Wednesday 18 October 2023

October catch up - including some listening recommendations.

The leaves are turning colour and falling, the acorns are like ball bearings underfoot in the woods and I'm wearing my (handknit by me) Icelandic jumper; how did it get to be nearly November so fast! As usual, several months have gone by since my last blog....

First up: my Saturday hours at the Nether Edge Herbarium are changing to begin at 10.15am - so you can have your massage treatment and then continue with the rest of your weekend. I am also there every Tuesday afternoon. There is no change to my 919 Clinic hours (details are all on my website

When I first began working as a massage therapist, way back in the 1990s, I always took details of the typical food my patients would eat across a week. This continued when I trained as a medical herbalist but over the last few years of working as a soft tissue therapist, whilst I still talk to my clients about food and appropriate healthy eating, I have stopped making a note of what they are eating. Listening to an excellent podcast on the Sport Therapy Association website has made me reconsider. The interview in episode 166 with Dr Lucy Williamson on the gut microbiome and personalised nutrition for the future is a fascinating listen, and she is also fully in favour of a morning coffee and full fat dairy so definitely my kind of nutritionist! She very much wants people to feel they can have fun with bringing more variety of food into their cooking, and also to connect with the natural environment that food comes from - it is worth having a look at her website (you can find the link on the STA website, link below) where she lists events and courses. She talks a lot about not only the role food and our microbiome have in our health including managing inflammatory conditions and healing, but how our mental and emotional well-being can affect our gut health - as so many of us have grown up with an awareness of but haven't always found a way to act on. What we eat can have such an effect on our fitness and ability to recover, well worth a listen.

I also listened to the Food Programme on R4, which has a two parter on - you guessed it - the gut microbiome. Definitely the hot topic of the last year or so!

One of the points made in this episode that I really appreciated was that there is no right diet (where diet refers to what you eat on a regular basis) that will fit everyone; there is the right diet for you in your environment, leading your life. In this episode they monitored the health of someone from the UK kayaking up the Greenland coast whilst eating a traditional Greenland diet (spoiler: he thrived on it!) One of the researchers observed that if you want to know what you should be eating, look at the kind of foods found naturally where you are (or what they would be if there was still a natural environment!) and what the traditional diet would have included. Once again the message was to eat a variety of fresh and fermented foods, and to avoid ultra processed food.

Lastly, as the days become shorter and the weather colder, remember to take a moment to breathe, relax those tightly braced muscles and allow your spine to lengthen and expand so you can move with more ease and lightness through your day - even as wind howls and the cold numbs your nose. Look for where you are holding tension and ask if you can let it ease away; notice how that feels. Enjoy!  

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