Acorn Health Blog

Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
Thank you for reading, We hope you enjoy :)

STRESS: the Sledgehammer and the Drip-Drip

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Sally-Anne Tue, May 30, 2017 12:14PM
By Eileen Strong Therapeutic Massage & Holistic Complementary Therapist

“STRESS” is a much easier word to say than it is to define. But it’s something we have all experienced at some time in our lives to some degree. In this post, I’m going to talk about two types of stress-trigger. Helping people identify and understand their specific, key stressors is, I believe, the first step to feeling more empowered and becoming stress-free.

What is stress?

Stress comes from the pressures that we feel in life, and how we react to them. It is quite normal to feel anxious and become stressed when facing something that upsets the normal balance of day to day life.

When we feel healthy and happy, and our life force energy is strong and vibrant, our resilience to stress is much higher than after we’ve been ill, for example, or if we’ve experienced a series of stressful events close together that have had a knock-on effect and deteriorated our energy and vitality.

Our thought patterns, perceptions and life experiences also shape our responses to stressful situations. People who tend to think negatively are often more prone to suffering from stress than people who have a sunnier outlook. But all of us experience stress. It’s a part of life.

So how stressed are you?

Here is a short list of some symptoms you might experience when you are stressed for any length of time.

* Obsessive thinking

* Behaviour changes - aggression, withdrawal

* Digestive upsets – bloating, constipation, diarrhoea

* Headaches, impaired memory

* Muscular tension and pain, neck shoulder and low back pain, cramps, muscle spasms

* Palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure

* Anxiety, loss of humour, depression, negative thoughts,

* Inability to concentrate and difficulty making decisions

* Weaker immune system and being more susceptible to illness

If symptoms are present, I will always ask you when they first started as this information is very meaningful and relevant in identifying your key stress triggers.

So what might a key stress trigger be for you?

The Sledgehammer Trigger:- this is a stress trigger that comes completely out of the blue at you and hits you hard, like a sledgehammer. It is unexpected, dramatic, leaves you feeling isolated, with no strategy to deal with. In that moment, your brain takes a full snapshot of the entire event as you see it, and your “fight or flight” response is triggered. Now you are STRESSED. Examples: a scary medical diagnosis, a redundancy notice, or a deeply hurtful comment.

The Drip-Drip-Reminder Trigger:- this is a stress trigger that happens any time you get a conscious OR subconscious REMINDER of your Sledge-hammer trigger. Remember, your brain took a snapshot of that entire event and recorded everything you noticed in that one dramatic moment. So when anything comes up to remind you of that situation, through your own thoughts, environment, or situations that make you feel angry, nervous, frustrated, or anxious, your fight or flight response gets triggered. For example: seeing a doctor in a white coat reminds you of the doctor who gave you that scary diagnosis and triggers a mind-body stress response.

You might not be consciously aware of what the trigger is. You just might notice the symptoms or feel panicky and anxious.

So what can you do to help?

Let's not forget that your body’s response to stress is part of an intelligent, highly sophisticated process designed to keep you safe from danger. If our primitive cave-dwelling ancestors had not been so equipped, then they wouldn't have survived at all, and would we be here to tell their tale?

And stress – like many other things in our lives – has to be managed. To do this effectively, we need to understand what makes us stressed, learn alternative ways to deal with it, and support ourselves in the healing and recovery process on 6 levels; mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental. Of all these areas, lets just take a look today at ways to support your body.

Helping your body repair and re-balance:-

Nutrition - Poor diet can lower your resilience to stress (e.g. low levels of Vit B12, depleted Magnesium levels). Book a consultation at Acorn with our Naturopathic Nutritionist Helen Duffy for expert advice.

Medication- Be aware that certain drugs can contribute to symptoms of stress and anxiety, including caffeine, nicotine, cold remedies, thyroid medications. You may be able to explore more natural alternatives.

Exercise – Even 20 minutes brisk walking a day can make a difference. It’s an instant calm-me-down when you’re feeling tense, and boosts the body’s feel-good chemicals. Walk, swim, do sport, cycle, dance. Whatever you can manage. As often as you can.

Sleep – between the hours of approx 8 pm and 8 am your body is busy repairing, renewing and re-balancing itself. This is why symptoms can sometimes feel stronger at night. So give yourself plenty of rest. If you feel tired, listen to your body and try to rest. If you are not sleeping well, contact me for my free Deep Sleep information sheet for more practical tips on this subject.

Therapies - alternative and complementary therapies are wonderful for relaxation and re-balancing on all levels of being. Try massage therapy, Indian Head Massage, reflexology, Hopi Ear Candles. Talk therapies such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnotherapy are also wonderful approaches to support you in making positive life changes and developing greater mental resilience. Visit the Acorn Booking Page to see whats on offer.

Relaxation – set aside some quality 'Me Time' at least once a week, if not on a daily basis (soak in the bath, reading a book, a country walk etc). Meditation and Mindfulness techniques can help too. Get in touch with Acorn to check the dates of our next classes.

I hope you found this post of interest. If you are experiencing stress-related symptoms, and would like to learn more about identifying and managing your key stressors, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I offer a 6 part stress management program that may be of interest to you, and also offer 1-2-1 sessions in relaxation and talk therapies.

You can book a FREE no-obligation consultation with me via the Acorn website, or contact me direct: Contact Eileen Strong: Tel/Text 07745 409059.



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Hypertension (high blood pressure). What you can do to help yourself - naturally.

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Little Acorn Tue, May 16, 2017 10:49PM

Hypertension (hight blood pressure)

By Helen Duffy Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist

While your pulse is a measure of your heart health, your blood pressure tells you about the health of your arteries. Some people think that high blood pressure (hypertension) is just something that will happen to all of us as we get older, this simply doesn't have to be the case. Young people can also suffer from high blood pressure so it's not just an age-related condition. It's all about looking after your arteries so that they are in good condition, not constricted or 'furred up' so that it takes more effort to pump blood through them. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney disease so it's something that is important for us all to take seriously and do something about.

So if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) or would like to try and keep your blood pressure at a healthy level what can you do to help yourself?


  • • Eat a diet rich in a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. Aim for 8-10 portions every day. 1 portion is approximately 80g or about the size of your fist.
  • • Beans and pulses count towards your 8-10 portions of fruit and veg so include beans, chick-peas and lentils as part of your ten. These are high in potassium and rich in isoflavones which can help lower your cholesterol, something that often goes hand in hand with high blood pressure.
  • • Raw unsalted nuts are a great snack for taking to work. Measure out a daily portion (40-50g) and keep in a sealed pot as it's easy to indulge if you leave the whole bag on your desk! Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are high in beneficial fats and vitamin E, known to naturally thin the blood.
  • • Celery and bananas are rich in potassium which is important for lowering blood pressure. Aim for 4 stalks of celery every day and no more than 1 banana.
  • • Garlic and onions contain allicin which helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. After crushing or chopping garlic, leave it to rest on the chopping board to allow allicin levels to develop fully before adding it to your cooking at the last minute, or better still, eating raw.
  • • Magnesium helps to relax muscles and dilates the arteries. It's often low in people who are under stress and suffering from high blood pressure. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate (enjoy in moderation, of course :-) ).
  • • For seasoning instead of salt, try Herbamare, available from Health Food Shops, which is a combination of herbs and sea salt to add lots of flavour.

This may seem like a lot so lets see how this could be achieved:

  • ◦ Breakfast smoothie – spinach, avocado, banana, coconut milk, ground flaxseed
  • ◦ Mid morning snack – carrot and celery sticks, hummus, blueberries
  • ◦ Lunch – chicken salad with rocket, watercress, peppers, radish, tomatoes, cucumber, walnuts and a baked sweet potato
  • ◦ Mid afternoon snack – apple slices topped with almond butter
  • ◦ Evening meal – baked salmon with roast root vegetables, broccoli and brown rice.




Think of changes you could make to your lifestyle:

  • • If you are a smoker, look for support to help you quit. Hypnotherapy can be a very effective tool. Why not have a chat with Sally, our hypnotherapist here at Acorn.
  • • Find a relaxation method that you enjoy. We have lots to offer at Acorn: yoga, mindfulness, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology.
  • • Get outdoors and exercise: walking briskly for just 20-30 minutes every day is an achievable goal for most people and walking in nature is great for reducing stress. Get yourself a dog or borrow a friends!
  • • Take some time every day to breathe deeply. Place your hands on your stomach and feel it moving slowly in and out as you slowly count, in for 5, out for 5.

If you are currently taking medication, please talk to your doctor if you are thinking of making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

If you would like to find out more about how you can use nutritional therapy to help improve your health, then please contact me at Acorn for a FREE 15 minute chat or email helen.duffy@northstarnutrition.co.uk. You can book online by clicking here

Nutritional Therapy at Acorn Natural Health Centre

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Massage, Aromatherapy and Raynaud's Disease

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Sally-Anne Thu, March 16, 2017 11:33AM

By Anne Marie Allen Reflexologist & Massage Therapist

Most people enjoy a good massage but did you know it can also help to improve the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease providing relief and comfort?

Massage can help Reynaud’s disease by:

1. Boosting the circulation.

2. Stimulating vasodilatation.

3. Easing discomfort.

4. Reducing stress and tension which can bring on attacks.

Aromatherapy essential oils can also be added to the oil during your massage and can have additional benefits.

The most common triggers for Raynaud’s disease is temperature change and stress, choosing an essential oil which is warming, anti spasmodic, assists circulation and helps to relax and de-stress the body can really help provide relief from the symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease.

As a fully qualified Aromatherapist I will be able to discuss your condition and symptoms with you and help you to choose an essential oil which will benefit not only your Reynaud’s but your whole body and mind as well.

You can contact Anne Marie at Acorn Natural Health Centre on 01773 687 349 and you can find her at 17a Market Place, Heanor, Derby DE75 7AA.



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Reflexology and Reynaud's Disease

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Sally-Anne Thu, March 16, 2017 11:23AM

By Anne Marie Allen Reflexologist & Massage Therapist

Reflexology is based on the principle that the hands and feet have reflex points on them which mirror and link the whole body including the organs inside us.

An example of this is the Brain reflex sitting at the very tip of the big toe and the shoulder reflex just below the little toe!! Applying pressure to the reflex areas can help heal and balance the whole body.


So how can Reflexology help with Raynaud’s Disease?

As the whole body is mapped out on the feet and hands there are many ways in which reflexology can help:

1. Improves circulation

2. Balances and strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system

3. Reduces stress

4. Balances the endocrine, nervous and respiratory system

5. Promotes the body’s natural healing process

6. Can help to address, support and heal any underlying conditions that may be contributing or causing the Raynaud’s disease

7. Helps to relieve pain

8. Helps to rid the body of toxins

If you’d like to book an appointment or find out more please call me, Anne Marie on 01773 687349. Natural Touch Therapies is based at Acorn Natural Health Centre, 17a Market Place, Heanor, Derby DE75 7AA.



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