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 :)

A Guide To Positive Self-Talk

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Sally-Anne Fri, October 20, 2017 01:27PM
By Sally-Anne Marler - Creative Arts Facilitator & Happiness Coach

We often underestimate the power of self-talk and how it can adversely effect our actions, behaviours, beliefs and shape our thoughts. We all mumble things to ourselves, think things that are quite self-critical, scold ourselves when we forget something or for not doing or saying something. What we don't realise is the damage that this does to our confidence and self-esteem and how it can soon start to become habitual and expected.
The first step in remedying this is to become aware of it. Once you've done that you can then start to challenge anything you are saying to yourself that might be hurtful, judgmental or critical. For some - you may be able to identify where this voice comes from - it could be a parent figure or just something you started to do when you were younger, a coping mechanism for example if you were being picked on or singled out with your friends or at school. Once you have done that, try to challenge it in a way that is gentle but assertive. A counter responsive act to neutralise your initial thought! Below are a few examples you can try...
Lastly, think of yourself in the same way you would a good friend or a loving family member and ask yourself would you speak to them that way? The answer will undoubtedly be no, you wouldn't. So why talk to yourself that way. You deserve better, you are better, you are now and will always be a work in progress just like everyone else. Give yourself and show yourself a little compassion, a little kindness along with a dollop of patience and love. How we speak to ourselves will have a direct influence on how we work with others, approach opportunities and shape our perspectives on day to day living. Start where you are. Start with you.

I offer 1:1 coaching helping you place the focus back onto you, working positively with you so you start to notice your strengths and identify better with your likes, passions and sense of purpose and meaning. I offer a free 20 minute consultation and work creatively with you using journals to help this process. To find out more get in touch or book your free consultation.

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Boost Your Body In Minutes

General Health & WellbeingPosted by Sally-Anne Fri, October 13, 2017 03:12PM

By Helen Duffy, Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist

As a Nutritional Therapist, I regularly talk with my clients about making something become part of their daily habit. One of the most simple, yet it can have some pretty impressive effects on our health, is starting each day with a simple tonic. This means that before you eat or drink anything else, yes even that most important first cup of tea or coffee, you have a simple tonic drink.

The tonic drink that I most commonly recommend to my clients is warm water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon. All of the ingredients have their own important qualities and together they can help to boost your immune system, balance your blood sugars, expel toxins from your liver, kick-start your digestion and support your kidneys. Not bad from a pleasant tasting morning drink ready in a couple of minutes!

The key to success with this tonic is the quality of the ingredients so I always recommend using the best that you can find, so that means organic whenever possible and in the case of the honey and apple cider vinegar, they need to be raw so that the active ingredients are still present and haven't been processed away. Look for 'raw' on the label when you buy them. The apple cider vinegar may also say something like 'contains the mother', which is another way of saying that the active culture is still present which is exactly what you want to get the benefits of.

If you're struggling to find these ingredients in your supermarket there are some good online shops, like www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk or of course, Amazon.

To make your morning Lemon Water Elixir you will need:

½ lemon squeezed

1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)

½ tsp honey

¼ tsp cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together and add to a cup of warm water. Keep stirring as you drink so the ingredients do not settle to the bottom.

Try this as part of your morning routine for at least a week to begin to see the benefits.

Helen Duffy

Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist

helen.duffy@northstarnutrition.co.uk



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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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