Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Over the years I've learnt not to underestimate the power of simple. How a smile (from a stranger or a friend) can lift my spirits. How kindness, even when I've been at the lowest of places, has transformed the experience. How a hug can change the mood.
My recent musings are over joy, kindness and the benefit of being a beginner... being a beginner at something is a feeling I really like. I love to dive in and enjoy new or different experiences, and recognise it's good for my brain to explore different areas.
I am relatively competent at 'soft' crafts - crochet, sewing (hand or machine) and knitting but working with wood is a whole different place for me, the idea of it challenges me. My partner had been planning to make a woodshed, but we'd bought one and walking past a pile of wood daily got me thinking...
So I looked for simple designs, found one I liked and thought was achievable and enlisted the help of my dad. I'm grateful for ever supportive parents, through the bad times, good and the oh how about trying this times.
Anyway, this isn't even really about the bench, more that I'd loaded the wood into the car boot and a friend's teenage son was walking past with their dog. We had a short chat and I told him I needed luck wishing to me as I was off to make my first bench.
Kindly he told me 'you've got this', before he continued on his walk.
Small words, maybe even said politely as an automatic response, but to the receiver (that would be me that morning) they meant a lot.
The bench making Sunday was a hot day and due to shoulder tension, I had an encroaching migraine, but was determined. I wanted to make my bench. My first wooden piece since CDT days in school in fact. Maybe on an easier day I'd have continued on without taking account or real notice of the kind words, but they really stuck with me. Banging nails in with a banging headache wasn't the most pleasant, and perhaps there was a good argument for stopping... but I wanted to complete it, and those words were a big factor in carrying me through.
Now when I see the bench, sit on it, walk past it, I'm reminded of the power of a few simple words of kindness, and I'm on a mission to share it. Each time I leave the house I try to do at least one kind thing for someone I engage with on that trip. Often my trips out may just be a school run, so that may mean letting a car out, waving someone across the road or similar. Small acts, but I know when someone does them for me they have a positive impact on my day.
Like Spike Millegan's Smile (though til googling it I thought it was called Smiling is Contagious) poem, I think there could easily be an epidemic of kindness. It might only take a few simple words.
PS. Here's my bench :)
PPS The bench has so much more kindness in it than even just above, from the wood that was gifted to us by a friend who'd demolished some outbuildings, my partner who'd brought it home, his friend who drove him back with it in his van, my dad who was prepared to hand-saw it to help me make it, his neighbour who lent us a circular saw to cut the wood... it's a real gift to have it and have made it.
I'm recognising that I'm naturally curious about the world around me, as well as about modalities to help people. Helping is one of my primary drivers - though I have to contain it at times, and remember that if I exhaust myself running around that in the end I help no body else. That one has taken a lot of learning! But curiousity leads me down different avenues and I was reflecting this morning how for years, it has brought me back to homeopathy time and again.
There are certainly other ways to help ourselves, plenty of them, and it's definitely not that this is the only one. But for me there's something about the depth, something about the breadth of potential, the life changes that I see working with this marvellous system of medicine, that nothing yet has come close enough to fixate my attention fully on.
It's not about exclusivity - I love people having a team, and different areas bring different gifts for us. I regularly see Kristy - Massage and Angelic Reiki practitioner, I've recently engaged with a private Physiotherapist and am finding that brilliant. I have a Naturopathic/Functional Medicine Practitioner, Nicola that I continue to work with, and of course a homeopath. GP wise I've not found my ideal member of my team yet, though I've a practice that I use when I need it. I really like it when there's someone on the team that covers the conventional medical side of things - and for all of them, as and when needed. Integration is key in my opinion.
I've studied various other modalities - I gained my Diploma in Reflexology during my third year of my degree and really enjoyed working with people using that, though there was something about homeopathy that drew me closer towards it. I spent a while studying Brainworking Recursive Therapy as I wanted to understand it more before recommending a client to work with a therapist in that field. My BSc was in Psychology and Neuroscience and I'm fascinated by the brain. Neuropsychology in particular - yes please - let me read, learn and know more about that. I'm currently moving towards the last few months of a year of studying Provocative Change Works, which integrates elements from Provocative Therapy, hypnosis and awarenesses of NLP - many practitioners of it have come from the work of NLP previously, or integrate the two. It's brilliant - and resonates with homeopathy in many ways, I really like it. Years ago, I undertook most of a diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition, but when events clashed with homeopathic conferences I knew where my heart resonated the most, and ultimately where I should be.
For me, that's the key. There are brilliant ways of working, of being with clients who are coping with challenges and helping people to move forwards, hopefully in a healthier way. There are ways that each of us feel drawn to at different times. There are many things I've integrated from the learning I've done in other modalities within the work that I do in clinic, which I'm grateful for. There are practitioners I'm aware of that I recommend people to, where I see it might be helpful. This morning though I was reflecting on what it is that time and again draws me back to this wonderful world of homeopathy.
I think the bottom line is the changes that I see unfold. The lady who'd had migraines since being 16 and would take multiple medications for them. I saw her in her 60s. Migraines that could last several days and be brought on by heat, noise, light... then being able to go to the fun fair with her grandchildren on a hot day and be unaffected. To write to me and tell me how her quality of life had improved. You can't ask for more than that.
She came as had been chatting to another client whose son had had migraines leading to cyclical vomitting. Anything that brought up excitement could bring on a migraine - Christmas and birthdays being a big factor. We saw the frequency of his attacks reduce massively using what we call a constitutional remedy - a remedy that matches who he is as a person - but one Christmas he ended up once again being unable to stop being sick. A call to the GP suggested that he should go into hospital soon if he couldn't keep fluid down. We'd given a few acute remedies for a couple of days and not seen changes result, so back to the books. As chance, or synchronicity, or plain old magic would have it, we were on our way out to visit friends and could take a route past their house. So we did, and I dropped off a remedy. Thankful for texts to remind me of the speed of the reaction, within just over 10 minutes from dropping off the remedy, I had a message to say... actually I'll just share the messages here. I dropped the remedy off at 4.25pm.
There was a brief relapse the next day, a repeat of the remedy which was Aethusa (fool's parsley) and a continued and full improvement. The remedy isn't in any kit, it's not one I've used before, but worked perfectly and the family had a Christmas day together, not spent with one child in hospital. Hooray for homeopathy.
The image at the top of the page is a quote from a person who'd had relief from headaches that would last, at times 6 days on the run. Debilitating for her - and great to be able to help. As you can tell from the comment, there was some element of relief felt.
Sometimes there's a feeling that you 'have to believe in it for it to work'. My experience has shown that's not the case. From our horse no longer having an eye disease, to babies being helped with homeopathy, to cynical clients... have a read of this:
I left the first meeting feeling lighter & just a tiny bit optimistic.
You may have noted these are all headache/migraine mentions or related to that. That's what brought me into homeopathy and is my susceptibility/weak spot. For other's it's digestive issues or joint problems... I can still end up with them and whilst for me they've not entirely disappeared, they've decreased enormously and I put that down to homeopathic medicine. I do love working with people who struggle with these, as I personally know how much easier life is without frequent headaches and migraine issues.
The scope of homeopathy of course way exceeds just our head - there's the rest of the body, the emotions, mental outlook on life that can be influenced too. I had a lovely email from someone over the weekend telling me how improvements were unfolding just a few weeks on from taking a homeopathic remedy I'd given. I'll see how they get on when we meet at follow up - and if appropriate may see if I can share more. I'm excited to see how the case goes.
My testimonials page has a few accounts of how it's helped other people, people of all ages and from all walks of life.
One testimonials I wanted to mention here was particularly topical as I hear statistics of the numbers of people experiencing 'long Covid' symptoms:
After having covid for the 2nd time my post covid symptoms really threw me. All of a sudden words that I never associated with myself felt normal - anxious, panicky, low, flat, demotivated, disconnected. I felt like I was a jigsaw and suddenly lots of pieces of myself were blacked out, invisible. I felt like I completely lost the 'me' of myself. This lasted months and then someone suddenly suggested homeopathy. I had never tried it before, had no idea what to expect. The 2 hour consultation with Em was therapeutic in itself - a reminder of who I am, who I have been. I started to take the remedy that she made for me a few days later. By the following week I started feeling different. Incrementally the colours started returning to the jigsaw. I can't describe the relief at feeling myself again.
Working with homeopathy, we treat people as individuals - so to a certain extent, it doesn't really matter so much what the label is - how do they experience the symptoms is a guiding light for us. So it can be 'post viral fatigue' or 'long Covid', what we want to know is how do you do it? What is your experience? Who is the person who is experiencing this collection of symptoms?
I think I may have gone on long enough - to be fair I could talk all day about this, so perhaps that's a sign to stop for now!
Happy to chat homeopathy if you'd like to know if it may be able to help you. Drop me a line anytime at email@example.com or on my contact page here.
With best wishes and gratitude,
Our house is gearing up for GCSEs and so aware that stress is increasing here, I thought I'd put together a wee 'exam survival kit'. Not everyone struggles, or gets stressed - I used to have a friend who had a photographic memory and sailed through exams, heading off to Cambridge University without seeming to break a sweat. I guess this blog isn't for those who fit in that camp.
I’m acutely aware that pressures differ depending on different schooling systems too. Remembering my experience at a local grammar school where the very top marks were aimed for and reflecting on my daughter’s comprehensive school parent’s evening, the experiences are very different. A potential pass grade was heard being applauded at a recent parent’s evening, and I smiled, thinking how different it would be less than a mile down the road when speaking about a similar grade it would likely be with horror (or at least back in my day), not being pleased with it and congratulating the student for work done.
Pressures of course differ in terms of our individual experiences of the world. I was incredibly self-motivated, ‘knew’ I was going to be a vet and ‘needed’ to fly through some essential steps along the way. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was also in a school that expected high grades, but for me the pressure was mostly felt from an internal place.
Back in my time, I got what I consider to be really excellent GCSE grades. To anyone reading this going through these exam stages, particularly if you’re feeling the stress, it might help to know that no one cares now. I worked incredibly hard, pushed myself hard but I could have just passed everything and had the same results in my life. I'm not saying don't try, don't work hard; but definitely don't break yourself over them. Stories abound over people considered conventionally successful - Ben Fogle springs to mind - who perhaps passed one exam if I recall correctly. There are many roads to Rome as the saying goes.
Being handed my A level certificate (2 Bs, 2 Cs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and General Studies), having gained grades which in hindsight, were good in the view of the general population, there were no words of congratulations shared. The student after me approached and having got all As in her grades got a ‘well done’. My Grandad had died in the lead up to my exams and having experienced horrendous migraines, I’d ended up at the Drs and being prescribed beta blockers. 2Bs and 2Cs were off from my predicted grades by one grade. Unbeknownst to me, my mum had explained the death of my Grandad to my university of choice and when I phoned, full of trepidation, to see if they would accept me; they said they were just discussing my case and would be happy for me to go on the grades that were set.
So, hoop jumped. Looking back, that's what these tests are. A stepping stone to the next stage. Are they the only way across the river? No. Is how you cross the river reflective of how the rest of your life will pan out? No.
Some look forward to them, love a test, others face them with dread. For most of us, especially in our younger years, exams are a fact of life. So this is my exam survival kit for those who are in the second camp.
Helios Stress Relief
Rescue Remedy or Emergency Essence
Helios Hay Fever
And if I could give a dose of perspective too... for myself when I am doing things I'm uncomfortable with, I like to remind myself of difficult/challenging things I've done before. Or others near to me have. My sister underwent a 9 hour operation to remove a tumour the size of her surgeon's fist from her brain. A talk to 30 people? I can do that. I gave birth, and whilst in labour in my bedroom had 2 midwives, 2 paramedics, then was carried down the stairs after having relinquished the gas and air upstairs. Carried up the stairs through our front garden (the house was built into a hill), and up to the ambulance. Going to be a bit embarressed? I can handle that. I did my birthing experience. Aside from all the folk standing there/helping me, it was also one of THE most empowering experiences I've ever had. I felt connected to all the women of the past and future. Seriously incredible experience. And now, 16 and a bit years later, we can get through exam season. Might not be easy but it'll all be OK.
So in more detail; my chosen remedies:
Aconite - often known as a great remedy for shock and trauma. In an aconite state there's often a worsening around midnight. William Boericke, from one of our classic materia medicas, describes it as experiencing 'Great fear, anxiety and worry' that accompany every ailment, however trivial. Fears the future, a crowd, crossing the street. Music is unbearable, makes them sad. Feels as if what had just been done was a dream. Aconite is also well known for its ability to stop colds in their tracks. Taken on the first sign of a cold coming on, you can sometimes stop it fully happening. I think colds are a great immune system clear out - if happening perhaps a couple of times a year - the night before a big exam it might be nice to stop it if you can. Aconite 30c can sometimes be hugely helpful here.
Argentum Nitricum - I was chatting recently with a student who was telling me this is her favourite remedy for fear of flying and has used sucessfully for herself and seen help others several times. It's a big anticipation remedy and can be really helpful for things like stage fright. Arg-Nit can be helpful where there is impulsiveness, they're fearful and nervous - thinks his understanding will fail.
Arsenicum Album - this remedy is often known for helping with food poisoning, so if nerves are causing digestive disturbances it could be one to consider here too. Restlessness is seen, the person may change place continually. Sensitive to disorder and confusion. It's also one of a group of remedies well known for fastidiousness - having to have everything in the exactly right place before you start revising could be an indication this may be a helpful remedy to use.
Gelsemium - often known as a go-to remedy for flu, which is also great for stage fright... and exam fears! Stacey Dooley describes using it in her video here for help with fear of flying. Gels can be helpful when there is a frequent need to urinate due to nerves. There can be weakness and trembling and that heavy limb feeling is often helped by Gelsemium too.
Stress Relief from Helios. The clever folks at Helios Homeopathy have made some remedy combinations - this one has Aconite, Argentum Nit and Arsenicum in it as a combination. Historically called Triple A in the homeopathic community (although there are lots of Triple A combos - this is the one I've been most aware of), it's helped countless people through exams, driving tests and more. A great wee remedy to have in the pocket if needed.
Onto a few more thoughts...
Rescue Remedy, from Dr Edward Bach's range of Flower Essences, is available in a variety of forms - drops, pastilles and I think also a spray. In good health food shops (don't you love it when somewhere says that line? because bad ones won't have it in...), and all over online. For ease, and because I really love Helios, theirs is here.
I'm a fan of the Australian Bush Flower Essences and they do a similar one, it's called Emergency Essence. Take as needed. I also like their Space Clearing Spray - and whilst on it, their Focus Essence too for encouraging conditions for learning.
Arnica - probably the best known homeopathic remedy out there... often thought of for bruising, shock or trauma but less well known for it's effects on tiredness and jet lag. It's amazing for both! I've suggested it to nursing mothers who've been awake much of the night. If someone is over tired from studying too much, it could be a really helpful remedy to use. I went for pro-plus and Coke (the drink) during my uni exams, despite having a homeopathy kit - I wasn't aware of the brilliance of Arnica. Of course use within reason, and be sensible with rest, but it can be helpful if needed to help with over tiredness.
Coffea cruda - can't sleep for all the thoughts whizzing around your head? Full of ideas, tossing and turning in bed? Restless and perhaps a little irritable? It's here that we see the brilliance of homeopathy - like curing like. You know what it's like when you've overdone the coffee? That's the kind of feeling that the homeopathic remedy Coffea may help with.
Whilst we're on sleep challenges... Helios also has a sleep combo. Avena Sativa, Coffea, Passiflora and Valerian are the stars of this show. It's here.
I really like individualising and using the most specific remedy for the issue, but at times, sometimes with those new to homeopathy, as well as more frequent users; these combination remedies can be hugely helpful.
I'm aware that hayfever season often co-incides with exam season (seriously - who planned that one?!). If that's an issue, there's a combo for that too! Helios' Hay Fever combination here has Allium Cepa, Euphrasia and Sabadilla - three great remedies to help with lots of hay fever symptoms.
How to take remedies?
•In an acute case, my suggestion is to give the remedy and wait, if no response (as a rule) repeat after 20 minutes for up to three doses. If no change it’s possible it’s not the right remedy and you may need to re-look at the case...
Helios (goodness this blog is full of love for this fab homeopathic pharmacy!) has a great advice line staffed by homeopaths. Advice is free and if you wanted to buy the remedy they suggest from there you can. There's also Ainsworths who have a similar service - and are equally great.
The suggestions here are for acute help over the exam season... I'm grateful to have seen someone today for a follow up and had an update on their revision and recent exams. When we first met it was usual practice for her to be in the library til the early hours of the morning, feeling like she couldn't do enough, wasn't prepared and was very stressed about it all. We first met at the end of January this year and have had a few follow ups - it was our 4th meeting today. The client, let's call her Zoe as that's not her name, also did some work with CBT along the way too supporting herself with both homeopathy and therapy.
She reported feeling loads better about her exams, having generally worked in the library til 9pm then gone home for food and sleep. Bedtimes had moved earlier - til midnight/1 ish instead of 2/3am. She'd earlier described having a pretty bad time at times due to the stress, and now was smiling, happy and told me things had been better than they had been for ages. Knowing that I was writing this blog, I asked if I could share some of her story and she was happy to. She'd had marks back during the time we've worked together and seen her stress decrease - and her marks increase.
Social anxiety had decreased, she was taking up invitations to go out more and friends had noted she was 'sassier'. Feeling more like herself. And super smiley on our call today.
The remedy given was none of the above and was prescribed for her as an individual. A constitutional remedy. Who she is and how she experiences life were taken into account on selecting it. The acute remedies mentioned above have books (or at least equivalent of) written about each - there's just a snippet here. If you want more information, the Homeopathy UK app is a helpful source, as is the little book Get Well Soon by Misha Norland.
It was a real joy today to hear the improvements that have been made over the last 3 months. I love working with students and seeing the shifts that are possible. Seeing smiles instead of stress is a perk of my job.
I've a few spaces for new appointments left in May - several are next week... get in touch if I can help.
With best wishes - and good luck!
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.