I am currently in good health, however, following advice from the government on trying to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, I have taken the decision to stop doing treatments from Saturday 21 March for two weeks – until Saturday 4 April.
Then, depending on the advice we are being given, the spread of the virus and my own health, I may begin treatments again.
As I am sure you understand, no one knows how things will unfold so I feel this is the best option under the circumstances.
I will let you know as soon as I can when I am going to be doing treatments again.
Please feel free to contact me by text, email or phone or check this blog page for the latest updates.
During winter our skin can become very dry – have you noticed your skin feeling tight or itchy recently? This is most likely due to excessive dryness. There can be several causes of dry skin in winter. We spend more time indoors in heated spaces where the air is dry and when we do venture outdoors our skin may be exposed to low temperatures or a biting wind. Winter colds and viruses dehydrate the body and skin and unless you are fortunate enough to have a water softener, the hard Essex water will also take its toll.
So, what can we do to rehydrate, nourish and bring our skin back to the healthy organ it should be? Before we look at what we put on to our skin let’s approach this holistically and look at how we can treat it from the ‘inside’.
Preventing skin from becoming too dry means ensuring we keep our body well hydrated. We tend to drink less water in winter when hot drinks like tea and coffee are more appealing, however both have a dehydrating effect on the body, so limiting the amount you take in is wise. Drinking cold water may not be to everyone’s liking in the colder winter months, so maybe try substituting it with hot water and lemon or herbal teas that do not have diuretic properties. Soup is another comforting winter food that contains lots of liquid. It is helpful to make sure you have sufficient Omega 3 and Omega 6 in your diet. A lot of research has been done into the effect of omega oils on the human body. Were you ever told as a child to “eat up your fish it will make you clever”?! We now know there is some truth in this as Omega 3 - one source of which is fish - supports healthy brain function. Omega 3 and Omega 6 support skin health too by re-enforcing its natural defence - the lipid barrier. They also play an important role in supporting the body’s ability to soothe and calm itchy and inflamed skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis. Some sources of Omega 3 are salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, and Omega 6, almonds, eggs and sunflower seeds. Omega oils are available in supplement form but as they may interfere with other medication always consult a professional nutritionist or your GP before you take omega oil supplements.
Now onto the outside! Our skin produces its own natural oil called sebum, which helps prevent moisture loss and is part of the skin’s acid mantle – it’s defence system against bacteria. The skin’s natural barrier can be compromised by washing too frequently or using harsh products so bear this in mind when choosing body washes or soap. There are two simple ways to help hydrate dry skin; firstly get rid of any excess dead skin by exfoliating and then moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells. After exfoliating your skin will feel smoother, and any moisturising cream you apply will be more readily absorbed. There are many different types of exfoliator, they work either mechanically, by gentle abrasion, or by dissolving the dead skin cells and its natural ‘glue’. There are literally hundreds of exfoliators on the market, for the face, body and feet (there are even exfoliators for the lips!). You can experiment to find the one you like best. If you have a sensitive skin that is irritated by exfoliating try using a ‘Korean Sponge’ – these are very soft and gentle on the skin but effective at removing dead skin cells. As they are made from plant material they come from a renewable source and are biodegradable.
Seasonal Skin Care
Although you wouldn’t always know it, we have four seasons in Britain and our skincare routine should change to reflect this. A face wash may work well in the summer when we tend to wear less make up and enjoy the refreshing feel of water on our skin, but in winter a creamy cleanser and gentle toner or hydrolat like rose water, will be less drying. During winter use a heavier more nourishing day and night cream and if this still is not doing the trick add a hydrating oil or serum underneath your night-time product. Sometimes making the smallest and most simple change can bring about an improvement;
• If you rinse your face with water make sure you put your products on as soon as you have dried your skin to lock in any moisture. If your skin starts to feel tight it is losing water and drying out fast.
• Hands tend to get exceptionally dry in winter, so try wearing rubber gloves for chores and gloves outdoors when the temperatures start to drop.
• Apply hand cream just before you go to bed – that way you won’t be able to wash it off straight away. If you have very dry cuticles soak them in a little warm almond or apricot seed oil or treat yourself to a professional moisturising hand treatment using heated mitts.
• Excessively hot baths will dehydrate the skin so if you really like to stew, then limit yourself to that treat a couple of times a week!
Products – Mineral oil versus plant oil.
Products sold to moisturise the skin are made from mineral oil or plant oils. Some may be a combination of the two. In my experience the benefits of plant oils far outweigh those of mineral oil, and they come from a renewable source. Mineral oil is a by-product of the petrochemical industry and will generally appear on the ingredient list as petrolatum or paraffin. It works by forming an impermeable layer on the skin preventing water escaping from it – so locks in the water already present. Water loss from the skin into the atmosphere is called trans-epidermal water loss. Mineral oil is very effective at preventing this.
Heavier plant waxes like shea butter can also prevent water loss through the skin but plant oils have many other benefits which help the skin function better:
Many plant oils, for example Rosehip seed, can be absorbed into the upper layers of skin taking their beneficial properties with them. Plant oils also;
• Contain vitamins such as pro vitamin A, vitamin C and E all powerful antioxidants.
• Contain plant phytosterols with anti -inflammatory, moisturising and cell renewing properties.
• Contain omega oils which help support the structure and function of skin.
• Can be infused with potent herbal extracts – for example calendula or comfrey which helps skin heal.
• Are biodegradable and when grown sustainably benefit everyone from the grower to the planet.
I hope this has given you at least a few ideas about how to look after your skin in the colder winter months and prepare for warmer times ahead!
After each session I experience a calmness and inner peace that balances my mind, body and soul. - D, Woodford
I cannot recommend Dawn and Craniosacral Therapy enough!
Dawn's healing hands have helped to restore me and put me back together after suffering from post-viral fatigue. Her expert touch untraps stored emotions and blockages in my body so that real healing can take place. After each session I experience a calmness and inner peace that balances my mind, body and soul. It truly is an unforgettable healing experience. If you've ever wondered what it really feels like to be 'you', then make Cranio with Dawn a priority.
Winter can be a beautiful season: frost sparkling on twigs and branches and even those of us who dread getting out and about in it have to admit there is nothing quite as magical as freshly fallen snow. But it is a time of year when we are more likely to pick up colds, viruses and flu. So, what can we do to give ourselves the best chance to avoid picking up infections so common at this time of year? I am guessing you probably do most of these already but sometimes a timely reminder can be helpful. Eight ways to stay well in winter…
1 At the risk of sounding obvious (or like your mother!) washing hands thoroughly and regularly is one of the best ways of preventing infection. Remember to wash your hands after visiting places with a high volume of people passing through like the supermarket or public transport. When you are out and about try to avoid touching your face, rubbing eyes and especially biting nails as any bacteria on them will be transferred to your skin or mouth. Mobile phones, keyboards and iPads should also be cleaned regularly. Just think where you take them!
2 Our body’s immune response fights off infection. Like many bodily functions that go on without us being aware of them it is complex and impressive. To function optimally our immune system needs vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E, B6, folic acid and zinc. A healthy diet should provide you with all of these, or if you feel you might be low on some vitamins you might choose to take a multi nutrient supplement. Getting the balance of vitamins and minerals correct is important and it is worth consulting a nutritionist or dietician who can give you professional advice tailored to your specific needs.
3 Stress raises our cortisol levels and high cortisol levels supress the immune system. Use all your own favourite (healthy!) ways to unwind and try to include exercise out of doors. This need not be strenuous but is particularly beneficial if taken in nature, the park, woods or by the sea.
4 We are constantly being told about the next new ‘superfood’, but as with everything in life balance is key. Raw garlic has been known for centuries as an effective killer of bacteria and viruses. Mushrooms, particularly Shitake mushrooms, have immune boosting properties. These ingredients can be found in most supermarkets and can be easily incorporated into the diet.
5 There are many essential oils such as Thyme, Eucalyptus, Ravensara and Pine that are helpful against respiratory infections.The essential oils we extract from plants are full of active chemical compounds that the plants themselves use as a defence against bacteria and viruses. If you feel like you are coming down with a cold try using a pre-mixed blend of essential oils such as Micheline Arcier’s ‘Vigeur’ in the bath or two drops of essential oil in a carrier oil such as sunflower seed oil applied to the upper chest area. It may be enough to prevent the illness from taking hold. A few drops in a bath is also a great way of warming you up if have been outdoors and become very cold.
6 Soluble fibre in the diet has been shown to boost production of a protein called interleukin-4, that stimulates the body’s infection fighting T cells. It also has an anti-inflammatory action so may help achy winter joints. Some sources of soluble fibre include oats, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, apples, nuts, seeds, lentils, barley and citrus fruits. Whoever coined the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” clearly knew what they were talking about!
7 Negative thoughts supress the immune system so If you tend to feel a bit ‘low’ during the winter months try to include gentle exercise outdoors once a day to get your daily dose of natural light. Whether it is meeting friends for a coffee, watching a film, reading a book or meditating, discover what works best to keep you positive and make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 in your diet.
8 Our microbiome or microbiota is the trillions of microbes that live on and in us and is as unique to us as our fingerprint. This is a fascinating topic that I cannot possibly cover in a few lines but the reason I mention it here is that scientists are discovering more and more about how it contributes our health. Our gut microbiome greatly influences our immune system. It appears a healthy digestive system is the foundation to our overall health. So, look after your digestive system and you might find it will keep you well all winter.
The treatments helped to ease my symptoms and restore a feeling of wellbeing, making it easier for me to cope with my disorder - H. Hutchinson
I have just completed 12 sessions of CST with Dawn for a neurological disorder. The treatments helped to ease my symptoms and restore a feeling of wellbeing, making it easier for me to cope with my disorder. Dawn has that rare quality of being intuitive, gentle and caring while maintaining high professional standards.
I would not hesitate to recommend her skills.
The 14th to the 20th of October is Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week.
I think the best way to learn about the therapy is to have a treatment!
If you have not experienced craniosacral therapy why not give it a try?
I will be offering taster treatments, free of charge on Sunday 20th October from 10am at my treatment room in Loughton as my own way of spreading awareness of the therapy.
I will be booking slots for the treatments, please contact me for further information or to book a place.
I love the summer but find that with the lighter mornings I wake up much earlier. Lack of sleep is something we have all experienced at one time or another so this got me thinking about what might be keeping us awake.
I should say before I start, that this is a huge topic and I could have expanded on many of the aspects covered. My hope is that if anything here interests you, you can explore it further.
When you think about it sleeping is a strange thing, we get into our pyjamas and spend six or seven hours unconscious before waking up to a new day. Researchers are not entirely sure why we sleep but they do know it is vital to our survival. Amongst other activities, during sleep cycles we transfer memories from short-term to long-term, learn to associate words and it is a time of peak growth hormone, when cell reproduction and repair is carried out. What we all know from experience is that if we have had a good night’s sleep we feel great and if we have had a poor night’s sleep we feel awful.
Lack of sleep impairs our ability to regulate our emotions and we lose our neutrality. Cue drama! So babies and young children apart, what might be preventing us from sleeping well? Some things to consider;
Comfort– It may sound obvious but is your bed comfortable?!
Temperature– A cool well-ventilated room is ideal. Sleep occurs when the core temperature of the body is dropping and when temperature change and heat loss is at its maximum. This is why our body cooling down after having a warm bath can make us feel sleepy.
Light– Melatonin is a hormone made by our pineal gland. When it is dark after sunset, usually around 9pm, the pineal gland begins to actively produce melatonin. This is released into our blood and as the melatonin level rises we begin to feel less alert and more sleepy. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for around 12 hours and then fall back to daytime levels, which are very low by 9am. Bright light inhibits the release of melatonin so even after 9pm being in a brightly lit room may be enough to prevent the release of melatonin. This is also true of the light that comes from phones, laptops and electronic reading devices.
Physical exercise– Research has shown that exercise improves the quality of sleep. We appear to enjoy a more sound and restful sleep after taking moderate aerobic exercise during the day. The amount and type of exercise will vary depending on our age and level of fitness but as a rough guide 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise should be enough to make a difference. Vigorous exercise during the evening may be too stimulating for some people and even prevent sleep, so it is really a question of trial and error and listening to your body to see what works best for you.
Blood sugar– If our blood sugar drops too low, we may wake up during the night. The cells in our body require sugar to function properly and when this falls too low feelings of restlessness and anxiousness will result. Obviously it is not a good idea to eat a heavy meal too soon before sleeping but snacks that keep blood sugar levels steady can be helpful. Food types with a low glycaemic index such as oatmeal and whole grains will help maintain steady blood sugar. Ideally a daily diet containing complex carbohydrates will keep blood sugar levels even throughout the day and into the night.
Hormones– For females the balance of hormones oestrogen and progesterone influence sleep. It appears that a drop in progesterone or an abrupt change in the balance between the two hormones can cause sleeplessness. This is true for women of all ages. As hormonal balance fluctuates on a daily basis this may pass but if not we may choose to influence what is happening by using synthetic hormones or natural alternatives.
The Mind– Our beautiful busy, busy minds; both a blessing and curse! If we are worried or anxious we will find it difficult to sleep. What is occupying our thoughts may be serious or trivial but either way our preoccupation with them is preventing us from sleeping. So how can we find ways to switch off that constant chatter that is keeping us awake?
Reading– This is pure escapism. It helps us switch off, takes us to another place and keeps our mind busy by giving it a job to do. You might like to know that studies have shown that brain activity during sleep is better regulated after reading a book compared with a screen. Just passing on the information!
Visualisation– Harnessing the power of your imagination. This is a proven technique that is now used in sports psychology to train athletes and sportsmen to improve their performance. It works because our brains show the same activity whether we are visualising lying in our hammock on the beach or actually physically there. As our bodies respond to our brain activity, imagining yourself in the happy place of your choice will help your body relax.
Progressive muscle relaxation or body scan– A slow and thorough journey around your body starting from the feet, tensing then relaxing all the muscles one by one. This helps reduce muscle tension. A certain amount of muscle tone is normal but excess muscle tension creates a feeling of alertness. Our bodies interpret the tension in our muscles to mean there is a threat nearby and we need to be vigilant, so our system is not allowed to relax enough to drop into sleep mode while the threat is present. Doing a body scan helps our muscles, body and mind relax which is much more conducive to falling asleep.
Breathing– Breathing, like muscle tension, is inextricably linked to our nervous system. By consciously affecting our breath we can affect how our bodies feel and calm an activated nervous system. There are many types of breathing exercises, Pranayama or breath control used in Hatha yoga is one form. There are many pranayama breathing ‘exercises’ that can be practised depending on your requirements. In this case one to quieten the mind and relax the body would be suitable. Hatha yoga itself is very effective for calming the nervous system and helping promote sleep. It works on both physical and mental levels, by balancing body chemistry, releasing muscle tension and bringing the attention of the mind to our breath and body sensation.
Mindfulness meditation– The benefits of practicing this form of meditation regularly is that we start to notice when our minds begin to wander and are then able to choose to change our train of thought. As one needs to be alert to meditate it is not recommended you do it in bed but if you suffer from insomnia it may be something to try rather than doing the ironing!
CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy– This works in a similar way, bringing an awareness of our thoughts and how helpful or otherwise they might be. Once we are aware of what we are thinking about we are able to ask the question, ‘how does this thought serve me?’ and act appropriately. Both Mindfulness and CBT need to be practiced regularly for us to enjoy the benefits but both are very effective.
It should be possible, even when under moderate stress, to find ways to drop into a more relaxed state and get some sleep. However sometimes the stress is too great or we are just not able to 'switch off'. This requires a rounded approach taking into consideration all aspects of our life style. If this is the case complementary therapies like massage, reflexology and craniosacral therapy are valuable resources to draw on to help us relax and in our quest for a good night’s sleep.
Packed full of useful information, in this guest blog Laura Douglas Nutritional Therapist and Health and Wellness coach kindly shares her knowledge on how to nourish your skin from the inside - of course the rest of you will benefit from this too!
Most people don’t give a second’s thought to their skin – unless they’re scowling at the wrinkles or wobbly bits in the mirror. It’s already doing a fabulous job keeping your insides in, protecting you from infection and radiation, and keeping you warm. There’s also a huge amount you can do to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh and – I’m happy to tell you – stave off the wrinkles without buying that expensive anti-ageing cream. Read on to find out how.
Ditch the bad guys
Alcohol, caffeine, food additives like flavourings and colourings, salt, sugar, and tobacco are full of cell-damaging free radicals, which play havoc with your skin. Ideally, cut them out altogether but certainly reduce them as much as you can.
Essential fats found in fish, avocados, nuts and seeds keep cell membranes soft and smooth – they’re nature’s perfect skin plumpers. Just in case the word ‘fat’ sends a red flag up for you, I want to reassure you that scientists have finally admittedall ‘fat is bad for you and makes you fat’ propaganda was flawed. Eating the right fat is not only not bad, it is really, truly GOOD for your health.
Eat back the clock
Stock up on antioxidant-rich fruit and veg. These arecrucial for your entire body – not just your skin. They reduce the speed of skin aging and degeneration. Eat them raw or lightly steamed as cooking for long periods destroys enzymes, minerals and vitamins and can create skin-damaging free radicals. A couple of simple exercises are these: make a concerted effort to add at least one extra portion of veg every night this week to your evening meal. You should also aim to ‘eat a rainbow’ over the course of the week – that means picking as many different colours of fruit and veg as you can.
As a very general rule, each different colour group contains a different set of plant chemicals. Scientists now know that bringing a variety of different antioxidants into your diet has a synergistic effect, which means the combined result is more powerful than the individual parts.
Keep skin cells plump and full or your skin will look shrivelled and dehydrated – a long cry from that radiant glow you’re going for. Cells also need water to rebuild and to remove the build up of waste products (toxins). It’s a very simple (and free) step that most people don’t prioritise and yet the results can be striking. Aim for at least 2-3 litres a day depending on weather conditions and your level of exercise. You’ll soon see the benefit for yourskin.
Helpful nutrients for skin health
Vitamin C for collagen production. Foods to include: blackcurrants, red peppers, kale, collard leaves, broccoli, kiwis, oranges, courgettes, cauliflower and spinach, citrus fruit.
Vitamins A, C, E and selenium are antioxidants that limit the damage done to collagen and elastin fibres by free radicals. Foods to include (aside from the vitamin C foods, above, and the vitamin A foods, below): sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, papaya, mustard greens, asparagus, peppers, Brazil nuts, fresh tuna, some meats including pork, beef, turkey and chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, brown rice, oats, mushrooms.
Vitamin A helps control the rate of keratin. A lack of vitamin A can result in dry, rough skin. Foods to include: sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce.
Vitamin D- skin cells produce a chemical that is converted into vitamin D in sunlight. It’s important for many functions in the body, including immunity, blood sugar balance and bone health. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from food alone, but do try to include more sardines, salmon, tuna, swordfish, eggs, orange juice and fortified cereals – and don’t forget a daily dose of getting out into the sun!
Zinc for the production of skin cells. A lack of zinc can result in poor skin healing, eczema and rashes. Foods to include: venison, fish, ginger root, lamb, lean beef, turkey, green vegetables, oats, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, scallops.
Essential fats for making cell membranes. A lack of essential fats causes cells to dry out too quickly, resulting in dry skin. Foods to include: oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring), flaxseed, walnuts, soya beans, tofu.
Watch what you put on your body, too
The skin is the largest organ in the body with a surface area about the size of a double bed. It soaks everything up you put on it, and what soaks in ends up in your blood stream. So if your shampoo and conditioner or shower gel (all of which wash over you as you shower), or your bodylotions or creams contain nasty chemicals like parabens or sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate, you are feeding yourself synthetic oestrogens that can wreak havoc with your hormones. Check labels for ingredients – often they may be marked as paraben-free.
Learn how to deal with problem skin
A targeted nutrition plan can work wonders for skin problems like acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and so on. This kind of personalised nutrition is often poorly understood and isn’t really talked about in the media. It doesn’t work to just add to your diet a single ‘superfood’. A bespoke health and nutrition plan takes into account all of your skin and health concerns, which can make a huge difference. If you would like more advice on your skin, or any other health condition, please get in touch. I’d love to help.
Registered Nutritional Therapist & Health Coach
True You Nutrition
"I leave every session feeling relaxed and rejuvenated with glowing skin that lasts and lasts." Wendy
“After a holistic facial with Dawn, my skin looks fantastic. Dawn has that magic combination in a therapist of superb training and professionalism and a calm, gentle approach which means that I leave every session feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, with glowing skin that lasts and lasts. I am always confident in Dawn’s ability to assess my skin’s condition and to select from her range of pure beauty products those that will benefit my skin each time I see her. I can’t recommend her highly enough.”
"I always look forward to my appointments with Dawn and I always feel so relaxed and well afterwards." - R.H
" I have been a client of Dawn Thein for over twenty years. Over the years I have had many treatments with her and on every occasion I have felt a different person when I leave. Dawn is a very kind, healing, gentle person and is very gifted at what she does. She has a very calming way of working and always makes you feel at your ease at soon as you arrive. Her treatments are all very soothing and all the products she uses are wonderful quality and beautifully chosen. She combines an incredibly high degree of professionalism and experience with a very easy manner. I always look forward to my appointments with Dawn and I always feel so relaxed and well afterwards."