Neck & Shoulder Stretches

I have recently started watching these two really funny guys who do loads of physical therapy advice videos on You Tube. They make me laugh – but, as an ex remedial massage therapist, the advice is actually really good. I found them when looking for TMJ jaw pain help.

Here’s today’s on neck and shoulder tension release – we all need some of that!

Enjoy!

Acupressure for Insomnia

This popped into my inbox today about insomnia so I thought I would share it as I know a few of you suffer with it. Made me sleepy watching him yawn!

New Mind-Body Medicine Shop Section

Brain icon  I’ve set up a whole, sparkly new section on the shop where you can find all the mind-body medicine stuff now. It suddenly occurred to me that it might be useful to have the key stuff linked to in the Healing Plan in one place. Anything to make life easier when you’re feeling poorly!

It will evolve, no doubt, but for now you can find:

Healing Plan 3D  The Healing Plan, of course. Plus, the sixteen page sample Preview of the Healing Plan so you can have a nose. 

logo Julie’s hypnotherapy, behavioural and CBT services.

Inner Calm & Peace Meditation   A link to all Julie’s hypnotherapy instant audio downloads, many of which I used during my own healing. She will be adding new ones very shortly I credit some of Julie’s self-hypnosis and meditation audios as a BIG part of my healing, so please do yourself a favour and start with these if you’re not ready for full hypno sessions yet.

Yoga Nidra CD  I’ve included some of the key recommended programmes and DVDs I followed during my healing journey, such as the Perfect Health challenge, Yoga Nidra and Qi Gong DVDs.

Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Deepak Chopra  And, many of the key books for your ‘knowledge therapy.’ These are Amazon links so I make a teeny bit on them, which helps to keep everything going, so thank you. 

I hope it helps. The new Mind-Body Medicine section is here.

The paperback Healing Plans arrived today too – very exciting. I have been carrying one round and stroking it! It was such a labour of love 🙂

Here’s the back cover as you’ve not seen that!

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The Thymus Thump

Image result for thymus gland diagramIf you’ve got an infection or are coming down with something, you can do something called the Thymus Thump (or Thymus Tap or even Thymus Pump) to stimulate your thymus gland to make more white blood cells. Clever, huh?

I had forgotten about it until today when I found myself in need of some thymus support. One of my lingering symptoms has been the mouth infections and sores which have never gone, despite antibiotic and all manner of my own attempts to crack them. I’ve had a rotten flare up of it in the last few weeks with mouth pain, ear pressure, swollen lymph nodes in my jaw, neck pain, collarbone pain etc – an infection, no doubt. But, no matter what I have done, it won’t go.

So, last week, Julie and I worked on removing any emotional trauma stuck in the area, which sounds a bit mad, I know, but there had to be something blocking healing somewhere, so we did some clearance in the area in a hypnotherapy session. I envisioned loads of gunge coming away. Ugh. the pain I had been in for days went an hour later. Go figure.

Unfortunately, it did come back 😦

A week later, I am now feeling like I’ve got flu; my whole body aches in the lymph areas, my chest is congested and gunge is on the move in real life. Not very nice, but I have chosen to think that the body has at last got the ability to heal and fight in that area with the emotional trauma block removed.

So, I was thinking about what I could do to encourage it to fight and end this flamin’ mouth infection and inflammation once and for all.

I have sent healing love to my body, thanking it for trying so hard for me, drunk some thyme and rosemary tea, inhaled hyssop essential oil, massaged teatree oil onto the lymph nodes and gum sores. And then I remembered the thymus thump.

The thymus is the master immunity gland, if you like. It’s where we produce and control T cells for fighting infection. It does a lot more than that but I’m focusing on immune-strengthening here. Basically, as children, our thymus gland is full and healthy, but as we age, it often becomes smaller and weaker.

I have often tested people’s IgA levels to see what their thymus level is like and then given thymus glandulars to boost production, when appropriate. But, the thymus tap is another DIY way we can do this. The thymus sits behind our breastbone just above the heart and tapping it vigorously is believed to ‘wake it up’ and get it working more on your behalf. I’ve not read any science behind it – it is an old Ayurvedic tradition I believe, but I choose to do it anyway!

As usual, there are myriad videos on YouTube about it. Here are a couple I liked:

This chap gives a good explanation of the thymus gland and its importance:

And this lady gives a nice explanation of how to do the thymus tap (I prefer tap; it sounds more gentle!):

 

So, I am thinking positively, encouraging the fight like a good little naturopath and tapping away at my thymus! I hope it works and my body can get rid of the darn infection at long last. Six years is a long time to have an infection in your gob! Wish me luck!

(This is a mind-body medicine sort of blog post, which I will post on the new blog at http://www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk as it fits in with the Healing Plan stuff, but I will always post them here too if I think it is generally useful.)

No More ARG Zen: Alternatives For You

200 mg of ZenFor those of you following one of the Adrenal Plans, you will know about the brilliant anti-anxiety, cortisol-lowering Allergy Research Group Zen product. It’s worked for most like a dream. But it has just been delisted in the UK – aargh!! I wish they would stop doing this. The reason is because we now not allowed to sell straight GABA, it seems; a bit like we can’t have pure DHEA in the UK – which is actually not a bad thing in my book, but that is a whole other story.

I do actually prefer encouraging the body to make its own substances like oestrogen, cortisol, DHEA and GABA etc where possible because that way the body can decide how much it needs. Doing otherwise is a sort of form of HRT – a replacement therapy – rather than a boost the production therapy, like using 7 keto-zyme as a precursor for DHEA rather than too-strong-in-many-cases straight DHEA itself, for example or giving oestrogen or progesterone for hormone difficulties instead of checking and boosting the adrenals. That said, sometimes needs must and that’s when I’ve used it.

OK, so up to now, we have used straight GABA in Zen to increase GABA levels in the nervous system and brain. GABA is the key inhibitory neurotransmitter and is therefore very calming; some people call it the body’s Valium. Essentially, we were using it in cases of acute stress adrenal profiles to lower the stress levels and decrease the need for the adrenals to pump out cortisol – simply put: in a nutshell it was to lower stress levels when cortisol was high.

So, now Zen has gone, we need to find other ways of doing that. Obviously, it goes without saying that this is in addition to the usual lowering stress techniques like meditation, yoga, breathwork, controlling your blood sugar, ensuring magnesium levels (known to increase GABA itself) and your B vits.

The other thing we need to say is that I always prefer you do a neurotransmitter test and work with a practitioner when using these sort of things, please. These are complex supplements, designed to support and change brain levels of some key elements. Always best to know what you need rather than just stick stuff in.

So, that said, here is a list of your possible alternatives and I will change the Adrenal Plans accordingly for you too. I offer a few ideas so that you can choose what might suit you best. As always, start low and build up, trial to see how you get on and follow all the manufacturer’s – and your practitioner’s – instructions.

A straight alternative for now to Zen would be Quicksilver GABA with L Theanine, exactly the same as Zen but half the strength. Four pumps equals one capsule of Zen. I assume that will go soon too. Not TGF. You can find a lot more info on it here.

Next best, and the one I will be using in the Adrenal Plans, is NeuroScience Kavinace which includes what GABA is made from in the body plus taurine, which is also a known precursor for GABA production. TGF safe – yay! Here’s a bit more info on this one for you:

Neuroscience Kavinace 120 caps combines two powerful ingredients that together effectively address symptoms of stress, anxiousness, and sleep issues. This formula contains the GABA derivative 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a GABAB agonist.*1 Kavinace also contains taurine, which functions as a calming amino acid.* Taurine is a GABAA agonist and may increase GABA levels by increasing synthesis, preventing breakdown, and blocking reuptake of GABA.*2-4 Kavinace also includes vitamin B6, an important cofactor for the synthesis of GABA.

It’s a highly specialist product that one so not cheap. If you need a cheaper alternative, you could of course take Taurine or L-Theanine on their own.

Taurine is often used at 500mg twice a day on an empty tum to support GABA production. It’s the most often used supplement for GABA-calming. ARG do a 500mg version here. TGF.

Or, Higher Nature do L-Theanine 100mg. There was 100mg per capsule in Zen. TGF.

Interestingly, L-Theanine works partly by blocking glutamate receptors but can raise dopamine so if it makes you feel more anxious, I’d be testing your neurotransmitters to see if your dopamine is high – which it can be in CSS (central sensitivity syndrome) – ME/FM, chronic pain and sensitivity type patients, take note.

Finally, when I moaned at ARG, who are acutely aware of most of my TGF patient needs by now!, they reminded me that liver is a precursor food for GABA. So, munch more liver or take a liver product – I’ve actually got some of this to try myself for other reasons, but haven’t dared yet as I can’t stand the stuff ;).

Anyway, I have partly shared all this with you so you can make choices, but also to show you what exactly goes on in my day to day life of creating these plans and protocols for you! It’s not as easy as you might think – especially when the rules keep changing!

To finish: you might find this article useful if you are suffering anxiety as it gives a good overall rundown of what to do and consider:

How to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

And see my factsheet on Stress, Anxiety & Depression here.

Hope that helps; I’m off for a lie down! Meantime, here is the info on recommended suppliers if you need it – I just remembered that right at the end!

Testing and Treating Infections – and the New Cyrex 12 Autoimmune Pathogens Test

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The new Cyrex 12 PAIRS test was released this weekend. It stands for Pathogen Associated Immune Reactivity Screen. In other words, it is looking for infections of various kinds that trigger or exacerbate autoimmunity. Useful. And it got me thinking about testing and treating infections generally.

First,let’s look at the autoimmunity link briefly. We know that there are several triggers or exacerbators of autoimmune disease – some major ones being..

a gluten related disorder (see the TGF site for more on this) and

pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites.

Often, these pathogens can lay dormant in your system – you may feel no symptoms either when you got them or when they’re dormant – but you can still be reacting immunologically to them and even have cross-reactions to tissues going on. I’ve talked a lot more about this on the TGF site and in the Gluten Plan, where I have put my whole treatment protocol for autoimmunity for you.

Ages ago, I did a big list of which pathogens are linked to which types of diseases. I never got chance to finish it – I have a massive file in my cupboard! – but now Cyrex have done it for me – and I’ll come back to that a bit later:)

Suffice to say, part of the autoimmune – and chronic disease – puzzle should be to try and identify if a pathogen is causing problems for you. The question is just how you do that.

Best Tests for Infections

First, it can be useful to have a general blood test to look if an infection could be a factor for you.

The usual indicator is what’s going on with your white blood cells. A long time ago, I was taught to take note particularly of what the neutrophils are up to. They tend to go high if a bacterial infection is present and low if there is a chronic virus somewhere.

Eosinophils tend to go up in parasitic infections and allergy.

Basophils contain histamine so, if high, are often a sign of allergy or high histamine reactivity.

Monocytes go up in acute infections.

Obviously, it is a lot more complicated than that but useful stuff I’ve always found – amazing actually what you can get from a blood test at your docs or via the much more comprehensive Functional Blood Chemistry test we do here.

I also advise you get your IgA levels tested. IgA is a good marker of immunity strength generally – as is SIgA which measures mucosal immunity (ie. in the gut, lungs, skin etc. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve found someone’s low IgA levels have been at least part of the real issue – you can go off killing baddies all you like with protocols etc, but get your immune system in tip-top shape and let it do it for you if it can, then give it some help if it needs it!

You can read more about IgA deficiency here, although note a lot of people have sub-optimal levels rather than an outright immune deficiency disorder, which is what mainstream medicine recognises – as usual.

The docs should be able to check your IgA levels or we can do a Total Immunoglobulins test for you, and we can do stool or salivary SIgA here if you need that.

Then, if you suspect something is going on, there are several ways to check for ‘baddies’.

Finding the Baddies

Can we see them in the gut?

We can do the usual gut stool tests including our favourite DD CSAP2 which acts as an overall gut screen for us, not just for pathogens like bacteria, yeasts or parasites present but inflammation markers, digestive ability, gut immune strength and much more. We often start with that and use it for treatment as is.

Sometimes, we might need to confirm or double-check a pathogen. For example, we might do the Candida SAPS Test to check again for candida and whether it is SAPS positive (ie pathological and not just in your gut).

We might need to look in the small intestine rather than the colon for issues like SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), which again you can see in the Gut Tests section and read more about here in my SIBO Factsheet in the A-Z.

 

Can we find them using DNA testing?

We might also want a different kind of pathogen test, maybe one that includes PCR DNA testing like GI Effects, which is a completely different way of screening and might pick up or confirm something missed in the CSAP3.

The fact of the matter is that no screen is perfect so it is often a combination – if you really need to know! – that works best. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

 

Could it be a virus?

Viruses are a bit different in that we don’t tend to pick those up on stool tests. For those, you need specific testing like the Virus Test here or maybe the Cyrex 12 below.

How about Lyme or Borrelia?

Same goes for ticks and spirochete like Lyme, also on that page – the Lyme Test – and we can do any number of co-infections tests too – again the Cyrex 12 below includes some of these markers.

What if they are hidden or we can’t find them?

You can get some infection markers in the various metabolic tests such as the OAT or ONE tests here. These can be quite useful for finding clues in complex cases and then we use follow up testing as needed to confirm or rule out anything suspect. For example, certain markers can suggest a yeast overgrowth or bacterial dysbiosis at the very least.

This is also where the new Cyrex 12 comes in. This is a different approach in that we are looking here for antibody markers – IgG – to pathogens. Is your body reacting immunologically to something somewhere and could that be acting as a trigger, a cross-reactor or an exacerbator of an illness that won’t shift?

Finding an antibody does not mean you have a current infection, but it does suggest you’ve had contact with it at some point and it may be latent and acting as a trigger or cross-reactive. That could be very useful, especially if the usual tests have come up negative to finding any actually present in the body, or the lab’s not been able to culture any. I think it will turn out to be a useful addition to our infection-testing armoury!

I’ve added it to the shop here and given some info in the Overview as usual for you.

So, all in all: it’s not as easy to find infections as you might think, is it?

icon of man with germs attackingTreating Infections Naturally

The whole point of testing for pathogens and infections is to identify an important factor in what’s causing an illness.

In chronic disease: is the body too busy having to cope with a pathogen to be doing its job properly elsewhere in the body and leaving you vulnerable?

Or, as helminth therapy suggests, in some cases, are the presence of certain pathogens in fact helping to keep our over-egged immunity in check?

In autoimmune disease, could a pathogen have been the trigger for the disease or be the nub of a cross-reactivity with body tissues – the body is somehow confusing the pathogen or products from the pathogen’s presence with certain body tissues and attacking it in confusion? This is thought nowadays to be a very likely scenario.

It would be fascinating to know, wouldn’t it, if a pathogen were present and triggering you?

But, controversially, do we ultimately need to know? Only if it helps treatment or answers some questions for you – ie. you’re not going mad at all!

Candida Plan In many cases over the years, I have assumed infection and treated anyway using a combo of immune-regulating, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and anti-viral remedies, much like the Candida Plan or the simpler Gut Plan. It normally sorts most people out.

But, sometimes you do need to know more so you can tweak or treat specifically.

For example, if we have a positive leaky gut test, we might want some info on whether bacterial infection is causing it or food antigens. That’s where we would do Cyrex 2 to look for LPSs – the clues to it being a bacterial infection. We might then go on to do the CSAP3 or GI Effects test if we want to try and see what the bacteria is or confirm the LPS problem.

If someone’s not responding to usual interventions, then we might need to dig a bit deeper.

Importantly, many never even consider that their thyroid autoimmune disease might be related somehow to yersinia, or their gluten related disorder or leaky gut be something to do with cryptosporidium or giardia. But they can be. And that’s where the Cyrex 12 stuff might come in. It’s fascinating and I’ve popped the list of pathogens/diseases into a DropBox doc for you so you can see that here. Note that it also includes Lyme and co-infection markers as well as moulds (molds) – useful.

To summarise testing and natural treatment for infections..

In short: test if you think you need to know and/or you think it will help you treat more effectively. Then, it’s a question of working out how. This is my sort-of thought process in infection cases:

Is infection likely? Blood test for white blood cell counts, IgA and SIga and treat to regulate immunity/get rid of the pathogens, or dig deeper.

Check for presence of pathogens using a stool test (DD CSAP3), Candida SAPs and/or a PCR test (GI Effects). Use other for specifics if needed eg. the Lyme or Virus tests. If your case is complex, you may prefer to start with an overall test like the ONE, OAT or Nutreval as you’ll get markers on loads of different issues then, not just pathogens.

Check for antibody markers, especially if you have autoimmune disease or the risk of one (Cyrex 12) or your illness is not responding to normal interventions – what’s behind it?

For treatment, I’ve put my favourite individual products I recommend all the time on the Infections factsheet in the A-Z here. (In fact, I may use this post to augment that page now I think of it!).

Or, I often recommend people use the Candida Plan with a few tweaks as it sorts the most common issues out.

Use it with the diet if a yeast issue is present, or without the diet if some other type of infection.

The two-stage protocol in it works to prepare and support the body – it’s not just about killing something off. The most usual tweaks are to add an anti-inflammatory such as KapArrest or add something extra for a specific thing found – eg monolaurin for a virus, HCl for low stomach acid etc.

Alternatively, work on something more complex or specific such as SIBO with your chosen health practitioner.

I hope that helps – that started off as a simple new test type post and morphed into a treatise on infections 😉 I’m off for a lie down!

 

 

 

 

Free Thyroid Summit October Register Now

I don’t usually promote the zillions of summits we seem to get nowadays but actually I get asked about thyroid issues A LOT so I thought this one might actually be useful for us all as there are some really good speakers on it – Perlmutter, Fasano, Vojdani, Minich, Axe et al and some unusual angles like a guided meditation, neurofeedback, parasites, infections, LDN therapy, juicing etc. I am going to listen to it certainly.

Here’s the blurby bit on it for you – I have put in an affiliate link as I will probably buy the whole thing for us and this helps me recoup some of the costs, so thank you x

Thyroid Connection Summit

60% of those who have this…don’t know it!

Tens of millions worldwide have some form of thyroid dysfunction, and 60% don’t know they have it or how it occurred. Are you one of them? Find out! 30+ experts are here to help you diagnose and overcome thyroid dysfunction, and then reclaim your health and vitality!

WHY ATTEND?

Your host, Amy Myers, MD, created The Thyroid Connection Summit because conventional medicine failed her in her journey with thyroid dysfunction. It’s now her mission to help make sure it doesn’t fail you! Join us if you have Graves’, Hashimoto’s, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, cancer, nodules, cysts, I-131 radiation or are post-thyroidectomy. Or, if your doctor is says your labs are normal, yet you still have symptoms–this free, online summit is for you!

Register for FREE now here

or

Own all of the expert talks to watch at your own pace

The Thyroid Connection Summit will help you:

  • Work with your doctor to get the right diagnosis/treatment
  • Address the root causes of thyroid dysfunction
  • Implement healthy dietary and lifestyle changes
  • Reclaim your health and vitality
  • And more!

The Thyroid Connection Summit is online and free from October 24-31, 2016!