Monthly Archives: December 2009

Holiday Hangover Detox

Party time is in full swing and we’re all guzzling back the booze like there’s no tomorrow (apart from those who are up the duff and therefore designated drivers). It might feel pretty good now, but how many of us will cry “detox” come January?

Alcohol changes the body’s chemistry and alcohol abuse can create a toxic liver, deplete nutrients and store poisons in the body. It’s these ‘leftovers’ that can cause cravings.

There are hundreds of detox products and kits on the market, but here are some natural ways we can cheaply and easily cleanse ourselves from the inside out.

  • Drink loads of water – at least 10 big glasses a day.
  • Try spirulina to get some extra nutrients into your body (Vitamin E and B12, iron, calcium, antioxidants minerals and enzymes).
  • Milk thistle is a great liver cleanser, as are liquorice root and dandelion.
  • B vitamins are often referred to as ‘detox vitamins’ – make sure you’re getting enough.
  • Exercising will increase the cleansing effect of a detox and a dry sauna after exercise will help you sweat those toxins out.
  • Dry massage (with a brush or loofah) to slough off dead skin cells and remove toxins.
  • Eat lots of fruit and veggies – try apple, celery, pineapple and berries juiced with a pinch of ginger and cinnamon. Dark green leafy veg is good too and fresh parsley is an antioxidant and good for digestion. Asparagus is a great blood cleanser and excellent for health bowel maintenance. Don’t overcook your vegetables.
  • Avoid caffeine, sugars, processed foods, drugs and, of course, alcohol when detoxing.

Beating Jet Lag Naturally

All my friends are abandoning me for Christmas. Well OK, not all of them but enough of them to make me a little bit bitter and jealous. Despite this, in the spirit of the season (good will to all men and all that), I’ve been looking into some holistic jet lag cures so you lucky jetsetters can make the most of your holiday downtime.

1. Sleep. A good sleep the night before you travel is essential. Switch off your phone, drink some warm milk and wallow in the bath with a few drops of lavender added. Take some ear plugs and an eye mask so you can snooze during the flight.

2. Herbs and teas. Try chamomile, valerian, daisy, arnica and club mosses. Avoid coffee and alcohol when flying (yes, boring I know – one glass of champagne probably won’t hurt). Peppermint tea will help you digest that stodgy plane food and chamomile tea may help you drift off. If you’re pregnant, check with your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.

3. Water. Staying hydrated is essential but some of us forget to drink water when we fly. Keep bugging the crew and, if you can, ask them to leave a large bottle of water with you rather than half filling those tiny plastic cups.

4. Keep moving. Do a yoga or pilates class the day before, move about on the plane as much as possible and when you get to your destination, take a long walk. This will not only prevent deep vein thrombosis – staying active will also help you stay awake until your body can attune to the local time zone.

5. Massage. Any excuse, but massage stimulates the lymphatic drainage system, helping your body eliminate toxins, release tension in the muscles, and combat puffy eyes and ankles.

Happy holidays. Have fun in Bali, NZ, Europe etc and make sure you bring me back a present. Bah Humbug…

Love your Latte

Can’t give up your morning cuppa? Don’t worry, your daily latte may be doing you more good than harm. According to a study by The George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney, the consumption of coffee and tea is independently associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In fact, go crazy, have an afternoon caffeine fix too. Results of the study found that the more coffee you drink, the less the risk of diabetes, with each cup linked to a 7% risk reduction.

These results actually make sense in regards to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which views type 2 diabetes as a result of inefficiency of the digestive system. TCM uses tea and coffee medicinally to increase digestive efficiency. Obviously, type 2 diabetes is also linked to weight and lifestyle, and tea and coffee shouldn’t be viewed as a cure for diabetes. However, it’s comforting to know that Melbourne’s much loved cafe culture is good for both mind and body.

Distance Healing

A good friend of mine who has been dabbling in Reiki for a while, once did some ‘distance healing’ on me. Apparently, I was quite receptive until he mentioned fairy dust, to which my energetic self responded with a kind of spiritual ‘up yours’… I hope now I’d be more open to a bit of fairy dust, especially at this festive time of year.
With Christmas and the new year on the doorstep, there’s plenty of talk of sending prayers, thoughts and best wishes to loved ones and those less fortunate – distance healing in its most simple form. It’s said that energy healing can be accomplished in at a distance just as easily as in person. So how does it work?

Our bodies, minds and spirits are all made up of energy rather than solid matter. Some have described the ‘life energy’ used by healers as a subtle energy that is faster than light energy. Many of us have felt a kind of telepathic connection with someone else, where we sense what is happening with them. An energy healer doing distance healing can sense the healee’s energy in the same way. The healer will often use an object to bring them into closer contact with the healee – maybe a photograph or personal item.

If you feel like sending some good vibes out to those you love this Christmas, go right ahead. You can’t do any harm if you have the right intention – just remember, when it comes to fairy dust, less is more…

Hyp-Yoga: The Perfect Combination?

I just treated myself to the most wonderful relaxation massage. I’m 20 weeks pregnant at the moment – halfway through and grumpy about cramps in my calves and a sore back. So it was about time for a pamper.

Laying there, belly cushioned, I felt completely relaxed for the first time in ages. On the massage table, I made a pact with myself to do more of the things that make me feel that way. I floated back to my desk to find an email about a new phenomenon that’s sweeping the US – Hyp-Yoga.

Created by three female certified hypnotists and yoga instructors, Hyp-Yoga sessions start with breathing exercises followed by a series of yoga poses combined with positive hypnotic suggestions. The idea is to use yoga to open up the body and heart and then use a whole body relaxation technique to induce a deeper state of hypnosis. The focus is on helping you achieve your personal goals and living a healthy, successful life.

Being a US-based practice, the Hyp-Yoga website is a little skewed to weight loss and looking younger, but it still sounds like a delicious combination and perfectly in line with my newly created pact. Can’t wait for it to hit our shores. Let me know if you’ve heard anything.

In the meantime, I’m starting pre-natal yoga at Balaclava’s Yoga Moves next week after a whole year off… wish me luck!

Kinesi What?

A blend of eastern wisdom and western science, kinesiology is becoming more widely accepted, but the therapy is still a bit of an enigma. In short, kinesiology is the study of whole body movement. It encompasses a number of holistic health disciplines and uses the gentle art of muscle monitoring to access information about a person’s wellbeing.

I’ve been seeing a holistic kinesiologist, Merryl Key, regularly for a couple of years. I don’t always need a physical ‘reason’ for my sessions with Merryl – I see them more as general maintenance that enhance my sense of wellbeing and help me work on areas of my life where there may be blockages. Post session, I often feel stagnant energy moving through the body. This sometimes results in an energy hangover, where I can feel down, have a good cry or even feel nauseous, followed later by a sensation of something clearing or shifting, creating a sense of lightness or balance in my body.

Responses to treatments can be strong and it is crucial to find a qualified kinesiologist that you click with.

Always curious, I attended a free one-day introduction to kinesiology at the Australian College of Complementary Medicine (ACCM) on Saturday 5 December. The day was informative without being overwhelming, with great facilitators in a welcoming environment. I‘d highly recommend the course to anyone who wants to find out more about kinesiology.

Find out more at the ACCM website. The college also has a 2-for-1 offer on student clinic sessions at the moment – two sessions for $30 – a bargain!

Meditation as Medicine

The relaxing and calming effects of meditation are well known to many of us, but scientists and researchers now have concrete evidence that meditation can help not just the mind and soul, but can have an incredible impact on the body too.

A $3.8 million US study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has found that patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) have an almost 50 per cent lower rate of heart attack, stroke and death compared to a matched group that didn’t meditate.

The trial followed 201 men and women for nine years. The research subjects had an average age of 59 and were all diagnosed with narrowing of the arteries in their hearts.

Participants continued their usual medical care during the study, but half we randomly assigned to a group that practiced stress-reducing TM and the other half were placed in a non-meditating group that received health education classes covering standard cardiovascular risk factors.

Those in the TM group also recorded a significant reduction in blood pressure and reduced psychological stress.

The results of the study were presented on 16 November at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida.


Struggling with meditation? Finding it hard to clear your mind? Try a guided meditation session, giving you something tangible to focus on. I’d recommend the Headspace app and the free Take 10 program, which gives you ten minutes of guided meditation for ten days. Light on commitment, high on impact…