Tag Archives: fitness

5 facts you should know about women’s health

5 facts you should know about women’s health

  1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

 

  1. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

  1. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

  1. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, Paracetemol can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

 

In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage or yoga therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Schedule an appointment today on 085 1502378 or see www.anandacentre.com for more details on Yoga Classes and other therapies available at the centre.

ananda-fa-blue-highres

 

How Yoga can help HIV and AIDS

getting-to-zero--global-theme-of-world-aids-day_52e7758219e69_w1500

December 1 is World AIDS Day. This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.

How Can Yoga Help for HIV/AIDS?

Yoga can help boost immune system and many studies have shown:

  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
  • Increased white blood cell counts
  • Decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Activates natural killer cells

Yoga can also help decrease pain in symptoms specific to HIV/AIDS by relieving:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramps
  • General body tension
  • Oedema
  • Inflammation

Additionally, by increasing blood flow, Yoga assists with increasing oxygen and nutrients to areas with symptoms.

More Yoga Goals for HIV

Various Yoga techniques can be incorporated into a yoga therapy HIV program. These varying techniques used are practised through Pranayama (breathing), Asanas (postures) and Kriyas (cleansing). They help facilitate the removal of excess phlegm to relieve respiratory congestion, increase blood and lymph flow to assist the liver function in toxin removal and to encourage blood cell regeneration. They help prevent or reduce muscular atrophy typical of immobilization/inactivity through improving muscle tone.

If you’re HIV positive, here’s a little of what you can do to keep yourself healthy and suppress the virus:

De-stress yourself. Stress can really affect the immune system, making you more open to illness and infection. A good sleep each night, practices like yoga and regular massage therapy can help combat stress.

Be sure to vaccinate against infections.  Pneumonia and flu can be devastating to someone with HIV. Getting the regular vaccinations against these and any other infections is a good way to stay healthy especially in winter months.

Stay healthy in your choices. No smoking, eating healthy, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and of course looking after your mental health too.

 

 

Silver Island and shelf making.

Every now and then it is good to do something out of one’s comfort zone. So with that mantra in mind this year I did just that. My sister had mentioned going to pick olives on Silver Island in Greece. Helena, our Acupuncturist here in Ananda Centre, is good friends with the owners. So it was out of my comfort zone but not totally scarey!

On Silver Island, sisters Lissa and Claire, Lissa’s husband Corne and Ernest the island’s caretaker  facilitate a weekly yoga retreat for 7 months of the year. I must mention it is the world’s only private island yoga retreat centre. Amazing, yes? And not forgetting Lulu the dog. She was a real star, great dancer and an awful distraction with her cuteness!

Off we went, arriving in Athens at a decent time of 7.30pm. Booked into our hotel close to where the airport bus dropped us at Syntagma Square. We stayed that night in the Athens Diamond Plus Hotel. Clean and very reasonable but you have to say it in the accent of that  fancy lady voice on the tv commercials. Everything in the hotel was white gloss, I felt like I was in an 80’s Wham video!

Up early next morning to catch the 8.45am bus to Oreoi on Evia island. 3 hour journey – doable. Got the first Spanakopita (spinach and cheese  pie in filo crust, yum) of the trip in the bakery by the port and waited for our lift to Silver Island. Very quiet in Oreoi as it was November but judging by all the cute restaurants on the waterfront you could imagine that it would get busy in high season.

Coming in to view.

Coming in to view.

Corne kindly met us and our mode of transport to the island was a very cool speedboat, very James Bond or something! The water like glass, the sun shining and the island lighthouse coming into view.

View from Silver Island

View from Silver Island

Intros and the start of what was to be many cups of tea later the guys had lunch and headed back out to work. This gave myself and Vicki a chance to have a quick dip in the sea and a walk to warm up. The sisters thought we were mad to be getting into the water but we assured them being Irish it was a temperature akin to Salthill on Ireland’s best summer’s day.

There's a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

There’s a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

Up the next morning at 7.30am – big bowl of porridge and cup of coffee and we were ready for the day. All the olives had been picked the week previous so there now was the job of pruning the olive trees. There is a skill to this so our job was to remove the fallen branches and make into piles to be burned later on. Easy enough you say until you factor in an angle of 45 degrees on the slopes where the trees grow. Ok so I might exaggerate a little but it was hilly! Lets just say the muscles in my legs were getting a great workout. We broke for lunch at 1pm and there is nothing like a hunger built up from a bit of labour. Back out for 2 and then finished at 4.30. I have to admit I got a shock! I like to think I work hard manually with the massage but this was very new. Strangely though there was always a great sense of satisfaction when each day was finished during our stay.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Our jobs over the next 10 days included gully clearing, shed clearing, shelf making (thanks to Claire’s guidance we became proficient in scaffold shelf making – hipster up cycling eat your heart out!), bush clearing and I even managed to swop a couple of afternoons off in exchange for giving massages! Ernest reckoned we made a good team the whole lot of us. I also learned how to prune an olive tree.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

Our evenings were spent deciding whether to go for a cold shower (no running hot water on the island) or have a bucket bath. I had forgotten how I can take things for granted! End result always good though. Clean, warm and hungry. Each night we had an amazing meal prepared by the guys along with a glass of local wine. Yum! It was so good to sit around a table and be social. No internet, no distractions. We discussed so much and discovered we had a lot in common too. There were many belly laughs and tears from both laughing and crying. Amazing when you keep things simple what can happen.

Vicki and I enjoying a fab brunch, cooked by Lissa and Claire, on our day off.

I got to wash my hair in the sea. On the island no products containing nasty chemicals are allowed as the water is recycled. A wonderful organic Greek range called Korres is available to those who visit Silver Island. I felt very wild-woman washing the hair with all natural stuff. Silver Island will have their own range of products soon, made by a friend on the mainland.

Vicki and I were in charge of dishwashing each evening. Which was not a chore for 5 people compared to cooking and washing for 14 during the retreat season. We were in bed each night by 9pm every night, I couldn’t even read my book as I was wiped.

We said our farewells after 10 days, joked about coming back to work on the island though you never know, we could surprise them next year! We stopped off in Edipsos on the way to Athens, they have amazing thermal baths there. Just what the weary bodies needed. 2 days in Athens where the sun shone to provide perfect tourist conditions. I had been to Athens before and was only too happy to see the Acropolis again. I really like Athens, it’s buzzing and understatedly cool.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

I am not sure how to describe our trip away. A working holiday? A meditation of work? It was interesting to allow the mind to switch off and only have one’s focus on the task at hand. I was very happy with how my body didn’t let me down under the pressure and I came away unscathed but for the mosi bites! I dunno, maybe I would go back to help out but for a shorter length of time. I would, however, really love to go back as a guest someday. Seeing how the island is set up, it’s location and how beautiful it is definitely sells it to me. And not forgetting our wonderful hosts who without them the island would be nothing. They work very hard so that people can come and enjoy what they have enjoyed for years and that is the beauty and magic of Silver Island.

Agora in Athens

Agora in Athens

For more on the island and the retreats check out www.silverislandyoga.com

Massage Therapy, Yoga and Anxiety

“It is estimated that 1 in 9 individuals will suffer a primary anxiety disorder over their lifetime. Only a fraction of these individuals receive appropriate treatment which is a great pity as it has been demonstrated consistently that with expert therapy the majority of sufferers can achieve a lasting improvement.”  www.stpatricks.ie

Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.

A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.

Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by  excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.

Massage Therapy or/and Yoga may help anxiety

The American Massage Therapy Association has adopted a position statement based on research findings asserting that “massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.” It goes on to say that massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labor, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.

In an article published on http://www.healthharvard.edu it was noted that  “a descriptive 2005 study examined the effects of a single yoga class for inpatients at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital. The 113 participants included patients with bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. After the class, average levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue dropped significantly, as measured by the Profile of Mood States, a standard 65-item questionnaire that participants answered on their own before and after the class. Patients who chose to participate in additional classes experienced similar short-term positive effects.”

The effects of massage and yoga therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. If increased heart rate and rapid breathing are symptoms of anxiety could  and yoga therapy may have a positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busy-ness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety. Having a one hour massage once a month or attending a restorative yoga class are of great benefit.

Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage/class  in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Restorative Yoga is used to help anxiety issues by stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest instead of Fight and Flight). The parasympathetic system slows our heart rate, dilates blood vessels, increases digestive and glandular secretions, and calming certain muscles. By regularly putting our body in this relaxed state it becomes less vulnerable to stress-related disease. The focus of Restorative Yoga is relaxation and renewal. The body is supported in various yoga poses that are maintained for several minutes at a time with the aid of props.

Ask questions

If you are unsure about trying massage or yoga to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage or yoga and how it may help you. Check in with your doctor and your therapist or counselor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage, yoga and anxiety, I can provide that!)

When you’re ready, we’ll schedule an appointment or come join the monthly Rest and Restore Workshop here at Ananda Centre, Slane (Tel: 085 1502378) and you can see firsthand how massage and yoga may help you.

cropped-self-care.jpg

Meet Ula Boyle, Reflexologist specialist in Fertility & Pregnancy

Ula Boyle – Reflexologist Specialising in Fertility and Pregnancy here in Ananda Centre

 
Tel: 086 087 2526
 
My name is Ula Boyle and I discovered natural healing and holistic therapies in the UK in 2001 when I experienced the wonderful effects of Reiki and decided to study it becoming a qualified Reiki Master Practitioner in 2008. From 2001 my passion for holistic therapies grew and I studied VTCT Diplomas in Indian Head Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, and Reflexology (& Advanced Training Certificates in Fertility & Pregnancy Reflexology), certificates in Ayurvedic Foot Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Lomi Lomi.
I believe receiving regular Holistic Therapy treatments can help a person maintain or restore good mental, emotional and physical health, bringing a person to a state of wellness and balance. Sole Serenity Therapy was created in 2013 after a number of years practising and receiving complimentary therapies were I found Reflexology to be amongst the most relaxing treatment and especially beneficial for those experiencing hormonal difficulties and fertility issues. Sadly infertility appears to be on the increase with an estimated 1 in 6 couples having difficulty conceiving. I decided to specialise in Fertility Reflexology to offer couples a gentle, yet effective drug free treatment option to help improve fertility levels naturally or as a way of supporting mind and body leading up to medically assisted conception. I also specialise in Pregnancy Reflexology as it is a soothing treatment to help with associated discomforts of pregnancy.
For more information on the benefits of reflexology, how it can help improve fertility or its benefits during pregnancy please contact me for a no obligation phone consultation on 086 087 2526 or see www.soleserenitytherapy.ie.
I am a member of the Fertility Reflexology Network, specialising in Fertility Reflexology Treatments and a member of the International Federation of Reflexologists. I participate in Continuing Professional Development to ensure my knowledge & skills grow to meet the needs of my clients and professional standards of best practice.

Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness this October at Ananda Centre.

Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness in October at Ananda Centre.
An amazing package offer available during October.
Are you planning a pregnancy?
Did you know that at Ananda Centre we provide services that can support and help you and your partner in your pre-pregnancy decisions.
As part of Pre-Pregnancy Support Awareness month here in Ananda we are delighted to offer a great package where you get to choose 4 treatments from a range of pre-conception and fertility supportive therapies and have a program tailor made for you by our team of fully qualified therapists. 
Choose from:
  • Restorative Yoga one to one session.
  • Massage Therapy
  • Bio-Energy Therapy
  • Pre-pregnancy Acupuncture
  • Pre-pregnancy Reflexology
  • Naturopathy – diet lifestyle & nutritional advice.
  • His & Hers 45 min Massage Therapy
  • Reiki
This package is normally €250 book now for just €199.
T&Cs: Package is valid for use until end of February 2015.
Last day of purchase is December 31st 2014.
Package must be paid in full at first treatment.
All therapies are one hour unless otherwise stated.
Please consult with your doctor before undergoing any therapy.
Please telephone Brenda for more information: 085 1502378 or anandacentre@gmail.com
Below are some positive affirmations for fertility, enjoy.

How’s your Mental Fitness?

brain fitnessYesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day 2014. Ireland has a very high rate of suicide and we have all been touched by it in some way. The stigma of mental illness is finally eroding and the fact that we have a day that allows talk and discussion is great.

Doctors tell us that our mental health is very important. Anyone of us can be affected by a knock that life throws at us. Having the tools in your mental fitness belt can help. The little things you do all add up.

1. Be mindful of negative thoughts and learn how to cope with them. They cannot be blocked but distracting yourself from them or giving yourself a break (be kind!) may help. If they get too much there are lots of people out there qualified to help you. And they want to help.

2. Tap into your ‘inner resource’. Clinical psychologist Richard Miller, Ph.D has recognised the importance of this and has been working a lot with trauma survivors including returning soldiers from war. Think of your happy place…be it a place, sound, smell etc. Tap into this and think of it a few times in the day – every day – until it becomes a part of you. So when a negative experience happens you can go to this ‘inner resource’ and maybe deal with what is happening in a calm, controlled way. See www.irest.us for more details.

3. Try become more mindful of where you are, who you are with, what you are doing. It may mean turning off the phone. Do one thing at a time. Become focused on what you are doing.

4. Exercise – the importance of this cannot be emphasised enough. There is so much information and studies on how exercise benefits one’s mental fitness. Join a walking group, join a gym, take up yoga!

5. Hobbies are a great way to switch the chattering mind off too. Doing something you enjoy not only occupies the brain but will release endorphins and make you feel good.

6. Set a personal goal, maybe give yourself a month to do it and then reward yourself with something on completion. Keep it simple but of course the reward can be big!

7. Express yourself! Tap into your creative side and help release some emotions …writing in a journal, art, singing (even in the shower). Anything that gets your tapping into the creative, left side of the brain.

8. One of the simplest ways of keeping mentally fit is to laugh. However there will be times when this is probably one of the hardest things to do. In this age of easy access to everything there is so much comedy out there. Have a go-to show on stand by that you know will give you a giggle…for me its ‘Saturday Night Live’ and there are plenty of old sketches on YouTube.

9. Have you ever thought of volunteering? It’s one of those win-win activities. As humans there is an inherent want to help others and the reason is that it in turn makes us feel good. The other side is the receiver of your help benefits too.

10. Self care – think of the flight attendant telling you that ‘when the mask comes down in the event of loss of cabin pressure, place on your own mask first before attending to those with you’. How important it is to look after yourself or you are no good to those around you…in a nutshell! Any of the above can be considered self care. Even 2 minutes of self care everyday is a good place to start. An hour massage once a month is a necessity not as luxury. Make  a point to make time for yourself. It’s an investment for your mental fitness.

What will you do to kick start your mental fitness regime?

Sites you might find it helpful to visit: