Eight Energy Boosters

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about energy boosters. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website www.sloansw.com

Psychology, physiology and physical fitness affect our moods, wellbeing and the way others perceive us. In modern day life the majority of us live in the fast lane constantly striving for bigger and better. This stimulates our body to release adrenalin putting our systems in a “fight or flight” response throughout the day, however such excess adrenalin has no real outlet as our modern day lives exist on perceived stressors and not actual ones. This means that each and every day our adaptations to stress result in exhaustion and, if we are not careful, burn out.

If you are feeling fatigued and want to add a little zest back into your life, follow these eight tips to increase your energy as indicated below.

1. Create a gratitude journal

It is very easy to forget how much we have focusing mainly on the pressures and negatives of our daily lives rather than on the positives that we will more often than not take for granted. Whether you wish to fill your gratitude journal with anecdotes from your family life, time spent by yourself, the start of summer, a song you heard on the radio or the fact you have food in the fridge, just take a moment either at the beginning or end of the day to write five things that you are either grateful for or that made you smile today. This will help you get a good perspective on your life and help focus your subconscious towards the positive and therefore attracting more of the same.

2. Take a break

Modern day living results in many of us either sitting at desks, computers or even enduring long commutes which in turn decreases our nervous system function and accelerates the risks to our health. Take time out if possible every 30 minutes to either stand up and stretch or walk to the water cooler and grab a drink or get out of the car to get a minute of fresh air. These pattern interrupts not only change your psychology but by altering your position will also change your physiology and decrease the risk of stress on your spinal joints and skeletal structures.

3. Do more exercise

Once you have mastered taking time out to alter your position every 30 minutes, go that one step further and increase the amount of exercise in your daily routine. If your lifestyle is somewhat sedentary, try walking up to 30 minutes a day preferably in the morning as it fires up your brain and stimulates your body. If you’re already a gym goer, try to vary your routine and remember to smile as you work out as this too changes your physiology and in turn will increase your energy.

4. Read a good book

In our modern day society many fiction books are filled with horror, violence, science fiction and the likes and although maybe good escape often do not contain valuable insight to steer you through the ever winding road to a successful life. So pick up a book whether it is on wellbeing or even healthy recipes and take the time out to allow it to inspire you to make that change in your life for the better.

5. Turn off the TV and computer

Now you’ve added another book into your routine, we need to make time for it. In England alone researchers say that both TV and social networks allow us to hide behind technology rather than circulating and connecting with the world on a face-to-face basis. It has been shown that this actual results in brain cell death and therefore on your road to increasing your energy and vitality, not only should you limit your TV and computer time throughout the day, I suggest based on the myriad of research I have read that you avoid both TV and computers for at least an hour before you go to bed. If you are too tired to read the book mentioned in point 4 then try to listen to relaxing music or even try meditating.

6. Have one hour of “Me Time”

Take one hour out at least once a week to do something just for you. Girls, you may wish to run a bubble bath, pamper yourself with bath bombs, face masks, mani-pedi’s accompanied by a small glass of champagne. Men, you may also wish to do this alternatively there is no harm in the stereotypical watching and/or playing of sport, computer games and or building something from scratch. Whatever makes you happy and increases your endorphin level should dictate how you spend this hour of your time. This hour will act as a powerful mood enhancer providing you with enough energy for the week ahead.

7. Eat healthy

As summer approaches so does a myriad of tantalising and tasty array of fruits and vegetables appear on our supermarket shelves as they come into season. These include strawberries, raspberries, nectarines and cherries to name but a few. With an increase in fresh and raw foods your body will thank you for the additional supply of enzymes it needs to not only help you look younger and more radiant but also to increase your vitality levels giving you an added boost for the day ahead. As you eat more of these fruits high in antioxidants, if you want added impact then avoid white refined foods such as bread, pasta, rice, cakes, pastries and any other processed foods. To be a triple threat to any fatigue or exhaustion trying to overtake your system, you can also add a high quality probiotic capsule into your diet to kick exhaustion to the curb.

8. Attract that which you desire

Get motivated to change one important thing in your life – be this to find your perfect partner, get promoted at work or buy the house you’ve always dreamed of. Take a sheet of A3 paper and write where you are on the left hand side then write where you want to be on the right hand side. Then take the next 5 to 10 minutes to brainstorm in no particular order all the things you need to achieve or execute in order to get to your desired goal. Put all these points down on your A3 piece of paper then link them together in the order necessary to get your desired outcome. Now fold this piece of paper away and put it somewhere safe, knowing you’ve already triggered off your reticular activating system and your subconscious into seeking out the opportunities you require to make that which you desire and deserve come true. Having faith in this process and letting go of the outcome will not only enable you to enjoy the journey, providing you energy along the way, but also reap the benefits when your desired outcome is attained.

Good luck on your journey. I wish you every health, happiness and energy as you complete your eight steps to the energetic life that excites and empowers you.

Image reproduced from fanpop.com

Easy Treats to Prepare for Any Occasion

Let’s say you’ve been sprung with a surprise visit from family, or some friends have invited themselves over for the football. You’re going to want to prepare some easy treats for you all to snack on while you catch up. If you need even more ideas, particularly for seasonal parties in the holidays, summer gatherings or Halloween-themed events, take a look at www.kraftrecipes.com.

Rice Krispie cakes

These are simple-to-make snacks that are always a hit with the kids.


  • 2oz unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 large bar of milk chocolate
  • 3oz Rice Krispies


Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the butter until that’s melted too and combined well with the chocolate. Add your golden syrup then take the bowl off the heat.

Then you can add your Rice Krispies. Stir these in gently.

Spoon your mixture into bun cases – this should make around 12 – and leave them to cool. The chocolate will set and you’ll be left with delicious treats for your gathering.

Gingerbread men

Gingerbread dough is so easy to make – you can choose to make round cookies or to make gingerbread men that the kids can help to decorate.


  • 12oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 ½ oz butter
  • 6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup


Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices together into the bowl of a food processor. Then add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar.

Lightly beat your egg and golden syrup together then add to the food processor and pulse until it all combines to form a smooth dough.

Tip the dough out and knead for a minute to soften it before you cover it with clear wrap and leave it to chill in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Roll out the dough to your preferred thickness on a floured surface then begin to cut out your gingerbread men. Place the shapes on your baking trays. Make sure to leave a gap between them.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden-brown. Leave them on the tray to cool for around 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once they’re cooled you (or the kids) can decorate them with writing icing.

No cook ideas

If you’re struck for time and don’t want to cook, it’s easy to rustle up some treats without going near an oven. Why not make your own trail mix by mixing nuts, raisins and M&Ms? Or you could prepare a simple fruit salad with some flavored yogurt to go with it.

You could also whip up a quick batch of vegetable soup or serve some baked potatoes if you need a savory element.

Medical Problems That Come With Age

With age comes wisdom. However, with age also come ailments and diseases. These ailments are called geriatric diseases or geriatric syndromes. Geriatric syndromes are medical ailments common to most older adults. These medical problems are often related to one another and may have more than one cause. Some are relatively minor unless they are present simultaneously and contribute to one another, which results to geriatric care becoming more complicated. Some are major ailments and are more difficult to cure or manage.

Minor Ailments of Older Adults

Some of the most common medical problems that come with old age are hearing and vision problems. Hearing loss is the most common, with one-third of 65-74-year-old Americans suffering from it. Vision problems include cataracts, glaucoma, and near-sightedness. This is especially dangerous as vision degeneration may lead to accidental falls and stumbles. Urinary incontinence is also a common ailment which can be ascribed to causes like urinary tract infection, an overactive bladder muscle, diabetes, and medication side effects. To avoid accidents, adult diapers may be bought online, or in any major drugstore or supermarket. Some older adults also experience sleeping problems including insomnia and sleep apnea. Some factors affecting sleep may include anxiety, stress, certain medications, and dementia. It is best to have the symptoms checked to be able to diagnose the cause properly. Another common ailment is arthritis. This medical condition affects the joints of the body, causing pain and discomfort.

Major Diseases

Some geriatric diseases are more serious than others. One of the more debilitating ones is dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. It causes severe memory loss and affects the cognitive function of older adults. It can lead to further symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, as well as depression and sudden emotional outbursts. Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells of the body leading to loss of muscle control. It is a neurological disorder present in older adults ages 60 and above.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. Some of the most common heart diseases are cardiac arrest, heart attack, peripheral artery disease, and high blood pressure. Cancers are prevalent in older people, with over 1.5 million cases each year being reported. Cancer affects several parts of the body, leading to different variations including lung cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer, among a hundred others. It is disease which affects the cells of the body and causes them to grow at an abnormally fast rate and invade all the other parts of the body. Diabetes presents as abnormally high glucose levels in the blood caused by improper use or secretion of insulin, a vital hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is useful in converting sugar into energy. There are three types of diabetes. Most patients with diabetes develop Diabetes Type 2 with symptoms such as wounds that heal slowly, blurred vision, frequent urination, and weight loss.

As with any ailment or disease, it is best to consult the doctor as soon as the symptoms are present. Prevention is always better than cure. A healthy lifestyle can help avoid these difficulties in later life.




Meridian Psychology: Emotional and Mental Wellbeing – Part 2

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about Meridian Psychology in the second of her two part series. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Continuing on from Part 1 on meridian psychology the following article looks at emotion and mental well being and neurovascular holding points for the reduction of anxiety. If you are interested in Meridian Psychology, do check out the first article in this series which looks at what meridians are and how meridian tracing works.

Emotional and Mental Balancing

Emotional and Mental balancing is best controlled or influenced by the acupressure point for psychological reversal, as such neuro-vascular point stimulation is a valuable treatment for emotional stress.

As we have seen in my previous articles psychological reversal is when the subconscious mind does not perform as the conscious mind requires. For example a client who says they want to lose weight or stop smoking but no matter how hard they try they continue failing in the attainment of their goal. Such a client who says they want to lose weight is likely to have a secondary gain embedded in their subconscious that prevents them from carrying out their conscious will. This could be all manner of unhelpful belief systems from the love of food to the belief that losing weight will harm them in some way.

Psychological reversal is foremost on my mind when a client comes to me presenting with stories of repeated failure in achieving a goal. I often use further counselling or ‘Asking the Body’ to reveal the cause, but the correction technique is both quick and simple. There are many different forms, some energy psychologies such as EFT (as I have addressed in other articles on City Connect) use the “Set-Up Protocol” which refers to the process by which the psychological reversal is solved. It consists of finding one’s sore spot (most likely found on the right or left side of the chest). This point is a pressure point/reflex on the lymphatic system. The sorer the spot is an indication of how strong the PR. Once found we make an opening statement that resonates such as ‘I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself’ Once the set up point has been calibrated the 12 step tapping routing can commence. Then completing with the 9 step Gamut Routine. For more information please see my other articles on Energy Therapies.

Other forms of energy psychology such as kinesiology remedies as seen in more detail that emotional and mental well being lie in the tapping the acupuncture point SI3 (Small Intestine 3) on the outside edge of the hand near the crease as can be seen when you make a fist. Just as in EFT, The practitioner taps the point in question very rapidly i.e on both of the subject’s hands;  a good gauge for speed is approximately 3 times per second for 20 seconds. While doing this the subject repeats a positive statement  “I completely love and accept myself the way I am”.  The idea here is to change energy patterns in the meridian thereby releasing negativity.  Re-testing should then show a strong IM muscle to the stated goal.

However the meridian psychology subject of neuro-vascular points is the one I would like to address as what I find as one of the most helpful procedures in reducing anxiety levels, so much so a lot of us do it naturally.

Neuro-Vascular Holding Points

In the 1930’s Dr. Terrance Bennett, a chiropracter, discovered points on the head which seem to influence blood flow to the organs and tissues.  He found that he was able to watch the internal effects of holding these points using radio-opaque dye and a moving x-ray machine called a fluoroscope.  The points observed  became known as neuro-vascular reflexes and later the location and function of these points was discovered.

It has been shown that neuro-vascular points are activated by a very light touch with the pads of the fingers which only need to lightly make contact with the points, slightly stretch the skin and be held there.

Holding these neurovascular points has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, and can be used to reprogram our emotional responses to stress and trauma. When we get overwhelmed, we commonly put our hands to our forehead, when we do this we are using the electromagnetic energy in our hand to pull the blood back into the frontal lobes of our brain, taking it from the more primal area that is activated when you are stressed out or overwhelmed. We often keep our hands there until we feel better. The longer you hold her points the more the stress will fade. Some people often repeat the story of concern in their head while holding the neurovascular points to change their emotional habits or responses and thereby training the mind not to react stressfully to the situation.

Overall hopefully this 2 part series has opened you up to a world of meridian psychology and inspired you to read around the subject. A few articles can not do this subject justice. I have only highlighted a small part in essence to show you, the reader, a deeper understanding of meridians, their tracing, the effect of certain treatments on it and the ability to get balance in the form of mind and body. I look forward to any of your comments, alternatively do use the Q+A page for further questions.

Image reproduced from cynthiarevesz.com and backintoit.com

Film Review: Robocop 2014

Robocop 2014
Robocop 2014 is a remake of the 1987 film, where Peter Weller played the title role. It was directed by Paul Verhoeven

This new take on the tale is directed by José Padilha. With Joel Kinnaman’s turn to play the cyborg cop.

There are quite a few differences in the story but a fair bit has stayed the same too. Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is nearly killed by a car bomb, planted to take him out. He was closing in on the corrupt network of police officers dealing with a local gun merchant Antoine Vallon.

Dr Dennett Norton selects Alex to become the cyborg Robocop, after the first few selections were unsatisfactory. Norton has been asked by Raymond Sellars head of Omnicorp to make a cyborg, as he cannot yet put a complete robot model on American soil. An act being upheld by the Senate denying fully AI robots for deployment.

After a few possible are selected they are not ‘desirable’ enough for Sellars to proceed. Interim Alex’s planted car bomb goes off, he is badly injured and might die. He gets the attention of Dr Norton who thinks he is a good match for the cyborg program.

His wife must agree to the procedure or watch him die. So she accepts the operation. The only things left of Alex is his hand, lungs and head. One eye has a computer chip. As he’s mostly robotic, the term Robocop is apt.

This movie was simply great for me. It has emotion, depth and politics. All very intriguing. Joel Kinnaman was great, playing Alex as a person and as a robot, you saw the change. Can the man remain inside the machine? Can his humanity survive or will the computers override him?

Michael Keaton did an impressive turn has the villainous head of OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars , he made me think at times – was he the real villain? Where did the good intentions go wrong? Do heads of companies do what they do for improvement or money? Are they tied to what, we as consumers, will buy? Are they forced into dark decisions because they need to match a product to demand?

It isn’t long before Robocop is called to bring the people who tried to kill him to justice. More twists and turns ensure this is not boring. A fabulous movie. A reboot that brings new dimensions to the franchise rather than alter everything because it’s ‘new’.

I know a lot of people may not like the human emotion scenes being played out or that Robocop has a lot of interaction with his wife and son; which I don’t think those were present in the original. But I felt they made him more of a 3D character.

A well deserved 9/10 from me.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from CBMTrailers

Coping With IBS

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about IBS. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Although digestive health has become less taboo with the introduction of TV shows such as Embarrassing Bodies and TV adverts such as Activia with Martine McCutcheon, many of us are still embarrassed to talk about our digestive complaints. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects nearly 1 in 4 people in the Western world and is three times as common in females than males, yet many of us still do not understand it.

IBS is a catch-all name used to describe digestive complaints with one or more of the following symptoms: bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea, flatulence, headaches, nausea, constipation, cramps, anxiety and even depression.

There are three well-known causes for IBS, the most commonly discussed are food intolerances however an equally important trigger is high levels of stress and the most overlooked contributor is parasites. As the symptoms of IBS are very generalised it is important that before trying out any of these natural remedies you consult your GP first to make sure there isn’t an underlying condition that may need treatment through more conventional methods.

For those of you who believe diet and food intolerance is the cause of your IBS please see below for a bullet point cheat sheet of what to eat and what to avoid.

Fill your storecupboard with:

  • Millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice cakes, lentils
  • Buckwheat or rice pasta and/or noodles
  • Rice, almond or soya milk
  • Lean poultry and meats
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Peppermint, fennel, nettle, chamomile teas
  • Low sugar diluted apple, pear or pineapple juice
  • Pickled ginger and wasabi (as seen in sushi)
  • Nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin, sunflower and chesnuts)
  • Vegetable and/or fish based soups
  • Probiotic yoghurt
  • Aloe vera juice

Things to bin:

  • Refined carbohydrates (flour, wheat, white bread, yeast etc.)
  • Refined sugars
  • All dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Citrus fruits
  • High tyramine foods e.g. cheese, port, red wine, beef and liver
  • All processed food

These lists are just a guideline, for all you S (sensory) types, the lists are not prescriptive and you may find it useful to keep a food journal slowly re-introducing foods you enjoy to see how they affect you. The human body is complex and therefore many of you will be able to introduce some of these items back into your diet in time. For you N (intuitive) types, to see proper results you will need to stick to this list for at least 7 to 14 days so do make sure you attempt such at a time when your stresses are at their lowest.

Whether food is a factor or not, much research has shown that stress is a major contributor in most gut problems. In most anxiety-induced situations our body goes into the “fight or flight” response which in lay terms means our digestive processes shut down and therefore our digestive juices are not in the right quantity to carry out the functions required. This leaves partially digested food particles in our gut and these particles cause irritation. To help combat this, I have a few suggestions as bullet pointed below:

  • To ensure your food is thoroughly digested, make sure you chew each mouthful 20 times as this produces the digestive enzymes needed that are often inhibited by stress
  • Consider eating more alkaline foods or using an alkalising filter as this allows your gut to work in optimal conditions
  • Use oil of peppermint either as a massage oil or as a peppermint tea to further aid digestion
  • Increase your exercise (not directly after eating) as this in general will help regulate bowel function

If you are in a situation where the external stressors are too much to overcome on your own then I suggest either talking to a close friend that you trust to help lighten your load or, if that is not applicable, a therapist or counsellor should be able to give you productive coping strategies to deal with your unique situation.

As a clinical hypnotherapist myself, I have seen many clients for stress-related issues of which over 50% had some gut or eating disorder. Hypnosis is an extremely successful tool in combating IBS whether one uses visualisations, parts therapy, relaxation techniques or neuro-linguistic anchorings and suggestions. I personally have had 100% success using hypnosis to aid IBS symptoms for those patients who it was wholly produced by stress. If you think this is the cause of your IBS, do look into hypnotherapy as an option but please make sure your therapist is not only registered but has trained in clinical hypnosis or has at least taken the IBS course in hypnosis.

For the last category of IBS sufferers where you may have been at risk of parasite infection, do check out the website www.smartnutrition.co.uk as they can test for levels of bacteria (good and bad), candida and a whole host of other parasites.

Those of you who want a more in-depth analysis of food that can aid in IBS look no further than The Intolerable Food Co. which can be found at www.intolerablefood.com. Sue Widdecombe, who founded the company, is a chef who fought through her own food intolerances and has now brought ready meals created by herself to local farms and other delicatessens nationwide.

Images reproduced from statistik.tu-dortmund.de and ayurvedicdietsolutions.com

Film Review: I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein
I, Frankstein was very confusing for me. It begins as usual with a man making a monster. Frankenstein was one of my favourite monsters. Where the movie went off the rails was when Frankenstein becomes some sort of monster shooter! Man with a mission type thing.

It starts well, in the Victorian era Dr Victor Frankstein (Aden Young) crates a hideous monster. He’s so hideous that Victor rejects him. The monster goes wild and kills Victor’s wife in direct revenge.

This is where the film goes pear shaped for me, Victor chases his creation to the North Pole and dies from the cold. Now the monster is set upon by demons and such but rescued and taken to the gargoyle underworld to become one of them. He says no and leaves but is given a gun to shoot any demons that trouble him.

This was not Frankenstein for me, but some sort of weird Call of Duty expansion pack. It made no sense and why the director thought this was a great idea is beyond me. Rather like Abraham Lincoln being some sort of vampire slayer. Hmm, just doesn’t work for me.

You don’t monkey with history. Since when did Frankstein have guns? What on Earth were the other creatures in it for? It was like walking into an alternate world and you went running back to where you came from. Compared to this movie, England under David Cameron isn’t really that bad!

The money was wasted on this film. A better script might have done something. Though the monster was played by Aaron Eckhart (Two Face -The Dark Knight), he was unable to save the film. It was horrendous as it suffered a lack of information and sensibility, I was sat stunned by the turn of events. To paraphrase Victor Meldrew; I don’t believe it! Frankenstein a gun runner??? He’s not supposed to be Blade.

Frankstein for me is about a monster bred for perfection but rejected because he isn’t perfect. Left to his own sad fate. He’ll always be a monster. You can’t put guns in and think this is going to be great. It’s not a shoot ’em up. It’s Frankenstein. I had such trouble getting my head around this twist in the tale.

And just what was giving him a name like Adam about? Adam? A monster called Adam? I just lost the plot and gave up trying to work it all out. Gun runners on Frankenstein. I just could not believe what I was seeing. That would be like watching some take on Batman with no gadgets or Batmobile. Professor Snape from Harry Potter, hugging Harry and saying he was the best student in Hogwarts! Star Trek with no spaceships! Would you pay to see that? Hopefully like me you would not.

I was too stunned to give a mark at first. I really didn’t know what to give it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. So maybe something in the middle like 5/10. The effects were good and the cast did try.

Next time there’s a Frankenstein movie, I just hope they WATCH a Frankenstein film. It appears there’s too many video game players in the movie business and this is why you end up with results such as this. Poor Frankenstein. (And no I will not call him Adam!)

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com

Trailer reproduced from MOVIECLIPS Trailers

Meridian Psychology: Emotional and Mental Wellbeing – Part 1

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about Meridian Psychology in the first of a two part series. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Continuing on from my current discussions on energy therapies, with this article I am pleased to take you through Complementary Therapies amongst other things with the following emphasis on Meridians, Meridian Tracing, Emotional and Mental well-balance and Neurovascular Holding Points in this 2 part series.

For those not acquainted with Meridian Psychology, meridians are channels through which vital energy (life force) circulates round the body/lie. There are specific points called acupuncture points where the flow of C’hi travels where C’hi is the life force energy that exists in everything. In its purest form it is light and in its densest form it is granite. C’hi flows across the body via meridian pathways and can be balanced by either sedating or stimulating meridian points.  There are 12 major meridians each flowing through specific organs, glands and tissues. Such a system is closely linked to the Central Nervous System. Al meridians are classified as either Yin or Yang depending on direction of flow. Yin refers to that which is dark, cool, moist, soft, receptive, feminine, passive and sinking. Often referred to as the dark negative female principle in Chinese dualistic cosmology. Whereas Yang corresponds to that which is light, hot, dry, active, masculine, positive and rising. Often referred to as the bright positive masculine principle in Chinese dualistic cosmology. Yin and Yang are said to balance one another.

Such energy psychologies focus mainly on balance and harmony by avoiding energy disruptions in the  system.  It has been shown that body consciousness and brain consciousness mutually inform and condition each other harmonising brain to body. In turn the balancing of the meridian system affects the body’s central nervous system as both systems are closely linked.

There are two main types of meridian therapy that apply here Acupressure and meridian tracing.  Acupressure is a gentle method of placing pressure along the meridian to sense soreness or discomfort. This, in turn, relates to which organ is experiencing a problem. For example, if the organ is diseased, most points along that meridian will be sensitive. I have not addressed this in more detail as I would like to concentrate on meridian tracing as there is less information around about it.

Meridian Tracing

Meridian therapy as discussed above can also be done by tracing the meridians. This can be carried out several times a day and does not require actual touching. It can even be done by holding the hands close to the body or through clothing. Meridian therapy is extremely versatile and can also done by mentally tracing an energy meridian through awareness and controlled breathing. This typically requires a greater depth of experience and understanding of meridian points and energy fields.

It can be done in many forms for example, magnets may also be used for tracing meridians. One can move the appropriate pole of a magnet close to the skin along a meridian. The benefit of this is that is has a much stronger balancing effect than using your fingers. It also has a dual function as for strengthening one can use the north-pointing pole and for sedating use the south-pointing pole can be used by keeping that end in contact with the skin.

With muscle testing the practitioner can often detect a strong preference of a meridian for one of the magnetic poles. This in turn can be used to diagnose the condition of the associated organ (if weak or inflamed). If muscle testing is not possible or successful, use the south-pointing pole on the body side that shows more inflammation or more tender acupressure-points; the practitioner then traces the opposite meridian with the north-pointing pole. Some clients feel immediately which pole and direction of tracing is beneficial, while the opposite pole and direction may feel unpleasant. The most powerful sedating and pain-relieving effect and the one most commonly used by practitioners is the south-pointing pole traced against the meridian flow.

The tracing of meridians associated with painful conditions 20-50 times has sometimes provided almost immediate relief from pain, while similar quick results have sometimes been achieved using the north-pointing pole for improving the mobility of impaired limbs.

For those who do not have magnets handy or wish another form of tracing, mental tracing is also an effective means of treatment achieved simply by tracing a meridian mentally – i.e moving the awareness along the meridian. In some cases I have asked clients to imagine a warm or orange energy stream moving in the normal flow direction for stimulation, while other clients I have asked to imagine a cool or blue stream moving either in the normal direction or against it for sedation.

For more information on meridian psychology, please see part 2 of this series where we continue to look at emotion and mental well being and neurovascular holding points for the reduction of anxiety.

Image reproduced by traffordhousingtrust.co.uk

Film Review: The Railway Man

The Railway Man
The Railway Man was a very good movie. It stars Colin Firth (Kings Speech/Bridget Jones/BBC’s Pride & Prejudice), Nicole Kidman (Batman Forever/Bewitched) and Stellan Skarsgard (Thor/Avengers).

A man makes a journey to find the main man who tortured him during the war. It sounds a simple plot but the acting was outstanding and it gripped me.

The character of Eric Lomax is shared between Colin playing the older Eric Lomax. Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) is the younger Eric. Eric during World War II is taken captive by the Japanese. Of course officers were tortured for information and he must endure agony as he’s torn between duty and emotion.

Colin Firth has played many roles, and he never ceases to amaze me how different he is in very single movie I’ve seen him in. No signs of Mr Darcy here. His wife Patti (Kidman) helps him as time goes by but the nightmares continue. Also helping him is his best pal Finlay (Skarsgard). Returning to the where it all happened was very brave and something that takes a lot of courage. The images of horror would still be fresh as if they happened yesterday – time does not heal all wounds.

The drama between victim and captor was just outstanding, you were left in no doubt scars run deep. I know I’m enjoying a movie when I’m getting involved in the characters lives. I’m not fussing about plots lines. This is something you can sit back and get engrossed in.

Raw human emotions were played out beautifully. Another stunning performance from Nicole Kidman. These two were magic together as the troubled husband and wife. Would it all be too much for our poor hero Eric? Would he get the apology he wants from his nemesis? And if he did, would that be enough to move on?

There was also ample talent from the Japanese cast. Like a well baked cake, all the ingredients came together to make a whopper of a dessert.

Truly gripping and one of the best films I’ve seen this year. You don’t always need CGI and epic wars to get movie gold. This is proof of that.

I truly hope Firth and Kidman will team up again. It would be a crime if they never got another project together. This is such a well deserved 10 of 10 from me. Please put this movie on your do to list!

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from LionsgateFilmsUK

TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – T.R.A.C.K.S.


Stan Lee, creator of the S.H.I.E.L.D. comic books that inspired the TV show, cameos in this episode.

The idea behind T.R.A.C.K.S., the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. certainly has potential for interesting television. After an initial chaotic event separates the main characters, the episode follows each of them individually (showing the different storylines of the characters one after the other). This leads the viewer to try to guess what has become of the other agents through hints and clues provided in each segment. Not only is this an unconventional and risky method of telling a story in any medium, it is exactly the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that this show desperately needs to finally grab the attention of its audience. Unfortunately and predictably for this extremely troubled show, the creators have somehow managed to fall short yet again. T.R.A.C.K.S. fails to be compelling television, even with the interesting non-linear plot. The problem, as usual, boils down to the characters themselves; both how they are written and how they are performed. At the beginning of the episode, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his teammates are on a train travelling through the Italian countryside. Posing as tourists, they are hoping to apprehend recurring villain Ian Quinn (David Conrad) and a mysterious object that will soon be in his possession. Almost immediately, the episode becomes grating; the characters are back to communicating in infuriating witty one-liners and snappy jokes. This is especially annoying, since recent episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have featured much better-written character dialogue. Particularly annoying is the interaction between Skye (Chloe Bennet) and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker); a poorly-written sequence that somehow manages to be offensive to British and American viewers alike. Similarly aggravating is a short scene in which Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is supposed to be under cover as a grieving young woman. There is nothing more embarrassing to watch then a bad actress trying to deliberately play a bad actress.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this episode is that it wastes a cameo by Stan Lee, the 90 year old creator of the Marvel comic books that inspired Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. among many other comic book properties. Whilst Lee is certainly not much of an actor, his appearance in this episode is poorly conceived and feels very much like it was hastily written into the episode (interestingly, Lee recently openly criticised Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for being uninteresting). After an unnecessarily lengthy opening scene, all hell breaks loose on the train and the agents are separated from each other. Coulson and Ward (Brett Dalton) leap from the train which seems to vanish before their eyes; the ultimate revelation as to how this is possible is incredibly disappointing and boring. Simmons is rendered unconscious (sort of) and left on the train. Fitz and Skye ride the train to its destination and then follow their enemies on foot through the Italian countryside (somehow managing to keep up with several cars despite not knowing the local environment). May (Ming-Na Wen) falls from the train and quickly becomes involved in one of the few exciting and tense action sequences of the episode. The fact that these adventures are told out of sequence and one at a time, rather than intercutting them with one another, gives the episode a unique feel but it is squandered by the poor dialogue and performances. Admittedly, things do improve towards the end of the episode when the severely injured Skye is trapped inside Quinn’s mansion. Not only does Chloe Bennet deliver a surprisingly strong performance during this mostly dialogue-free sequence, but the scene is filmed and edited in a disorienting and uncomfortable manner. It is as if a production crew with actual skill temporarily took over and crafted a tense sequence. This well-made scene is one of two surprisingly graphic portrayals of violence within the episode. During May’s storyline segment, she is strung up by her opponents and stabbed. Whilst there is very little blood or gore, the fact that a main character is being tortured is rather shocking and completely at odds with the tone of the rest of the episode. The two violent scenes are certainly well directed and tastefully filmed, but they feel entirely out of place in a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which as always leant more towards general audiences.

Possibly intriguing for the future is the return of J. August Richards as Mike Petersen, the superhuman from the pilot episode, who the S.H.I.E.L.D. team believed to be dead. Now boasting a robotic leg that is almost certainly a leftover prop from one of the Iron Man movies, it is heavily implied that Mike will soon take centre stage as the show’s primary antagonist (his new robotic persona is loosely based on a villainous character from Marvel Comics) but this prospect is not enough to save the episode from being boring. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to blunder, to miss opportunities and to fail miserably. After some genuinely good episodes in recent weeks, it’s a real disappointment to see it return to its usual low quality. At this stage, watching it has become a fascinating examination of how not to write, direct and act in a television show.

Pomegranates: Advice for Overwhelming Situations

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about dealing with overwhelming situations. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

A good friend of mine often asks me to retell this story as he says it has helped develop the way he handles situations. I therefore have included it below, but before I start I should explain this friend is an INTJ, also known as a strategist or more commonly a fixer.

To be a good fixer you have to think clinically. Emotions can be messy. Medics have it easy, they can tuck those pesky feelings neatly away and step into a clean sterile room where the procedure is simple. Cut, suture, and close. If you are lucky you haven’t accidentally left a towel in there and the problem is fixed.

But sometimes you’re faced with a problem that isn’t just medical but one that involves emotions, like a fresh cut that rips its stitches wide open – that’s when I believe the tale of pomegranates comes into effect.

Whatever your type the following information is invaluable to a balanced life, I hope you enjoy the tale and pass it on.

A wise man once told me a story he read in a book involving a junior doctor and his mentor.  It originates from advice passed down through the generations, unfortunately proper attribution cannot be given as I was not told the name of the book, but I thank the originator of this tale.

So, one fine morning…

The junior doc peered into the waiting room and called his first patient of the day. It was an easy case as his mentor had already told him the cure was pomegranates. On examination the junior doc was relieved that there were no hidden traps. He confidently told his patient that he had a liver infection and that the cure was a simple dose of pomegranates. To his dismay, the patient yelled, told him he was incompetent and stormed out of the surgery, leaving a dumfounded student questioning his mentor.

As luck would have it, there was another patient in the surgery, that too with the exact same infliction so the mentor took the opportunity to teach how it should be done. He called the patient into his office, carried out the exact same tests then calmly sat back and thought quietly. After a few minutes he hesitated then said “you need something, red, fleshy”…he paused momentarily “hmmmmm something high in anti-oxidants and a good water content” he paused again then blurted out “pomegranates, you need pomegranates” as if he had just solved the mystery of the Turin shrowd. The patient got up, hugged the doctor, thanked him and walked out of the office with a spring in his step.

The junior doc was dismayed as he had given the exact same remedy until his mentor explained that what both patients needed was pomegranates and TIME!

In this modern world what so many of us forget is that the human psyche needs time to digest and reacclimatise to information. Sometimes what we don’t do is every bit as powerful as that which we do do.

I think of this story often when advising my clients. In this modern day world we are so rarely given time to think, breathe, cope, strategise, improve, figure out, etc… An ENTJ like myself and an INTJ, the person who requested I publish an article on this topic often need to be reminded of pomegranates. Maybe you do too?

Many other types especially go getters need to be reminded to slow down and that fixing situations although useful sometimes need a dash of TIME. So, if someone in your life needs a situational awareness check, send them this article and then yell “pomegranates”, you will be amazed at how useful it is. Even more useful, tell yourself “pomegranates” too, because in those moments where we all push too hard, taking a step back accompanied by a deep breathe often allows the fog to clear and provides us with the courage to move forward.

Image reproduced from www.myplantwhiz.com

Flavanol-rich Cocoa May Improve Brain Function in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Researchers in Italy have found consuming flavanol-rich cocoa once a day may help improve brain function in people with mild cognitive impairment. The study is published in the journal Hypertension.

The study at the University of L’Aquila followed 90 older people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) for eight weeks. MCI is a condition that causes problems with memory and thinking skills, although not to an extent that interferes with everyday life. Roughly half of people with MCI will go on to develop dementia within five years of diagnosis.

Over the course of the study, the participants were given a dairy-based drink rich in cocoa flavanols – naturally occurring antioxidants – once a day. Members of the group were given either a ‘low dose’ drink containing 45mg of flavanols, an intermediate dose of 520mg or a high dose of 990mg each day.

The researchers also carried out a series of tests to assess the participants’ memory and thinking skills, and found those taking the highest dose of flavanols had significantly better scores than those drinking the lowest level. Those in the high and intermediate groups also performed better on some tests than those in the ‘low dose’ group, and had decreased insulin resistance, lower blood pressure and a reduction in free radicals – molecules that can be harmful to cells in excessive amounts.

The researchers believe their findings may suggest high levels of cocoa flavanols, as part of a healthy diet, may be helpful for brain function. They argue that further research is needed to discover whether cocoa flavanols may help prevent or slow the onset of dementia.

Dr Laura Phipps at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Cocoa-based treatments for brain function would likely have patients queuing out the door, but this small study of flavanols is not yet conclusive. It’s not clear from the research whether other factors may have been responsible for the improvements seen in the group of people who took part. This early-stage trial took place over a very short period, and it would be useful to see more long-term studies to investigate the lasting effects. Ultimately we would need to see the results of large-scale trials to know whether cocoa flavanols could help prevent or delay dementia.

“While we do not yet have a sure-fire way to prevent dementia, the best evidence for lowering your risk is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Regular exercise, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check and not smoking have also been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.

“Currently 820,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK and with that number rising, we urgently need to find a way to prevent the condition – but this can only come through research.”

Image reproduced from http://static.ddmcdn.com/

Meridian Energy Therapies

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about Meridian Energy Therapies. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Most people know me as a hypnotherapist or life coach, but my studies also took me through Energy Therapies. I am often asked what is an energy therapy, to which I ask if the client has ever heard of EFT as it seems a popular branch in the media. For those who are interested in a more detailed understanding of energy psychology I have detailed below the transformation of the use of energy psychology throughout the years. I have included how the internal energy pathways which run through our physical body (connecting energetically, the body’s organs and their sub systems) have been analysed and the results adapted to produce therapies that aid in creating balance and harmony within the system thereby reducing pain, symptoms and any other distress.

Beginning in Detroit… Applied Kinesiology was born

Dr George Goodheart, a Detroit chiropractor, was interested in the relationship between apparent muscle strength, organs, glands and the meridians. Over the years he worked with many remarkable therapists from rehabilitation therapists to scientists involved in the neuro-lymphatic reflexes and other researchers who looked into acupuncture meridians. With this wealth of research and acquired knowledge, Dr George Goodheart went on to be the founder and developer of Applied Kinesiology.

Behavioural Kinesiology grew from Applied Kinesiology

Now one of the foremost senior holistic healers, John Diamond’s remarkable body of work - which began to get scientific recognition back in the 1970’s when he discovered the link between acupuncture meridians and emotions – enabled Applied Kinesiology to be adapted for even better results. Like myself, John Diamond began his career in Medicine (though his speciality was psychiatry). He later expanded into holistic medicine, concentrating on the totality of the sufferer. This led him to develop a unique method of healing adapting the work of George Goodheart to practice what we now refer to as Behavioural Kinesiology which assesses and evaluates the effects of all stimuli on the body, internal and external, in order to arrive at a new understanding of the body energy system. The degree of stress under which a patient is functioning is assessed and a rebalancing of the body energy is facilitated by showing the patient how to reduce stress and how to correct emotional attitudes.

John Diamond continues his work to this day and his research has led him to concentrate on the enhancement of the sufferer’s Life Energy so as to actuate his own innate Healing Power. However, as a cog in the ever advancing energy psychology, John Diamond’s contribution was a key component which allowed further developments.

Thought Field Therapy emerged

Dr Roger Callahan, a Beverly Hills Psychologist, also studied Applied Kinesiology and spent time studying with John Diamond. He then emerged with his own branch of energy psychology and termed his treatment “Thought Field Therapy”. Callahan theorised that when a person thinks about an experience or thought associated with an emotional problem, they are tuning into a “thought field.” And hence a concept was born. He describes this field as “the most fundamental concept in the TFT system”, stating that it “creates an imaginary, though quite real scaffold, upon which we may erect our explanatory notions”.

He believed that perturbations are said to be precisely encoded information contained in the thought field; each deformation of a person’s thought field is connected to a particular problem. It is believed that such can be activated by thinking about that problem and therefore Callahan maintains that these perturbations are the root cause of negative emotions. If this is true then each perturbation corresponds to a meridian point on the body so he theorised that in order to eliminate the emotional upset, a precise sequence of meridian points must be tapped in a set order to unblock energy and release the flow. Callahan developed such a method of tapping but it uses an extensive number of potential meridian points and needed simplification.

Callahan stated when he developed TFT that the process can relieve a wide variety of psychological issues including PTSD, depression, anxieties, addictions and phobias to name but a few. It is a very effective treatment once a practitioner has learnt how to do it and a typical treatment session lasts up to fifteen minutes and is not repeated.  Callahan has made substantial claims that TFT can treat or prevent physical problems and also made a ground breaking assertion that some phobias could be cured in as little as five minutes. This would be remarkable if we had enough practitioners qualified enough to learn such a complex process which is when one of Callahan’s students thought to simplify the process which, although does not have as miraculous results, still gives other therapies good competition in successful treatment.

Gary Craig adapted TFT creating EFT

Gary Craig (who trained with Dr Callahan) reduced TFT to make a simpler approach more accessible and applicable. Craig reduced the 361 meridian points down to 13 which are used in EFT with the first 12 being percussed no matter what the emotional upset followed by a 9 step Gamut on the 13th point.

As Gary Craig, originally a NLP practitioner, has no medical or psychological background critics have described EFT as “probably nonsense and outside the realms of science as it is an unfalseifiable treatment”. A controlled study concluded that any benefit is due to traditional cognitive components and perhaps even the placebo effect. In the simplest of forms, it is a distraction from negative thoughts and the therapeutic benefits come from having someone actually listen, rather than from manipulation of meridians. However the non-sceptics among us have had success with this treatment and although a simplified version of Callahan’s it does still retain respect in the holistic communities.

Other energy psychologies continue to emerge

Other energy psychologies including TAT and BSFF to name a couple, emerged over time from the numerous previous meridian psychologies. The former was Tapas Fleming’s contribution to energy therapies in its unabbreviated form called Tapas Acupressure Technique. This was developed in 1983 by the American acupuncturist Tapas Fleming and is often described as a process orientated energy psychology treatment. It is comprised of 7 steps and can be taught in a 2 day workshop. Its roots are from Chinese Medicine and yoga.

Other energy psychologies are still emerging and are extremely effective in treating emotional unbalances. I am pleased to be able to use them in my treatments where necessary and when the client is interested in a different approach to the issue before them.

Images reproduced from red-spirit-energy-healing.com and sahej.com

Global Communication and Mail

“The Internet lives where anyone can access it.”- Dr Vinton Cerf

The preparation of communication by written documents carried by an intermediary from one individual or location to another approximately dates back nearly to the invention of writing. On the other hand, development of formal postal systems transpired considerably later. The first documented procedure of an organized courier service for the diffusion of written documents is in Egypt, where Pharaohs used couriers for the diffusion of their decrees in the region of the State (2400 BC). The original remaining piece of mail is also Egyptian, dating to 255 BC.


Letter-sized mail involves the majority of the contents sent through most postal services. Typically, these are documents printed on A4 (210×297 mm), Letter-sized (8.5×11 inches), or reduced paper and positioned in envelopes.

Handwritten correspondence, although formerly a major means of communications between faraway people, is nowadays utilized less regularly due to the introduction of more immediate means of communication, such as the telephone or e-mail. However, old-fashioned letters are repeatedly deliberated to flash back to an “ordinary time” and are still used when anyone desires to be unhurried and attentive about his or her communication, depending on the courier mail service used. Bills and invoices are every so often sent through the mail, similar to consistent billing correspondence from utility companies and other service providers. These letters often hold a self-addressed envelope that permits the receiver to remit payment back to the company straightforwardly. Despite the fact that it is still very common, many populaces now opt to use online bill payment services, which eliminate the need to receive bills through the mail. Paperwork for the approval of large financial transactions is often sent through the mail. Numerous tax documents are as well.

New credit cards and their equivalent personal identification numbers are sent to their owners through the mail. The card and number are usually mailed separately several days or weeks away from each other for security reasons. Bulk mail is mail that is prepared for bulk mailing, often by presorting, and handling at reduced rates. It is frequently used in direct marketing and other marketing mail, although it has other uses as well. The senders of these messages sometimes purchase lists of addresses (which are occasionally targeted towards certain demographics) and then send letters promoting their invention or service to all receivers. Other times, commercial solicitations are sent by resident companies advertising local products, like a café delivery service advertising to their delivery area or a sales store sending their weekly advertising circular to a general area. Furthermore, bulk mail is often sent to companies’ present subscriber bases, advertising new products or services.

There are a number of other things almost without any exception sent absolutely as letters through postal services, like birthday and festivity invitations. Email has long been the most widely used Internet application. For some people, it is also their most frequent form of communication. Email is also the technology underlying mailing lists.

Email servers exchange messages over the Internet using the SMTP protocol. Client applications log into the servers to send and receive email using one of several protocols, including POP3, IMAP, and MAPI. The following are necessary that provide more information:

Who sent the first e-mail?

Ray Tomlinson was the first person to send out an e-mail in late 1971. The electronic mail was sent between two machines that were side-by-side and the only physical joining they had was through the ARPANet.

In 1978, Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai had been enrolled for programming projects at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Leslie P. Michelson, acknowledged his talents and tested him to transform the conventional paper-constructed interoffice and inter-organizational communication system (i.e. paper-based mail and documents) to an electronic communication system.

Email is quite rapid and almost instant, while traditional post takes quite some time; e-mail usually arrives within minutes or seconds, depending on the type. This can be beneficial when people need a quick response, but a phone call would be far too expensive, depending on the budget of the individual.

With use of cryptographic signing, you can prove that the email came from you; this reduces the effectiveness of ‘spoofing’ and means that no one can pretend to be you. However, implementing cryptographic signing does require some end-user training, especially in ensuring that people observe proper security protocols.

Advantages of emails are-

  • Emails are simple to use as global citizens can organize their daily correspondence, send and receive electronic messages as well as save them on computers.
  • Emails are rapid. They are delivered at once around the globe. No other form of written communication is as fast as an email.
  • The language used in emails is simple and can be informal.
  • When you reply to an email, you can attach the original message so that when you answer the recipient, he/she knows what you are chatting about. This is significant if you get dozens or hundreds of emails a day.
  • It is possible to send automated emails with a certain text. In such a way, it is likely to tell the sender that you are on vacation or busy at work. These emails are called auto responders.
  • Emails do not use paper. They are Environment friendly and protect many trees from being cut down. In the past fifty years, much of the rainforest in Africa and Asia has been damaged. Large areas of rainforest are being removed, often in order to eliminate just a few logs, and the rainforest is being destroyed at double the rate of all previous estimates. Regrettably, this means that there is a very high rate of extinction, as the wildlife depending on the forest dies with it.
  • Emails can also have pictures from events in them. You can send birthday cards or newsletters as emails.
  • Merchandises can be advertised with emails. Companies can reach numerous people and inform them in a short period.

When I interviewed Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, I asked him and he stated,

1. How would you best describe yourself from now and when you first created email?

I’m still the same boy who invented email back in 1978 at UMDNJ. In the sense, my curiosity, passion, love of creating new things, working with great people and a sense of mission to have an impact to make others lives better, has not changed one iota — if anything, I’ve become more of child as the years have passed. I still love the same things beyond innovation and science that I did then, baseball, design, music, cooking, and anything beautiful including people, homes, art, and nature.

2. In a growing age of internet technology, in your opinion should postal mail be stopped on a large scale and everyone should use their emails instead as an effective tool of communication?

When any new media, such as email emerges, people believe the thing that it is replacing will die; however, history shows, what actually happens, is that there is a kind of media natural selection process. By this I mean, that the media find their right “ecological niche.” Handwritten, printed letters have their niche, and will email, due its unique properties. There is still something for some people about the experience of send and receiving flowers, for example, with a lovely card. Just as Radio did not disappear when TV appear or live performance and theater did not disappear with the advent of film. My view is actually quite the opposite, as I share in the Epilogue of my new book The Email Revolution: the postal system should actually embrace and take over email or at the least compete with the private companies such as Google and FaceBook. Today, we read a lot about Snowden’s alarming citizens about the NSA spying on our emails; however, what we miss is that Google, Yahoo, HotMail, etc. have free reign over our email — right when we sign up for these “free” services, we give away our privacy — they can literally do anything with our email. However, over hundreds of years, the postal service, has a massive body of law, created to protect the tampering and transit of mail — this body of law could be more easily applied to email, thereby providing the postal service the opportunity for citizens to likely get a more secure and private service at a nominal cost. Would you not pay say $50 per year to know that you email was secure, private and protected by the democratic laws, that YOU can still control?

3. What motivates you?

I am motivated by an addictive desire to change the world, vanquish evil and free the oppressed. My heroes growing up were Rama, Emiliano Zapata, Bhagat Singh, Che Guevara, Lenin, and those that saw the world where all of where ultimately brothers and sisters, fought, and when necessary risked their lives to create such a world. They were conscious enough to see that they were insignificant as one individual, but the right actions at the right time in history, even by the insignificant could have massive impact, like the butterfly effect.

4. Are there any new technologies that you plan to introduce with email in the present or future?

Yes, on the email side, we have released a version of EchoMail (www.echomail.com) for the mass of millions of small businesses, who also want the same technology we provided for nearly twenty years to the Global 2000 companies, to get, keep and grow customers. Separate from email, which I invented in 1978, 15 years later, fortuitously, and independent of that creation, I created another system called EchoMail, to automatically read, anlayze, sort and route email. That technology developed out of my winning a White House contest to help President Clinton automatically sort his inbound email in 1993. EchoMail was advanced with many features to help businesses grow their businesses, and only accessible, until recently, to big businesses. It’s a powerful tool. My vision is that small businesses, need the same powerful capabilities as the big businesses, and the new version of EchoMail is made very affordable for any business. Beyond my work in email and in media, by other love is medicine. Most recently, we just started a new company called CytoSolve — if email was a big invention, I think CytoSolve will be bigger. CytoSolve allows the in silico modeling of human cells, so we can create new medicines without the need to torture and kill animals.

Global nations know that there are a lot of emails sent, opened and lost in the spam/junk mail every day. However, just how many emails are sent? What is the usual amount? How many of us open email on a mobile device? The numbers are astounding.

  • Hotmail , Yahoo Mail and Gmail together account for well over 1 billion users.
  • More than 294 billion emails are sent and received daily.
  • Well over 100 trillion emails are sent per year.
  • 3.5 million Emails are sent per second.
  • 90% of the trillions of email messages are spam or viruses.
  • Spam costs businesses over $20 billion in decreased productivity and technology expenses.
  • Retailers send an average of 16 emails per subscriber in “busy” months.
  • Average email campaign volumes increased 20% in 2012 over 2011 levels.
  • 77% of us want to get marketing messages via email; and there’s no close second place.
  • 36% of all emails are opened on a mobile device.
  • In 2011 there were over 400 million people who used smartphones or tablets to access email.


Figure 1.1 demonstrates sharing documents via email happens daily.

The existence of servers plays a fundamental role in Internet communications.

 A server is a fast, dynamic computer or bank of computers with enormous amounts of data storage. The straightforward function of a server is to store data and then serve or deliver that information to users when requested. Servers are specifically designed for their function and there are many kinds such as e-mail servers, web servers, ISP servers, and DNS servers to name a few. They work together to make up the backbone of the Internet and allow our communications with it. These servers are normally located in an ISP office or many large web site search engines will have them as well.

 Function of Email

It is imperative to understand that e-mail travels over the Internet from server to server. For case in point: If you send an e-mail to a friend or business colleague living in Japan or Canada, you would log on to your e-mail server, type the e-mail address in the “To:” box and then type the message. Once you select “Send”, your server uses the address to forward the e-mail to your friend’s server. Your associate then retrieves the e-mail during his next log on to his server.

ISP Based Email

As revealed before, e-mail is accessible through either an ISP or a free service. The provider’s title is usually part of the address revealing what type it is. All ISP’s give at least one e-mail account per customer but some people decide not to utilize it. They prefer instead to use a free e-mail account. It is common to access ISP e-mail with a client software package installed on the user’s computer. Programs like Microsoft Outlook Express (included with Windows), Microsoft Outlook, QUALCOMM Eudora and Mozilla Thunderbird, in addition to many others are intended for this purpose. When a client program is unlocked, it contacts the ISP e-mail server and synchronizes to accept new e-mails or updates. The client program has all functions related to e-mail like composing and deleting. After making modifications, the user can close the client program or manually press a Send/Receive button to update the server. Once updated, the server will replicate the changes and send e-mails consequently. ISP’s generally provide web-based access on their website allowing consumers to access e-mail from any web connection. This either can be for users who do not want to use a client or are not there from their normal computers.


Numerous search engines and websites like yahoo.com, hotmail.com, and gmail.com propose free e-mail service. These e-mail accounts are entirely web-based and widespread notwithstanding the advertisements users must endure. Such reputation also creates a breeding ground for spam. Web based e-mail is accessible through web browsers. The web site supplies a web interface for handlers to gain access. Mail is under no circumstances stored on the user’s computer unless it is purposefully saved there. This creates a security zone from malware and other uninvited items that might be hiding. Nonetheless, if an attachment is opened or a linkage selected, it will use a program on the operator’s local computer hence opening the probability for infection.

Note well when signing up for free e-mail; it involves personal information during registration. Some people use fictional names as well as other false information. Users who plan to use the e-mail address for expert correspondence should deliberate on using their real name or initials. This name will be attached to all e-mail sent and might puzzle recipients. Certain free e-mail services do allow the sent name to be altered making it different from the registered name.


  Spam is junk e-mail from advertisers, companies, or people you do not know. It is similar to junk mail sent to your household. Many times, it contains inappropriate words in the subject line as well as suggestive phrases. Most people wonder how they get Spam when they use antivirus protection software on their computer. Spam is not a virus- it is just undesirable e-mail. Moreover, it is normally stored on the server, not the user’s computer. Many e-mail providers scan for Spam but are typically overwhelmed and miss some. Setting filter parameters is also complicated when discerning between Spam and legitimate e-mail. If a user checks e-mail with a web interface, there is no concern with Spam prevention on the local computer since it stays entirely on the e-mail server. Typically, there is a technique to designate e-mail as Spam that will try to block future e-mail from the same sender.

More than two billion people use the internet. The top five countries in internet usage are China, United States, Japan, India and Brazil.  It is challenging to comprehend the notion of any given moment without someone in the world being connected to it for one purpose or another. Email is a virtual communication system that has changed the way companies conduct business. Email accelerates the exchange of information, eradicates global barriers, keeps communication costs low and allows business persons the flexibility to access their messages from anywhere in the world. By its very nature, companies benefit from the many advantages that email offers.


Film Review: 12 Years A Slave

12 Years A SlaveIt would be wrong of me to claim that this is a film review. If anything, it is a love letter. A love letter to the wonder that is cinema. The movies are the world’s great art form and quite often it is sold short. Sometimes by the people who watch the movies, who refuse to see something new that may not involve CGI robots or explosions. Sometimes by the movie industry itself, that incorrectly assumes that the cinema is about box office takings and keeping plots and methods of storytelling simple so then the audience doesn’t have to be inconvenienced by thinking.

On far too rare an occasion though, a film will come along that illustrates everything that is good about cinema. A film that amazes you. A film that makes you think. A film that stays with you for days after seeing it. A film that makes you realise just what an astounding medium cinema is. In my case, a film that lights a fire underneath me to pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard and write the words ‘fade in’ at the top of the page. For everyone, the list of films that achieve this is different. For me, David Cronenberg did it with “Crash,” Christopher Nolan did it with “Inception,” Quentin Tarantino did it with “Reservoir Dogs,” Park Chan Wook did it with “Oldboy,” Alfred Hitchcock did it with “Psycho,” Ridley Scott did it with “Alien,” and Ingmar Bergman did it with “The Seventh Seal.” And now, Steven McQueen has done it with “12 Years A Slave.”

It’s devastating then that I will probably never watch it again. It is that unflinching and difficult to watch that even distant memories of it are haunting. While watching it in the cinema, it’s difficult to resist hiding your eyes behind your hands while trying to pretend you are somewhere else. It’s an appropriate sensation, considering that Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is probably feeling the urge to do the same thing as he’s left hanging by his neck in a field, his feet stuttering around in the mud as he struggles to breathe while his fellow slaves continue working, unable to come to his aid. The same can be said towards the conclusion of the film, when Solomon gives a long lingering look directly into the camera. Directly at the audience. He’s pleading for help and for mercy. It feels like he’s tearing out your heart.

While the film covers a subject matter that requires a certain degree of sensitivity, director Steve McQueen handles it with intelligence. The plot itself is very simple. Solomon Northup is a carpenter and talented violinist living in New York with his wife and two children. He is approached by two businessmen who claim to be part of a travelling circus, and they want Solomon to join them as a professional musician. Flattered by their kindness and the opportunity, Solomon accepts their offer during a late evening meal. He drinks too much wine and gets drunk. When he wakes up, he’s in chains and being beaten for claiming to be a free man.

Solomon is sold to a plantation owner called Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). While some of of his experiences on the plantation are scarring and brutal, Ford is ultimately one of the more gentle owners. He encourages Solomon to use his mind and help improve the way the plantation works. Ford celebrates with his slaves when Solomon constructs a method for using the nearby river. He allows Solomon to have his violin back, and tells him he hopes to hear him play it soon. It’s as close to happiness as Solomon will get in his ordeal. Half way through the film, Ford is forced to sell Solomon to another plantation owner called Epps (Michael Fassbender), and that’s when Solomon’s real nightmare starts. Epps prides himself on beating and trying to break his slaves. If the weight of the cotton the slaves pick doesn’t increase every day, they get whipped.

The majority of the film’s 134-minute length is dedicated to his time on Epps’ plantation. We mainly see his day-to-day life, where he works under the constant fear that violence and brutality is going to come his way. He and his fellow slaves never get a moment to think. They never get a moment to feel safe. They’re all living a life of fear and pain that seems to have only one escape route. Full credit has to be given to McQueen for the way he approaches this. He doesn’t opt to hint at the horrors or the fear. This isn’t supposed to be a fleeting sensation. This is a movie designed to linger and exhaust the audience. It is an exercise in raw human emotion. Solomon is a slave for 12 years, but with McQueen’s direction it feels like it could be a lifetime.

At no point are we given any indication about how much time has passed. Given his situation, would Solomon know himself? We interpret the world through his eyes, and for that reason time doesn’t have any meaning. McQueen makes it clear that for him, an image needs to be more than just something to look at. It has to effect the audience mentally and physically in order to meet McQueen’s demands. Every single second of ‘12 Years a Slave’ is effecting. That’s a cinematic achievement that is rarely achieved.

In a time when the majority of mainstream movies aim to impress and create awe with expensive but ultimately hollow images, it is something to be cherished when directors like Steve McQueen come along and make a movie like this. Movies after all are supposed to evoke the purest of human emotions, as indeed all art forms should. It’s not an easy thing to achieve, and when it happens, it like lightning in a bottle. It’s something that every screenwriter and every director should aim for.

So, let’s all raise a glass. To Ingmar Bergman. To Stanley Kubrick. To Alfred Hitchcock. To Quentin Tarantino. To Steven Spielberg. To Martin Scorsese. To Christopher Nolan. To Park Chan Wook. To Steve McQueen. Here’s to the movies. And to ‘12 Years a Slave’ – one of the greatest movies ever made.

Image reproduced from impawards.com
Video reproduced from YouTube / JoBlo.com

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 4

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

We are now in Part 4 of the Overcoming Procrastination series and some of you might have even booked that summer holiday or beach break and have made a promise to yourself that you will lose weight to fit into your bikini or swimming trunks before your plane takes off. However have you found that the diet is either hard to stick to or, as like with all types of procrastination, that it keeps getting put off perhaps to the start of the week after your friend’s birthday, after that weekend barbecue, the list seems never-ending. This type of procrastination is tantamount to New Year’s resolutions. It’s the type of promise you make yourself yet there is no guilt if you give it up within hours or days of the original idea. This is normally because there has been no strong commitment and / or action plan thought out and therefore it is easier to procrastinate. This type of procrastination is often referred to as Promissory Procrastination.

This procrastination is seen more in less detail orientated people so for example NFs (the big picture feelers) are the most likely to be so caught up in the big picture of being thinner and fitting into the bikini that they have not thought each step through. STs are less likely to fall into this trap however although they have an action plan they sometimes lack the willpower and determination to get there as they have less visualisation on the long-term goal.

Therefore to conquer Promissory Procrastination not only do we need to have a clear vision / wish but also an action plan detailing the hows, whys whens and wheres. To do this we need to take the “Feelers” temporarily into a thinking zone and get the “Sensors” to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Every personality type can find a path taking small steps to completing their new goal, be it controlling their eating habits, enlarging their social circle, volunteering their time in the community, taking up a new hobby or satisfying the basic need of significance.

If you want to keep the promises that you make to yourself, follow the bullet points below to help you on your way:-

  1. Decide out of all the Promissory Procrastination goals you’ve made which is the first you want to deal with.
  2. List all the activities you do to avoid keeping to your goal.
  3. List the reasons you use to justify the delay.
  4. Look at each reason in turn and decide if there is more pleasure in the activity or justification you use to avoid attaining your goal.
  5. Write a list of all the positives about reaching your goal.
  6. List the actions you would have to take to make it more pleasurable to reach your goal than procrastinating, justifying and avoiding the challenge.
  7. Ask yourself whether the change you are trying to make is meaningful enough to you personally to want to spend the time and effort of going through all the stages in step 6. If it is, put step 6’s list into action one small step at a time. If it isn’t, understand why this didn’t work for you, let go of the goal and move on without guilt.
  8. Repeat this process for all Promissory Procrastination challenges – do make sure you only take on one at a time. Although some challenges can be worked on in conjunction with each other, do not try to overload yourself as this is commonly a set-up for failure.


Unlike Promissory Procrastination where we often set resolutions and goals without thinking the steps through, the next type of procrastination I will be talking about is where both the wish and the plan are present but it’s like watching helicopter blades starting to cycle but never fast enough to allow it to lift off the ground. This type of procrastination is called Behavioural Procrastination and it is very common in N types, because such procrastinators can have outstanding visions which come from their big picture thinking and can even be organised but what they lack is motivation and follow through.

You will often see this type of procrastination in people who try to start their own businesses who have fantastic ideas but still don’t manage to sell their product or in employees who accumulate case files that are close to being finished but never quite ready for presentation. It also happens in S types, for example the eternal student who keeps re-writing their thesis justifying the need for change on the small level but never finishing the project to hand it in. For these types of people, the planning and the detail is fun but the execution, production and completion is either frustrating or feels out of their reach.

If you identify with Behavioural Procrastination and you would like to redefine yourself as someone who follows through to the end of a project, follow the steps below:-

  1. Define your most pressing Behavioural Procrastination and give a list of reasons why you want to be able to complete your project.
  2. Take each reason and attach as many pleasurable images in your mind to completing the project.
  3. List all the details you concentrate on to avoid completing the project.
  4. Ask yourself how many of these details are absolutely necessary for the completion of your project and list how many are actually hindering completion.
  5. Ask yourself what you tell yourself to justify the delay.
  6. Ask yourself how that makes you look to yourself and others.
  7. Find out if there is more pain attached to handing something in that’s not ‘perfect’ than making people wait.
  8. Address why this is.
  9. Ask yourself what you would need to change to understand that projects need to be finished to completion and that the details should not be all-consuming.
  10. List all the actions you can take to make sure you complete each stage of your plan without getting overloaded in excuses and justifications.
  11. Take each step in turn.
  12. When you have completed the challenge return to step 1 and choose your next procrastination to deal with.

Following through to the end of your projects not only makes you more productive but helps you lead a life with integrity when you start being your word whether that’s executing a document, building up your own business or handing work in on time. Others will treat you with respect and in the long-term this will create even more of an advantage to you.

In the next instalment of Overcoming Procrastination series we will be discussing how once you have kicked the procrastination habit it is easy to get into a cycle of procrastination then action then procrastination which is a slippery slope and often referred to as Fallback Pattern Procrastination. We will also be addressing Lateness Procrastination which is just as disrespectful to yourself as it is to others.

Images reproduced from heartsandminds.org and slicesoflife.org

Film Review: American Hustle

American Hustle
American Hustle is on a similar par with other Hustle type shows, those who have seen the BBC series and the Real Hustle programs will be familiar with the plots. What’s different about this one is the set up of the characters. Also it’s based on a real life operation.

Christian Bale (Batman), Jeremy Renner (Avengers), Amy Adams (The Vow), Bradley Cooper (A Team) and Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) star in the story.

The basic plot stars out okay, Irving Rosen field (Bale) and Sydney Posser (Adams) are working together doing scams. The complications arise when FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper) catches them and then wants to use them in a scheme to get a corrupt mayor (Renner).

The wheeling and dealing that arose to get a money transfer were good but predictable. Befriending the mayor was obvious. Alessandro Nivola (Billy from Jurassic Park III) turns up as Richie’s boss’s boss and is seemingly unconcerned with overspending to catch the mayor. Price was no object. What a rare quality in a big boss.

I just found this film very different in tone to the other hustle programs. Too many characters (wives, sheikhs, sons, mayors). There was no cleverness, no bright spark. What purpose did Jennifer Lawrence’s character actually serve? No, the real reason. Yes she cavorted about in all manner of pretty attire but that’s not really a part. If Irving is supposed to a great swindler then he should be able to get his son off her.

Also the relationship between Irving and Posser was creepy. It was akin to watching your mom and dad get cosy. Ewww! I had to close my eyes at times.

The mayor walks out, the mayor walks back in. Rosalyn (Lawrence) doesn’t want to divorce Irving, then Rosalyn does want to divorce Irving. Richie’s boss (Louis CK) going up the wall, Richie’s boss comes down from the wall.

Even when the plots change such as Richie putting another guy in the role of a Sheikh that Irving used to lure the mayor, does not help. Things move again when a crime overlord appears (Robert DeNiro), and wants the Sheikh to be an American!

And from their Irving thinks things are going mad. Er, thinks going mad? Thinks?! It IS going mad. Far too many subplots and characters drifting in and out, making if very difficult to follow. Irving and Carmine are friends, then Irving and Carmine are NOT friends. This is plain daft. It makes me wonder if any of the production team watched an episode of Hustle? Outstanding plots, clever double crosses. Research is vital and there was little point of launching a film with the word Hustle in it, if you’re going to do something else.

It was an ambitious venture, with many big names to boast – sadly the I found script unmoving. It just wasn’t a hustle movie for me. The cast made this movie. So go see it for them, plus Bradley Cooper’s perm! But there wasn’t any difference for me than any other action movie.

If I was marking this from the script it would’ve been a 4! But I’ve decided my score reflect the acting from the team, as they were very good – 7/10 from me.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from LimboIsland

Complementary Therapies Explained – Applied Kinesiology and Allergy Testing

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about complementary therapy. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

As we have seen in my previous article, Applied Kinesiology is a form of diagnosis using muscle testing as a primary feedback mechanism to examine the body and it’s functioning. As addressed in my description as to what Kinesiology is and how can we use the information gained from Applied Kinesiology techniques. The following article describes one of the numerous applications of Applied Kinesiology’s which is that of Allergy Testing.

How is it used and what for?

Applied Kinesiology works by using an indicator muscle (a single muscle) to obtain responses about the structural, chemical, nutritional and emotional basis of the subject in question. The normal positions of the body for muscle testing are sitting, standing or lying face up on a massage couch and are therefore very easy to carry out on a number of clients without being invasive to both personal space and privacy. One of the great things about the practicability of Applied Kinesiology is that it is possible to use a surrogate for testing when it is impractical to use muscle testing on the subject. I.e. they are frail, have a broken limb, or perhaps a baby or small child. This opens the arena of Applied Kinesiology to a wider array of subjects allowing treatment to help a broader spectrum of people.

As for what can Kinesiology treat, the spectrum there is also wide. It is often used in allergies but is not confined to this one area. However I have chosen to look at the area of allergies as this is something that affects nearly the majority of the population.

An allergy is an abnormal response to a food, drug or something in our environment which does not usually cause symptoms in people. When faced with an allergen the immune system mistakenly identifies the harmless substances as dangerous invaders and activates antibodies to defend them and protect the system and internal environment. Most of the mechanisms involve expulsion be it in sweating, eyes and nose running, vomiting, upset stomach etc… Allergens are found in everyday life; they could be pollens, dairy products, eggs, wheat, and animal hair to name just a few.

Allergy testing is more important than just adapting diet and avoiding bloating and the more common but less severe symptoms as mentioned above but it can have a role in a multitude of disorders from Arthritis to Multiple Sclerosis to Adrenal Fatigue to IBS. For example, Multiple Sclerosis has been linked to a severe intolerance to wheat and it is also believed by some that citrus fruit food intolerance is thought to play a part in cases of arthritis. Therefore knowledge about what one’s body is unable to tolerate can perhaps reduce the prevalence of the more serious conditions.

Testing is normally carried out in a practitioner’s office although there is no reason why home visits cannot be arranged. Half a glass of pure water is drunk before testing because it is important for the client to not be dehydrated before testing begins as this affects the muscle readings.

The subject is then told to relax and more often than not the practitioner helps the client relax before testing by getting them to imagine a calm place, deep breathing and allowing their mind to drift off into a quiet state of relaxation. This feeling of relaxation can be enhanced with the tone and content of the practitioner’s language. For added relaxation some Applied Kinesiologist’s  also apply pressure on the two acupressure holding points or to the two indentations of the sternum which further enhances stress release and relaxation. Once full relaxation is achieved for those undergoing allergy testing, the substance is then applied to the navel, contained in a glass vial or in cling-film. The substance is only approximately a thumb nail size, yet this is enough to elicit a response when the testing begins.

A usual form of testing is the Straight Arm Pull. The Arm Pull Down test or “Delta test,” is where the patient resists as the practitioner exerts a downward force on an extended arm. The tester instructs the client to resist as they press down the arm and notice of the amount of resistance able to be given. Proper positioning is paramount to ensure that the muscle in question is the prime mover, minimizing interference from adjacent muscle groups. The resultant response from the muscle during this test will give an indication of the body’s response to the potential allergen in question and enables the practitioner to inform the client what he is or is not sensitive too.

Most people know me as a hypnotherapist or life coach, but those who have been reading my current articles on energy therapies will know that my studies also took me through Complementary Therapies amongst other things. I am pleased to be able to use this procedure in my treatments where necessary and when the client is interested in a different approach to the issue before them. If you have any further questions contact me through City Connect, leave a comment or ask a question through our Q+A page.

Images reproduced from amicay.com and dockaren.com

Insomnia – Coping Strategies

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about insomnia. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

My clients often complain that they are unable to sleep and that their GP has suggested tablets for their ‘condition’. This sometimes works but can lead to other issues later down the line. While this can be a very appropriate treatment in a variety of cases, and I am by no means advocating you alter or stop the dosing before speaking to a medical practitioner, the good news is that there is often more than one treatment option for any given symptom.

In fact sleep issues are on the whole easily addressed without the use of medication depending on the cause of the sleep disturbance in the first place. Never stop medication without discussing this with your GP, but do go through this check list to make sure there is not a more easily treatable cause to your insomnia.

Key Areas to Check For Insomnia Causes

Before I inundate you with a checklist of suggestions to aid you in getting a peaceful night’s sleep it is useful to check the obvious but most often forgotten key areas to make sure they are not affecting your sleep.

Physical Causes

Check that you are not physically impaired be it by your own body or your sleeping environment. Is the mattress too firm or in most cases too soft? Our mattresses can wear and tear quicker than we realise and it is always good practice to just keep an eye on this. Likewise something as simple as changing new pillows be it to brand new ones or a different style (hollow fibre over feather). One of my clients had an undiagnosed allergy/irritation to feathers and the remedy was as simple as a pilow change. If you think a physical discomfort is causing the lack of sleep, it is well worth a trip to your local chiropractor or osteopath as sometimes just one or two sessions and some coping strategies for posture at work and home can set you on a quick road to recovery.

Noise Causes

Is your bedroom noisy, be it from the outside street or appliances in your house infuriately ringing which are more noticeable as your home settles for the night? In certain circumstances the ringing may actually be generated seemingly inside your ear canal (tinnitus) which has many causes one of them being stress. For a masking of any noise be it internal or external, there are a lot of good ‘noise makers’ on the market now. Some replicate babbling brooks and birds chirping others create white noise, whichever one suits you best is worth trying to help you drift back in to a peaceful sleep and block out the unwanted noise.

Subconscious Causes

Do you have obsessive thoughts whirling around and around in your head. Like a spin cycle of your last wash load? Often our inner critic goes on overdrive when we just want to sleep. We have been shutting it out all day and it finally believes it has our attention so it takes hold while it can. Self hypnosis can help in these moments but if that is not your thing just take a deep breath and do either some relaxation techniques or meditation before you drift off to sleep.

Bladder Causes

Are you constantly getting up to urinate, in which case this can be as simple as too much coffee, alcohol or diuretic drinks in your daily life? These can both increase the need to empty your bladder and many involve stimulants such as caffeine. To be thorough it may be worth having a urine test to rule out infection, diabetes or a prostate problem (men only) but more often than not you will find a change in drinking quantities and type can help reduce your need to visit the bathroom and hence sleep disturbances.

Factors Linked to Causing Insomnia

With regards to insomnia, if none of the above factors are in play then firstly remember you are not alone. One in three adults are affected at some time in their life with a sleep disturbance. Although it affects women more than men, perhaps due to stress and coping strategies, insomnia patterns are also seen to increase with age because the quality of sleep decreases as the years go by.

A list of some of the factors influencing sleep pattern interrupts

  • stress (including anxiety about not being able to sleep)
  • lifestyle
  • depression
  • hormonal disturbances
  • side effects of medications
  • chronic pain
  • extreme temperature fluctuations
  • environmental noise or changes
  • sleep pattern disruptions
  • sleep apnoea


Insomnia Coping Strategies

Some of these factors have a similar remedy even though a different trigger. With this in mind I have grouped together below a collection of coping strategies in bullet point form for easy skimming. These suggestions have worked for other patients and may help you. Perhaps the remedy isn’t immediately obvious as connected to your trigger but do the ones you can and see if it makes a difference. Let go of any feelings of worry or panic and slowly make your way through this checklist to see which ones work for you.

For those of you who prefer a more prescriptive remedy (yes I am referring to you SF types!) please note this list is not exhaustive nor is it meant to be completed in its entirety. Not all of these may be suitable for everyone, but hopefully a few will work together and help you on the road to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Bedtime Routine

  • establish a consistent bedtime routine
  • make sure you are getting enough exercise but not overdoing it
  • take a warm bath at least 2 hours before you go to sleep
  • introduce relaxation as part of your regular night-time routine
  • keep your feet warm
  • keep your room temperature down
  • switch off the computer a couple of hours at least before bed
  • put lavender oil drops on your pillow
  • try to give yourself up to an hour in dim light before sleep
  • sleep in total darkness
  • experiment with bed times, aim to wake up at the end of your sleep cycle
  • invest in Sleeptracker or Zeo to wake you up at the lightest stage of your sleep cycle


  • reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening
  • avoid large meals late in the evening
  • stay away from refined and processed foods, especially sugar
  • avoid coffee or more accurately caffeine
  • experiment with Ginseng tea as a good coffee substitute
  • avoid alcohol if you are feeling ready to be really healthy
  • increase your water intake

Please consult your GP & nutritionist/health food shop for the next 7

  • use natural alternatives such as passion flower or valerian to sleeping medications
  • fight fatigue with insomnia herbs
  • experiment with magnesium and calcium which improve fatigue
  • incorporate Ashwagandh to deal with stress
  • add Coenzyme Q10 to aid in cellular energy production
  • consider Cordyceps, which can help fight fatigue and boost energy levels
  • try Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng to enhance mental activity as well as physical endurance


  • go for a relaxing stroll
  • practice meditation/relaxation exercises
  • learn and use a relaxation technique regularly
  • learn the art of Mantram  – the practice of repeating over and over in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help reduce stress and  negative mental states


  • get plenty of exercise during the day
  • instead of slumping in your chair, get up and go for a brief walk
  • increase activity to get your blood flowing
  • minimise clutter in your bedroom
  • optimise your sleep posture
  • try inclined bed therapy
  • use “white noise” devices to block out surrounding environmental noise
  • don’t obsess about not sleeping
  • try short naps, aim for under 30 minutes as a good gauge
  • replace some of your light bulbs indoors with full spectrum light bulbs
  • spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light, please be careful with regards to burning if you are prone to such

I hope some of these suggestions were of help and look forward to your comments about which one worked for you.

Image reproduced from www.nutritiondietnews.com, www.sijo.hu, www.woman-hub.com

Movie Review: Lone Survivor

Lone_Survivor_posterThe term “War is Hell” could not describe this movie any better.  Lone Survivor stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana and  and is the violent, painfully realistic, gut wrenching eyewitness account of an ill fated US Navy SEAL mission to capture a notorious Taliban leader.  The audience is taken on an exasperating ride as four US NAVY SEALS fight for their lives, for their country, and most of all for each other.  Based on the Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, Four SEALs are dropped into the mountains of Afghanistan in 2005 on a singular mission, the men prepare to engage their target but are discovered by goat herders.   An old man and two younger men.   The Seals are faced with a dilemma.  Do they kill the herders and live with the consequences as a casualty of war or consider the mission compromised.   They decide to release the herders, a fateful decision, scrap the mission and call for an evacuation, but communication is almost impossible to establish from their mountainous position. The SEALS move to higher ground and use a Satellite phone to reach base camp further exposing themselves.  Once communication is made the SEAL team hunker down and await pickup but it is not in time.  They are surrounded. They are soon set upon by a large group of Taliban fighters and realize that escape is no longer an option.  The SEALs are in a fight for their lives.  They literally have to fight their way off of the mountain by jumping OFF the mountain.  They men are riddled with bullets as they engage the Taliban in a hell raising firefight.  But they push on and fight their way off the mountain precipices.  Down the mountain they go tumbling, breaking bones on each impact, bullets flying by, Taliban warriors in hot pursuit.  The Seal team is picked off one by one until their is only a lone  survivor, Corpsman Marcus Luttrell (Mark Walhberg) .  Saved by a mortar explosion that has tossed him into a crevice into cover, out of sight and in very bad shape.  When Luttrel awakens he musters the strength to walk his battered and broken body, with a severely broken leg,  out of the mountain pass.  Luttrell pauses to drink from a stream and is discovered by Afghan villagers.  Thinking the end is near,  he is in disbelief as  the villagers offer to help Luttrell.  They take him to their village and send help and administer aid to Luttrel.   But Luttrels ordeal isn’t over just yet.  The Taliban has discovered him in the village.  His  life is in the hands of his Afghan protectors as they fight against the Taliban in one final battle for his life.  Go see Lone Survivor.

Poster courtesy of Wikipedia.com, trailer courtesy of trailer addict