Why its good to exercise gingerly


New York: Eating ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by heavy exercise, new research from the US suggests.

A daily dose of the spice can helo relieve the aches from sport, or even gardening and heavy housework.

An age-old remedy for a variety of ailments including colds and upset stomachs, scientists have long known it has painkilling properties.

But the new research from the University of Georgia confirms that it is particularly good at preventing muscle pain.

Ginger has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in rodents, but its effect on muscle pain in humans has never been properly studied.

It is known to contain chemicals that work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and aspirin.

Previous studies have shown it can be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis.
Professor O’Connor directed two studies in which 34 and 40 volunteers respectively took capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, or a placebo for 11 consecutive days.

On the eighth day they lifted weights to induce moderate muscle injury in the arm. Arm function, inflammation and pain were assessed before the exercise and for three days after. The levels of a chemical involved in feeling pain was also measured before and after.

The studies showed daily ginger intake reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 per cent. Heating the ginger had no effect.

The research, funded by the McCormick Science Institute, will be published in the September issue of The Journal of Pain.

Millions wasted on bad footwear, new survey from Hotter


London: Britons waste millions of pounds on ill-fitting footwear, according to a new survey by YouGov.

The survey commissioned by sassy shoe designer and manufacturer Hotter Shoes questioned the public on their critical shoe choices:

1.How many pairs of shoes do you own that you have only worn once because they were uncomfortable the first time you wore them?

* 67% (two thirds) of men have no shoes in their wardrobe that are uncomfortable

* 75 % (three in four) women have more than one pair of shoes in their wardrobe which they have only worn once because they were uncomfortable first time they wore them, with 3% owning more than 8 pairs of uncomfortable shoes

* 55% (more than half of the UK¡¦s women) have more than 2 pairs of shoes in their wardrobe they¡¦ve only worn once because they were uncomfortable the first time they wore then

* Northern Ireland wastes the most on uncomfortable shoes with 78% having one or more pairs of shoes in their wardrobe which they¡¦ve never been able to wear – compared to the Scotland at 49%

* However 5% of population in Scotland has more than 8 pairs of shoes in their wardrobe they can¡¦t wear because they are uncomfortable

2. How many pairs of shoes do you take on a summer holiday?

* 82% of women take up to 4 pairs on their summer holidays

* 50% men take one or two pairs of shoes on holiday compared with 26% of women

* 61% women take up to three pairs of shoes on holiday

* 33% women pack four or more pairs of shoes for a holiday

* 17% people over 55 take more than 4 pairs of shoes on holiday

* 37% of 18-24 year olds take more than 4 pairs of shoes

3. Approximately how old are the oldest pair of shoes you own?

* 22% of over 45 year olds have a pair of shoe more than 10 years old

* 15% of men and 16% or women have a pair of shoe more than 10 years old

* 42% of 18-24 year olds oldest shoes are less than 2 years old – double the national average (21%)

* 15% of over 45 year olds have a pair of shoe more than 16 years old

* 8 % of over 45 year olds have a pair of shoes more than 20 years old

4. What is most important factor to you when buying shoes?

* 64% of population select shoes as comfort as most important factor (15% price, 11% fashion)

* This first, second and third selection is reflected over all age except 18 to 24 year olds who select fashion first (36%), followed by comfort (33%) and price (17%).

* Biggest advocates of comfort regionally are wales (75%)

* Biggest advocates of selection by price is Northern Ireland at 23% (but still second to comfort at 60%)

5.I am actively seeking out products which are made in Britain to support the UK economy.

Generally in this category people neither agree nor disagree however:

* One in three (32%) of people over 55 believe shoppers should seek out products which are made in Britain to support the UK economy

* Only one in four people are actively seeking products made in Britain to support the UK economy

* Three in four people are not concerned about seeking products made in Britain to support the UK economy ¡V with one in four actively disagreeing that shoppers should change their buying habits.

* 81% of 18-24 year olds are not concerned with seeking products made in Brtain to support the UK economy ¡V with 42% actively disagreeing that shoppers should change their buying habits.

* People in London are most likely to disagree that shoppers should change their habits to buy British(32%), whereas people in Wales are the most patriotic shoppers with one in three (34%) agreeing that people should buy British to support the UK economy.

6.During the credit crunch I would rather give up a night each month that skip on buying new shoes.

* 17% of women would rather buy a new pair of shoes than blow their money on a night out

Free holiday ear protectors from Specsavers


London: Are you fed up with ear painwhen a plane takes off or lands? That’s the sound of permanent damage to your hearing.

Specsavers hearing centres has joined with Elxir to offer ten pairs of hearing protectors worth £15 each.The instant-fit hearing protectors are small and discreet and will protect your ears from the pressure of taking off, landing and background engine noise.

The special acoustic filters in the FlyFit earplugs protect you against excessive ambient noise. During a flight, the unpleasant pressure on the eardrum during landing and takeoff is carefully regulated.

Specsavers also offers custom fit hearing protectors, suited to those regularly working in noisy environments. For more information on these or to locate your nearest Specsavers hearing centre, please visit www.specsavers.co.uk/hearing-centresor call 0808 143 1143.

For your chance to win a set of FlyFit Hearing Protectors please answer the following question, Which famous optical chain also offers a hearing service?

Please email your answer to us at readeroffer@elixirnews.com with “Ear” in the header and your name and address by 31 May 2009. Please note that no cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is fina.

About Specsavers
• Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
• The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their eldest son John is joint managing director
• Specsavers has more than 1,060 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Australia
• Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.05 billion for the financial year 2008/9
• The group plans to continue its successful international expansion by opening stores in New Zealand
• Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
• Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
• Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the seventh year running by Reader’s Digest in 2008
• One in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers Opticians – eight and a half million glasses were sold during 2007
• Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
• Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and will offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations by the end of 2008
• Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Diabetes UK, for whom they have raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
• Since 2003 a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries


Top tips on how to avoid gardening back pain


London: Eight out of ten people in the UK suffer from back pain* and more than half put their aches and pains down to gardening**, according to experts.

And those who suddenly take up gardening as a way of getting exercise*** are most at risk. So the specialist back advice website, www.backadvice.info is offering practical advice and tips on ways to garden your way to better health without letting your back take the strain.

Whether mowing the lawn, planting a flower border or painting the fence, gardening de-stresses the mind and provides a great workout for the whole body to boost all round wellbeing. Gardening can even rival jogging or aerobics as a full-body fitness booster. It works a number of different muscle groups, burns calories – up to 318kcals an hour**** – and incorporates other important elements of accepted exercise regimes, such as stretching, repetition and even resistance training.

But it’s important to remember that gardening can be just as challenging as any other exercise and unless steps are taken to protect the body, different muscles and joints can be put under strain. To help Britons protect their backs, www.backadvice.info has some new handy health commandments that everyone should consider before reaching for the rake:

o Prepare the body – just as you would with any exercise, put a little time aside before and after each gardening session to warm up and cool down. Decide on a regime and make it a habit every time you garden. Lay on your back on the floor with your legs crossed and pull the knees towards the chest with the arms to give the lower back a good stretch

o Keep pace – while the satisfaction of seeing the garden looking pristine may motivate you to spend entire days digging and planting, it’s important not to overdo it. Divide work into manageable loads and spread this over a few days, and remember to take regular breaks – use the time to re-hydrate with sips of water as this too can help stave off back pain!

o Variety is the spice of life – each time you garden, consider rotating tasks so you work the whole body without putting too much strain on one set of muscles. Try five minutes of mowing and then five minutes of weeding

o Ease the strain – change your position regularly to take the pressure off your back. Prolonged activities where your back is bent can weaken the muscles and leave them susceptible to injury – use a mixture of positions such as sitting, crouching, kneeling and standing

o Recovery time – a nice hot bath at the end of the day, can be incredibly relaxing for the muscles (particularly if your back has been exposed to the cold)

A good night’s sleep on a mattress offering full support for the back is also a must. TEMPUR Mattresses offer the body full support, keeping the spine aligned in the anatomically correct position and relieving pressure off of tired muscles and joints

o Heave ho – ensuring you lift correctly – and only as much as you can handle – is key to protecting your back in the garden. If you are lifting something heavy, keep your back straight, bend from your knees and use your legs (never your back!)

Bending from the knees is also an important tip when digging – remember to work the legs more than the back and bending forward from the hips not the waist to keep the back straight

www.backadvice.info is home to a host of practical advice to help individuals manage back pain on a day-to-day basis, whether at home, work or play. The site offers a wealth of information on the causes of back pain, as well as conventional and alternative treatments, preventative measures and exercises to help ease the pain. Osteopath Geoffrey Montague-Smith is available to provide professional guidance and answer any tricky questions you have about your own back pain.

Visit the site at www.backadvice.info . For more information about TEMPUR products, visit www.tempur.co.uk

* www.gnn.gov.uk
** www.news.bbc.co.uk
**** www.eatwell.gov.uk

Notes to editors:
1. ‘Back on Track’ Guide
o A free consumer advice, ‘Back on Track’, to help those with back pain to combat the symptoms is available by calling: 08000 111081 or emailing: backpainadvice@tempur.co.uk

2. About TEMPUR

o TEMPUR Products conform to and support the individual user by evenly distributing body weight

o The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation

o TEMPUR has more than 70,000 medical customers including hospitals, physiotherapists, and medical practitioners

o A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products

o A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher

o TEMPUR Mattress prices start from £675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from £74.95. For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit www.tempur.co.uk

Banish Jet lag with aromatherapy – win an Aroma Therapeutics Travel Kit


London: Designed to take the hassle out of travelling – from long haul trips to short weekend breaks, Aroma Therapeutics Travel Tool Kit is the suitcase essential.

This exclusive treatment package contains a package of indispensable goodies, worth $50 (€40, £36) to help alleviate the stress of long-haul travel including the following:

Relaxer Aroma Candle, Sleep Enhancer Aroma Candle
Sleep Enhancer Spray Concentrate
Recharger Spray Concentrate
Relaxer Bath & Body and Muscle Comforter Bath & Body

Ensure you get to your next destination and back, in stress-free style.
A delay at the airport might leave you feeling run down and lethargic – the answer? Aroma Therapeutics Recharger Spray Concentrate. A powerful blend of: Rosemary, Ginger, Rosewood, Nutmeg and Orange is guaranteed to lift the most weary traveller’s spirit’s. Spray directly onto pulse points and inhale deeply – it’s that simple and it really works.

If you would like to win one of these special travel packages email us at readeroffer@elixirnews.com with your name and address and AROMA in the header – by 31 April 2009. Please note that no cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is final.

Upon arrival, Relaxer Aroma Candle releases a wonderful stress-beating aroma of: Bergamot, Lavender, Marjoram and Vertivert. When you need to unwind, simply light the wick and enjoy a full two soothing hours of burning time.

Before heading back out, be sure to unwind with Relaxer Bath & Body. A few drops added to a warm bath will ensure you’re stress free. Alternatively, soothe away aches and pains with Muscle Comforter Bath & Body. Cooling Peppermint, Lavender, Black Pepperand Birch (a natural painkiller) blend together for instant relief.

Before bed, don’t forget to light Sleep Enhancer “Travel Light” Aroma Candle containing a winning blend of: Petitgrain, Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Galbanum. All you have to do for the sweetest dreams and the best night’s sleep ever – is light the wick and relax (always extinguish before going to sleep).

Finally, spray Aroma Therapeutics’ best-selling Sleep Enhancer Spray Concentrate onto your pillow at night or during a long-haul flight. The effectiveness ratings of this product are so high that for years British Airways has given it to their prized First Class passengers to help them drift off in flight.
Travel Tool Kit £35.85
Sleep Enhancer Spray Concentrate 20ml
Recharger Spray Concentrate 20ml
Relaxer Bath & Bath 10ml
Muscle Comforter Bath & Body 10ml
Mood Enhancer Aroma Travel Candke 10g
Sleep Enhancer Aroma Travel Candle 10g
Aroma Therapeutics are available online from www.aroma.co.uk or phone + 44 (0)1458 831 216

New cannabis-like drugs are better pain killers

London: A new type of drug could alleviate pain in a similar way to cannabis without affecting the brain, according to a new study published in the journal Pain.

The research demonstrates for the first time that cannabinoid receptors called CB2, which can be activated by cannabis use, are present in human sensory nerves in the peripheral nervous system, but are not present in a normal human brain.

Drugs which activate the CB2 receptors are able to block pain by stopping pain signals being transmitted in human sensory nerves, according to the study, led by researchers from Imperial College London.

Previous studies have mainly focused on the other receptor activated by cannabis use, known as CB1, which was believed to be the primary receptor involved in pain relief. However, as CB1 receptors are found in the brain, taking drugs which activate these receptors can lead to side-effects, such as drowsiness, dependence and psychosis, and also
recreational abuse.

The new research indicates that drugs targeting CB2 receptors offer a new way of treating pain in clinical conditions where there are currently few effective or safe treatments, such as chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and pain from nerve damage. It could also provide an alternative treatment for acute pain, such as that experienced following surgical operations.

The new study showed that CB2 receptors work to block pain with a mechanism similar to the one which opiate receptors use when activated by the powerful painkilling drug morphine. They hope that drugs which target CB2 might provide an alternative to morphine, which can have serious side effects such as dependency, nausea and vomiting.

Praveen Anand, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Principal Investigator of the study from the Division of Neurosciences and Mental Health at Imperial College London, said: “Although cannabis is probably best known as an illegal recreational drug, people have used it for medicinal purposes for centuries. Queen Victoria used it in tea to help with her period pains, and people with a variety of conditions say that it helps alleviate their symptoms.

“Our new study is very promising because it suggests that we could alleviate pain by targeting the cannabinoid receptor CB2 without causing the kinds of side-effects we associate with people using cannabis itself.”

The researchers reached their conclusions after studying human sensory nerve cells in culture with CB2 receptor compounds provided by GlaxoSmithKline, and also injured nerves from patients with chronic

The researchers are now planning to conduct clinical trials of drugs which target CB2 in patients with chronic pain at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has integrated with Imperial College London to form the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre.

Background information

1.”Cannabanoid receptor CB2 localisation and agonist-mediated
inhibition of capsaicin responses in human sensory neurons,” Pain, published in print 15 September 2008

Corresponding author: Praveen Anand, Imperial College London (for full list of authors please see paper)

You can download a copy of this paper using this link:

2. Imperial College London – rated the world’s fifth best
university in the 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement University Rankings – is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 12,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment – underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website: www.imperial.ac.uk

Frankincense found to ease arthritis pain

Los Angeles: Francincense contains an extract that may ease the symptoms of oesteoarthritis.

Results of a human trial published in the Journal of Arthritis Research and Therapy compared the extract to a dummy drug in patients with mild to moderate arthritis. Those taking the treatment reported less pain and better mobility after just seven days.

Indian frankincense is the resin which leaks out of the Boswellia Serrata tree and has been used in ancient Hindu medicine for centuries. It comes from a slightly different tree to the biblical frankinsence but this also has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

The research involved randomly giving 70 people a high dose, low dose, or dummy drug each day for 90 days. Their pain and physical function was evaluated before the trial began and at intervals using standard and accepted methods.

The treatment was well tolerated and the authors concluded it was safe.

Lead author Siba Raychaudhuri, a faculty member of the University of California, Davis, in America. According to Raychaudhuri, said: “The high incidence of adverse affects associated with currently available medications has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment.”

The study was funded by Laila Impex Research and Development Centre in India which is connected to Lalia Nutraceuticals which have created the drug and the study authors are consultants for the company.

Free book with tips to counter backpain from the experts at Tempur


Back pain is an increasingly common problem that affects almost 80% of the population at some time in their lives and costs the NHS around £480m a year, making it the number two reason for long-term absence from work in the UK.

In response to the growing number of people now suffering from back pain, TEMPUR, the leading manufacturer of pressure relieving mattresses and pillows – in association with BackCare, the charity for healthier backs – have launched a self-help guide and a new website to provide back pain advice, and practical tips to provide sufferers with relief from back pain.

The new guide – ‘Back on Track’ – addresses the causes of back pain, from medical conditions to lifestyle habits, and the different types of pain. Did you know that stress, your mattress, obesity and even smoking can all trigger or aggravate back pain?

The guide includes details of both conventional and alternative back pain treatmentsand how they work, as well as highlighting preventative measures that can help to reduce the risks of a recurring problem – or even stop people suffering with a back complaint in the first place.

As well as identifying good practice in the work place, the guide includes some simple back exercises that sufferers can try at home, as well as providing practical advice to help individuals manage their condition on a day-to-day basis. Handy tips include how to protect the back in the home and workplace, including posture advice and information about choosing a suitable mattress.

The new website – www.backadvice.info – provides extended, in-depth information and expert back advice from osteopath Geoffrey Montgomery-Smith. It also allows visitors to air their opinions on current back pain topics through regular polls.

BackCare chief executive Nia Taylor commented: “Back pain is one of the most common health conditions in the UK, with 4 out of 5 of us experiencing it at some point in our lifetime. As well as inflicting misery on the lives of those it affects, it is also a key factor for workplace absence making it even more important that reliable help and advice is widely available.”

TEMPUR’s Jacqui Stefanov added: “Back pain really is a 21st Century epidemic, with back pain sufferers accounting for around 80 per cent of TEMPUR customers. TEMPUR is delighted to have joined forces with BackCare to develop this handy guide, which we are sure will help individuals identify and overcome symptoms, as well as helping to prevent problems in the future.”

For FREE copies of ‘Back on Track’, or for more information about TEMPUR Products, telephone 08000 111081,email backpainadvice@tempur.co.uk or visit www.backadvice.info


TEMPUR® Mattresses are made from unique TEMPUR Material, a proprietary, open celled, temperature sensitive material that conforms to and supports the individual user by evenly distributing body weight. The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation.

On conventional mattresses the body needs to adjust during the night. This is due to unrelieved pressure, which restricts blood flow and results in the build up of pressure, causing pain and forcing the body to reposition.
TEMPUR Mattresses, on the other hand, mould to the exact shape and position of the body giving the neck, back, shoulders and feet the comfort and support they need. Pressure is evenly distributed thus reducing pressure points and practically eliminating the need for tossing and turning.

TEMPUR Products are recommended by over 30,000 medical professionals worldwide, and their beneficial properties are supported by clinical research. A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products.

A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher.

TEMPUR Mattress prices start from £675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from £69.95.

For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit www.tempur.co.uk

About BackCare

BackCare is a national charity which works to ensure that people are well educated and informed about the issues surrounding back pain. BackCare has achieved significant successes in the key areas of research, information, education and the development of support services for people living with back pain and has HRH the Prince of Wales as patron. Tel in the UK 0845 130 2704.

Moderate exercise relieves arthritis symptoms


Adults with arthritis tend to be less fit than their peers, but a new study from the University of Carolina has found that moderate exercise increases fitness.

Lead researcher Leigh F. Callahan of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., said the study examined 346 patients with an average age of 70 who had self-reported arthritis.

The participants were divided into an intervention group that took part in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program – exercise classes at basic and advanced levels that met for one hour twice a week for eight weeks – and a control group that was offered the program after eight weeks.

The intervention group completed self-report assessments at three months and six months after completing the program.

The study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, showed that the intervention group had significant improvements in pain, fatigue and managing arthritis at eight weeks, and maintained improvements in pain and fatigue at six months.

Arthritis drug banned from sale in UK and Germany


London: The drug Prexige (lumiracoxib), used to treat osteoarthritic pain has been suspended from sale by health regulators in the UK and Germany over liver damage fears.

Manufacturer, Novartis, is informing regulatory agencies around the world of these changes, which come after similar actions in other countries in recent months.

Novartis will also comply with a request from the Austrian health authority to suspend sales pending a final decision by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), which reviews medicines in the European Union.

Patients taking Prexige in the UK, Germany, and Austria are advised to consult their medical practitioner.

Prexige was precribed as 100 mg once-daily treatment for osteoarthritic pain following EU approval through the Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) in October 2006. Itis also marketed and sold in Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, and Sweden.

Other EU countries may decide to independently suspend the marketing authorization or sale of Prexige ahead of a decision by the CHMP, which is expected in December.

Prexige is part of a class of drugs known as a COX-2 inhibitors and liver enzyme changes are a known side effect of these and traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The ban comes The actions in Europe come after an Urgent Safety Restriction was initiated in August 2007 for the Prexige 100 mg dose. Prexige was first withdrawn in August 2007 in Australia where a number of liver side effects were reported, including two deaths, associated with the use of Prexige at doses higher than 100 mg. No deaths have been reported worldwide with the 100 mg dose.

Get free back health information from the experts


London: How Healthy Is Your Back After National BackCare Awareness Week?

At the end of National BackCare Awareness Week, the Osteopaths at Posture Dynamics have reiterated the importance of keeping your back in tip-top shape the whole year through and highlighted how easy it is to keep your back healthy with just a few changes to your daily routine.

If you missed out on attending any of the nationwide seminars and events held as part of National BackCare Week, Daren Fletcher, the founder of Posture Dynamics recommends a quick refresher course in some of the basics of modern health. “It’s all too easy to get caught up in busy daily lives and forget that we need to make time to ensure our joints and muscles remain supple and active.”

“National BackCare Week was a timely reminder that staying active and exercising regularly plays a significant part in the prevention and management of back pain.”

Integrating the services of Osteopathy, Cranial Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Sports Massage and Pilates, Posture Dynamics have been keeping London’s backs healthy for over a decade.

In order to prevent back pain and manage any existing pains, National BackCare Week drew attention to the huge range of exercise classes and disciplines now widely accessible in the UK.

“Lessons in arts such as Pilates and Yoga may have age-old roots but they can help to treat a very modern problem,” adds Fletcher. “These disciplines of stretching and strengthening exercises help to condition the body’s “core” and are particularly recommended for those who do have problems with sore and aching backs.”

The BackCare Charity for healthier backs also recommended making small changes to the daily office routine. At Posture Dynamics, the osteopaths regularly treat office workers in Kensington, Ealing and Victoria who experience pain and soreness due to the many hours spent at a desk or computer. Embracing the BackCare principle of making small changes, Posture Dynamics advise that even a small non-disruptive action such as standing up while talking on the phone or taking a short walk around the office every hour can relieve tension and make a noticeable difference to overall wellbeing.

For more information about keeping your back healthy, visit www.posturedynamics.co.uk

Laugh your way through back pain, say experts


London: More than eight out of ten Brits have back problems, according to a new survey from the British Osteopathic Association.

The survey, released to coincide with BackCare Awareness Week (8-12 October) and the Back Show (London Olympia 6-7 October) reveals that 83% of all British adults suffer from some form of backache intheir lifetimes, yet despite our underlying fears about its seriousness, we often choose to ignore it.

The causes of these largely debilitating pains are simpler than we may realise. Surprisingly, in 85% of cases, the trigger for the discomfort is everyday, regular activity such as sitting down, driving or shopping. Other causes identified include: carrying children, sex and period pains but in some cases, the catalyst is often unknown.

It also appears to be a common misconception that the rougher and heavier
the activity, the more pain-prone our backs become. Whilst care should be taken to protect the back at all times, the results of the BOA’s investigation suggests that you are eight times more likely to put your back out when walking or running than playing rugby.

Most suffer in silence, with over 61% of all questioned adults either taking a
painkiller to ease the ache, or ignoring it or taking no action at all. Worryingly, only 8.7% of sufferers seek professional help and this, according to Danny Williams, Osteopath and BOA Council member, can be catastrophic.

“If nothing is done, problem areas could lead to osteoarthritis or a weakened area being more prone to future pain. This, in turn, will inevitably be more intense and require longer periods ofrehabilitation,” he says.

However, there are things that we can do in order to help prevent back

• Laughing is one of the best preventative forms of action that we can take. Stress fostered by a modern working environment can lead to the clenching of muscles and tension in the back area. Laughing provides a fantastic antidote to this as it is a great relaxant that promotes apositive, pain free attitude.

• Drinking water also helps as it keeps muscles supple and hydrated.

• Bedtime habits are also something to consider. According to Danny, mattresses should ideally be changed every 5-10 years, depending on their quality. When you lie on your bed and roll into the middle, you know it’s
all over!

Danny warns that popping a pill or turning a blind eye is not only counter-productive, but means that the individual experiences unnecessary suffering: ‘If people try to soldier on, the pain won’t go away. More often than not, with simple mechanical movements, an osteopath can relieve compression and pain with a few treatments, if that.’

He also spoke of a patient whose life had been marred for a five year period due to chronic back pain which was significantly reduced within a matter of visits. ‘In many cases, one treatment can be enough, but if the pain is more serious, such as disc problems, then rehabilitation may take longer.’ Danny adds that whatever the problem an osteopath will prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. ‘An osteopath will tailor exercises and stretches to each patient: what may work for one person might not for another. We can also help manage pain and not just provide a quick fix.’

But the main way our backs stay healthy is through movement. Muscles need oxygen to retain their flexibility. As Danny points out, ‘These days, the pressure of work has become one of the main causes of back pain due to the increased hours that people stay sat at their desk. When muscles stay in the same position for a length of time, they become fatigued, start to lack oxygen and ultimately cause ischemic muscle pain.’ The best thing to do in the office environment is to take ‘movement breaks’ – just getting up to go to the toilet or flicking the kettle on can help. As Danny adds: “Movement is life – why be a stagnant pond when you can be a flowing river?”

Osteopaths will be on hand at The Back Show (Stands 6), London Olympia, from 6-7 October to answer your back pain or osteopathic related questions.

The research was carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,246 UK adults aged 16+between 14 August and 5 September this year.

About the British Osteopathic Association

The British Osteopathic Association is the professional association for osteopaths in the UK, acting as an independent representative body whilst promoting the highest standards of osteopathic education and research. Established in 1998 the BOA is committed to supporting, protecting and caring for its members and promoting opportunities for individual and professional development in osteopathic practice. For more information andto search for an osteopath, visit the website: www.osteopathy.org

Glucosamine kills pain, says new research

London: The natural supplement Glucosamine is just as effective as powerful as painkilling drugs in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, according to new research[1] published today in a leading scientific journal.

Data from the European Guide [2] trial, published today in Arthritis and Rheumatism, reveals that Glucosamine, a naturally occurring amino sugar derived from shellfish, is as efficacious as paracetamol (acetaminophen) in the control of moderately severe OA symptoms and clearly superior when compared to placebo.

Significantly, Glucosamine also raises none of the safety concerns commonly associated with drugs such as Paracetamol, which has been linked to various side effects including liver disease.

The results from the 318 person GUIDE trial were based on multi-centre, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials and led by Prof. Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont, University of Madrid.

For the trial, patients received 1500 mg of Glucosamine, the equivalent to levels in commonly-available supplements such as Seven Seas JointCare Max, which also contains Chondroitin and Cod Liver Oil to relieve painful joints.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP, stated, “This study is extremely exciting and shows there is now powerful academic research demonstrating that the natural supplement Glucosamine is as effective as painkillers like paracetamol in managing OA. In addition, Glucosamine is very important when treating OA as it is one of the few products that can be used in association with other pain medications.”

Professor Olivier Bruyere, of the University of Liège in Belgium, and a world authority on the efficacy of Glucosamine stated, “The results of this study support existing research and highlight the importance of Glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis. There is no doubt that Glucosamine has proved its worth in the treatment of this debilitating condition.”

This new evidence adds increasing weight to the argument for natural supplements to be used in the maintenance of healthy joints. In 2004, the results from the 1258 person GAIT trial[3], also a multi-centre, placebo-controlled double blind trial showed that 79% of patients who took the combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin, experienced relief from the pain caused by osteoarthritis, compared to 69% of those who took the prescription drug, celecoxib (Celebrex).

Seven Seas JointCare is a range of natural, evidence-based Glucosamine health supplements, to help provide the essential elements that the body needs to maintain healthy joints and connective tissue. In particular, Seven Seas JointCare Max combines 1500mg of Glucosamine sulphate, the dose used in the GUIDE trial, with maximum strength Cod Liver Oil. In addition, the range also includes Seven Seas JointCare Projoint Formula, and JointCare Glucosamine plus Chondroitin, which combines Glucosamine with chondroitin as in the GAIT trial, along with Cod Liver Oil (Omega-3s).

Reflexology (UK) – Liz Walters MAR

Liz Walters MAR
18a Fillebrook Avenue, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 3BB
Mobile: 07970 134174
Qualified and Fully Insured Practitioner of Reflexology; ABC Diploma Level 3 in Reflexology; Member of the Association of Reflexologists (AoR); Central London (Central London School of Reflexology, Covent Garden, London WC1)
Travels to:
 Middlesex (including Enfield, Winchmore Hill)
 Haringay (Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Harringay)
 Hertfordshire (within the M25)
Prices:Start from £35.00

Treatment Sessions: The initial session lasts for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes; Follow up sessions last for approximately 1 hour. Includes Relaxational Reflexology

Relaxational Reflexology is ideal for relieving Stress and Fatigue and lifting Depression. It provides a chance to pamper yourself and indulge in some ‘YOU’ time and to relax both the Mind and the Body. Also great for Pre Wedding nerves – Pamper Parties – Hen Do’s!
Clinical Reflexology

Clinical Reflexology is used for more specific physical ailments and problems such as:-

 Headaches & Migraine
 Hormonal & Menstrual Problems
 Infertility
 Sleep Disorders
 Digestive Disorders
 Circulatory Imbalances
 Stress & Depression
 Asthma
 High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Smoking makes osteo-arthritis worse

Rochester: Smokers risk more painful and progressive osteoarthritis, according to new research carried out by the Mayo Clinic in the US.

In a new study to be published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 159 men who had osteoarthritis of the knees were monitored for up to 30 months. The affected knees were scanned and the severity of pain scored. The men were monitored and again at 15 and 30 months.

Of the total, 12% (19) were active smokers at the start of the study. They smoked an average of 20 cigarettes a day and had done so for around 40 years.

Smokers tended to be younger and thinner, both factors that normally protect against osteoarthritis.

But the smokers were more than twice as likely to have a significant degree of cartilage loss compared with the non-smokers. Cartilage is the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at the joint.

Smokers were also significantly more likely to report greater pain severity.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition, which commonly affects the knees and fingers. Knee osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability among elderly people.

The authors suggest that smoking may alter the pain threshold. It also increases the levels of toxic substances in the blood and starves tissues of oxygen, which may hasten the loss of cartilage.

Scientists develop plaster to treat common skin cancers

British scientists have developed a plaster that treats skin cancer.

The patch emits a photodynamic ight, similar to that already in use to treat skin cancers, and is powered by a battery. The light is used to stimulate an anti-cancer cream on the skin.

The treatment allows a patient to be treated without spending hours in a hospital.

Professor Ifor Samuel of the Universityof St Andrews is one of the scientists who developed the patch.

The technology could also be used to deliver other treatments for conditions such as acne and also for cosmetic treatments.

Acupuncture helps back pain, two reports confirm

York:Acupuncture relieves low back pain and is cost-effective, according to two new studies carried out in the UK.

In the UK, an estimated 16% of the adult population consult their general practitioner for help with back pain in a 12-month period. The annual cost of lower back pain to the NHS has been estimated at £480 million (€703million; $901million) and the burden of lower back pain is estimated at over £10 billion per year in terms of lost productivity and sickness benefits. The full reports can be viewed at www.bmj.com

Acupuncture is used by an estimated 2% of adults each year for a range of conditions, including back pain. But the evidence is largely inconclusive and the best way to manage low back pain remains unclear.

So, researchers identified 241 adults aged 18 to 65 with persistent non-specific low back pain. The people were provided by members of the British Acupuncture Council. Patients were randomly assigned to either usual NHS care or up to 10 acupuncture treatment sessions. All patients remained under GP care.

Pain levels were measured at intervals during the two-year study period. Satisfaction with treatment and use of pain medication were also recorded.

At 12 months, patients in the acupuncture group showed a small benefit in pain scores compared to patients receiving usual care. Stronger evidence was observed for an increased benefit at 24 months.

At three months, patients in the acupuncture group were significantly more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their treatment compared with usual care, and with their overall care, but showed no such difference in satisfaction with information received.

At 24 months, the acupuncture group were more likely to report reduced worry about their back pain, less likely to report current use of pain medication for their back, and more likely to report no pain for the past 12 months.

Although the differences in pain scores between groups were small, they represent a clinically worthwhile benefit and can be viewed as a ‘moderate’ effect, say the authors.

Further research is needed to investigate the optimum timing for such an acupuncture treatment package, and to assess the value of repeated courses of acupuncture for patients experiencing recurrent episodes of low back pain, they conclude.

In a separate paper, the same researchers looked at the cost effectiveness of acupuncture for lower back pain. Costs were measured from both an NHS and a societal perspective, and effectiveness was measured in terms of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained.

They found that total NHS costs during the two-year study period were higher on average for the acupuncture group (£460; €673; $859) than for the usual care group (£345; €506; $644).

However, the cost per QALY gained was £4,241 (€6,223; $7,921). This is well below the lower threshold of £20,000 used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to decide whether the NHS can afford to pay for a health technology.

A short course of traditional acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain in primary care confers a modest health benefit measured in QALYs for a relatively minor extra NHS cost relative to usual care, say the authors. The use of acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain therefore appears to be cost-effective in the longer term.

Jelly supports damaged discs to fight back pain

An injection of a jelly-like substance into damaged spinal discs could cure back pain for many sufferers.

A trial taking place in the US and Europe, in which patients with disc problems are injected with a liquid that becomes a jelly in the disc, restoring function in the early stages of degenertive problems. The treatments means it is less likely patients will need surgery in future and the spine is likely to remain more flexible.

At the moment disc back pain is treated with painkillers, physiotherapy and surgery where the disc is removed and a bone graft inserted, but this may lead to spinal stiffness.

This new treatment can be used alongside what is known as microdiscectomy operation, in which the soft inner core of the disc is removed to reduce pressure on the surrounding nerves. The new material then injected into the space created when the old filling is surgically removed from the disc.

More information at www.spinewave.com

Lasers helpful in pain relief

Sydney: Scientists have discovered that low level laser can help patients with chronic neck pain.

In a trial, published in the International Association for the Study of Pain, a low level laser was used on 90 patients with chronic neck pain. They were treated by reserachers at the University of Sydney, over a period of seven weeks with a course of 14 treatments or a placebo laser.

At the end of the trial the results revealed that pain had decreased in the treated group. Doctors are not sure how the laser lessened pain but have theorised that it may increase the release of the harmony hormone serotonin or stimulate the body’s own pain fighters.


Highly-concentrated oils from spices and plants are combined with a carrier oil usually almond, and used to massage or inhaled to give relief from all kinds of ailments from coughs and colds to stress and breathing problems, as well as chronic fatigue, back pain and menstral complaints.

The essential oils, usually in a combination, are massaged into the body with light strokes or inhaled in steam, depending on the condition to be treated. The oils are absorbed by the body and enter the bloodstream – which is why pregnant woman and anyone with diabetes, epilepsy and heart problems should consult their doctor prior to any treatment. Each oil may have several therapeutic uses. For instance lavender and thyme can be combined to reduce inflammation:lemon oil is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. See guide to oils.


The International Society of professional Aromatherapists
82 Ashby Road
Leicestershire LE1U 1SN. UK
Tel: ++ 44(0)1455 637987
email: admin@ifparoma.org

Also Aromatherapy Council
PO Box 355
Croydon, Surrey CR9 2PQ. UK.
Te: ++44 (0)20 8251 7912