This may be difficult to grasp at first, but if you were to be able to look inside your body, down to the tiniest detail, you would see you are a community of cells, trillions of cells.
Development of humans started from a single cell structure. For growth, the only opportunity was to get bigger, but just like a balloon, the cell could only get so big before the cell membrane would rupture. The only other option to grow was to start working together in communities.
All cells have the basic functional capability that we as humans have. They can process food for energy, dispose of waste, detect energy signals etc. They could also get eaten by predators, so survival required working together as a community. As these communities grew, it was clear that it made sense for one cell to specialise in one area and another cell to specialise in another. Thus, some cells specialised in excretion, others fighting infection, energy absorption, or movement.
We do the exactly the same in our human communities, some working in food production, some in health, some in transport, some in communication, some in energy production. The list goes on.
In your body, you can think in terms of speciality cells for muscles, bones, nerves and so on.
Cells, just like humans, can get unhealthy and die. To protect the community as a whole and to avoid one unhealthy cell taking down the whole community, cells developed a suicide capability. Every day, millions of your cells die and are replaced by new healthy ones.
All cells require energy to exist and this energy is produced in what can be considered the cells engine, called the mitochondria. The main task of the mitochondria is to convert glucose into energy. It is also the mitochondria which is equipped with the suicide capability, to destroy the cell if it gets diseased or malignant.
Some diseases, like cancer, have worked out a way around the self destruct. But that’s a whole subject on it’s own and there is a lot of well qualified material available to read on the internet.
What all this tells us is that our cells have worked out a complex and healthy way of surviving as communities and that you have the ultimate responsibility to make sure you play your part to keep those cells as healthy as possible. A good starting point is to eat healthy food and avoid unhealthy food. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that the latter is going to give all your cells a hard time. Do that for long enough and common sense will tell you there will be problems.
At Nicky Snazell Clinic we have a simple, easily understandable wellness program, taken from Nicky’s published book ‘The 4 Keys To Health’. If you need help to make sure you do the right things to keep your cells healthy, then call us. We can help.
Call Now 01889 881488. Erica & Jean will be happy to help
If we were all smart we would all be thinking
‘let’s find out what’s good about things that other people do and copy them’.
Why aren’t we smart enough to do this? The answer is because it’s very difficult to break out of normal local behaviour. It’s difficult to adopt a new set of beliefs. It takes courage and determination. For many, change will not happen until it’s forced upon them by a significant incident, such as suffering a stroke or heart attack.
I will tell you story of one of our patients, I will call her Anne. Anne first came to see Nicky 16 years ago for help with her low back pain, caused by many years of bending all day as a primary school teacher.
Nicky killed her pain and Anne did then what most patients do, which was to stop treatment and get on with her life. At the time she was newly retired and thought that a couple of treatments would get her fixed and that would be that.
Unfortunately, a 60 year old spine will have suffered a lot of wear and tear, whatever her lifestyle had been. It was, however, also more prone to damage from 40 years of constantly stooping. Inevitably, the low back pain returned as a niggle, was ignored and just got worse until the pain was so bad it forced more treatment.
Thus, a pattern emerged of breaks in treatment, a slow build up in pain until intolerable, interspersed with periods of intense treatment with David to get the pain removed again.
Eventually, after many years of this pattern, it dawned on Anne that it might be smarter to get regular maintenance to keep the problem at bay.
It occurred to her that she had no problem with going to the dentist every 6 months for a clean and check up, because she knew this would most likely prevent any serious tooth decay and the pain and cost of dealing with that. And yet for some reason she had ignored the rest of her body. Why on earth would she do that she pondered. Were her teeth somehow more important than anything else?
Well everybody knew that it was the norm for a 6 month dentist check up. Everybody knew that you’d be daft if you didn’t get your car regularly maintained.
Yet she didn’t know anybody who had their body regularly maintained.
The more she thought about this, the more illogical it was. Just because most people didn’t get regular body maintenance, that was no reason to do the same.
The realisation sunk in that she had been daft to wait until her body broke down before she got treatment.
In November 2017 she switched to a monthly maintenance routine with David, with the aim of extending the time between appointments until an optimum was found.
The result has been no return of her pain, no return of the restriction on her lifestyle that the pain caused and a saving on her treatment cost.
Not only that, she is now able to do a 2 mile walk every day which is helping her tackle a blood sugar problem, which if left untreated could develop into diabetes. She wouldn’t have been able to consistently do this unless she had switched to maintaining her body.
If you are suffering from long term, or chronic pain, it may well be that you need to consider a maintenance program to keep your pain at bay, so that you can get on with your life and be able to do the things which are important to you.
We Can Help
Call Now 01889 881488. Erica & Jean will be happy to help.
Many patients I see have experienced chronic and sometimes severe pain in a specific part of their body. Pain that’s lasted years, decades even. Pain that won’t go away and no conventional treatment seems to work.
These patients are resigned to suffering their pain for life. In many cases I find that their pain is the result of an emotional problem earlier in their life. It could be that they were abused as a child, or it could be it was a traumatic injury.
I witness the unravelling of these hidden traumas every day and it never fails to thrill me when it happens. Why?
Because then I KNOW healing can be possible.
When you find the place and time a trauma occurred, and really feel the mind –body link, then you are no longer a victim to the pain but a student as to what pain and illness teaches you.
For example, if you have been beaten as a child, you can guarantee those same areas come back to haunt you later in life, as disc prolapses, arthritis, frozen shoulders or neck ache and so on, that just won’t stop aching.
You Are The Author Of Your Life
As you replay these memories in your mind and you tell yourself a story about your body, you also have to be careful how you replay that story to yourself, because your memory is fluid. Yes, every time you recall something, you mould a new version of it. Memory isn’t like a DVD that plays the exact same story every time, no matter how many times you watch it.
Once your subconscious mind makes a link between past trauma and current pain, then physiotherapy treatment will be much more successful.
The words spoken by the therapist, whilst manipulating or needling you, can soothe the disturbing memories imbedded in an ancient trauma. Both of you may not be aware to start with that there are memories associated with your current physical pain. You may thus suddenly feel emotional and that is the memories associated with your pain in a certain joint or muscle, and they are being opened up and replayed.
In the hands of a holistic, medically trained practitioner, you can unravel these hidden mind body connections that are stopping your healing process.
Equipped with additional qualifications in psychology, shamanic reiki healing and neurolinguistics programming, I am very aware of the power of the mind. I feel strongly that it is of vital importance to analyse and reanalyse any block to a patient getting the healing results they want. I believe applying both an intuitive and scientific medical approach will achieve a much deeper understanding of your pain.
Rewrite the story of your life, starting today.
You can make today a whole new chapter – you just have to decide that you want to end one chapter of your life and start another.
If you are suffering from long term, unresolved pain, it may well be that you have hidden mental traumas that are locking your pain into your body. In this situation your pain will not go away until that link is identified. Nicky can help.
Call Now 01889 881488 and ask for an appointment with Nicky.
Erica & Jean will be happy to help
At Nicky Snazell’s Clinic, we strive to give you the best treatment experience possible, which means every part of your journey with us, from initial contact right through to saying goodbye, is as effective and as enjoyable as possible.
To achieve this, we have to make sure we have booked you in on the right pathway. This will depend on your immediate problem, your goals and your treatment history with us.
Read on to learn how to maximise the benefits of your treatment plan
If you have never been to our clinic before, we will aim to put you with the most appropriate therapist for your condition, allowing for factors such as your physical problem, your therapist preferences and also if you are wanting to claim on private medical insurance.
Once your therapist is sorted, we will book an assessment and possibly treatment, dependent on your wishes. Even if you have been assessed elsewhere, or if you think you know what your problem is, we will always assess you ourselves first, for both professional and ethical reasons.
After your initial assessment, you will probably need one or more treatments, with goals set and agreed, and interim reviews to check progress.
Get The Quality Of Treatment You Deserve
If you are returning with what appears to be a recurring problem, we will process this as a continuation of earlier treatment, provided your last visit was no more than 6 weeks previous. We feel that beyond this timeframe, an assessment is needed to make sure that your problem is not something new. Such an assessment might be quite short, but will be needed to make sure we are giving you the quality of service you deserve.
Maintenance and Wellness
It will be apparent that due to factors such as your age, type of problem, or a particular injury severity, then it might be advised that ongoing maintenance or wellness would be a better quality of life option for you, rather than to wait until the problem reoccurs.
With your agreement, we will transfer you to a maintenance or wellness level, with the frequency of treatments adjusted to best suit you. A time limit of up to 3 months is allowed. So just four treatments a year could give you a much better quality of life and most importantly, the confidence to get on and enjoy life, knowing that we have got your back should anything go wrong.
A lot of our patients are recognising that it makes a lot more sense to maintain their health, rather than wait to break again. For those already on this pathway, they are gaining a more pain free life, allowing them to do things they couldn’t have done before.
Save and Gain
Not only that, they are actually saving on treatment costs, as the amount of treatment they needed to get fixed after they broke, exceeded looking after themselves.
Get The Appointment Times That Suit You
Another obvious advantage of booking in advance is that patients are getting appointment times that best suit them and that they can plan for in advance, rather that calling at the last minute to see what is available.
If you have a long term, or chronic problem, it may well be that the cause of the problem cannot be cured, and the best option for you is to attend regular sessions to keep the symptoms under control. It’s a personal choice whether you opt for maintenance or wellness.
Maintenance is best for you if you have a chronic physical problem and you want this to be kept under control, but without having to get involved with your overall health condition.
Alternatively, you may want to go one stage further and not only keep your physical chronic problem under control, but also do all you can to improve your overall health. With our wellness program we will look at factors such as your lifestyle, diet & nutrition, weight, exercise and fitness and mindset.
Don’t Things Always Go Wrong At The Wrong Time?
We constantly get patients who have broken at the wrong time, maybe just before an important family event, or a much looked forward to holiday. Sadly, every year, some leave it too late and miss out.
Many of these problems would have been avoided if their mindset had been to maintain their body, rather than wait till it broke.
Ask yourself this. Would you plan an important holiday in a car that you hadn’t had serviced? Probably not. If you did and the car broke, you could only blame yourself. Not only that, you know for sure that getting it fixed will cost a lot more than if you had been smart and got it serviced beforehand.
Why the difference with your body?
If you have a pain problem or injury problem anywhere in your body, or just want a better quality of life, then call us now. We can help.
Call 01889 881488 Now
Most people have heard of acupuncture and understandably assume that if a treatment involves a needle, it must be acupuncture. This is akin to saying that everybody who uses a knife must be a surgeon. Our task here is thus to look in depth at all the ways that needles are used, so that you better understand what the differences are and thus eliminate the confusion surrounding this type of treatment. By doing so, it will also hopefully help you gain confidence to try this form of treatment in the future and help you seek out the best type of practitioner for your problem.
Historically, the use of the needle for treatment started in the east, most probably in China, many thousands of years ago. Thus, there have been thousands of years to refine and improve the understanding of acupuncture in Chinese Medicine, the latter being a complete medical system which looks at the whole body. It regards illness as the body being out of balance and thus seeks to identify why it is out of balance and then treats to redress this.
What Is Acupuncture?
Today’s acupuncture uses very thin needles, much thinner than a hypodermic needle. These are inserted in the body at prescribed Chinese points which have a known therapeutic effect, or directly into an area of muscle spasm or pain. The needles are generally inserted and then left for anything up to 30 minutes.
Electro– acupuncture was originally developed for use as analgesia in surgery. However, the benefits of electro– acupuncture were soon recognised for the control and treatment of pain. Research is still ongoing to better understand the best settings to use and the technology is thus continuously evolving.
The equipment we use in house allows us to vary the settings to help you in the best way possible. It is understood that the use of different frequencies can stimulate the release of natural opioid pain killers in the body and that by using dual frequencies, both the intensity and longevity of the pain control can be varied.
A benefit of using needles with this type of electrical signal is that the pain relief can be applied at deep levels, within the muscles that are causing the pain.
Western acupuncture as taught today is a small subset of Chinese acupuncture, combining needling to local areas of pain or spasm, ‘Ah Shi’ points, sometimes called trigger points, plus some use of Chinese points, but without reference to Chinese theory.
Needles are used in the same way as Chinese medicine and the types of needle are the same. The focus in western acupuncture is to link the treatment to western medical principles, which requires ‘evidence based’ justification. This is discussed below in the Acupuncture in the NHS section.
Chinese Medicine is a complete standalone medical system and is totally different to western medicine. By teaching and using Chinese acupuncture points, western acupuncture in effect has a foot in both camps.
Intra Muscular Stimulation – GunnIMS
The majority of acupuncture needling is performed at relatively shallow depths in the body. As explained above, the needles are inserted and left static until removed.
GunnIMS is completely different.
Professor Chan Gunn, a medically qualified Doctor, discovered GunnIMS by accident while carrying out tests in a laboratory in Vancouver, Canada. He found that patients were in pain, quite often long term, or chronic, pain, because of muscles being in spasm. In addition these muscles were not responding properly to the signals from the brain to expand and contract. He found that by inserting needles into these non-responding muscles, those same muscles could be made to release and start behaving normally. To effectively release a muscle he found that multiple insertions were needed, using the needle more as a microsurgical tool rather than a simple insertion device.
Eventually GunnIMS evolved to using an external device, called a plunger, which allowed the therapist to rapidly and easily retarget the needle to achieve the required result.
GunnIMS is fundamentally different to acupuncture
The results in treating muscle pain are far superior. It utilises western anatomical knowledge and makes no reference to Chinese Medicine. It generally requires much deeper needling and directly targets and micro surgically treats muscles in spasm. The training is thus totally different and only those practitioners trained through the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Pain (ISTOP), based in Vancouver, are qualified to provide GunnIMS. Nicky Snazell is one of only 3 practitioners in the UK to have reached the highest level of training and was awarded the first honorary membership of ISTOP in the world for her dedication to the use of GunnIMS.
Nothing Is Wrong
A major strength of GunnIMS is that it is unsurpassed in diagnosing and treating muscle spasm. Both MRI and X-ray cannot ‘see’ muscle spasm, it is totally invisible to these scans. Thus many patients who may have been in long term pain and given a scan, only to be told ‘nothing is wrong’ will now understand why.
Dry needling refers to the use of a non-hypodermic needle. Acupuncture needles are solid, they cannot inject a drug. Thus they provide a dry and not wet treatment.
Hypodermic needles, which are used to inject drugs, are relatively much thicker and more painful to insert. This is perhaps why so many of us grow up with needle phobias.
It may at first seem that both acupuncture and dry needling are the same. After all they are both dry techniques. But there the similarities end. Whereas acupuncture is a traditional method developed thousands of years ago, dry needling is relatively new, only having been adopted in the last few decades.
Dry needling is primarily used to treat tight muscles, or trigger points, to ease muscular pain. In some cases the needles are inserted and left for a number of minutes. In some cases the needles are moved up and down to increase the effect.
The term Dry Needling is tending to replace GunnIMS as the teaching of dry needling is much more widespread. In many cases there is an overlap with GunnIMS. However, GunnIMS specifies that only Medical Doctors and Physiotherapists (in countries with the highest standards) are qualified to be trained, it also requires intensive training and passing exams. Dry needling courses can be attended by less qualified therapists and can involve little more than a weekends training.
Does Needling Hurt?
Our skin has a lot of nerves to sense touch, hot and cold, pressure and pain. However, once a needle has gone beyond the immediate outer layer, there are very few pain sensors.
A skilled practitioner understands this and will penetrate the skin very quickly, so that you would feel nothing more than a small prick. (no pun intended)
TCM will aim to penetrate to the layer of fascia where the patient gets a very definite sensation which is almost totally painless. Thus the majority of TCM and those western practitioners who use TCM points, will be almost totally painless.
The next level of needling is dry needling into tight muscles, or trigger points. This can cause pain, usually only slight and short lived.
Again, an experienced practitioner can use skills and technology to largely alleviate the pain response. Firstly, by using a therapeutic laser, which will generally penetrate up to 30mm into the body and greatly help to relax muscle spasm. In fact ‘Laser puncture’ refers to the use of a laser over TCM points, and can be helpful in treating patients without needles.
The second and more powerful technique to minimise a pain response is by first acupuncturing specific points which are known to minimise pain signals reaching the brain and others that will put the patient into a relaxed meditative state. This is no different to the same procedures used in China and now used in the USA for pain control in surgery.
A healthy, normal muscle has very limited ability to even realise a needle has penetrated it and in this situation a patient is unlikely to be aware at all. At times muscles will go into severe spasm and fail to respond to normal expand and contract commands from the brain. A very common example is low back pain and sciatica.
If you feel that acupuncture or GunnIMS could help you then please call us on 01889 881488 to book now.
Our staff capabilities are at the highest standard available in the UK.
Following the recent government announcement of the relaxation of many COVID restrictions, we have returned the clinic waiting room to its former soft, relaxing ambience, with sofas surrounding the fire. We have also opened access to the coffee machine, with which you can make latte, cappuccino, white or black coffee, straight from freshly ground beans. Tea and water are also available. (Biscuits are on the way as well!)
Governing Body Guidelines Prevail
Despite what the government says, however, we still have to work to strict governing body guidelines, which means our therapists will continue to wear face masks. Although we can no longer require you to wear a mask while in the clinic, we do ask you to do so to help protect the staff, and ultimately yourself.
In addition, we still need to control numbers of clients in the waiting room and thus request that you remain in your car until your allotted treatment start time. New clients will need to come in a few minutes before ( 5 minutes maximum) to complete new client paperwork.
We will also continue to sanitise rooms between appointments, which will mean a slight shortening of appointment time.
Improved Starting On Time Service
One change we did make because of the pandemic was to introduce gaps for all therapists regularly throughout the day. This was primarily to provide some relief for the therapists from working in the antisocial restrictions of full PPE. The good news for you is that we are going to continue to schedule our days with regular breaks because it has dramatically improved our ability to start your treatment on time.
A modern day problem for so many of us is the feeling of being permanently tired and exhausted. We go to bed earlier but still wake up the next morning feeling like it’s the middle of the night and just want to go back to sleep.
A lot of this can simply be due to fact of the world we live in, a world where stimuli are available 24/7. Our bodies, however, were designed to operate not in this new world, but in a more simple way, where day and night were part of a daily rhythm of living. This day / night cycle is called the circadian rhythm.
Most of our body processes are tied to these circadian rhythms, whether it be when we eat or sleep, when we digest and rebuild healthy cells and so on. It is not surprising then that if we interfere with these natural body rhythms by imposing artificial stimuli ‘out of normal rhythm’, our bodies will react negatively.
Thus, it makes sense to reduce and where possible eliminate these interferences where possible and let our bodies internal body clock work as it was designed. Here are some suggestions:
- Weekends are not times to stay up late and sleep in. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day of the week.
- Fasting at night is normal, that’s why we break the fast every morning. Fasting lets your body work better at fighting viruses and disease and healing itself overnight. Have your evening meal at least 3 hours before going to bed and don’t snack or you lose the benefits of fasting.
- Day time is designed to be a time when you are outside, getting the benefits of direct sunlight which allows your body to produce Vitamin D, important for fighting inflammation.
- Night time is meant for rest and sleep. Extending the day with artificial lighting, and worse, exposing yourself to the blue light emitted by TV’s and mobile devices, needs to be minimised. Try to eliminate blue light exposure at least an hour before going to bed.
- Caffeine consumption has been shown to interfere with the body clock and with excessive consumption can cause many sleep problems. It is recommended you stop taking caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
For more on general health, I recommend you visit www.bluezones.com
For more on the rhythm method click here
Any of us can suffer flare ups from time to time. A swollen knee or ankle maybe. A flare up is an internal activity, something has caused your body to react this way. I get asked several times a week about what would be best to do and not to do, to help get the inflammation down as quickly as possible.
There will many of you who I haven’t seen for a while who also suffer these occasional flare ups, so to help you as well, I’ve created a simple list of top tips and provided an insightful look into the benefits of fasting.
Foods to Avoid
- Processed diary
- Processed snacks
Food that helps
- Vegetables provide anti-oxidants which means they fight oxidation, free radicals and inflammation
- Also provides prebiotics for a healthier gut
- Eat 6 to 11 servings a day
- Drink more water
Fasting for Health & Longevity
This one may surprise you but please read on
Yoshinori Ohsumi, the 2016 Nobel prize Winner in Medicine, opened up a completely new field of science studying autophagy. It’s likely that you have never heard of autophagy and that does not matter. What matters is that mutations in human autophagy genes can cause disease. Ohsumi’s research over the last 40 years has shown that autophagy helps protect against inflammation and in diseases like dementia and Parkinsons. The perceived benefits of autophagy are so wide that there are more than 5,000 published studies a year across many fields of interest, including cancer and longevity.
So what is autophagy?
Our bodies rely on a steady energy source from the food we eat. During fasting or starvation, this energy source is switched off and this causes the body the switch energy production to breaking down protein in existing cells. Simply put, autophagy is a process of using energy stored in the body.
More importantly, while in this state of fasting,
our cells destroy viruses and bacteria and eliminate damaged structures.
How Long Do You Have To Fast To Gain Benefits?
It’s not as bad as you might think, so don’t think this is not for you. A large body of research has shown that fasting for just 12 or more hours a day triggers autophagy. Now think about it, you fast every day anyway, that’s why you break your fast every morning. If you had your last meal at 6 pm and then breakfast at 8 am, that would be a 14 hour fast, more than enough for you to get the benefits of autophagy.
Clearly the trick is to make sure you have your evening meal early and no snacking after that. That’s tough for a lot of us, but let’s be honest, its only a habit anyway and habits are easy to break when you are determined.
Here is your reason to be determined.
A large amount of research into autophagy has shown a clear link to reduced inflammation, weight loss, improved brain function and better blood sugar control, the latter being directly linked to diabetes. Studies with Rhesus Monkeys eating only 70% of their normal calorific intake have been shown to live much longer and to be much healthier in old age. Without doubt the huge amount of ongoing studies are only going to expand this list of benefits.
For more on health in general, I recommend you visit www.bluezones.com
For more on autophagy click here
MRI’s often show tissue damage to spinal discs, muscles, cartilage and tendons when no pain is felt.
Now at first glance the above statement might seem woefully wrong or at the very least illogical and confusing. However, it’s true. Understanding your pain more now will improve your quality life both now and into your old age.
Pain can be due to a recent injury or it can be a consequence of aging. Tissues wear with use and time. Thus a footballer is likely to put a lot of wear on his or her knees and is much more likely to suffer arthritic pain, due to heavy loss of the smooth cartilage on the bone ends. But not always.
We have seen scans of knee joints where there is full bone on bone contact with little pain. Yes, a bit of stiffness first thing in the morning or after being stationary for a while, but little pain. In fact, 50% of MRI scans show moderate cartilage loss and yet with zero pain. On the other hand we have witnessed extreme suffering where there was quite a lot of cartilage still intact and functioning.
However, having a scan can help indicate the most appropriate treatment protocol. For example, we had a patient with a destroyed knee joint, but only felt mild discomfort. This indicated that a gentle rehab prescription, plus a change of lifestyle were needed for longevity of the joint.
This modern ability to provide a detailed internal scan can be a cause of pain, as it depends on what is said to the patient to explain the results, as well as how that patient interprets what has been said. The mind is very powerful and can act to ignore pain signals or magnify them.
These scans can also act to promote the need for replacement surgery because an individual may interpret moderate arthritis as a need for replacement, even though the level of pain is low. Further to surgery, research has shown in certain individuals, the brain magnifies the pain post operatively.
Is it the same for all parts of the body?
The simple answer is yes. It doesn’t matter where the problem is, whether it’s in the neck, shoulder, back or hips, there is little correlation between the injury and the level of pain being felt.
- Only 10% of people found having a neck disc bulge suffered pain. 90% had no pain
- The majority of those with disc changes in the lower back suffer no pain
- More than 33% of people over 30 and more than 67% of people over 70 have abnormal MRI findings in the shoulder and suffer no pain
- More than 73% of those found to have abnormalities in the hip had no pain
What is pain & why do we feel it?
Pain is an important signal that warns us something is wrong. For example, lumbar pain might occur because of a trapped nerve, and movement in a certain way causes pain. Thus, we are getting a warning that there is a problem and that certain postures or movements should be avoided so as to give the injury a chance to heal.
Pain signals are sent from the body and then up the spine into the brain. The brain decides how much pain will be felt based on this signal plus many other factors:
- Genetic inheritance
Brain chemistry and thus how signals are fired in the brain are dependent on what you eat.
An MRI scan can’t see any of these factors and this is why it is so important to get a multi disciplinary approach to how you should be treated.
Ref: ‘Wrinkles On The Inside’ Flynn, T; Heafner, J; Hall J. Amazon UK
Our cats are in their twilight years and they are suffering arthritis and all the others problems of old age. Vet visits are getting more frequent as we want to make sure they can enjoy the remainder of their lives as much as possible and with as little pain as possible.
At a recent visit the vet asked us to start giving the cats some olive oil every day, in this case to help their gut. Alan was already taking a spoonful every day, so it prompted us write about it. Hopefully you will read on and maybe it can help you.
Olive oil is extracted from olives and consists of both saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. The main fatty acid is oleic acid, making up about three quarters of the oil volume.
Most of us will have heard about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and its healing properties. Large scale studies have supported this view. For example a study of 841,000 people found that olive oil was the only monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. In another review with 140,000 participants, those who had olive oil were at much lower risk of stroke than those who didn’t.
Studies suggest that this oleic acid reduces inflammation, notably in C-Reactive Protein, an important inflammatory marker. Oleic acid contains vitamins E and K and biologically active anti-aging antioxidants. Chronic inflammation is thought to be a leading driver of many diseases, including heart disease from high cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s. Such problems led to extensive research on the role of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet.
Diabetes Type II
Several studies have linked olive oil to beneficial effects on blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes. A randomised clinical study of 418 healthy people recently confirmed the protective effects of olive oil, where a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of diabetes by over 40%.
Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative condition which leads to the build up of so called beta-amyloid plaques inside the brain cells. One study on mice showed that olive oil can remove these plaques.
A human study indicated that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil benefitted brain function.
Olive oil helps to protect against heart disease in several ways. It lowers inflammation, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidation, improves the lining of your blood vessels and may help prevent excessive blood clotting.
High blood pressure, which is one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease and premature death. Interestingly, olive oil has also been shown to lower blood pressure. In one study, olive oil reduced the need for blood pressure medication by 48%.
Mediterranean countries with olive oil rich diets have a lower risk of some cancers and many researchers believe olive oil may be the reason, but there has been no concrete research as yet to support this. The anti-oxidants in olive oil can reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals, which is believed to be a leading driver of cancer. Many test tube studies have demonstrated that compounds in olive oil can attack cancer cells.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterised by deformed and painful joints. It involves the immune system attacking normal cells by mistake. Olive oil supplements appear to improve inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress in individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
One study of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, in which olive oil was combined with fish oil, showed a significant improvement in hand strength, joint pain and morning stiffness.
A harmful bacterium Helicobacter Pylori lives in your stomach and can cause both stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Test tube studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil fights eight strains of this bacterium, three of which are resistant to antibiotics. A study showed that 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil taken daily, can eliminate Helicobacter Pylori infection in 10% to 40% of people in as little as two weeks.
We have a big fight on our hands to reduce inflammation in COVID victims. Natural remedies such as olive oil might have a role to play.
There have been far too many examples that show some form of benefit to ignore in taking olive oil every day. It’s not some form of miracle cure, no such thing exists. But the smart money would be to add it to your daily diet.
References are available on request for those who wish to delve deeper.