Ski Essentials

If you’re planning on hitting the piste this winter season, don’t leave without these ski essentials from Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic.

Arnica salve  This has got to be at the top of the list for essentials when skiing/snowboarding. We all use muscles that we don’t normally exercise when we go skiing! A full day skiing can take its toll on the quads, knees, shins (if you’re not used to your boots) and feet. This Arnica Salve comes in a easily-packable sized pot and is great for rubbing into those tired and weary muscles and joints to increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation and help ease out bruising, aches and pains.

Why not also look at the Warming Salve which is great for rubbing into your joints and muscles before heading out onto the piste after breakfast? Or the Arnica and Seaweed Foam Bath for a luxurious soak afterwards.

To learn more about the Power of Arnica please read my other blog post here.

Wild Rose Moisturing SPF 30  Stay beautifully protected, nourished and nurtured in the winter sun with this organic, high level broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. This natural moisturiser contains natural non-nano mineral filters, blended with antioxidant radiance-boosting organic wild rosehip oil, deeply nourishing organic shea butter and baobab oil. Together they protect, nurture and moisturise the skin. It is also free from harsh chemical filters, nano particles and synthetic fragrances.

This award-winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm can be used as a rich cleanser, gentle exfoliant or deeply nourishing balm/moisturiser – to quench areas of dry or dehydrated skin. The exceptionally high levels of wild rosehip oil – a potent antioxidant proven to help repair, firm and smooth the skin – are combined with geranium, starflower, hemp and rosemary oil, to help decongest and enrich the skin, restoring its natural radiance.

This pot is ideal for packing in your suitcase: it is a cleanser, mask and moisturiser all in one so you can travel lightly! The smaller 15g pot is also small enough to fit into hand luggage.

Bee Lovely Lip Balm

Nourishes and softens your lips on the slopes with moisturising cocoa butter and beeswax. It is gentle enough for the whole family (aged 3 years and over) so great if you’re taking your little ones with you too. 3% of sales goes to charities that help Save the Bees.

Remedies to Roll: Energy

This blend of rosemary, lavender and grapefruit essential oils applied to the pulse points can help to stimulate and boost the body and mind to overcome tiredness for that much-needed pick-me-up we all need when out on the slopes all day. Comes in a little roller-ball bottle ideal for popping in your pocket.

White tea facial mist

This is a gentle facial mist to calm, refresh and rehydrate the skin – ideal for a quick, cooling spritz after lunch. Infused with antioxidant white tea, calming organic aloe vera, aromatherapeutic organic essential oils and soothing Bach Flower Remedies. This will help the face recover quickly from any sun exposure, or dryness caused from cold winds. You can also use it as a toner so no need to pack your big bottle, and  travel lightly!

And while I’m talking about travelling lightly – how about looking at these wonderful skincare kits which come in travel-sized pots ideal for hand luggage.

 

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist 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 my own.

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Opportunity for reflexologists to enhance your business

Ultimately, selling gets a bad name when the person doing the selling is selling for selling’s sake: they are not passionate about the product and they don’t believe what it stands for, they just want to make money.

As reflexologists we are passionate about our therapy and believe in its powerful yet gentle and subtle effectiveness. Our beliefs and enthusiasm drive us forward in promoting reflexology to everybody we meet.

When you believe wholeheartedly in what you do and why, selling becomes something else, it becomes the promotion of a good thing, it becomes “spreading the word”, it becomes “people helping people”.

So, as therapists we are selling our therapies, so why not also sell products too? Especially when the brand sets the bar in its ethical ethos, organic standards and care for the environment.

So if you want to be about people helping people, where the product ingredients are natural and organic, where the people in the supply chain are treated fairly, and when you look behind you there is no carbon footprint, then adding NYROrganic to your therapy business is a good choice.

By adding NYROrganic to your reflexology business you will open up more doors to an additional income stream, you will discover new ways of marketing your business, casting your promotional net further and wider, you will meet new people and learn new business skills, and become part of a wider community of like minded people, many of whom are also therapists.

I run reflexology parties with NYROrganic.  This works well because you are combining/showcasing both sides of your business.

I use the following products in my reflexology treatments, but this is in no way limited and there are many products that would work with reflexology from the NYROrganic range:

Mother’s Balm This is a lovely medium to work with without fragrance so great for new clients who you haven’t gotten to know very well yet, and for clients who might be hypersensitive to strong fragrances.

Geranium and Orange Body Balm This is another lovely medium to work with, and the smell is quite strong but beautiful. Definitely a great conversation starter.

Arnica salve  This is a great medium to work with for client’s feet as it improves circulation, encourages lymphatic drainage, eases tired and aching muscles, and is great for the feet and also YOUR hands! See more about Arnica here.

Organic Defence Hand Spray I use this to sanitize my hands before starting. It smells lovely and can generate conversations. It is also much nicer for my hands than the yukky stuff you can buy on the shelves of the supermarket.

Facial Wipes  I use the cotton facial wipes to cleanse the foot. Like all NYROrganic products, these are  certified by the Soil Association. The cotton is biodegradable so is kinder to this beautiful planet. You can also use one of the two spray deodorants as a foot spritzer.

If you would like to know more about this wonderful opportunity please get in touch with me on 07799144606 or JMReflex1@gmail.com, or take a look at the information here.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist 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 my own.

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The Power of Arnica

Arnica is a well-known homeopathic remedy and a gentle herb from the daisy family (a relative to Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Yarrow and Dandelion).

For centuries Arnica has been used for bruising and sprains. It’s old names such as “fall herb” and “wound herb” signify its age-old use for the effects of trauma. Swiss mountain guides chewed Arnica leaves to prevent fatigue from climbing.

Just like the tough, hardy daisy, Arnica will help you bounce back from life’s knocks and tumbles. It reduces pain, inflammation and swelling, and increases blood circulation.

Arnica is an alpine plant growing and thriving in the most extreme conditions, making it a tough, hardy plant. It grows in nutrient-poor soil, at high altitudes and strong sunlight. It is a survivor, getting through the most difficult of times. It’s leaves are also usually full of little insects and parasites, giving it a victim persona. Its root contains essential oils which are powerful anti–inflammatory agents. So there is no wonder that Arnica is a powerful remedy not just on a physical level but also on emotional and spiritual levels too.

If you have fallen over and taken a knock, or are feeling battered and bruised from a tough exercise workout, Arnica knows that feeling. Arnica can sooth your weariness, heal your bruises, remedy the trauma and comfort your injured pride.

Arnica Salve (by Neal’s Yard Remedies) is potent plant power in a jar: organic essential oils and herbal extracts in pure, organic beeswax. Supporting a hard worked body, the salve can be massaged into muscles before and after exertion, stimulating muscles before workouts and easing them afterwards. Of course it is also a necessity for the organic medicine cabinet for emergency first aid for those knocks, bruises, falls and sprains.

When overtired why not enjoy a restorative soak with Arnica in the bath. Infusions of mineral-rich Seaweed, Comfrey and Arnica are combined with pure essential oils of Lemon, Pine, Juniper and Lavender to ease tired muscles and restore a sense of vitality.

Especially formulated to ease weary limbs. Or why not try the new Seaweed and Arnica Bath Salts?

 

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, acupuncturist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Group Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic.

Image courtesy of foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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Coping with Seasonal Allergies

POST102 million people in the UK suffer with seasonal allergies.

Generally speaking, early symptoms are caused by tree pollen, and later symptoms are caused by grasses and weeds. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis (or more commonly referred to as hay fever).

Symptoms that continue all year are called perennial allergic rhinitis and commonly relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets and indoor moulds.

In response to exposure of an allergen (e.g. pollen) the body’s immune system overreacts and releases chemicals (histamines) which cause inflammation. Histamines work quickly, causing sneezing, itching and runny nose. The eyes may also be affected, with itching, redness and watering (allergic conjunctivitis).

Other chemicals released during this overreaction can cause a blocked or stuffy nose and sinuses, which may lead to headache and difficulty sleeping.

Rhinitis is often regarded as a trivial problem but studies have shown that it severely affects people’s quality of life. It disturbs sleep, impairs daytime concentration and the ability to carry out tasks, causes people to miss work or school, and has been shown to affect children’s school exam results. (Source Allergy UK).

Treatments that suppress the symptoms of rhinitis or hay fever are antihistamines.

Quercetin is a natural anti-histamine i.e. it is known to inhibit the manufacture and release of histamine. It is also high in antioxidants.

  • Quercetin is an flavonoid (plant pigment) commonly found in fruits and vegetables, especially onions, citrus, and apples.post5
  • In this new supplement, Quercetin and Nettle complex, it is blended with other ingredients (such as nettle) to have a synergistic effect. Nettle is known for antihistamine affect too, but also believed to be soothing and anti-inflammatory for skin problems such as eczema, hives, redness and itchiness.
  • Other ingredients include bromelene which is an anti-inflammatory (found in pineapples). Reduces swelling/inflammation in the sinuses.
  • And liquorice – this also has anti-inflammatory properties but also has de-stressing qualities.
  • Since over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines can have side effects like drowsiness, seizures and dry mouth, our natural option is a good choice.
  • Use with Vitamin C for an optimal effect.

Zinc also helps with hayfever. Zinc reduces histamine levels and will enhance Quercetin.

  • If you suffer with regular colds/infections – you could well be deficient in zinc. post6Zinc will reduce a cold by up to 7 days, because it is toxic to viruses.
  • Zinc is amazing for skin – crucial skin healing and repair, acne, blemishes etc. balances sebum.
  • Zinc balances the reproductive organs so it’s a great choice for couples wanting to conceive. Great for bones and nails.
  • NYROrganic zinc has a great base of carrot, alfa alfa and bilberry. No fillers.

NYROrganic Summer tea is full of natural remedies:

  • Eyebright herb for reducing inflammation around the mucus membranes.
  • Nettle and liquorice (already mentioned above).
  • Plus peppermint to calm and boost immunity.

TOP TIP: Pop the used tea bags into the fridge and then place on the eyes for calming itchiness.

Any of the White tea range will be hugely antioxidant so great for any allergies/hay fever.

  • White tea facial mist – lovely and refreshing, and cooling for the face. Use as a toner and as a facial spritz throughout the day over make-up.POST8_white_tea
  • White tea toning eye gel. Again this contains the Eyebright herb for reducing inflammation around the mucus membranes, more specifically the eye area here. Keep in the fridge for that extra cooling effect.
  • White tea enriching facial mask  – the kaolin clay cools and calms the skin.

OTHER TOP TIPS:

  • Apply the bee lovely lip balm around nostrils to prevent the pollen/allergens from entering the nasal cavity.
  • Some people with an allergy to pollens (especially tree pollens) may be affected by cross-reactions between their pollen allergy and certain foods. For example, they may find that when eating certain fruits, vegetables or tree nuts, especially raw, they get an itchy mouth or throat.
  • Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important in the early mornings, when pollen is being released, and in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
  • On high pollen days, shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing.
  • Avoid drying washing on a clothes-line outside when pollen counts are high.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes.
  • Start taking a spoon full of locally sourced honey every day as early in the year as possible to build up immunity/resilience. (Source Allergy UK)
  • Get some reflexology. Reflexology Lymph Drainage has helped others manage rhinitis.

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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It is absolutely acceptable to be a salesperson

I recently read Jane Binnion’s book The Heart of Sales. Jane is a social media and ethical sales training, and has written this book for small business owners who choose to trade ethically. This book is the inspiration behind this blog.

Many people are so frightened by the whole “sales” idea of a business, and it is not surprising really when  the term “sales person” conjures up an image of a man in a grey suit knocking on doors cold calling, or swathes of telesales staff in a windowless office harassing “innocent” people.

When I invite people to join my social selling team with Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic (NYRO), many people respond with those images of sales people in mind, saying that “sales” is just not their thing.

ID-100236331But selling is the heart of any business. If you don’t sell anything then where are you making your money? The truth is that the majority of people are selling something. Even as an holistic therapist I am a sales person. I am selling reflexology. I am exchanging a service for a price. This is absolutely acceptable because I have invested a lot of money, time and passion into my training and I am confident in my therapy and with my price.

The same can be said for NYRO. It is absolutely acceptable for me to sell these products, especially when the ingredients are sourced naturally and ethically, and suppliers are treated fairly and the company is environmentally friendly with carbon neutral status. Not to mention its pioneering efforts in organic farming and organic ingredients, and partnership with the Soil Association.

All of these factors give me confidence in my products and their price, and they make it very acceptable for me to sell them.

So yes I am a sales person but I am also much more than that. Because my business makes a difference. I am helping my customers choose the best for their health and wellbeing. I am spreading the word in organic and fair trade. I am passionate about what I do and yes, I am making a profit from that, and yes! I am selling! And yes, this is absolutely acceptable.

If you would like to know more about what I do and how you could do it too – please get in touch. It is absolutely acceptable to do so 🙂

JJackie 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 Stuart Miles 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

Shopping consciously

It’s that time of year again where we start thinking about the Christmas shopping. We are all looking for a good deal, a bargain, the ideal gift.

But what are we actually buying? Where did it come from? Who made it? How was it grown? How many people were involved it’s creation and how were they treated? How much were they paid? What is the item’s carbon footprint?

Enough of the mindless purchasing of gifts just to get the job done. These questions make us conscious shoppers.

frankincense

As an Independent Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic I’m passionate about the ethics and ethos of my business. The products and gift boxes I sell encourage a more holistic way of health, beauty and wellbeing.

Here’s a few areas highlighting why shopping with me is such a great choice…

Organic

We believe in “Soil Not Oil” and protect the planet by using sustainably-sourced organic ingredients, grown from healthy soil, free from oil-based fertilisers and preservatives.

We work  hard to minimise our impact on the environment

Throughout our Christmas Gift range, we use Carbon Balanced Paper and were awarded the very first World Land Trust (WLT) Certificate in doing so. By choosing Carbon Balanced Paper we have balanced, through the WLT, the equivalent of 17.4 tonnes of CO2 so far, preserving 815m2 of critically threatened tropical forest.

WLT

In addition, by using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper and card in our other gifts and printed materials we are further helping to protect the world’s forests.

Carbon Neutral

We grow many of the organic herbs at the eco-factory in Peacemarsh, Dorset, and Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Berkshire. This gives us zero-transport miles!

carbon neutral

We are a Carbon Neutral company, and our eco-factory has 200m2 of solar panelling installed!

People Helping People

We also make sure we know the origins of every herb and ingredient we use.

Trading fairly we build strong, sustainable relationships with our suppliers, some of whom have been with us for the last 30 years.

fair wild

We are changing the lives of women in Northern Kenya by trading FairWild certified organic frankincense, bringing rare and valuable income to the women of the Samburu Tribe.

We believe in people helping people: our Fairtrade rooibos comes from small-scale growers in the Cedarburg region of South Africa, home of the rooibos plant.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified Reflexologist, Acupuncturist 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 my own.

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Perimenopause : an overview

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is when the body begins preparation for the stage in life where child bearing will not be the biological focus. This usually happens in a woman’s 40s and is a gradual build-up to menopause, when the menstrual cycle ceases completely. Perimenopause starts with a gradual decline in progesterone and can cause some of the following symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Cracked, dry or loose skin (caused by less collagen)
  • Low sex drive and/or more difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Anxiety
  • Tearfulness (especially week before period)
  • Restless sleep
  • Increased menstrual cramps
  • Night sweats [1]

These uncomfortable symptoms are because the body is trying to adjust to the relative oestrogen excess.

Not only do the sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) have to make the transition, so do other hormones. For example, cortisol levels (a stress hormone) will increase, and insulin resistance can be more common. Because of this, it is vitally important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to find ways of managing and/or coping with stress.

Before menopause, the ovaries are the major oestrogen secretors. However, as they become less active during perimenopause and menopause, the balance shifts until finally around half of the body’s oestrogen and progesterone is made in the adrenal glands. If stress levels are high, the adrenal glands will always prioritise the secretion of the stress hormones over the creation of sex hormones. Thus, finding ways of lowering stress will ensure the adequate amount of sex hormones is produced in a woman’s body in her 40s and beyond, maintaining balance.[1]

In addition, the body might look elsewhere for oestrogen once the ovaries start to slow down. This could easily lead to weight gain because fat cells are a key source of oestrogen storage. Furthermore, if a woman is already obese before menopause then the fat cells may create too much oestrogen in comparison to progesterone, leading to increased oestrogen dominance. [1]

Oestrogen dominance is also likely during prolonged periods of stress. This is because the stress hormone cortisol competes with progesterone. Thus progesterone levels decrease, inducing an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone. [2] Signs of decreased progesterone, and oestrogen dominance, are:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise absent periods
  • Bloating
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Mood swings (irritability and/or depression)
  • Weight gain (particularly abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headaches, especially pre-menstrual [3]

ImageHow to cope

Find ways of managing/coping with stress that work for you. Ideas: regular reflexology or massage treatments, daily meditation, regular exercise, better time management, spending more time outdoors, spending time with animals/nature, keeping a diary or journal.

Eat a healthy balanced diet. Try to avoid white, refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cake and biscuits. Make a switch to fresh vegetables, white meat and fish, pulses and whole grains.

Switch to organic. Eating organically can be expensive; if you cannot afford to go completely organic, try to avoid the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen”. This means if nothing else, always buy the following as organic produce (or avoid altogether): apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, peppers, kale and courgettes. The EWG’s “Clean 15” is a list which can be classed as “safe non-organic”: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, melon, sweetcorn, aubergine, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen peas, sweet potatoes. [4]

Reduce use of stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol. Stimulants send the body’s hormones on a roller-coaster ride of high peaks followed by low drops creating a multitude of problems including cravings and fatigue.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t eliminate everything from your diet and make yourself miserable. Allow yourself that morning coffee; enjoy a piece of cake once a week; switch to a darker variety of chocolate with less sugar; enjoy a weekend glass of wine.

References

[1] Is it me or my hormones? by Marcelle Pick 2013

[2] The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford 2004

[3] The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christiane Northrup 2009

[4] Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

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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