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Monday 23 September 2013

Is it nearly time for the Autumn dig?

By Barbara Moulang

This year I’m determined (unlike other years) to dig over my allotment before the first frost.  I say this every year and never manage it – busy life, work, kids.  But what a bonus if I do it before the winter.  The frost will break up the clods of earth making them easier to crumble in the spring, the frost and birds will kill off lots of bugs, I can dig before the soil is waterlogged, I can dig before the April showers (or snow!) and plant earlier, maybe removing more bindweed on the way. 

With the sad news of the death of Seamus Heaney, revisiting some poems from years ago,  `Digging’ a famous one and much loved has prompted me to write about one of my least favourite activities – slowly and surprisingly becoming easier and less hard work as I get older.  I haven’t hobbled to the door of a colleague with post diggers back for a couple of years now, although my allotment neighbours will still find me lying on my back hugging my knees for a few minutes when the deep roots of perennial weeds have got the better of me.

I don’t think I’m particularly strong and I’m quite small, but over the years I have found ways to counter the pain I used suffer after only half an hour’s digging.  I love my spade (a hand-me-down, with a thin sharp blade worn down from years of gravelly soil) but have also found another tool, a `chillington hoe’ very useful, providing a very different digging action and saving my back from the same relentless repetitive movements all the time.

So here are some of my tips for less back pain after digging.  I can’t guarantee you won’t be in any pain at all but if you follow some of this advice it might help.  Of course if you are in any continual discomfort it goes without saying that an osteopath at the Chandos Clinic can give you specific help and advice.

Warm up before you start with some simple stretches – gardening is heavy exercise.
Buy a spade with a small blade, then you won’t be tempted to lift heavy spadefuls of earth.
For the same reasons dig smaller chunks at a time.
Try a chillington hoe for a different digging action and posture.
Alternate digging with other chores so you’re not doing the same thing for hours.
Dig over in the autumn so the frost can help to break up the soil.
Stand up from digging often to make sure your back still feels comfortable.
Try the `no dig’ method if you don’t have too much of a perennial weed problem.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Too much Coffee Linked to Premature Deaths in Younger People

Drinking more than four cups of coffee per day does more than increase the risk of the jitters, a new study from America suggests. Researchers report that heavy coffee consumption, defined as more than 28 cups of coffee per week, is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality among men.
For men and women 55 years of age and younger, the association between heavy coffee consumption and all-cause mortality is more pronounced.
In this latest study, which is published online August 15, 2013 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, lead investigator Dr Junxiu Liu (University of South Carolina, Columbia) and colleagues assessed the data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. The retrospective analysis included 43 727 participants followed for a median of 17 years, during which time 2512 deaths occurred.

Despite the limitations of the study, Lavie told heartwire , "it certainly looks like people who report intakes of low amounts of coffee are not getting significant harm, and that's up to about 28 cups a week, which is a decent amount of coffee." He pointed out that a cup of coffee as measured is an 8-oz cup, and not the supersized 20-ounce cups typical of Starbucks and other coffee chains.
In a multivariate analysis, men who drank more than 28 cups of coffee had a statistically significant 21% increased risk of all-cause mortality. In women, the risk was not statistically significant. In men younger than 55 years of age, drinking more than 28 cups per week was associated with a 56% increased risk of death compared with non-drinkers. In younger women, such heavy consumption increased the risk of death 113% compared with those who did not drink coffee.
For people who like coffee, including himself, Lavie said the study suggests coffee is relatively safe if people limit themselves to less than four cups of coffee per day. For those who consume more, Lavie said the research is not intended to scare anyone, but it can't hurt for people to think about the association.
"Honestly, for myself, I could easily go some days having a sixth cup of coffee, but this is leading me now to try to limit myself to the third, and maybe occasionally have the fourth," said Lavie. "Most days now I'm sticking with two or three cups. And honestly, for most people, it's a habit. There's something to the first or second cup, but if you're drinking it all day long it's really just a habit. And if you have a signal for increased mortality, and you know about that, it might make people think or stop after the third cup."

 Source: www.medscape.com

Monday 9 September 2013

Censorship of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The ASA is stopping complimentary therapists from advertising. They have censored us from even mentioning any medical condition on our websites and will not acknowledge benefit for more than a handful of conditions ignoring NHS, NICE and World Health Organisation Evidence. They have also 'banned' patient testimonials. This is unacceptable censorship and a serious threat to natural medicine which has helped millions worldwide. 

Why this is important

The Advertising Standards Authority has since March 2011 been using complaints from a small number of anti-CAM lobbyists to heavily restrict information on the websites of complementary and alternative medical therapists. 
 The ASA guidelines for therapists amount to censorship as they do not accept divided medical evidence or the 2000 year historical use of therapies such as acupuncture. The ASA insist on placebo controlled RCTs published in peer reviewed journals and no split in medical opinion. This leads to extreme bias against CAM which does not have the resources and due to its holistic approach, placebo controlled trials e.g. for acupuncture may not be suitable. The ASA subjectively assess evidence, present a limited view of submitted evidence to the council, and ignore WHO and NICE guidelines. This is a huge threat to patient choice and the freedom of information available on the internet. 

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Thank you

Monday 2 September 2013

10 Health Benefits Of Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea comes from South Africa and can be a good alternative to normal tea. It does have a slightly different taste  to standard black tea but it is great to know that it genuinely doing your bodies a lot of good.  The health benefits of rooibos tea are quite extraordinary – why not give it a try

1. Caffeine free – The rooibos plant grows naturally without any caffeine.  This is important, as it means it does not need to undergo a chemical process to remove the caffeine.  It also means that anyone can drink it, including those who do not want to drink caffeine such as children & pregnant women.  The other key benefit of no caffeine is that rooibos tea can be drunk in unrestricted amounts, in fact, the average South African will consume 5-6 cups per day.

2. Contains powerful antioxidants – Rooibos tea contains a huge array of antioxidants, which help to protect the body in a number of ways.  Two polyphenol antioxidants called aspalathin and nothofagin are found in high concentrations in rooibos tea.  These antioxidants protect the body by fighting free radicals.  These are unstable cells, which attack healthy cells in order to stabilise themselves.  The polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties and can safeguard against heart disease.

3. Prevents against some cancers – Some studies have demonstrated a link between consumption of rooibos tea and a reduction of cancer-causing chemicals.  This is because of the high level of dominant antioxidants, some of which have anti-mutagenic properties.  This means that they defend cells & DNA against damage and inhibit them from developing into cancer.

4. High mineral content – One of the key health benefits of rooibos tea is that it contains several minerals that are vital to health.  These include: magnesium – essential for the nervous system, calcium & manganese – essential for strong teeth and bones, zinc – important for metabolism and iron – critical for helping blood & muscles distribute oxygen.

5. Improves circulation – One of the many potent antioxidants in rooibos tea is called Chysoeriol.  It can improve circulation by preventing the activity of the enzyme that triggers cardiovascular disease.  Drinking rooibos tea also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

6. Relieves stomach complaints – As rooibos tea contains high levels of flavonoids, especially one called quercetin, it has the ability to relieve numerous abdominal ailments such as cramps, diahorrea and indigestion.  This is because the flavonoids help to reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies.  It has also been widely stated that the health benefits of rooibos tea extend to alleviating colic in babies.  As it is totally caffeine free, it is perfectly safe for them to drink rooibos tea.

7. Aids absorption of iron – Unlike most black teas, which prevent the body from absorbing iron effectively because of the tannins they contain, rooibos tea supports the body in absorbing iron.  This is because rooibos tea contains less than half the tannins of black tea.

8. Can relieve skin conditions – A more recent discovery of the benefits of rooibos tea is that it can help you to look more beautiful!  Rooibos tea contains phenyl pyretic acid, which can help to improve acne, psoriasis and eczema.  You can apply a freshly brewed and cooled tea bag to the affected areas and it will soothe and heal any inflammation.

9. Can protect against Parkinsons/Alzheimers disease – drinking rooibos tea regularly can protect against a process known as lipid peridoxation.  This is where free radicals damage brain cells and nerve tissue.  If this is prolonged, it can lead eventually to progressive and deteriorating brain disease, such as Alzheimers.  Laboratory tests on rats showed little difference in brain function from a group of older rats given rooibos tea to the brains of newborn rats.

10. Encourages restful sleep – One of the many health benefits of rooibos tea is that it can be drunk as often as you wish and at any time of day.  Many people choose to drink it before bedtime as it can help with insomnia.  Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it helps people to feel calm and relaxed.