[Perspectives in Foot Reading #1] looking at the groin

Here we have a Fire marker – the popped anterior tibial tendon. This dorsal area of the foot is the general reflex for the pelvic region, including reproductive system, inguinal region and lymphatics, and the muscles and bones of the lower core.

The popped tendon indicates potential pain, inflammation, overuse and increase in muscular tension somewhere in this area.

The excess tension here has created a little cave just below the popped tendon, indicating strain, fatigue and weakness. The little cave would be regarded as an Air marker, and this would make sense that the Fire from the inflammation is leaving deficiency (burnt out).

In addition we can also see an inflamed and over-protruding lateral malleolus (ankle bone) showing that the hip is also affected.

This male client suffers with groin pain on the left side, stemming from a childhood injury (a tear), and continues to have problems while playing sports.

To balance Fire we want to reduce the forest fire to a gentle hearth-side glow, so activities like restorative yoga and gentle swimming would be recommended. Other activities such as Tai Chi might also benefit. In addition, ensuring hydration and diet are optimal.

From a mental/emotional perspective, this would indicate fiery and inflamed relationships with family and those whom we are close; sparks could well be flying and as a practitioner I tread very carefully. Venting and letting off steam about these issues would help, either with a neutral party or by journaling. Routine and boundary setting within the relationship is also needed, as a raging fire can easily get out of control.

Once the Fire has gotten under control, it is then time to gently nourish and strengthen the remaining deficient terrain.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, clinical acupuncturist, and foot reading practitioner, working from Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, nr. Preston.

Foot readings are offered in clinic and remotely. 

 

[Recipe #1] Plant-Based Protein Slices

These nutty and chocolate-y slices are exactly what you need if you’re looking for a healthy snack to complement a higher fat/lower carb diet, or if you’re looking for an innocent sweet treat after a meal.

I’m not really one for writing or following recipes: I tend to just throw things together with whatever I have in the cupboards and hope for the best! So when I posted these slices on Instagram I felt a little out of my depth with people asking after the recipe… however, after promising I would share it, here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of protein powder. I used That Protein Blissful Brown Rice and Raw Cacao Super Protein. If you didn’t want to use protein powder then just raw Cacao powder would suffice here.
  • 2 tablespoons of Pecan nut pieces.
  • 2 tablespoons of Walnut pieces.
  • 2 tablespoons of Brazil nut pieces (note – use whichever nuts you prefer. Macadamia would also work here).
  • 2 tablespoons of Lidl Alesto Super Seed Mix. This contains milled Golden Linseed, milled hulled Hemp Seeds and milled Chia Seeds.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Holland and Barrett Organic Omega Shake. This contains Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Linseeds.
  • 1 scoop of Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Fibre Blend. This powder contains Apple Powder, Psyllium Seed Husk Powder, Inulin Powder, Chia Seed Powder, Hemp Protein Powder, Fructooligosaccharides, Bacillus coagulans for a healthy gut (optional).
  • 1 teaspoon of Agave Syrup and 1 teaspoon of Manuka Honey (these are to sweeten. You can use whatever sweeteners you like and adjust the amounts to taste).

Method:

  1. Line the base of a regular loaf tin.
  2. On a low heat, slowly melt the coconut oil and then remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients one by one until they represent a pan of delicious melted nutty-chocolate.
  4. Carefully pour into the lined tin and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Once set, slice into portions and enjoy!

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, acupuncturist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Group Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are her own.

Brain and Cognitive Health

ID-100273701This blog gives a general understanding of cognitive health and outlines options for improving yours.

Good fats are essential to our brain health and function. A fatty brain is a healthy brain: 60% of brain tissue is fat. Good fats literally allow us to embrace change.

One type of good fat is Coconut Oil: If you search for coconut oil + brain fog on the internet you will find pages and pages of anecdotal evidence to suggest coconut oil can help lift brain fog and make the brain sharper, improving memory.

Coconut oil is a medium chain fat which means the body can use this type of fat as energy – another great fuel for our brains. It does this by converting into ketones which are used as a source of fuel for the body. Apparently brain cells function with far greater efficiency when they are utilizing fat (ketones) as a fuel source as opposed to sugar.

Pumpkin seed, hemp, flax, avocado and evening primrose oils are all other examples of good fats and these can be found in Beauty Oil.  They provide the essential nutrition that our skin and bodily tissue needs to renew, maintain and repair. This Beauty Oil contains nourishing omega fatty acids, essential nutrients and anti-oxidants that the skin needs to replenish itself.

Encourage healthy brain function and balance through reflexology. This is a two-fold approach. The reflex point for the brain is on both the big toes (and thumbs). As a therapist I always dedicate attention to this area during every treatment along with the spinal chord (Central Nervous System). However the second approach to improved brain function via reflexology is the physical act of touching the feet: the sensory rich plantar area of the foot is going to stimulate and increase neurological messages from here all the way up to the brain. Think about how many messages this will create during a 50 minute reflexology treatment and you can see how the opening up of those potentially dormant neurological pathways can be so beneficial to our health.

The key ingredients in Cognitive Supplement are also fascinating to learn about when it comes to brain and cognitive health:

  • L-Glutamine. This is brain fuel. It is the only compound other than sugar that can be used by the brain for energy. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • Choline. Aids nerve transmission by supporting myelin production. Myelin is the fatty nerve insulation that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. It is attacked via an auto-immune response in MS sufferers.
  • Green Tea. Contains L-theanine which helps us to keep calm, yet focussed. For example, when we meditate.
  • Ginko biloba. This is a herb from the Biloba tree. Suggested that it improves memory. Used to treat dementia. Antioxidant.

Antioxidants. What do we know about these?

Your brain uses roughly 20% of the oxygen you breathe in, so its cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage, known as free radical damage.

Free radicals trigger brain inflammation which contributes to ADHD, brain fog, anxiety and memory loss as well as serious neurological disorders such as stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables. Berries are a Number One brain food because they are super antioxidant and also their compounds have been linked to improvements in many cognitive skills including memory, learning, reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension and number capability.

Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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My Healthy Kitchen

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Twitter you will have seen me posting some beautifully tasty looking meals and snacks from my own kitchen. Many (not all) of these foods are recipes inspired by Ella Mills (Woodward) from her books and blog “Deliciously Ella”.

polenta

Ella’s story is pretty amazing. In a nutshell, she has recovered and healed herself from a rare disease affecting the nervous system known as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome which had her bed bound for around 16 hours a day at the young age of 19. After  months of suffering and a myriad of steroids and medication (which also came with their own side effects) Ella decided to do her own research and finally decided to become a gluten-free vegan and heal herself through nutrition. This journey has inspired her to get cooking, discover mew foods and experiment in the kitchen, which is where her blog started.

coconut_slab

Ella’s recipes have been enlightening for me. They have opened up a door in my kitchen to combat my own sugar addiction through making delicious healthy but sweet snacks that actually satiate rather than driving the cravings even further. I’ve also learned new cooking techniques and flavour combinations which form a basis of my knowledge for my own creations and adaptations. A huge revelation also is that cooking in this way is super quick!

bolognaise

What is even more exciting is that Ella has been collaborating with Neal’s Yard Remedies to create her very own facial wash and moisturiser! A fusion of rose, cucumber and lime suitable for all skin types. If you would like a sample please get in touch! I’m also taking pre-orders for the eagerly anticipated launch on 4th August 2016. Why not book a party with me and let me bring the new products to you and your friends?

If you’re interested in what I’ve been cooking recently follow my blog for the forthcoming recipes. In the mean time why not check out Deliciously Ella’s Superfood Brownies made with our Organic Greens Complex and our Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I’ve made these a few times and they taste amazing.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Look after your DNA with good nutrition

Did you know that 99.9% of all our genetic material is identical in humans, which is what identifies us as a species? The 0.1% of our genetic material is different from person to person and  is what makes each person unique (causing differences in things like hair and eye colour, height and nutrition needs). These differences between people are called gene variations or polymorphisms. [1] Some gene variations may cause rare diseases (and are often referred to as mutations), while others are more common (and are just described as polymorphisms). Gene mutations and polymorphisms may interact with other genes and with factors in our environment (including diet, smoking, physical activity etc), to play a role in the development of complex disease such as Type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease. [1]


So it is really important that we do everything we can to look after our DNA. There are three main ways to look after our DNA with good nutrition:

Preventing DNA damage. We should do everything we can to try to prevent DNA damage occuring because genetic mutations can lead to serious illnesses including chronic disease and some cancers.

To help prevent DNA damage from occurring ensure your diet is rich in nutrients, such as carotenoids (orange, yellow, and red foods, and dark green leafy vegetables), and foods rich in vitamin E (seeds, nuts, avocado).

DNA synthesis. In order to help our bodies synthesise or make DNA, we need foods rich in nutrients such as folate (vitamin B9) found in dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and legumes. A number of fruits are a great source of folate too, oranges being the highest but also look at grapes, grapefruits, banana and strawberries.

Other nutrients needed for DNA synthesis are vitamin B12, zinc and magnesium. If you’re a vegan then getting B12 into your diet through food alone is going to be a challenge so a supplement of at least 10 micrograms daily is recommended because Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products. [2]

Superfoods spirulina and chia seeds and rich in magnesium, chia also being rich in zinc, iron, calcium and niacin (see below).

DNA repair is a very important: the body has the ability to repair areas, or mutations, that may have occurred due to DNA damage.  Key supporting nutrients that can assist with DNA repair are vitamin B3, or niacin, (peanuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms), and folate (vitamin B9).

Chlorella is the fastest growing food on the planet, so eating it dramatically increases our rate of tissue repair and renewal, helping restore the nervous system, boost immunity and potentially helping degenerative disorders.[3]

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about the nutrients in foods though, so just taking a supplement of some of these key nutrients may not provide the same benefits as eating foods rich in these nutrients. There are so many other properties of foods, such as our bioactive molecules, antioxidants and polyphenols, which also provide an important synergistic benefit. [1]

My personal recommendation would be to add a general multi mineral and vitamin supplement on top of a well balanced diet in order to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Organic foods are best as they will be more nutrient dense, however our soils are so depleted nowadays that we need to supplement in order to ensure we put enough into our bodies through our diet.

I personally take Organic Greens complex (chlorella, spirulina, sea greens, wheatgrass) daily blended with orange juice, banana and avocado every morning, sprinkled with chia seeds and nuts. I know that I’m nourishing my DNA and it gives me a great start to the day!

[1] Monash University https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/food-as-medicine/1/steps/77475

[2] Vegan Society https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/vitamins-minerals-and-nutrients/vitamin-b12-your-key-facts

[3] Little book of superfoods by Tipper Lewis https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/jackiemarsden/area/shop-online/category/books/product/9332/little-book-of-superfoods/

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Prebiotics and probiotics

Do you know the difference between pre and probiotics? If not read on to discover more.

Probiotics are commonly known as good bacteria and are widely available in supplement form, and they can also be found in some yoghurt. On the other hand, prebiotics are fibres that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that are already present in your gut. [1]

Many of the beneficial bacteria in our lower intestine feast on fibre which we can’t digest ourselves and so passes through the stomach and small intestine to be dealt with by the bacteria in our large intestine (gut). So eating a diet which is high in fibre is hugely beneficial to our gut health, because the fibre is the food for your good bacteria.

ID-10099484But do we need to take a probiotic supplement? Lots of research has been done on this and while there is mixed results from the findings, many people are agreeing that taking a probiotic supplement can help with the treatment of Travellers Diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems, to upper respiratory tract infections, allergies, various skin disorders, diabetes, weight loss to infantile colic.[1]

Another good time to be taking a probiotic supplement is during and after periods of antibiotic use. Antibiotics are good at killing all the bacteria, good and bad, so it is important that we put good bacteria back into our bodies to maintain a healthy gut. My mother suffered with oral thrush during courses of antibiotics for years until she discovered probiotics.

Additionally, stress can take its toll on the good bacteria of the gut.

The topic of pre and probiotics can get very complex as there are many different species of bacteria and some species can be beneficial for specific health concerns. For example, research at the University of Aberdeen has shown that eating a bowl of oats every day can clearly change the proportions of different types of bacteria in the gut, and their research has shown that some of the species that particularly increases when people eat more oats can be very good for us. These bacteria produce chemicals which are good for our hearts and for our gut lining. [2]

So my personal recommendation would be to take probiotic supplements during periods of ill health and stress, or to combat particular health concerns. But during times when health is good then eat a diet with lots of fibre including oats, and indigestible carbohydrates (oligosaccharides, dietary fibre and resistant starch). Examples of these are onions, garlic, beans and lentils, cashews, and cooked potatoes that have been cooled.

probioboost

For a good, high quality supplement see Pro Bio Boost supplement from Neal’s Yard Remedies. This is suitable for vegetarians, and contains Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifido Blend 3 Strain and Inulin (a type of prebiotic/indigestible carbohydrate derived from plants). No GMO and no synthetic binders or fillers.

Alternatively, the Organic Fibre Blend Cleanse help to maintain a healthy digestion with a cleansing blend of apple, flax seed and chia seed. Contains psyllium husk and Bacillus coagulans to help promote the natural health of your gut.

 

[1] Monash University https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/food-as-medicine/1/steps/82004

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4s0XkHq0HxZhjd5V2lQ2LRm/do-probiotics-do-any-good

Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Holistic Approaches for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too. Roughly three times as many women have MS as men. [1]

MS is when the body itself attacks the myelin sheath in an auto-immune response. The myelin sheath’s function is to insulate the nerves. When it is compromised it causes the neurotransmitters to function less effectively, slowing or blocking messages between body and brain. This creates tingling sensations, fatigue, tremors, pain and trouble balancing.

Dr Mercola states “While your body does have the ability to repair myelin naturally, this process tends to become less effective as you get older. Now, however, researchers [from University of Cambridge] have uncovered a natural option that might play a major role in boosting the repair of damaged myelin in people with MS: vitamin D.”[2] This emerging research is also presented by the Multiple Sclerosis society.[3]

I have been aware of MS right from the beginning of my reflexology career through my tutor, Julie Crossman, and her experience with her close and continued work with MS sufferers. During my training and professional career it is always the nervous and digestive systems I focus on within a reflexology session for an MS sufferer. A course of Reflexology Lymph Drainage would aim to help too from the auto-immune angle: isolating the immune system reflexes intends to boost and seek rebalance.

Delayed nervous responses such as moving a hand away from a hot surface, or weakening bladder control can be debilitating. The latter example causes further problems because many sufferers deliberately drink less to try to reduce this symptom but in doing so can cause bowel problems and constipation. Less water is not going to help anyone: our bodies need around two litres per day to carry out its vital functions.

ID-100140238My advice alongside following a healthy diet (full of fresh fruit and vegetables and a good water intake), would be to take a high quality Multi Vitamin and Mineral supplement, alongside a Vitamin D supplement (ensuring you intake lots of leafy greens too), Vitamin B complex, as well as boosting your antioxidant levels. The NYRO supplements are superior because they are plant-based and organic, and are synergistic blends. Vitamins and minerals don’t work in isolation so it is important to take a good quality Multi Vitamin and Mineral supplement alongside a healthy diet to give yourself a good foundation.

Reflexology can also be beneficial from an emotional angle. Dr Mercola states “More often than not, some form of hidden emotional wound can also be found in patients suffering with autoimmune diseases like MS.” This has also been my findings from other readings of the condition by Ann Gillanders. The profound relaxation that reflexology invokes can create an emotional release for some people.

[1] https://www.mssociety.org.uk/what-is-ms

[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/12/21/vitamin-d-multiple-sclerosis.aspx?e_cid=20151221Z2_DNL_art_2&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20151221Z2&et_cid=DM93237&et_rid=1273927785

[3] https://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-research/emerging-areas/vitamin-d

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Combating Winter Colds and Viruses

ID-100231025It’s that time of year again when the weather turns colder, the central heating goes on, and windows tend to be closed, creating a breeding ground for winter colds and viruses.

There are simple ways of combating the prevalent cold virus, and this is more in prevention rather than cure.

Immune system

Our immune system needs regular boosting so that it is ready to fight any invaders. Do this by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferably organic. Fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which fight those free radicals which are released within the body to attack.

A regular vitamin C supplement can also help boost the immune system, optimising it for attack. Have you ever drunk a glass of organic juice and noticed its acidic effect on the digestive system? This is caused by the ascorbic acid. The vitamin C supplement I use contains Calcium Ascorbate instead, which is slow release, non-acidic form of vitamin C.

Stress will also damage our immune system, prioritising our adrenalin and sympathetic nervous system, and thus neglecting those systems that are not needed for immediate survival such as immune and digestion. A regular session of reflexology can help reduce stress and evoke relaxation.

Vitamin C

Patrick Holford’s advice re. vitamin C absorption is to take around 2 grams every 4 hours. This will saturate the tissues with vitamin C and thus flushing out the cold virus, maintaining a high level of immune protection. [1] This will completely blow the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) out of the water, however vitamin C is water soluble and thus the body cannot store excess amounts in fat – it simply excretes via the kidneys.

The RDA was written years ago based on the nutritional value of our foods after the war – nowadays our foods are nutritionally poorer due to the depleting quality of our soil. This is why I advocate an organic based diet and lifestyle. If we don’t adopt this way of life our future foods will be nutritionally worthless.

Antioxidants

berry complexI have been using the Organic Berry Complex to continually saturate my body’s tissues throughout the day, particularly if I know I’m going to be busy with clients, driving long distances or late nights. Whiz up 2 scoops of the complex with some sprigs of mint and a blender jug full of water. Add a glug of Elderberry syrup to give a deeper taste and a richer content. It tastes amazing, so refreshing and the children love it too. Take a small glass of it regularly throughout the day to top up.

The supplements created by Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic are superior in the way they work because they are synergistic blends of carefully selected and sourced vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals work with each other to do their jobs efficiently – not in isolation.

[1] Patrick Holford The Optimum Nutrition Bible pg. 289 How to kill a cold

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Winter is here so where will we get our Vitamin D from?

Generally known as the “sunshine vitamin”, our main source of Vitamin D is from the sun. It is needed in the body for healthy teeth and bones, but it also has links to other diseases such as mulitple sclerosis, depression, cancer, autism (lots of research is ongoing).

sunshine

Vitamin D is make via ultra violet (UV) light, and this type of light comes with health warnings during the summer months which is why we wear sun cream. There are 3 types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC.

UVB is the one which makes Vitamin D. During the winter months, the UK is at too higher latitude (above 35 degrees north of the equator) meaning only UVA hits the earth’s surface. There is insufficient UVB for the body to make Vitamin D during the winter months here in the UK.[1]

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that it can be stored within the body (unlike water soluble vitamins such as B and C which cannot be stored and any excess will be excreted via the urine). Some people can store enough Vitamin D to last through the winter months without any problems.

However many people might be deficient in Vitamin D because they don’t go outside very much.  Examples include disease and illness forces them to stay indoors, they live a sedentary lifestyle watching TV for large proportions of the day, they work long hours in front of a computer, or they use so much sun block during the summer that their skin is not exposed to the UVB rays.

This is why a supplement is a good idea particularly over the winter months in the UK and other northern hemisphere countries. Combine the insufficient UVB and the little Vitamin D we get from our diets (oily fish and eggs) gives you a good reason to supplement.

In the UK the recommended amount is 400 international units (10 micrograms) a day for adults at risk of deficiency because of lack of sunlight. [1] But as we are all at risk of this during the winter months, my own opinion is to supplement daily.

Research data from the University of Aberdeen[1] suggests that Vitamin D status was higher for people who took sunny holidays abroad, and for those who were taking fish oils. The latter can be explained 2-fold: fish oils do contain small amounts of Vitamin D, and also fish oils are an essential fatty acid which optimises the body to store Vitamin D (remember Vitamin D is fat soluble).

Dr Mercola also suggests a Vitamin D supplement is optimised if taken alongside some healthy fat.[2] He also argues that 400IU is not enough and recommends a higher dose, however a study carried out by the University of Aberdeen showed that when the daily amount was increased from 400IU to 1000IU the marker of Vitamin D only increased by a small amount, revealing that the body is reluctant to increase to much higher levels.

It is important to remember that although you can take too much Vitamin D, there is a wide safety margin. So whether you decide to take 400IU or 1000IU or somewhere in between, it is generally a safe amount to take daily over the winter months.

As with all vitamins and minerals, they don’t work in isolation, which is why I use those formulated by Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic which are synergistic blends from plant sources surrounded by superior absorption capsules which are released within 15 minutes of entering the stomach.

Why not try the Multi Mineral and Vitamin Boost which is a synergistic blend of plant-sourced vitamins B, C, D and E and zinc. Combine with a healthy fat, such as the Organic Beauty Oil, Omega 3-6-9 or a teaspoon of coconut oil, or take a look at the Vitamin D supplement which is sourced from algae.

[1] FutureLearn course: Nutrition and Wellbeing University of Aberdeen http://www.futurelearn.com

[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/10/vitamin-d-recommended-dietary-allowance.aspx

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What can we do for Eczema?

Eczema is dry, itchy, flaky, red and inflamed skin (and sometimes worse). It is largely a chronic condition meaning that it is long-lasting and can be controlled but not cured.

Those suffering with eczema usually suffer also with other conditions such as asthma and hayfever. This is because they are all types of allergies; the body has an inapproprate allergic reaction to antigens that are usually harmless (e.g. animal hair, pollen, dust). When the body reacts in this way it releases huge amounts of histamine which then causes inflammation, itching, sneezing, wheezing etc. It is usually the immune response that causes the damage to the body, not the allergen itself. (1)

So what can we do for eczema, and why do people suffer with eczema? I believe it has a lot to do with the gut. If we don’t have good gut health then the toxic overload is too much for our bodies and the skin will try to help by excreting those toxins. Remember that the skin is an outlet as well as a protective barrier and receptor. So cleaning up diets, eliminating processed foods, sugar, caffeine etc. and increasing the intake of vegetables and water is going to have a profound effect in the long term. I think we all have room for improvement with our diets!

But in the shorter term something is needed to apply to the skin to reduce the symptoms and give relief. This is particularly true for children whom are a large group of atopic (hereditary) eczema suffers.  Any petroleum-based products are not going to do this. The skin might feel soft and moisturised initially but after continued use the product will block the skin’s pores, causing imbalances in the skin’s natural equilibrium and resulting in even more problems.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and its replacement, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are both known irritants. Beware of products labelled “sensitive”. Many products on the market are full of chemicals that have no place on the skin. However, most people can tolerate them. For those who can’t, the manufacturer removes the problem chemicals, and replaces them with some that are actually worse, on the basis that the customer is unlikely to react to both. (2)

The following products are those which myself and colleagues have seen to be helpful with treating eczema:

NYRO baby balm. This balm protects and calms the skin with a combination of gentle, moisturising ingredients, including olive oil, coconut oil and shea nut butter. Apply as required to affected areas. One mother kindly shared these amazing photographs of her daughter’s eczema, before and after using the NYRO baby balm for 6 weeks.

eczema before

eczema after

For small patches of eczema or dermatitis, consider the NYRO Stellaria Cream  which is fabulous at reducing itching. Chickweed, a traditional herb renowned for cooling and soothing itching or red skin, is the active ingredient in this formula.

Another fantastic product to try is the anti-inflammatory and deeply soothing Calendula and Oat Lotion, which is suitable for extreme dryness and sensitive skin.

calendula_oatOne particular customer has experienced great success with seemingly uncontrollable eczema by the daily application of organic virgin coconut oil. The Neal’s Yard Remedies coconut oil is raw, unrefined, unbleached, and processed without heat to retain its unique balance of nutrients. Applied directly to the skin, coconut oil makes an extremely effective conditioning treatment, gently soothing dry, sensitive skin or scalps.

As a reflexologist, I am very much aware of the power of stress and what it can do to the body. If you are suffering with eczema it could be exacerbated by stress, or vica versa. A course of reflexology might help the situation, calming the sympathetic nervous system and in turn stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing the body to regain a state of relaxation and homeostasis. During the reflexology sessions particular emphasis would be paid to specific reflex points, particularly those of the digestive system, endocrine system, lymphatics and immune systems.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the lungs are linked to the colon; they share the same meridian. This ties in with the commonalities between eczema, asthma and hayfever, and highlights another reason to look to improve digestive health. They are both organs of elimination.

Along with a cleaned-up diet, a cleansing and healing supplement such as aloe vera juice and/or beauty oil might also be used to help with the healing and replenishing process.  Aloe vera juice is an excellent digestive tonic. Beauty oil is a blend of avocado, hemp, flax and evening primrose oils.

(1) Ross & Wilson Anatomy & Physiology  in Health and Illness. p371

(2) Closed discussion thread

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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