Preparing for Winter

This week I received a request from my GP to make an appointment for my Flu vaccination. This reminded me that winter is on the horizon. Autumn brings a change in the weather that can trigger health issues such as the common cold and seasonal flu and certain pre-existing ailments can become more pronounced. Many of my patients tell me that they find their rheumatic/arthritic joints become more stiff and painful at this time of year. Whilst patients that have respiratory conditions report that being exposed to damp cold air will often exasperate their bronchitis or asthma increasing their need for medication.  

My patients have also voiced their worries concerning the impact this winter will have on their general health and wellbeing. This is not only due to them being stressed over the financial situation regarding rising fuel costs. More important to most is the fear that if they become ill they won’t be able to get an appointment to see their GP. Whatever the politics of the situation or the chaos that exists not only in primary care but throughout the NHS in the UK  I fully empathise with my patients fears. Research has informed policy and decision makers over years that people are living longer. A high percentage of any ageing population will inevitably develop complex health needs. During the winter months it is inevitable that complex patients will require access to medical attention, prescriptive medication and care. Not rocket science just common sense.

As a complementary practitioner I am often asked by patients “What can I do to help myself stay fit and well” ? My answer is always the same, manage your stress, eat a healthy diet and keep mobile. This year I would add keep warm.

Stress is considered the single most underlying cause of illness to-day. When emotionally ( or physically) stressed all organs and systems of the body are affected and symptoms appear. Patients come to me stressed and in pain very often with disturbances of sleep, digestion, hormone levels etc……To begin a self-help process I encourage patients to identify their stress triggers. This isn’t always an easy exercise as relationships, work or family dynamics are frequently at the heart of the issue. I offer therapies such as mindfulness, counselling, EFT or NLP . For a hands on approach reflexology is especially effective for creating a sense of deep relaxation and when breathing techniques are added, patients become less stressed and pain levels reduce. The Bach Flower remedies are safe and effective homoeopathic remedies reported invaluable in times of crises.

Healthy eating is not complicated cooking and need not be expensive. Buy seasonal vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals and make soups, casseroles, stews in a slow cooker.  Proteins for muscle strength and stamina can be obtained from Meat, Fish, Eggs, Beans and Pulses. Tinned oily fish good source of Vit D. It might be wise to support your immune system with a multi- vitamin and mineral or individually Zinc, Vitamin C & D and Selenium. Keep well hydrated with herbal teas such as Camomile or Fennel brilliant for aiding digestion. Homoeopathic Echinacea is a well know immune booster.                                                                                                   

Keeping mobile will not only improve your circulation but help your muscles to stay strong. The more you move the more you will be able to move. Movement creates heat so a brisk walk or taking part in an exercise class will help keep you warm. Social interaction from joining exercise groups/classes has been shown to increase mental wellbeing.

If you feel you might need some help or advice visit my website and get in touch for an appointment.