HOLISTICALL STRENGTHEN YOURSELF TO COMBAT THE FLU

We all know that prevention is better than a cure, and with so many nasty bugs going around this time of year, you’ve probably either fallen ill already or have watched those around you struck down with one of this winter’s nasty flu viruses. There are a few ways you can holistically strengthen your immune system in order to ward off the flu, as well as make your recovery time a little faster if you do succumb to it. 

1. Protect yourself with nutrient dense food. Tanja Guigon-Rech, Certified Nutritionist at Nutrition Nation, advises that one of the best ways to protect ourselves and ensure that we are well-equipped to fight off any unwanted flu viruses is to include the following “flu fighting foods” in our diet on a weekly basis: mineral water, fermented foods, leafy greens, garlic, lemon, blueberries as well as healing spices like ginger, cinnamon or turmeric. Ginger is a “super flu-fighting food” that not only boosts the immune system, but also help to fight off the numerous toxins that surround us daily in Hong Kong. To read more about Tanja’s suggestions, click here.

2. Use breathing techniques to relieve your body of stress. Meditation and mindfulness teaches us to be in the moment. By focusing on relaxing your body and mind, you help to relieve your body of stress, in turn keeping your immune system functioning optimally and ready to fight illness. Joy Li, one of our Kinesiologists,  suggests finding yourself a quiet space, getting into a comfortable position, and trying some belly breathing. Begin by placing your hands gently over your belly. Allow your belly to slowly rise like a balloon with your inhale, and deflate with your exhale. If you find it hard to stay focused, try breathing in for a count of 3, and out to a count of 4.

3. Relax and calm your nervous system with some simple yoga poses. We all know the benefits of practicing yoga, but Win Sie Tow, a Hatha and Yin Yoga teacher, suggests trying these 2 poses to help to build up your immune system. Child’s Pose - this is a resting pose and it helps to calm the nervous system. In this position, your body and mind resets, and your hips and spine releases any tension. It's a great pose to do first thing in the morning, or in the evening before bed.  Legs up the Wall - in this passive inversion position your feet, legs, hips, spine and nervous system are completely relaxed. It rejuvenates and oxygenates your body, bringing relief and restoration. 

4. Enjoy the anti-viral, immune-boosting properties of essential oils. These natural oils are considered to be the immune system and life force of plants, and have long been harnessed by humans for their medicinal properties. In fact, in the Great Plague of 1665 that killed over 10,000 people, it was allegedly those that worked in the perfume houses that were unaffected (back in the day when only natural oils were used, of course!). Our Kinesiologist / Aromatherapist, Christina Paul, suggests using antiviral oils such as thyme, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, peppermint, bergamot and may chang to protect and stimulate your immune system. Put a few drops in a diffuser, your bath or a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation, or enjoy our Energizer roll-on blend, a powerful combo of some of these oils that you can use as a chest rub and inhaler.

If you would like further support to strengthen yourself in these areas, kinesiology can help bring you to a place of balance so you can have a strong foundation for your immune system to combat anything that comes its way! Contact us to book a session. 

FLU FIGHTERS

During flu seasons we need to protect ourselves with nutrient dense food and ensure our system is well equipped to fight off any unwanted flu virus. Therefore we should include the following “flu fighting foods” in our diet on a regular basis: mineral water, fermented foods, leafy greens, garlic, lemon, blueberries as well as healing spices like ginger, cinnamon or turmeric.

 

All of these food groups include certain health benefits and most fall into the “super food” category. Let’s take a closer look at each of these foods individually:

  • Water: many people are unaware of the power of good old fashioned mineral or filtered tap water. Our body and immune system is unable to work to its fullest potential if the body is dehydrated. You may be surprised how many people in Hong Kong are in fact slightly dehydrated without being aware of it. Most of us should consume between 1.7 – 2.5 liters of water / day (depending on physical fitness and lifestyle factors).
  • Fermented foods like kefir or natural organic yoghurt will maintain ahealthy digestive system balance, which in turn is good to strengthen your whole body against the flu and make it overall strong. Our system is always the strongest, if all elements – including the digestive tract – work well together. 
  • Leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals and support a healthy digestive system. They can strengthen your immune system but also lower your appetite for sweet snacks.
  • Garlic has antifungal and antiviral properties and can lower inflammations.
  • Lemon and blueberries are amazing antioxidants providers and are able to not only fight off a virus but also other toxins that enter your system. Please note that the best choice for any fresh produce is organic / free range / grass fed etc. Not only because of animal cruelty, but also to prevent eating toxins with your “healthy” food in form of chemicals, pesticides, added hormones and so on.
  • Healing spices like ginger, cinnamon or turmeric can boost your immune system with their antiviral functions and deliver ore antioxidants to fight off toxins.

I’d recommend including all of these foods on a regular basis (i.e. weekly) into your diet. If there is one “super flu fighting food” that stands out, it may be ginger. Ginger is easily included on a daily basis (i.e. fresh ginger tea) and can not only boost the immune system, but also help to fight off toxins that surround us daily in Hong Kong (i.e. through pollution).

Tanja Guigon-Rech, Certified Nutritionist at Nutrition Nation.

LET GO OF YOUR BODY BURDENS

Start restoring balance in your body

There are 5 major body burdens that we have regularly observed over the years in clinic. These are physical trauma, emotional trauma, thought trauma, poor nutrition and exercise, and environmental toxins. There is no number one amongst these as it varies with each individual, yet all of these add up to a total body burden, leading to low immunity, poor digestion, sickness and ultimately, disease.

Let’s have a quick look at these individually:

1) Physical Trauma
These include events such as car crashes, accidents, sporting injuries, etc. Your body then needs to use resources to fix the trauma, by creating inflammation and enzymes, proteins and various nutrients to repair the area. It will also send pain signals to your brain to make you aware of the injury, so that you will nurture it.

2) Emotional Trauma
We have all been through it and will continue to experience emotional stress and trauma in our lives. There are three ways we can deal with emotional trauma: suppress it, express it or resolve it. Emotional trauma can include loss of a loved one, loss of a job, unrequited love, not getting that promotion, failing an exam, etc. Let’s say your relationship breaks up after five years and you are devastated, you can look at the situation and think, “my life is ruined, I can’t go on” or instead you could say,  “I’m glad I found out that they do not love me any more, so I don’t spend the rest of my life with someone who does not love me. I choose to look for new direction in my life”. Which reaction do you think will result in good health and happiness?
 
3) Thought Trauma
This is the stuff we keep saying and thinking to ourselves, and our subconscious reacts accordingly. We can create beliefs and fears based on our thoughts. If we fail an exam or lose our job, and as a result keep saying to ourselves, “I am stupid, I’m not good enough”, our body will react to this. If we give up trying because we feel we are not good enough, then we will never find satisfaction in our lives. Whether we think uplifting thoughts or depressing thoughts, our body responds either with feel-good hormones such as dopamine or serotonin or instead with stress hormones.

4) Poor Nutrition and Exercise
Put simply, our body functions better with high levels of nutrients and low levels of toxins. Fruits and vegetables, and other whole foods that are not processed in a factory contribute to our health and wellness. Minimise toxins by eating organic wherever possible, and avoid processed foods as these are low in nutrients and high in toxins. Exercise helps our body remove toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system and is good for both the body and the brain.

5) Environmental Toxins
Toxins such as mercury, cadmium, fluoride etc, are unavoidable and put a burden on the body. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the things we put on our skin. You can minimise your exposure by eating organic, filtering your water, using air filters in your home and office, and using aluminium-free deodorants, etc. These toxins can affect your hormone system, which can then create oestrogen dominance, leading to weight gain amongst other side effects. Environmental toxins combined with poor nutrition and a lack of exercise means double the trouble!

At Kinesiology Asia, we can help you identify and deal with your body burdens, restoring balance in your body. Contact us to book a session today! 

THOUGHT FOR FOOD

5 ways to start eating more mindfully. 

In recent weeks, there’s been a huge amount of press about the WHO’s classification of processed meats as established carcinogens and red meats as probable ones. There have been many excellent articles about this subject so I won’t address it here, but it does highlight just how many conflicting and confusing messages we are getting about what we should and shouldn’t be eating. The long-term stress from worrying about what you’re consuming can mean that your body pumps out lots of cortisol, increasing your appetite and making it more likely that you'll both put on and retain weight. 

ecoming more mindful and intuitive about your eating can make a huge difference to how you enjoy and digest your food. Here are five ways to help you work towards more mindful eating: 

) ay attention to how food makes you feel. Both whilst you’re eating it and afterwards. Listen to what your body is telling you. Do you feel full of energy, or lethargic and in need of a good nap? Start becoming more consciously aware of what the food is doing to your body on both a physical and emotional level.  

2) Take some time out to appreciate your food. Ditch your phone/laptop/TV or any other distractions whilst eating. Instead, focus on your food - how it looks, how it feels in your mouth, how much you are chewing it (it should be at least 30 times a mouthful to aid the digestive process). Rather than preparing your next mouthful whilst still on your current one, put your cutlery down between bites. Also make sure you breathe! 

3) Recognise when you’ve had enough to eat. Many people can’t tell they are full until they have overeaten. This often dates back to childhood, when we were told things like ‘finish what’s on your plate’ or ‘eat all your food so you can have dessert’, thereby overriding your body's signals that it is full. As it takes up to 15-20 minutes for the hormones involved with the feeling of satiety to kick in, try standing up during your meal and to see how you feel. If your stomach feels comfortable then you’re probably full. If it’s starting to feel strained, then you’ve definitely eaten too much.

4) Don’t eat your emotions. It’s called comfort eating for a reason. Many times when we are feeling down and are experiencing emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, we turn to food to ‘treat’ ourselves, to fill a gap or to distract us from the reality of what’s going on. If this sounds like you, then you’ll know that this strategy rarely works, in fact it probably makes us feel worse since guilt or remorse are also being added to the mix. The next time you feel the need to, or find yourself comfort eating, see if you are able to identify what emotion is driving the urge. Do some exercise (just a few minutes of jumping jacks on the spot, or a few push ups), call a friend or find something else to distract you. 

5) Become more aware of the messages you are sending yourself about food. Do you feel ‘bad because you ‘gave in’ and had that slice of chocolate cake? Do you feel ‘good’ because you’ve avoided carbs all day? Many times this programming also begins when we are children. How many times did you hear messages like ‘if you’re naughty you won’t get any chocolate’, or ‘if you’re good you can have some cake’?  It’s important to be aware of how our emotions and past experiences affect our food choices, and what messages we are sending ourselves through these choices.
 
If you find yourself struggling with any or all of these suggestions, then maybe it’s worth considering seeing a kinesiologist to help you deal with your stress around eating and your food choices.

Helen Griffiths, Kinesiologist

GOT A RUNNY NOSE?

Things that happen to your body when you experience stress

On-going runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing and wheezing... Doctors have given me various different medicines and treatments, yet the symptoms continue. So, what is happening with me?

Well, the short answer is “stress”. 

A stressful situation, whether it be environmental, such as the quality of air we breathe and the food we eat, or psychological, such as a difficult relationship at work or home; can release stress hormones into the blood causing all types of physiological responses in the body. These include increased heart rate, quickened breathing and the tensing of muscles. This is all part of the fight-flight system, driven by our brain stem at a sub-conscious level and designed to promote our survival as human beings.

Now, a long time ago, when our ancestral lives were much simpler and mainly involved the stress of hunting down food and to avoid being eaten by larger predators, the fight-flight survival mechanism made perfect sense. It suppressed functions such as digestion, growth, reproduction and immune responses; functions that were non-essential or detrimental in a life or death situation. The blood was diverted from these areas to our arms and legs, giving us greater energy and strength to run or fight.

The problem is that our modern lives are so much more complex, and stresses that set off the fight-flight response can be found anywhere and everywhere. Our brains fail to distinguish between the threat of a large predator trying to eat you and the emotional turmoil caused by an unhappy relationship. The fight-flight system responds in exactly the same way, creating the exact same physiological responses. So, instead of being turned on and off for short sporadic events of true life and death survival, we find our system being over-stimulated and kept on over prolonged periods of time.

I guess you can put it together now and see why you may be suffering those symptoms. Prolonged stresses are leading to an over-active fight-flight response, which in turn is suppressing your immune system. Whenever you suffer on-going stressors your immune system suffers. There is nothing wrong with you. You don’t have some undiagnosed disease or condition. You simply haven’t identified and thus, managed your stresses in life appropriately.

I rarely suffer any of these symptoms anymore. That is not because I’ve had some magic pill or treatment; it’s because I no longer feel helpless and disempowered. I understand stress, and my stressors in particular, and I know the choices I have in managing them. Kinesiology not only tones down any over-active fight-flight activity, but also allows me to identify specific stressors in my life that contribute to my state of health and well-being. 

Book a session with us to uncover and learn how to handle your own stressors. We also run introductory courses to provide a deeper understanding and to equip you with the tools for managing stress and achieving optimal health. Feel free to contact me for more details.

- Sean Bilkey, Kinesiologist and Head of Education, Kinesiology Asia Institute