Viewing entries in
Wellness

A Nutritionists' Tips: Boost Your Energy Levels

Comment

A Nutritionists' Tips: Boost Your Energy Levels

by Elisabeth Carlsson

How many times did you press the snooze button this morning before you finally dragged yourself out of bed?   Once on the tube or train did you slowly start waking up, but was it still a struggle? Having arrived in the office, is coffee the only thing keeping you going during the morning until lunchtime?  Come mid-afternoon, do you feel like you are ready for bed again and you really can’t keep your eyes open? Leaving work, do you have a second wind, go out for a few drinks and then once home, feel exhausted but somehow can’t manage to get to bed before midnight when your mind is racing and you can’t switch-off? If this sounds like a day in your life read on for some simple tips about how to boost your energy.

Continued fatigue decreases the immune system, making us more susceptible to depression and illness.  Relying on caffeine and energy drinks makes us feel worse in the long-run by causing our system to crash.  Sluggishness can be caused by many things, but poor nutrition is one of the biggest culprits. Food is truly the body’s fuel, and what we choose to eat absolutely impacts the performance on our bodies.

Here are some simple tips about how to maintain steady energy throughout the day.

  1. Protein.  Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue so add some to every meal. Because protein takes longer to breakdown in the body than carbohydrates, they provide a longer-lasting energy source.  We need protein for preserving lean muscle mass, repair and build tissues, maintain cells, transport vitamins and minerals and help with efficient liver detoxification. Examples of protein include fish, eggs, red meat, poultry and dairy.  Vegetarian proteins include beans, legumes, tofu and nuts.

  2. Don’t ditch breakfast and don’t start your day on just coffee. Skipping breakfast is going to set you off on an energy rollercoaster for the rest of the day and it can be a struggle to catch-up.  Choose healthier options such as porridge, fruit, eggs or a smoothie. Sugary options such as pastries or cereal lack fibre and protein and will keep you hungry and restless for the rest of the morning.

  3. Daily dose of exercise. This could mean going to the gym or just increasing your step count during the day.  It doesn’t mean spending hours on the treadmill as research show that you can get your work out done in only 13 minutes.  Research show that doing only 13 minutes of resistance training during an 8-week period, could increase both strength and endurance (1).

  4. Get some shut-eye.  Good night sleep is crucial for memory, learning and weight management. Research shows that partial sleep deprivation (as opposed to chronic sleep deprivation) leads to problems with attention, especially vigilance and that the ability to recover from sleep deprivation decreases the older we are. (2) The day after a poor night’s sleep, avoid the caffeine, stay hydrated and front load your day, i.e. make sure you get the important stuff done at the beginning of the day as your energy will wane quite quickly as the day go on.  

  5. Avoid alcohol.  Ditch the drink before bed as it can affect your sleep and your energy the next day.  If you are having alcoholic drinks, make sure you have water in between the drinks as alcohol makes you dehydrated which in turn can really lower your energy levels.  Sip on water throughout the day and add some slices of cucumber or lemon to keep it fresh.

If you are doing all of the above and you still feel tired during the day, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor to make sure there are no underlying issues that are affecting your energy levels. For example, they can check if you are low on iron, which is very common especially in women.


  1. Schoenfeld BJ et.al. (2019). Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men Medicine and Science in Sport and Excercise. 51 (1), 94-103

  2. Paula Alhola & Päivi Polo-Kantola. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatr. Dis. Trial. 3 (5), 553+567



Comment

How does your body perceive the threat of low blood sugar?

Comment

How does your body perceive the threat of low blood sugar?

by Elisabeth Carlsson N.T Dip CNM, MBANT, RCNHC

Did you know that the body recognizes low blood sugar as a threat to its survival?

Have you ever experienced any of the following?

Irritability – where you want to shout very loudly at anyone who bumps into you on the tube or at your kids when they complain about homework.

Anxiety – when your mind won’t stop racing and you keep on turning over the same conversation with your boss over and over again.

Insomnia – when you can’t go to sleep or you wake up at 3am with anxiety and just can’t go back to sleep.

Cravings: where you easily can eat two donuts, half a packet of biscuits and six sweets you just found at the back of your drawer. In only one minute.

Or you might have experienced brain fog, feeling jittery, problems with memory, bloating or poor concentration? Yep, I’ve been there. My earliest memory was that that badminton tournament in my teens, when I nearly fainted, my heart was racing, I was white as a sheet and shivering and I thought I had got some horrible disease. No, that was just a blood sugar crash. Or only last week when my kids wouldn’t get off their gaming devices and I went from calm to  blowing my top in less than 30 seconds.

I think we can all relate to these situations.  They are all symptoms of low blood sugar levels. Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: It’s sugar, also known as glucose.

Hypoglycaemia is the medical condition of having an abnormally low blood sugar (glucose) and can be responsible for all the above but also triggering or exacerbating migraines and other headaches.  It’s usually a result of not eating enough of the right food throughout the day in order to keep your engine running and your blood sugar stabilized. If you have diabetes for example, a headache may be a sign that you need to boost your blood sugar levels.

In order to thrive in life and deal with the demands being placed on the body we must support the body’s physical, nutritional and emotional energy needs. Stress breaks the body down while nourishment to the body and soul restores us and keeps the body and mind well and thriving.

Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators, of course such threats are rare today, but it doesn’t mean your body is not experiencing stress. With busy life style, huge workload, taking care of your family we all have minor ‘hassles’ that are perceived by the body as stress.

Quoting James B. LaValle ‘controlling stress in your life as it happens is the most important measure of optimizing metabolic function’.(1)  Simply put, if you know you are going to have a stressful day or you are hitting the gym straight after a busy day at work, making sure that you are eating nourishing food to support yourself should be a priority as otherwise, you just won’t perform as well.

Humans are highly adaptable, meaning, just as we adapt into a state of chronic stress (when given the right environment), we can just as easily adapt out of stress (when given the right environment).

So how do you adapt out of stress? Through nourishing yourself in ways that works for you and your body and that suits your life style and the demands you have in our life.

What you can do right now? Swap your afternoon coffee for a cinnamon tea. It’s widely used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda and studies show that cinnamon can help to control blood sugar. (2). Cinnamon is also naturally sweet so can help to stop those 4pm craving. Pukka does a nice tea or make your own, see below.
Eating healthy is no simple task these days and most are confused about what to eat which does not come as a surprise given the amount of conflicting information.

If you want to find out more how to balance your blood sugar with foods that works for your body and how to understand the ways that your body tries to communicate it’s needs, get in touch via the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms. I offer a free 15-minute chat before booking your appointment.

Cinnamon tea

1 cinnamon stick (Ceylon cinnamon)

250ml hot water

1 tea bag (regular, decaf or Rooibos)

Add the cinnamon stick and water to a mug and let steep for 10 minutes. Add the tea and steep for an additional two minutes. Remove the teabag and sweeten with honey. Instead of tea you could add some slices of fresh ginger for a spicy kick.

Appointments are available with Elisabeth by arrangement at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms. Click here for more information: https://www.honoroakwellnessrooms.com/nutrition


  1. Cracking the Metabolic Code; 9 keys to optimal health: The Nine Keys to Peak Health and Longevity by James B. LaValle (2004)

  2. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis Davis PA, Yokoyama W, Journal of Medicinal Food (2011)

Comment

Winter Wellness: Top Tips to Supercharge your Winter Wellbeing

Comment

Winter Wellness: Top Tips to Supercharge your Winter Wellbeing

by Candice Habershon
Candice teaches Vinyasa Flow on Tuesday & Friday mornings at 9.30am, and is running a Winter Wellness Workshop this Saturday 24th November. Book your spot via our Events Page!

Winter Wellness.png

Winter can be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, colder and shorter and our bodies become more susceptible to all kinds of nasties like colds and flu. Top all that off with the stress of the silly season in the run up to Christmas and it might become tempting to stay inside and hide away from it all. Being proactive at this time of year will help ensure you stay calm, happy and well. Below, Candice offers her top tips to supercharge your winter wellness.

Keep moving

Make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day that raises your heart rate. Research has shown that increasing your heart rate could help to speed up the circulation of white blood cells in the body, making it more likely they will seek and destroy germs early on. Just be careful not to overdo it as that will have the opposite effect.

Open your heart

It’s our natural instinct in cold weather to hunch our shoulders. But at this time of year we should be actively doing the opposite. Heart-opening poses such as sphinx, cobra, fish and bridge pose stimulate blood flow to the thymus an organ situated behind the breast bone that is instrumental in the growth of germ-killing T-cells.

Let’s twist again

Twists are brilliant at helping the body deal with stress or anxiety – two emotions that tend to surface at this busy time of year. Opening the chest, shoulders and back through twisting can help to release stored tension in the body, leaving you feeling calmer mentally.

Get upside down

Because inversions increase the flow of blood moving toward the heart, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to circulate oxygenated blood properly throughout the body. Inversions are also great for moving lymph around the body strengthening the immune system.

Strike a (warrior) pose.

Grounding poses, like warrior 1 and 2, help to calm the frenetic vata energy of this season, and gives us durability and stability through the winter. They develop concentration, balance and groundedness and help to energise the entire body.

Create an internal fire

Ujjayi breath, where you exhale through the nose using a slight restriction at the back of the throat, helps to generate internal body heat. This form of pranayama, or breathing exercise, can help to alleviate headaches, relieve sinus pressure, decrease the production of phlegm, and strengthen the nervous and digestive systems.

Spice up your life

Make sure you pop these immune boosting spices into your shopping trolley this month

Turmeric - beneficial for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Ginger – stimulates digestion, boosts immunity and alleviates coughs and congestion.

Cinnamon – great for drying up runny noses

Black pepper - revitalises circulation, respiration and digestion.

Use oils

Winter is cold and windy so in ayurvedic practices it is known as the vata time of year. Massaging oil into the skin after a bath or rubbing some into the feet before bedtime is a great antidote. Lavender or clary sage are both excellent for calming vata.

Meditate

Running around trying to get things sorted for Christmas affects your body’s ability to fight germs. Studies have shown that meditating helps to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body, slows the heart rate and decreases blood pressure. At the same time, resources that were directed to support fighting or running are now directed to support healing and immune system functions.

Have fun

Plan a date with friends, book a movie or enrol in a pottery class. Studies have shown that looking forward to an event boosts immunity, while loneliness can have the opposite effect. If you’d rather be at home, get a friend to come over and watch a comedy with you. It’s true what they say about laughter being the best medicine: not only does it boost the immune system, it protects the heart and burns calories too.


Want to find out more?

Come along to Candice’s Winter Wellness Workshop at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms at 1:30pm this Saturday 24 November. Just a few spaces left!

BOOK NOW

Comment

Back Care Awareness Week: New Research Reveals Back Pain Trends in London

Comment

Back Care Awareness Week: New Research Reveals Back Pain Trends in London

logo.png

It’s BackCare Awareness Week! This year, from 8 – 12 October the National Back Pain Association is encouraging everybody to take care of their backs, providing advice and resources for those affected. In light of new research revealing that people in London are experiencing this pain more frequently, the team here at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms can offer you simple, effective advice for preventing back or neck pain,

The consumer research, undertaken by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), analysed trends in back and neck pain over the last five years. The findings showed the proportion of people in the region experiencing pain each week has risen from 39% to 44%.

The most common triggers for back and neck pain, a condition affecting 79% of Londoners, have also changed.

The number of people pointing to their job as the cause of their discomfort has risen, now affecting almost a fifth (19%) of the London population. The number of people who find driving contributes to their back pain has also increased by 6%.

Meanwhile, lifting and carrying heavy items, a trigger for 46% of Londoners’ back pain, remains the most commonly cited cause of the condition for the fifth year in a row.

Simon, chiropractor and founder of the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms and member of the BCA comments on the findings:

“I think many of us will agree that the increasing numbers of people experiencing back or neck pain each week are concerning, especially given how simple it can be to protect ourselves from some of the most commons triggers.

“Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly more sedentary, and in London many of us spend hours at a desk or stuck in traffic behind the wheel, contributing to people in the region experiencing pain more frequently. For the 44% of adults in London who are experiencing back or neck pain on a weekly basis, I would urge you to consider incorporating more exercise and general movement into your routine where you can to help combat the effects of sitting still.”

Simon provides six top tips to get people in London moving and to prevent back or neck pain:

1.     Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, whether you’re at work, driving or just catching up on box sets, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can also help to keep your body moving when you’re sitting for longer periods of time

2.     Drive in comfort: When in the car for long periods, you can keep muscles active with buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles

3.     Stay active: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, as a stronger body can cope better with the demands you make of it, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile! 

4.     Be computer compatible: When at work, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen

5.     Carry with care: While maintaining a strong body can help to prevent injuries, lifting and carrying in a safe way can help to prevent the leading cause of back and neck pain in London. Just as an athlete has to train to lift heavier weights, we should all only attempt to lift objects that we are able to without too much strain. If an item is particularly heavy then try to make use of available equipment which can help to take the load off your back, or reduce the load to smaller more manageable chunks

6.     Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine

The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain.

Book your appointment online today!

IMG_9672.jpg

Comment

Using Yoga Twists to Rediscover Your Full Potential for Mobility

Comment

Using Yoga Twists to Rediscover Your Full Potential for Mobility

by Lynne Fugard

As forward-facing animals it’s not surprising that we humans get overly concerned with what’s in front of us. As a consequence, a lot of our daily routines and exercise regimens can become restricted to very linear, one-directional patterns of movement, creating imbalanced and uncomfortable habits of tension and weakness in our bodies.

Days spent hunched over a desk, phone, or steering wheel; carrying heavy bags or children; driving, walking, running or cycling; always going forwards, forwards, forwards… It all has the effect of closing up the front of the body, tightening the muscles of the chest, shoulders, waist and legs, whilst weakening the muscles of the back: those bigger muscles either side of the spine, but also the tiny postural muscles that provide vital support and mobility within the spine itself.

As these patterns and habits become ingrained, it becomes impossible to fully realize the healthy range of mobility that should be available to us. Muscle pairs can become imbalanced – some increasingly tight and tense, whilst others weaken and fail to switch on. These sorts of imbalances can potentially even pull the skeleton itself out of natural alignment. The normal, neutral curvature of the spine becomes exaggerated, resulting in an excessive rounding in the upper back (kyphosis), or over-concaving in the lower back (lordosis). We feel hunched over, tired, stressed and tense, and over time chronic pain in the neck, shoulders or lower back can result.

How Can Yoga Help?

One of the joys of a regular yoga practice is the transformational rediscovery of our deep-seated potential for multifaceted motion. We have a spine that can maneuver 360 degrees through 3 planes of alignment - not only forwards and backwards, but also from side to side, in rotational twists, and then through all sorts of combinations of those movements. The yoga practice flows through all of these planes, exploring a healthy range of mobility in each limb, whilst also working to balance and enhance a strong, supple, interconnected musculature that supports and allows such motion to feel safe and stable.

Which Poses Should I Use?

In particular, the yoga poses that most obviously break with linear, forward-facing patterns are twists, side-bends and back-bends. In my classes, I incorporate these movements to mindfully explore the space above and behind us, encouraging new perspectives and creative ways of moving, strengthening around the spine, enhancing posture and breath-capacity, and all whilst brightening the mood, stimulating the nervous system, and clarifying the mind. Suddenly the body feels more alive, supple and buoyant, you wake up every morning more comfortable and spacious, and you begin to challenge your preconceptions about what is possible and maybe even what is normal! 

Sound good?

Then it’s time to BOOK YOUR SPOT in our Yoga Improvers: Explore From Your Core! workshop this weekend!

We will build through an invigorating sequence in preparation for the body to weave itself into deliciously deep twists, binds, back-bends and beyond. Whilst opening the shoulders, chest, and side body, we will also cultivate a strong and powerful core, the centre, from which and around which we can move, expand and explore our natural range of motion with intention and curiosity. Using props and partner-work there will be time to break down and work towards those more challenging twists, binds and backbends from the yoga asana practice - including standing, seated, balancing and inverted poses - leaving you plenty of ideas to take back to your self-practice, weekly classes and daily life.

BOOK YOUR SPOT NOW!

Comment

Comment

A Mindful Cup of Full Leaf Tea

Blog post by Katia, founder of Nauteas who will be leading the Tea & Creativity workshop on Saturday 11th August. Book here.

As far back as the 18th century, when the East India Company began shipping tea from China to the UK, British people fell in love with this magical beverage. Tea was the drink of prestige, big fashion and steered much of the social and political affairs in Europe and beyond.

Fast forward to today and the love affair shows no signs of waning with almost 2,000 cups of tea consumed every second by the British public - that’s over 60 billion cups a year! Quick brew, perhaps a splash of milk, sip and off we go - we don’t always notice this small habit that punctuates our every day.

As a Tea Sommelier and Blender, I am fortunate to experience incredible full leaf teas and their multitudes of flavours, colours and aromas. Miles away from the dusty paper tea bags, there is an incredible world of quality full leaf teas carefully sourced from tea gardens around the world. There’s never been a better time than now to start exploring all the health benefits teas can offer!

tea workshop

 

As many would agree, we have become a nation of autopilot beings with a strong work ethic, and as such, life doesn’t always give us much room for respite. We live in a society where we are chasing the ‘What’s next? What’s happening tomorrow? What am I doing with my life?’ This can leave us feeling a little out of control, and often creeps up on us without us even noticing.

Luckily many of us have become aware that we can’t sustain this rhythm without burning out and have turned our attention to the present moment,  to the practice of ‘mindfulness’, where we learn techniques to focus our full attention on the here and now.

It’s a technique that once learned can help us take back a little control and find moments peace in a frantic world.

Which is where a simple cup of tea comes in...

tea workshop and creativity

Without even realising it, having a cup of tea gives us an opportunity to stop and to fully attend to what's happening, to what you're doing, to the space you find yourself in.

Mindfulness coupled with the process of selecting, brewing, observing and tasting some of the world’s finest teas is a perfect combination. I would love to invite you to join a session where you will have the opportunity to be in the present moment, tasting some of the most aromatic infusions of full leaf tea and learning the stories behind them all.

In addition, we will explore the health benefits; why drinking tea is better to sustain your energy levels than coffee and I will share my sommelier tips for selecting and brewing delicious teas. Most importantly, learn to really be in the moment and pay attention to the amazing experiences different brews of tea will create for you.

tea and creativity workshop

Join our tea and creativity workshop on Saturday 11th August! 

Book here 

Comment

Indian Head Massage

Comment

Indian Head Massage

"Touch is not optional for human development… from chronic pain to the process of healing, the genes, cells, and neural circuits involved in the sense of touch have been crucial to creating our unique human experience." - David J. Linden, Touch

Comment

What Is Hatha Yoga?

1 Comment

What Is Hatha Yoga?

There are so many different styles of Yoga that sometimes choosing a class can be quite confusing, especially if you are new to yoga, so here’s a little information about Yoga's original style...

1 Comment

Relax, Renew & Restore

Comment

Relax, Renew & Restore

Beautiful Autumn has truly arrived along with the nights beginning to draw in and the constant coughing and sneezing around us – it is the season for colds!  It takes time for our bodies and minds to adjust to the change in weather and the fast pace of life in London can leave us feeling frazzled and exhausted at times.  This healing three hour workshop is all about relaxing and letting go...

Comment