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Beverley Jarvis – Eat Well To Age Well

international womens day

The latest book from fabulous author Beverley Jarvis is: Eat Well To Age Well. It covers some amazing recipes with a variety of delicious ingredients, all packed with healthy nutrients. The recipes are designed to be made by anyone, no matter their culinary abilities.

Beverley has filmed some fantastic video content for us to share. Firstly 2 recipes from her book, an Asian inspired pan fried Turkey and Vegetable stir fry, secondly a Sweet Potato dish with Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Parsley

In her second video, Beverley shares some simple healthy food swaps that we can all make to improve our diet:

Lastly, with the amazing invention of the Air Fryer, Beverley shares a beautiful Salmon Dish, along with some fantastic home-made muffins that you can do in your Air Fryer.

Click here to buy Eat Well To Age Well, directly here on the Hammersmith Health Books Website.

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Perfect Picnic Recipe from Beverley Jarvis

Author of ‘Eat Well to Age Well’ Beverley Jarvis has provided recipes from her fan-favourite cookbook that are the perfect, delicious addition to any picnic.

Minty Dressed Salad with Grapes and Melon

This makes a deliciously light starter. You could double the recipe and prepare enough for 4, but only add the dressing to half of it, packing and chilling the remainder to be used the next day. For a change, use honeydew melon rather than watermelon.

1 little gem lettuce, washed, drained and shredded
1 kiwi fruit, thinly sliced, without peeling
1 small bag pea shoots and baby leaves, from the supermarket, or 1 large handful baby spinach, washed Handful mint leaves, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 small broccoli florets, blanched for 2 minutes, in boiling water, then cooled in ice cold water, drained and dried on absorbent kitchen paper
2 thick slices of water melon deseeded and chopped
12 seedless red grapes, halved

For the Dijon dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice ½ lemon
1 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

You will need a chopping board and knife, salad bowl, teaspoon, tablespoon, 2 salad serving spoons, citrus juicer, small saucepan with lid, small screw-top jar and salad bowl.

Nutritional Note:
Fibre, vitamins B6 and C are provided by the kiwi fruit, as well as magnesium. Pea shoots provide valuable fibre plus vitamins A, C, E and K, and the mineral potassium. Vitamins A and C are in the tomatoes, as well as lycopene which is beneficial for prostate health. Melon provides vitamins A, C, B6 and B9 and magnesium.

1. Put the little gem lettuce leaves into in a salad bowl with the kiwi fruit slices, pea shoots and baby leaves, or the baby spinach and mint. Throw the tomatoes, broccoli, melon and grapes on top.

2. Make the dressing by putting all the dressing ingredients into a screw-top jar and shaking well.

3. When you are ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over it, toss well to coat all the ingredients and serve immediately sprinkled with the crunchy pumpkin seeds

Experienced cookery teacher and writer Beverley Jarvis has put together this book of 75+ delicious recipes to inspire her super-ager peers to eat well, with all the nutrients that are increasingly needed as we get older, and to cook whole-foods from scratch quickly and easily so that meals are enjoyable but never a chore. To read the first chapter for free, click here.

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The Damaging Effects of Chronic Stress

chronic stress

The following is an extract from ‘The Plant-Based Dietitian’s Guide to Fertility’ by Lisa Simon RD and looks at the effects stress can have on fertility. The book will be available for purchase on Hammersmith Health Books and other online vendors this month. 

I cannot emphasise enough how significant an effect chronic stress can have on your health. I would go so far as to say that it is at a level playing field with nutrition and, if it isn’t addressed, quite simply you will not improve your health.

Your body’s response to stress is instant and starts in your brain. It begins a series of interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. This results in the release of adrenaline and cortisol, two of the ‘stress hormones’, from the adrenal glands. Once the stress has passed, your cortisol and adrenaline levels reduce back down. This step is really important as the communication between the glands in your brain and the adrenal glands above your kidneys also influences the production of sex hormones. If the stress doesn’t pass, the stress response doesn’t stop and this results in disruptions to your reproductive hormones. It is because of this that chronic stress may lead to poorer sperm quality and infertility in both men and women.

The effects of chronic stress on fertility

So, the effects of chronic stress on general health but also on fertility can be significant, and sometimes it feels like a bit of a vicious circle. Struggling to conceive is stressful, going through fertility treatment is stressful, and worrying about the effects of stress is stressful! Add that to general life stressors like work, relationships, social pressures, financial strains etc, and you can see how present stress is daily, even if you are not always aware of it. This is when the effects of such stress can start to become apparent in your state of health and affect your fertility, and this is why it is so important for both your mental and physical wellbeing to have in place some great stress management techniques. In terms of fertility treatment, data show that men report feeling stressed providing sperm samples on the day of egg retrieval, and this may negatively affect overall semen quality, with effects on sperm concentration and motility. However, it is difficult to say whether stress results in reduced semen quality, or whether it is a consequence of decreased semen quality.

Being diagnosed with infertility, frequent medical appointment, and failed IVF treatment are all very stressful events. It isn’t just the stress itself though that can affect sperm quality; how you respond to stress may also play a part. Responding by being assertive or confrontational may negatively affect fertility by increasing adrenaline production which then results in the blood vessels in the testicles tightening. This reduces testosterone production and the making of new sperm, so for men, stress management techniques are just as important as for women.

As stress causes an increase in cortisol and subsequent suppression of sex hormones, this can lead to a decreased sex drive and can also lead to undesired weight gain. Whereas acute stress is more likely to result in a reduced appetite, chronic stress is more likely to decrease behavioural control and increases impulsive behaviour. An estimated 35-40% of those experiencing stress increase their food intake. The types of food likely to be chosen are foods high in sugar and/or fat, with low-energy, high-nutrient foods, particularly fruit and vegetables, decreasing. This may then lead to overeating, which in turn can lead to weight gain and potentially increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Conversely, some experiencing chronic stress may decrease their food intake, leading to weight loss, with potential adverse effects on their mood, energy, concen­tration and, for women, their menstrual cycle.

Managing Chronic Stress

Managing stress is the third pillar of lifestyle medicine and essential to improving your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. In terms of techniques for doing so, everyone is different, and what might work for one person may not necessarily work for the next. For example, I’ve had patients telling me that meditation is their idea of ‘hell’, but then when I explore further, I find their concept of meditation is sitting on a yoga mat, cross legged, with both hands raised, fingers touching, while gently humming. This stereotypical image does not reflect the broad spectrum of meditation and is very different to most people’s practice.

Note from the author: In my new book, The Plant-Based Dietitian’s Guide to Fertility, I recommend the following from which you can pick and mix what is right for YOU. Please do see the book for the full information:

  • Guided meditation
  • Controlled breathing
  • Positive visualisation
  • Laughter therapy (yes! You heard right)

My experience of managing stress after embryo transfer

I can’t say that I didn’t worry at all during the two week wait after embryo transfer as I think some degree of anxiety is inevitable when you are pinning so much on something working, but every time I felt as though my anxiety was starting to get too high, I would apply some or all of the stress management techniques I describe in the book to bring it down.

Another thing I would highly recommend, if it is possible for you after embryo transfer, is to book those two weeks off work, or at least the first week. You want to remain as calm and stress-free as possible during that time, not having to deal with the commute if you are not working from home; work stress is something that you just don’t need. Also, finding something to occupy your mind is crucial so you don’t spend long periods trying to second-guess whether you are pregnant. That can be really counterproductive, and please, STEP AWAY FROM GOOGLE! It can be so tempting to search the internet for ‘signs I am pregnant’ or ‘what does implantation feel like?’ but this can raise stress levels and mean that you are obsessing over the slightest little sensation. Try and spend those two weeks doing lovely things with either your friends or your partner. Go out for relaxing meals, watch a film in the cinema, organise a pamper evening, do some crafting – anything that helps you to relax and distracts you from negative thoughts.

And remember, if none of these techniques are for you, there are many other forms of stress management that can be equally as effective. These can be going for a lovely walk, or a gentle run outdoors in nature, curling up with a cuppa and your favourite book, or having a lovely warm (not hot) bubble bath. As long as you take some time out, away from your phone and other screens, and just focus on being present, you will feel much better for it.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

This blog post was written by Hammersmith Health Books founder, Georgina Bentliff.

In honour of this day that internationally celebrates women’s achievements, we would like to make a special mention of these brilliant authors. All write, based on great expertise in their chosen field, to improve the health of others and are dedicated to achieving a healthier future for women and for all.

international womens dayDr Sarah Myhill, MB BS

Dr Myhill qualified in medicine (with Honours) from Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1981 and has since focused tirelessly on identifying and treating the underlying causes of health problems, especially diseases of civilisation’ with which we are beset in the west. She has worked in the NHS and independent practice and for 17 years was the Honorary Secretary of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, which focuses on the causes of disease and treating through diet, supplements and avoiding toxic stress. She has recently deregistered from the UK’s General Medical Council and is not registered as a Naturopathic Physician with the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners. She has particular expertise in treating CFS/ME. Visit her website at


international womens day

Beverley Jarvis

Beverley has been teaching and writing about cooking since she qualified as a home economist and cookery teacher in the late 1960s. Her guiding principles have developed through many years of working as a home economist, including a stint as head of home economics for the Nestle company, and through writing about food and teaching cookery. She has presented a series on microwave cookery for the BBC and appeared on Food and Drink plus morning TV shows. She has previously published 23 cookbooks under the name Beverley Piper, starting out with Microwave Cooking for Health, published by Penguin.



international womens day

Dr Shireen Kassam, MB BS, FRCPath, PhD, DipIBLM

Dr Kassam is a Consultant Haematologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College Hospital, London, with a specialist interest in the treatment of patients with lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). She is also passionate about promoting plant-based nutrition for the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases and for maintaining optimal health after treatment for cancer. In 2018 she founded Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, a community interest company whose mission is to provide evidence-based education and advocacy on plant-based nutrition. In 2019 she became certified as a Lifestyle Medicine Physician by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.


international womens dayDr Zahra Kassam MB BS, FRCPC, MSc, DipABLM

Dr Kassam is a Radiation Oncologist at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre in Ontario, Canada and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto. Her areas of clinical practice are gastrointestinal and breast cancers and she has published peer-reviewed papers on these malignancies as well as in education and mentorship. She is a certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician with the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and has completed the eCornell certification in plant-based nutrition and the Plant-Based Nutrition course at the University of Winchester. In 2019 she co-founded Plant-Based Canada, a not-for-profit organisation with the goal of education the public and health professionals on the evidence-based benefits of plant-based whole food nutrition for individual and planetary health.


Carolyn Garritt, MSc

Carolyn Garritt is a cancer rehabilitation personal trainer and Exercise Lead for the West London Maggie’s Cancer Support Centre. She has been working in this relatively new field for more than eight years and is a qualified personal trainer and instructor in running, boxing, sports conditioning, chair-based exercise and Nordic walking. She has trained hundreds of people recovering from or living with cancer. She also has personal experience of cancer – she helped both her parents become more active after their cancer diagnoses and in 2020, while she was writing this book, was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. Visit her website here.



Dr Heather Herington, BsC (Biol), NMD, DHANP

Dr Heather Herington is board certified in Classical Homeopathy and trained as a primary care physician. She has specialised in women’s health and mental health (including PTS) for over thirty years. She is passionate about encouraging people to realise the extraordinary potential everyone has to heal naturally with the right knowledge and motivation. Her two-pronged approach focuses on restoring biochemical balance with diet, lifestyle measures, homeopathy and botanicals and enabling survivors to tell and/or reshape their story. Visit her website here.


international women's day


Lydia Rolley

Lydia Rolley is a recently retired NHS Occupational Therapist and Family Therapist/Systemic Psychotherapist, with more than 15 years of experience in fatigue management. Her latest release is a practical, attractively illustrated guide to managing chronic fatigue in order to enable recovery at a pace that works for the individual. Each chapter includes a range of tips from which to choose plus food for thought, pause and mind, body and soul. Essential text is highlighted so that the severely fatigued can focus purely on that in the early stages of recovery.

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Best practices to cope with COPD


Temperatures have plummeted as the days get shorter and the wind gets colder, and while the move from blistering sun may get some people feeling the festive cheer, for others the winter time can bring about worry and concern. People with respiratory diseases such as COPD can often find themselves shorter of breath and coughing more than usual.

To wrap up a month focused on COPD and raising awareness for the condition, we investigated some of the simple corrective exercises to help COPD patients overcome breathlessness.⁠ The following blog has excerpts from Paul Brice’s book ‘COPD: Innovative Breathing Techniques’, which you can find here.

Learning to de-slump yourself


For this exercise, you will need a high-backed chair that is firm and supportive. You will find a sofa or lounge chair will be far too soft to provide any meaningful support to your spine. A dining table chair with arms or a relatively firm office chair is what you will need. If the chair has arms, it may assist you, but if your chair has no arms you can still do the exercise. You will also need a rolled-up towel or a back support of some sort draped over the top of the backrest.

Self-Awareness Preparation

Sit on a chair as you normally would. Position a rolled-up towel or back and listen again to your breathing. Ask yourself the following questions and be more aware of what you are actually doing when you inhale and exhale:

  1. Notice where your head is in relation to your body
  2. Notice how you are holding your shoulders
  3. Think about the pace and speed of your breathing
  4. Recognise how deep your breath is going into your lungs
  5. Think about how satisfying each breath is

How to do the exercise

  1. Sit down on the firm high-backed chair, with your bottom pushed right back into the seat
  2. Ensure that the rolled-up towel or back support pad is positioned below and between your shoulder blades. The rolled-up towel or pad should be big enough for you to feel it push against your ribs, but not so big that you are being toppled forwards
  3. Now try to draw your shoulder blades backwards and downwards, whilst drawing the nape of your neck backwards. The towel or back support will act as a pivot point, allowing your ribs to open up like a fan, and artificially supporting and expanding your chest in the process
  4. When you draw your shoulders backwards and downwards, you may find that your hands will need to fall by your hips or slide back on the arms of your chair. Work with this by putting your hands on your hips if your chair has no arms, or drawing your elbows back if your chair has got arm rests

Read more about how to manage COPD in ‘COPD: Innovative Breathing Techniques’ by Paul Brice, published by Hammersmith Health Books,  and discover how The Brice Method could help you to re-learn how to breathe naturally, with ease and without having to work hard. The best course of treatment for COPD can differ for every person and what works for some may not be as effective for others, so if you are struggling with COPD, make sure to consult your GP.

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Stress Awareness Week

Stress describes what we experience when we are physically, mentally or emotionally under pressure and feeling unable to cope. It activates our fight-or-flight response, with the outpouring of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. This response may have positive consequences in the short-term as it prompts us to take action, but prolonged stress and the feelings of helplessness that accompany it can have serious effects on our health.

We have compiled some key pieces of advice and top tips from a range of our books on the effects stress can have on our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as how to manage it:


‘Curing the Incurable’ – Dr Jerry Thompson

We already know that stress increases the incidence and severity of many diseases. A meta-analysis of nearly 300 studies found that stress lowered immunity. Stress increases inflammation, which in turn increases the risk of cancer. It activates the ‘fight or flight’ response, triggering the sympathetic nervous system, releasing hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, and reducing levels of growth hormone. Both adrenaline and noradrenaline block the body’s ability to destroy tumours. One study showed tumours grew 225% faster in stressed mice.

However, it isn’t just that we produce harmful chemicals when under stress. We also produce less of those anabolic hormones essential for healing and repair, as raw materials get diverted to produce more adrenaline and cortisol.

It is obvious that if we want to promote healing, then reducing stress becomes a priority. However, there is more to stress than meets the eye. In the study on rats subjected to electrical shocks mentioned in the Introduction, those that learned to avoid the shocks rejected their tumours three times as often as those that couldn’t. What’s more, 20% more of these rats rejected their tumours compared with those rats not subjected to any shocks. Here the stress proved beneficial and adapting to it had a positive survival effect. […] So reducing stress, or adapting to it in a positive way, can enhance our ability to fight a disease.

Many of the mental strategies that survivors have used are based on two simple ideas. Both are backed by a substantial amount of research:

  1. The body goes into healing mode once it becomes relaxed, and conversely healing of the body stops when we are under stress.
  2. Thoughts are creative and can modify health.

‘Eating Plant Based’ – Dr Shireen Kassam and Dr Zahra Kassam

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the normal cellular processes of oxidation and reduction and is a result of the generation of metabolic products known as ‘reactive oxygen species’ (ROS). Certain ‘stressors’ can lead to increased levels of ROS, including cigarette smoking, medication, pesticides, radiation and also our diet choices. Oxidative stress then leads to the damage of proteins, DNA and cell membranes. The body requires antioxidants to counter the effects of these damaging ROS.

Plant foods contain hundreds of antioxidant compounds and have vastly higher antioxidant content than animal-derived foods. These antioxidants come in two broad categories: carotenoids and bioflavonoids. Both are large groups of structurally related compounds that help plants cope with radiation exposure from sunlight. Studies consistently show that those eating a predominantly plant-based diet have higher levels of antioxidants in the body compared with omnivores so, add more colourful fruit and vegetables into your daily diet as the intake of these anti-inflammatory foods reduces the very hormones that increase our stress levels.

‘Living PCOS Free’ – Rohini Bajekal and Dr Nitu Bajekal

Dr Nitu and Rohini Bajekal, writing in relation to PCOS but with ap to all aspects of health, make these creative suggestions for managing our stress:

It helps to try and figure out if your stress is acute or chronic. It may be that it is a family member who needs your attention because they are sick, or it may be your relationship, work-related stress and deadlines, or even bullying and harassment. Chronic stress is a prolonged and constant feeling of stress that can negatively affect your health if it goes untreated. By identifying and acknowledging stress triggers, you may feel better equipped to deal with the situation.

[…] Regular exercise improves the feel-good factor and can help reduce anxiety levels. Walking or working out, especially in natural light, can help increase endorphins, also known as the happy hormones. Spending time outdoors in nature has been found to ease stress. […]

Gratitude practices and thinking of a few positive areas that are going well in your life can help relieve stress levels. Yoga, meditation or simple mindfulness and breathing techniques can calm the mind and reduce anxiety levels. Writing your fears or concerns in a diary or journal may help you to see the situation more clearly.

[…] Spending time in nature reduces stress. Studies have found that the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, translated as ‘forest bathing’, can lower blood pressure and improve immune function and mental health. Forest bathing involves immersing oneself in nature by mindfully using all five senses.

[…] Affirmations are powerful and positive simple statements that can help us challenge negative thought patterns. They can decrease stress, increase well-being, and make us more open to behaviour change.

‘Ecological Medicine’ – Dr Sarah Myhill and Craig Robinson (Second Edition available Jan 2023)

Life is inevitably stressful, and we all have skeletons in the cupboard. During sleep we relive the events of the day and remember the important things and rationalise the damaging memories. But if sleep is disturbed by adrenaline, then those memories are relived in a hormonally stressful environment, thereby reinforcing them. This is an obvious vicious cycle. The treatment is obvious too – stop adrenalin release at night with the Paleo-Ketogenic diet, thereby blocking any damaging memories that may be lurking.




‘The A-Z of Yoga for Cancer’ – Vicky Fox

 Breathing is key to helping to release anxiety by bringing us into the present moment. When we are conscious of our breathing we are fully in the moment because we can’t breathe in the past and we can’t take a breath in the future. This means we are in this moment with whatever this moment brings. […] There are many tools we can use to help bring us into the moment and it is about finding what works for you. I recommend beginning with a simple wave breathing exercise.

[…] Find a comfortable sitting position where your spine feels long. This maybe in a chair or seated on some cushions on the floor. […] shift from side to side until you feel there is equal weight on both sitting bones. Your spine should feel long, and you should not be shifting forwards or backwards. As you breathe in, sense the wave-like motion of your breathing.

Follow these steps:

                Inhale and sense or feel the wave rising.

                As you exhale, silently say to yourself ‘1’.

                Inhale and sense or feel the wave of breath rising.

                As you exhale, silently say to yourself ‘2’.

                Inhale and sense or feel the wave rising.

                As you exhale silently say ‘3’.

                Inhale and sense or feel the wave rising.

                As you exhale silently say ‘4’.

… and continue in the same way, Incrementally counting upwards to ‘10’ with each exhale and back down again to ‘1’ (this takes about 2 minutes).

This wave breathing is a form of meditation because meditation is giving your mind something to focus on; here the focus is movement of breath and counting.


National Stress Awareness Day (2nd November) is an annual initiative by Rethink Mental Illness which highlights the ways that stress can affect people and what you can do to manage your stress before it becomes a problem. The causes of stress and the best way to manage it can differ for every person and what works for some may not be as effective for others, so if you are struggling to cope with stress, make sure to consult your GP or look on the NHS website for more information.

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How and why I came to write ‘Yoga for Cancer’


Blog written by Vicky Fox, author of ‘Yoga for Cancer’

Where it all began

I trained as a yoga teacher in 2008 and felt so lucky to be doing something that not only I enjoyed but I felt huge benefit in. I was always fascinated by the therapeutic application of yoga and how yoga could support people and in 2013 Laura Kupperman came over from Colorado to teach her “Yoga For Survivors” training which focused on how to support people diagnosed with cancer.

I had started studying with her when one of my best friends was involved in a tragic accident which meant that whilst learning how to adapt practices for side effects of surgery and treatment for cancer I also learnt how to hold space, be present with pain and not to be able to fix it. I think this was a huge learning for me just being fully present with someone with all that they were experiencing and with no judgement but just to be. This made my first few classes of yoga for cancer less frightening, remembering that these were just wonderful people coming into the room to have some space where they were nurtured and protected, practice yoga and maybe start to get connected to their bodies again.

What inspired me to write the book

The yoga classes gave them chance to switch from being a patient to being a co-crafter of their well-being and I started to meet the most fabulous people who shared with me what they were going through and I learnt to adapt so that everyone could participate in every bit of the class no matter what they were bringing with them on that particular day.

I volunteered to teach at Paul’s Cancer Support Centre which was a fantastic charity offering support for people living with cancer. The room I taught the yoga in was a shared space room that was used for other activities and it was not uncommon to go into the room, move furniture around and pick up the odd crisp that had escaped under a table. I loved teaching there but I also wanted to give my students the chance to experience what I felt when I went to triyoga, my local studio for a class. A dedicated space just for yoga with all the props you could possibly need and not a crisp in sight.

At the same time one of my friends worked for a company that had a charitable trust and they were thinking of sponsoring me to teach a free class for people impacted by cancer. As a result I approached Jonathan Sattin the owner of triyoga with this idea. We were negotiating room rates when I found out that the trust had voted for a different charity and so I had to contact Jonathan to tell him that I couldn’t teach the class as I didn’t have the funds for the room. He immediately responded that I could have the room for free and I agreed to teach the class for free and there we had it, the free class of yoga for anyone living with cancer started in April 2014. The “free” aspect was really crucial to both myself and Jonathan. It can be expensive being diagnosed with cancer. You might need child care, you might not be able to work, you might need to take taxi’s or have overnight stays in hotels. All this costs money and I wanted the classes to be as inclusive as they possibly could and being able to make them free meant we could do that.




How and when the book started to take shape

When we went into lockdown in March 2020 it was imperative that I got these classes online as soon as I could because I knew that community was a hugely important part of the class and suddenly we were all being told to stay at home and I knew this would be so challenging for some of my students. Triyoga immediately put a class on their online platform, on a Sunday, which quickly grew and I taught more classes from my home. If you knew anyone who was considered “vulnerable” during the first wave of covid you will know why the support of a community was so incredibly valuable. Some students were told if they caught covid they would not be able to be treated for cancer and other students had trials they were on cancelled as a result of covid. This online community became hugely important because students were unable to see physiotherapists or to get advice on certain side effects and so they started being discussed more widely in class.

The more I taught online the more I got to know my students, the more they asked for yoga poses that might help with a side effect. I wonder if it was that people felt more able to open up in this online format or whether it was just that they didn’t have as much choice. Students that only came once a week to class now were showing up to every class and I realised that what everyone needed support with was not cancer but the side effects of treatment for cancer.

I started creating little, short videos which I either put on Instagram or on my website with some ideas on poses that might help with cording, lymphoedema, scar tissue, peripheral neuropathy and other side effects that people needed support with. I had already started writing a book on yoga for cancer but teaching online helped me find more focus for the book and the idea of A-Z of side effects for treatment for cancer started to take more shape.

What I am most grateful for

I could not have done this book without the sharing and honesty of my students who have emailed me, spoken to me, opened up to me about what they are experiencing and asking what might help. They have trusted me and I am hugely grateful to them for this. My students really need all the credit for this book because it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for them.

Anybody who is fortunate to work in a job where you contribute and others benefit will know how much purpose this gives you in life. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do and meet the most amazing people that I meet. By being forced into online teaching (which is now in a hybrid format of live studio and livestream) it enabled me to reach out to more people and where I had been unable to teach people that lived on the other side of London to me, I was now able to teach people anywhere in the UK or even abroad.

What I hope to achieve with my book

I hope this book will be an extension of these classes and empower anyone impacted by cancer that although you can’t control life you are able to control your response.

Remember, you can read the first chapter for free!

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Kindness within the Community

As it is the season for giving, caring and community, we want to celebrate all the kind things our wonderful authors do, not just at Christmas, but all year round. In our latest blog post, a selection of our authors tell us about the incredible organisations they work with to encourage you to spread kindness this Christmas.

Sara Challice – Author of ‘Who Cares?’

Whilst I cared for my husband, I found great support in the community from local charities offering a variety of services – for both of us.

One charity, INS (Integrated Neurological Services), based in Twickenham, not only gave my husband, Neal, one-to-one physiotherapy, which was a Godsend due to his waning mobility and falls, but they supported me as a carer. I realised how vital local charities were and within six months I had become a trustee on their board – offering my graphic design skills, along with giving a carer’s insight to improve services.

It didn’t stop there. The charity continued to give to me in return, as I gave to it. I learned many things, not just about the charity, but of supporting those with neurological conditions.

During this time, I joined their Mind Body Spirit group, enjoying the meditations and learning of books to empower and improve health and wellbeing. Five years on, I now take this group myself, having become a mindfulness instructor. There is always a great turnout to this supportive and nurturing group, discovering ways to help yourself, even if you have a neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, or if you are a carer.

As with Christmas time – it is in the giving that we receive – and similarly, after I received from this wonderful charity, I have been giving to it, and still continue to reap the benefits. Kindness is truly all-encompassing.


Dr Eugene Kongnyuy – Author of ‘No Pills, No Needles’

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for sexual and reproductive health and rights. In the past 12 months, my work with UNFPA involved supporting fragile health systems in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to enhance access to contraceptives, skilled birth delivery and assistance to survivors of gender-based violence.

File:UNFPA logo.svg - Wikimedia CommonsBoth countries are affected by humanitarian crisis and the health systems are very fragile and weak. Due to the high level of insecurity caused by non-state armed groups, transporting contraceptives, medicines, medical supplies and equipment to reach the last mile is a major challenge. The weak health systems were equally hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, epidemics (including Ebola in the DRC) and natural disasters (including the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption in the DRC).

Despite these challenges, my colleagues and I successfully reached millions of women with contraceptives in both countries. We also supported in-country contraceptive logistics (warehousing, distribution and inventory management) and trained healthcare providers on contraceptive counselling and provision.

We also renovated and equipped maternities and where no health maternities existed, we installed prefabricated maternities to enhance access to skilled birth attendance. We recruited midwives where there were no midwives to ensure that each maternity provides skilled birth delivery. We equally supported midwifery training schools by updating their training curricula to meet international standards, trained midwifery tutors and provided training equipment to midwifery schools. While obstetric fistula has virtually been eliminated in developed countries, thousands of women and girls develop fistula in Africa due to lack of skilled assistance at birth. In both countries, we supported obstetric fistula repair by providing surgical repair kits and training doctors to repair fistula.

Due to the humanitarian crisis, gender-based violence is a big problem in both countries and is sometimes used as a weapon of war. The violence takes several forms including sexual, physical, emotional, economical, domestic etc. Our job was to provide assistance to survivors of violence and to ensure safeguarding for women and girls affected by crisis. We set up one-stop centres in hospitals to provide comprehensive services for survivors – medical, psychosocial, judiciary, police and socioeconomic reintegration. The one-stop centres ensure that survivors do not need to be referred elsewhere as they receive all services including access to the police and a lawyer in a single centre.

While responding to the immediate humanitarian needs, my work also involved working closely with the Government to build national capacity and systems including policies so that the Government can eventually take over – we recognize that it’s the primary responsibility of Governments to provide the basic social services and to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of its citizens.


Sarah Russell – Author of ‘The Bowel Cancer Recovery Toolkit’

One of the things I do in terms of community and ‘giving back’ is the work I’ve been doing with my local hospice. I’ve volunteered with Hospice in the Weald for 4 years as an exercise specialist and work with the physio and OT team. I run exercise groups for palliative patients under hospice care and since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve been doing them on zoom. Which has worked brilliantly as people have been at home and needing to shield and keep themselves safe, but we’ve still been able to keep them active and mobile.

People often wonder how exercise can help palliative patients, and if it’s really safe.. but the benefits are amazing. It helps people to stay strong, mobile and independent for longer, in some cases extending life. But the most important aspect is that people feel they have a little bit of control over their lives, they are doing something to help themselves, even when they are really unwell. For that short time when doing their exercise class they don’t feel like a patient, and it gives them positivity and encouragement and a little bit of normality. It really is wonderful that we can give that to people through the power of exercise, even at the end of their lives.


Sandra Hood – Author of ‘Feeding Your Vegan Child’

In 2020 I took on Pixie who was an ex-street dog from Macedonia. Due to her nervousness and Houdini abilities, Pixie had had a number of homes in the UK before finding her way to Love Underdogs.  Love Underdogs is a charity that does amazing work with stray unwanted street dogs, mainly from Romania, and took Pixie on to find her a home.

I had a dog flap fitted and the garden was, I believed, escape proof. After having Pixie for a couple of weeks, I had to go into work early in the morning. My phone was switched off at work but when I checked it at lunch time there were numerous messages. Pixie had been found, some 11 miles away. She was eventually trapped in a driveway.  The police took her in, got details from her ID tag and contacted Love Underdogs and me.

When I collected Pixie she was absolutely exhausted and very pleased to see me. It was only the next day that a neighbour told me he had seen her jump out of the upstairs bedroom window to chase my car. Someone submitted the story to the paper and she made page 3!

Love Underdogs needs to be recognised for its wonderful work.

I would also like to mention Goole RSPCA Cats which I support. My sister and niece are volunteers for the charity and they do amazing work with rescuing cats that can be in terrible states. For example, my niece Georgina fostered Marigold in December last year, a cat that was found in a field, severely underweight, one-eyed and with a distinctive crinkled ear. Most likely abandoned due to her pitiful state, she wasn’t expected to make Christmas last year as she was so ill.  No one has been interested in giving Marigold a permanent home, so now Georgina is going to adopt her.


Dr Raymond Perrin – Author of The Perrin Technique 2nd Edition and The Concise Perrin Technique

This is the story of how the research that led to my doctorate and then to my book The Perrin Technique came about – with a little help from above…

Medical research comes with a hefty price tag even for relatively small projects, so when I embarked on my research project at the University of Salford in the early 1990s, I needed to establish the FORME charitable trust in order to attract other trusts to donate the £100,000 needed to test if my osteopathic techniques could help ME/CFS. We appealed widely through the media but to no avail. We had a few thousand pounds – enough to buy a computer or two but not to run a controlled clinical trial involving at least 60 participants. So, the trustees of the charity decided to hold an emergency meeting to discuss closing down the charity and donating our meagre funds to a national ME Fund for Osteopathic Research into ME - FORME charity, ending my dream of undertaking this research.

The meeting was scheduled for a Thursday evening but just two days before I received a phone call that was to change everything. It was from a Mr Barclay who said he had read about our appeal and wanted to know if he and his brother could meet me at his hotel. When I inquired where his hotel was he replied Monte Carlo! Two days later I was sitting with Frederick and David Barclay in the Mirabeau in Monaco, one of the many hotels that they owned around the world. They wrote a cheque then and there for £50,000 and said the rest would be sent in a few months. An hour later I was heading for my flight home at the same time as the trustees were meeting to disband the charity – a meeting I interrupted to tell them of the Barclays’ generosity to the surprise of all.

Thirty years on, with a few more research projects completed, all funded by charity and supported by volunteers, we have provided much evidence to support the importance of lymphatic drainage in ME/CFS and we are now just about to embark on a new study at the University of Manchester, together with the NHS, into Long Covid, again funded by generous organisations from the public. I shall never forget the generosity of all concerned without which this research would never have begun.

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A sneak preview from upcoming release ‘Green Mother’

We have something a little different but equally as visually stimulating for you on our blog. A sneak preview of some beautiful illustrations from upcoming release ‘Green Mother’ by Dr Sarah Myhill and Michelle McCullagh with Craig Robinson. Launching later this year.

A family watering the garden
A mother breastfeeding
Children splashing in a puddle
A child splashing
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Giardia and its Complications to Coronavirus

This week is National Hygiene Week. Susan Koten, author of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Giardia  explains how important it is to keep washing your hands or you could get giardia as well as coronavirus…

Giardia is a very common microscopic parasite that can affect the general health of the recipient in a short space of time by interfering with the whole digestive system.

This in turn gradually weakens the body and lowers the general immunity. The signs and symptoms of an infection are varied but diarrhoea and/or constipation, lethargy, bloating, nausea, headaches, and iron-deficient anaemia are but a few of these markers.

This makes those infected very vulnerable for other pathogens to invade the body and respiratory diseases are no exception.

In my book Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Giardia, I mention that the key herb for treating this parasite is Artemesia annua, (Qing hao) (sweet wormwood), a Chinese herb which in ancient times was used to treat fever, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of malaria. Not only is it effective but it has shown few adverse reactions in toxicology studies in long term use.

Covid-19 patients were reported to have a very high iron content in their cells[1]. The Artemesia annua-derivative, artemisinin, takes advantage of the fact that infected cells accumulate iron in large amounts – artemesinin is sequestered in cells where iron is high and this releases two oxygen molecules forming free radicals which kill the cell, leaving normal cells intact.

Cancer cells also have a high dependency on iron for growth and accumulate large amounts of iron. Artemisinin is used in the treatment of all cancers[2] and it has the effect of destroying cancer cells leaving normal cells untouched.

An infection of Giardia can create iron-deficient anaemia; by treating it with sweet wormwood, as described in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Giardia, the patient’s health can return back to normal.

Iron appears to be a very important element to consider in any inflammatory condition and looking at the way sweet wormwood is attracted to these sites of excessive iron and destroys them this herb is definitely one to review.


[1] Cavezzi A, Troiani E, Corrao S. COVID-19: hemoglobin, iron, and hypoxia beyond inflammation. A narrative review. Clin Pract 2020; 10(2): 1271.  doi: 10.4081/cp.2020.1271

[2] Zhang Y, Xu G, Zhang S, Wang D, Prabha PS, Zuo Z. Antitumor Research on Artemisinin and Its Bioactive Derivatives. Nat Prod Bioprospect 2018; 8(4): 303–319. doi: 10.1007/s13659-018-0162-1