Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown Part 3 is all about ideas to keep heart and soul healthy. This follows on from my previous blogs, Part 1 and Part 2

Keep Healthy in lockdown heart and soul

One of the hardest things to deal with in lockdown is to not fall into the trap of thinking that this is dead time. In other words, lost time and that life will start for real when the restrictions are lifted.

This kind of thinking is soul destroying.

Speaking about happiness, Gretchen Rubin, writer of The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun has a great quote that stands just as much today as it did when she wrote it:-

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Be creative – make something

Studies show that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of the unknown.

So I’ve put together a list of ways to be creative.

  1. I learnt a new word this week – amigurumi. It’s the Japanese word which describes small knitted or crocheted stuffed toys, often in the shape of characters, animals, mini foods, household objects. And I can’t resist this pattern for a miniature crocheted Freddie Mercury. It’s absolutely adorable. However I’m starting my journey into the world of amigurumi with this cute little donkey I bought at Aldi this week!
  2. They say everyone has at least one novel in them so what better time to start, if you’ve always had a hankering to see your name on the front cover of a book. Don’t know where to start? Futurelearn has a free course Start Writing Fiction.
  3. In the same vein, why not write a song. Futurelearn also has a free online course in songwriting where you’ll be able to explore the mechanics of songwriting and meet established songwriters.
  4. Cook something delicious and comforting. In every culture, food is used as an expression of love and togetherness. Comforting not only for the maker of the food, but for those who get to eat it. For me it has to be homemade soup and bread. Tomato soup with these delicious cheese spelt scones put a smile on everyone’s face – even the teenager!!


Why does it feel so good to sing?

Whether it’s in the shower or part of a mass choir, it can help you feel amazing, physically vibrant, uplifted and energised.

I love watching the programs Gareth Malone does, where he seems to help to transform people and communities through the power of voice.

And, thankfully we’ve discovered that social distancing is no barrier to communal singing with virtual choirs springing up locally, nationally and internationally.

But there is tremendous joy to be had from putting on your favourite track and singing your heart out. Here’s my top ten (at the moment!) for lifting my spirits.

  • Every little thing is gonna be alright – Bob Marley
  • Titanium – David Guetta ft Sia
  • Place your Hands – Reef
  • The Best Day of My Life – American Authors
  • Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
  • Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader
  • Pompeii – Bastille
  • I’m a Believer – The Monkees
  • Pencil Full of Lead – Paolo Nuttini
  • I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Declutter

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

Whilst you can declutter everything from your inbox to your emotional baggage, I mean the not-so-simple act of creating a calm and easy space to live in.

My guru for this is FLY LADY, who termed the great phrase of living in CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome (obviously you have to say it ironically, during lockdown!)

I swear by Fly Lady’s process of focusing on a small area. The prospect of decluttering the whole house is overwhelming and defeats most of us before we start. Here’s some guidelines that really work :

  • Pick a small area – a drawer, a shelf, not a whole cupboard or a whole room.
  • Pick up two bags – one for the charity shop, one for the bin.
  • Set your timer for 15mins.
  • Pick up each item and decide if you use it or love it. If the answer is no, is it good enough for the charity bag. If the answer is no, put it in the bin bag
  • When your alarm goes off, put the rubbish in the bin, the charity bag to one side for your next declutter session. Admire your handywork!

This routine can be repeated as often as you feel like, but go back to where you left off. That way you really get the beauty of it, that you can see your progress and be inspired by it!

Get plenty of sleep

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3, sleep
Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3, sleep

This is a tricky one. I know from experience. You can always exercise more to get fitter, eat better to be healthier but you can’t make yourself sleep better and without it everything can fall apart.

I can’t guarantee that these things will fix poor sleep, but I’m pretty sure that if you don’t do them, you won’t sleep well.

  1. Fix both your bedtime and your wake up time.
  2. The first stage of sleep is the winding down time. Tell your brain it’s time to wind down by having a routine.
  3. Turn off screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, even the T.V. I know, even as I’m writing this, I’m wincing at your reaction, but it really does work. This point alone has transformed my sleep pattern.
  4. Make sure there is no light at all in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep so remove all electrical equipment with standby lights and use blackout curtains.
  5. Get out in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes, preferably in the morning. It’s just as important to manage our light in the daytime as it is to manage our dark in the nighttime. According to Dr. Rangan Chattergee, in his book The 4 Pillar Plan, “Getting the right kind of light at the right point in the day can have amazing effects throughout our bodies”.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge.

And I know it doesn’t go without saying that I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology.

Keep Healthy In Lockdown Part 2

How to keep healthy during lockdown, part 2, yoga

As promised here is how to Keep Healthy In Lockdown Part 2. I do hope you enjoyed my previous blog – I’ve had some fantastic feedback from many of you about it. Thank you for that.

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2 – Ideas to keep the body healthy

In the first part of this blog series I talked about the importance of keeping the brain healthy during lockdown. I suggested ways in which we can keep our grey matter firing.

keeping healthy in lockdown part 2, yoga

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2 is all about the body. Although none of our systems are entirely independent – a good cardio workout will increase the blood supply to the brain. In addition it will aid cognitive function.

A yoga class will improve joint and muscle flexibility, but also has many benefits in calming and relaxing the mind.

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown Part 2 – Drink Plenty of Water

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2, drink water

This is so easy to do, so cheap and yet does amazing things for our bodies.

There isn’t a single function in our bodies that doesn’t need water including our immune systems.

There’s evidence that dehydration makes breathing more difficult. Our lungs are 85% water but if we’re dehydrated the mucus thickens. Thus making breathing more difficult.

We all need about 1-1.5 litres of water a day, depending on our size and activity levels. If that sounds alot, try increasing amounts slowly.

You can always add slices of lemon, lime or even cucumber to ring the changes.

Dance like no-one is watching

keeping healthy in lockdown part 2, dance like no-one is watching

Like a lot of people I used to be a reluctant exerciser, but over the years, have found exercise makes me feel amazing. Now I know I’m as healthy as I am, because I make the time and effort to exercise.

So now it’s a regular part of my life.

But finding something to do, when access to facilities is limited, is a challenge. Furthermore, add in the apathy and it all gets a lot less likely to happen.

But from your messages, lots of you are taking the time and feeling better for it.

Here’s a list of some of the best apart from the obvious, getting out for a daily walk.

  1. Take an on-line class. There’s everything from yoga, pilates, Zumba, Spinning  out there. A great way to support a local business as well.
  2. YouTube is full of instruction videos. Take a look at I tried Beth’s 30 minute core workout from Trifecta Pilates and couldn’t laugh for the next day!! And of course, we can’t forget Joe Wicks.
  3. Many local personal trainers are offering 1-2-1 coaching via video link. This is a great idea if you lack motivation and/or you want to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
  4. This is a great home workout, if you’re  missing the gym. The trainer uses all sorts of things found around the house as gym kit such as a tin of paint, sauce bottle, bottle of wine!!! Exercise with these household objects for a full-body workout during quarantine
  5. Last but not least, put on your favourite dance music and dance like no-one is watching. My favourite at the moment is Amazon Prime 50 Songs That Make You Feel Happy. And let’s be honest, if anyone is watching, who cares!

Eat the Rainbow

Massage therapy Newcastle, Rainbow

The rainbow has become an important symbol during the Coronavirus pandemic. It represents hope and solidarity. Good things to come after the storm.

But for years, I have followed Patrick Holford’s advice that we should eat a rainbow every day. For instance a myriad of fruit and vegetables. The more varied they are in colour, the greater the range of vitamins and minerals we will be absorbing.

It makes sense doesn’t it? Technically, eating 5 bananas is eating 5 pieces of fruit, but so is eating 5 portions of:-

  • red pepper
  • an orange
  • kurly kale
  • blueberries and
  • an avocado – but there’s so much more nutrition in the latter.

Support your Immune System and keep healthy in Lockdown

5 a day

If you are eating  more than 5 fruits and veg a day you’re well on your way to supporting and strengthening your immune system. But here are a few more ideas to reinforce that.

  1. Adding spices to your food is a great and tasty way to help – turmeric, garlic and ginger have been used for centuries as natural medicines.
  2. There’s really interesting evidence that Vitamin C supplements are essential to our immune health. Animals that make their own Vitamin C tend to not get colds and flu.  Check out Patrick Holford’s podcast series about research into the effects of Vitamin C on fighting infections. There’s even interesting research in China on the effect of Vitamin C on COVID-19.
  3. Omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids, essential being the key word. Great sources include fish and other seafood such as:-
  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • tuna
  • herring, and
  • sardines.

Nuts and seeds, such as :-

  • flaxseed
  • chia seeds, and
  • walnuts.

Plant oils, such as:-

  • flaxseed oil
  • soybean oil, and
  • canola oil.

Use Aromatherapy Oils

One of the nicest ways to look after your respiratory system is to use essential oils.

In order for them to benefit the respiratory system, they have to be inhaled. Therefore, using a diffuser, some drops in a bowl of warm water, or a few drops into some body lotion would be effective. Likewise rubbed into the chest. My favourites for benefitting respiration are:

  1. Eucalyptus – one sniff of this oil and you can really feel it clearing the chest and lifting the mucus.
  2. Frankincense – traditionally used for grief and anxiety (but who doesn’t need some of that at the moment). Frankincense also has expectorant properties, helping to clear the chest.
  3. Lemon – refreshing and uplifting. In addition supportive of the immune system and it has antiseptic properties.
  4. Peppermint -wonderful clearing properties. Furthermore this can help to relieve headaches. But be careful. It’s strong and can irritate the eyes and the skin if not diluted enough.

All of the above oils can be used on their own or better still blended together to enhance their effect.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge. Of course, it doesn’t go without saying that, I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology.

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown

How to keep healthy during lockdown, the brain

How to keep healthy during lockdown is something I imagine many people are thinking of now.

After my own experience of the first week of lockdown –

  • without work
  • no gym and
  • no social contact with friends

I hit an all time low for me.

It’s because of these feelings I thought I would jot down a few ideas that have helped pull my spirits up. They are certainly helping to keep me on track.

When all of this madness is over and we return to whatever we call “normal”, I want to be in the best possible shape. Both

  • physically
  • emotionally
  • mentally and
  • financially as possible.

And I want those I care about to be in the best shape as well – and if you’re reading this, that includes you!

Whilst this clip is very funny, it does make you think about what state we’ll all be in, in a few months time!

How to Keep Healthy During Lockdown

Keep Healthy during Lockdown – The Brain

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown - The Brain
How to keep your brain healthy

It’s very easy to sit passively watching television or playing computer games, but our brains are really just big muscles and they need exercising on a daily basis.

I’ve also found keeping busy helps. Therefore it keeps me from endlessly scouring the news. Sitting on Facebook and internet sites that supply depressing statistics on a minute by minute basis.

Visit art galleries and museums around the world

There are 3469 different museums to visit and the works of hundreds of artists.

I know it’s not quite the same as the real thing, but I think this it’s pretty amazing!

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown – Take an online course

The list here is endless but one of my favourite providers is:- 

Future Learn offers 100s of online courses and degrees from leading universities or organisations. Best of all it’s free.

There’s everything from health and sciences, history, business, languages….which brings me on to my next suggestion….

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown – Learn a new language

This is really close to my heart as I have found so many benefits from learning Spanish. Improving my brain has been only a part of those benefits.

I have used Futurelearn for learning Spanish and everyone seems to have heard of Duolingo but I have also used Memrise as a great tool for improving vocabulary.

To improve listening skills, what about listening to a podcast? For instance I’m listening to when I go out for my daily allowed walk.

If you sign up for their newsletter you get loads of tips and hints as to how to speak Spanish using phrases and idioms that help to make you sound like a native.

Go to the theatre

Obviously literally impossible at the moment, but The National Theatre is streaming world class theatre every Thursday on YouTube. And if you can’t make it on Thursdays, the production is available to watch for a whole week. This week it’s James Cordern in One Man, Two Guvners. Enjoy!

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge.

And I know it doesn’t go without saying that I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology – Tracy x

Ways To Recover After Work Out

Ways To Recover After Work Out – 5 Top Tips

We are always looking for ways to recover after a work out. Health is a combination of eating well and exercising effectively and regularly to keep your body working at its best.

To maximise your recovery after a great work out there are 5 top tips that can assist with the recovery period you may experience after using so much energy.

  • Water
  • diet
  • sleep
  • stretching and
  • massage

All of these combined, play a part in keeping your muscle soreness to a minimum.

Ways to recover after work out – Water

Ways To Recover After Work Out, water

Drinking water before, during and after a workout replaces the fluids you lose when exercising.

Water also helps break down food and transports nutrients around the body ensuring you get all the benefits from your meals.

While all that sounds amazing did you know water also helps in generating energy and lubricates your body’s joints?

Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink, it could be your body is already dehydrated at that stage so drink water frequently.

Ways to recover after work out – Food

Ways to recover after work out , FoodCertain foods can also be used to aid your body’s recovery after a work out too.

Complex carbohydrates and high-quality proteins will support your body most effectively when eaten within 60 minutes of your workout ending.

These food categories will help to repair damaged tissue, strengthen your body and prepare you effectively for your next workout.

Ways to recover after work out – Sleep

Ways to recover after work out, SleepNot only is sleep great at repairing your body, it also balances your hormones, supports a healthy immune system and your cognitive processes while producing and balancing your growth hormones.

Your hormones and immune system are vital in your body’s removal of toxins and waste products from your body.

Rest is a great way to speed your recovery time between workouts.

Ways to recover after work out – Cool down

While we often begin our exercise with stretches to warm the muscles up it is also important to cool the muscles down the same way.

Gentle stretches at the end of your workout can make a difference to the amount of soreness you feel.

Warm up and cool down to reduce the amount of time your body needs in between workouts.

Ways to recover after work out – Massage

The last on our list of top tips for recovery is massage.

Regular massages can alleviate muscle soreness from exercise as well as stimulate the blood to areas which are not usually well supplied such as tendons and ligaments.

Massage lessens the fatigue your muscles can feel and promotes your body to a more relaxed state of mind.

Each of these tips have their own place in your body’s recovery after exercise. Water, diet, sleep, proper workout warm up and cool downs coupled with massage will invigorate your mind as well as your body, keeping your health in balance.

Please make sure you connect with us on  Facebook where we will share more tips and information about ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits GingerHave you ever looked in to the health benefits ginger? It really has some fantastic benefits. Ginger can come in many forms

  • Fresh
  • Dried
  • Powder
  • Juice or as an
  • Essential Oil.

Health Benefits Ginger, Chinese MedicineHealth Benefits Ginger – Chinese Medicine

The health benefits of ginger can be linked right back to Chinese medicine and over 3,000 years ago. This plant was used for a multitude of reasons:

A range of digestive disorders

  • Muscular conditions
  • Life longevity

Health Benefits Ginger – Essential Oil

As an essential oil ginger can be used in many ways but must only be applied topically.

  1. When diluted in a base oil or
  2. Inhaled in very small amounts – ideally via a diffuser

As an ingredient ginger is quite harmless.   If you are thinking about taking ginger supplements internally you should consult your doctor.

In certain circumstances, with certain some conditions, taken orally could cause more harm than help.

Mostly the essential oil of ginger is non-toxic and non-irritant. Despite root ginger’s rather strong smell in its natural state, the essential oil smells rather warm and spicy, sweet and moody.

Health benefits Ginger – Sore Tummy

In The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Valerie Ann Worwood, ensures that she always includes ginger in her Basic Travel Kit.

For travel sickness the book recommends applying two drops of oil to a handkerchief, to be inhaled during the journey.

Alternatively one drop diluted in a little vegetable oil can be rubbed gently on the tummy, which. This would work equally well for indigestion.

Health Benefits Ginger – Motivation

In aromatherapy, essential oil of ginger is believed to suit people who are full of the ideas and plans but find it difficult to motivate themselves.  It promotes a sense of well being and encourages the joy of achievement – amazing!

Health Benefits Ginger – Back Pain

Ginger is thought to be particularly beneficial for the lower back because of its association with the kidneys.

Chinese medicine has used ginger for years to warm and strengthen ‘yang’ energy of the kidneys, It is considered to be ‘hot & dry’ therefore helpful in treating ‘cold, damp’ conditions.

Blend a few drops of essential oil of ginger with the same quantities of lavender and eucalyptus oils in a carrier oil. This is great for massaging the lower back.

“It’s excellent for cold, debilitated individuals who have a pale swollen tongue”, Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for the Healing Spirit

For more information about the therapy treatments we offer please feel free to contact us.

Meet our Acupuncturist – Jo Wright

Jo Wright MBAcC – Acupuncturist & Cosmetic Revitalisation Therapist

How She Got Started

Suffering a serious neck injury, Jo decided against surgery which could have left her disabled, and instead sought out alternative treatment. She’d seen acupuncture successfully used on a patient at Bart’s Hospital who was allergic to anaesthetic, enabling them to have their gallbladder removed.

Straight away, she thought: “This is fantastic!” and decided to train to become an acupuncturist, studying for three years at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York. This fitted in perfectly with her move back up North from London.

What is Acupuncture?

Over the last 30 years, people have a greater awareness of acupuncture as a service, but Jo says they still don’t fully understand how it can help, other than as a treatment for pain.

Jo explained that scientists are still trying to discover how exactly acupuncture works, as it has so many health benefits, but we do know that as soon as you put the needle into the body, there’s a cascade effect from the brain, sending the right things to that area. Wherever you put a needle into a muscle, it releases adenosine, which takes inflammation away.

How Long Has Jo Been a Practitioner?

Jo’s been working as an acupuncturist for 24 years, and believes that experience is so important with acupuncture, because it’s a hands-on treatment.

What Can a New Patient Expect?

The first thing is to identify where their problem lies, and Jo says: “I’ve come up with three categories to help with this. The first is when I know I can definitely help them with their condition, and they will get benefit.

The second category is when I’ve helped a lot of other people with the same condition, but not everyone has seen improvements. This is because acupuncture is about the way the body responds to the treatment.

The final category is really ‘they may as well try it, because nothing else has helped’.”

Acupuncture can help with pain, especially nerve pain, and with problems with immune systems and hormone issues. All of these have been scientifically tested with acupuncture as a proven treatment for helping with these conditions.

What Does Jo Like Treating?

As a therapist, she enjoys helping those severe pain, helping people who are taking a lot of painkillers and their quality of life is poor because of it, because she knows exactly how they feel. Acupuncture can make a huge difference, including for those who’ve been told they just have to live with the pain.

Cosmetic Revitalisation

Your face relies on everything in your body being in balance. Revitalisation helps repair things on a cellular level, as skin quality decreases as you age. Dermatologists have independently verified that acupuncture can make a difference.

“The lifting effect uses a particular method I was taught by an international expert in cosmetic revitalisation. There are a number of techniques, but what we do is similar to what a plastic surgeon does – we roll up the skin and pin all the skin back, right up onto the scalp,” Jo explains.

“People really notice the tightening of the jaw, and the “pulling-up” effect lasts for a week or more after the treatment. It’s something that you have to keep working at, so to see a big effect that will last you for a few years, you’ll need between 8 and 10 treatments.

How Long Does a Treatment Last?

The cosmetic revitalisation lasts an hour and a half, and the acupuncture takes an hour, with about 25 minutes with the needles. The facial treatment takes longer, because the needles have to be put in in a certain way, and removed very slowly, so as not to bruise the face.

How can Acupuncture Help with the Menopause?

Jo really understands the impact of the menopause, the concerns women have and the severity of symptoms such as hot flushes. Acupuncture can reduce these by 70%, if not getting rid of them completely. Women also suffer from sleep loss, joint pain, brain fog and emotional issues during the menopause, and acupuncture can make a difference, with only a couple of treatments.

Cancer charities are concerned by how often women are often prescribed HRT to combat the effects of menopause, as it isn’t recommended as a long-term treatment after the age of 50. The chemicals can sometimes prolong the symptoms, which is why many women seek out alternatives.

Does Acupuncture Help Emotional Problems?

“Yes, it does. I participated in a big research trial looking at treatments for depression, and it was found that acupuncture is just as good, if not better than, counselling. The findings were published and recommended by NICE.”

“I was given extra training around how exactly acupuncture helps, and one of the things I learned is that mood problems in women can be compounded by hormones prior to the menopause. It’s important for women to try to maintain balance. Stress can be destructive if it’s not dealt with.

A telephone assessment can be made to check you are suitable before booking a course of treatment.

Call The Therapy Rooms  on 0191 2136232 to arrange an acupuncture appointment with Jo Wright.

Meet Our Osteopath – Natalie Nicolas MOst

Meet Our Osteopath – Natalie Nicolas MOst

Introducing new team member here at The Therapy Rooms, today’s blog is a chat with Natalie, our osteopath.

How Did Natalie Get Started?

Natalie has been an osteopath since 2014, qualifying at Swansea University. She explains that as teenager living in Spain her ambition was to be a doctor but after work experience in a hospital realised that environment wasn’t for her.

Her mum was seeing an osteopath, and Natalie found she was interested in what it involved and the natural, holistic side. She says: “I love helping people, and it’s great to be able to get to know them well and address the problems that doctors don’t have time to help with in hospital.”

Natalie believes it is important to build rapport with patients. Osteopathy can help people in a more holistic way, not just physically.

Who Needs to See an Osteopath?

Osteopathy is based on treating musculo-skeletal problems, so that’s joint pain, muscular damage and so on. It’s mostly people with back or neck pain, or chronic pain or injury, and this is what Natalie focuses on.

There are no typical patients – they can be athletes, office workers, children or even babies. Anyone is suitable for the treatment, and you simply vary the technique accordingly.

What is the Difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

The two practices are quite different, but what they do share is using manipulation. Chiropractic is based on the idea that any ailment in the body is based on a spinal dysfunction – different vertebral segments give rise to different nerves which control areas of the body.

Chiropractors believe that when one of the segments isn’t working properly, such as muscle tightness or joint stiffness, can lead over time to dysfunction of the nerve, which in turn leads to pain.

Osteopaths don’t work on the spinal model, and favour the traditional model that you can have a knee problem caused by the knee, rather than the spine, although they do treat holistically and look at other body pains.

When they manipulate or ‘crack’ a joint, they do this to restore the movement in it, whereas a chiropractor does so to relieve pressure. It may have the same result, but the philosophy is different.

What Can Someone Expect at an Osteopathy Appointment?

Natalie explains: “Firstly, I book people in for a one-hour consultation. I ask the patient to tell me what the problem is and what they think is causing it. I’ll also prompt them to talk about the case history, when the pain started and if it’s better or worse at certain times, as well as their health and medication.”

The information gathered helps Natalie to narrow down the potential cause of the pain. Once that’s all covered, she does an assessment, which varies depending on the case history.

The assessment usually involves removing clothes down to underwear and shorts, and Natalie watches the patient walking and moving to see if there’s anything noticeable which could have contributed to the pain, including looking at the spine for any clues. Then, she focuses on the area of the pain, and moves the joint for the patient.

At this point, she formulates a working diagnosis of what the pain is most likely caused by, as it’s not always possible to be completely certain. Natalie then creates a treatment plan from the diagnosis.

Treatment usually consists of soft tissue therapy (i.e. massage), joint mobilisation to help it move better, manipulation, which is a stronger form of joint mobilisation and usually happens on the spine. Sometimes she also demonstrates stretching and resistance movements the patient can do at home.

Within four to six treatments, patients should have seen an improvement in the symptoms. If they don’t, Natalie will reassess and see if there’s anything she can change in the working diagnosis or refer to the NHS pathway if appropriate.

Natalie says: “One of the best ways way to understand osteopathy it is to come and experience the treatment for themselves.”

A telephone assessment can be made to check you are suitable before booking a course of treatment.

Call The Therapy Rooms  on 0191 2136232 to arrange an osteopathic appointment with Natalie.

Slipped disc – can it be managed osteopathically?

Slipped disc – can it be managed osteopathically?

Natalie Nicolas Osteopath at The Therapy Rooms

Spinal disc lesions are a very common occurrence, with an estimated 50-60% of the population having one or more bulging discs in their spine. However, only a small minority of these suffer symptoms, but these can be vastly disrupting and debilitating. Disc-related pain tends to mostly affect people between 30 and 50 years of age.

The diagnosis may be termed as a ‘slipped disc’, ‘ruptured disc’, ‘herniated disc’ and ‘disc prolapse’. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals cannot agree on a precise definition, and use these terms interchangeably, which causes confusion. Rather than searching for a precise diagnosis, it is more useful for patients to gain a clear understanding of what may be happening inside their bodies. So what are discs, what actually happens when they ‘slip’, and can an Osteopath help?

The intervertebral discs are structures found in between vertebrae all the way from the neck to the lower back. They are composed of two parts: a tough outer layer, similar to a tyre, and a soft inner core, of a gel-like consistency. Discs are somewhat pliant, acting as shock absorbers and allowing for spinal curves and flexibility. Over time, this shock absorbing capability reduces, as the disc wears and loses height due to natural fluid loss. Small cracks appear in the outer layer and, if put under undue strain, the disc can start to be pushed out of shape. If this strain is maintained, the inside gel-like core pushes through the outer layer causing what is called a disc prolapse (‘slipped disc’ is actually a misnomer as the disc doesn’t actually slip out of place).

Disc prolapses tend to be most common in the lower back, as it bears the most torque and force on a day-to-day basis. The prolapse can press on the spinal nerves directly, or cause an inflammatory response in the area, closing the space where the nerves exit the spine. This can cause pain (known as sciatica if the pain runs down the back of the leg), tingling, numbness, pain or loss of strength in the arms or legs depending on whether the problem is in the neck or low back. In some cases, severe prolapses can press on the spinal cord, which requires urgent medical attention.

Osteopaths are trained to recognise any of these signs and act accordingly – referring the patient as appropriate. Whether the prolapse is mild or severe, sitting, lying, standing, walking, sneezing, coughing and bowel movements can be difficult. Whatever the severity, the damage sustained requires time to repair. Osteopaths encourage this healing process by establishing why the particular disc was the one that had the problem in the first place (trauma, postural problems, or wear and tear for example), and then treating to ensure that the spine is straight and mobile, and the protective spasm around the area is eased. As self-management of a disc problem is key, advice will also be given including postural tips, hot or cold packs and stretching as appropriate, as well as promoting to continue with normal daily activities as much as possible. The traditional medical approach to a disc problem is often to offer a combination of painkillers and muscles relaxants, which can work in conjunction with osteopathic treatment to resolve the disc problem more speedily. If the problem persists or there are any worrying symptoms, the patient can be referred back to their GP for further investigations and, if all else fails, on to a specialist if surgery is required.


Natalie Nicolas graduated with a First Class Masters degree in Osteopathy in 2014. She has since worked among other osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and sports therapists.

Natalie has a keen interest in treating musculoskeletal pain from a holistic viewpoint, observing the body as an integral unit. She enjoys treating people of many different backgrounds, ranging from athletes to patients with chronic pain disorders. When approaching a case, she considers all associated physical dysfunctions as well as lifestyle behaviours, occupation, physical activity, and daily life stresses. Having worked as a ski and snowboard instructor, Natalie understands the balance between injury, rehabilitation and performance.

Natalie is registered with the General Osteopathic Council and is a member of the Institute of Osteopathy.

A telephone assessment can be made to check you are suitable before booking a course of treatment.

Call The Therapy Rooms  on 0191 2136232 to arrange an osteopathy appointment with Natalie Nicolas.

Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture

Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture

Jo Wright Acupuncturist at The Therapy Rooms

Both women and men report noticeable changes to the appearance such as general lifting of the brows greater definition of cheeks and jawline improved skin quality and texture.  A feeling of wellbeing and relaxation is the welcome added benefit of this traditional approach to looking more youthful.

Here Jo Wright explains it in more detail…

What’s involved during a Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture treatment?

Very fine specialised Japanese sterile needles are inserted in points on both the body and face.  A specialised technique is used to encourage the lifting, tightening and defining process to continue after the sessions.

How does Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture treatment work?

After the age of 20 collagen (natures strength and scaffolding for the skin and muscles) is produced less and less.  In fact it dramatically reduces in synthesis after the menopause.  The body still responds by producing collagen in response to any injury.

The good news is that it responds to any trauma no matter how tiny.  The insertion of sterile needles in exact points gives the brain a message that there is a micro-trauma and the body produce new collagen and elastin.

Does it hurt?

There is minimal discomfort using the finest thin smooth Japanese needles. Most people feel no pain but sometimes a momentary twinge may be felt.  The body’s natural painkiller –endorphins are activated at the same time

How many sessions do I need and how long will it last?

It varies from 6-12 2 hour sessions.  Initial assessment will give you the best estimate for desired effects

A full course of treatment will give lasting effect for up to 2 years.

What is the cost?

£90 per 2 hour session

Can anyone have this treatment?

As with any treatment there are people with certain conditions unsuitable for this procedure: Haemophilia, epilepsy, high blood pressure, during an acute infection/virus, uncontrolled migraine, and untreated skin infection

Note  Issues that can be resolved before treatment severe neck and shoulder tension /posture problem, hot flushes, headache and migraine, insomnia.

Jo Wright Acupuncturist MBAcC

Jo has practiced Acupuncture for 23 years helping people with many different medical conditions

She has practised Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation for the last 10 years. Anti-aging the Natural way has become a growing interest for Jo. She has helped many people with facial revitalisation who describe it as their best kept secret.

She was lucky enough to train with the leading light in the field of cosmetic acupuncture Virginia DoranM.A.c. Virginia only trains fully qualified acupuncturist and they are on her approved practitioner list at

Jo likes the tranquil and beautiful surrounding of The Therapy Rooms to enhance your experience of the facial Revitalisation session.

A telephone assessment can be made to check you are suitable before booking a course of treatment

Call Jo on 07821027711.





The Busy Person’s 7 Step Guide to Feeling Healthier in 2017

Feeling Healthier with The Therapy Rooms Newcastle

The Busy Person’s 7 Step Guide to Feeling Healthier in 2017

It is customary to see articles on the first of January nagging us about feeling healthier, when we are all supposedly fired up to renew and reinvent ourselves as the fit super-healthy version of ourselves we aspire to be. There might well be a tiny corner of our brains that is thinking like that but in reality most of us just haven’t the energy to get that fired up and just want to curl up and put a duvet over our heads.

“in reality most of us just haven’t the energy to get that fired up about feeling healthier 

and just want to curl up and put a duvet over our heads”

But the longer days are now ahead of us and we are feeling much brighter.

These tips are not intended to send you off into a Lycra frenzy or to break your purse. They are intended to inspire to try even one or two in the hope that you do feel healthier which in turn will motivate you to improve other aspects of your health. You never know you might even get out the Lycra by the time the summer comes!

1. The Breath of Life

Deep diaphragmatic breathing can have an amazing effect on your energy levels, mood and even blood pressure. A 2010 Spanish study found that slow, controlled breathing decreased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in both men and women. And a 2006 Indian study found that mental relaxation and slow breathing help lower blood pressure.

Here are a few techniques you can try so you’ll be feeling healthier in no time:

  • Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold and breathe out through your mouth.
  • Place a finger on the side of the nose to block one nostril and breathe in through one side of your nose the place a finger over the other nostril and breathe out through that nostril.
  • Place your hands on your stomach with your fingertips just touching and breathe in and out through your nose, paying special attention to how your rib cage expands laterally.

2. Drink a glass of waterDrink a glass of water

The side effects of dehydration are many including irritability, sluggish digestion and fatigue. Add a slice of lemon, or lemon juice to add to its detoxifying abilities. It doesn’t have to be cold water. Warm or hot water works just as well and can feel gentler on your digestive system.

3. Get up out of your chair

A simple twist can also help : As you sit in your desk chair, simply twist your upper-body to one side, grabbing the back of the chair to extend the stretch and hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

So many of us spend so much of our time sat in front of a computer. And sitting all day can cause havoc to your posture causing compression to your spine and rounding your shoulders. Getting up and having a walk around is a great idea to get you feeling healthier, especially if you roll your shoulders forward and back at the same time.

4. Get Organised in 15 Minutes

I’ve found quite helpful for tips and hints to organise my C.H.A.O.S (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). Probably the most helpful has been to set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one small area. It’s amazing what you can achieve in 15 minutes, you can see your progress and be inspired by it, if you focus on a small area, and 15 minutes won’t exhaust you and then put you off tackling some more.

If you do feel disorganised and stressed it’s difficult to know where to start though.

A 2010 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their homes as cluttered or full of unfinished projects had higher levels of stress than those who described their homes as restful and restorative.

5. Put on a favourite song

There’s nothing quite like your favourite music to perk you up and get you feeling good. Listening to music has been shown to improve immunity and release endorphins.

Bonus points if you dance along!

6. Think positively 

Spend a few minutes thinking about what’s good about our lives, what you are good at, a great relationship that enhances your life, the fact that you had a super healthy lunch today packed full of life enhancing vitamins.

A research paper published online in September 2013 in a journal of the American Heart Association shows that even for people dealing with heart disease, a positive outlook means living longer and stronger.

7. Go outside

Have you heard the latest health buzz about Vitamin D?

If you have a minute to spare, step out into the sunshine! Even if it’s not very sunny, the extra movement and the fresh air will invigorate you, and the exposure to daylight will help regulate your body clock and aid sleep.

Preliminary research suggests that vitamin D helps regulate the immune system, supports heart health, can help normalise blood pressure and promotes healthy ageing.   Vitamin D has also been linked to improved mood.

As always, I’m here to help you – give me a call on 07974 725546 to have a chat about how you can take the first steps to feeling better.

So which one will you do first? It doesn’t matter in which order, and you don’t even need to do them all. Just take control of your health by making a small start to feeling healthier.