Relieving pre-menstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of unwanted physical, emotional and mental symptoms that occur after ovulation and are relieved as the period gets started. Most women (and their partners) are well aware of the changes in mood alongside minor physical complaints such as bloating just before the period, and there is nothing ‘wrong’ or unhealthy about this. However when the symptoms go on for up to 2 weeks and cause severe mental and emotional disturbance this can have a very real effect on a woman’s life – her work, her relationship and her self esteem. Women with severe PMS can feel like 2 completely different characters – and to some extent they are!

Below are some of the most common unwanted symptoms of PMS:                                                Mood swings, Irritability, Anxiety and tension, Bloating,                                                                Breast tenderness and swelling, Water retention                                                                 Acne, Tiredness, Weight gain,  Headaches/migraines,                                                            Crying Spells, Depression, Sugar and food cravings,                                                                       Constipation, Dizziness and Night sweats.

So whats going on in our bodies to cause all this? Typically, as with so many problems in women’s health, there is no single causative factor, but a combination of several smaller imbalances that all trigger each other off.

Firstly, just looking at our hormones – oestrogen levels are declining and progesterone is on the up. This shift can affect some women very strongly. A popular theory is that at a time when progesterone should be high, in women with PMS, their oestrogen is actually still too high in relation to progesterone. Many of the physical symptoms such as water retention, breast tenderness and bloating can be attributed to oestrogen.

Secondly, as well as regulating the menstrual cycle, oestrogen and progesterone influence neurotransmitters such as serotonin which will then fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Serotonin is just one of the several mood affecting neurotransmitters likely to be involved and can explain the panic attacks and severe depression and anger that some women experience.

Thirdly, stress is nearly always involved in some way. Although it is unlikely to cause it, it will undoubtedly worsen PMS symptoms. Overworking, not enough sleep or over worrying will all cause stress to pile up. One of the stress hormones, cortisol is thought to block progesterone receptor sites, thereby aggravating the oestrogen / progesterone balance.

The Chinese medicine approach is to look at the whole menstrual cycle. What’s going on the rest of the time? – does the diet support the liver in breaking down oestrogen for elimination and is stress being managed before ovulation for example.                               In acupuncture the first half of the cycle is ‘Yin’ This is a time for nourishing the body and mind, eating and sleeping well. The second phase between ovulation and bleeding is ‘Yang’ which represents movement, warmth and energy. PMS in acupuncture is sometimes seen as too much Yang rushing around the body causing mental and emotional upset so the aim is to ground this energy, and to keep in circulating round the entire body in a more balanced way. We do this by building up the Yin in the first half of the cycle so it is strong and abundant – so strong that in anchors the Yang later on!                 In other cases there is not enough Yang – and so the Yin starts getting sticky, heavy, sluggish and obstructs the Yang from coursing through the body. This leads to stagnation such as constipation, bloating and so the aim is to get the Yang / energy of the body freed up so it can zip through the body, moving all the sludge on the way.

I work with women of all ages to help combat the PMS once and for all. We follow a plan of acupuncture twice a month in between ovulation and her period. This really focuses on getting her yang moving evenly throughout her body and head, and this is the time to keep things moving physically with yoga or swimming. We change her diet slightly to support her Yin in the first half of her cycle and ask her to spend some time slowing down just with herself. I also add in herbs alongside Andrew Chevallier to really support a healthy progesterone / oestrogen balance. After 3 menstrual cycles a substantial improvement is nearly always seen, with most women not needing to continue with the acupuncture.


Stop smoking with Acupuncture and Hypnotherapy

The lovely Irina wrote the following about the quit smoking programme at out clinic!

Hypnosis has been proven to outperform all other methods to quit, helping you to feel great and look great as a healthy non smoker. Hypnotherapy combined with Acupuncture enormously increases rates of success further reducing symptoms of withdrawal.

Smoking as other addictions keeps the lid on a box of emotional issues, preventing the box from being opened. Smokers say that cigarettes help them to relax, avoid the pain, and gain a temporary sense of pleasure.

If you are trying to fight your addiction without understanding the root of it, you only may replace it with a ‘better’ dependency or come back to existing one in a few weeks, months or years when under pressure.

Benefit from the investment in YOU of only £290. The price includes:

• 1 hour of acupuncture

• 3 hours session of hypnotherapy

• 1 hour of acupuncture in the space of two weeks. PLUS a FREE further hour of Hypnotherapy if needed.

If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day you would save £91 a month (assuming that a packet of 20 costs £6, based on NHS smoking costs calculator), £1095 a year and £10950 in ten years. Giving up smoking 30 cigarettes a day saves you £274 a month, £3285 a year and £32850 in ten years. Imaging what can you do with all that money!

Imagine being healthier with your skin looking younger, having more energy, maximised lung capacity, improved smell, taste and increased mental wellbeing. What a freedom!

Most smokers describe smoking as an enjoyable escape from stress, intimate time with themselves and the easiest way to connect with other human beings in a social setting– smoking being a pleasure, not pain.

Every smoker possesses the niggling thought that it would be better to quit smoking one day soon, even if it is not a life & death question yet. Repeatedly doing something that you think is bad for you, makes the addiction much more harmful. Guilt is one of the strongest self-destroying emotions.

The simplest way to quit smoking is not to insert a cigarette in your mouth ever again. Nice and easy. In theory. The withdrawal symptoms, (I go crazy, stressed, irritable etc) and underlying reasons make this theory harder to enact.

On a physical level, when you introduce a new substance like nicotine into your body it’s a shock to the system. Then cells quickly make adjustments to align with the new substance and to compensate for its introduction. Those compensations or adjustments that the body has made, translate to you as a craving.

So if you restrain yourself from re-introducing the substance into the bloodstream for three consecutive days, then cells will balance themselves to natural well-being.

On a spiritual level what you are craving is the sensation of fullness of who you are flowing through you. The substances are a temporary fix for discomfort. As you can’t fight your way to peace, you need to find the underlying issue that keeps you from loving yourself, without the need of substances; otherwise you may replace it with a ‘better’ dependency. That is why some people put on weight after giving up smoking, replacing nicotine with food.

Hypnosis is a powerful, natural and effective tool for transforming you into a non-smoker. Most clients emerge from their hypnosis session permanently convinced in body and mind that they will never light up again.

The benefits of a hypnosis session if you have made the choice to become a non-smoker:

-you are guided through a process of discovery of the deeper issues that kept you so far from feeling good

– clearing trapped energy, removing patterns of habit

– assisting in relieving and/or completely eliminating withdrawal symptoms

– learning constructive and healthy relaxation methods to reduce stress

– reinforcing wellbeing and the positive feeling of success and empowering you to be free.

Hypnosis and acupuncture have no side effects beyond saving the money you used to spend on cigarettes, restoring health to your body, allowing you to feel absolutely amazing and be the best you can be.

This Unique Stop Smoking program is not only a highly effective method to quit smoking but also easy and effortless. Simply come to relax and enjoy yourself at the Complementary Health Care Clinic in the Norwich city centre to become a non-smoker. Contact the clinic now on 01603 665173 and we will talk you through the process and prepare to live your life smoking free. You can also email to .


Links I like – healthy recommendations in Norwich

I always encourage my patients to make healthier lifestyle changes that will support their constitution and undo the effects of a stressful / sedentary routine. Below are the links to local individuals and groups who provide a honest healthy option in Norwich.

Yoga – yes from stress to insomnia to infertility, I’m always recommending yoga as a cheap and accessible way to improve circulation, calm the mind and get you functioning optimally. Lou Kitchener, Joss GuinJessica McKenna and Michelle Busettil all run excellent regular classes.

Healthy eating – Norwich Farmshare is a great option for locally grown organic veg in which you help support local trade. Norwich Market has an excellent organic fruit and veg shop and of course Rainbow Health Foods in the city centre provides a plethora of food free from GM and pesticides. Harveys are an organic butchers with a brilliant reputation.

Vitamins / supplements / body care – The Natural Food Shop opposite Jarrolds is my first choice. Not only is the stock of high quality but the staff all have additional training in what is and isn’t safe for you to take. Great for body lotions and creams that are free from parabens and sulphates. Simply Soaps are a local skincare company that I have used for years – again beautifully scented with essential oils and not much else!

Herbalist – I often advise people to try herbs – especially for skin and menopausal complaints. Andrew Chevallier is a first rate medical herbalist and has helped many of my patients and family members. Naji Malak uses Chinese herbs and again is absolutely superb and highly recommended.

Massage – Both San Jaspal and Jessica Carey come highly recommended and work in Norwich city centre. San switches between full body, reflexology and head massage which undoes weeks of stress every time.

Meditation –  Norwich Buddhist Centre runs regular drop in sessions for beginners and advanced, there are even short classes at lunchtime. There are also hundreds of short meditation videos on You Tube which can get you in the habit of switching off for 10 mins of the day.

Getting moving in nature – turning your mobile phone off and spending a little time out in the elements can have a wonderfully nourishing affect on the body. Try Strumpshaw Fen, Earlham Park, Marriots Way and Whittingham park for nearby nature.

Getting fit – there are plenty of running groups such as parkrun which do 5km every week. For cardio combined with FUN try zumba queen – seriously the most fun I have had in a long time. The UEA has a great swimming pool – another non time consuming way to keep fit at all levels.

Whether you’re a full time mum or full time office workaholic it”s important to take at least 10 mins of the day consciously doing something for yourself. It can be your short walk in the park at lunchtime – or a 5 min You Tube relaxation video when the kids are in bed. It all adds up. Your body wants to be healthy – it wants to be energised in the day and to sleep soundly at night. And if you’re not feeling that? Well then you definitely need to start making those tiny changes now!