Sitting For Too Long Could Be Hurting Your Brain

By now, it’s common knowledge that getting your body moving regularly throughout the day is about more than just staying fit. Sitting for too long can lead to a slew of adverse health effects over time: Past research has shown that sedentary behavior can increase your risk for cardiovascular damage, obesitycertain types of cancer, and even early death. Yikes. And now, a study conducted at Liverpool John Moores University in explains how your brain could also be feeling the effects of extended physical inactivity. Fortunately, the researchers were also able to identify a strategy to offset the effects.

The scientists used ultrasound probes to study the brains of 15 healthy adults as they worked through three seated four-hour sessions. In the first session, the participants sat for the entire four hours uninterrupted. In the second session, they stopped two hours in to take a leisurely eight-minute walk on a treadmill before returning to their desks for another two hours. In the third session, they stood up every 30 minutes to walk on the treadmill for a quick two minutes.

The results came in squarely against long, consecutive work sessions: Those who didn’t get up at all in the four hours saw a dip in blood flow to their brains. The people who got up once midway through their sitting time did have increased blood flow while they were up and moving, but after they returned to their seats and kept working for two more hours, they ended up with even lower blood flow than when they’d started. But those with the frequent walking breaks in between? Their brains actually had more blood flowing by the end of the session than when they’d begun.

As common wisdom about “getting the blood flowing” suggests, the human brain needs a constant supply of blood to function properly. Blood is packed with oxygen and other healthy nutrients; even short-term dips in cerebral blood flow can slow a person’s thinking and memory. That means sitting at your desk for long stretches of time is not only bad for your health—it’s also eating into your productivity.

Moving your legs periodically (aka fidgeting) may help counteract a sedentary lifestyle. You can, of course, also make a point to stand up from your desk regularly or get a standing desk. If there’s no standing desk in your future, there are plenty of other ways to get the blood moving throughout the day: Try changing your sitting position often, give your eyes a break – every 30 minutes of screen time try to take a few minutes to look away from your computer, go outside and try to take the stairs whenever possible.

At the very least, have a bowl of brain-boosting blueberries handy—or within a two-minute walking distance.

Rachel x

Georganics oil pulling mouthwash

Oil Pulling Mouthwash - Spearmint - Georganics Oral Care

I received a bottle of Georganics oil pulling spearmint mouthwash in a gift bag at a talk about Ayurveda earlier this year, and I have been using it ever since!

It’s blend of Coconut oil and Spearmint leaf essential oil, has a fresh flavour and properties very similar to that of Peppermint oil but with much softer minty flavour. It is a strong antiseptic, eliminating germs and promoting healing.

• Fluoride free, SLS free & glycerin free
• Plaque reducing blend with organic coconut oil
• Certified PETA cruelty-free & vegan ingredients
• Recyclable glass jar & aluminium lid
• Compostable cardboard box and vegetable ink

How to use this product

Take 1-2 tablespoons of oil, swish it around your mouth for 5 – 20 minutes before spitting it out. The longer you hold the oil in your mouth the greater the effect! For the best results swish until the oil has turned a milky white, indicating that the bacteria has been “pulled” off.

Rachel x

 

 

A guide to living with and treating psoriatic arthritis

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As some of you know I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, and although I have touched on this in previous posts I wanted to share in more depth about my experience with arthritis and to offer self care advice and talk about treatment options for this invisible and often debilitating illness.

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops in some people with the skin condition psoriasis. It typically causes affected joints to become inflamed (swollen), stiff and painful.

Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is a long-term condition that can get progressively worse. In severe cases, there’s a risk of the joints becoming permanently damaged or deformed, which may require surgical treatment.

However, with an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, it’s possible to slow down the progression of the condition and minimise or prevent permanent damage to the joints.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

The pain, swelling and stiffness associated with psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but the condition often affects the hands, feet, knees, neck, spine and elbows.

The severity of the condition can vary considerably from person to person. Some people may have severe problems affecting many joints, whereas others may only notice mild symptoms in 1 or 2 joints.

I currently have 14 joints affected, two of which are synovitic and my disease is classed as active and severe.

There may be times when symptoms improve (known as remission) and periods when they get worse (known as flares).

Flares can be debilitating, very painful and are difficult to predict, but they can be managed with medication when they do occur.

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you experience persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints.

If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition. Make sure you let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.

Causes of psoriatic arthritis

Between 1 and 2 in every 5 people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis.

It usually develops within 10 years of psoriasis being diagnosed, although some people may experience problems with their joints before they notice any symptoms affecting their skin.

Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is thought to occur as a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue.

However, it’s not clear why some people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis and others don’t.

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis

If your doctor thinks you may have arthritis, they should refer you to a rheumatologist (a specialist in joint conditions) for an assessment.

The British Association of Dermatologists website has information on the psoriasis epidemiology screening tool (PEST) (PDF, 209kb). This is a questionnaire you may be asked to fill out, which helps your doctor decide if you need a referral.

A rheumatologist will usually be able to diagnose psoriatic arthritis if you have psoriasis and problems with your joints.

They’ll also try to rule out other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

A number of tests may be carried out to help confirm a diagnosis, including:

  • Physical examination
  • blood tests to check for signs of inflammation in your body and the presence of certain antibodies found in other types of arthritis
  • X-rays or scans of your joints

Treating psoriatic arthritis

The main aims of treatment will be to relieve your symptoms, slow the progression of the condition and improve quality of life.

For most people, this involves trying a number of different medications, some of which can also treat the psoriasis. Ideally, you should take one medication to treat both your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis whenever possible.

The main medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis are summarised below and include:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • corticosteroids
  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • biological therapies

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Your GP may first prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to see if they help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

There are two types of NSAIDs and they work in slightly different ways:

  • traditional NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Diclofenac
  • COX-2 inhibitors (often called coxibs), such as Celecoxib or Etoricoxib

Like all medications, NSAIDs can have side effects. Your doctor will take precautions to reduce the risk of these, such as prescribing the lowest dose necessary to control your symptoms for the shortest time possible.

If side effects do occur, they usually affect the stomach and intestines, and can include indigestion and stomach ulcers. A medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) will often be prescribed alongside NSAIDs – a PPI helps protect your stomach by reducing the amount of acid it produces.

If NSAIDs alone aren’t helpful, some of the medications below may be recommended.

Corticosteroids

Like NSAIDs, corticosteroids can help reduce pain and swelling.

If you have a single inflamed or swollen joint, your doctor may inject the medication directly into the joint. This can offer rapid relief with minimal side effects, and the effect can last from a few weeks to several months.

Corticosteroids can also be taken as a tablet, or as an injection into the muscle, to help lots of joints. However, doctors are generally cautious about this because the medication can cause significant side effects if used in the long term, and psoriasis can flare up when you stop using it.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are medications that work by tackling the underlying causes of the inflammation in your joints.

They can help to ease your symptoms and slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis. The earlier you start taking a DMARD, the more effective it will be.

Leflunomide is often the first drug given for psoriatic arthritis, although sulfasalazine or methotrexate may be considered as alternatives.

It can take several weeks or months to notice a DMARD working, so it’s important to keep taking the medication, even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first.

Biological treatments

Biological treatments are a newer form of treatment for psoriatic arthritis. You may be offered one of these treatments if:

  • your psoriatic arthritis hasn’t responded to at least two different types of DMARD
  • you’re not able to be treated with at least two different types of DMARD

Biological drugs work by stopping particular chemicals in the blood from activating your immune system to attack the lining of your joints.

Some of the biological medicines you may be offered include:

  • adalimumab
  • apremilast
  • certolizumab
  • etanercept
  • golimumab
  • infliximab
  • secukinumab
  • ustekinumab
  • ixekizumab
  • tofacitinib

The most common side effect of biological treatments is a reaction in the area of skin where the medication is injected, such as redness, swelling or pain, although these reactions aren’t usually serious.

However, biological treatments can sometimes cause other side effects, including problems with your liver, kidneys or blood count, so you’ll usually need to have regular blood or urine tests to check for these.

Biological treatments can also make you more likely to develop infections. Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you develop symptoms of an infection, such as:

  • a sore throat
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • diarrhoea

Biological medication will usually be recommended for three months at first, to see if it helps. If it’s effective, the medication can be continued. Otherwise, your doctor may suggest stopping the medication or swapping to an alternative biological treatment.

Complementary therapies

There’s not enough scientific evidence to say that complementary therapies work in treating psoriatic arthritis. However I have benefited from acupuncture, yoga, floating, massage and using infrared saunas to help manage pain and inflammation.

Complementary therapies can sometimes react with other treatments, so talk to your GP, specialist or pharmacist if you’re thinking of using any.

There’s also not enough evidence to support taking any kind of food supplement as treatment, although taking some supplements may help and it is best to ask your GP or rheumatologist for advice.

You can also help yourself by:

12 Self-Care Tips For Anyone Who Works Too Much

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Self-care is absolutely crucial in our busy modern lives, where we have created this culture of working as -much-as-you-can and working-as-hard-as-you-can. Thanks to technology and smartphones, we’re accessible for work just about 24 hours a day. We even feel others will look down on us or think we’re selfish if we take time off or don’t respond to email, texts, and phone calls quickly enough!

This often leads to feeling exhausted, burnt out, and becoming irritable. If you know you work too much, then it’s time to make self-care a priority.

Here are my 12 self-care tips that you can choose from to make a part of your own regular practice so that you feel good about taking care of yourself (and you get a break from your work!).

1. Listen to your body.

It will let you know when you need rest or exercise or healthy food or sleep or pretty much anything, if you’re paying attention.

2. Get enough sleep.

If you’re not sleeping enough or getting good sleep, then you’re going to be pretty cranky and other people probably won’t like being around you much

3. Exercise.

You need to move your body regularly in order for it to feel its best. Go for a run, ride your bike or join a yoga class.

4. Spend some time outside.

If you’re working hard in an office, then you probably aren’t getting much fresh air or sun.

5. Spend time alone.

It’s how you’ll really get to know how to identify your needs and figure out what makes you happy.

6. Use your Holiday time.

Don’t let it go to waste. You need time off from your job.

7. Use your sick time.

Don’t force yourself to go to work when you’re sick or not feeling great because it will be harder to recover (plus your co-workers won’t be too happy with you).

8. Read.

It’s self-care for your mind. And this doesn’t include work documents!

9. Meditate.

This is really relaxing and can be done anywhere — even five minutes of focusing on your breath makes a difference.

10. Practice mindfulness.

Allowing yourself to stay in the present and be nonjudgmental about your thoughts is the ULTIMATE self-care routine.

11. Forgive yourself.

Stop beating yourself up over things that happened in the past, because it’s going to drain your energy.

12. Forgive others.

Let go of past hurts because they are just going to weigh you down with negative feelings.

Rachel x

Retreat Announcement

Champneys-Forest-Mere-Spa-Interior-Design-relax

2 Night Relax & Replenish Retreat Friday 25th January – Sunday 27th January 2019 costs from £460.00pp.

Meditation, Mindfulness, Ayurveda and Crystal Healing

This interactive and fun retreat will help you to replenish your energy levels through rituals and wellness. It promises to be a restorative weekend that is perfect for anyone feeling frazzled and will offer all attendees a chance to deeply relax and re-balance their energy levels, whilst giving practical tips and strategies to enrich your day to day life and avoid that burnt out feeling.

This weekend covers a variety of topics and practices that can aid relaxation and increase overall wellbeing. Topics include Meditation, Mindfulness, Ayurveda and Crystal Healing. It is aimed at those with little or no prior knowledge or experience and also includes a goodie bag for all attendees.

Includes

2 Nights’ Accommodation

Arrival from 2pm

Programme starts 5pm

Introduction and Welcome

4 Workshops: Meditation, Introduction to Crystals, Ayurvedic Principles, Mindfulness practice

2 healthy buffet lunches, two three course dinners and a two healthy buffet breakfasts

Unlimited use of spa facilities

Up to 20 different classes per day

To book please email CER@champneys.com and include the title and date of the retreat. Alternatively please call Champneys on 0843 5611 943.

**** Please note ****
There is a minimum number of people required for the break to run. Breaks will be cancelled if numbers are insufficient 2 weeks before the start of the break.