What’s the price you pay?

It seems there is an idea starting to circulate that it would be a good idea to treat depression with anti inflammatory drugs.

The logic apparently, according to the article in The Daily Telegraph, is that an overactive immune system causes inflammation which causes “feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness and fatigue”.

I haven’t seen the study and I don’t know what drugs were used to treat the inflammation, but I’d like to ask the question, why is the inflammation there in the first place.

When the body is under threat, our immune systems do not trigger inflammation just in case we are going to be injured.  We need to get  away from the danger!!  When we are under threat, we are hardwired with the fight/flight/freeze stress response which is to produce cortisol.  The feelings of “hopelessness, unhappiness and fatigue” , as well as depression, insulin resistance, IBS are all symptoms of high levels of cortisol.

It doesn’t matter whether you are running away from sabre toothed tigers, living with the boss from the hell or arguing with a parking attendant, the result is the same; the body produces cortisol.

Under stress, it is not your immune system that kicks in but your adrenals. High levels of cortisol cause inflammation. What is more, cortisol remains in the body for 26 hours unless you can find a way of reducing it.  And how many people think about lowering their stress levels? Most people get accustomed to living with stress and dismiss it with “I can handle this”.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, CFO, MD, PA or the person who cleans the windows, stress affects everyone, no-one is immune.

So where does stress come from during the day? Take your pick –  junk food for breakfast or no breakfast, stressful journey to work, the boss from hell or the staff that don’t do what you tell them; lunch on the run; 6 cups of coffee to keep your energy up; snacks of chocolate or biscuits [to keep your energy up]; a nightmare journey home; your partner/lover/husband/wife who wants your time; your children who want your time; TV dinners; the DIY job that needs doing; sitting in front of your computer; scrolling through your emails or Facebook till midnight; not enough sleep…………..

Cortisol changes how your brain works and how you think and react; it recognises cortisol as a response to fear or danger so your brain takes action and shuts down.   You function on autopilot.

Inflammation is driven by high levels of cortisol.  So before going down the drug route for inflammation or depression, do a saliva cortisol test and find out for yourself what’s going on in your body. The good news is that your brain and your body can heal, renew, repair and regenerate if you bring your cortisol levels down.


Women who give everything to other people and nothing to themselves share a common problem. When they give their all to their partner, their parents, their children, their career or their boss, they fail to look after themselves and they fail to take care of their health.


They keep on going and going, pushing and pushing, without a break and never stopping. So when it comes to taking some time off, taking a trip away, the very thought of planning a proper holiday can feel overwhelming and too stressful to think about.


Perhaps you know these women– the women who never take time for themselves and live on adrenaline – maybe you are one of them. You never take time for you and you always go the extra mile for your boss, your best friend or the job you’re working on.


When you finally get around to booking some time away, you look forward to it for weeks and count down the days until you leave. Then as soon as you stop, your suitcase is unpacked – it’s the first day of your holiday – disaster strikes and you get sick!


Think back to when you were last unwell. Did it come after a period of working too hard, not giving yourself enough time off to recharge your batteries or ignoring the headaches and niggling back problems? And then just as you started your long awaited break, you were hit by a virus or your back became a serious problem.


If the answer is yes it could be that you are suffering with ‘Leisure Sickness’. Symptoms include migraines and headaches, muscular aches and pains, tiredness all the time, colds and flu– and they strike just when you finally take time away from work.


Though Leisure Sickness isn’t universally recognised, Dutch psychologists Ad Vingerhoets and Maaike van Huijgevoort coined the phrase and they explored the phenomena of sickness and symptoms manifesting when workaholics [most typically] finally stop and take a break. Vingerhoets and van Huijgevoort describe it as an “inability to transition from the work to the non-work environment, a high need for achievement and a high sense of responsibility.”


But even if Leisure Sickness doesn’t describe your experience exactly, there are a lot of women who feel overwhelmed and too stressed to think about anything else over and above all the things they’re already juggling.   You’ve probably heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and it’s true. Many clients I see reach a point where they feel drained; they have nothing left to give, to themselves or anyone else. They’re running on empty, a bit like a car with a flat battery.


Women [more so than men I find] become used to walking the thin line on the edge of exhaustion; it becomes their norm. That is, until something happens that ordinarily wouldn’t be a problem. It’s often the small things – running late, getting a parking ticket, losing your keys – and you end up feeling way more emotional than you know is appropriate.


So what’s the secret of not getting to the point of burn-out, where even a holiday seems too stressful?


Let me ask you a question: What are you doing to minimise stress and look after yourself?


By the time you have the wakeup call of becoming ill, your body by then, will be under great pressure and the journey back to health will be harder than if you take time and make space every day to take care of yourself.


Of course, this is easier said than done and actually taking time for you might feel very alien!


I wrote a short ebook on handling stress which is free on the website. I’m writing an online course   on saying goodbye to Stress and Burnout, so look out for this in the next couple of months.


Remember, It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye


Hypnotherapy - Grey Swirls


For a lot of people, old-fashioned stereotypes of a magician type hypnotist that stands on stage, picks a member of the audience “at random” and “makes them” do something embarrassing and silly springs to mind.

It’s unfortunate that these sort of images have created a bad impression because the truth is that hypnosis is not the razzamatazz you see on television; it’s not about getting people to do weird things and nor is it something to fear. It is not a parlour trick or glitzy stage show either. Science and medicine are validating the use of hypnosis.

Brain surgeons are turning to hypnosis as an alternative to anaesthesia and curious scientists have been studying how it works

So, how could hypnotherapy help you? People often seek help to address a particular behaviour – to quit smoking, stop over-eating, give up alcohol and frequently to overcome fears – of flying, driving, spiders to name but a few common fears.

Have you ever noticed how many books are out there for dealing with your fear? Put a search into Google “dealing with fear” and you get over 87,000 results!

People trawl through self-help books, online articles and even take pills to try and get a result. Ever heard of the book “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway”? Well, there are two ways of thinking that people sometimes use regarding fear; “F….k everything and run” or “Face everything and recover”. But if people knew how to ‘face everything’ to recover they would do it. The problem is though, that no amount of rational thinking or logical explanation ever gets to the bottom of why we have a particular fear, which is a pity because the chances are that our fears affect our relationships, our health, our careers, not to mention our ability to lose weight or achieve a good night’s sleep.

I have a friend who had a fear of driving. No matter how many times she got in the driving seat for lessons with her instructor, she couldn’t overcome physical symptoms of anxiety. This is a woman who could present to a boardroom of top Executives and manage hundreds of thousands of pounds of budgets. Yet, as soon as she was at the wheel her hands would get sweaty, her heart rate would start racing and she reported that within minutes she would lose all feeling in her legs whilst shaking uncontrollably! She could barely sit still without her legs shaking, let alone make use of the clutch and brake pedals.

This was an extreme reaction for her and she knew she needed to do something to conquer it. At first, she put it down to a fear of crashing as her father had been in a car accident that had a very debilitating effect on him. But after pursuing that line of thought it became clear that though this was the simplest explanation, it probably wasn’t the right one.

So as a last resort, she tried hypnotherapy, specifically RTT, [Rapid Transformational Therapy] where she discovered that her fear was actually due to issues of control and a perfectionism that meant she had an inability to let go.


The power and beauty of RTT is in bypassing the rational mind, bypassing conscious thinking and instead, accessing the subconscious. I liken it to the ice of an iceberg that’s below the waterline, the part of the iceberg we don’t see. Our subconscious is where we store all our memories, our beliefs and our stories that are quietly running our lives, much like the software on your computer.

After a course of only a handful of sessions she addressed the perfectionism, her physical symptoms of anxiety ceased and I am happy to report she not only learnt how to drive but passed her driving test and now drives around with none of her original symptoms!

Rational thinking and logical explanation will always play second fiddle to how you feel emotionally about a problem. Always. And the best way I know to get to the root and cause of a problem is through hypnosis, specifically RTT. What might take me 3 months in a coaching situation can be resolved in 1-3 sessions of RTT.

Hypnotherapy unlock lock

If you want to find out more about Hypnotherapy and RTT and how it can help you please do get in touch. 020 8542 7907
[Generally, most problems can be addressed in just 1-3 sessions][/st_text][/st_column][/st_row]

Sugar [white and brown] and all high glycaemic foods that quickly break down to glucose, such as potatoes, corn  and grain make up a disproportionate part of our diet.  And the problem in the 21st century is that the more of these carbohydrates and processed foods we eat, the faster it interferes with our physiology and compromises our health.

You wouldn’t think it was a problem when you see all the ads for diet drinks, processed foods and sugary snacks. Our culture not only promotes but makes it seem  acceptable to consume sugar and processed foods; we’re brainwashed to think that it is safe.

The truth is that sugar – too much of it – is slow suicide.  Suicide is suicide, whether it is sudden or slow, whether done deliberately or in ignorance.

Did you know

  • Essential B vitamins and minerals [calcium, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium cobalt, zinc and manganese] are depleted to metabolise sugar so there are less available nutrients to feed your skin.
  • Sugar raises insulin levels, which promotes the production of testosterone in women, and inflammation in general, causing acne
  • Sugar and vitamin C compete for a place in white blood cells. This means that the white blood cells of the immune system can be severely compromised. Eating even 100gm glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey or fruit juice, all significantly reduce the ability of

Neutrophils to engulf and destroy bacteria. Since neutrophils constitute 60-70% of your total circulating white blood cells, this can have a big impact on your immune system.

  • Sugar can cause production of free radicals [superoxide, hydroxyl radical]. Free radicals can cause inflammation, pain, and have been found to speed up the ageing process.
  • Sugar/glucose attaches itself to proteins that form ‘Advanced Glycated End Products’ [AGE’s]. The formation of AGE’s is irreversible and they decrease the elasticity of connective tissue. In other words your skin!
  • Sugar has a very similar molecular structure to Vitamin C and displaces it from its’ proper binding sites which means that Vitamin C is not available for Collagen production.
  • Sugar makes your system too acidic; during the refining process, substances such as sulfur dioxide, milk of lime, carbon dioxide, charcoal, and calcium carbonate are used to purify the sugar but which are acidic and toxic for your body. This has a knock on effect to your skin.
  • Sugar interferes with how enzymes function and how hormones are made; if you don’t make enough oestrogen, for example, low oestrogen speeds up the ageing process.
  • The glycaemic load of your diet [how fast your blood sugar and insulin levels rise] can affect your hormones. Hormone imbalances affect skin, in particular acne. Cutting out sugar [to reduce insulin levels] helps to balance hormones. Exercise also helps to improve insulin regulation.

You might think that snack bars would be a healthy alternative!

However anything with fructose/ high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is metabolised by your liver where it it converted into free fatty acids (FFAs) and VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. These fatty acids accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

If anyone tries to tell you “sugar is sugar, it’s all the same thing” they are way behind the times.

Stress and your skin

[vc_row el_class=”citsrowcls”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Today we are bombarded with stresses never before experienced in history.

These are just a few of the ‘energy thieves’ we learn to live with:

  • No relaxation or down time
  • Acute and Chronic infections
  • Poor diet and Junk food
  • Recovery from illness
  • Fear, anxiety, depression
  • Emotional stress at work
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Recreational drugs
  • Allopathic medicines
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Pain and Inflammation

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row el_class=”citsrowas”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Stress, no matter where it comes from, affects us on MANY levels. Stress is coped with by your adrenal glands and depending on the level of stress they have to deal with, the rest of your body will try to compensate and adapt – we’re hard wired to survive!

  • Adrenal exhaustion from too much stress can trigger the following:
  • Allergies
  • Food cravings 
  • Low blood sugar
  • Poor sleep Low immunity
  • Depression Low blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • You wake up tired
  • Coughs and colds that never go ……and much more

One of the first places we see the signs of stress and ageing is in our skin. The accumulated effects of doing all those things we love to do, like getting a sun tan, eating chocolate and ice cream, drinking delicious wine, enjoying a long cool, fizzy drink in the summer can all add up to creating inflammation and free radical damage which is now known to contribute to the ageing process. But there are lots of things we can do to help slow down this ageing process and which will, at the same time, help to make us generally healthier. This has to be good news!

While there’s no magic pill that can make you look 20 years younger, you can help your skin in a number of ways – staying out of the sun, not smoking and eating a healthy diet.

Good skin comes from the inside out, not the outside in!

A good example of how the state of our digestive system can be seen in our skin is when someone has very rosy cheeks or broken capillaries on the nose. You might well think that they have an alcohol problem, but often it’s actually an external sign of low stomach acid production.

As we get older, you’ve probably noticed that your skin can look much more yellow than it used to. Often this is linked to B12 deficiency.

Nutritional deficiencies of zinc, omega-3 fats, and some anti-inflammatory omega-6 fats like evening-primrose oil, promote acne, while supplementing with them can help boost immunity and reduce inflammation and acne. Other skin problems that are often related to nutritional deficiencies:

  • Psoriasis Omega 3 and 6’s, Lecithin, vitamins A,E, Zinc, Silica
  • Eczema Omega 3 and 6’s, Vitamins A,E, B2, B6, Lecithin, Calcium
  • Dry lips Vitamins B2, B6, A, E
  • White spots on nails Zinc or calcium deficiency is common or sometimes it can be low pancreatic enzymes
  • Cracked lips B2 [riboflavin] deficiency and possibly other B vitamins
  • Bleeding gums Supplement with CoQ 10
  • Dry/Split hair Vitamin C deficiency

Looking after your diet impacts your energy, your skin, your hormones, your wellbeing in every way.     It’s worth taking care of yourself at this basic level – You’re worth it!![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

One of the conditions that many women suffer from as they get older, is hair loss, which they get minimal help for from conventional medicine.

The question that women want answered is this:

“Why do women   start losing their hair as they get older, especially in their late 40’s and 50’s?”

There are many causes of hair loss but one of the most common and often undiagnosed causes in this age bracket is a low functioning thyroid. As women age their thyroid function tends to decline and unfortunately the time of peri-menopause and menopause is when women really need good thyroid function.

So you could ask the question “Do peri-menopause and a low thyroid function go hand in hand?” Very often, yes. Low thyroid function is an underlying problem for many women and quite commonly it’s never picked up until she reaches peri-menopause when her energy drops to the floor and she feels she’s literally dragging herself around. The reason your thyroid has this effect on your hair is that every single cell in your body is dependent on having adequate thyroid hormone levels. The thyroid gland produces 2 major hormones, thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) and they are responsible for helping cells to produce energy. Your thyroid produces about 1 teaspoon of thyroid hormone [thyroxine] over a year and that 1 teaspoon must drive the metabolic rate of every single cell in the body.

If there isn’t enough T4 and T3 produced, then a wide range of symptoms can develop: Hair loss, brittle nails, cold hands and feet, constipation, dry skin, high cholesterol, poor memory, puffy eyes, weight gain, are just a few. Some of those symptoms are often attributed to peri-menopause and menopause, so the next question is “how can you tell which symptoms relate to which condition?”

Good question! Unfortunately, hypothyroidism [as it’s known clinically] is frequently undiagnosed. The conventional approach and ‘gold standard’ to diagnosing low thyroid function has been to measure TSH [thyroid stimulating hormone]. If the TSH test comes back raised, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made and if it comes back normal with the results within the reference range, then the common assumption is that there is no problem with the thyroid. However, there is now a paradigm shift with this assumption. It’s now thought that TSH is not a sensitive enough test in identifying a hypothyroid condition and that relying solely on TSH tests results in under-diagnosing many women who suffer from hypothyroidism.

A more holistic approach includes looking at

  • More comprehensive blood tests
  • Medical history
  • Basal body temperature
  • Physical examination
  • Comprehensive blood tests would check T4 and T3 levels [this can reveal a problem of converting T4 into T3),
  • A medical history would look at signs and symptoms the person experienced and basal body temperature testing is a system of recording body temperature over a period of time.
  • A physical examination notes things like poor eyebrow growth, especially the outer third; swelling under the eyes; hard skin on the heels; very dry skin and hair loss.

Once you’ve identified that there is a low functioning thyroid, can you reverse the condition?

Conventional treatment relies mainly on using Thyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroxine. Another approach is to use a dessicated glandular thyroid product; Armour is a common one in the UK but requires a prescription by a GP. Another approach is to work with a nutritional therapist and use glandular products that have had thyroid hormones removed but work by supporting your thyroid to produce more T4 and T3. Many people find that homeopathic thyroid support works well. Glandular products are usually derived from porcine thyroid so may not be appropriate for some religious groups, however, there are certainly other options to try.

Once the thyroid is properly supported, all those symptoms such as fatigue, hair loss, hard skin on the heels, weight gain can be resolved! It really can turn peoples’ lives around. And as an added benefit, all those symptoms that are often attributed to the menopause – hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, palpitations, and the feeling of a “fuzzy” head – can also be helped.

If you have any of the symptoms listed and they don’t respond to changes in diet, rest, more sleep, less stress etc, it’s a good idea to get a comprehensive thyroid test done which includes testing T4 and T3.

Work with a doctor who is prepared to look at your symptoms from a holistic view point or find a nutritional therapist/naturopath who can arrange for you to have the appropriate lab tests and can suggest glandular products to take.

Correcting your low functioning thyroid can make a huge difference to your enjoyment of life.