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The website of Author/Writer and Psychic Medium Astrid Brown. Making the most of 'YOU' i.e. how to achieve well-being and beauty from within ourselves. A truly holistic blog providing information on all aspects of psychic mediumship, spiritualism, philosophy, holistic therapies, nutrition, health, stress, mental health and beauty with a little bit of Wicca for good measure. Feeling and looking good is as much a part of how we feel inside as the outside.

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ALL WRITTEN/PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL ON MY PAGES IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT. YOU MAY NOT REPRODUCE, COPY, DISSEMINATE PART OR WHOLE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

I am a great believer in Karma, but just what is it? Karma comes from the Sanskrit and ancient Indian Language with the underlying principal that every deed in our lives will affect our future life. For example, if we treat others badly during our lifetime we will have negative experiences later on in that lifetime or in future lifetimes. Likewise, if we treat others well we will be rewarded by positive experiences.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

ALLERGY RELATED AUTISM

Copyright prevents me from reproducing the whole of this paper but you can view this report into Autism here


Improving communication skills in children With 
allergy-related autism Using nambudripad’s allergy 
elimination Techniques: a Pilot study
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD; Devi S. Nambudripad, MD, PhD, DC, LAc; Yvonne Tyson, MD; Ming Chen, MD; Robert
Prince, MD; Mala M. Moosad, RN, LAc, PhD; Laurie Teitelbaum, MS

Interesting the link with allergens. Not autism but when my eldest child was a little girl she began life as a crying baby, suffered colic, didn't sleep, she progressed to a difficult toddler and I was at my wits end with her persistent crying and non sleeping. Now this goes back 30 years ago, but I began to question what she was eating, was it possibly cows milk, wheat? At the same time a book was published called "E for additives" being interested in what was being put into food interested me and I had a hunch could this be the problem with my child? Doctors 30 years ago were very sceptical, but no one was getting any sleep and my daughter was so badly behaved and had no attention span. She had been fully breast fed so cow's milk was not introduced (firstly by formula at weaning at 6 months) however when she was one week old she was admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea and they could not find the cause. Drs realised I was drinking copious amounts of fresh orange and tomato and vegetable juices and suggested I cut this down. Lo and behold her diarrhoea ceased which goes to show what the mother eats affects the baby who is breast fed. Watching at what food stuffs my daughter craved (this is a common sign to allergens) I was able to deduce she was sensitive to all synthetic food colourings, sunset yellow etc. and when I cut these out of her diet she was a changed child, the affect was dramatic.

When my second daughter was born she was a very passive and good baby with  good sleeping patterns however she developed an allergy to cows milk just after her first birthday and was prescribed soya formula and her diarrhoea stopped. I was taking no chances with my third baby, as soon as I knew I was pregnant I substituted cows milk for soya and right through breast feeding. The conclusion my third daughter experienced no problems at all. Coincidence perhaps? personally I don't think so. Of course there has been a great deal of research since my girls were little and doctors are much more enlightened but there is still much more to be done especially as to how a common foodstuff can affect the brain and behaviour

So this study into Autism and the link with allergens does not surprise me and I would like to see further research into this and other conditions. Whilst doing a bit of research I came across this article from the Daily Mail on a similar vein.

Before embarking on any kind of rotation diet, it is important that guidance is given by a clinical dietitian or clinical practitioner. As children do need the correct balance of nutrients


I helped my son cope better with autism by changing his diet

By Sally Beck 
A few weeks ago, a one-woman campaign culminated in Polly Tommey meeting the Prime Minister to improve support for the families of children with autism.
She was fighting for the sake of thousands of other parents around the country, having become an unofficial 'Good Samaritan' for the desperate parents of autistic children.
Here, Polly, 42, the mother of an autistic child, tells her extraordinary story...
Polly Tommey with her autistic son Billy
Polly Tommey with her autistic son Billy
One of the most harrowing memories I have of dealing with the parents of autistic  children is the day I took a call from a man driving his car around the M25.
He was really distressed because he had a two-year-old child whom he felt powerless to help.
Sounding utterly desperate, he told me: 'My son can't speak and doesn't know he's got a mother. He's uncontrollable and I can't cope.
'I'm going to drive through the central reservation into the path of the oncoming traffic. Please tell my wife I love her.'
I started saying anything to bring him back from the brink. I told him that if he committed suicide, it would make everything worse. For an hour, I just threw anything at him to try to calm him down, which he did eventually.
Then he just put the phone down. I had no idea what had happened to him until two years later, when he came up to me at a conference and said: 'Remember me?'
He explained who he was and said he'd phoned me because he subscribed to my magazine, The Autism File, and had nowhere else to turn.
Most people have no idea how unrelentingly hard it is looking after autistic children. My own autistic son, Billy, who is nearly 13, has done some terrible things without having a clue what he's done. Billy has an older sister, Bella, 14, and a younger brother, Toby, 11, who are both 'normal' children.
When Toby was six months old, and Billy was two, I took Bella to a tennis lesson. I left Billy in the car, with Toby strapped in his car seat, while I talked to the tennis instructor.
I was gone for only about three minutes, but when I came back, Billy had pulled every hair out of Toby's head. It was horrific. Toby was screaming and his head was all bloody - but Billy was just laughing.
Life before Billy was so different for my husband Jon and me. We met 20 years ago when Jon was managing a health club. He became a personal trainer with clients suchas actor Anthony Hopkins, model Marie Helvin and photographer Terry O'Neill. 
Tommey: 'I would have done anything for a smile or a cuddle, or to hear him say:
Tommey: 'I would have done anything for a smile or a cuddle, or to hear him say: "I love you Mum."
I worked as an actress and life was fun. Our flat in the Fulham Road, West London, was always full of people. We lived life to the full. We married in 1993 and Bella was born two years later, followed by Billy nearly two years after that. 
Billy is a typical regressive autistic child. He was developing normally until he was 18 months, then he had a convulsion in his cot. 
We took him to hospital and he was stabilised - but after that, all eye contact stopped, he didn't recognise us, and he stopped talking, sleeping and eating properly. 
We got the diagnosis from Kingston Hospital when he was two-and-a-half. Jon and I cried every night. For six weeks, I lay on one side of the bed crying, and Jon lay on the other side of the bed crying, and we both cried until we fell asleep. 
Like lots of mothers of regressive autistic children, I was desperate to get my child back. I would have done anything for a smile or a cuddle, or to hear him say: 'I love you, Mum.' 
People don't realise that a large proportion of autistic children have terrible gut problems, and for 18 months that was the case with Billy.
Any normal child would have been taken to A&E at some point and given a battery of tests, but with autistic children doctors say it's just part of their autism.
Billy stopped eating most things, and eventually all that was left in his diet was cow's milk and Weetabix. He was so skinny his hair started falling out, and he had sores all over his lips and up his arms. 
Then, one day, a leaflet dropped through my door explaining how a wheat and dairy-free diet could help autistic children. Jon was sceptical, but I thought it was worth a try. 
Polly Tommey's poster campaign which Gordon Brown said was 'genius'
Polly Tommey's poster campaign which Gordon Brown said was 'genius'
I replaced cow's milk with rice milk and began baking gluten-free biscuits, which I gave him instead of Weetabix. Billy starved himself for a few days then began eating the biscuits  -  and, amazingly, his gut problems started to get better.
That really woke Jon up, because he thought if Billy could improve just by making a change to his diet, what else could be done? He found an organisation called Allergy Induced Autism, and through them we met other people who were doing things to help autistic children. 
Jon flew to the States for a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) conference and learned how biomedical intervention could help. He threw himself into finding help for Billy and re-trained as a clinical nutritionist.
At the time, Jon was David Liddiment's personal trainer. David was head of LWT (London Weekend Television) then, and during a run one day, Jon told him that we were going to try treating Billy with the hormone secretin, which stimulates the pancreas.
Billy still suffered terrible constipation, and we thought it would help regulate his gut. It worked and Billy's behaviour improved.
That was ten years ago and as Billy was the first British child to try secretin, David suggested that Trevor McDonald follow his progress on the Trevor McDonald Tonight show.
We set up a website for anyone who wanted to know more about secretin. It got 150,000 hits, the computer crashed and LWT couldn't cope with all the inquiries. 
We'd thought that by doing the programme, we'd find other people who knew of other treatments that could help Billy. Instead, we were inundated with people asking us for help.
It frightened me, because I thought if people were asking me, then there really wasn't any help out there. 
An old family photo of Jon and Polly Tommey with their son, Billy, who suffers from autism
An old family photo of Jon and Polly Tommey with their son, Billy, who suffers from autism
People did contact us with interesting information, though, so I wrote to them and said I'd put it together in the form of a magazine, so they could all share it and start a debate.
The Autism File was born  -  ten years on, we run it from our room and dressing room in our in Hampton, Middlesex.
The magazine's circulation is 44,000 and it's on sale nationally for £4.95. We get around 50 calls from parents, and the phone calls until 1am with people calling the States.
There are four of us, including Jon, who answer the calls and no one gets paid any more than expenses  -  but I do make the helpers lunch and sometimes I manage to draw a small wage.
We get calls from fathers who cope with the stress. One father told us how every week, without fail, his 22 year-old son, who has Aspergers - a form of autism  -  gets beaten up.
Mothers are distraught because their husbands have left them or have had affairs. Another father couldn't take his son to the supermarket because every time they go he pees on the fruit and vegetables.
We get calls from Asperger's sufferers who have little or no support  -  three have committed suicide. Two mothers have committed suicide with their autistic children because they couldn't cope. 
It's desperate and I am not trained to deal with any of this. All I can do is listen and advise where I can. 
Just before Christmas, I took a call from a mother who couldn't find a school for her autistic son.
He was constipated, she had no money and her husband had left her. The only way she could sleep at night was to drink a bottle of wine. 
I was on the phone for over an hour, and when I put the phone down I felt so angry on her behalf that I just felt we had to do something. 
We sat down and decided that people needed to know what the families of autistic children have to go through: how little support there is for autistic children and families.
We also want people to know that the mothers aren't downtrodden, illeducated women who somehow deserve to have an autistic child  -  so we hit on the idea of a photo of the glamorous mothers we know.
Jon called Terry O'Neill and asked if he would take the photo. He said that of course he would. I called Peter Mead, the creative director of the ad agency AMV DDBO, which has clients such as BT and Walkers Crisps and where I had worked as a temp, and he too said he would help. 
The project snowballed and we had a £500,000 national advertising campaign which appeared on around 4,000 billboards and posters. Everyone involved has donated their time and skills free. 
The main campaign was a series of 'Dear Gordon Brown' letters, asking the Prime Minister to contact me so we could discuss a way forward. 
We finally met earlier this month and I told him about the Autism Trust  -  the charity we've set up. 
There is so much misinformation out there, and so little understanding from health professionals, emergency services and the authorities that it makes caring ten times harder. 
One mother, who had a 40-year-old autistic son, managed to get him a job working at the local library for two hours a day. He was fine as long as he got on and off the bus in the same place and followed the same routine. He had some independence and his mother had some respite. 
Then, on the way home one day, a baby on the bus started crying. Lots of autistic people are incredibly sensitive to noise, so this man stood up, covered his ears and started screaming to block out the noise. The bus driver called the police and the man was taken away and sectioned.

His mother didn't see him for six months and by the time she got him back he was pumped full of drugs and could only sit rocking backwards and forwards in his bedroom. All her hard work had been destroyed. 
The cost of life care for an autistic person is around £2.9 million, but we think that with the right help that could be massively reduced. 
It would cost £10million to set up an autism centre where we could educate the police, magistrates, teachers and anyone else who comes into contact with autism. 
It would also be a drop-in centre for parents to get advice on education and treatment for their children. 
There are amazing things being done to help autistic kids, particularly with biomedical intervention  -  detoxifying children through supplements and probiotics, diet, speech therapy and behaviour analysis.
Some children respond so well they are taken off the autistic spectrum and can return to mainstream school. 
But very little of this help is available on the NHS, or through the local education authority. 
I mentioned all this to Gordon Brown when I met him, and he was incredibly supportive. In fact, our meeting couldn't have been better. He loved the billboard campaign and said it was genius. 
Gordon wants me to work with his wife Sarah to bring all the autistic organisations together so that we can work for a common cause. He wants there to be more understanding towards autistics, and for them to be more included in society. 
For that to happen, the public sector needs educating, so he wants his representatives to attend a conference that our charity, The Autism Trust, is running in October. We want doctors, scientists and the public sector to learn more about dealing with autistic people.
As for Billy, he has done incredibly well. Jon and I have spent £45,000 helping him (we have debts and loans of around £30,000) and he has really thrived. He talks, he has no bowel problems, and we have a great relationship with him. 
Billy is now a weekly boarder at a new residential school in Brighton, called Hassocks, where he'll learn essential life skills. Jon is the resident nutritionist there and the kids will really get the kind of help they need. 
But the fact is, for many families there is still a long way to go. 
I saw an advert recently asking for people to care for autistic children. It said: 'No experience necessary. English as a first language not essential.'
It made my heart sink because these children are being treated like cabbages. Our message is very simple: 'We can do better than that.'



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Nutritional therapy may be key to stopping autism





Nutritional therapy may be key to stopping autism



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/05/29/nutritional-therapy-may-be-key-to-stopping-autism/


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Saturday, 26 May 2012

VENUS IN RETROGRADE AND HOW IT AFFECTS RELATIONSHIPS

Now I've talked about Mercury in retrograde on here but its not only Mercury that goes into retrograde but all the planets do and this creates effects and at the moment Venus is in retrograde. It can make for a tricky time regarding relationships



Next Period of Venus Retrograde (2012)
07 Gem 29
Apr 12, 2012
23 Gem 59
May 15, 2012
07 Gem 29
Jun 27, 2012
23 Gem 59
Jul 31, 2012
Venus
Venus



With Venus retrograde, the pace of relationships slows down, so this is not the best time to get married or give big parties. Since Venus rules diplomacy, slowdowns in all sorts of negotiations can be expected, including industrial disputes, legal issues and diplomatic endeavours. Unresolved issues from the past will come forward and demand resolution such as  stirring up old flames, relationships and even kindred Spirits or Soul connections from long ago (and or past lives).


Venus, the goddess of love, rules feelings and emotion, aesthetics and tastes, relationships, fashions and all forms of desire, money and wealth. Venus rules social attitudes and behaviour She governs romance, marriage and other partnerships, capacity for humour, and the pursuit of pleasure.


Venus Retrograde in Gemini 
May 15, 2012  till  Jun 27, 2012  

Venus is in retrograde for approximately every eighteen months and will be in retrograde for about forty days.

This year we will have a retrograde period in the sign of Gemini.  This will deal with our romantic lives and our values.  On the down side, it can be more of a distorted perspective and attitude.

It is a time when you will start to analysis your personal life and relationships that you have.  Evaluate the reason why others are in your life and what value do they really have for you. You are aware of these issues, difference or unresolved problems with others.  Wait till Venus goes direct if you are planning to let go people from your life.  This will give you more understanding of what is and has been going on and your role in the relationship. But you must also realise that in any relationships there will always be differences.  They question is how much do you want to tolerate and what is actually depleting or negative to your well being as a whole.  

In some cases if a relationship has difficulties, things can work themselves out for the best.  During this retrograde we find people feeling more unloved, unappreciated and disappointed.  Remember it is almost like the opposite of what the planet has to offer.  People will feel that they need to get more out a relationship.  This makes it a great time to mend relationships and apologise when needed in relationships.

During this retrograde period, it is advised not to get married or start new relationships.  The reason is, they will not last.  

Also, not a good time to make any major financial decisions.  

Any type of cosmetic work done should be postponed until after this time.

Watch out for splurging on things that will be a substitute for the need to feel loved.   It can be costly to you on some level.

Do not purchase pricey or luxury items during this time.  What looks good will not looks good later.  In addition, financially there will be a downfall with it. Venus retrograde is an excellent time for buying antiques, flea market items and secondhand goods wherein you know the real worth and value of the item but the seller do not. Therefore, the key here is, if you know you are getting a bargain before retrograde, try to haggle the price during retrograde and you might just get an awesome deal.

It is a favourable time for re-negotiating a financial situation such as a contract or bank loan. It can be helpful in resolving a long-standing legal matter.
Courtesy of http://www.carlamary.net


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Saturday, 19 May 2012

THE ENERGISING EFFECT OF TREES


Now this is something us Holistic therapists have known for decades, but walking in a park particularly amongst mature trees is extremely energising yet calming at the same time, it aligns the soul's balance. I wouldn't go so far as say I'm a tree hugger but those that do know the secret of trees energy. Sitting with your back to a mature tree and meditating is beneficial and de-stressing.


Feeling depressed? How a walk in the park could lift your mood

  • Stroll in a park gave a boost to memory and attention span which wasn't repeated on an urban route


Get back to nature: A walk in a rural setting was found to increase memory skills among depressed patients
Get back to nature: A walk in a rural setting was found to increase memory skills among depressed patients
Taking a walk in the park could help those suffering from depression, researchers have found.
They studied whether a nature walk could improve the mood of  people with clinical depression.
The research also tested theories developed in a cognitive science  field known as Attention Restoration Theory, which propose that  people concentrate better after spending time in nature or looking at natural scenes.
According to ART, those in peaceful settings are not bombarded with external distractions, which tax their working memory and attention  systems.
As a result, the brain can relax and enter a state of contemplation, which helps restore cognitive capacities.
For the latest study, 20 people with clinical depression – 12 women and eight men, with an average age of  26 – took part in an experiment  that involved walking in a quiet nature setting and in a noisy urban setting.
Before their walks, participants completed testing to determine their cognitive and mood status, and were asked to think about an unresolved, painful memory.
They were then told to go for an hour-long walk in a woodland park, or stroll along a busy street.
The routes were mapped out and participants wore a GPS watch to ensure they went to the right place.
After their walk was completed, they took part in a series of mental tests to measure their attention, and short-term and working memory. A week later, the participants repeated the study but went for a walk in the location they had not visited in the first experiment.
Getting away from it all: Nature walks yielded a 16 per cent increase in attention and working memory compared to urban walks
Getting away from it all: Nature walks yielded a 16 per cent increase in attention and working memory compared to urban walks
As depression sufferers are characterised by high levels of rumination and negative thinking, researchers were sceptical a solitary walk in the park would provide any benefit.
But mood was improved to a significant extent by both types of walk, the study found.
The results also showed sufferers had a 16 per cent increase in attention and working memory after the nature walk compared with the urban walk.
Writing for the Journal of Affective Disorders, Dr Marc Berman, of  the Rotman Research Institute,  Canada, who led the research,  said: ‘Our study showed that participants with clinical depression  demonstrated improved memory performance after a walk in nature, compared with a walk in a busy urban environment.
‘Walking in nature may act to supplement or enhance existing treatments for clinical depression.’
In 2008, another study by Dr Berman showed that adults, who had not been diagnosed with any illness, received a mental boost after an hour-long walk in a woodland park.
Their performance on memory and attention tests was improved by 20 per cent compared with after an hour-long stroll in a noisy urban environment.



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Friday, 18 May 2012

INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING YOUR PSYCHIC ABILITY? OR PERHAPS WONDERING HOW PSYCHICS WORK?






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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

MEN AND THE BIG 40

Now I did say when I created this blog it was also for men, so here we are I came across this article from the Daily Mail. As you know I am a counsellor and many of the problems that I do come across relate to men when they hit 40. Generally it's their wives and girl friends that contact me. 

Now we are all aware that around middle aged women approach the menopause, we are all familiar with this, but this midlife crisis men appear to have would appear to be the male equivalent.

Many men seem to take stock of their life around this time and its almost as if they want to cram everything in they have missed out on for some. Relationships get stressed, they become irritable. Some men do experience a fall in testosterone levels and this can make them irritable and depressed and cause changes in libido and men are notorious for not wishing to discuss this with their doctor. Sadly rather than discuss all of this with their partners, they create a distance between themselves and its not uncommon for relationships to break up at this time.

The good news is the majority men do pass through this stage in their lives, but why go through what can be an unsettling time on your own. So I urge you guys to talk to your girlfriends and wives as to how you are feeling, you would be surprised how much this can alleviate how you are feeling and please if you are feeling depressed lethargic etc do go and talk to your doctor that is what he is there for


Why mid-life health kicks can WRECK men's bodies: Jogging and low-fat food will make you fatter and damage your heart


Hitting 40 marks a turning point for many men and their health.
Their metabolism slows, leading to the dreaded belly and the first signs of ageing and long-term disease — raised blood cholesterol and high blood pressure — begin to appear.
Last week, came the gloomy prediction that almost two thirds of men aged between 40 and 100 will be obese by 2040, risking type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and early death.
David Cameron runs the Sport Relief Mile
Boris Johnson on his morning run
Running into trouble? David Cameron, 45, and Boris Johnson, 47. Jogging is almost as much a rite of passage for the middle-aged man as buying a fast car
The thickening waist and heightened sense of mortality is often enough to kick start a new regimen, which usually means choosing low-fat foods and taking up jogging (indeed, jogging is almost as much a rite of passage for the middle-aged man as buying a fast car, with David Cameron and Boris Johnson recently spotted pounding the pavements). 
But these are actually the worst things the middle-aged man can do, says Dr Charles Clark, a consultant surgeon and expert on diabetes. 
Like a growing number of experts, Dr Clark (an honorary research fellow at the University of Glasgow), says low-fat diets could be making our long-term health worse. 
That’s because they are often high in sugar and carbohydrates. 
Dr Clark and others believe sugar, and its effect on the hormone insulin, is the real dietary evil behind our ever-rising obesity levels and our frightening incidence of heart disease. 
In a new book, he claims that controlling insulin is the key to protecting a man’s heart, and also protecting him against a host of potential killers — raised cholesterol, diabetes, cancers — as well as reducing his risk of arthritis and obesity, and even boosting his libido. 
It is a controversial view, but Dr Clark has strong medical credentials, having published more than 80 scientific research articles in high-profile journals such as  the British Medical Journal. 
As for jogging, Dr Clark says if you’re unfit, it’s a quick-fire way of destroying your hip and knee joints and placing a tremendous strain on your heart and lungs. 
But all is not lost, for Dr Clark believes men can dramatically improve their health, and reduce their risk of killer diseases, in as little as two weeks by making a few very simple changes. 
Here are some of his key recommendations.

AVOID ‘LOW-FAT’ FOODS

Dr Clark says low-fat diet foods are very often pumped with extra sugar (file picture)
Dr Clark says low-fat diet foods are very often pumped with extra sugar (file picture)
We’ve long been told that high-fat  foods (such as cream and cheese) clog up the arteries. So, for most men, going low-fat would seem the obvious way to eat healthily. 
But Dr Clark says dietary cholesterol accounts for just 15 per cent of the total cholesterol in our bodies — the rest is manufactured by the liver. 
As he explains it, the problem is sugar. In response to sugar in the blood, the body produces the hormone insulin.
This in turn instructs the liver to metabolise dietary fat and convert any extra food in the blood into triglycerides (a form of blood fat). 
These triglycerides are bundled into globules transported through the blood to be taken up by the fat cells. That’s how excess food makes us fat.
Insulin also controls the extent to which the liver creates and pumps out cholesterol. Scientists believe high insulin levels are more likely to trigger the production of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. 
When insulin levels are reduced, the liver cells find it harder to convert the fat in food into cholesterol and tends to pump out more ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Dr Clark says low-fat diet foods (yoghurts, ready-meals, biscuits, even salad dressings) are very often pumped with extra sugar to make them palatable and people on low-fat diets are very likely to fill up on carbohydrates, both of which raise insulin levels, increasing LDL and triglycerides.

FORGET JOGGING

Exercise plays an important role in keeping insulin levels under control. 
But while jogging is an excellent form of exercise when you are fit, it is also an excellent way of precipitating a heart attack when you’re not, says Dr Clark.
If you are overweight with poor muscle tone, jogging is a fast track to ruining your hip and knee joints and put unbearable strain on your heart and lungs. 
Instead, start exercising slowly and build up your fitness gradually by walking for 20 minutes five times a week, and adding some gentle muscle-building exercises (such as lifting light weights) and stretching. 

EXERCISE YOUR SMOOTH MUSCLE

We all start to lose our muscle tone with age, but while exercise will help, don’t forget your smooth muscles. These make up the intestines, the bladder and the muscle in internal organs and their health is vital. Like any other cell, they need food and oxygen.
These come in the form of nutrition from your diet and good profusion, or blood flow, to the tissues. Healthy smooth muscle prevents constriction of the arteries by cholesterol and stress.
To ‘exercise’ the smooth muscles, you need roughage (such as green vegetables). This stretches the muscle fibres and helps to press food through the bowel. If you don’t have roughage in your diet, the bowel isn’t stimulated and it becomes dormant — a major cause of bowel cancer.
Water is also vital — drink regularly, not just when you feel thirsty. This keeps the bowel’s contractor muscle moving, prevents constipation and prevents many of the typical diseases that occur in middle age such as cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and peptic ulcers. 

SIT UP STRAIGHT

Correct posture is vital for the health of bones and muscles — but Dr Clark says sitting and standing properly are also crucial for the internal organs to function effectively. It enables unrestricted expansion of the internal organs, allowing for blood flow, breathing and gastroeintestinal function.
So be aware of your posture at all times. When sitting, standing or walking, consciously pull your shoulders back and lift your head to draw the body into a balanced position and help prevent upper and lower back pain.
Additionally, learn to sit with the feet directly in front with the toes pointing forward. This will help stop excessive rotation in the hip joint, which can lead to injury, and prevent strain on the hip muscles.

BREATHE DEEPLY

When we’re under stress, the body produces the hormone cortisol. 
One of its actions is to force the liver to release sugar into the blood, providing instant energy to help you fight or flee. This triggers yet more insulin, high levels of which can lead to obesity and disease.
If you’re under constant stress, your insulin levels will inevitably be high. 
Stress can cause such powerful chemical changes in the body that it can trigger the start of diabetes, raise blood pressure (cortisol also instructs the arteries to narrow, forcing the heart to pump harder and faster), reduce your immunity, affect your testosterone levels, and even increase the risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers.
De-stressing is therefore vital: eat healthily and at regular intervals (hunger and poor diet put extra stress on the body), get plenty of sleep and exercise, and try relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises.
Sit quietly for five minutes each day, close your eyes and focus on nothing but your breathing and your heartbeat, and try to breathe evenly and slowly.
For days when negative thoughts take over, use ‘stress Elastoplasts’ such as a good book (reading something of interest to you for as little as six minutes can reduce stress by 68 per cent), listening to music (it can lower stress by 32 per cent) or massage (a weekly massage brings down stress levels by 27 per cent).

DRINK WINE, NOT FRUIT JUICE

Dr Clark recommends alcohol consumption is limited to two small glasses of red wine per day
Dr Clark recommends alcohol consumption is limited to two small glasses of red wine per day (file picture)
Dr Clark recommends drinking at least ten cups of water a day. He says fruit juice is ‘far too high in sugar for general consumption’, coffee causes dehydration and should be restricted to two cups a day, tea to three cups (herbal tea is unlimited), but alcohol is allowed, in moderation. 
‘Beers have high carbohydrate content and therefore a greater likelihood of promoting the development of diabetes than those drinks with a low carbohydrate content, such as red wine,’ he says, recommending alcohol consumption is limited to two small glasses of red wine per day.

SAVE YOUR SEX LIFE

Testosterone levels naturally fall with age (at a rate of 1-2 per cent per year after the age of 40), but a dwindling libido can also be a symptom of excessive stress and poor diet.
Poor nutrition causes physical and mental fatigue, leaving little left over for social interest, let alone sexual activity. 
Obesity itself also limits libido. In one French study, obese men were 69 per cent less likely to have had more than one sexual partner in a year than men of normal weight. 
Another problem at this age can be impotence, which can be an early sign of coronary heart disease and diabetes. It can also be due to atherosclerosis, a systemic condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries, leading to restricted blood flow in the penis.
So how to resolve a flagging libido? Once again the process is simple, says Dr Clark: Reduce refined carbohydrates, reduce stress levels and take more exercise. All will help ensure the body is working at optimum levels. 

TUCK INTO A STEAK

For every meal, energy should, instead, come from protein
For every meal, energy should, instead, come from protein
Modern diets have become dangerously carbohydrate-heavy, says Dr Charles Clark.
All carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules joined together — the typical Western diet can contain as much as 66 teaspoons of sugar in one day.
While public health advice recommends carbohydrates form a major part of a healthy, balanced diet, most carbohydrates are completely surplus to our bodily requirements, Dr Clark suggests.
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and rice provide only energy, he says.
They don’t provide any form of nutrition at all. What’s more, if your diet is dominated by these you could be producing too much insulin.
Insulin is the master hormone for weight management, commanding the body to convert excess sugar in the bloodstream into fat — which is stored primarily in the abdomen.
Keep carbohydrates to no more than 50g a day (a slice of wholemeal bread has 18g of carbs; a small, 5cm diameter, baked potato has around 15g).
For every meal, energy should, instead, come from protein (in the form of meat, fish, eggs and cheese) and a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and salads.
When we consume proteins, the body breaks them down into amino acids, which are absorbed through the wall of the bowel and form skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and all the organs such as the brain and the heart.
Avoid all refined carbohydrates for two weeks to kick-start any healthy-eating plan.

Adapted from Health Revolution For Men by Dr Charles Clark and Maureen Clark (Piatkus, £12.99). 
© 2012 Dr Charles Clark and Maureen Clark. To order a copy for £10.99 (incl. p&p) call 0843 382 0000.


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Monday, 14 May 2012

THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS

This caught my eye in the Daily Mail today and pertains to a book being released later this month details at the bottom of this article here. 

For too long there has been a stigma with mental illness as I see it, mental illness can have its roots in a physical cause as many mental illnesses, such as depression are caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry, namely neurotransmitters making it no different to say diabetes or a thyroid disorder so why should it have this stigma?

As a young nurse one of my placements was to what was known at the time as a "Psycho geriatric" ward, most of the patients were suffering from Dementia however there were a couple who technically had no reason to be in there at all. They had had an illegitimate child back in the 1940's which was seen as a huge scandal in those days, so their babies were put up for adoption and they were sectioned under the mental act for their so called crime. Because they had become institutionalised they were now unable to be released to normal life as they would have been unable to cope. It's really quite shocking to see where what was needed was support and compassion, instead the vulnerable were locked up out of sight.

Perhaps if people weren't so ignorant and were willing to understand mental illness there would not be the stigma it still has albeit it is a bit better than in Victorian times. Attitudes need to change, for we never know what is round the corner, due to stress, and people living longer Mental Illness is on the increase, it's time to drop the stigma and be compassionate and learn to understand its no different from any other illness, after all next year, it might be you or a loved one who succumbs


Sent to the asylum: The Victorian women locked up because they were suffering from stress, post natal depression and anxiety 


These days, work stress, postnatal depression and anxiety are addressed with compassion. But just a few generations ago, the women who suffered from these conditions, were confined to an asylum.
The compelling portraits shown here, taken by Victorian photographer Henry Hering in the mid-19th century, have a haunting quality.
But apart from the women’s pensive expressions and drab clothing, there is little to indicate that the photographs had been taken in an asylum. If you took away the period gowns and hairstyles, their mournful faces might be looking out of the window of a bus or cafĂ© today.
Emma Riches. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by childbirth
Emma Riches. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by childbirth
Eliza Josolyne. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by overwork
Eliza Josolyne. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by overwork
Then, however, women could find themselves labelled insane and locked up in madhouses for a range of conditions – from postnatal depression to alcoholism or senile dementia, and even for social transgressions such as infidelity (‘moral insanity’).
These photographic records exist because some influential doctors, including keen photographer 
Dr Hugh Diamond, believed that the then new science of photography could help to diagnose mental illness by capturing what he called the ‘exact point that had been reached in the scale of unhappiness’.
The idea that your face could be used to read your mind – and that how you looked in a photo could determine your fate – fascinated and horrified me. I was already interested in mental health. As in most families, there have been mental health issues in mine.
In the late 1960s, my gentle grandmother was plunged into a serious depression after the sudden death of her husband from a heart attack. A daring and sporty young woman, who grew up in a lively family, she found the loneliness and grief of widowhood in her 50s unbearable.
I was 11 or 12 when she became ill; the stigma around mental distress was stronger than it is now and my parents tried to protect me from it. But I noticed how Gran’s round shape changed to a drastically reduced outline and was aware of my parents’ worried conversations about her, of emergency phone calls and sudden dashes to see her in hospital, where, I later found out, she was admitted more than once after attempts on her own life. 
Sarah Gardner. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by anxiety
Sarah Gardner. Diagnosis: Insanity caused by anxiety
Elizabeth Thew. Diagnosis: Epilepsy
Elizabeth Thew. Diagnosis: Epilepsy
My grandmother’s grief might today be recognised as such, and treated with bereavement counselling rather than being labelled ‘depression’, as it was in the 60s, and treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). She never mentioned the treatment to me and I can only imagine that it increased her sense of isolation. She was helped by moving to a new village to be near her sister, where she acquired new friends and a beloved dalmatian. 
However horrific the idea of ECT seems to my generation, which associates it with the shocking scenes in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, how much worse, I wondered, would her situation have been 100 years earlier. I started further research into the subject of women in Victorian asylums and learnt that much of the mental health provision then was still in private houses, often run by nonmedical men who did little more than keep patients locked away. With their living coming from the profit, there was little incentive to discharge patients who could be detained. 
Anyone who could persuade two doctors to sign certificates of insanity could put away inconvenient or embarrassing relatives in a madhouse. Women – with lower social status, and usually less power and money – were more vulnerable.
Wendy Wallace as a baby with her grandmother, who was later to suffer from depression
Wendy Wallace as a baby with her grandmother, who was later to suffer from depression
In the archive of Bethlem Hospital (once popularly known as Bedlam) I found original prints of female patients, made by photographer Henry Hering, who worked at the hospital in the 1850s. Matching their handwritten case notes to their photographs was a powerful experience. These women seemed very close, their distressing plight very real. 
When I came across the story of Elizabeth Thew, admitted to Bethlem from prison after supposedly murdering her two-month-old baby, my blood ran cold. A sweet-faced woman, neatly dressed and holding an enormous piece of white lacework, Elizabeth looked out of her photograph with a resigned half-smile. According to her notes, she was not mentally ill at all but suffered from severe epileptic fits. Was she convicted because her epilepsy made her seem somehow mad enough to kill her own child? She languished in the asylum for ten years before being transferred out of it – and granted a royal pardon for the crime. 
Eliza Josolyne, 23, was admitted to Bethlem in February 1857, with the cause of her apparent insanity recorded as ‘overwork’. She looks distraught and her face bears marks of injury. Eliza had been the only servant in a 20-room house and was unable to keep up with the work over the hard winter months when every room would have required a fire burning in its grate and lamps to be lit early. Would doctors now diagnose burnout and acute stress?
Might Eliza have sought help from a GP or even a union before she reached such a point of physical and mental overload? We cannot know. Her notes state that Eliza ‘has frequently tried to injure herself by knocking her head against doors and walls, and has slept in the padded room on this account’. 

Women could find themselves labelled insane and locked up for infidelity

Self-harm remains a common symptom of mental distress, especially in young women. These days, medication and therapy can relieve painful feelings. But chillingly, Eliza’s notes end with her transfer a few months later to the Incurables Department. Emma Riches, a 27-year-old mother of four, fared better. Her newest baby was four weeks old when Emma was admitted to Bethlem with ‘puerperal insanity’, or what we would now call postnatal depression. 
She had suffered from the illness after the births of each of the children, and been admitted to the same hospital before. In the photograph the hand of an attendant can be seen, restraining Emma’s own hand. Emma wears a ‘strong dress’, a form of canvas shift that could not be torn by distressed patients. Her notes record: ‘She never speaks nor appears to notice anything… She cares for nothing, will not eat unless she is forced to do so, nor dress nor undress herself.’
There is no clear indication of how Emma was treated by doctors, beyond a remark that the drugs they tried were ineffectual. Nurses are likely to have attempted to persuade her to sew or help out in the kitchens. Uneducated, Emma could not have read books to pass the time or provide an escape from the tedium of her asylum – where she would have been without all of her four children. A second photograph shows her restored to health, wearing her own smart clothes again and about to be discharged back to her family. After almost a year in hospital, her postnatal depression had passed. 
Sarah Gardner, a 26-year-old servant from London, felt worthless and wanted to kill herself but was ashamed of her suicidal feelings when admitted to Bethlem. She had been much distressed by the social stigma and gossip about her situation as a single woman working for a man. She’d also been jilted by her fiancĂ©. She stayed for only a couple of months before being discharged cured. 
Women were thought to be at particular risk of mental illness caused by supposed disorders of the reproductive system. Cases of melancholia associated with the menopause were treated with leeches to the pubis. The male doctors of the day saw ‘hysteria’ – from the Latin for womb – everywhere; almost any form of behaviour, such as excited chattering with other women, could be diagnosed as hysteria. 
Mercury, known as calomel, was considered an effective treatment for hysteria but, like most of the medicines prescribed for mental illness, was highly toxic. Antimony, a toxic chemical now used in fire retardants, was employed to keep patients in a state of nausea, making acts of violence less 
likely. It was an early example of the ‘chemical cosh’. 
Women’s sexuality was a prime focus of male Victorian physicians. Erotomania (hypersexuality) was considered a constant danger in female patients and could accompany hysteria. Physician Thomas Laycock noted that ‘the cold bath, the shower bath, the douche and cold applications to the regions of the uterus have all been employed with advantage’. 
Patients’ blood was seen as in need of cooling and thinning. ‘Cerebral congestion’, deduced from unusual or manic behaviour, was treated by leeches to the temples, perhaps followed by cold lotions to the shaven scalp. Cold showers were used to cool overheated and overstimulated brains. French physician Jean-Etienne Esquirol recorded subjecting a young woman to a 15-minute cold shower, ‘after which a shivering came on, her jaws chattered violently, her limbs were unable to support the weight of her body, and the pulse was small, slow and contracted’. On waking, ‘reason had returned,’ he pronounced.

Antimony, a toxic chemical now used in fire retardants, kept patients in a state of nausea, an early example of the ‘chemical cosh’

Mental distress has not gone away. In fact, it is rising in England, according to mental health charity Mind. Melancholy and mania have been replaced by terms such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common illness now, suffered by more than half of those with a disorder. Women are more likely than men to be affected – 19.7 per cent of all women in the UK have a mental health disorder, according to Mind, compared to 12.5 per cent of men. ECT, refined over the decades, is in continued use to treat depression, with recently published research from the University of Aberdeen finding that it can turn down an overactive connection between parts of the brain. Drug treatments were revolutionised in the 20th century but remain imperfect. Current NHS funding cuts mean that the ‘talking cures’ are likely to be available to ever fewer people. 
While great strides have been made, we can’t dismiss entirely the Victorian efforts to understand 
the mind. Indeed, compared with the early asylums – rough, brutal places where the most disturbed patients were chained in windowless rooms with straw bedding – the mid-Victorian era was positively progressive. Theories that still hold today, such as the value of occupational therapy, were becoming fashionable. It was here that the shift away from the idea of control from without – via chains and shackles – and towards control from within, via treatment or cure, began.
The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace will be published by Simon & Schuster on 24 May at 
£12.99. To order a copy for £10.99 with free p&p, contact the YOU Bookshop on 0843 382 1111 
(you-bookshop.co.uk). wendywallace.co.uk


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PSYCHIC QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

PSYCHIC QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO FORECAST THE FUTURE AND OTHER QUESTIONS?

I am often asked various questions pertaining to the spirit world and various aspects of the psychic, here are some of them: I will in time feature more questions and answers as this webpage evolves

Q. Is a psychic or medium a fortune teller?
A. It may surprise you to know psychics and mediums are not fortune tellers
Q. Is it possible to forecast the future?
A.Well not 100% and this is because of free will.
Q. What is free will?
A. Free will is YOUR right to decide what you want to do about a situation, it is a choice
Q. How does free will affect a situation?
A. Well before we incarnate as Spirit in a human body, we decide on what experiences and challenges that will benefit our spiritual growth. However we are given the choice (free will) as to whether we go through with the experience or challenge. In effect we are allowed to change or mind.
Q. So are you saying we all know what lies before us?
A. Well in a way we all do. Remember we are 'Spirit' in a human body and your spirit does retain a memory but it is deep in our subconscious. This memory is retained deeply for a reason to help us fulfill our experiences and challenges we ourselves chose. However it is also at this deep level so we are not so aware. If you knew what lay before you would you go through with it? Probably not but we still retain this memory deeply and this reflects in our Aura.
Q. So what is the Aura?
A.The aura is The Aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds living bodies, this includes people, animals, plants and crystals and is composed of several layers that are constantly moving. The Aura links us to whats known as Universal energy i.e. that is all the knowledge in the Universe past, present and future. It is on this aura that psychics are able to tap into and access your past, whats going on in the present and the possible future and I say possible specifically if your goal or desire is dependent on other people, for remember every person involved in a situation has free will.


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Astrid Brown (Author)
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