Latest from Julia Woodman, Alexander Technique teacher

Julia writes…. It’s the beginning of January and some of us may find ourselves struggling to put into practice our New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions usually involve a desire for change – to either achieve or to be something different to now. We start off with good intentions but then find that making change happen can be incredibly difficult, particularly if it’s to be long-lasting. If we fail, it’s very easy to believe that it’s due to a lack of ‘willpower’, or because of factors that are beyond our control. Well, of course we can’t do much about factors beyond our control but we can take a look at ourselves and ask the question of what does it really take in order to be able to change?
Read my latest blog to find out how the Alexander Technique can help you make long-lasting changes:

http://www.julia-woodman.co.uk/blog/

Acupuncture for Fertility and Women’s Health

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Could acupuncture enhance your chances of conceiving? 
If you are trying for a baby, whether naturally or through assisted conceptionacupuncture can be of help to you. It can do that by addressing stress levels, regulating your menstrual cycle, balancing hormonal activity and increasing blood flow to the pelvic area. The treatments will boost circulation, which will then support your body in providing more nourishment to the uterus and ovaries – an essential factor in follicle and egg development as well as building a healthy uterine lining. 
Best results are achieved using a complex approach, combining acupuncture with dietary changes, massage, exercise, supplements and sometimes personalised herb prescriptions.
During IVF cycles acupuncture treatments can reduce side effects of medication, alleviate the stress accompanying the IVF process, help create receptive uterine environment to support the implantation as well as minimise the risk of miscarriage.
Your acupuncturist will take a detailed medical history relating to your fertility as well as your general health in order to personalise your treatment plan. All acupuncture treatments are aimed to suit your specific situation and to ensure that all available support is used to make your fertility journey as successful as possible.
Written by our new Acupuncturist Monika Niemczynowicz, who practises at PNH on Monday afternoons – contact her direct on 07864 267 206

“My life’s a mess! I need a counsellor…and a chiropracter…and a coach and a…..”

Read the latest blog from our Alexander Technique Teacher Julia Woodman – go to her website   www.julia-woodman.co.uk; to find out more

We have a tendency to split ourselves into different bits. If we want help defining or achieving our goals we visit a life coach, for physical fitness we might go to a personal trainer, for aches and pains it may be a physiotherapist, and for anxiety perhaps a psychotherapist. Of course, if we want to address one specific issue or aspect of ourselves, then seeing one of these professionals could be exactly what is needed. But thinking more widely, what if we’re interested in improving the way we work as a whole (mind-body), to protect and promote our health for the long term, to be able to stay calm and think clearly, and to achieve the best we can? Is there an approach that is truly holistic that will enable us to achieve these goals – and one which we can access at any and every moment we choose?

And why is it that we tend to compartmentalise ourselves into the mind and the body, and to split the body into different discrete parts? Descartes, and even going as far back as Plato, have a lot to answer for! Our whole culture and way of thinking is centred on mind-body dualism. When we think of ‘I’ we often mean the conscious thinking self (the voice in one’s head) and the body is often seen as simply the vehicle that carries us around – a ‘vehicle’ that we often mistrust, sometimes dislike, and even fear when it ‘goes wrong’. You can notice this attitude in everyday expressions such as ‘my back is hurting me’ − this implies the back is an object that I possess, in much the same way as I might say ‘my car has a fault’. Much of our conventional attitude to health and illness is shaped by this assumption. So for example, if my back is hurting I may assume this is exclusively a physical problem, and I might then look for a specific treatment or specific exercises to strengthen certain muscles. But the thing is that we aren’t an assembly of mechanical parts and we operate as a whole; it’s not just that we’re inter-connected, rather we are indivisible mind-bodies. Not recognising this fully, we don’t always consider whether perhaps the root of the problem, and indeed the solution, might lie partially or wholly elsewhere from the immediate symptom. So for example, an ankle problem may result from the overall way that I walk and stand; and pain is always worse if I anticipate pain. If your car develops a problem with its headlights you’d probably be right in not expecting that the actual cause of the problem could be the tyres. A car is a mechanical object but we’re not, we’re highly complex beings where everything about us affects everything else; the mind can’t be separated from the body, or the body split into discrete independent parts.

Perhaps a more helpful idea than Descartes’ ‘I think therefore I am’ would be ‘I am what I think’. I would argue that every thought that we have translates into some kind of physical quality in ourselves – as well as the converse, our physical state affects our mental/emotional state. That’s probably obvious for things like getting stressed about something and feeling tension develop in shoulders, neck etc, and the vicious circle that ensues. But you might think that this would not apply for more abstract things such as, for example, the ‘mental’ activity of reading your emails? Well try it and see whether you notice any of these happening: holding your breathing, eyes staring fixedly or glazing over, brow furrowing, lips pursing. Why would any of these occur if mind and body did operate independently?

The Alexander Technique is a practical, logical and empowering self-care, self-development method that can be learnt with the help of a qualified teacher. The teacher will use both hands-on gentle guidance and dialogue to engage you in a process of learning that is both experiential and cognitive. You will begin to notice those physical and thinking habits that interfere with your natural movement coordination and balance, and also your freedom of choice. You will discover how you can harness your thinking to free yourself of such habits and to exert a strong positive influence on yourself. Being more self-aware and also clear in your intention, you will find that activities of daily life can be carried out in a more considered and mindful way. Being shown how to reduce the habits that interfere, you can begin to allow the natural coordinating mechanism of your dynamic head-neck-back relationship to work as it should, so that movement can occur with minimum effort, fluidity and balance. This natural movement coordination can be seen in most toddlers and also in animals – think of the grace with which a wild horse runs. Through Alexander lessons, you will notice less tendency towards tension, easier breathing, and a greater sense of calm. The Alexander Technique is not a quick fix but as our overall functioning gradually improves, specific problems have a much better chance of resolving. Gradually, we become better able to look after ourselves in everyday life, and for the long term, and we generally find it a bit easier achieving what we want to achieve

So, faced with all the problems and challenges that we encounter through our lives, does it make sense to look for someone else to fix things for us, searching for a different type of professional help each time we encounter a different problem? Or, alternatively, why not find out about a method that can provide life-long skills so that you can own an approach to help you tackle any and every challenge that you face (whether it might be labelled as ‘physical’ or ‘mental’ or both?)

See https://alexandertechnique.co.uk for a directory of teachers in your area who are registered with the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). STAT is the world’s largest and most long-standing professional body of Alexander teachers. All STAT-registered teachers have successfully completed a 3-year full-time training course and adhere to a published Code of Professional Conduct.

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Fun of the Fair

A few images from our day out at Portobello Village Fair on Sunday 3 September. Herbalist Karen Bauer had some herb tea samples on offer and our taster sessions of Massage and Alexander Technique raised £60 for our nominated charity Social Bite http://social-bite.co.uk/socialbitefund/

Porty Village Show again

Last year was our first time running a stall at our local ‘village’ show and it was so much fun we decided to do it again. So Sunday 3rd September 2-5pm we will be at Rosefield Park with taster treatments, competitions, Neal’s Yard Organics bargains, and loads of information about how our treatments may be able to help you. Lets hope the sun shines again!

 

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PNH April updates

Spring is bringing some exciting changes to our clinic along with the new signagePNH sign and leaflets

Acupuncturist Carol Cooke is increasing her hours with us and is now offering a new Thursday morning Clinic – which for April has 30 minute Taster sessions for only £10

We have often been asked for Reflexology in the past and now we can offer it – Laura Taylor, Reflexologist  is joining us with her Monday clinic starting on 24th April so book your appointment now.

All our other practitioners are still with us and keen to help you with any health or wellbeing issues – Karen Bauer our Medical Herbalist has some great tips on managing Hayfever as that season approaches for sufferers.

If you are not sure which therapy would suit you best, get in touch with us on our Contact page for a chat. Happy April!

PNH April updates

Spring is bringing some exciting changes to our clinic along with the new signagePNH sign and leaflets

Acupuncturist Carol Cooke is increasing her hours with us and is now offering a new Thursday morning Clinic – which for April has 30 minute Taster sessions for only £15

We have often been asked for Reflexology in the past and now we can offer it – Laura Taylor, Reflexologist  is joining us with her Monday clinic starting on 24th April so book your appointment now.

All our other practitioners are still with us and keen to help you with any health or wellbeing issues – Karen Bauer our Medical Herbalist has some great tips on managing Hayfever as that season approaches for sufferers.

If you are not sure which therapy would suit you best, get in touch with us on our Contact page for a chat. Happy April!

Hot Stone Treat-ment

Kerry Oliver of Holos Therapies is sharing this blog from her own website –  Hot Stones are such an amazing treat AND remedial tool in one and especially beneficial in these winter months  Kerry Oliver and Caroline Madden both offer Hot Stone Fusion at the Clinic and are very happt to tell you more about how this treatment can help

 

hot-stones

WHERE ARE THE STONES?

I had a new client today at Portobello Natural Health. She had a lot of pain and tightness in the cervical and thoracic region after being hospitalised with Pneumonia recently, so  was in need of a comprehensive upper body treatment.

Although she hadn’t booked a Hot Stone session I asked, as I often do, if she would mind if I used hot stones to help warm and release the tight muscles.

10 minutes later she said, ‘I don’t understand how this stone thing works, I can only feel your hands but they feel really hot. Actually it feels amazing…’

Hot stone fusion should mean means that hands and stones blend into each other without any sense of tools being used, so I was pleased to hear that this worked for my client.

And she booked her daughter in for a Hot Stone Massage later in the week……if you want to try this treatment yourself do get in touch

Neal’s Yard Remedies on your Christmas Wishlist?

 

new-catalogue

Kerry Oliver is our Neals’ Yard Remedies Independent Consulant here at PNH. She loves introducing people to these amazing organic products.If you would like some on your wishlist call in to pick up a Christmas catalogue and spread the word to your friends and relatives. Gift vouchers also available – call Kerry on 07966 518 386 or Contact us

Or you may prefer to order direct from Kerry’s online shop

https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/kerryoliver

 

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Embodying mindfulness

some thoughts from our Alexander Technique Teacher, Julia Woodman

julia-at-tribeI’ve sometimes heard the Alexander Technique described as ‘Zen for the Western World’. With the help of an Alexander teacher we can learn to become more present and mindful as we go about our daily life.

It’s not just about ‘being in the moment’ though − we are, after all, embodied beings. Being more present is incredibly important but is not enough on its own to allow free and easy movement, and a better quality of life without the so-very common back, neck and joint aches and pains. Alexander lessons engage us as a whole (mind-body) in an experiential learning process in which we begin to think, move (and be) differently; over time it becomes a truly transformative process. The lessons guide us to continue to apply the skills we’ve learnt to our everyday activities, and gradually our postural support, balance and movement coordination improve. I always remember the time while I was having lessons and before I trained to be a teacher, when I suddenly realised one day sitting at my desk at work that I was comfortable for the first time, sitting effortlessly. After many years of the continual ‘yo-yo of habitual slouching / trying to sit up straight’, my postural muscle support system had gradually ‘woken up’ through the lessons and started working well again, while I was also letting go of the excessive muscle tension that I’d been using to try and hold myself up. During this period my colleagues were also commenting on how I was the one who always remained calm when our work became particularly stressful.

Through the Alexander Technique we become more aware of ourselves and how we’re responding, moment by moment, to what life presents; it enables us to discover how to lessen the habitual interferences with our natural movement coordination, balance and postural support. So yes, I think that the term ’embodying mindfulness’ is a good way of describing what the Alexander Technique is and what it achieves.