can be, especially if they happen frequently. Many sufferers find migraines very disruptive to work and free time — it’s not often convenient to take the evasive action they call for, like lying in a darkened room. However, Western pharmacological treatment often does not bring the results hoped for or causes side-effects. In addition, overuse of painkillers can actually worsen the severity and frequency of headaches (“medication overuse headaches”), and this has recently been recognized as a huge problem.

The good news is that acupuncture can be very effective in treating migraines. A 2009 Cochrane review (an overview of many studies, 22 in this case) found acupuncture to be effective in treating this type of headache. In fact, the studies in this review that compared acupuncture to drug therapy found acupuncture to have better results with fewer side effects. Interestingly, the studies also suggest that acupuncture that does not penetrate the skin (similar to many Japanese techniques in which the needles are inserted only a couple of millimeters), was just as effective as stronger forms of acupuncture.

This is great news for migraine sufferers. Traditional Chinese Medicine is deeply rooted in ancient philosophy, and while reports of the effectiveness of acupuncture date back 200 years, it’s comforting to note that modern research is confirming these clinical observations.


Fighting Cellulite.

celeryCellulite – many women (if not all) of us have it and are not particularly fond of it. There are simple steps you can take to improve your blood circulation and lymphatic circulation which in turn will help to move on the fatty deposits which cause cellulite and that “orange peel” appearance.


Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing is a great way to encourage circulation and to help the elimination of waste from the tissues.

Five minutes of skin brushing with a firm bristle skin brush in the morning before getting in the shower is an invigorating way to start the day and excellent for getting those fatty deposits moving.


Lymphatic Drainage and Reflexology

Lymphatic drainage is a light pressured massage that works to remove waste by stimulating the lymphatic fluid towards specific drainage points in the body. Reflexologist, Cathy, offers lymphatic drainage in her reflexology sessions at Health In The Bay.



I know I harp on about it but it’s the best thing anyone can do for themselves, for so many reasons…

Getting the heart rate up improves circulation as well as burning up the excess fat stored in our bodies.


Essential Oils

Massaging the affected area with a combination of essential oils in a base oil, such as almond oil, will help to improve the circulation and therefore the removal of wastes. Oils specific for cellulite are:

  • Cypress – which assists in the management of fluid retention and is a circulatory tonic.
  • Juniper – is a diuretic known for its clearing, cleansing and detoxifying properties. It also improves circulation
  • Geranium – stimulates the lymphatic system and regenerates cells
  • Grapefruit – is said to assist in the breakdown of cellulite when mixed with evening primrose oil.


Herbal Medicine

Herbs which have a detoxifying effect and help to move excess water and eliminate wastes can be useful. These include celery seed, dandelion leaf and root, horse chestnut and St Mary’s thistle.


Regular Detoxification

By stimulating bile flow and liver detoxification the body is able to break down fats more efficiently. A good detox will also speed the clearance of toxins stored in fat.

Whether it’s a complete detoxification program or even the regular use of a good quality liver tonic your body will thank you for it.

Detoxification is best (safe and effective) when done under the care of a healthcare practitioner.


Whole food diet and plenty of water.

Its obvious! Put good stuff in and you’ll look and feel great. By avoiding foods high in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, you will have less fat to store. Because lets face it – if you’re not burning those nasty hard to digest fats off straight away they’re going to find, or even worse create, a fat cell and get rather comfy. And remember – sugar and alcohol will ultimately end up there as well if they are not burned off by exercise.

It is important not to fear all fats though. Make sure you get plenty of essential fats such as those from raw nuts, seeds and fish, for healthy cells. These fats DON’T MAKE YOU FAT, actually studies have shown quite the opposite. People who eat diets with adequate amounts of essential fats tend to have smaller appetites and feel full and satisfied for longer after eating.

Fresh vegetable juices can also help due to their detoxifying effect – celery, carrot, beetroot and watermelon are particularly good.


Ingredients To Avoid

Mineral oil reduces the body’s natural oil production and causes dry skin. Synthetic fragrance oils are artificial, have no therapeutic effect and can irritate the skin.