Health and Wellbeing

Interactive Body Garden

Nurofen and Pain UK Build a Pop up Garden

Nurofen and Pain UK mobilised 24 people that suffered from body pain to help build a Pop-Up Body Garden in 24 hours and showcase what can be achieved when not held back by pain

Almost 10 million Britons suffer from pain most days resulting in a major impact on their quality of life and more days off work.

The pain barrier can hinder people from embracing activities they love like gardening and cause them to miss out on the proven health and wellbeing benefits.

Interactive Body Garden at London’s Kings Cross Station

Nurofen celebrated the launch of the UK’s only 24 hour clinically-proven pain relief ibuprofen patch, by constructing an interactive Body Garden in London’s Kings Cross Station in just 24 hours. Nurofen’s Know More Pain campaign is encouraging people to understand more about everyday pain: how to manage it effectively; and how keeping active, be it in the garden or elsewhere, is key. If you know more about pain it can help you embrace life with one less barrier.

The 24 volunteers, who have previously experienced body pain, helped to build the garden alongside experts, and are testament to what can be achieved when you are relieved from body pain. However, new survey findings from Know More Pain found that body pain is sometimes ignored and goes unaddressed.

Body pain is one of the most commonly experienced pains, affecting approximately 77% of people in the UK over a given month, versus 61% who suffer from headache (according to a 2017 survey). However, it is often disregarded with only 20% of people in the UK saying they would treat body pain right away compared to half who treat a headache immediately. Furthermore, many body pain sufferers experience uncertainty about how to treat it. Only 20% of people claim to be confident when it comes to pain self-care.

The survey also revealed that 58% of Brits said they are less active in the winter months and often feel less happy as the days become shorter and colder. 42% of people said that when they are more physically active, they tend to have less aches and pains, and 54% said that when they suffer pain being active and doing activities such as gardening, is something they miss the most.

Body pain has a big impact on society. Musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) accounts for around 30 million working days lost due to sickness each year. Physical activity such as gardening is important to help maintain strength and flexibility in our joints and muscles,” says Noel Wicks, Pharmacist.

“Body pain can have a range of effects including poor mood, impact on family members, sex life, productivity at work and physical activity. I would encourage people to learn more about body pain and take steps to address it, so they can go on enjoying their life. The pharmacy is a great source of advice and support on body pain.”

Gardening expert David Domoney comments on the wellbeing benefits of gardening, “Gardening is a great way to lift your mood, and being engaged in the natural world is good for us. In the winter people often shy away from the garden, but it’s an easy way to keep active and provides a breadth of mental and physical benefits, while keeping your garden ship shape all year round.

As it is physically demanding, there are simple steps people can take to get the most out of their gardening experience. My advice is to take regular breaks, stretch before and after, change positions frequently, don’t overdo it.”

The Know More Pain Body Garden was constructed in 24 hours by 24 people who had previously experienced body pain, working alongside expert garden designers. It offers visitors the chance to learn more about the impact of body pain, how it can be managed and what it feels like to experience body pain.

It will also bring rural idyll to a city location creating an environment that will encourage people to engage with the educational aspects and also interact with the beauty of the garden – who will be able to resist taking a selfie of the colourful garden in its unusual location?

The ‘round the clock’ topical pain relief provided by Nurofen’s new medicated patch targets joint and muscle pain. It works by delivering ibuprofen directly to the site of pain over 24 hours, to provide relief in a convenient and easy to wear design.

Nurofen is a proud supporter of Pain UK, who support people living with pain in the UK. To demonstrate its support of the charity, Nurofen is making a donation for every selfie, post, like or share of The Body Garden posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #KnowMorePain

Antony Chuter, Chair of Pain UK, comments, “We are pleased to be associated with Nurofen and support their Know More Pain campaign which endeavours to educate people about pain and effective self-care. Improving people’s wellbeing and helping people make the most of life is worth supporting.”

The Nurofen Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200mg Medicated Plaster is indicated for pain relief of muscular strains or sprains close to the joint of the upper or lower limb. The innovative design is flexible and provides easy & mess-free application to relieve joint and muscular body pain so you can get back to doing what you love, gardening or otherwise. 

About Nurofen Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200mg Medicated Plaster

Nurofen Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200mg Medicated Plaster is the UK’s only 24 hour clinically proven pain relief ibuprofen patch with an anti-inflammatory action. Flexible, ultra-thin (<1mm), and with excellent adhesion, it is a convenient and easy to wear product for joint and muscular body pain. Nurofen medicated patch gives you long-lasting, targeted, pain relief over 24 hours. It contains ibuprofen and is available in packs of 2 (RRP £7.99) and 4 (RRP £12.99). Always read the label.

The summary of product characteristics is available here 

Know More Pain

The causes of pain are complex. However, it can often be a consequence of today’s busy, active lifestyles. Everyday pain has a personal impact but the ripple effect on wider family members and society is underappreciated. Nurofen understands the emotional as well as the physical burden of pain and gives you the confidence to help manage your pain effectively. If you KNOW more about pain, you can better embrace a life with one less barrier. We are striving for a world with NO more unnecessary pain. We support personal empowerment over everyday pain. #KnowMorePain

About Pain UK

Pain UK is an alliance of charities providing a voice for people in pain. Founded in 2011, the alliance has grown rapidly and now supports charities dealing with all manner of painful conditions, from head to toe. Pain UK believes that the world of pain policy has suffered because the charities that support people in pain are small, diversified and focused on single conditions, whereas the medical professions and the pharmaceutical sector are able to speak with one voice when required. As the national umbrella body for UK pain charities we are able to provide a single point of contact for anyone wishing to understand what it is like to be a person in pain.

Join the Dementia Revolution

Dame Barbara Windsor & Husband Scott Join Dementia Revolution

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

National treasure and iconic actor Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell have announced their support for the Dementia Revolution campaign, created by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK as Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Scott, who earlier this year revealed Barbara had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, will be running the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for Barbara and the millions of people across the world affected by the condition, helping to raise awareness and fund groundbreaking research.

For the first time since her diagnosis, Barbara is speaking out to show her support in a personal video message for the campaign calling on people to run the Virgin Money London Marathon next year for the Dementia Revolution. The call comes as ballot places for the Virgin Money London Marathon are announced and the world record number of 410,000+ applicants find out whether they’ve secured a place in the 2019 event.

The Dementia Revolution sees leading dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK join forces in a year-long campaign as the Charity of the Year for the marathon in 2019.Together they aim to overthrow old attitudes to dementia and raise millions of pounds for the most ambitious dementia research initiative the UK has ever seen, working to find better treatments and a cure – the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI).

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK – it is now the country’s leading cause of death, ahead of heart disease. There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure the diseases that cause dementia but scientists are working tirelessly to beat the condition.

Speaking about his experiences and decision to run the marathon, Scott says, “I’m really nervous but also excited to be running the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution next year – when I found out it was on 28th April, it seemed like fate as it will actually be my 56th birthday so I took that as a sign that I had to go for it. 

“I don’t know how fast I will run it, but for me it is more about completing the marathon, no matter what the time, to show my support for Barbara and all the other people living with dementia across the country. Since Barbara’s diagnosis, I’ve learnt so much more about dementia which is why it’s so important we get as many people together as possible to run as part of the Dementia Revolution to raise awareness and vital money for dementia research at the UK Dementia Research Institute.

“The last few years have been really hard for both Barbara and me as we got used to the profound effect dementia has had on our lives. I have seen many changes in Barbara since her diagnosis and at times its effects can be stronger than others. We kept her diagnosis quiet for so long and we were really nervous about going public with the news but when we did, there was such an incredible reaction of love and support.

Sometimes Barbara still thinks no one knows about her condition and makes a big thing of keeping it a secret when we see people we know or meet people out and about. I have had many conversations with her in recent months, with a copy of the newspaper interview in my hand, to explain that it is no longer a secret and that people know she has dementia, which is obviously a really difficult moment for us both.

“Despite all the changes in Barbara, there is still so much of her there. Her humour, wit and care for others for example. It is her humour I love the most – we have always laughed a lot.

“To anyone who has got a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot and still isn’t sure who to run for, please do join the Dementia Revolution team with me to show all our loved ones with dementia, like Barbara, that they are not alone and we stand with them. We need to act now – dementia is affecting so many people.”

Joining Scott to run for the Dementia Revolution are a team of Revolutionaries, each bringing different experiences of dementia. These include entrepreneur and 2014 Apprentice Winner Mark Wright, whose grandfather has dementia, Dr Amanda Heslegrave, a dementia researcher at the UK DRI, and Carli Pirie, and her cousins Jack and Tom Bradshaw, whose family carries an inherited gene for Alzheimer’s disease meaning they each carry a 50% chance of developing the disease in their 50s.

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society says, “It is wonderful to have Dame Barbara Windsor, her husband Scott, and others affected by dementia joining the Dementia Revolution. As they know first-hand, dementia challenges everyday living for people with dementia and their carers.

“There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure dementia but scientists are working tirelessly to beat it. By joining the Dementia Revolution, we can and will end dementia with research. Until that day, we must continue to bring dementia out of the shadows, so that we can improve care for people living with this terrible illness so that they can lead more fulfilling lives.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK says, “We praise Scott and Barbara not only for speaking out about their own experiences of dementia but for urging others to support pioneering efforts in research to tackle the condition.

The Dementia Revolution is a unique opportunity to show the world the impact of dementia and raise millions of pounds for groundbreaking research. We’re urgently calling on people who have secured a place in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon to stand with us, join the Dementia Revolution and help change the lives of people with dementia.”

To find out more about the Dementia Revolution please visit the website at www.dementiarevolution.org

Improve your Wellbeing

Boost Your Health
with Irena Royal Jelly

Irene Stein, founder of Irena Royal Jelly

If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your health and improve your physical and mental energy, then treat yourself to Irena Royal Jelly.

Irena Royal Jelly contains fresh Royal Jelly and Korean Ginseng, which, according to Chinese medicine, resembles the human body and is one of the reasons it has such a positive healing effect. It is also effective in fighting depression and fatigue.

Irene Stein has now brought Irena Royal Jelly to the UK so that you can enjoy its benefits and you can buy this directly from her and discuss your particular needs and health concerns.

“It’s important for me to speak to each person individually, so that I can be aware of your specific conditions and arrive at the right dosage,” explains Irene.

“Sixtyplusurfers readers can always feel free to phone me directly with any questions that you may have on 07831 64 11 99.”

Irene’s tells her uplifting story. “I was born to a mother ahead of her time and brought up on black molasses, cider vinegar and told about the importance of steady breathing. These early introductions worked for me and became part of my own belief, and when I discovered Royal Jelly in 1974 through a Greek Bee Keeper, my mother knew all about it, even though it wasn’t readily available.

My dear mother at age 82

“Royal Jelly was initially sold in Harrods and Fortnum & Mason for kings, queens, popes and celebrities, at a king’s ransom, but not for the average person, so it was difficult to buy. I became fascinated and when I tried it, I soon noticed a difference in my health. I suffered badly with extreme migraine headaches that were with me from puberty. These symptoms disappeared completely after I took Royal Jelly.”

Royal Jelly also helped Irene with her menopause symptoms. In 1980 when she had a hysterectomy, she was back at her desk within a week as a result of taking it. For most patients, recovery time takes at least six to eight weeks. No such extended recuperation was necessary for Irene. This is because Royal Jelly contains estriol, a natural form of oestrogen.

Irene also found that she did not need harsh HRT treatments after her surgery. As a result of using Royal Jelly she did not suffer from the usual hot flushes, night sweats or other hormonal imbalance symptoms, often associated with the menopause.

But that’s not all, another natural ingredient of Irena Royal Jelly is Capsicum Minimum which has a strong circulatory stimulant that increases blood flow to all tissues. It has antiseptic and counter irritant properties and this is used to reduce pain.

The addition of Echinacea in the product has a powerful effect on the immune system, acting as a natural antiseptic. All this, together with a host of other natural herbs and tinctures are included in this pleasant tasting, easy to take one little daily 5ml drink.

But it wasn’t by chance that this powerful combination of ingredients proved to be so effective in treating anything so simple as coughs, colds, menopause symptoms and aiding the healing of the post-operative process.

Irene went to great lengths to ensure that only the best ingredients were used in Irena Royal Jelly, and in the most effective proportions. To arrive at this formula, she worked with renowned bioorganic chemist, Dr Emile Coufalik and Dr Ravi Ponniah, a master in complex homeopathy. The two men ensured that Irena Royal Jelly would be one of the most powerful all-natural immunostimulants on the market.    

“In the 44+ years that I have been involved with this remarkable substance and my unique formulation, there has never been any harmful side-effects or contra-indications in any way shape or form, including diabetics who are actually able to lower their units of insulin they take. Many people who believe they are allergic to Ginseng or any other ingredient find that it does not apply to this formulation. 

“I think it is true to say that I don’t actually resemble my 79 years,” says Irene, “and this applies to my skin and hair condition, and also my mental and physical energy. Things like memory, retention, absorption, clarity, focus, agility, still seem to be firing on all cylinders. I still play tennis and I am able to outplay players that I believe are much stronger than myself.

“I have seen the benefits of taking Royal Jelly in other people too. During the early part of my experiences with Royal Jelly I was fascinated by the way in which my mother’s arthritis disappeared completely in her 70’s and I watched her greying hair return back to its natural colour.

“One of the many pluses to my Unique Formulation is the way in which hair is improved, in condition, volume growth, and the prevention and reversal of the greying process, as well as stopping all forms of hair loss and creating regrowth. 

“I have always had a number of practitioners sharing my vision and recommending the product to their patients. The biggest growth has been the recommendation from one person to another,” says Irene.

Another happy experience is the fact that I don’t need reading glasses in the same way I used to, and I now only use my glasses to read very fine print if I am in dark areas. I don’t go down with coughs, colds, and flu and I don’t remember the last time I did.

“Finally, from this amazing learning experience, I still continue to astonish myself with the results that I see and hear about Royal Jelly.

“I am still passionate and thrilled to bits with the way in which my Unique Formulation changes peoples’ lives, and have no intention of retiring…

“Why would I give up my Magnificent Obsession!”

Find out More about Irena Royal Jelly

If you would like to find out more about Irena Royal Jelly and its benefits, then take a look at Irene Stein’s informative website at www.irenesteinrj.com

Or give Irene Stein a call on Telephone 07831 64 11 99 and find out how you can benefit from Irena Royal Jelly.

Irene is always happy to help and advise on Irena Royal Jelly and how it can help with your health and wellbeing.

For more details about Irena Royal Jelly please email: ireneroyaljelly@gmail.com

Health & Fitness Advice

Experts Reveal How Dancing Keeps You Young and Fit

With Strictly Come Dancing brightening up our television screens, ballroom is back in the limelight. Anti-ageing and fitness experts provide their expertise on the benefits of dance. So now is your chance to get into dancing with one of City Lit’s courses.

From Ed Balls’ Gangnam Style to John Sergeant’s Pasa Doble, Strictly Come Dancing has provided some unforgettable TV moments, inspiring lots of people to get their partner and hit the dance floor.

London-based adult education college, City Lit, has been speaking to two health and fitness experts, Dr Khan, a GP with 30 years’ experience specialising in anti-ageing, and co-founder of the famous Harley Street Skin Clinic, and Tim Allardyce, a chartered physiotherapist at Surrey Physio, about the benefits of dancing for the older generation, and how it can make us look and feel younger.

It keeps you active

This might be an obvious one for some, but as we get older, staying active can help us to live longer and give us a better quality of life. Dr Khan says the physical aspects of dance mean it’s great exercise for your physical health, such as heart health, as well as cardiovascular, motor and aerobic fitness. The majority of dance is also low impact, so you can get your heart rate up without worrying about damaging your joints or other parts of your body.

It’s great for bone density

Dancing is also a great way to improve bone strength. Tim Allardyce says that as we get older, we naturally start to lose bone density, and some people can develop osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bone. Exercise like dancing is great for increasing bone density and helping to keep bones and joints strong. It’s also great for flexibility, especially in the arms and shoulders, which are more prone to stiffness the older we get. Dancing encourages us to lift our arms and use rotation to improve mobility in our back and shoulders.

It improves your balance

Co-ordination and balance are two other things that dancing helps to improve. Tim says that as we age, we become more prone to falling. Dancing builds leg strength and improves our balance, in turn making it less likely for us to suffer from a fall. Regular dancing will improve the strength and endurance of your legs, helping to improve your balance.

It’s great for mental health

As well as many physical benefits, dance is also great for mental health. Dr Khan believes that dancing regularly is a fantastic way to reduce the risk of illnesses that are more common in older people, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. The brain work and memory exercises involved in dancing keep the brain active and therefore keep it healthy.

Getting social

Reducing the risk of illness isn’t the only mental benefit associated with dancing. The social aspect can be fantastic for older people (and anyone else!), particularly if they are susceptible to feeling lonely. Meeting up with likeminded people on a regular basis is great for combatting loneliness, reducing low mood as well as stimulating cognitive and social skills, according to Dr Khan.

If you’re feeling inspired to take up ballroom dancing click on www.citylit.ac.uk  to see City Lit’s full range of dance courses.

About City Lit

City Lit is London’s largest provider of short courses for adults. Founded in 1919, it has provided adult education in central London for almost a century. City Lit helps learners from a variety of backgrounds and social circumstances from all London boroughs, to challenge themselves and unlock their potential in boosting confidence and giving their creative sides a chance to grow. 

City Lit has adapted and innovated to meet London’s changing needs, providing more than just adult education courses – as the offer helps combat loneliness; develop new skills to improve employability; career change retooling for those later in life; offer a sense of purpose and fulfilment; improve confidence; overcome mental health difficulties; and make London a better place.

The college now runs around 5,000 courses per year, and handles nearly 60,000 enrolments.

For more information about City Lit courses visit www.citylit.ac.uk

Mental Health Advice

How to Spot the Signs of Your Partner’s Mental Health Battle

Following recent news that Facebook can be used to spot those at risk of depression due to the fact that they frequently talk about themselves, AXA PPP healthcare provide some advice on how to spot the signs that your partner may be suffering, without having to rely on the internet.

In particular, men can find it hard to open up about their emotional and mental struggles, so being able to detect when your husband or boyfriend might not be coping is even more significant.

As well as recognising a problem in themselves, sometimes the people closest to those suffering are the ones who can spot the signs.

These are some of the common questions answered by Dr Mark Winwood, Director Of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare about how to spot the signs that there may be an underlying problem with your partner, and how to support them if they are suffering.

How To Support Your Partner’s Mental Health

How common are male mental health issues compared to women’s issues? Are they just as common or more so?

Research shows that women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem, and almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. However, women are generally more willing to discuss their emotional experience than men, with counsel, support and diagnosis a step in a positive direction towards recovery.

Meanwhile, a stigma still surrounds men’s mental health that prevents many from seeking help. This drives an alarmingly high number to take drastic action – 75% of all suicides in England are male and it’s the biggest killer of men under 50. Currently, male rates remain three times higher than female suicide rates in the UK.

Why does it seem to be more difficult for men to address their own mental health?

From a young age, boys are taught to be ‘brave’. Evolutionarily speaking, men were protectors, which has translated into a modern stereotype that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. A common phrase in today’s society is ‘man up’ which has inherently negative connotations that being emotional makes you less of a man. Men therefore bottle up emotions which can trigger negative thought, distress and anxiety.

If left untreated, this can escalate into total lack of self-worth and suicidal tendency. Instead, demonstrating emotions should be seen as a sign of strength and willingness to get help for a happier future.

What are the signs to look out for if you think your boyfriend/husband is suffering? Are there any key warning signs?

Your boyfriend or husband will act out of character. They may display anger, irritability and aggressiveness, otherwise be totally flat and struggle to show or feel positive emotions. They might lose their appetite, lack energy and either struggle to sleep or sleep too much. Due partly to this, they may experience difficulty concentrating, act restless or on edge.

They may show deep sadness or hopelessness that hints at suicidal thoughts. They might adopt unhealthy habits, like turning to alcohol or smoking. Besides emotional side-effects, mental illness can manifest physically, in the form of headaches, digestive issues and discomfort.

While your partner may experience one, or all, of the above, everybody’s different. They may conceal certain behaviours or feelings. And remember, they may not even realise they’re acting out of character.

Are male mental health symptoms similar to women? I read they are more likely to suffer from anger/irritability as opposed to anxiety and fear – is this true?

Women may express their emotional pain through symptoms associated with anxiety, like becoming upset or panicky. Contrastingly, men are more likely to ‘act out’ repressed feelings, becoming irritable and angry. This is partly driven by an inability to open up about their mental state, for fear their masculinity will be questioned. These symptoms aren’t gender-specific, but I see these patterns in practice.

How to speak/communicate with a male partner who you think might be suffering – what can you say to help? What won’t help?

It’s important to generate open, relaxed conversation with your partner. Follow his lead; if he’s receptive and willing to speak frankly about how he’s feeling, listen and reassure him that he’s not alone. On a bad day he might act frustrated and defensive; this may be hurtful but try not to take it to heart. Don’t push him, as this could spark an argument and worsen feelings on both sides. Instead, give him space and be there when he’s ready. 

Being with someone experiencing mental ill health can be draining and frustrating, but try not to inadvertently increase their feelings of isolation by venting your own frustrations. Reminding them that you love them and that you are willing to help may give them the feeling of support they need to start taking some positive steps.

Never tell them to “get over it”. You would never say to someone with a broken leg “just walk on it”. Just because we can’t see poor mental health, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. Whilst that may seem a harsh example, sometimes our words can be misconstrued – even if we mean well. For example, “I know exactly what you’re going through”.

Likening what they’re experiencing with a time you felt down yourself might be perceived to be trivialising their situation and could be counterproductive – especially if you’ve never had a mental health disorder.

Mental illness is indiscriminate, regardless of success, so never say “I don’t understand why you’re upset” or “you have nothing to worry about”. Whether a partner, friend or a family member who’s affected, you should avoid making harsh statements and second guessing what they’re thinking or feeling.

To what extent should you respect their privacy?

Your partner has shown real bravery if he has confided in you about how he’s feeling. He may fear that you’ll think him troubled and not want the emotional baggage of someone with a mental illness. While you might feel uncomfortable with the information and be inclined to ask the advice of friends, it’s important to respect that he trusts you with personal information that he may not wish for others to know.

How can you support yourself in the process?

Whether you’re concerned that your boyfriend or husband may be suffering with a mental illness, or they’ve confided in you, supporting, caring for them and, at times, prioritising their needs over your own, can be draining and isolating.

Remember to take time for yourself. Lean on your own support networks outside of the relationship – family, friends and colleagues –arrange occasions to look forward to whilst your partner is at work or occupied with their own plans. If you need to talk to someone neutral about how you’re feeling, charities such as the Samaritans have hotlines.

What should you do if your other half is resentful and unwilling to accept he needs help?

Your partner may feel embarrassed, so therefore act defensive or unwilling to bring it to anyone else’s attention. The ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality comes into play here.

If you try to raise the topic with them, make it clear that you don’t hold them responsible for their mood or behaviour. Show your support and reassure them that their situation will improve. Many people do want a chance to talk but don’t want to burden anyone around them. Just show that you care.

Where to go to find help – GP? Charity?

There are numerous treatments available to help your partner if they are dealing with a mental health problem.

If possible, broach the possibility of visiting a GP or a mental health professional. Guiding him in the right direction could be the push that he needs to accept his feelings and seek professional help.

Many find a combination of different treatments works, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with a medical professional accompanied with daily practice of mindfulness techniques in the comfort of your own home.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all fix though, so it’s worth trying different solutions and encourage him not to give up if one of them isn’t right for him.

For more information, visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Mental Health Centre.

Arthritis and Joint Pain Advice

Busting the Myths
of Arthritis

Arthritis is a very common, painful condition that affects around 10million people in the UK, and not necessarily just elderly people (which is often a misconception).

To raise awareness of the condition, AXA PPP healthcare are busting the 7 biggest arthritis myths.

1. “I have arthritis and there’s nothing I can do about it”

While there is no cure yet for osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage that protects the end of your bones breaks down – there are some simple ways to reduce pain and improve mobility.

These include:

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including exercising, being a healthy weight and having a good diet.

Complementary or alternative therapies, such as acupuncture. Many people find these helpful, although the NHS notes there is a lack of evidence to prove they are effective

Joint supports, such as splints, insoles in your shoes or leg braces.

Hydrotherapy has been shown to improve strength and general fitness of those with arthritis.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis – where your immune system attacks the cells in your joints – new treatments, such as anti-TNF therapy, have been developed through research funded by Arthritis Research UK. In the early 2000s they developed new drugs – known as biological therapies – that target the molecule in the body (tumour necrosis factor – or TNF) that causes joint damage and inflammation.

2. “Damp, cold weather affects my joint pain”

Many people are convinced that damp, cold weather exacerbates symptoms of arthritis.

This is yet to be proven, but researchers have turned to citizen science to see if they can get to the bottom of it. In 2016, the University of Manchester, funded by Arthritis Research UK, launched a huge project to investigate the association. Throughout 2016, they asked anyone over the age of 17 who has arthritis or chronic pain to download their smartphone app, Cloudy with a chance of pain. This allows people to record how they are feeling and collects local weather data via GPS. The data will be used to finally decide if those rain clouds give people with arthritis more reason than most to be glum.

3. “Chillies help my joint pain”

Amazingly, this is true – Capsaicin, a medicinally active component of chillies, is licensed in the UK for osteoarthritis.

Capsaicin is available on prescription in the form of gels, creams and plasters. It is usually used to treat osteoarthritis in your hands or knees.

It mainly works by blocking the nerves in the affected area sending pain signals to your brain.

It can take a while for you to feel the effects of capsaicin cream – it’s usually around 2 weeks before you start to see a difference and around a month until you get the full relief.

4. “Hobbies such as knitting and gardening make my arthritis worse”

Keeping up interests and hobbies is a great way to maintain self-esteem and confidence, which can be critical to help you live with arthritis pain.

No scientific research exists to suggest knitting or gardening make arthritis worse. If either increases your pain, then it might be worth adapting the activity to avoid straining particular joints. You can make many modifications to your gardening, for example, long handled tools, such as trowels, can help you avoid bending too much, as can planting in high containers rather than at ground level.

5. “I can’t wear high heels if I have arthritis”

It’s true that high heels can aggravate your arthritis as they place more pressure on your foot, ankle and knee joints.

But the good news is that Arthritis Research UK has funded research on the impact high heels have. They even got together women with rheumatoid arthritis, shoe designers and whole rake of experts to try and design shoes that look good but are also supportive.

Top tips  for wearing high heels include:

Give your feet a break every now and then

Because high heels position your feet at an unnatural angle and usually don’t have any cushioning, the impact moves right into your spine every time you take a step. Over time, this can lead not only to pain and discomfort in your back muscles but also put extra strain on your joints. The less you wear your high heels, the less risk of injury, so try to limit how often you use them.

Think straps and cups

High heels make you more unstable, so the muscles in your leg and back have to do more work to help you keep your balance, which can also lead to back pain. To prevent this, look for shoes with a cup around the heel and decent straps to provide more stability.

Give yourself a cushion

Shoes with cushioning help to absorb the impact of walking. Think about switching to shoes with a lower heel but which also provide some cushioning protection for your feet.

Wear comfortable shoes to work

Don’t wear your high heels to work every day or while doing any strenuous tasks. Any added strain will only increase the impact on your legs and back.

Don’t panic

You don’t have to throw away all your fashion statement heels. It is OK to wear them sometimes – just make it more occasional than every day.

For more tips about wearing heels visit www.axappphealthcare.co.uk

6. “I have arthritis so my children will get it”

Most forms of arthritis are not totally down to genetics – it’s more of a combination of genetic and environmental factors that put you at risk.

For example, family history may play some role in osteoarthritis but studies have not yet found which gene causes this. Likewise, rheumatoid arthritis is thought to run in families but the risk of inheriting the condition is low.

If you have arthritis as a consequence of a condition, such as Stickler syndrome, then it may be that the condition could be inherited.

7. “Exercise will make my arthritis worse”

If your arthritis is painful, it’s understandable that you might not want to exercise. Regular activity, however, is a really important way to manage the condition. It can help by:

  • Building muscle
  • Strengthening the joints
  • Reducing pain and stiffness
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Giving your mood and energy a boost
  • Keeping your weight at a healthy level to reduce pressure on your joints
  • Improving posture.

The important thing is that you do the right type of exercise. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming and walking, are good options. Your physiotherapist should be able to advise you on the types and amount of exercise that will suit you.

For more information on arthritis, please visit AXA PPP healthcare.

Health Benefits of Pet Sitting

Enjoy the Benefits Cats and Dogs Bring Without Owning Them

Having pets is renowned as being good for mental wellbeing. Research published this year in BMC Psychiatry suggests that keeping cats and dogs as pets could be improving people’s mental health and might contribute to the management of long-term mental health conditions.

The study also pointed out the negative aspects of pet ownership, including the practical and emotional burden of pet ownership and the psychological impact of losing a pet.

One way round this is to become a home and pet sitter, which is an increasingly popular form of employment for retired people – allowing them to spend time with cats and dogs and enjoy all the mental health benefits without actually owning one.

The company highlights that its homesitters tend to be fit and active people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are employed to stay in people’s homes while they’re away and look after their pets. This gives all the benefits of spending time with animals with none of the long-term responsibility.

Alan Irvine, Chairman of Homesitters Ltd says, “Looking after people’s pets is the biggest perk of the job for the majority of our homesitters. Many have either lost a pet and decided not replace it or simply don’t want to commit to owning a cat or dog. Homesitting is an excellent way for animal lovers to gain all the benefits of pet ownership without the commitment.”

“Spending time with pets brings many mental and physical health benefits. For instance, it has been found to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in bodies. In fact, non-pet owners are four times more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression than pet owners.

The Mental Health Foundation found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends.

Even a cat purr is known to be medically therapeutic for illnesses in humans, not only lowering stress and anxiety, but reducing blood pressure, helping to heal infections and even healing bones.

One homesitter describes the role as a “cat lovers dream”. Ellen Hart a sixty five year old former orthopaedic nurse from Berkshire has been home and pet sitting since she retired.

Discussing why home and pet sitting appeals, Ellen says, “I wanted to do something useful and interesting when I retired. Since becoming a homesitter I have stayed in gorgeous properties ranging from beautiful townhouses to characterful thatched cottages and met some lovely people.

“Looking after cats is my favourite thing though. I love making sure they are happy and we have great fun together. A real highlight is going back to repeat clients as it’s like a home from home, and the animals are so happy to see you again,” adds Ellen. 

Homesitters Ltd are currently recruiting, if you’d like to find out more about home and pet sitting visit www.homesitters.co.uk

Personal Care Range

Aroma Care Solutions Develops Unique Range for Home Care

A new range of personal and home care products is set to revolutionise the health and wellbeing industry by providing a touch of luxury for people receiving care whilst offering a practical solution for carers.

Designed by Aroma Care Solutions, the range is aimed at elderly, sick or disabled people and their carers. It combines nurturing natural ingredients and exquisite aromatherapy to create practical, effective solutions banishing daily indignities such as incontinence or accidents.

Created by experts with backgrounds in aromatherapy and industrial cleaning, Aroma Care Solutions uses long-lasting fragrances, making life easier for the carer and giving a boost to people in their care.

The extensive range is the first of its kind on the market, encompassing both personal care and care around the home.

Its launch comes at a time when the care industry is reaching crisis point with the number of carers set to rise from seven million to over 10 million within the next 12 years with more than a million people over the age of 65 needing round-the-clock care during the next 20 years, according to recent research by Newcastle University and the LSE.

The Aroma Skincare Solutions range is ethical and gentle, with fragrances to help calm, soothe and uplift spirits.

The premium products include the Hand and Nail Barrier Formula, Nose Guard Aromatic Balm, English Florals Hair and Body Wash, Fresh Green Handwash, English Florals Hand and Body Lotion, Organic Rose Water Spritz and English Florals Hand Sanitiser.

The Aroma Homecare Solutions range comprises ethical, gentle products designed to revive the body and mind while keeping the home clean and protected.

Within the range is the ground-breaking Bio-Enzyme Odour Management Formula, which not only manages but eradicates malodours caused by bodily fluids on textiles, sinks, baths, showers, plug holes and wet rooms; the Antibacterial Hard Surface Cleaner, which leaves surfaces around the home hygienically clean with an exquisite fragrance; Protective Loo Guard, an antibacterial, fresh-smelling liquid leaving the loo thoroughly cleaned; Absorbent Aromatic Granules, which help with the clean up of bodily fluid spills, and Deodorising Powders for Carpets, a floral scented solution.

Aroma Care Solutions is the brainchild of co-founders Julie Foster and Quentin Steele.

An expert aromatherapist and perfumer, Julie had spent a considerable amount of time caring for a close relative with a terminal illness. During this time, she was surprised at the lack of products which could enhance the experience of carers, and to help maintain the dignity and self-respect of people being cared for. She felt much more could be done to provide a pleasant-smelling environment for patients and surroundings alike, cutting out the associated medical odours.

It was by chance that Julie later crossed paths with London businessman Quentin Steele who has a pedigree of 30 years in the cleaning industry with specific expertise in hygiene and odour management. Between them they identified a much needed niche in the market and Aroma Care Solutions was formed.

Quentin says, “We know there is a need for the home and personal care range but the problem here in the UK is that it is not within our nature to talk about our problems. So, if someone asks how your mother is, you naturally say OK and leave it at that. It would be very un-British for us to expand on the problems we face in looking after her.

“Therefore, dignity and discretion are at the very heart of our solutions and this gap in the market has never really been identified.

“Our beautiful fragrances are the sort you would expect in high quality creams and lotions, giving individuals a treat whilst solving a practical problem.”

Julie adds, “Many of us would never expect to find ourselves having to care for someone, but the reality is there are millions of us looking after relatives or close friends. And this number will continue to increase.

 “It is well documented that our population is growing older. And with ever increasing care home fees and rising property prices, more and more of us are choosing to keep our loved ones at home with us, expanding our properties to build an annex, rather than spend £1,500 a week on care.”

For further information about Aroma Care email info@aromacaresolutions.co.uk

Or visit the Aroma Care website at www.aromacaresolutions.co.uk  

Winter Health Advice

7 Ways to Avoid Catching the Flu

By Dr Gero Baiarda, Primary Care Dermatologist & Private GP at GPDQ,
the UK’s first doctor-on-demand app

The days are getting shorter, the kids are back at school, and there are noticeably more leaves drifting around. As the Stark family motto grimly states, ‘Winter is coming,’ and with it, the promise of the start of the flu season.

For most people who catch a cold, it represents nothing more than a moderate inconvenience necessitating a few days off work feeling dreadful and sipping endless cups of tea and Lemsip.

The flu, on the other hand, is not to be underestimated. It can be dangerous and is not infrequently fatal, especially if you are elderly or have diabetes, heart disease, asthma or indeed any condition that compromises your immune system.

The trick is not to catch flu in the first place. Here are ways you can help yourself to do that.

1) Get your flu jab!

This is by far the single most effective course of action you can take to avoid catching flu.

Ideally, you should arrange to have it as soon as you can in the flu season, by which I mean early autumn. But you can have the flu vaccine any time between now into Spring next year.

The annual flu vaccine is designed to protect you against all the influenza strains that are expected to be most prevalent in any particular year. You need to refresh your vaccination every year because the prevalent flu strains are constantly revolving. 

Even following vaccination, you may still catch other flu strains, but the infection is likely to be much less severe than you might have otherwise experienced, and you would be extremely unlucky to develop serious or life-threatening complications. 

The flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS to anyone over the age of 65 and all primary school children in England and Wales. In Scotland, it is available on the NHS for all kids between the ages of 2 and 5 who are not yet in school. Additionally, the flu vaccine is accessible on the NHS for pregnant ladies, anybody with a BMI of 40 or over, and anybody with a serious underlying health condition or a compromised immune system.

Clearly, this list excludes a large proportion of the population, and I would strongly suggest accessing the flu vaccine privately to those who are not eligible for it on the NHS. It is widely available, does not cost a great deal, and the price you pay is small in comparison to the investment made in preserving your health.

To have it done at your own convenience, in the comfort of your own home, go via the UK’s first doctor-on-demand app, www.gpdq.co.uk. The digital service connects its users (patients) directly with a local NHS GP who will visit them within hours at a location of the patient’s choice, be it their home, workplace or a hotel if they are travelling from abroad.

2) Wash your hands 

I am asked often by patients how it is that I am in such regular contact with all manner of nasty bugs and yet do not seem to be ill very often. There is no mystery to it…I just wash my hands a lot! In fact, I do so before any contact with a patient or before I consider having a bite to eat or even having a cup of coffee.

Soap, warm water, and thorough rubbing for at least 20 seconds will wash virtually all the bacteria and viruses on your hands down the drain. The soap does not even need to be antibacterial. Normal household soap works just as well.

Rinse your hands once they are clean, and then pat them dry on paper towel which you then discard.

Do this every time you sneeze or cough and especially before meals. Those portable alcohol-based hand sanitisers are also good to have in your pocket when you are out and about and want to grab a sandwich.

How many doors, surfaces, handles etc. do you touch when you nip out from work for a hot drink, and how many other people have touched them before you? Is their hygiene as good as yours?

I always have a large bottle of sanitiser on my desk and use it to refill the smaller portable travel-sized sanitiser I carry around with me, so you need not impose unnecessary plastic on the world.

3) Keep your bugs to yourself

It’s all too easy to catch the flu. When someone nearby coughs or sneezes, an aerosol cloud of virus-laden droplets is projected up to four feet away where it hangs for some time just waiting to come into contact with your mouth, eyes or nose. 

If you need to cough or sneeze, always use a disposable tissue rather than a cloth handkerchief. If you haven’t got one to hand, cough into your sleeve in the crook of your arm. Whichever way you do it, immediately wash your hands in the way I have described or use a sanitiser. By doing so, you are keeping viruses off your hands and therefore other people.

In fact, you can easily pick up flu from touching a surface like the restaurant table where a previous customer before you has been coughing or sneezing. The flu virus can linger on smooth surfaces for as long as 24 hours.

When you touch a contaminated surface and then inadvertently touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you introduce a massive viral load directly into your body. Consider bringing along disinfectant wipes to clean any surfaces you’re about to touch.

Don’t share cups, plates or cutlery, and be sure to wash anything you do use in the dishwasher or sink with hot water and washing up liquid as soon as possible. Again, antibacterial washing up liquid is not necessary. Keep your toothbrush away from any communal holder, and make sure anybody who is ill has their own pillow and bedding.

If you have been in an environment where there has been a lot of coughing and sneezing, consider taking a shower as soon as you can and discarding your contaminated clothing as you get home rather than passing any viruses on to your other half and kids, even it means foregoing a cuddle!

4) Avoid close contact

Try to avoid crowded public places as much as you can. In fact, the top of that list should be your A&E or GP waiting rooms, which are crammed to the brim with the aggressively infectious.

If you do feel ill and suspect you have caught a cold or the flu virus, do not go into work. Only seek a medical opinion if you are having trouble breathing or develop a very high fever that will not respond to paracetamol and ibuprofen.

5) Walk more, and walk faster

The benefits of walking are plentiful; in fact, I can’t think of any drawbacks at all. A simple exercise such as brisk walking brings about a quantifiable boost to your immune system, sending your defender white blood cells on a vigorous trek around the body to identify and destroy viruses. 

A report from the Ramblers Association and Macmillan Cancer Support found that if everyone in England regularly walked for half an hour a day, it could save 37,000 lives a year. It also cuts the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and has been shown to have protective effects against dementia. We should all do it a lot more.

For those aged over 40, cycling and swimming are both great forms of low-impact exercise that don’t require high fitness levels. You could find a local park route and cycle for 20 – 30 minutes a day or visit your local pool every morning to swim 30 lengths. Whatever it is, you can increase your health and fitness by building a simple workout routine into your life.

A few hours after you have stopped exercising, your immune system returns to its previous less enthusiastic state. For this reason, individuals who exercise 4-5 times a week are less likely to catch the flu.

6) Eat a healthy diet

Once you have the flu, all I would recommend is bed rest, plenty of fluids, over-the counter paracetamol and ibuprofen, and a balanced, nutritious diet. Eating too little protein can weaken the immune system. I would recommend a diet rich in protein to help avoid the flu, especially fish, eggs, nuts and yoghurt.

Health food shops and chemists offer a multitude of supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies that claim to help you lessen flu symptoms or avoid them all together.

7) Get enough sleep

Bedtime is when you repair and recharge your body, and getting enough sleep is a good habit to develop to best avoid catching flu in the first place and fight it off most effectively if you do become infected. The average adult needs between 6 and 8 hours of sleep to keep their immunity fighting fit.

Finally…

All of the above should reduce your risk of catching the flu or decrease its severity if you do fall victim to the deadly virus. 

However, if you do come down with the flu, look out for your friends, family and colleagues. You are infectious for up to a week after you catch the flu. Stay home until you have fully recovered and your temperature is within normal limits, without the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen for at least 24 hours.

Nobody likes having to take time off, but your workplace and family household will adapt and manage. However, someone who is suffering from the flu you gave to them, may not manage so well!

For more information about GPDQ click on www.gpdq.co.uk

Mental Health Advice

Top Tips to Help Prevent Cognitive Decline & Dementia

By Clare Daley, Nutritional Therapist
at Cytoplan

Clare Daley, Nutritional Therapist at Cytoplan provides her six top tips to support brain function and prevent cognitive decline which can lead to dementia.

Six tips to support brain function

Even if unintentional, we can all do things which may damage our brain. Many of us consume too much sugar and refined carbohydrates and neglect the consumption of essential fats. In addition, we get inadequate sleep, experience high levels of chronic stress trying to cope with 21st century living, and on top of that we frequently do not get sufficient amounts of daily physical activity.

All of this can result in cognitive decline – brain fog, poor memory, anxiety, low mood, stress and poor concentration are all warning signs. What’s more, whilst diseases like dementia are often diagnosed in 70 and 80-year olds, the processes that eventually result in dementia occur much earlier – in our 30’s and 40’s.  Here are some top tips for how to future proof your brain for later life.

Improve Your Nutrition

Nutrition is essential for cognitive health. When looking to support brain function, consider foods that are low in sugar and moderate in starchy carbohydrates (e.g. sweet potato, carrots and leafy greens), contain healthy fats (e.g. avocado, nuts) and make sure you have plenty of vegetables with each main meal.

Eating foods that are low in sugar can prevent the development of insulin resistance. This refers to insulin not working properly in helping glucose enter the brain cells where it is needed. This has the dual effect of blood sugar levels remaining high in the brain (and causing damage to neurons) and the brain cells being starved of glucose (i.e. fuel) because glucose cannot get into cells in sufficient amounts.

Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients. The brain is very susceptible to damage by ‘free radicals’ and antioxidants provide protection from these.  Finally, the brain is 60% fat. Having a diet with adequate healthy dietary fats including the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, is important.

Improve Your Gut Health

Did you know there’s an intrinsic link between gut and brain health? Poor gut health increases inflammation and this is one of the features of many chronic health conditions including cognitive decline. To improve gut health, remove specific foods from your diet that may trigger gut symptoms. Add in nutrients and fibre to support gut health (e.g. green leafy vegetables, chicory, apples, olive oil and even 70% dark chocolate).

Reduce Your Stress Levels

We are all familiar with the causes of stress – in short 21st century living! Persistently elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can kill brain cells and negatively affect brain function. In order to effectively manage stress, it is important to focus on stress reduction activities that work for you.

These could include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, massage, breathing techniques, gardening, reading, listening to music or keeping a happiness and gratitude journal. When we learn to effectively manage our stress, we see an improvement in our sleep, energy, patience, resilience, focus and memory.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is vital for optimal brain health as during sleep our brain cells detoxify and cleanse. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for restful sleep, however as we age we produce less, and therefore older individuals often experience more trouble sleeping.

While eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is possibly a dream for many of us, it’s important to find sleep strategies that work for you. For example, you could look to stick to a regular sleep cycle or create a relaxing bedtime routine. In addition, research has shown a number of factors can lead to a good night’s sleep including eating well, getting regular exercise and avoiding screens before bedtime.

Physical Activity

We all know the many health benefits of physical activity, however few of us are aware of the role it plays in optimising cognitive health. Aerobic exercise protects the brain from damage and stimulates the production of new brain cells responsible for memory and emotions. These cells commonly become damaged due to age and disease.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and thus the delivery of oxygen and nutrients that are essential for brain function including concentration. In addition, physical activity that challenges you mentally, for example table tennis and dancing, has been shown to create new connections within the brain.

The Department of Health recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week for adults. It should involve a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. This needs to be a lifestyle change not a quick fix so it’s important to find a type of exercise you enjoy.

Train Your Brain

Challenging and stretching the brain allows new connections to be created and maintained. The adult brain continuously adapts to relevant sensory stimuli. Activities which challenge all the senses will help maintain processing speed.

The wider range of activities you use, the more you will stimulate your brain in different ways. For example, you can read, write, do a crossword or puzzle, play games, use your non-dominant hand for everyday activities like brushing your teeth, cook new recipes or take up a new hobby. Remember, as with physical activity, it’s important to choose activities you will enjoy ensuring you continue to do them regularly!

For more information about Cytoplan visit www.cytoplan.co.uk   

Find out more about Cytoplan’s brain health programme by visiting the website at https://thebrainhealthprogramme.co.uk

Healthy Winter Warmer

Horlicks for Health

If you’re looking for a delicious warm and healthy drink for the winter which is easy to make, then treat yourself to Horlicks. 

Each delicious mug is bursting with goodness and is rich in calcium and vitamin D and a source of vitamins A and C.

Available in Light Chocolate, Traditional  and Light Varieties. Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Horlicks is available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Co Op. RRP is £3.50

For details visit www.Horlicks.co.uk

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