Mar 042019

Our brain is actually insensitive to pain. There are two basic categories of headaches – those that we suffer occasionally – a one off type headache, that we can generally pin down to a known cause – this might include an “ice cream headache” where the extreme cold of the ice cream causes your blood vessels to narrow & temporarily reducing blood flow to the brain; a hangover headache, an MSG headache, a head ache due to a head injury.

Then there are the headaches that people suffer more regularly. These recurring headaches are generally classified as cluster headaches, migraine headaches or tension type headaches. While some people may experience a headache once per month, others are plagued by them weekly or even daily.

Most common forms of headaches

  • Tension type headaches are the most widespread headache disorder
  • Diet related headaches: Caused by digestive disturbances, allergies, food intolerances, poor quality nutrition, alcohol etc
  • Hormones: Three times as many women suffer from headaches than men, this difference is most apparent during the reproductive years as female sex hormones are implicated as a significant trigger for women. This also includes headaches associated with peri-menopause and menopause.

5 ways Naturopathy can help your headaches (and the rest of your body )

1) Diet : Headaches can be triggered by insufficient food, allergies, intolerances, delayed meals, eating too little & dehydration. Fasting is recognized as a trigger & could be due to a lowered blood sugar level. By taking a full nutritional assessment, we can ascertain any possible food intolerances/imbalances that may be contributing.

2) Lifestyle factors: Naturopathy also encompasses a wholistic approach to all the factors that can influence your current state of health. By addressing lifestyle factors such as posture, stress, blood pressure, sleep we can provide a tailored approach to your long-term health, vitality and longevity.

3) Digestive system: An improper diet not only has negative effects on blood sugar, but also causes havoc on your gastrointestinal system. The intestinal lining is often damaged due to poor nutrition, leading to food sensitivities and decreased nutrient absorption. Once of the areas we specialise in is gut health and that can underpin your whole body’s state of wellness

4) Medication: Having a Science degree as well as extensive Naturopathy qualifications, we take a full medical case history to look at interactions of medications that can have an affect on headaches. Working with your GP/specialist may be a part of this as well.

1) Physical & emotional factors that can precipitate headaches. We determine areas contributing such as stiff & painful muscles, eye & dental problems, sinusitis, colds & flu as well as emotional triggers such as stress, anxiety, Cortisol levels & muscle tension

Our Naturopathic consults take a detailed health history which includes any possible headache triggers such as food intolerances, stress, sleep, hormonal imbalance or environmental factors. I then recommend a natural, individualised, multi-pronged approach to stimulate the body’s intrinsic healing process.

If your headaches are getting you down and stopping you from living your life to the fullest, or even if they are just downright annoying, call now for an appointment with our naturopaths to discover your triggers and solution to this sometimes very debilitating condition.

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Mar 262018

The human gut plays host to more microbes than any other part of the body, with an estimated ten million bacterial cells- and these are just the ones we know about so far. While it is commonly known that these bacteria help maintain our health by improving our digestion and absorption of food and by enhancing our immunity against infections, recent studies have also suggested that gastrointestinal bacteria may influence children’s behaviour.

Researchers from the Ohio State University studied microbes from the digestive tracts of toddlers aged between 18-27 months and found that an abundance and diversity of bacterial species is linked happy, sociable, curious and impulsive behaviours when compared with less variety and fewer numbers of bacterial species.

An interaction between intestinal bacteria and stress hormones is proposed to be the mechanism behind this. Through a complex network of nerves and tissues, the gut can communicate with the brain and influence its functions. This communication pathway is a two-way street and, conversely, the brain can influence digestive function.

What can we do to help our children grow healthy gut flora?

Firstly, say no to sugar!
And by sugar, I mean refined and processed foods. This includes canned foods, breakfast cereals, baked goods, desserts, sweetened dairy products, condiments, fruit flavoured beverages, lollies and fast food items. Instead, shift your child’s diet to include less processed and more complex sources of carbohydrates. Incorporate whole grains, lean proteins and let them enjoy liberal amounts of fruit and vegetables.

How they eat is just as important.
Have your child do their part to take some of the burden off their digestive tract;

  • Encourage your child to sit down and relax when eating, and avoid doing so at moments of stress.
  • Encourage children to chew their food thoroughly- digestion begins in the mouth.

Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Antibiotic treatment dramatically destroys the microbial balance within the gut, so keep use of these to a minimum.

Nourish their intestinal bacteria.
Invest in good quality probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotic supplements inhibit harmful pathogens from thriving and can help maintain microbial balance within the digestive tract. Alternatively, prebiotics are beneficial foods that stimulate growth of the beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics are health supporting and have been found to increase numbers of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria whilst decreasing counts of potential harmful bacteria. Prebiotic food sources include whole grain foods, fermented vegetables, chicory, artichokes, garlic, onion, banana and leeks.

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Mar 262018

The human body requires rather steady and frequent intakes of essential vitamins and minerals in order to perform the biological functions that it needs to. A balanced and varied diet is the preferred means of obtaining essential vitamins and minerals, however nutrient deficiencies can occur even amongst those populations with a bounty of food. As such, supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is an effective means of fortifying one’s diet and boosting nutrient content in a consistent manner.

Are you struggling to prioritise your nutrients? Here are my top 3 recommendations:

One of the most abundant minerals in the body, magnesium is used for a variety of functions including energy production, nervous system function and stress management, muscular relaxation, blood pressure maintenance, blood glucose maintenance and bone health. Avoid taking formulations that include magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate as they are poorly absorbed and can have a laxative effect. Instead opt for magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate and magnesium citrate which are better absorbed.

B Group vitamins
These include vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate (B9) and B12. This group of nutrients have wide spread effects and are used for energy production, nerve tissue conduction, neurotransmitter synthesis (chemicals that regulate mood, concentration, memory, pleasure), red blood cell formation, hormone synthesis and heart health. Whenever possible, select a product that contains B group vitamins in their active forms as these are easily absorbed and can be readily used by the body.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs)
EFAs cannot be produced by the body, yet they are essential for good health. Fish oils are particularly rich in this unique fatty acid. The active ingredients that give fish oil its therapeutic benefits are EPA and DHA. EPA is an essential nutrient that reduces inflammation within our bodies and helps to regulate our mood, whilst DHA supports our central nervous system health and our cardiovascular function. Heavy metals and other impurities easily contaminate fish oils. Thus, when selecting fish oil ensure that your choice of manufacturer maintains a high standard of quality control.

If you’re after additional food and nutritional alternatives, book an appointment with our Naturopath, Julia. Available for consultation on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Mar 262018

A balanced and varied diet is the preferred means of obtaining essential vitamins and minerals, however nutrient deficiencies can occur even amongst those populations with a bounty of food.

Whilst it is true that use of supplements generally has few adverse reactions, they are not completely devoid of side effects.

Due to fewer regulations, poor quality control and less stringent regulatory processes, contamination issues can pose a threat to the manufacturing process, tarnishing the safety of supplementing with natural medicines. Contaminants including heavy metals, pesticides, microorganisms, insects, prescription drugs or cheaper substitute materials are not uncommonly found in over-the-counter natural medicines and are believed to account for the some of the side effects associated with supplement use.

Such cautions are easily avoided by choosing your supplements wisely. When it comes to selecting safe yet effective natural medicines, it is best to stick to the following guidelines:

  • To guarantee a high-quality product, familiarise yourself with reputable brands that maintain quality assurances and quality control procedures. If you are unsure of where to turn to, seek the guidance of a healthcare practitioner that is knowledgeable in nutritional medicine.
  • For individuals with a complex health history, those taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, and those planning surgery, it is best that you consult with your healthcare provider before supplementing with natural medicines. This will help to avoid any unwanted side effects and will also provide you with an opportunity to discuss the type of supplement that is best suited to you.
  • Nutrients taken in excess over long periods of time can overwhelm the body and lead to toxicities. To avoid this, be sure that you do not exceed the stated recommended daily dose.
  • Even the use of vitamin and mineral supplements may provide an insufficient supply of one or more nutrients, particularly if an individual’s nutrient requirements are in high demand. When checking the label on your chosen supplement, make sure that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for each nutrient is listed at 100% or above. This will not only prevent nutrient deficiencies from occurring, but also cover differences within the individual need.
  • Be cautious with the following nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, copper, iron and zinc. These nutrients maintain a very narrow range between the RDA and the upper limit of what is tolerable to the body. Avoid taking any of these as individual nutrient formulations, as high dosages can cause unwanted side effects. Instead, use a broad multivitamin supplement, where the dosages of these nutrients will be lower and less likely to cause adverse reactions.
  • Above all else, remember that dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be relied on as a food substitute. For best results pair your chosen supplement with a well-balanced and varied diet.

If you’re after additional food and nutritional alternatives, book an appointment with our Naturopath, Julia. Available for consultation on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Oct 082017

It is well known that nutrition plays a big role in our ability to maintain concentration, learn and recall information, however having a well-balanced diet is often low on the list of priorities when studying for exams. Whilst making the effort to eat properly may take you away from the books for a few extra minutes, it will certainly reward you with greater concentration and improved memory.

Preparing meals that are well balanced in protein, essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates can help fuel your brain and provide you with the sustained energy needed to commit information to memory and recall that information when required. Try make the most of your exam preparation by indulging in these quick and easy meal ideas.

Breakfast and lunch options:

  • Overnight oats; this recipe has been included on the Total Balance blog.
  • Eggs with avocado on grainy or sourdough toast.
  • Omelette; include olives, feta cheese and whatever vegetables you like.
  • Smoked salmon with cottage or ricotta cheese on grainy or sourdough toast.

Snacking options:

  • Avocado on rice cakes or sourdough/grainy bread. To boost the protein content, add tinned fish such as mackerel, tuna or salmon, cottage cheese or feta cheese.
  • Peanut butter with banana or strawberries on rice cakes. To improve your energy balance, add a sprinkle of cinnamon which can help with blood sugar regulation.
  • Mixed berries, plus a serve of your favourite nuts (preferably raw and unsalted). To bulk up this snack, add yoghurt or coconut yoghurt.

If all of this snacking has made you thirsty but you’re not in the mood for water, select a “brainy beverage” such as green tea. Consumption of green tea has been known to increase the production and growth of brain cells, providing benefits for memory and spatial learning.

Written by Julia D’Angelo, Naturopath

Book today with Julia

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Feb 192016

It is not rare for people to ask me what exactly it is that I do professionally.

  • What is a naturopath?
  • Do they use crystals?
  • Are you a massage therapist?
  • Under what circumstances would I actually book in to see a naturopath?

The following is my attempt to clarify this.

A qualified naturopath is a health professional that is trained to have extensive knowledge of the physiology, anatomy and biochemistry of the human body and the pathophysiology of many illnesses and diseases. They utilise a number of modalities when applying treatment to patients such as nutrition, herbalism, diet and lifestyle modification. Their approach to practice is to adhere to the following naturopathic principles:

  • The healing power of nature
(Vis Medicatrix Naturae): recognising and removing obstacles to allow the body’s inherent self-healing process.
  • First, do no harm: use methods and medicines that minimise the risk of harmful side effects, know when to refer and practice within your scope.
  • Treat the cause (Tolle Causum): aim to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
  • Treat the whole person: Understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness and customising treatment protocols to each individual patient.
  • Education: share knowledge with patients, motivate and encourage individual responsibility for health.
  • Prevention: assess risk factors and recommend appropriate interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.

Naturopaths vary in their experience and areas of specialising however can assist with several health issues including:

  • Weight loss
  • Detoxing
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Fatigue, Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Acne
  • Digestive disturbances i.e. bloating, cramping, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases i.e. coeliac, Crohn’s, Hashimotos and Graves disease
  • Cardiovascular disease i.e. dyslipidemia, hypertension
  • Skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis
  • Low immunity i.e. recurrent respiratory infections, viruses, Glandular Fever
  • Candida
  • Urinary Tract infections
  • Hair loss
  • Pre-conception and pregnancy care
  • Reproductive disorders and hormonal imbalances i.e. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, Menopause, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea, low libido, erectile dysfunction

When deciding to seek treatment with any health care professional it is important that you choose a qualified practitioner in order to ensure you receive the best care possible.

Qualified, credible naturopaths will be a member of a professional body such as National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA) and Australia Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA). These associations have certain tertiary requirements before enabling membership and if not visible on the practitioners website or business card, this information should be provided upon request.  A credible, qualified naturopath will also be trained on signs and symptoms of when to refer their client to GPs for further investigation deemed appropriate.

In light of recent and I guess long standing controversy regarding conventional medicines vs natural medicines, I believe both have their place in the health care system and people stand to benefit from both.  As long as practitioners practice within their scope and there is respect between conventional and natural medicine and additionally, respect between all natural health modalities, all should be able to coexist and continue to do what is important which is place the client’s and peoples’ wellbeing and health first.

Jessica Gorman- Naturopath Gorman Naturopathy www.gormannaturopathy.com.au

Jessica has completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy requiring four years of tertiary study. She is a member of professional body National Herbalists Association of Australia and is a practicing Total Balance Physiotherapy & Pilates in Black Rock

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