Articles

There are more articles on health, aromatherapy, jewellery, as well as healthy recipes
and inspirationaI quotes on my Facebook page



Positive thoughts which you can memorise and use often...

I am finding happiness and love in every cell of my body
I am relaxed and healthy every moment
Each day I am becoming more aware of my abilities and I'm enjoying using them more.

 

Be Aware of fakes...  (by Maureen Harmony, ND) 2/12/15

The increasing popularity of turmeric (as a supplement) has stretched worldwide supply and given opportunity to the rise of synthetic curcumin which comes complete with forged certificates of analysis.

For example, curcumin samples were confiscated by Indian Police earlier this year from a well-known supplier. They were tested using radiocarbon techniques and found to be contaminated with 43% non-turmeric material.

Just as you would not use an old, withered, perhaps mouldy tumeric root to add to your meal, it is important to only us good quality practitioner-only supplements from a reputable practitioner, particularly as tumeric may be being used as a supplement to help the body fight serious disease, such as cancer.

My patients either use a liquid extract or tablet form which I recommend with confidence based on previous and continued good results.

 

 

Dear Maureen,
I just wanted to say many thanks for the constant newsletters; they are always full of little pearls of wisdom and I love to browse through them.  Recently one little snippet helped me a great deal and I particularly wanted to thank you for it.  I have been suffering greatly from pre-exam stress and extreme 'during exam' stress, making it difficult to concentrate and causing confusion - getting things back to front etc.!  Just to put you in the picture...
 
I was accepted this year into an aviation academy and am in training to become an avionics aviation engineer.  We train from 8am-3.30 every day with theory exams every Friday from 9am - 12pm, covering everything we have learned in that week.  These exams are anything up to 75 questions and the pass rate is a minimum of 75% in order to continue at the academy so the stress factor is quite high at times.  The theory is very new to me and some of it quite complex and sometimes difficult to assimilate.  
 
I spoke with all my instructors and many others in an attempt to garner some advice on how to handle this problem, but no advice really worked.  So I tried the lavender, bergamot, relaxion type things and it actually made things worse!  Then I read the little snippet in one of your newsletters about concentration and "Mix.... 2 drops Black Pepper, 3 drops Lemon, 2 drops Peppermint and 2 drops Rosemary..."  I didn't have these things, however in desperation I sprinkled black pepper and squirted fresh lemon juice into my morning cup of tea right before the exam... and it worked a treat!!!  I also slipped a quartz crystal gifted to me from my grandma into my pocket and held it through the entire exam.  It was fiery hot when I walked out....
 
My marks have improved from 76 - 81% (with great struggle) to 92%-96% in my last two exams.  I am just amazed.  
 
So thankyou.  With all heart.  It has made every difference to me - and to my confidence in what I am doing.  As a result of these marks I decided to apply for two weeks work experience and was accepted - and having just completed the work experience last Thursday - They offered me a job!  And all because of lemon juice, pepper and a little quartz crystal.
 
Thanks Maureen.  You're super.  If there is ever anything I can do to return the kindness please do let me know.
 xx T.

 

 

 

Life is more enjoyable with a healthy liver    (by Maureen Harmony, ND)  21/10/2014
This has become such a well recognised saying because without a healthy liver your body is not able to detox effectively and this undermines all the other functions of the body and you can experience a myriad of symptoms from low energy, hormonal imbalance, cholesterol imbalance, poor bowel function, depressive moods, anger...  to name just a few..... along with a ‘polluted’ body and mind, which interferes with energy and moods.

Conditions associated with poor liver detoxification also include headache, allergies, skin disorders, fatigue, nausea, food intolerance, constipation, abnormal sensitivity to fumes or chemicals, hormonal disorders (in both men and women), liver damage, hepatitis.  The body can also have difficulties dealing with exposure to environmental or chemical toxins.

What can you do?     Very simply, love your liver and consider how it will feel having to filter inappropriate foods or drink (or other substances) you may be thinking of consuming and then make better choices.

I know that sounds very easy, and I know that it can be difficult for some to turn away from a big slice of rich, creamy chocolate cake, or one or two bottles of wine with a meal, or multiple drinks of spirits, or multiple cans of soft drink or energy drink or.... really, you already know the foods and drinks that are not the best for you..... how? ..... well they are the ones that you think afterwards ‘why did I just have that?’ as your liver shows you with a headache, or upset ‘tummy’ or lethargy or irritability.....

It does not mean that you can never have those sorts of foods or drinks, just less of them and less often and your liver will be happier.... and realise that there are some of us who are more liver ‘sensitive’ than others and need to make even better choices, just as there are others who are more nervous system sensitive, etc.

Over my years as a Naturopath I have helped many patients and students bring their liver back into balance with recommendations on most appropriate foods and drinks for their body, plus used some amazing herbal supplements which have been specifically developed to assist the liver.   The herbal mix was originally formulated to assist those with hepatitis, and is now being used to also help those going through chemotherapy.

Life really is much more enjoyable with a happy and healthy liver !

 

Your Skin Loves Oil  (by Maureen Harmony, ND 21/10/14)

Applying oil (via massage) to the body nourishes the skin, strengthens the body's tolerance, helps decrease the effects of ageing while imparting firmness to the limbs, tones the body's tissues and stimulates the internal organs and circulation, as well as helps the lymphatic system.

Which oil to use?   Personally, I love using my own massage lotion base to which I have added different essential oils.   I have several bottles made up, to suit what I have planned for the day, and to suit the time of year.

Naturally, during the cooler months, the skin needs more hydration and emollient rich lotion to help keep it moist and supple.   If we were to use the same lotion mix during the warmer months (particularly up here with high humidity) it would result in the skin being over nourished and could cause 'breakouts'  of pimples.

As we have just moved into Spring I am enjoying a lotion mixed with sweet orange, lime, frankinsense, rose (as I LOVE it) and  may chang..... a fresh, uplifting mix which I enjoy aroma hints of during my busy day.    Of a night I go to bed wearing rose, chamomile and sandlewood.

Remember, if you have your own good quality oils you can make up any of my recipes.   If you don't have the base oil or lotion or essential oils, these are available on my webshop, or you can ask me to make up the mix for you in whatever quantities you would like (50ml, 100ml, 200ml or 500ml).

Note:   The massage lotion base is approx 80% water with almond oil.   It is great as an overall moisturiser and we use it during every massage as it is very economical.and ‘carries’ the essential oils very well..... plus, as it absorbs into the skin very well,  it does not leave an after oil feel on the body, which is particularly appreciated in the hot summer months.    We can also mix the lotion with base oil if needed, to provide a longer lasting massage lubricant.

 

Cellulite    (by Maureen Harmony, ND)  5/10/2014
With Summer fast approaching, it's a good time to make use of some of the healing benefits of essential oils to help shift any unwanted cellulite...... or just to give your legs and butt some TLC so you feel energised for the Summer months ahead and planned activities, such as walking, running, surfing, gymming, dancing, swimming, partying.....

Cellulite can occur on all people regardless of how much excess fat you have.  The cause of cellulite can be a high fat intake, sedentary life, hereditary and, more commonly, a sluggish lymphatic system.

We are all aware that avoiding saturated fats like fried foods, eating fresh fruit and vegetable, plus drinking sufficient water daily (minimum 1.5 litres a day), can reduce the building of large fat cells. Once the fat cells are educated to not be stored as “ large fat cells”, then the cellulite stops increasing its production, and consequently, stops storing fat.


Use invigorating and lymphatic cleansing essential oils in your shower gel, and each day invigorate with this great blend!      In 100 grams of shower gel (see webshop) add 5 drops rosemary, 5 drops fennel, 5 drops lemon and apply to your legs and butt using a natural loofa or loofa glove.     Suggestion.... when in the shower wet your legs, then apply some of the gel to the desired areas and use the loofa to rub it into the area for a minute or so, then shower, enjoying the aroma.   No need to scrub your skin, as this can damage skin, and does not make the blend work any faster.
 

 

Massage for Cancer or Stroke clients     (by Maureen Harmony, ND)  28/2/2013

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is whether it is okay to massage a client with cancer or one who is recovering from a stroke.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have only ever heard of, or received, the aggressive form of ‘massage’, and bring this form to mind anytime they hear the word ‘massage’.   So, when a patient asks their medical professional (or other carer) whether they think massage would help them, unless that person has experienced the wonderful healing abilities of massage (and some of the many varieties available), the answer is usually ‘no’.

The word ‘remedial’ means to remedy a problem, and that is exactly what our form of massage is focused on doing, whether it be a deep tissue, a sports or relaxation style massage.    Whichever of these ‘styles’ of massage is chosen, they are all designed to bring about a remedial action within the area of discomfort.

A fully trained and accredited Massage Therapist takes a full medical history from their client, checks flexibility and discomfort levels (if relevant) and designs a specific massage to suit that particular client and their symptoms.    Their focus is on your wellbeing and a positive outcome.

Imagine someone has just been given the diagnosis of cancer …. they can be fearful, stressed and emotionally overwhelmed.    They have heard that massage helps and so they seek out an experienced Massage Therapist.     They benefit from the experience and continue to have regular massages, which help not only their physical body cope with the changes, but also their mental/ emotional state.    Who would deny anyone that form of support in their time of need.
 
In the case of someone experiencing later stage cancer, the massage would be a deeply nurturing, relaxing, comforting and supportive massage,  causing no more activity in the body than that created by a walk ‘around the block’.   It may be a very short 5 to 10 minute massage of the hands and feet, as the body may not be able to cope with longer therapy.

In the case of a patient with cancer, massage provides nurturing, improves the circulation, aids relaxation and provides comfort.   There is NO scientific proof that massage spreads cancer.   If this was the case, the person would not be able to be touched, washed, dried, creams applied to their body, etc., as these activities would also spread the cancer.

I remember hearing of scientific research that showed that endorphins (the body’s own feel good messengers), which are released during the deep relaxation state induced by a good massage (vs. an aggressive one) have been found to be up to 2,000 times more potent than morphine.   These endorphins are our body’s own natural pain relievers.  
 
In the case of a stroke victim, massage helps to relax the affected muscles, and, depending on frequency (which may need to be daily) and the response of the client, can minimise the muscle spasms/restrictions in the affected arm and leg.

It is a real shame that, due to misconceptions and misinformation, those who would truly benefit from massage in their time of real need are denied the opportunity.

 

Inside Your  Skin     (by Maureen Harmony, ND)  28/4/2014

Stress, medication, food, exercise, the environment, lack of sunshine ……   these (to name a few) all have an effect on the health of your skin.    If your skin is looking ‘older’ than you actually are in years, feels congested, lacks vitality, then it is time to lessen some of the habits/items contributing to its faster-than-desirable decline.
 
The adrenal glands, which respond to stress and tension in our lives, make the natural anti-inflammatory cortisone.  The use of pharmaceutical cortisone creams on any area of the skin can thin the skin on the entire body.  Stress can affect the adrenals and lead to adult acne.   The key to improving the adrenals coping mechanisms is relaxation.    Suggestion... take at least five minutes ‘time out’ in your day to do something YOU really enjoy.

(Clinically, I have found Thompson's Restful Sleep helps a lot of my patients to relax, and they do help improve the nervous system's coping mechanisms.   Read more.....)
 
What you eat walks and talks tomorrow, so if you intake an excess of alcohol, coffee, sugars and refined foods, or lack a sufficient quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables and sufficient water in your daily diet, then the body can stress, become congested or over-acidic, all of which contribute to the tension lines, wrinkles and cellulite appearing throughout the body.

(There are minerals which exist in your body which help the overall operation of the body, including neutralising the acidity.   Read more....)
 
Poor circulation, contributed to by little or no exercise, smoking and too much of the sedentary life style, slows down the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the cells, plus inhibits the excretion of waste products. 

(Clinically, I have found that Spirulina and Ultra C and other supplements help the circulation, deliver nutrients and oxygen and improve overall energy.    Read more...)
 
Lack of sufficient sleep, or going to bed late and sleeping into late morning,  deprives the body of the desirable amount of seratonin and daylight it needs to help maintain better physical and mental health.
 
The use of certain creams, lotions, etc. on the skin can definitely help diminish the effects of aging to some extent, and genetics also plays a part in the type of skin we inherit, but remember the skin is the outer surface of our body and will eventually out-picture was is happening on the inside.

(As massage therapists we are constantly touching the skin, and aware of which creams, lotions and oils give better results externally (nourishing, hydrating, soothing, etc).    Weleda's Skin Food  (and other creams and lotions in their range), the JR Watkins range, along with our own aromatherapy creams and lotions (made specifically to suit individual client's needs), help a great deal to support the skin...... and realise, as we are applying it to our patient's body, we are also receiving a therapy, so we ensure we only use good quality products.... so should you, particularly with concerns about nano-particles in sun and skin care and how they can penetrate into the body, taking unwanted and sometimes harmful substances into the body.)

 

 

Preparing Your Body for Winter    (by Maureen Harmony, ND)  8/4/2014

Yes, it is coming.  The cooler weather brings with it concerns about our health and, unfortunately for most people, the thought of how many colds they will experience, rather than thinking of a healthy, cold and flu free Winter.

The push will be on, from the medical and pharmaceutical interests, to promote flu injections, rather than promote healthy eating, sufficient hydration, natural supplements, good rest and exercise to maintain health within your body........... turning to more potent medical intervention if it is really needed.

Remember the old saying.... 'prevention is preferable to cure'. Given the choice, I know which one I prefer.... good health!!    It doesn't mean that you may never experience the telltale signs of your body beginning to go out of balance.... it means that if you act then, the symptoms never progress to the full blown disease experience.

Over the years I have been a practitioner I have been able to monitor the success of different products and have always found that Echinacea or Echinaforce (Echinacea in liquid form) have worked wonderfully well in boosting the immune system. Most patients have found that if they ever feel slight symptoms of a cold, and immediately take some Echinacea or Echinaforce and other supplements, the symptoms go no further.

What else do I have in my 'medicine chest' for Winter woes?

Spirulina, of course !   Keeping our energy up is number one in preventing illness.

Herbal Cough Relief. I have found that this wonderful herbal mix soothes the chest, relieves coughing, breaks up mucus congestion, warms the chest.... and tastes nice!    It does not have the alcohol content of pharmaceutical based cough mixtures. I have found it helps bring relief to most breathing problems and is helpful for those giving up smoking.

Aromatherapy 'anti-bug' spray. This mix is a combination of aromatherapy essential oils which are known to have very strong anti-bacterial effect. You can use it to spray around the home, office, car, etc.

Olive Hand Wash. I love the handy pocket size pack. Being able to wash your hands anywhere without water helps minimise the transfer of germs.

Vitamin C. This is a non-acid vitamin C (calcium ascorbate rather than ascorbic acid). It is kind on the stomach.


Each of the above items are on my webshop, and can be purchased individually. I have also put them all together (along with some other relevant winter helpers) in a convenient 'Winter' category.   Buy 4 or more items from this category and I will deduct the postage.

You may also like to check out the Women's and Children's section for other cold and flu and pain relief supplements.

Remember.... all of the above information is based on my clinical experience. Never ever put yourself at risk. If you are experiencing poor health or breathing problems, please check with your health care professional.



 

'Comfort' eating may have the opposite effect    (by Maureen Harmony, ND)

A recent study based on a sample of 8,964 participants found eating commercial baked goods (e.g. fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc) and fast food (e.g. hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) was linked to depression.

The authors were unclear in whether ‘depression’ meant feeling tired, sad, moody or low from time to time, or whether the experience of depression was the type that required therapeutic intervention as it was more intense and for longer periods of time (e.g. weeks, months, years) and included feeling tired all the time, sick and run down, headaches and muscle pains, churning gut, sleep problems, loss or change of appetite, significant weight gain…… all symptoms similar to those that someone who has a diet high in commercial baked goods and fast food would more than likely experience.

As a Naturopath I have seen patients experience major positive changes in their health and outlook on life very quickly by changing what they are eating to more nutrient dense foods, supporting their body nutritionally and hydrating sufficiently. After all, our body is a finely tuned machine…. put the wrong fuel in and you will experience the results of this imbalance.

Back to the study …. The authors found that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression. Furthermore, there is a dose-response relationship with the more fast food consumed the greater the risk of depression. Even eating small quantities was linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.

Participants who ate the most fast food and commercial baked goods were more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week were other prevalent characteristics of this group.
The authors concluded that eating fast food equates to a 42% increase of risk of depression across the sample. Depression affects 121 million people worldwide and the flow on from this change in mental state/attitude to life would be out pictured in other aspects of the person’s health, such as lethargy, aches and pains, digestive disorders, headaches, poor memory and concentration…. as well as their ability to participate effectively in day-to-day life, work, recreation and relationships.

Avoiding or minimising fast and processed foods makes sense and the benefits of doing this has been documented over and over again. There are so many healthy, nutritional choices available to us today, which provide us with the opportunity to eat out or enjoy a ‘take away’ meal without stressing our body with over processed, sugar/fat/sodium laden foods.

Just focusing on making healthier choices will make a difference… … your taste buds will enjoy them and your body, thoughts and emotions will outpicture the benefits !

 

Balance or long term pain? (by Maureen Harmony, ND)

A recent article I read confirmed my own clinical findings (as a Naturopath and Clinical Hypnotherapist) of the association between stress and childhood adversity on the one hand, and brain development and related dysfunction of the immune and endocrine (glandular) systems on the other.

A lot of the research focused on the response of the hypothalamus gland (head area), pituitary gland (head area) and adrenal glands (solar plexus), with numerous studies indicating an association between early adversity and later development of mental distress and abnormal behaviour. The review of research also outlined the evidence of structural and functional brain differences that may have an underlying influence on the psychological and behavioural problems associated with childhood mistreatment, which could then out-picture themselves as symptoms of ill-health in later life (which my clinical experience also confirms).

Whilst the research tends to focus on a very narrow field (which research tends to do), the fact cannot be overlooked that the body is a whole system, and when one area is affected, it is felt throughout the whole system/body, sometimes instantly and sometimes in years to come. For instance, if you stub your toe, your whole nervous system instantly lets you know that it is a painful experience. If the toe is broken, then the effects of walking incorrectly over the following weeks will be felt throughout the entire muscular system, as will the range of emotions created from the ‘unplanned’ limitations and ongoing discomfort. This may then have a long term effect on the person, unless they have followed through with supportive and corrective therapy (e.g. massage, osteopathy, acupuncture, stretching, etc).

It is not possible to have a physical experience without thoughts and emotions being involved. This is where Rescue Remedy, aromatherapy, colour therapy, Restful Sleep, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Polarity and other natural therapies can really be of assistance in helping return balance to the thoughts, which then help calm the emotions, which then calm the nerves which then release the healing endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good pain-relieving chemicals) within the body.

It may sound like a complex process, however, it can happen within seconds. It just requires awareness and knowledge, so hopefully this post provided some of both for you.

 

Artificial Sweeteners and Breath Alcohol Concentration (by Maureen Harmony, ND)

Whilst we are aware of different factors that can influence how quickly we feel the effect of alcohol (e.g. drinking on an empty stomach), research conducted in 2006, and again last year, confirmed that the inclusion of artificial sweeteners with alcohol speeds up the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC).

The studies found that alcoholic drinks accompanied with a mixer made with artificial sweeteners led to a high rate of alcohol absorption, resulting in a greater blood alcohol peak and concentration than from drinks made with sugar-based mixers.

The reason is the accelerated emptying of the stomach caused by artificial sweetening agents vs a full sugar mixer.

The studies revealed that those who drank alcohol with diet mixers had a higher BrAC as the alcohol passed through the stomach quicker, and, therefore, was absorbed into the bloodstream quicker.

There was no evidence that the artificial sweeteners sped up alcohol absorption. The increase in the BrAC was attributed to the lack of sugar slowing the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.

The danger of drinking alcohol with diet mixers is that you may not be aware that your BrAC is higher than the legal limit.

As it is more common for women to consume diet drinks with their alcohol (to cut back on calories) it is a concern that they may not realise that their BrAC is higher than the legal limit, or that they are becoming intoxicated quicker .

Just another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners….

 

 

Energy   (by Maureen Harmony, ND)

Some people are under the impression that it is not possible  to experience energy /vitality and relaxation at the same time as they are at different ends of the spectrum.   It is not possible for the body to deeply relax if it is concerned about the lack of sufficient energy, vitality and hydration to keep the body at a good operating level…… in other words, its main focus will be on overall survival and prevention of illness and it will not be able to give full attention to relaxation, which is vital to overall health and effective digestion of the food and liquids you put into your body…. which are necessary for energy….. energy is necessary for relaxation…… relaxation is necessary for digestion…… and the circle continues.

 
You have heard of dis-ease.   This is the deep seated stress that you can experience as the body works out how to effectively use the inadequate/inappropriate foods and liquids you have just taken in, at the same time as it works at keeping all its parts happy and convincing some parts why they have to wait until the next meal or drink, at the same time as working on coping with day to day situations, solving challenges, enjoying relationships, etc., etc.    This dis-ease will deplete your nerve ‘battery’ and you may experience nerve tiredness/exhaustion without having undertaken much physical activity.


If this concept is difficult to grasp, I could use a motor vehicle as an example.    If your car’s fuel tank is close to empty you do not think of going on a long journey without putting more fuel in.  If your car’s fuel tank is on empty your car is unable to go anywhere.   It doesn’t switch to a reserve tank by itself, it just doesn’t move.    Your body needs different amounts of fuel and water to undertake the different tasks you give it during the day.   Without sufficient fuel it will stress, which will not enable you to relax and enjoy fully whatever it is you are doing.

If you are experiencing low energy then it would be beneficial to look at the types of foods you are eating, whether you are drinking sufficient water, and to consider taking an energy supplement, such as Spirulina or CoQ10.


If you are experiencing unwanted tension then you may benefit from the use of aromatherapy or herbal supplements to relax and support the nervous system.