Menopause and its symptoms

Menopause and its symptoms  – isn’t it great that we actually talk about it now? It is no longer taboo, it is simply another phase of life;  in fact, probably another one third of a woman’s life is spent in menopause. Which means that there is another third of life to embrace and to make sure that you do everything possible to get through in the best shape that you can possibly be in – and sail through (hopefully) menopausal symptoms.

Did you know that in Japanese there is no word for hot flashes?  There are parts of the world, Asia, especially Japan, that don’t even recognise it as a condition. Women of a menopausal age in these countries tend to experience less severe hot flashes, less insomnia, less night sweats or vaginal dryness, or increased heart rate.   It is interesting to wonder why this is.  Could it potentially be the difference in the way that we eat and fuel our bodies?  

Phytoestrogens are known to be really beneficial to reducing menopausal symptoms. In most Asian cultures, the consumption of phytoestrogens is much much higher than here in the UK.  Typically these women consume 50-200 mg of phytoestrogens (specifically isoflavones) daily, where as our in our diets it can be as low as 3-5 mg.

So what are Phytoestrogens, and how can we increase them? Phytoestrogens are plant foods which as the name suggests, have their own oestrogen-like components.  They don’t add oestrogens to your body – so they won’t give you an excess or make you oestrogen dominant, but what they will do is balance up the ones that are already there.  

They literally act like a key and stimulate beneficial effects in the brain, bone, heart and bladder.  In the breast, womb and ovaries they can help to block the stimulation of somethings called alpha receptors, which can produce cancer.  All in all, they are a good thing and something that we need plenty of in our diet – every day.

There are three main types, and here are a few ideas of how to make sure that you are getting plenty.

  • Lignans – Flaxseeds are one of my favourite as they contain potent phytoestrogens.  There’s research to suggest that they can help to reduce hot flushes and vaginal dryness.  Ground flaxseeds are so simple to add into a bowl of porridge or overnight oats, or stir into a smoothie.  The great thing about them is that they have a variety of plus points.  
    • They are chock full of good oils.  These are the oils that help your skin and your heart.  
    • They are full of anti inflammatory fats and they help your body make to hormones too.
    • Flaxseeds are one of the ultimate soluble fibre foods. Great for bulking out those bowel movements and flushing out your system, so to speak. 
  • Chia seeds are similar.  Good for making up a chia pudding as an alternative to porridge.  They have more fibre than flaxseeds and more calcium too –  although less of an oestrogenic quality than flax. 
    • You can also use the ground flax or chia as an alternative for eggs in vegan cooking.  Because the oil content is so high, when it’s mixed with water it has a binding effect similar to using an egg.
  • Isoflavones – This second group of phytoestrogens are hopefully those that you may already use widely. Chickpeas, red kidney beans, cannellini beans, haricot, peas – all the legumes are wonderful sources of isoflavones.  And what we should be aiming to do is to add some of these foods to our diet every single day.  
    • There are over 300 foods which contain isoflavones.  But what you need here is variety, because those 300 foods all contain different types of isoflavone and each has a different benefit. 
    • It could be as hummus, or a lentil dhal, falafel or just padding out a casserole with some black beans.   They are such versatile foods.  Or a pea and ham soup for lunch?  Or even a nice warming lentil and bacon soup?  The possibilities are endless!  
    • When we think about including them in our diet then we should think about volume.  For most women, our intake of peas, lentils, chickpeas is probably just a tablespoonful here and there. In parts of South East Asia these foods are staples.  

If you’re still at the perimenopausal stage, then you could benefit by starting to add in a couple of portions a day since research has shown that A diet high in legumes delayed menopause on average by one-and-a-half years!

    • Soya is a beneficial isoflavone  but only if it is eaten in the traditional way.  Often in this country it is completely over processed with products being made from soya protein isolates.
    • Aim to buy organic whole soya bean products, or soya that is fermented, such as in tempeh, miso, Tofu, miso bean soy paste, and tamari.  
  • Coumestans are the final group of phytoestrogens.  You find these specifically in sprouted mung and alfalfa beans. 
    • Sprouted seeds are always a great thing to add to your diet.  If you think about what you are eating here, it’s the powerhouse of the plant.  
    • It’s full of nutrients – including  enzymes which in turn affects how the body breaks down carbohydrates. 

These are just a few of a myriad of things that can help you to feel more like yourself in the next phase of your life. We are all different, and finding what works for you is where I can help you. As a Nutritional Therapist I specialise in helping mid-lifers get themselves back on track. Why not book in for a Free Better Health Chat now and take steps to make sure that this phase is the best time of your life.

Type 2 Diabetes

As the nights draw in, daylight hours decrease and temperatures drop, it is understandable we reach for foods that help to keep us warm and comforted. Our food choices however, do not need to be laden with calories and sugar to give us what we need. In fact, for many of us, it’s essential they are not. We now know, through extensive research that the health of our gut microbiome is essential to the health of our body/mind. We now know that many diseases originate from a malfunctioning digestive system – for instance – Type 2 Diabetes. There is a revolution happening in our guts and it’s not that it has altered dramatically but our understanding of it certainly has.

The number of people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK and worldwide is growing year on year. It is one of the most common long term health conditions and is estimated to cost the NHS around £12 billion a year. In the UK, more than 4.7 million people have Type 2 Diabetes and a further 13.6 million are believed to be at higher risk. 

Type 2 Diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, Type 2 Diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide. This increase has been connected to the climbing levels of obesity.

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results in high blood glucose levels, hyperglycaemia, due to: 

  • Cells in muscle, fat and the liver becoming resistant to insulin, which means the cells don’t take in enough sugar.
  • The pancreas can’t make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. 

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas — a gland located behind and below the stomach. Insulin controls how the body uses sugar in the following ways:

  • Sugar in the bloodstream triggers the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Insulin circulates in the bloodstream, enabling sugar to enter the cells.
  • The amount of sugar in the bloodstream drops.
  • In response to this drop, the pancreas releases less insulin.

Glucose, (a sugar) is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. The use and regulation of glucose includes the following:

  • Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver.
  • Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin.
  • The liver stores and makes glucose.
  • When glucose levels are low, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep the body’s glucose level within a healthy range.

In Type 2 Diabetes, this process doesn’t work well. Instead of moving into the cells, sugar builds up in the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases more insulin. Eventually the cells in the pancreas that make insulin become damaged and can’t make enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.

Type 2 Diabetes is a serious medical condition, which over time, may damage other organs of the body. It can often require the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of Type 2 Diabetes and its side effects can be reduced or prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can be living with Type 2 Diabetes for years and not know it. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Slow-healing sores.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. 
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck.

Health factors that may increase the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a waist size of 31.5 inches or more (women) or more than 37 inches (men)
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Long term use of anti-biotics
  • Physical inactivity
  • Genetic disposition and/or having a first degree relative with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure or raised cholesterol levels
  • Smoking

Type 2 Diabetes can also develop in people who are not overweight or obese. This is more common in older adults and is called Skinny Diabetes 2.

The good news is, that in recent years, it has become apparent that many people with Type 2 Diabetes are able to reverse the condition through methods including low-carb diets, low-calorie diets and exercise.

According to a study on the microbiome detailed in Dr James Kinross’s book Dark Matter, new research is starting to provide some insight between the gut and Type 2 Diabetes; 

A recent analysis of more than 2,166 Dutch people, (which accounted for many of the environmental confounders of the microbiome), confirmed that those with Type 2 diabetes have less microbiome diversity and less butyrate (a major short-chain fatty acid produced during gut flora-mediated fermentation of dietary fibres) production in the gut, compared to age and sex-matched non-diabetic people.

He goes on to say,

The implications of low-level inflammatory process in the gut in obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are significant for all aspects of our health. … they are very likely to disrupt the gut-brain axis, exacerbating the addictive nature of food. 

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid dietary sugar. For many people with Type 2 Diabetes, this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, it is likely you will never need long term medication.

What can I do to prevent or reduce the effects of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Eat healthy foods. Avoid processed foods and choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fibre. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Get active. Aim for 150 or more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk, bicycling, running or swimming.
  • Lose weight. If you are overweight, losing a modest amount of weight and keeping it off may delay the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, losing 7% to 10% of your body weight may reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Avoid long stretches of inactivity. Sitting still for long periods of time can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes. 


  • Full fat dairy products including cow’s milk, cheese, cream, ice cream etc
  • Refined sugar
  • Packaged snacks, including biscuits, sweets, cakes, crisps, and any processed baked goods.
  • White carbohydrates, including white bread, pasta, sugar.
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals
  • Dried fruits, which can be high in sugar.
  • French Fries
  • Excessive alcohol


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Salmon
  • Oatmeal
  • Nuts/seeds (avoid non-organic peanuts)
  • Yogurt. Yogurt has many benefits, but best to choose, goat/sheep/coconut, preferably with added Kefir.
  • Salads including, cucumber, celery, tomato, spinach, lettuce, rocket, grated carrot, beetroot, fennel, celeriac, avocado, beansprouts, herbs.
  • Quinoa. Quinoa is a nutrient-rich seed that is often referred to as an ancient grain.
  • Vegetables of all shapes and sizes including, broccoli, kale, beans, cauliflower, celeriac, fennel, peas, carrots, mushrooms, spinach.

Although Colon Hydrotherapy is not recommended for people with Type 1 Diabetes, where the body is unable to produce insulin, it can be a very beneficial support for anyone with Type 2 Diabetes. It can help detox the intestinal tract from the accumulative inflammatory effect of eating unhealthy foods, especially excess processed foods. Then, following a healthy diet which includes the addition of pre-biotics and probiotics, plus infusions of high potency good bacteria directly into the colon (following a colon hydrotherapy treatment) the positive health-giving benefits of a diverse microbiome can be rebuilt. This, in turn, can help support the liver to manage its production and regulation of glucose.

Summer Belly by Caroline Shaw

It’s that time of the year – the holiday season – you pack cases, children, dogs, into cars and planes, chase the sun, a sandy beach, a handy ice cream hut/cocktail bar and of course you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

As much as you long for a break, away from the normal pressures of everyday life¬¬, holidays can play havoc with your digestive system. Heat itself can swell the gut, capillaries expand and the bacteria/yeast organisms that thrive on sugar/starch multiply and release more gas. Then there’s the stress; the getting to and from your vacation destination can be fraught with tension; juggling children, flight cancellations, traffic jams, we’ve all been there. When you arrive there’s no guarantee your accommodation will provide the R&R you crave.

I remember settling into a B&B room with my daughter once when she suddenly screamed and jumped out of bed. There were spiders, more than one and she suffers from Arachnophobia. Let’s just say it took a while to catch the creatures and set them free.

A ‘regular’ digestive system craves stress-free routines and holidays rarely provide that. More than 100 million nerve cells line the gastrointestinal tract from oesophagus to rectum called the enteric nervous system, ENS. The ENS communicates with the brain via the Central Nervous System and vice versa. When under stress, you release more Cortisol and the brain influences the intestinal tract accordingly. Conversely dysbiosis in the microbiota (colonies of gut bacteria) can influence the release of more Cortisol and symptoms of anxiety and depression back to the brain through neuro transmitters. The brain can affect the motility of the gut and the gut can send messages to the brain of well-being or unease. It basically means holidays can trigger constipation or/and diarrhoea.

Maybe the motor home/tent/B&B/hotel/condo/cottage/villa plus pool is perfect, everything you anticipated and more, the next hurdle is food. If you cannot take your own supplies, or if you run out, you are stuck with whatever the establishment/local shops/restaurants provide. You may be lucky, you may have gluten-free/dairy free/sugar-free/organic options or delicious home-grown food on tap, but it’s more than likely you don’t. You are subject to whatever is available. Remember, most establishments tend to buy (in bulk) the cheapest version of ready-made/processed foods.

However, you’ve decided you don’t want to be worrying about what you eat when you’re away. This is your holiday godammit and you’re going to eat/drink whatever you want, when you want. For example; you’re racing to catch a plane your stress levels are high, the need to eat is extinguished, you don’t feel hungry. Then, you’re on the plane settling down in your window seat, your appetite returns, all that’s on offer is the in-flight menu. You choose the pizza twists and gin and tonic, which set off a chain reaction of awfulness.The “bad” bacteria have a field day feasting on the sugar/starch and your stomach struggles to digest processed food in a pressurized air cabin. You have bloating and indigestion and you’ve not even arrived at your Air B&B.

As a tip, Ginger can reduce nausea and help promote digest juices as well as soothe, motion sickness.
Before you regret booking the five-star hotel on Lake Maggiore, there are strategies to help you survive and also allow a little indulgence. When you first arrive at your holiday destination give your brain/gut time to adjust. Avoid alcohol and stick to simple foods – choose veg/salad, and proteins that have been steamed or poached. Eat less rather than more. It’s probably hot and you just don’t need to ingest as many calories to keep warm. Go for a gentle walk or swim. You will need to rehydrate, drink water but also remember black/green tea is rich in flavonoids and can have a ‘cooling’ anti-oxidant effect on the body. Avoid fried foods or rich meals cooked with alcohol, or cream/dairy. Remember to take your time chewing foods before you swallow. By the second day your body may be able to tolerate a more varied diet including a glass of red wine, which again, is high in flavonoids, but keep it simple. Choose more vegetables, fruits and herbs over starch and proteins. However, if you are in a country where water quality is poor or/and hygiene preparation is questionable, stick to bottled water/drinks and cooked foods. It’s just not worth picking up a nasty bug from a lettuce leaf rinsed in foul water. If you feel your tummy reacts, revert to foods that are easy to digest – mashed/puréed/smoothies etc. If possible, you can always try a cleanse day of wonderful freshly squeezed juices. Always check out local specialities. Real Greek yoghurt, for instance, is delicious and is made from the milk of sheep or goats that roam the hills and forage on herbs, flowers and grass. It is full of good bacteria which is heaven for your gut. Whatever country you’re in try their locally sourced raw organic honey. It can help assuage a sweet tooth as well as feed you anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.

(Cooked with foods, or added to salad)
Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamon, cloves, oregano, artichoke, dandelion
peppermint, cumin, fennel, dill, tarragon, parsley.

Travel proof probiotics
Locally sourced natural yogurt, preferably goats/sheep
Fruit for breakfast (peel off skins if not organic) mango/papaya/kiwi/pineapple/figs, apricots/peaches/dates
Teas such a Green/Black which are rich in flavonoids
Nuts and seeds such as flax/chia/sunflower/sesame/hazelnuts/walnuts/almonds/pine nuts/chestnuts
A mix of vegetables celery, cucumbers, asparagus, olives, kale, beets, leafy greens, lettuce spinach, radishes

If you have a tendency to constipation when you’re away I recommend, you take a pack of gentle herbs with you. Senna can be harsh, you might want to choose herbs such slippery elm, fennel, dandelion, liquorice, rhubarb, ginger, peppermint. I keep a blend in stock at CHHC. Also, take with you, probiotics – both Optibac and Viridian, for instance, supply products fit to survive being packed in a suitcase.

If all goes haywire, remember a simple colon hydrotherapy treatment before you go away, or/and on your return, can quickly help get rid of unwanted nasties and assist the integrity of your gut. This can be combined with an infusion of good bacteria for optimum restoration of health in your intestinal tract.

How to Motivate Yourself: Why Shame Doesn’t Work. Natural Health Care tips with Jeni Howland

I often think about how to motivate clients to make better decisions. As I work with clients who want to feel better in some way or other, there are often obstacles around the changes that they may need to make, be it related to movement, diet, self-talk, addictions, self-care etc.

There are some methods which rely on shaming: such as dieting mantras that suggest that you are “less than” because of your size, or “stop smoking” campaigns that suggest that the best reason to stop is so that you don’t smell so bad. Some methods would find what motivates you to change by finding what triggers your pride and then work on that to motivate you to make different decisions. These things may work to an extent. However, if you try to change yourself based on shame or fear, then you will ultimately end up simply redirecting the focus of negative intention elsewhere. This is why I work with my clients to change habits, coming from a place of love. This is harder in the short run but is much more profound in its results.

But what does this mean? How does one use gentle love as a force to change, rather than the more powerful noise of fear?

First, we must identify what triggers negative feelings: social anxiety, fear of failure, being ridiculed for something as a child etc. Next, we might look at where this comes from, but it isn’t always essential to pick this apart in too much detail. If there is need for delving into the pieces of a challenging past then a talking therapist can be an essential element to the journey of choosing to make changes. We then must look at how we can choose love, self-care, and compassion. We can start small here – perhaps noticing someone or something else for which these feelings can be felt. And then use these feelings to start to form new, positive habits. This is different for everyone and for some this is a challenging journey with many twists and turns.

I firmly believe, and will always promote:

We cannot shame ourselves into change; we can only love ourselves into evolution

If you have a habit that you’d like to change, perhaps try this very simple trick:
Think of someone you love, and chose to make that change for them, or with them in mind.
For example, you might want to be happier, so you might choose to simply smile more often. So, when you look in a mirror, you think of that beloved person, and you smile at them. Every time you pass someone in the street or in a shop, you see something of that beloved person in the people you see, and you smile at them. Before you know it, you will develop a habit of smiling, from an honest place of love. And you will also have developed your ability to connect with a feeling of love which can only lead to better self-care.
For comparison, if you chose to smile from a place of shame, rather than a place of love, you will find a very different long-term impact. For example, you might decide to smile in order to hide how depressed you feel. This means that you will smile at people just as often as in the previous example, however, every time you smile, rather than evoking love, you are reminding yourself that you must do this because of a feeling of depression – you are exercising the neural pathways between your conscious habits and your feelings of depression and your feelings of shame around your depression.

Which do you think is more useful? To exercise and build your ability for love or your ability for shame?

As a Kinesiologist I can help to deduce what you need to do to balance your own health, mentally, emotionally, nutritionally, bio-chemically, physically, and energetically.

Jeni Howland practices Kinesiology, Somatic Yoga Therapy, Reiki and Aroma Touch – a gentle massage technique. Jeni also teaches Kinesiology Foundation courses – the next one will commence in September at the Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre. contact Jeni directly for more information or to book an appointment:

Nourish your skin from within

Nourish Your Skin From Within

There are many skin-care products that dominate shop shelves and magazine pages, but does what you eat affect your skin and how does your overall health relate to your skin health?

Your skin is the largest organ in the body. It is your protector as it acts as a barrier between your insides and the rest of the world. Your skin prevents “bad” things from getting in and allows waste products to get out through sweat, while preventing leakages of the things that need to stay in. Your skin creates its own sebum to keep it moisturised and supple and it absorbs and processes useful things such as sunlight to make vitamin D. Your internal mucosa – the skin lining from your mouth down through your body on the inside of your body – is a continuation of this durable and essential organ.

Did you know that the skin is linked to the lungs and the large intestine? Chinese Medicine groups the Lungs, Large Intestines, and the Skin together under the umbrella of the Metal element. When the Metal element is out of balance, this may manifest as allergies, bronchitis, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, a cold, sore throat, digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea or abdominal pain, skin rashes, hives, or psoriasis.

The pores of the skin are known as the ‘doors of Qi’’, allowing energy to flow into and out of your body. The health of your skin is a direct reflection of the strength of your Lung Qi and your body’s ability to eliminate that which should be eliminated and to absorb that which should be absorbed.

The emotion that is most often related to this system is grief, as this is the ability or the ease with which we can let go of that which cannot remain. Grief, in some form or other, may be out of balance when there is a physical imbalance in the skin, lungs or large intestines.

Eating a balanced and healthy diet and drinking plenty of water is essential for keeping your skin well maintained and in full functional health. Important and beneficial nutrition will depend on your own circumstances, diet and imbalances, and may include: Omega 3 fatty acids (think oily fish like salmon, or flaxseeds), Omega 7 (sea buckthorn oil), Vitamin C (fresh fruits and veg), Vitamin A (orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots), MSM (eggs and legumes), Silica (green beans and leafy greens), Selenium (Brazil nuts), and Biotin (eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes).

Looking after your digestive system and ensuring that you are avoiding foods that cause irritation or trigger sensitivities or allergies is also very important for the health of your skin, and this is different for every individual. The skin often deals with the fall-out of a challenged digestive system, and this can manifest as rashes, hives, shadows under the eyes or psoriasis.

Exercising to enable your skin to sweat also helps to keep your skin healthy and nourished, so get out and enjoy the summer – go for a hearty walk, do some gardening, or take a yomp. Don’t forget to cover up or apply your favourite mineral sunscreen!

As a Kinesiologist I can help to deduce what you need to do to balance your own health, test whether you have any intolerances or sensitivities, and test which supplements would be most beneficial for you. Contact me directly to book a session in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire or Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Spotlight on digestion, food and related symptoms

What you eat is fundamental to your overall health.
If you’re eating foods that your body doesn’t currently receive & process well, this can lead to mental as well as physical problems over time.
Some examples of food related symptoms include:
Brain fog
Joint pain
Low energy/fatigue
Inability to lose weight
Low mood or anxiety
Stomach pains
Constipation and diarrhoea
Eczema, spots or acne
Hyperactivity in children
Did you know that through Kinesiology and food sensitivity testing, you can confirm food intolerances and find out which foods your body is taking on board and absorbing and which foods you’re struggling with?
So finding out which foods may be contributing to these symptoms is key in returning you to full health and wellbeing  .Food testing is simple and non-invasive.   During a session, foods are placed on to the body and a muscle test is carried out. If the muscle weakens we know that particular food is draining the body of energy, or in other words, the body is intolerant to that food.  Food sensitivity testing is always carried out as part of a wider & thorough digestive balancing session.
Our fully trained and qualified Kinesiologists balance the body in a holistic way, ensuring that it’s working at optimal levels to receive, digest, process and use the energy the food has provided. This means addressing any underlying emotional factors, confirming any vitamin or mineral deficiencies and finding the right supplements for your unique case, working on any structural issues and ensuring there is flow in your energy systems.
Jeni practices as a Kinesiologist at CHHC on Tuesdays and Saturdays and has a Kinesiology Foundation course commencing this September.
For more information or to book a Kinesiology appointment with Jeni, email

Acupuncture Awareness

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine that relieves pain, eases tension and restores balance, focusing on the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Its aim is to help each patient function at their optimum level of health: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine where thin needles are inserted at strategic sites into the body. Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy or life force flows through the body in channels, known as meridians (otherwise known as Qi – pronounced chee).

According to Chinese medicine, every physical ailment is caused by an energy imbalance within the body. This energy – known as ‘Qi’ – flows through a series of meridians (channels) all over the body and can be accessed via hundreds of specific acu-points. By placing needles in these points, obstructions in the flow of Qi can be unblocked and balance restored. Needling acu-points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain, to reduce the experience of pain and influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

Acupuncture provides the perfect respite for conditions associated with the symptoms of the stressful world we live in and its negative effects on the body and mind. It is now recognised in the West as one of the most effective methods of treating back pain and headaches – as well as a whole variety of emotional and psychological complaints.  It has been proven to be successful in managing a range of heath conditions from back pan and digestive issues, insomnia, infertility and even Long Covid.

How can Acupuncture help me?

Acupuncture can be extremely effective in the treatment of specific physical complaints –

Emotional conditions e.g. stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia

Pain, including back, neck, knees, sciatica, carpal tunnel, RSI, sports injuries, whiplash, arthritis, gout

Headaches / migraines, chronic and acuteHormonal imbalances / PMS –  pain, irregular flow, infertility, libido, menopause

Fertility for both men and women

Addictions e.g. smoking, food, drink, substance

Digestion including IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, irregular appetite

Energy levels, lethargy, hyperactivity, physical, emotional

Allergies, like hay fever, sinusitis, food

Is Acupuncture painful?

People are often cautious about trying acupuncture because of a fear of needles.  There’s no need to worry. Acupuncture needles are incredibly fine (about as thin as a human hair) and are only placed on the surface of the skin. It depends on the individual but most people only feel a slight tingling sensation from the stimulation of the acupuncture point and some feel nothing at all.

Our Practitioners

Eric Goodchild BA LicAc, MBAcC

Eric has practised Acupuncture for over 40 years, since qualifying from the College of Traditional Acupuncture UK in 1981. He held office as Chairman and the President of the Traditional Acupuncture Society (now part of the British Acupuncture Council) for 6 years and is also the founding director of CHHC.

Client Testimonial

“Eric put me at my ease and remained a source of support throughout my IVF treatment and subsequent pregnancy. I recommend acupuncture and in particular, treatment from Eric, to friends going through fertility problems.”

Eric’s clinic days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Ric Malkinson BA (Hons) Lic. Ac. MBAcC Traditional Acupuncture

After being introduced to Traditional Acupuncture in the early 2000s, Ric became fascinated with its theory and tradition – the simplicity of Yin/Yang and Five Elements concepts and with the thousand-year history of an effective drug-free medicine.

Ric went on to qualify as an acupuncturist in 2010 with a First Class Honours degree from the College of Traditional Acupuncture in Warwick and is a registered member of the British Acupuncture Council.

Client Testimonial

“I’d never considered acupuncture before, and was amazed at the improvement after only the second treatment. Within a few months of regular treatments with Ric my quality of life has been the best I have known for 20 years.”

Ric’s clinic days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Call us on 01242 584140, email us at or book on line

Weekly Wellbeing List; The Best Tool for a Better You by Jeni Howland

Do you have a weekly wellbeing list? This is the single most useful tool for creating and maintaining your best self!

The Weekly Wellbeing List is something I implemented diligently during the first lockdown and it remains an essential part of my wellbeing routine, and it couldn’t be simpler.

Like a shopping list, you can likely remember your weekly shopping requirements, but if you go into a shop with a list then you’re less likely to get side-tracked and buy things you don’t really need and also less likely to forget anything you do need. In the same way, your Weekly Wellbeing List will keep you on track and prevent you from being sabotaged by procrastination, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, or “accidentally” forgetting to do the things that you know you need to be doing to be the best version of yourself.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Pick your medium – I like a white board and coloured pens, but you might prefer writing on paper, illustrating your ideas, or typing, printing and laminating your list.

  • Start with writing out the things you already do that support your wellbeing.

  • Then write out the things you know you should do but possibly don’t do enough.

  • Then consider what you could be doing that you have never tried before or know nothing about and add those things too.

  • Now organise your list – write out what you can do daily, what you might do several times a week, and what you might do weekly. You may add a bonus item that you do “on occasion”.

  • Now display your list. Put it on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, or on your bedroom door. Whatever you do, put it up somewhere you’ll see it every day.

  • Keep re-visiting this list and updating it. It is important that it remains current and relevant and you’re not setting yourself up to fail. For example, if you have written “yoga” as something that you should do daily but you are finding you are only fitting it in three times a week, then change the list and move “yoga” into the “several times a week” category.

Weekly wellbeing schedule Jeni Howland

This seemingly simple and trivial undertaking will make a huge difference, I guarantee it! By considering your wellbeing intentions and making your objectives visible, they will soon become natural habits, like cleaning your teeth.

Not sure what to put on your list? Here’s a list that might spark some ideas for your own Weekly Wellbeing List:

  • Aromatherapy

  • Breathing exercises

  • Create, paint or draw

  • Dance

  • Exercise

  • Enjoy a herbal tea and do nothing else whilst you drink it

  • Foot rub – give yourself one

  • Gratitude practice

  • Have a bath

  • Hug a tree

  • Indulge in a relaxing massage

  • Jogging/running/yomping

  • Journaling

  • Knitting

  • Learn a new skill

  • Meditate

  • Notice your senses

  • Observe nature

  • Play a musical instrument

  • Positive affirmations

  • Prepare healthy meals

  • Quiet time

  • Read poetry

  • See a Natural Health Practitioner

  • Sing

  • Tend to plants

  • Use essential oils

  • Volunteer your time to someone else

  • Walking

  • Extend an ear – check in on a friend

  • Yoga

  • Zzzzz – take a nap!

Jeni Howland, Systematic Kinesiologist

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Can a muscle tie up in a knot? By Alexandra Shave

Muscle fibres can go into a micro-cramp (contract and won’t relax) when we injure or challenge our bodies. This spasm reduces blood supply to the local area, causing loss of oxygen and nutrients and building up metabolic waste. Over time it may form palpable ‘knots’ that can cause a lot of discomfort, restriction and (referral) pain.

When the muscle contraction is not released, the nodule can turn into a trigger point right there in the muscle or fascia, whereas the pain may be felt (referred to) elsewhere in the body. This has to do with fascia lines that run throughout the body and the fact that fascia connects everything with everything within the body. More about fascia in a bit.


• Repetitive movements

• Bad posture

• Under or overuse of muscles

• Dehydration

• Poor circulation (lack of movement)

• Disrupted sleep patterns

• Poor nutrition, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies

• Stress, anxiety, and depression

• Trauma

The longer the impairment goes untreated, the more fascia (connective tissue) is laid down, creating even more restriction and thickening of the tissue, resulting in a more permanent and challenging state.


All of the body’s structures are surrounded, protected and supported by connective tissue (fascia). This spiderweb-like network also connects and binds together the organs and systems, simultaneously compartmentalising them. The densely woven fascia literally covers and penetrates every bone, muscle, nerve, artery, vein, and cell, including all our internal organs, the heart, lungs, brain, and spinal cord.

Healthy fascia is smooth, slippery, and flexible. It’s designed to stretch and realign as you move, making new linkages all the time.

The ground substance of fascia can be influenced by applying energy (heat/mechanical pressure), changing it from a denser gel state (a thicker, more gelatinous fluid) to a more fluid sol state (a relatively thin, watery fluid.) This characteristic is called thixotropy. The movement required to allow this change to happen must be slow, as the fascia will remain solid when quick or forceful pressure is applied. With a slow movement, the fascia will melt, and structures and restrictions will be released.


Be active and move throughout the day. If you have a desk job, take at least a two-minute break every hour. Stand up, stretch, get a cup of (herbal) tea, and move around to keep the fascia supple.

Check your posture: slouching over a desktop, laptop or phone or just sitting and walking awkwardly will not help. Knowing how you are compensating for your injured or painful body part and adjusting it will help the healing process. Adopt and maintain a good posture every time you think about it.

Get some help: Besides self-help strategies like yoga, heat pads, and foam rolling, a Fascial Release Therapist will be able to reduce fascial restriction, freeing up the underlying structures and restoring function.


Myofascial Release is a hands-on (no oil) soft tissue technique that facilitates the separation of layers of fascia to stretch and reorganise the restricted fascia and restore the tissue’s elasticity, conductivity, and hydration.

An MFR practitioner will apply touch with focused attention to tight tissue and restricted areas, stimulating fascial release through heat and pressure. Applying pressure changes the fascia from a denser gel state to a more fluid and soluble state making it more elastic and flexible. This softening decreases the compression of other surrounding structures, allowing them to reorganise and align. This isn’t just a local realignment; stretching of the fascia from any part or angle will affect the entire structure. MFR is helping the body find its way back to balance, recovery, and health.

During the treatment, various techniques will be combined, including cross-hand stretches, focused local stretches, skin rolling, C-stretches, fascial glide, deep 3-dimensional stretches, the use of ‘position of ease’, pulls, rocking, and treating trigger points.

The overall intention of MFR is to release the tissue, resolve structural dysfunction, restore function and mobility, and reduce pain,

But it does more than that:

• It overrides pain messages and helps to form new pathways

• It can release emotions stored in the body because of stress, trauma, and injury.

• It triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest)

• It enhances the anti-inflammatory response.


MFR can help with the recovery from all types of physical injuries and many other conditions:
• Stress, anxiety, and depression
• Immune system dysfunctions (Fibromyalgia, CFS, IBS and others)
• A range of pain and fatigue conditions
• Myofascial Pain Syndrome
• Head, neck and back pain
• Jaw problems (TMD)
• Whiplash
• Sports injuries
• Scar tissue
• Carpal tunnel syndrome (RSI)
• Plantar fasciitis
• Stress-related muscular tension

Myofascial Release can be performed directly on the skin of any body part, including the jaw, feet, back and shoulders. Research has shown it takes up to 3 to 5 minutes of this technique per local area to establish lasting results.

Treating the fascia often requires more than one treatment. The fascia layers have built up over time, sometimes for years. Results can, however, often be felt after 1-3 treatments. It will also depend on other lifestyle factors and how well you look after yourself. A nutritious diet, healthy weight, sufficient sleep, a positive mindset, and good stress-release strategies will complement your recovery. MFR is always safe and has proven to be very effective.

It’s always important to speak to your GP to rule out any serious health condition before seeing a fascial release therapist.

Alexandra Shave, Myofascial Release Therapist

Drink your way to better health by Lesley Painter


Do you have regular daily bowel movements? If you’re not drinking enough water the answer is probably no. When we become dehydrated our bodies draw water from the bowel back into the bloodstream, drying the contents of the bowel and slowing the movement of the stool through the large intestine. If your bowel movements are irregular or sluggish, or your stool is dark and difficult to pass, you probably need more water!

Our bodies are made up of around 60% water. We need water for energy, for our brains to function properly, to maintain a healthy weight, for regular bowel movements, and to maintain a healthy blood pressure. We lose water every day through our sweat, breath, urine and poo. If we don’t replace it regularly throughout the day we can become dehydrated.

Our joints are surrounded by synovial fluid which cushions and protects them, and around 70-80% of joint cartilage is made of water. Similarly, the discs between the vertebrae of the spine are made up of fluid which is partly water. If you suffer with joint or back pain, make sure you avoid becoming dehydrated as these important fluids will become depleted and make your pain worse.

For those taking medication it’s especially important that we’re drinking enough water.  Most drugs and their metabolites are eliminated from the body in urine or bile (secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder) so we need to support our kidney and liver function to flush these from our systems, and drinking enough water is one way of doing that.

What are the signs of dehydration?

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy or dry skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness

6 tips to increase your water intake

  1.  Try to drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of plain (filtered if possible) water every day. If you exercise you’ll need to drink more.
  2.  Drink steadily throughout the day, not just in the morning and evening.
  3.  Buy a 500ml reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go, and aim to get through 3 refills by the end of the day.
  4.  You might find you need to go to the loo more often but this will be temporary while your bladder gets used to this amount of liquid.
  5.  If you don’t like water or find it boring, you can add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or ginger root to it.
  6.  If you like a hot drink in the morning, make a cup of warm water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it (add a slice of ginger root if you like) – this helps to improve your digestion and liver function, and can be counted in your water intake for the day.

Lesley Painter, Colonic Hydrotherapist and Nutritional Therapist