wellness Archives - Awaken Your Health
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The Impact of Social Media on Wellness

Recently, Endeavour College of Natural Health invited me to contribute to a blog post on the impact of social media on the natural health and wellness industry. Below is the extract of my thoughts, which you can read along with those of my fellow practitioners in the wellness industry on the Endeavour College blog.

Why Wellness is more than an Instagram trend

In a world where social media has become a regular part of the fabric of each day, finding its place in the wellness sphere with fleeting but curated images of health trends, food-porn and often idealistic quotes, it becomes important to take a step back and consider the true meaning of wellness and health: a state of physical, mental and social functioning in an ever-changing environment, that realises the potential of which a person is capable.

Over my fifteen years in private clinical practice, I have become to think about true health as a scale, where we are consciously and consistently choosing things that propel us in the direction of wellness. I have also seen my fair share of fads come and go.

Whilst Instagram is here to stay, the veneer of health it offers doesn’t reflect the depth and complexity of true, integrated health and wellness required for long-term health. Nor does it reflect or reaffirm the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and patient in that privileged moment in a consulting room where space is held for the client to unfold with their concerns and goals. This therapeutic relationship provides new opportunities for healing: having the support, guidance and inspiration from a passionate and engaged health care provider provides an excellent forum for meaningful change.

What’s interesting is that so many people don’t experience true wellness. It’s not easy in today’s modern world – fueled by convenience – to truly live in alignment with natural rhythms of the earth and the planet. Yet the very foundations of true wellness lay in a personalised medicine approach, one where we are reminded of our connection to nature, rather than being separate. One only has to look at the current research into circadian rhythms to gain insights into how much of modern chronic disease presentations have their roots in a serious mismatch of our current lifestyles and our deeply ingrained biological needs.

How do we restore the balance?

Rather, true health and wellness is a mosaic of all the little decisions we make each day, what we choose to nourish ourselves with, how we nurture our relationships, our decision around our personal care routines, home cleaning products, and extends to our exercise, time outdoors, and sleep hygiene.  Good health is often simple. For true wellness we need balance, rhythm and connection, qualities that are not authentically delivered via social media.

So be sure to carve time out each day to jump off your screens and get out there – immerse yourself in nature, pluck an organic lemon from its perch on the tree, sip on a herbal tea or share a home-cooked meal with a loved one – so that these things become an ingrained part of your own unique health tapestry for maintaining long term health.

Two valuable resources that can help you achieve more balance to your life are Be Your Own Solution, a guide to ‘switching to safer’, reducing toxic exposure and mastering your health, and One Bite at a Time which outlines how you can reduce toxic exposure and build body resilience.

From the contributions we have received we can see that there is so much more to wellness than what is posted online. From naturopathy, nutrition and myotherapy, there is an array of natural remedies available to help anyone reach a state of wellness. The trick is to understand what your body really needs and not focus on what will make a great Instagram pic.

Tabitha x

For more insights from practitioners in the field head to the original post at Endeavour College of Natural Health.

 

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The Important Link Between Body and Mind

In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, it can sometimes be difficult to keep yourself calm and collected in the face of stress. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help your body naturally stay calm. Here at Awaken Your Health, we offer nutritionist services to our clients, helping you to make healthy choices to enable your body to perform at its optimal level. That includes making the right nutrition choices to help reducing stress. Often people gloss over the link between stomach and brain, but here’s a glimpse into how you can prime your diet for greater mental health:

Eat the Rainbow

Eating a wide diversity of colourful plant foods, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, can boost focus by protecting cellular function and optimising blood flow to the brain. Aim for five or more cups of plant foods daily, predominantly vegetables, and add value and flavour to your meals by including herbs and spices. Try to increase the number of colours on your plate at each mealtime – diversity is the spice of life!

A Natural High

Whilst caffeine and other stimulants may give you a short-term boost of energy, relying on stimulants to function each day has an adverse effect on your blood sugar control, which may increase anxiety and irritability, not to mention impacting sleep quality. We often feel more exhausted than when we began as the effects of caffeine and other stimulants wear off. You are much better off relying on adequate hydration and a high-quality diet to sustain a calm and focused mind. Replace coffee with a couple of cups of quality green tea. This has been shown to produce a better ability to focus attention and to improve both speed and accuracy due to its l-theanine content.

Fishy Benefits

Omega-3-rich foods provide building block components that form a structural part of our brain matter. Including oily fish such as Australian sardines, wild salmon, ocean trout, oysters, mussels, and skipjack tuna aid mental performance and improve concentration and mood. Our founder, Tabitha McIntosh, recently contributed this last point to an article by Bupa Life Insurance: ‘How to Stay Calm: Wellness Experts Share Their Tips‘. Read it for more great advice on keeping calm throughout your day and life.

Take care of your diet and you’ll be doing wonders for your mind.

We are all about following a healthy diet, not just for the health benefits but for the mood benefits as well. Check out our latest feature in a Bupa Life Insurance article to learn all about how a balanced, nutritious diet can help you keep calm and reduce stress.

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Bohdiya Method™ of Pilates – a gift to your body

pilates

I wanted to share with you something really cool that I have discovered this last 12 months – a very clever Pilates method developed by a friend of mine, Scott. I interviewed Scott below to help you understand how Bohdiya Pilates might be able to help you (as he has me), with those niggly little pains and imbalances that so many of us suffer with day to day.

So Scott, what is the Bohdiya Method™ of Pilates?

Bohdiya Pilates is revolutionary, cutting edge corrective exercise. It’s a non-equipment based whole body integrative corrective exercise routine that I have meticulously designed and developed over the past 8 years. It is my life’s work!

This individualised programme provides perfect toning and deep conditioning without the risk of haphazard or repetitive strain that can often be encountered in other exercise regimes. The aim is for the whole body to quickly become functionally strong yet supple, integrated, aligned and balanced.

Bohdiya streamlines my client’s exercise time and brings about athletic longevity and a healthy, better balanced musculoskeletal system. It enhances the body’s ability for natural, instinctual free flowing movement. It’s extremely gentle on the body though and achieves amazing and lasting results.

In every session almost every muscle is activated, lengthened, strengthened and toned. Over time it seems to recondition the body from the inside out making aches and pains a thing of the past. It’s a healthy and lasting movement education for life that is comprised of a 45min routine that once learned, and explored as your own, has the potential to add 10-20 years to a person’s athletic life.

Bohdiya offers a life time of physical benefits & sporting adaptations, excellent posture and a greater sense of self-confidence and wellbeing….

Refer to Scott’s website for more on the benefits of Bohdiya…

Injury Resolution
Sports Performance
Wellness

(you can also see a video on his home page, of me singing his praises after my third ten pack of visits with him in his Paddington Studio).

What do you see from your clients?

The shift I see in my clients is truly amazing as they progress through the program. Their confidence to get better increases, so does their determination to see it through as they experience more and more cumulative benefits.

I see major transformations in my clients within a few short weeks, many having come from disappointment of the past and concern for the future to an all new understanding of self-reliance.

They know it as a complete strength conditioning program that has you feeling better instead of worse and often claim that they’re ‘now feeling safe within their own body’.

It’s well known in the physical rehab and corrective exercise industry that people don’t seem to find time to do their exercises prescribed by their physical practitioners, so often our job satisfaction is caught up in how well we can help others to help themselves. We all know there’s probably real benefits in doing all of the exercises prescribed by our practitioners and we’d be looking and feeling amazing for it, though to find the time, let alone fastening the thinking cap and entering that zone whereby we’ll actually do it… it seems there’s always that gap and it hardly ever gets done, or done at all well.

Over the 8yrs that Bohdiya has evolved my body has honestly come to feeling 20yrs younger. My intention was to create a programme that felt good and eliminated any hurdles to actually doing it. Staring a session is made easy, it can simply be an inner knowing that speaks to our wellness intuition.

Bohdiya doesn’t require anything to get started, no equipment is necessary. It’s an enjoyable unfolding into movement, it’s time out for yourself well spent. Through the positions and the principles the method speaks clearly and precisely to anywhere that we’re carrying tension, injury or unrelenting emotion.

This really is a great opportunity for those who are ready to commit to themselves.

What I can promise my clients is that if they are ready for this rewarding journey into a lifetime of self-guided physical conditioning, then they’ll never look back.

Click here to speak with Scott or to book your first session, you’ll thank yourself for doing so 😉

http://www.pilatessydneycbd.com.au

http://www.pilatessydneycbd.com.au/contact-2/contact/

m: 0400 826 768

About Scott

Scott is a Californian trained, internationally certified Pilates teacher.

Scott Matthews completed his Diploma of Studio Pilates training in 1999. He also obtained a Diploma of Remedial Massage in 1995

Scott has designed programs for several of Sydney’s most respected corrective exercise specialists and has taught Pilates within some of Sydney’s best Pilates rehabilitation clinics.

While working with hundreds of students and achieving outstanding results, Scott’s own unique techniques developed resulting in this entirely new method, Bohdiya. He now runs specialist private Pilates and Bohdiya sessions from his Centennial Park studio.

Tabitha X

 

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Body talk

young woman meditation on sunset beach

With the pace of modern life, your body’s inner wisdom and intuition is incredibly easy to become disconnected from. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, time in nature, and even being well rested can help us to still our minds and the noise of the world, just enough to hear our inner voice, and our body talk. Our intuition connects us to both our inner selves, and to something larger and beyond our own lives and ourselves.

Taking the time each day to tap into our own body’s inner wisdom, to gain a basic understanding of what our body may need for that particular day, is vital to fostering a sense of harmony and connection on the body, and providing it with what it truly needs.

When we explore the body, what we put in the body, and how it makes us feel, we cannot overlook our relationship with our body and with our food. Understanding that we all have a unique relationship with our food, stress, and our environment is a first vital step.

Thinking about what drives your food choices is always a good place to start. Is it about convenience? Cost? Are you an emotional eater? Is it about taste for you? Are you a follower of emerging trends for super foods? Whatever it may be, there is a sense of food and information overwhelm when it comes to Nutrition: I see it every day in private practice. And one of my pet hates – adopting highly restrictive eating regimes – can foster and add momentum to unhealthy relationships with food, turning eating a battle. Forgetting dietary labels, particularly when sticking to a particular way of eating is not serving our body’s needs, is courageous but necessary if we are to truly be intimate with ourselves. We can be so heavily influenced by the things around us. Allowing time each day to come back to yourself – unplugging, disconnecting from gadgets and social media, connecting with the earth and your body via an intuitive meditation /mindfulness/ yoga practice helps you find your true self.

“The way is not in the sky, the way is in our hearts”. Buddha.

Healthy eating is often simple eating. To reduce food complexity and to take the battle out of your food choices, the ancient sanskrit translation of Sthira and Sukha comes to mind. Applying both effort and steadiness, combined with lightness and ease to the way you nourish your body, to find the sweet spot for your way of eating, is a wonderful mantra: one I apply with clients daily.

 

Tabitha X

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How Can I Reduce My Chemical Exposures? By Tabitha McIntosh ND

Have you ever thought about the hundreds of different chemicals we are exposed to each day – in products we use to clean our homes, the personal care products we use on our bodies, in the pesticides we spray in our homes, offices, gardens, and playgrounds and in our food, water and air?

Numerous industrial chemicals have been detected in human blood, urine, hair, breast milk, and even umbilical cord blood.

It’s an even scarier thought that the vast majority of chemicals that are in use and in circulation have not been adequately tested for their impacts on human health or their particular impacts on children and developing babies – yet – it is now widely recognised that babies and young children are at greatest risk from these chemical exposures. Some chemical exposures can have life-long impacts on an infant’s health, immune function, and ability to learn.

As a mother, I want to do everything I can to keep my family safe from harmful chemicals, and no doubt you feel the same way. Parents can do a lot to protect their children from chemical hazards simply by changing their own personal behaviours and consumption patterns.

So if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, are breastfeeding or have young children, it is advisable to pay particular attention to reducing chemical exposures as much as possible.

Here’s a ‘starter-list’ of some practical measures you can take to protect yourself and your children from common chemicals: making yours and your family’s life just a little less toxic.

Stay tuned for information to come about a lecture I will be giving on this exact topic atBondi Beach Public School in August this year.

Store your food in glass containers whenever possible, as it is the most inert container you can use. Don’t microwave in plastic or with Gladwrap: use glass or ceramic instead. It is especially important to look for BPA-free bottles for your infants (these will have a golden tint); and BPA-free water bottles for your children and yourself. Ask your health care provider for some options of suppliers.

• Avoid processed foods, and become a food label detective. Avoid artificial food additives of all kinds, including MSG and artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are found in most chewing gums, diet foods and drinks, and some children’s medications.

Buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foodswhere possible, to reduce your exposure to pesticides, GMOs and fertilizers. This especially applies to animal produce (meat, chicken, eggs) and full-cream dairy products, as these may contain higher levels of some pollutants. If you don’t have access to Organic produce, consider eating fewer meat and high-fat dairy products. In addition, ask your Naturopath or Health care provider about the EWG’s ‘Clean Fifteen’ Vegetable and Fruits List.

Avoid the use of insecticides / pesticides in the home or garden, or on your family pets. Examples of common things to avoid: Mortein, Baygone, garden sprays, flea treatments, mosquito repellants that contain DEET etc. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.

• Throw out your Teflon pots and pans and instead use safer cooking materials like ceramic, stainless steel, and glass.

Run your tap water through a home-filter, or drink spring water. Filters can reduce levels of common tap water pollutants.

Avoid artificial fragrances: in air fresheners, fabric softeners, perfumes, cheap candles, and other synthetic fragrances. Use fresh flowers, essential oils and natural alternatives instead.

Reduce the number of cosmetics and other personal care products you use, which can contain harmful chemicals and can be sold with no safety testing. With most people using about 10 cosmetic and personal care products each day, aim to switch to Natural brands of personal care items: including shampoo, toothpaste,antiperspirants and cosmetics. Skin care products are notorious for containing a slew of dangerous chemicals. See the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database or ONE Groups’ Chemical Directory for more info.

• Avoid Nail polishes and Nail polish removers; aerosols like hairspray, conventional hair dyes and bleaches while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Carefully consider what you put on your baby’s skin: be cautious of Ingredients such as preservatives, parabens, foaming agents (SLS), fragrances and petroleum-based ointments. Speak to your Health Care provider about some alternative brands and products.

Carefully consider the toys you choose for your children, as children like to ‘mouth’ things. Avoid toys that have been painted overseas, plastics, adhesives, lip-glosses, nail polishes, etc.

When renovating your home, look for “green”, toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paints, varnishes and floor coverings. Use low VOC paints, varnishes and sealants (available from your hardware) and avoid formaldehyde resins. Ideally, aim to finish the Reno’s, polish the floor boards, and paint the baby room well before you conceive. See the Safer Solutions website for more advice on healthy home renovations.

Become a conscious purchaser when buying house-hold goods, cleaning chemicals, aerosoles, air fresheners etc. Look for green, toxin-free alternatives.

Reduce the number of household cleaners you use; and only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them.

See the Safer Solutions website for keeping your home healthy and green

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Preparing for Winter

The best Naturopathic approach to supporting our Immune function as we prepare for winter is an all-inclusive plan involving diet, lifestyle, stress reduction, exercise, nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and a positive outlook.

Firstly lets take a look at what depletes our immune function. Stressful circumstances, lack of sleep and poor nutritional status have a powerful impact on our immune function, as does smoking and high sugar diets – intake of 100g of refined sugar such as sweets / honey / bottled fruit juice / alcohol – depresses immune cell activity by 50% for up to 4 hours after ingestion, leaving us more susceptible to infection.

Taking the following measures will both boost your immune function and your vitality during the winter months:

• Eating regular meals
• Choosing a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables daily
• Opting for whole grains, raw nuts, legumes, seeds and cold water fish
• Getting adequate sleep and regular exercise
• Having a relaxed and positive mental attitude & laughing lots
• Taking a daily high-potency multi vitamin/mineral supplement
• Healthy gut flora, good digestion and avoidance of dietary allergens are imperative to optimal immunity, as more than 70% of our immune system directly surrounds the gut!

In addition, a large amount of research shows that garlic has immune enhancing properties and is antiviral, even at one clove per day. A daily fresh vegetable juice (eg. carrot, celery, ginger, parsley, beets, apple, lemon) is a wonderful supplement to a basic good diet, adding vitamins A, C, minerals and antioxidants.

Numerous herbal medicines – Indian, Chinese and Western – are available to naturally support our Immune function, but be wary of over-the-counter products and self prescribing as many products are ineffective due to quality, manufacturing and dosage issues. For valuable advice, speak to a qualified Naturopath or Herbalist.

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