As a holistic therapist working with natural approaches to wellbeing, I took the sad but necessary decision to suspend all Reflexology and face-to-face treatments, seeing my last clients on 13th March, ahead of lockdown, until the threat posed by the new Coronavirus, Covid19 has passed.
I will still be available for online and phone Functional Medicine consultations as I want to support you as much as I can.
As you know, in the interests of public health, we all have to socially distance due to the global virus pandemic, to minimise spread of the virus and help protect the most vulnerable in our society. It is for this reason I am suspending hands on reflexology treatments.
I think this virus shows how vital our health is and at this time, more than any other, it is so important for us to take care of ourselves, and those around us.
What can we do?
The best defence against all infections is a healthy immune system, so supporting your immunity will be vital to help you fight Covid19 and stay well. I would like to share some self helps tips to help with that, some of which are taken from the principles of The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), with whom I have trained and am a registered practitioner and which takes a natural lifestyle approach to wellbeing.
Rest is extremely powerful in promoting wellness and strong immunity. Some of us may only have mild symptoms of the virus, but rest is still important, whilst for others they will have no choice but to rest due to more severe symptoms. Try to get as much sleep as you possibly can too and minimise stress.
Activities like meditation, guided imagery, breathing techniques, gratitude, and mindfulness, are time-honoured, science-backed ways that make a difference. They have calming effects not only on the state of mind, but also very importantly helping balance immune function. This is particularly crucial since the most severe cases have an over reactive immune response leading to greater complications. There are plenty of resources available online to help you and I am available to coach in these too.
Sunlight and Fresh Air
Sunlight and Fresh Air are also likely to be helpful in keeping you well. Always follow government guidelines and keep a social distance of 2 metres away from others and self isolate if you have symptoms or have come into contact with others who have symptoms.
Experience from the greatest pandemic in recorded history – the 1918 Spanish flu, has shown us that patients treated outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. Fresh air is understood to be a disinfectant, as reported by the M.O.D in the 1960s, effective both night and day.
Sunlight is understood to inactivate the flu virus and indeed covid-19 is believed to be sensitive to U.V light. Whilst it is not safe to use U.V lamps to sterilise your skin, natural sunlight may well be part of the reason why fresh air is anti-infective because of the U.V. Indeed U.V laser beams are being used in some countries to disinfect hospital rooms.
Another advantage of sunlight is that it allows us to make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. Vitamin D helps boost the immune system and has been shown to be effective in preventing respiratory infections. Even ten minutes a day can be effective. If you don’t get enough sunshine or are concerned about skin cancer from sun exposure, it is possible to take a supplement as a tablet or mouth spray.
Keeping hydrated is also very helpful, if possible try to drink warm drinks a little every 20 minutes , helping prevent dryness of throat and lungs.
A couple of other natural anti-infectives that may also help are Propolis – the substance that Bees use to keep their hives free of infection or if you are vegan, then the herb thyme infused in boiling water is a natural respiratory antiseptic. Either of these can be gargled and or taken as a drink. Zinc and vitamin C are also beneficial.
Supplements should not be taken as a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet, rich in colourful plants and vegetables and including oily fish.
Of course don’t forget to frequently wash your hands with soap and water, avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes or nose and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and safely dispose of it and if you go out, take a shower and wash clothes when you get home and wipe down surfaces. The best defence is avoiding infection in the first place.
Maintaining a positive mindset is vital in these times. Exercise can help and taking self-help actions such as these suggested can help to boost your morale as well as your immune system and help reduce the burden on the N.H.S during this crisis. Try where possible to find the silver linings to this crisis.
Finally, I wish for you to remain healthy and find the best way through these troubling times and will continue to be available for online or phone consultations.
Article written by Tracy Mills for Local People Magazine issue Mar 2020.
Anon. Weapons against influenza. Am J Public Health 1918 Oct;8(10):787–8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.8.10.787.
Hobday RA. The open-air factor and infection control. J Hosp Infect 2019;103:e23-e24 doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2019.04.003.