All posts filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve moved!

After many years I have finally pulled my journalism, my books and my blogging into one central site.  I have migrated all my content from here to my new site:  http://exmoorjane.com I do hope you’ll visit me there…  pop by and say hello? Advertisements

Stubborn stomach fat and the stress factor

Like many people, I battle with my weight.  Or rather, I battle with a very specific bit of weight – the wodge of flab around my middle that simply won’t budge, no matter what I do.  I eat a ludicrously healthy diet (and not that much of it) and exercise like a maniac.  I’ve tried every regime under the sun, including the most stringent fasts and the toughest bootcamps, but my tubby tummy stays put. So I was intrigued to hear about the Body Retreat’s Stress Reset retreat.  Run by clinical hypnotherapist Juls Abernethy and fitness expert Julie Brealy, the aim is to equip you with tools and techniques to put stress back in its box. While it’s not billed specifically as a weight loss regime, losing pounds and inches is pretty much guaranteed.  ‘It’s not the emphasis of the retreat but it’s a nice by-product,’ says Juls.  ‘We have seen women lose four inches from their waist in just five days.’ I drive down a maze of tiny Somerset lanes to reach my home …

McTimoney Chiropractic – no pain, all gain

The first time I saw a chiropractor I thought I was going to die.  She took my head between her hands and, without warning, gave my neck a sharp twist.  It felt like the kind of movement a butcher would use to break a chicken’s neck: there was a ghastly crack, the blood rushed into my face and for several ghastly moments I thought my chips were down.  Both chiropractic and osteopathy are best known for their “bone-crunching” techniques – the high-velocity thrusts which cause the terrifying cracks and crunches.  Although nowadays many practitioners use far less invasive techniques, if you want a iron-clad guarantee that manipulation won’t hurt, search out a McTimoney chiropractor. The McTimoney method seems to offer all the benefits of traditional chiropractic and osteopathy without the trauma.  It’s a whole body form of manipulative treatment which uses a gentle technique to achieve harmony in the body.  Like conventional chiropractic it is superlative for any form of joint pain or back trauma but patients often find other problems, such as headaches, period …

Watsu – water shiatsu that takes you back to childhood

Watsu is a deep, powerful and curious form of bodywork.  A long, intense, intimate session of massage and manipulation techniques, carried out while you float in (or even under) a warm pool, watsu promises to heal you in mind, body and spirit.  Fans claim it has remarkable regenerative qualities; that it can release stress, muscle tension and pain like no other treatment.  They also say that it can equally release emotional anguish, giving you back a sense of childhood innocence and joy. Watsu was the brainchild of Harold Dull, an American poet who became fascinated with shiatsu, the Japanese acupressure massage and stretching therapy.  Having studied in San Francisco and Japan in the 70s he wanted to combine the therapeutic effects of shiatsu with the healing properties of water.  At first he tried giving massage on a padded board set up in a hot tub but when he moved to Harbin Hot Springs in California he soon realised that he could achieve far better, far deeper effects by floating his client in water, working on …

Trager – maximum effortlessness and freedom from pain

Trager ® or Trager Psychophysical Integration (to give it its full name) is a gentle system of bodywork whose predominant goal is to make life easier, more comfortable, more pleasurable.  It helps you build up deep stores of energy and vitality and yet keeps you calm and centred.  In a typical session you receive several thousand light, rhythmical touches and come off the couch feeling like a child that’s been rocked in its mother’s arms. The history of this deeper-than-deep relaxation treatment started back in the 1930s.  Milton Trager was a young boxer and acrobat, living in Miami and training his super-athletic body.  He was always pushing himself to the limits, aiming to jump the highest, the farthest, the best.  Then one day he suddenly had a completely different thought.  “How can I land softer?” he pondered.  Then, “How could I land the softest?”  His whole philosophy changed overnight – from aiming for maximum effort he sought instead maximum effortlessness, how to become ever lighter and easier and softer and freer.   He discovered he could …

Simple ways to gain confidence

Confidence is the greatest gift under the sun.  When your confidence is high you can conquer the world.  You can take control of your life in every way: work goes swimmingly; relationships become more straightforward.  The world simply feels like a friendlier place.  Yet few of us have unlimited stores of self-confidence.   We are far more likely to suffer self-doubt and self-criticism than revel in self-adoration.  Why?  Generally it goes back to childhood when we picked up all those negative messages from a host of concerned grown-ups both at home and at school.  They told us it was a dangerous world out there; to be careful; to be prepared for the worst so we wouldn’t be too disappointed when it happened.  No wonder we grew up doubting ourselves.  But it’s never too late to learn new tricks to foster self-confidence.  The following methods can help anyone feel happier and more at ease in life.  Try them – you just might change your whole life. THE POWER OF POSITIVE THOUGHT:  “It’s a peculiar quirk of human nature …

The Natural Year begins…living in tune with the seasons

I loved writing The Natural Year. The aim was to produce a book that would act as a friend throughout the year, not badgering or hectoring, but offering suggestions, inspiration, helpful ideas. Whether you want to overhaul your entire life, or just tweak it here and there, the book will hopefully provide a springboard for shift.  It’s a bit of a smorgasbord really, with tips and techniques culled from traditions all around the world, from the myriad teachers and guides I met when I was writing a weekly column for the Daily Mail on natural health.   Anyhow, here’s a section from the beginning of the book.  Although you can start the book at any point in the year, I kicked off in March, at the start of spring. To my mind, each season has a different focus and, for me, spring is… THE SEASON OF THE BODY KEY FOCUS:  Getting in touch with your body, playing with your relationship with your physical self. SECONDARY FOCUS:  Starting to think about your life. CHALLENGES:  Introducing a …

The Body Retreat: smart and supportive de-stress and weight-loss

The Body Retreat’s Stress Re-Set retreat is a four-night retreat that aims to balance body, mind and emotions through an immaculately thought-out programme of diet, exercise, mindfulness and behaviour modification.  Plus oodles of fun and tons of big warm-hearted bonding. It’s such a smart concept.  You’re kept pleasantly busy all through the day (so you don’t have the chance to start worrying about anything) and, come night, you’re so blissfully tired, you can’t help but fall into a good sleep pattern.  Days start early: there’s a gentle knock on your bedroom door at 7am, accompanied by a cheery ‘Good Morning’ (no need for stressy alarm clocks) and you toddle out in your bath-robe to pick up a glass of hot lemon.  Our bedrooms are grouped around a central sitting area so it has the feel of a grown-up boarding school (of the nicest kind) as we all emerge, tousle-headed, mutter greetings and then retreat back to our rooms  to sip our juice and do some skin brushing.  Then it’s downstairs for a quick burst of …

Ten ways to love the cold

Yes, it’s freezing out there but, while it’s tempting to turn up the heat and huddle by the fire, maybe we’re missing a trick. There’s been a sudden plunge in temperature in the world of health and beauty as therapists, doctors and surgeons are increasingly discovering the therapeutic power of cold. Actually it’s nothing new. People have believed in the health-giving properties  of cold temperatures since classical times. Plato, Hippocrates and Avicena all recommended cold water treatments as a vital part of medicine.  In Russia and northern Europe, the therapeutic use of snow, cold and ice are legendary. There is even a specific word in Russian – which translates as tempering – which means to toughen and strengthen the body through the use of cold and ice. ‘Cold makes skin and blood vessels contract,’ explains Alla Svirinskaya, a medically trained healer and a firm advocate of cold and ice therapy.  ‘Cold is energizing, reducing fatigue, both mental and physical.  It also gives an emotional boost because our blood receives increased levels of endorphins.  Cold can …

The Cheat’s Detox

Yes, it’s January.  Yes, everyone is off doing crazy fasting and detoxing regimes.  But do you need to?  Should you even?  I’m really not convinced that January is a good time for a stringent detox (unless you have the luxury of heading off to somewhere warm and lovely).  It’s just too cold.  Bodies need a bit of warmth and comfort in January.  However, if you really did overdo it over Christmas and the New Year, you might consider a period of ‘easing off’, shall we say? In The Detox Kit (Hay House) I offer what I call the Cheat’s Detox.  It’s for those times when you’re not up to a complete cleanse.  Here’s the lowdown… So you can’t face a total detox or your lifestyle makes it just impossible? Don’t panic or get depressed. There are plenty of things you can do in everyday life to minimize your toxic exposure and even to let go of many of the toxins you have already accumulated. Try incorporating as many of these guidelines into your life as …