Now this is a bit embarrassing…..

Okay, we all are a bit embarrassed when talking about poo, but lets be truthful we all do it. Only some people have serious issues with their poo and they are too embarrassed to talk about it. Bowel Cancer is not something that only affects older people, and any changes to your bowel habits that go on longer than three weeks whatever age you are, you need to see a G.P. There are lots of reasons for a change of bowel habits and most are perfectly innocent, but sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious such as Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis, as well as Bowel Cancer. In females there is a rare possibility a change of bowel habits can be for a gynecological reason such as endometriosis or even ovarian cancer.

I see a lot of clients who present to me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and it is one of my favourite issues to treat because it responds very well to a change of diet, acupuncture, and / or hypnotherapy, however I am extremely careful and always check for red flags with the client before we start. These are;

  • Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo
  • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going more often or loose stools
  • Abdominal pain, especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Unexplained weight loss or tiredness

I also ask about bloating especially in females and what the poo is actually like when its passed, as this gives a good indicator of how your gut is working. At this point I should mention that if you are passing a pencil thin stool, its worth mentioning it to your G.P. even in the absence of the red flag symptoms. If you are experiencing IBS type symptoms, and have not yet seen a G.P. I strongly advise you to do so and get a definite diagnosis, because IBS can mimic other diseases which could be serious, so don’t delay. Otherwise these are the IBS symptoms which people usually experience;

  • Pain and Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Changes in Bowel Movements
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Food Intolerance
  • Fatigue and Difficulty Sleeping

Remember don’t be embarrassed to talk about your poo, especially with a medical practitioner because they’ve heard it all before. Acupuncturists and Nutritionists also want to know about your poo, so don’t be surprised when they ask you during a consultation. They are not being nosy, it really does give them vital information about how your digestive system is working, so relax and be honest about what’s going on….it might just save your life.

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Stress and Anxiety

Did you know that April is stress and anxiety awareness month?

At some point in our lives we’ve all been under some form of stress or anxiety and the vast majority of people that present to my clinic, I would say at least 75% of the symptoms are stress related.  Stress and anxiety is very subjective to the individual, and the circumstances a person is involved with.  No one can tell you they understand how you feel, or tell you not to be stressed because stress and anxiety doesn’t work like that.  In fact in my experience, those people that find themselves struggling to cope are the ones that have struggled to cope for too long.

Trying to cope with chronic stress and anxiety can and very often does lead to physical symptoms, you might experience panic attacks, suffer appetite loss or comfort eat. You may lose interest in sex or be afraid of social situations even personal relationships suffer, it’s usually different for everyone and can vary in severity but nevertheless it’s not a good situation to be in. The long term effects on your health can be disastrous and you may experience Depression, Low Immune System, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Adrenal Fatigue, IBS / Digestive Disorders, Insomnia / Sleep Disorders, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…and possibly addiction if you are using alcohol or drugs to get you through.

So how to manage your stress?

Well first thing to know is you are not alone and help is out there, asking for help is not to be seen as a weakness.  In fact asking for help is one of the best things you can do, always keep in mind that most people have been through stress and anxiety at some stage in their lives.  Many people attend my clinic for help with their stress and anxiety or associated physical symptoms, and I offer a range of choices such as Acupuncture, Hypnotherapy, Massage or Reiki.  In fact helping my clients with stress and anxiety or associated physical symptoms is one of my favourite issues to treat because people usually respond really well.  I’ve also done stress reduction workshops for corporate clients and within 30 minutes, the staff members who attended found their stress levels reduce massively.

The steps you can take to help manage your stress include watching your sugar and caffeine intake, aim to reduce them by a little everyday…please do this slowly because they are both very addictive substances.  Get some physical exercise, even if its just a brisk walk everyday and try to eat regularly and relax when you do it.  Look at your sleeping habits, and what you do to relax.  Perhaps try some meditation, a warm bath or getting to bed early with a good book….nothing with a blue light so that means your mobile phone or tablet needs to be switched off and preferably away from your sleeping area.  Having a treatment such as acupuncture or hypnotherapy etc with myself should not to be seen as a treat, but more of essential maintenance.  Lowering your stress levels is truly investing in your future health.

This is an article from sky news regarding stress (see here)

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Junk the gunk

When a patient comes to me for hypnotherapy or acupuncture treatment, that’s what they expect to get but its not what they receive. They get so much more.  I address the person’s whole wellbeing from their lifestyle to nutrition, and one of the first priorities is to junk the gunk. This involves stopping people consuming fizzy drinks and many other processed foods (junk food)! I could write for hours on the subject of fizzy drinks and how bad they are from causing weight problems and teeth problems to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer due to the sugar. Did you know that sugar is more addictive than heroin? And if you think sugar free is a good alternative then think again, did you know artificial sweetener (saccharin) comes from coal tar???? Or did you know it turns into formaldehyde at body temperature??? Latest research suggests that fizzy drinks could be related to all sorts of potential health issues, and whilst we are discussing health issues the results from a large study were published in February 2018 which showed an increased risk of eating ultra processed foods and cancer. Its been known for some time that eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for our health, but this research gives even  more evidence of why processed food should be avoided.

So take a step today and remove all processed foods and fizzy drinks from your diet, then buy the best food you can possibly afford. You have one body so look after it.

Just ONE Diet Coke or Pepsi Max a day can ‘TRIPLE the risk of a deadly stroke’ and dementia, researchers claim


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Infertility, IVF and Acupuncture

Do you know that acupuncture can help with infertility and IVF?

Many people are choosing acupuncture to help with infertility and IVF and apart from Muscular Skeletal problems such as a bad back or neck problems, it is one of the most popular things an acupuncturist will deal with.

How does acupuncture help with infertility?

Acupuncture is thought to increase the blood flow to the ovaries, which may improve egg quality and increase follicle count. Its also thought to improve blood circulation within the uterus and helps promote successful implantation. Acupuncture can help with the side effects of medications used in IVF and helps decrease uterine contractions, which encourages implantation and prevents miscarriage. Acupuncture can also help reduce the stress of trying to get pregnant, as well as balancing and supporting general health.

Can acupuncture help with IVF?

Acupuncture is used to help optimise the conditions for IVF to work.  Patients should commence acupuncture around 3 months prior to IVF treatment and receive regular acupuncture treatments. This should carry on throughout the suppression phase, and through the stimulation protocol, until the time of transfer. Acupuncture should also be used before and after embryo transfer.

The Daily Mail discusses how ‘acupuncture can boost chances of getting pregnant through IVF’  Read the article here…

What fertility issues can acupuncture help with?

  • Stress-related infertility
  • Elevated FSH
  • Endometriosis
  • Frequent miscarriage
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Autoimmune antibodies
  • Irregular periods
  • Anxiety / depression
  • Side effects of hormone treatment

Does acupuncture help with male infertility?

If a man has been diagnosed with a low sperm count or motility problems, acupuncture and maybe highly beneficial, particularly prior to any lab-assisted fertility procedures. I often treat a patients’ partner, and this can contribute to successful pregnancy.


Jen Hubley Luckwaldt tried acupuncture recently to get pregnant and this is what she said...

To read more about acupuncture benefits, click here.

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Celebrities and Facial Acupuncture

Do you want to feel like a celebrity?

Facial acupuncture is the latest weapon in the anti-ageing war, and a favourite among celebrities such as Lisa Snowdon, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sean Connery, and Jennifer Aniston. Facial acupuncture gives a natural solution to the ageing process, if you don’t want to inject poison into your face like BOTOX or fillers.

Lisa Snowdon turned to acupuncture to help lift and rejuvenate’ her skin, and whilst it may look painful the area is usually numbed first so there is virtually no sensation of needles being inserted.

Lisa Snowdon posts painful looking picture of herself having facial acupuncture

Acupuncture can reduce wrinkles, eliminate fine lines, lift sagging skin and improve skin colour and texture. Its effects can last for about three months, and it only takes about 45 minutes. So what’s not to like?

Facial Acupuncture

Does it really work?

Yes it really does work! Acupuncture stimulates the flow of blood, qi and nutrients to the face, energising cellular rejuvenation and production of elastin and collagen. It tightens the fibres which lift the facial tissue, the result is tighter muscle tone, less facial stress and a more rested, relaxed and a younger looking face.

Research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the flow of blood and energy through the skin in the face, thereby hydrating, boosting the skin’s supply of nutrients and oxygen and thus reducing the signs of ageing. In 1996 the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported that among 300 cases treated with facial acupuncture, 90% had marked effects with one course of treatment.

How many treatments do I need?

Some clients choose to receive the treatment for one off occasions such as presentations or parties but for long lasting results a course of treatment is recommended which can be maintained afterwards with less frequent top up treatments.

Where can I receive facial acupuncture?

Shen Holistics offers facial acupuncture at the clinic here in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees which is accessible from Middlesbrough, Darlington and the rest of Teesside.

You can contact me for a completely FREE 20 minute telephone consultation so get in touch via my contact page.

To read further on acupuncture and other therapies I offer,  please click here.

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Exciting New Service for 2018 – Head 2 Foot Help!

Now available at the Ingleby Barwick Clinic is our special Head to Foot Assessment Clinic. If you are suffering with a complex structural problem such as foot pain, ankle pain, leg and / or lower back pain / discomfort then this unique clinic may be for you.

Normally, when you go for a consultation with a specialist, you only see one person at a time i.e a physiotherapist, osteopath, acupuncturist or a podiatrist.  Each person can help you within their own field of expertise, but may end up referring you on to another practitioner for further assistance.

In our unique clinic offering, we can offer two musculo-skeletal specialists to assess you together, and then formulate a care plan.

Team Cawthorne

My husband (Alan Cawthorne) is a Band 7 MusculoSkeletal Podiatrist, and deals with foot pain and biomechanical issues of the legs on a daily basis.

We will be offering a clinic where we both perform an assessment together, looking at the history of your problems, and perform a muscular skeletal assessment.

A biomechanics assessment of the lower limb (foot posture and walking / running assessment) will be completed, along with footwear / orthotics recommendations where required.  This is  followed by a further in-depth assessment / treatment by myself.  This may be acupuncture, acupressure massage or cupping, depending on the problems.

If you feel you may benefit from this new and unique service, please get in touch for a further chat.

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