Wednesday 21 December 2011

Immune Tip 2 - Sleep your way to better immunity

Sleep your way to better immunity During sleep our immune systems are most active fighting infection, viruses, colds and flu. We are designed to sleep more in the winter, and so wherever possible get to bed as close to 10pm as possible and sleep for at least 8 hours.
To optimise your sleep:
  • Turn off all electrical goods in your house (some need to be kept on obviously - like the fridge and freezer and central heating!)
  • Wind down in the evening from about 8pm
  • Do not eat within 2 hours of going to sleep, otherwise you will be still trying to digest and your immune system won't get its go.
  • Do not work late into the night, right up to going to bed, your stress and awake hormones will keep you awake.
  • Play some relaxing music, read a book, before bed
  • Use some lavender behind your head and knees
A good night sleep is most important during the seasons of coughs colds and chest infections, so your body is given a chance to do what is supposed to do - protect you from harm!#Cambridge

Monday 19 December 2011

A treatment of Acupuncture is just one of the prizes you could win......


Counselling support during the Christmas and New Year Holidays

Counselling support during the Christmas and New Year holidays: Christine has a number of emergency online and telephone appointments available. If you need to speak to a counsellor over the holiday period, please go to for further details.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Don't get a cold - get Zinc

Each week through the cold dark winter we will be sharing our tips on how to boost your immunity to see off flu, cold and infections.

Starting with the use of Zinc - how to test if you need it and how much you need.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Welcome our new therapist Isobel Harper........

Isobel is an Integrative counsellor, which means that she adapts her working style to meet the needs of each individual client. Her primary training approach was Psychodynamic. She is a kind, gentle and caring person and who provides a non-judgemental, calm and confidential environment to allow her clients to explore their feelings and issues.

You are the expert on your own life, Isobel will offer you the space for to explore your feelings and to be heard. By exploring your own inner feelings, values and beliefs, she believes that we all have the inner resources to challenge our beliefs, gain the clarity we want and to move forward making more informed decisions.

Counselling experience in addition to seeing clients at the Therapy Room; Isobel also works as a counsellor for CRUSE, the specialist bereavement charity and at the Cogwheel Trust in Cambridge. The Cogwheel Trust is a charity in Cambridge which sees clients whose 'life has slipped out of gear'. This has given her a wide and varied experience of working with all

A relaxing massage is just one of the prizes you could win..


Friday 9 December 2011

Win a Free treatment at The Therapy Room

There will be 14 individual prizes totalling a value of £800, and winners will be notified via The Therapy Room Cambridge facebook page on January 16th 2012, with treatment choice allocated on a fist come first served basis.

Look out for details of the variety of treatment prizes that you could win, posted every few days, on this website, blog and our facebook page until the winners are announced on Monday January 16th 2012.

'Like us' now for your chance to win.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Bereavement in our Modern British Society

There is nothing more certain in life than death (and probably a few taxes too!)…Yet as a ‘Modern British Society’ we are often unprepared for the bereavement journey when a loved one departs this life. We no longer have an official period of mourning and the number of times my
clients comment on this is, simply, staggering. As a ‘Modern British Society’ we seem to have lost that strong traditional method of saying goodbye and preparing for the next phase of life.
Clients often comment that, “people do not realise what I am going through; I have to act like nothing has happened”. My clients often talk of a wish to wear a black arm band or wear black for a year, as an outward sign that they are still in mourning for the loss of those dearly departed.
When we suffer bereavement; it is like an invisible cloak of isolation and loneliness which the outside world cannot see and therefore does not register. Life must go on and no matter how hard it can be…Life does go on.
Initially people rally around to help but soon our lives return to normal patterns, and people call less, assuming that the bereaved person is coping or it may be that they themselves find talking about the grief very difficult, and avoid contact.
The grief process can be a very long part of the bereavement journey. It is commonly thought that there are 5 stages connected with the grief process. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I wholeheartedly agree with this but they do not come in order and often people can be in more than one stage at a time. Everyone is individual and the
bereavement journey is longer for some than for others.
During periods of bereavement, and through-out the 5 stages
of the grief process, family support is incredibly important. The grief process, however, is different for each person and your family will be experiencing loss at different stages of the grief process, this can cause a strain on relationships both inside and outside of the family.
Bereavement sometimes brings unwelcome feelings and counselling is the only place to safely explore these new feelings. The grief process may have 5 stages but it has no structure and no easy pathway to redemption; my clients have explored feelings connected with guilt, anger, and
relief, especially if the deceased had a long illness. Bereavement may also
bring to the surface pervious losses and how we coped with them. If they were
not dealt with then these latent, almost forgotten, feelings can become painful
again…Resisting such feelings stalls the grief process and the bereavement
Counselling helps at a time of bereavement because verbalising our feelings can help us to understand the depth of our feelings and the way that they are making us feel. By talking about our feelings in a safe, caring and empathetic environment we are able to explore how they really
make us feel and not how we think we should feel.

For confidential counselling contact Isobel Harper on 01223 315400 or 07967561031 or

Monday 21 November 2011

MASSAGE & STRESS: A soothing massage can help you unwind, but that's not all

Prolonged periods of stress can negatively affect many systems of the body.Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such problems as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune function. But it doesn't just contribute to physical ailments. Stress can drain the joy from your life, cause fatigue, and leave you less able to enjoy relationships, leisure activities & day to day life.The ones you love can become unfortunate victims of the stress in your life. You can find yourself left with no patience and less able to engage with the people you care about.Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. We know this is true on an intuitive level. If the hands of a friend or partner can soothe aches and pains and reduce anxiety, then imagine the effect of a therapeutic massage by a trained practitioner. The rituals of massage come as a welcome break from our busy lives: reduced lighting, soothing music, the pleasant fragrance of a mild oil or candle - even without massage, these things might help you relax! But coupled with the right massage techniques you will actually feel the stress leaving.Massage boosts the immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues.Manipulation of the soft tissue decreases muscular tension, increases removal of metabolic waste and promotes nutrient delivery to healing tissue. Knots in your muscles can inhibit your ability to perform regular, daily tasks. As other parts of your body try to compensate for the ache of a tight muscle, they also start to become tight and uncomfortable. Before long, an injury that began in your neck can trace to your shoulder, down your arm and into your wrist. The reaction chain can take innumerable forms, but none of them are pleasant.With a therapeutic massage, stress can be significantly reduced. This will increase energy, improve your outlook on life, and in the process boost your immune system function. Coupled with modest changes in nutrition and activity levels, massage can be the start of a profound change for the better in your health and well-being.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Cambridge RSI Clinic

Cambridge RSI Clinic is the city’s first and only dedicated clinic for patients with repetitive strain injuries (RSI), work-related upper limb disorders and other wrist or hand pain.

The Clinic was started by Joy Haughton, a Registered Osteopath and former RSI sufferer, to give Cambridge patients fast access to evidence-based, effective treatment for frustrating wrist and hand problems. The clinic is based at The Therapy Room, a multidisciplinary health centre in Cambridge, and is therefore able to draw on the expertise of a number of highly experienced conventional and complementary health practitioners to create a tailored plan for each patient.
In addition to her training as an Osteopath, Joy Haughton also has a degree in Psychology from the University of Cambridge and has undertaken further study in ergonomics, neural rehabilitation and mindfulness to enable her to give thorough support with both the physical and emotional aspects of RSI. Joy has worked for a number of years with leading self-help psychologists and coaches, so is able to assist patients to make the changes that will make recovery long-lasting.

“Joy Haughton treated me for Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) from computer work. I was able to return to work very quickly and over time I recovered completely from what can be a permanently debilitating condition. I trust Joy as a practitioner who not only knows her discipline but who can also explain it to me so I understand what has happened and how I can prevent a re-occurrence. Instead of patching me up and dispatching me Joy found the root
cause of my problems and helped me correct it. The work Joy has done with me on not just muscles but also on nerves has meant my recovery has been much better than my ontemporaries with similar conditions. This is a level of knowledge which I haven't found in all practitioners. I hated going around my GP, but they simply didn't have the resources to help me like Joy did. I can't recommend Joy highly enough.” Ellie, Cambridge

For further information or to book an appointment, please
call 01223 315400 or email [email protected].

Thursday 15 September 2011

BBC The One Show at The Therapy Room on Friday 16th September!

Conquering disease…
An autumnal feature about the nation’s ailing horse chestnut trees brought the BBC’s One Show to the Therapy Room, Cambridge today for an interview with homeopath Carolyn Stevens.

Carolyn, whose busy and successful practice at the Therapy Room in Oxford Road caught the eye of researchers, explained how alternative medicines derived from the horse chestnut are used in the treatment of a range of disorders - from diseases of the circulatory system, such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids, to hyperactivity and developmental problems.

Carolyn said, ‘The horse chestnut, Aesculus Hippocastanum, is used in homeopathy and all kinds of herbal preparations and flower essences.’

‘The One Show team came to Cambridge because we have a beautiful collection of chestnut trees on The Backs which are suffering from bleeding canker disease.’

‘It’s sad and symbolic that the majestic chestnut tree which has helped us with blood circulation disorders over the years is itself bleeding to death.’

The feature will be broadcast in tomorrow evening’s show at 7 pm (16th September 2011)
They came to Cambridge to do a feature on the nation's ailing Horse Chestnut trees. They knew that the tree had uses in alternative medicine, so they came along to find out more and what the threat of losing these trees would have.

The BBC feature will be broadcast on 16th September on BBC One at 7 pm. Look out for the video here soon..

For more details please visit

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Happy clients at The Therapy Room

NB from Cambridge was desperate to loose weight and feel happy and healthy again. She wanted to get her stomach and bowels feeling normal and not being aware of the uncomfortable feeling all the time, after 5 years of suffering. Unbeknown to her she still had an H Pylori infection, that had been picked up previously by her GP but treated in effectively.

After a comprehensive assessment that included advanced lab testing, physical assessment, and a metabolic typing test, a customised nutrition plan was introduced, along with a specific protocol to eradicate an H-Pylori infection, Osteopathic treatment from Teddy Brookes, and Psychotherapy from Angela Lattimore.

NB says - (after) working with Damien Clements (for 6 months) I am very well and the H-Pylori test was normal no action - so I am clear.

I feel that thanks to you and the treatment you recommended me to follow has sorted out my stomach, which I am very grateful for.

Saturday 18 June 2011

"Why am I always in pain at the worst moments?"

Your child's sick, your boss is demanding that report yesterday and the car engine's just blown up. You bend over to spit out your toothpaste - something you've done a thousand times before - and all of a sudden your neck spasms and you're in agony. 'Why me? And, why, oh why, now?' you may, quite reasonably, ask. Well, amazingly, it's not just the universe conspiring against you! Let's have a look at what's going on inside your body...

The traditional way of understanding pain tells us this happens:

1. Something bad happens to a part of the body

2. A danger signal gets sent

3. That signal produces pain

So, pain = harm. And probably pain is proportional to harm. So, bad pain = bad news.

Sounds sensible, but weirdly, isn't really true.

The latest pain research (here, for some great summaries) tells quite a different story, that goes something like this:
As, you can see, that's not nearly as linear, not nearly as simple. And at first it doesn't make nearly as much sense. But have a think about these examples - can you fit them into the traditional model? How about the newer one?

1. Phantom limb pain - there's lots of examples of people who've had amputations still feeling pain in the amputated limb. How does that work? Well if we throw out the idea of harm = pain and start to think of pain as something that's produced in the brain, it all makes a lot more sense. The brain uses a representation of the body to understand where various signals originate from and the representation of the amputated arm is still there, in the brain. So, if something else causes activity in that area, the brain will interpret that as pain in the arm - although there is no arm.

2. Obviously harmless activities becoming painful and therefore fraught with danger. How many times have you turned your head when driving? Or brushed your hair from your face? Even if you cared to count, you couldn't - such familiar activites are nearly subconcious in their execution. But when you're in pain, familiar activities seem terrifying. Turning your head must be harmful - it hurts so much. But why would an activity your body could previously do perfectly safely, without even thinking about it, suddenly become so dangerous? Usually, it's not. In fact, most pain conditions are helped by movement. But because we're so strongly conditioned to believe pain = harm, we shut down, stop moving and desperately try to stop any more 'harm' happening.

3. Not feeling pain because it's dangerous to. We've all heard the stories about people doing amazing things despite terrible injuries because they needed to get themselves out of danger. And what do they all have in common? They feel little or no pain until they've got the situation sorted. Their brain quite simply doesn't interpret the 'harm' signals from the body as pain because pain would distract from the more important 'get out of danger' actions. Sensible, but again, doesn't fit the harm = pain model.

So, next time you're in pain - particularly if it's an old, recurring pain - bear in mind that the pain you're feeling may have little or nothing to do with how much damage there is to your muscles, ligaments and bones and everything to do with what's happening in your brain. Context is hugely important, hence why sick children, dead cars and stressful deadlines makes pain so much more likely to happen and so much worse. Your brain is taking all of those 'danger' signals, adding them together and coming up with 'ouch!'

Over the next few months on the blog, I'm planning a number of entries about how pain works - and what to do about it. In the meantime, you're in pain and want some help with strategies to get your body - and brain - working again, then do contact me.

Thursday 2 June 2011

What is functional medicine?

Is treating the symptoms of the disease always the best method of helping a person back to good health, or is restoring good function the best way to achieve good health, and beat disease?

This great video explains why I believe and practice functional medicine to restore good function, at The Therapy Room

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Three Good Reasons to book on 'The Sick to your Stomach' workshop

1.Get the most from your second brain -

Did you know the gut has more nerve endings than the brain, and that the gut responds to all different ‘feeding’ (taste, smell, sight, hearing, and stress) messages entering your body and relays back to your brain and body! Learn how and why

2. Unravel the cause from the symptoms -
The three main causes of disease are: Nutritional deficiencies, Toxicity and Stress. These can all manifest in a myriad of symptoms, that we all see in our practices. In the 'Sick to your stomach'  workshop we will share effective tools to assess and understand the root of the symptom(s) or disease.

3. Discover simple tools to use for treatment -

Learn to use Food, Sleep, and Movement as important medicine, as well as a tool to augment or support any treatment.

Course details:
Date/time: Saturday June 8th 2011, 10am to 6pm
Location:The Therapy Room, 25 Oxford Rd, Cambridge CB4 3PH.
Cost: £95, including refreshments, payable in advance. Payment will be required to book your place.
Please make cheques payable to ‘Damien Clements’ or phone 01223 315400 to make payment by debit or credit card.
Book your place by phone (01223 315400) or mail at the above address, there is a maximum of 15 students!

Thursday 5 May 2011

A health practitioners guide to the gut

Feeling gutted, galled, having a gut feeling, no guts no glory, can’t stomach it...
Not only common phrases in the English language that describe a feeling somewhere in our gut or digestive system, but feelings that can be felt emotionally and physically that we can all relate to having experienced in our lives. The gut is the point of entry for anything we eat and drink, and serves as a barrier between our inner and outer environments. Just as it allows entry of nutrients, it also protects us against toxins and infections. Thus, it is not surprising that the gut has a major role in health and disease, and many occurring health problems may be related to our diet, toxins or the functioning of our intestines. 
If you are a health care professional in complementary or traditional medical practice, we invite you to an exciting new one day course:
'Sick to your Stomach'
A health practitioners’ guide to functional physiology, assessment, and treatment.
Wednesday, June 8th 2011
10am -6pm

The course will involve exploration of our own gut communication in theory and practice, as a foundation to enable the effective assessment and guidance of our clients and patients. We will also provide tools to aid in assessment and treatment, case studies and opportunities to work with fellow students in practicing in the use of these tools.
Questions that will be addressed are:
·         What does the gut do, besides delivering our food and transiting the waste out?
·         Why and how does it deliver messages to other organs and body systems including our brain?
·         Why is the gut important to overall health?
·         Can it really be related to seemingly unrelated disorders, like back pain, autism, depression, and many others?
·         How can I assess whether my client or patient has a gut related issue that is the cause or the block to their healing?
·         What can I do to help if they do have a gut issue?
This current course is the first of a series which will address allergies, chronic fatigue, menopause, weight loss.

The course is being led by:
Damien Clements BSc Hons, Certified Nutritionist, CHEK Practioner, CMTA
With more than twelve years of experience as an Exercise, Diet and Lifestyle Coach and working in the sports science field, Damien has helped many clients resolve the problems your clients might be currently experiencing - from back pain to chronic fatigue. His focus is on treating the person and not the symptom or problem that they are diagnosed with, but ascertaining the blocking factors to achieving improved function, and the root cause of the dysfunction.
As a CHEK Practitioner, and a clinical nutritionist he is uniquely qualified in the area of corrective exercise, and holistic health.
He make use of a comprehensive set of assessment tools including lab testing, and screening designed to uncover the underlying or root cause (Functional Health care). He works with a number of highly skilled professionals and together their aim is to help and support clients to achieve their health goals.
He currently runs workshops for the general public, on stomach problems, and has run courses on holistic assessment and treatment of back and joint pain.
Dr. Peter J Voshol
Peter is a scientist at the University of Cambridge with more than 15 years of experience in Integrative Physiology and Medicine. He received his PhD in medical sciences/physiology at the University of Groningen, NL. His interest is to integrate his expertise on nutrient metabolism and whole body physiology in the field of Obesity and Diabetes. He worked at the Leiden University Medical Center, NL and the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, USA and has published more than 70 highly ranked papers. Currently, he is a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Disease Model Core, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge UK.
Besides being a scientist Peter is a student at the Taoist-based International Oriental College in Amsterdam and a qualified Wudang Health Sport Instructor. He gives classes in Fitness, Taiji (Tai Chi) and Qigong and is a qualified Chinese Chair Masseur. Furthermore, he learned from several Shamanic teachers in the Netherlands, UK and USA and uses this knowledge to enhance people’s Awareness of Being. He organizes and gives lectures/classes/workshops in Awareness and Shamanic Drum and Sacred Tool making. He is one of the initiators of ‘The Nature of Being’, a centre for Awareness and Being. During the workshop Peter will share his understanding of combining Western and Holistic knowledge.
Personal webpage:

Course details:
Date/time:          Wednesday June 8th 2011, 10am to 6pm
Location:              The Therapy Room, 25 Oxford Rd, Cambridge CB4 3PH.
Cost:                      £95, including refreshments, payable in advance. Payment will be required to book your place. Please make cheques payable to ‘Damien Clements’ or phone 01223 315400 to make payment by debit or credit card.
Book your place by phone (01223 315400) or mail at the above address, there is a maximum of 15 students!

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Theme of the week: "Can your diet in pregnancy make your baby fat?"

To me, it seems rather obvious that one's diet during pregnancy will affect the unborn child. Anything you eat will be processed by the gut and substances, whether they are nutritious or not so nutritious, will be passed on to the foetus via the placenta. After all, the only way it has access to food is through its mother!

Plus, as a scientist in physiology and neuroscience, I know for example that certain nutrients (sugar!!) actually change the wiring in your brain, and, in the case of sugar increase your liking of sugar (yes this sounds a lot like how addiction works...). I don't know whether this happens in foetuses as it does in adults, as their brains haven't fully developed yet, but I imagine that what you eat during pregnancy might have an effect on your child's (brain) development, and on how your child deals with hunger and satiety later on in life.

Thus, I wasn't surprised to read about a recent study in which a link has been found between a mother's diet during pregnancy and her child's body fat level at the age of 6 or 9.
It made me think, though, that mother's (or I should say "parents", really!) are the main influence on their kid's health not only before, but also after birth, because they are (or should be!) cooking their daily dinners. So whether it happens before or after birth, a child's level of body fat will depend on what its parents are feeding it (ah, let's discuss 'nutritious' school lunches some other time!).

So, is it important to know whether a mother's diet also affects a childs fat levels before birth? Everyone knows that healthy food is important in general, and when pregnant in particular. I think mothers have a responsability to make sure that their unborn babies are not negatively affected by their mother's behavior, be it by drinking, smoking or the things they eat. I thought this was common sense, so I was shocked to read in the research paper that a mere 24-31% of all mothers included in the study were actually smoking during pregnancy...

Furthermore, I think to only study a child's fat levels is giving a rather limiting picture. I do realise that researchers need to start somewhere if they want to build a clear picture of how things work, but I also think that there's too much focus on fat, in the news, in commercials, fashion, health information etc.

What do you think?
Do we need more studies to tell us how important healthy food is? How important healthy behaviour is?
Should we focus on fat this much?
Why is it so difficult to behave healthily when there is so much information about how damaging certain behaviors (smoking, drinking, bad diet etc) are?
Are people deliberately ignoring this kind of information or is the addiction that strong?

Please share your opinions on this topic with us!!

For more background, you can read the article on the NHS website
The original article is publised in Diabetes 2011, published online April 6.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Doctors 'often defy' their own treatment advice

Doctors might not always advise their patients the treatment they would choose for themselves, according to research recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Given the option to pick from two treatments for themselves in a case of bowel cancer, the majority of doctors chose the treatment with least side effects and least chance of survival. Asked what to advise their patients, however, they would choose the treatment with the best chances for survival, but with more severe side effects.

I recently came across a piece of real-life evidence that doctors' own opinions do not always agree with standard protocol. A friend of mine who had had surgery to treat his oesophageal cancer was told the following by his oncologist: "As a medical professional following standard protocol, I would advise you to be sure and undergo another round of chemotherapy, but as a human being considering your chances and the severy side effects, I would advise against it."

Now this friend of mine did a lot of research on his own on treatment efficacy and side effects. He also was lucky enough to have a doctor who spoke openly about the difference between protocol and his own personal opinion, but a lot of doctors may not go that way. Some patients may have the time, energy and brains to do research on their own about their treatment options to be able to make educated decisions, but others may have to rely or want to be able to rely on the advice their doctors are giving them. Also, many people would not even think of questioning the authority of their doctors!!

Should we rely on our doctor's advice completely? After all, doctors have studied for years in order to reach their level of expertise and would therefore be expected to give a balanced advice about difficult decisions. However, it seems like a lot of doctors have also been taught not to get emotionally involved with their patients. They can avoid this by following standard protocol rather than treating patients like unique individuals and putting themselves in those patient's shoes.

Should doctors always follow standard protocol? Or should they risk getting more emotionally involved by imagining what they would do if put in their patient's situation...? Which way of working leads doctors to making the best decisions?

At The Therapy Room, our motto is 'treating people, not problems'. This means that we use a holistic approach and treat each person as a unique individual. We think it's important not to just treat symptoms, but look at the person as a whole and find the underlying cause as well. Each person has a unique background, and although something like a headache may look the same for a number of people, it's cause may be very different for every individual person. Therefore we think it is impossible to use a standard protocol for every person coming in with a certain problem.

We would love to know what your opinion is! What do you think are the pro's and con's on both of these approaches? Please leave your comment here and help us get a good discussion going!

Read the complete post about this on .
We hope to be able to also post a link to the original article in Archives of Internal Medicine soon.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Spring Cleaning!!

Last week Spring time finally peeked her sparkly fresh face around the corner, and immediately I could see that the sunshine and warm temperatures made people feel much better. I saw more smiles and more relaxed walks were being walked on the streets of Cambridge. Spring is an excellent time for cleaning, and I don't mean just the house! Your body and mind may welcome a treat as well after a long dark and cold winter. One way to start your personal Spring Cleaning is by getting your diet right. Not one diet is perfect for every person, so a personalised diet advice based on your own metabolism may drastically improve your energy levels or help you loose those extra winter pounds. Get a free consultation with our health and diet consultant now! Or get rid of the winter 'stuckness' by getting the flow going in our Taiji or Qi Gong classes. These two forms of martial arts are both active and gentle and will improve your energy levels and increase body awareness. Come in on a Wednesday afternoon and try your first class for free! Alternatively, you might get rid of those winter aches in a wonderful relaxing or invigorating massage or reflexology treatment. We have several well-trained massage therapists offering different kinds of massage, such as Swedish, sports and holistic massage as well as traditional Chinese chair massage and reflexology treatments. Let's not forget your mind though! Our excellent psychotherapists and hypnotherapists may be able to help you ease stresses or get rid of the last bits of winter blues. Even if you're not so fond of Spring just because it makes your nose run and your eyes itch, our homeopaths may be able to help you ease those allergy symptoms without the need of conventional drugs making you drowsy. So give yourself a treat and get yourself ready and relaxed for Spring time! Learn more about the therapies that we offer and find out which might be the right one for you. Detailed information about our therapies and therapists can be found on our website You may also contact us for bookings or more information via email ([email protected]) or phone (01223 315400). We look forward to helping you with your Spring Cleaning!!

Tuesday 8 March 2011

A Sinister Story of Soy

As a vegetarian I am acutely aware of getting enough protein in my diet and, like many, I sometimes rely on soy-based alternatives. These products (which unhappily tend to resemble dog food) are quick, easy and convenient and take on the flavour of whatever you marinate them in, making them infinitely versatile and great for culinary flounders like myself! Recently, I ventured into the realms of veganism and, with some effort, I gave up my morning skinny no-whip sugar-free vanilla lattes in favour of soy milk. It took some getting used to – the taste was not so appealing and I found that the first few brands that I tried at home curdled with coffee, which wasn’t the most appetising sight first thing in the morning.
However, within a week or so I had thrown myself whole-heartedly and enthusiastically into the delights of vegan cooking. I used scrambled tofu in replace of eggs as a quiche filling; I slathered soya cream cheese on my dairy-free bagels; and I embraced soya yogurts as a great accompaniment to my morning muesli. I got off to a good start and noticed that, in my head, I felt healthier. This was perhaps in part thanks to the fact that on my vegan regime I was avoiding cakes and chocolate! However, before long I started to notice a few physical health complaints creeping in. I was constantly bloated and often felt nauseas in a way that only seemed to be alleviated by drinking fizzy drinks! By the end of the day I felt exhausted and sluggish and was suffering from stomach cramps – anything but full of vitality from my new ‘healthy’ diet.
It took me some time (3 months in fact) to point the finger of suspicion at the increase in soy products in my diet. At first, I thought it was down to a bad batch of nuts, then a possible intolerance to oats or gluten and even thought I may have a food sensitivity towards marmite! In fact, noting that my intolerance may be due to soy came about largely by accident. In my quest to discover what it was that was causing my health nose-dive I had started to keep a food diary. I diligently noted down everything I consumed and if my symptoms were bad (there were no good days) or worse. This led me to connect that on days when I didn’t have my morning soya yogurt and latte my stomach didn’t feel so tender and I felt remarkably better. The first day I avoided soy in my diet I notice a big difference: no bloating, cramps or nausea. I felt my mood lifted, my concentration was better and I felt healthier than I had for months. On my second soy-free day I was practically skipping down the street and I felt back to my pre-soy self!
My research into why I suffered these uncomfortable symptoms is on-going and I suspect that they were either due to the proteins or oligosaccharides in the soy-based products that I was not able to digest easily. Increasing them in my diet was likely putting a consequential strain on my digestive system and manifested as the range of symptoms I was experiencing.
It just goes to show you that all that glitters is not gold and what’s deemed healthy for one person may have significant unhealthy effects in another. After all, we are all different!

Monday 7 March 2011

Cancer is a big killer, but no one tells you its linked to pollution?

I am firm believer in health care and not disease treatment, and for me this has everything to do with our environment - both internally (inside our bodies) and externally (food, air, water). In order to build and maintain health we must be individually and corporately responsible for not poisoning ourselves - ignorance will not save us!
There are alot of questions we should all ask ourselves and the suppliers of our food and goods, before we buy them, and we should look towards supporting our environment if we want it to keep supporting us.

Havins survive cancer, biologist Sandra Steinberger wrote a book to expose its link to the environment -->

Friday 25 February 2011

Are Naturopaths Nature Junkies?

Sitting back in my chair and enjoying a short relaxing after-lunch break, I scan my eyes around the desks at my weekend natural medicine class. I see the usual suspects: bottles of mineral water, fruit, a few tubs of raw almonds and it looks like someone’s brought in pond algae but…what’s this - bottles of pills on everyone’s desks?! Poly-pharmacy is not something you’d expect from a natural medicine class. So why are these health enthusiasts supplementing themselves to the brim and why aren’t I?
It’s a steep learning curve starting out on a natural medicine course; and it’s even tougher when your background is in hardcore science – like mine is. You have to give up all your preconceptions with regards to current medical thought and launch yourself in to the sometimes weird but always wonderful world of ‘naturopathy’ – the concept that the body can heal itself through natural means. As you learn more and more about these amazing natural cures, you can sometimes find yourself convinced that you are in need of an ever-increasing number of remedies to combat the modern toxic lifestyle: digestive enzymes to make up for those lost in over-processed foods, detox supplements to rid the body of the nasty chemicals that make their way into our everyday diet and various pills and potions to encourage fleeting energy levels. Considering this, it is no surprise that some people feel genuinely better after taking these remedies, but surely not every person is in need of them – we’re all different after all. So to what extent are they feeding their bodies and to what extent are they simply feeding their minds? After all, belief is a powerful medicine indeed.
There is a growing body of evidence to show that feelings, such as stress, can manifest as physical problems. In fact, researchers have found a significant link between emotional disturbances and gut problems, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and they term this connection the ‘brain-gut axis’. This means that someone can experience digestive problems without actually having an identifiable illness. Instead, their anxieties lodge themselves in the gut and give rise to conditions such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea – common symptoms of IBS. Specialists in the treatment of IBS, for example those at St. Mark’s Hospital in London, have found that dealing with the root cause of the problem, i.e. the mind, has a remarkable effect on the patient’s road to recovery. Thus, hypnotherapy has been used by Withington Hospital in Manchester as a viable treatment for IBS sufferers and boasted a 71% success rate.*
And it doesn’t just end there. The mind has been linked to cases of infertility and skin disorders as well as muscle cramps and menstrual problems. The effect of the mind on the body has also been highlighted in the placebo effect, where a patient believes they are receiving treatment but are in fact being given an ineffectual ‘remedy’, such as a sugar pill. In some cases, the patient will experience a clinically observable effect (such as a symptom or recovery) and, under these circumstances, it is the patient believing that something will happen that causes their body to exhibit a physical reaction.
It is often the placebo effect that is cited be sceptics when a person gains recovery thanks to a natural remedy and is used as a derogatory term to suggest that there is no scientific basis to the treatment. However, given the evident power of the mind to not only cure problems but also to cause them perhaps it is about time we focus more on helping the mind to help the body!
* Reported in the Daily Mail, 25th January 2011

Monday 21 February 2011

The Therapy Room is on Facebook!

The Therapy Room has recently re-launched its Facebook page and it's jam-packed with lots of useful health-related news and comments. It's also got information on the therapies offered at The Therapy Room and photos of all our therapists.
It's a great chance for you to let us know what you think of The Therapy Room - so get Facebooking and let us hear your suggestions and ideas!

Integrated Health Assessment

An integrated Health assessment  is ideal if you really don't know where to start, have tried everything, or don't know what kind of therapy will be most beneficial for you. I am trained in several different aspects of complementary health care and have 12 years clinical experience. I be able to assess your current health and wellbeing and be able to advise you on the various options available to you, and what you can do to help yourself. Your assessment will be thorough and in depth and look at your health, diet, lifestyle, posture, fitness, happiness and coping abilities.

I will then be able to work with you to find the best possible course of action for you, working within your current abilities, often the treatment that is right for us is the one we are most reluctant to do! I can help you to overcome resistance to change and introduce you to the right therapies, therapists or further assessment  to help you on your journey to a better way of life. This can really help reduce the frustration (and expense) of trying random therapies with variable results. Iwill be able to follow your progress, advise you on time scales and the results you can realistically expect. 
Bookings must be made at least 4 days in advance, so intake forms can be sent to you prior to the assessment.

Revitalize yourself with Tai Chi and Qigong!

Wudang Style Health Sports and Massages at the Cambridge Therapy Room
Revitalize yourself with Tai Chi and Qigong!

Peter wants to help revitalize yourself by creating awareness of one's Being and Self. He applies Wudang Style Movement exercises to create and support this process. Wudang fitness I for flexibility and agility: a fitness class which starts relaxing and slowly picks up speed. You play with your own fitness and aim to build agility and flexibility. The Wudang Fitness rejuvenates and creates supple joints and muscles. The deep and relaxed breath will improve attention and concentration in your body. Wudang Taiji 13 for relaxed control in movement: Wudang Taiji 13 teaches you the three basic principles of Taijiquan as developed by Zang Sanfeng. You will create attention, balance and strength. Bamboo formula qigong for posture, relaxation and radiance: a series of 15 movements which are repeated 9 times. You strive to stand and move like Bamboo in the wind, strong, vital and flexible. It is a calming but graceful exercise to enhance stillness, awareness and balance in your body. All exercises are safe when performed correctly and can be practised by everyone of every age.
Furthermore he does a Traditional Chinese Chair Massage a comforting and relaxing massage which reduces stress and tension related discomfort, like headaches. A traditional method of chair massage which differs from Shiatsu-based chair massage in that the client is asked to take an active part in posture correction. With this the client also learns how to prevent discomfort and complaints due to a wrong posture. It is a comforting relaxing massage, reducing stress and tension related discomfort, like headaches. This massage is an ideal form to be used for onsite corporate sessions.
Peter Voshol holds a PhD in Medical Sciences and he is involved in research and education related to nutrient metabolism and integrative physiology in relation to Obesity and Diabetes at the University of Cambridge. Furthermore, he is a student of the International Oriental College in Amsterdam, NL ( This is a strong Self-cultivation-based University for Daoist-based Chinese Medicine and Movement. He is qualified as an instructor in Wudang Health Sports (Wudang Fitness, Taiji and Qigong) and is a Traditional Chinese Chair Masseur working at the Cambridge Therapy Room,
Movement classes are £8.- per hour class while the massages are £15.- for 20 minutes. Massages are Wednesdays 3-5 pm while the movement classes are 5-7pm. For information please contact Peter at [email protected] or call the Cambridge Therapy Room, 01223 315400 to make an appointment.

Homeopathy to Help Eczema

Germany is the historic home of homeopathy, and this form of medicine is very well recognised there. In 2006, the Charité University Medical Centre published a 12-months study showing that homoeopathic treatment was as effective to influence eczema symptoms and improve quality of life (QoL) as conventional treatment. It also had less side-effect and was cheaper*.
In the UK, a lot of people have their first contact with homeopathy when seeking treatment for their babies and kids, because it is non-toxic. Eczema is a common issue and responses are very often positive.
There is very often a hereditary component. However, more and more children get diagnosed with this condition, and this shows that changing lifestyle has an important play as well.
The first approach in homeopathy is to support the eliminatory organs: improvements in diet, support to the liver and the large intestine may help with toxin elimination.
If there is an obvious trigger, such as trauma, stress or infection, the focus should be on them as they can put the immune system out of balance, triggering skin problems.
If you want to know more about how homeopathy can help with eczema, feel free to contact the Clinic for an appointment.

(*): This was reported in the Daily Mail of the 8th of June 2006.

GMO - How safe is the food we eat?

Science and the advancement of it is responsible for a lot of things in this World to be thankful for: space exploration leading to a deeper and more profound understanding of the Universe in which we live; imaging systems that allow doctors to make non-invasive diagnoses; even mugs that change colour depending on whether the liquid in them is hot or cold can be seen as a plus. But, can we honestly say that genetically engineered so-called ‘Frankin-Food’ is one of them?
What is GMO?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and is most commonly used to refer to edible plants, which have been modified to have certain traits. For example, a plant that is more resistant to cold or dry conditions or fruit and veg that packs a greater nutritional punch. These traits used to be acquired through breeding programmes but these methods can be time-consuming and complicated. In contrast, genetic engineering leads to a crop with the exact desired characteristic quickly and with little error. Largely, genetically modified crops have been hailed as the ‘answer’ to World food shortages as plants can be engineered to give better yields and be more resistant to disease or extreme conditions.
So what’s the problem?
Objection to GM food and products comes from a variety of sources; for example, environmental campaigners, religious groups, professional bodies and various scientists. Most notably, HRH The Prince of Wales has spoken out publicly against GM produce and established his own company to promote organic food and sustained farming that protects the UK countryside and wildlife. The main concerns relating to GMO are as follows:
-       Harm to wildlife
In 1999, a study was published in the highly respected academic journal, Nature, which found that pollen from GM corn was deadly to a specific type of caterpillar (monarch butterfly caterpillars). In this case, the corn had been genetically modified to have a greater resistance to crop-damaging pests by producing its own pesticide; however, the toxin responsible for the pest resistance killed insects indiscriminately, including those that are harmless to crops. Greater numbers of these pesticide-producing crops could lead to a situation where some species or insect are at risk of extinction.
-       Production of super-insects
GM opposition groups fear that insects will, in time, develop resistance to the pesticides produced by GM crops leading to the evolution of immortal super-insects. Far from being futuristic fantasy, this effect has already been observed in mosquitoes that have developed resistance again the now restricted insecticide, DDT.
-       Non-GM crops could be contaminated
Cross-breeding between GM crops and non-GM plants or weeds is a real concern and has proved itself to be very difficult to control. In fact, the possibility of cross-breeding has been used as a defence by the numerous farmers sued by food giant Monsanto for patent infringements. Monsanto claims that farmers are in the habit of obtaining Monsanto GM seeds from unknown sources and have harvested crops from them without paying royalties to the company; however, farmers argue that their non-GM crops are being inadvertently cross-contaminated with GM crops planted nearby – an argument that has science and logic on its side!
-       The risks to human health
The risks to human health are worryingly unknown or hotly debated. There is growing concern that introducing foreign genes into plants could have a negative impact on health once consumed. Several animal studies have been conducted to support this claim and have, controversially, found links between GMO consumption, cancer, infertility and digestive abnormalities. Furthermore, there is significant risk that, for example, introducing genetic material from nuts into crops could then induce allergic reactions in susceptible individuals if they were to eat that GM product. Couple that with the concern that cross-breeding between GM and non-GM crops cannot be effectively controlled and we have a very worrying an almost unavoidable situation!
How do I know if my food is GM or not?
The long and short of it is, unfortunately, that you don’t! In 2004, the EU brought in new regulations with regards to labelling of GM products. These new rules stated that all products originating from a GM source must be labelled as GM; however, foods produced using GM technology, crucially, do not have to be labelled. So, cheese produced using GM enzymes or milk, meat or eggs from animals fed on a GM diet do not need to be labelled. In addition, with the risk of cross-breeding between GM and nearby non-GM crops, it is even difficult to know whether those labelled as ‘non-GM’ are truly GMO-free!
Regrettably, it may be down to the test of time to tell us if GM produce is in fact really safe. In consideration that it would be extremely difficult to reverse the decision to allow GM produce into the food chain, I, for one, am very much hoping that it is!

Tuesday 1 February 2011

EU Legislation Leaves a Bitter Taste for UK Herbalists

As of May 2011 hundreds of herbal remedies used routinely in the UK will no longer be available under a directive aimed at harmonising UK law with that of the EU in response to concerns over adverse effects caused by herbal products.
The what?
The directive, passed in 2004 and known as the European Traditional Herbal Medicines Directive, plans to put an end to herbal practitioners prescribing unlicensed herbal remedies to their patients that have been made by a third party (i.e. by a herbal manufacturer or supplier). In addition, the directive also applies to prescription services, which prepare a specific herbal remedy for a specific patient at the request of a practitioner.
Many practitioners have come to be reliant on such services as preparing remedies in, for example, tablet or capsule format often involves either laborious methods or specialist equipment. However, as a result of this directive, practitioners would only be allowed to prescribe herbs to patients that had been wholly prepared on their premises. Obviously, such an aggressive legislation would not only have a disastrous impact on practitioners and the people they treat, it would also put many manufacturers and suppliers at risk of going out of business – something that is highly undesirable in these tough economic times!
Will all herbs be ‘illegal’?
The only third-party remedies that practitioners could continue to prescribe to their patients would be those that are licensed under the EU. Presently, only a small number of herbal remedies have obtained a licence. Why is this? Well, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has estimated the cost of licensing to be between £80,000 and £120,000 per herb – something which may be affordable for single herbs with large markets (Echinacea being an obvious example) but, unfortunately, has meant many herbs (especially those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda) have not been able to afford licenses.
Of course, no one would argue that the safe manufacture, prescription and use of herbal products is of paramount importance; however, this current directive risks the illegal supply of unregulated herbs and an increase in people buying herbs on the internet from sources that lack quality control and may even be mixed with conventional medicines. Such a scenario would put the public at significant risk rather than help to make herbal therapy safe!
So, what can be done?
Since 2000, the UK Government has held three consultations on the subject of giving herbal practitioners statutory regulation – all of which have been overwhelmingly in favour. By having statutory regulation (i.e. regulation of the profession that would ensure herbalists were properly educated and qualified), herbalists would acquire ‘authorised health care professional’ status. This would mean that they could continue to commission the manufacture of herbal remedies, made to an assured medicinal quality standard, for prescription to their patients. This would ensure that only those who have received adequate training would be able to call themselves ‘herbalists’ and would allow the safe, regulated continuation of herbal medicine within the UK and EU – a hugely popular form of alternative healthcare upon which many people are reliant in their daily lives.

To read more about statutory regulation of herbalists and the new European Traditional Herbal Medicines Directive, please refer to the ehtpa website: